Guerlain Homme Intense is one of those scents which seem deceptively “generic”, while instead scream quality and class like a very few others. All is quality for me here: the materials, the composition, the evolution. Still keeping it incredibly versatile and crowdpleasing. You can enjoy a crisp office scent without caring about its subtle superb quality, or you can dive into it and amaze yourself with Guerlain’s heritage on display – because, yes, Guerlain Homme Intense still belongs to “the great Guerlain’s” (unlike, for instance, L’Homme Idéale). Citrus, bergamot, bracing mint and its floral counterpart – geranium, other floral notes, bitter grass, a crunchy rhubharb note, a drop of rhum, sharp cozy woods. Dozens of mainstream green-woody perfumes feature these same notes, but what once was “the Guerlain treatment” brings them all up to another level here. Which is the realm of pure understated elegance. You just have to smell this to get what I mean. It’s a matter of radiance, richness, a perfect balance of realisticness, deepness and “polished” cleanliness. Then, all nuances are just so deep and sparkling, morphing and evolving under your nose, in a subtle but totally perceivable way.
Homme Intense starts with a bracing, invigorating and fresh slap of citrus, mint and grassy notes, then slowly revealing a warmer heart of rhum, geranium, pepper and woods, slowly drifting to an incredibly refined drydown which features a throwback in time – a really old-school, top notch quality smoky-salty vetiver note. Which is dry and woody, but perfectly enriched by rhum and made greener by a nondescript sort of bracing grassy-floral accord. All – I mean, all! – of these notes, try to imagine them in the best quality and crispness possible, blended together in a bright, cozy blend fitting you like a bespoke suit. Pure delight. The texture is clean and transparent, mostly green-woody with a slightly more unusual palette of nuances – rhum, rhubarb, a slight earthy-vegetable feel reminding me of good old Coriolan... Everything is perfectly safe and classic, even slightly formal, yet perfectly contemporary, as an everyday fragrance for “the modern elegant men” is meant to be. Fresh and sensual. This is my idea of modern luxury in a bottle; high quality and discreet elegance – and don’t have me started speaking about quality versus price, ‘cause the price of Guerlain Homme Intense makes any other self-claimed “luxury” scent look more ridicoulous than they already are. The only flaw of this fragrance is that maybe it is... a tad really too “apparently-generic” to be appreciated as it deserves. If I was more presumptuous I would rate this “for connoisseurs only”, but – aside from being uselessly pretentious – that wouldn’t do justice to the versatility and the positive “crowdpleasing” nature of this fragrance. Just, don’t underrate this.
18th April, 2015 (last edited: 01st June, 2015)
At first it's like anise and chocolate in the Dior Homme style but stronger. There are florals in it and it has less of that lipstick aura but it's still there. I can tell I'm not one for this Dior style because it's become a fad to smell like this which is closer to cocoa than rum. Fairly boring considering the amazing choices out there.
I liked it more in the store than when I got it home, which is often the way things seem to go when you make an on-the-spot decision to own something that you didn't go into the store looking to buy, but that aside, this fragrance is just not interesting to me. Every couple of months I will give it a try in the hopes that somehow, Time will have worked some magic on the juice, but each time, I shake my head and wish I hadn't been so impulsive. It is not bad, but it is boring, and not something you would expect from the House of Guerlain.
Every dog has its day
A lot of Guerlainophiles have expressed disappointment with the Homme line, seeing it as some sort of aberration unworthy of the Guerlain name. Well, I (partially) beg to differ, although I won't argue that this is in the first rank of their scents. It must be a big seller; within 5 years of launch of the original Guerlain Homme, it has spawned 3 flankers, so Thierry Wasser must be doing something right.
Anyway, what we have is a safe, easy-to-wear, versatile scent that suits all ages. There is nothing in the least challenging about it. Does this make it boring? Yes, a bit. But sometimes boring is good. It's the sort of scent you can wear in situations where you don't want to draw attention to yourself; for example, meetings where action plans are drawn up and tasks assigned. Let's face it, we all have days when we don't want to smell like a French tart, BDSM addict, or rotting vegetation.
This is where the Guerlain Homme line steps in. And the lack of olfactory interest is compensated for by the fact that what we do have smells pretty good. As far as the 'Intense' flanker goes, there's some lime at the open, lots of grapefruit, mint for the first couple of hours (the best part I think), something boozy that's supposed to smell like rum but doesn't really, and some non-specific woody notes in the base. Overall, this one smells less airy and deeper and darker than the rest of the line. No detectable Guerlinade, but that's not compulsory anyway. I get good longevity; about 8 hours from 5 sprays.
So there you have it, a good everyday scent, earning a good 4 star rating.
Pros: Better then adequate
Cons: Less than stellar"
Overtime, a glorious Guerlain for men. Fresh without being corny, fine without being cutesy, elegant while being modern. A juice very versatile which shows that Guerlain is still able to make excellent perfumes. It beats 90% of niche fragrances. To have, do not ever get tired.