Having been to the House of Fraser Manchester's Guerlain launch event of L'Art et la Matiere, I learnt that the points of departure for this exclusive line were to pay homage to the Guerlain classics, but in an almost "inverted" way, and to use a small number of the highest quality ingredients across the range. Well, in the respect of putting into practice a concept, I think Guerlain have got this spot on: the fragrances as a body index many of the classic Guerlains, but in original and provoking ways. It is hard to find common olfactory themes therein, but no matter: the vision is clear, as it the quality of the raw ingredients.
It's hard without further testing to say I prefer this that or the other of the line, but one thing is for sure: Tonka Imperiale is up there among the best. It is listed as a unisex, and I can imagine this working in the right attire and in certain surroundings, but let's face it: this is largely for the ladies. The gourmand aspects are to the fore in TI, and as you would expect, the voluptuous vanillic and biscuity accords are highlighted. However, there is also an incense note that adds a slight edge of smoky austerity. I struggle to detect any tobacco on skin, although this was more evident in testing in other media - perhaps a shame, as this probably rules me out of the market for it personally.
But beyond that, a definite modern classic and surely something that would suit the majority of women. I'm now the proud owner of a 5ml decant thanks to the kind people at HoF, and my concern is now how best to use it.
This is certainly a gourmand. It opens with strong vanilla/tonka and almonds. There is a crayon-amber note strong on application also. There are some spices, hiding in the background poking their heads out occasionally. It is fairly linear and probably not a hot/humid summer fragrance.
Opens with lilies and the ocean. algae helps with the oceanic theme. I wish I knew the aroma chemicals that Guerlain and Bond use to make this, and Fire Island smell exactly like Coppertone sun-tan lotion. It's a scent that has been around for years and brings great memories of the past, wear it on your night-out to the seafood restaurant on your beach vacation.
03rd August, 2016 (last edited: 09th September, 2016)
Delicious gourmand, with a deceptively complex structure. Repeat wears bring out incense, tobacco, rosemary. Of course, the ultra-rich and refined almond/tonka notes on top are the real star of the show.
Wear it only when you want beautiful, rich strangers to ask you to run away and live a life of luxury and indulgence together.
One of the most guaranteed sexy fragrances I've ever found. A sheer delight every time.
Tonka Imperiale is among the most-hyped contemporary fragrances so it's difficult to manage expectations. I find it pleasing but not overwhelming in terms of projection, and very agreeable in that it walks the sweet/masculine balance very well, making it effectively unisex.
Tonka, vanilla, and nuts are the main notes, with some subservient tobacco and incense in the base. Beyond that, opinions vary on which notes factor in most, lending credence to the notion that it's a complex fragrance that goes in many different directions. I get incense, and a little tobacco, with the herby notes evident throughout (like jasmine). Apart from the more citrus-heavy opening, I didn't experience a lot of evolution on my skin, which isn't bad, since the scent is quite pleasant.
The sweet incense aspect reminds me of Imaginary Authors' Memoirs of a Trespasser, though Tonka Imperiale rings more formal, perhaps due to the sharpness of the bergamot and jasmine.
Projection is good but not great for an EDP (the Guerlain name, and price at $260 for 75ml, make me yearn for a little more, even if not up to the Tom Ford power house stratum), but longevity is pretty strong at 8+ hours, hardly weakened by a shower in the middle.
Certainly worth of much of its attention (though I'd argue not all), Tonka Imperiale provides a great balance that, while leaning toward cold weather slightly, seem so to me to have year-round and both formal/fun versatility.
9 out of 10
08th April, 2015 (last edited: 15th March, 2016)
Some perfumes go: ‘Oh you poor thing, come rest your head on my ample and soft bosom,’ and then they enfold you and are sweet and gentle, and the troubles of the world ease a bit. Please imagine it, if you haven’t had the experience, because that is the best way I could think of describing Tonka Imperiale’s influence. It’s a kind perfume, and, as the world should know by now, kindness is much sexier than all the huffpuff one usually gets sold.
Thierry Wasser has done justice to the star of his creation; here tonka reveals its essential warmth and cherry tobacco allure. Curiously the vanillic tones are downplayed here but they’re not missed. The density characteristic of tonka’s odour profile is also absent but such richness would have been overbearing, as there are other powerful players here. Striking among them are nectarous notes: jasmine is mentioned in the official list but here it imparts more honey than a floral accent, and there’s some jammy fruit in shades of cherry and raspberry.
Subtle balancing accents of bitter almonds and green wood unobtrusively play their part, but on my skin Tonka Imperiale is a ‘come and bite me’ gourmand. It’s a genre I’m not particularly enamoured of but this is an example with great generosity of spirit rather than the usual brashness. The finish is creamy, mousse-like. I rest my head on its warm and inviting bosom.
I am less keen on Tonka Imperiale a few hours in, when the notes blend a bit too much and a formless, sweet, almondy cloud takes over. It’s still got a surface finesse, but much of the character is gone.