Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain

Total Reviews: 52
Epitome of the classic Eau de Cologne, the excellence in its genre, hesperidic, aristocratic, exotic, art-deco. No more to add.
28th November, 2017
We raved over her
New gold portrait from clouds of
Our fine old colognes.
10th November, 2017
Fantastic opening, a perfect citrus Eau de Cologne smell, counterbalanced by lack of longevity.
25th June, 2017
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I have never liked summers. Who wants to suffer soul-crushing heat and deathly brightness? In my defence - I have endured such torments in Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay and Phoenix. Let me be blunt and honest: I detest summers. Give me the lovely Chicago winter - any day.

There is a new wave of perfume wearers who demand that summers be defined by fresh perfumes that last through the day. There is a new wave of fresh perfumes on the market to quench the thirst. Most are neither fresh nor long lasting. Some are as bad as the Phoenix (insert city of choice) summers. Some go on well, before getting increasingly grating by the hour. A rare few are interesting - and, beautiful.

Then, what about the eau de colognes?

EdC Imperiale is one such eau de cologne. It is a simple love affair of limes, lemons, verbena, oranges and faint sweet woods - in that order. There is nothing to understand here, and it is meant to be loved. It is delightful and exquisitely refreshing, but as approachable as a traditional lemonade in the summer heat. Rather than a daily indulgence, one embraces it as an hourly ritual. The faint dry down lasts the best part of two hours, before one starts longing for it again.

Imperiale will clearly not move anyone pining for duration. But, does that matter? It smells natural, fresh, and is one of those little joys in the world of perfumes. Sometimes, short is sweet. Sometimes one is moved more by a wonderful short story than a gargantuan novel.

Imperiale, together with Cologne Sologne, is one of the best eau de colognes on the market.



1. Yes, I understand that Eau de Guerlain is just as good and lasts longer, but Imperiale is also very commonly found at half the price of Eau de Guerlain if one shops around a bit.

2. Recommendation - keep it the fridge in summers and enjoy!)
24th May, 2017
When life gives you lemons, spray Imperiale… liberally. Or, I should say, when life gives you limes. Lots and lots of limes, as though you’d just picked up a farm-fresh crateful of kaffir limes and have started making a gallon of limeade. Just like limeade, Imperiale is a great antidote for suffering in the heat. This vitamin C tonic instantly refreshes the mind and the senses. It is so uplifting; I have a roll in the orange blossoms every time I need a boost.

The coconut-y white pith of the lime adds a creamy and bitter balance to the acidic citrus and fragrant rinds. The fresh green lime blasts forth from the first whiff. This is not a one-dimensional lime, it is almost real, with traces of the waxy lime leaves from the branch it was just plucked from. This vision of bergamot is just one step removed from a field of lime bushes in the sun. Growing wild at the fringes of the field is lavender, which frames the lush citrus. In this magical field, singing maidens with orange blossoms in their hair come to pick the limes, laying them on starched white muslin cloth in willow baskets...

In a white-tiled sunlit kitchen, fresh-picked rosemary and mint in a water jug await the dinner preparation. Your lover steps into the room having just come out of the shower, still wet, and faintly smelling of lemon verbena and lavender soap, wearing only a damp cotton towel that exudes lively white florals. Later, Imperiale puts on a white linen shirt and clean jeans and retires to his woodworking studio, to produce giant pencil shavings of freshly lathed cedar. The summer sun gets hazy and heady, and the lavender fields beyond the studio bloom in fragrance as the final rays of sunlight hit their vibrant green and purple hues. After the day’s work is done and the evening meal complete, a key lime pie like tonka bean note makes it good enough to eat (said lover wanted to “eat it in a soup”! Low-and-behold that’s exactly what they did with it in the past – although I couldn’t get them to actually try it)

25th February, 2017
I'd really love this one IF IT ONLY WOULD LAST A BIT LONGER! ;-o Undeniably a classic, it showcases the verbena and neroli so nicely alongside the citrus elements, and the lavender is tastefully present to warm down the energy created by the opening notes. Requires constant refreshing for me, which may due to my bottle being old or my skin chemistry.
07th December, 2016
I had tried and really liked the current formulation, but did not need that much juice, so I hesitated purchasing. About a week ago, I found one of the older 30 ml bottles that were made in the Louis the XVI style bottle (mine was sealed and in a zebra box, so likely from the 80's, though possibly later).

I really LOVE the scent now! It seems brighter (if that could be possible) and the lavender is less heavy (at least that is my impression). Longevity is still an "issue" but as it was never meant to last, I don't really consider it a factor. Projection is minimal, making it a rather personal or intimate scent, perfect to enjoy for the sake of its pleasure, or for the sultriest of summer days.
28th September, 2016
Of the Guerlain fragrances I own this is probably my least favorite. It is nice enough just nothing spectacular IMHO. Nice enough for spring / summer wear to the office. The scent is not offensive. Fleeting projection and longevity.
19th May, 2016
This is an exquisite lime-based eau de cologne housed in an exquisite bottle that fades depressingly quickly. I spray this on hard (12-15 times on skin and clothes) and the scent might last two hours. Because of the terrible longevity, I cannot recommend Eau de Cologne Imperiale over comparable (in price and style) scents that last longer or otherwise perform better. Said another way, Eau de Cologne Imperiale does not hold a candle to Eau de Guerlain, which can be obtained at the same price point, packaged in a similar bottle, and lasts 8-10 hours with 3-6 sprays. Nor can Imperiale compete well with Santa Maria Novella's Acqua di Sicilia, which is an EDC like Imperiale, but lasts hours longer.

After a few wearings, I think Imperiale's best use may be as a fragrance to layer with others. I've used it to brighten Smell Bent's Dark Green Citrus (a Frankensmellie) and Santa Maria Novella's Verbena (the combination smells quite a bit like Eau de Guerlain), and I've enjoyed these combinations better than I enjoy Imperiale by itself.
21st September, 2015 (last edited: 10th January, 2018)
EDC Imperiale is a pleasant enough cologne that is pretty reminiscent of 4711, but not quite as astringent. The opening is sweet and sour citrus, much like a lemon lime soda with a hint of spice in the background. It was never meant to last very long or to have any significant sillage, but just as a refresher for the wearer. It's easily unisex, and pretty interesting IMO just from a historical standpoint, but it has such limited use when there are so many more better performing options that fit the bright, clean and refreshing category.
28th August, 2015
This is one of the finest eau de colognes you will find today.

The classic formula of bergamot, neroli, verbena, lemon and orange are supported in the dry down by lavender with cedar and tonka providing a warm woody vanilla base.

The addition of citrus-smelling herbs (bergamot, verbena) and flowers (neroli) to the basic lemon and orange pure citrus scents ups the ante and the lavender secures the scent, but discreetly never overpowers its delicacy.

An improvement over their original eau de cologne and the preferable of the two to add to your scent library.
21st May, 2015
Fleeting luxury of the highest order...

<i>Eau de Cologne Impériale</i> by Pierre Francios Pascal Guerlain, was created and presented to the Empress Eugenie of France as a cure for her headaches, or so the story goes. As with all "Eau de Colognes", the effect is a bright, refreshing citrus wakeup call which awakens the senses and refreshes the body... like a tonic.

The formula is an old one. Citrus, Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain, some light florals, and some green moss usually at the base (sometimes very light musk). But ultimately, this is a luxurious but fleeting experience. It is designed to be applied at different occasions, such as at the beginning of the day, after the morning bathing ritual, or throughout the day, when the weather is hot or when the humidity is overbearing. In all these situations, <i>Eau de Cologne Impériale</i> succeeds.

Where it does not succeed however is if you want it as a perfume for the entire day. It is not meant to be used as such. Because of this, I think if you are looking to buy a similar (to me nose extremely similar)fragrance... and if money is an issue, then go for <i>4711</i>. Because the formula is almost the same, and the drydown is almost identical on many levels. I agree that the Guerlain smells different in the opening (more natural and citric), but only for the first 5-10 mins, after which they are hard to tell apart.

Ultimately, I would suggest this to anyone with money to spend on the "luxury" of an established, elegant fragrance meant for royalty (and for the history and prestige associated with the house of Guerlain). Otherwise, if money is an issue to you, there are other options out there which do similar things for a much cheaper price. In my opinion <i>Eau de Cologne Impériale</i> is one for the collectors, for those who appreciate history and tradition... and generally for those who have good taste!
28th April, 2015
This is a truly refreshing scent. Aside from 4711 and Eau Sauvage, I wear this more than any other scent that I own. I am very fond of the fresh burst of lime one gets when one first sprays this on (I can also detect a note of lemon verbena in the composition). It really is an IMPERIAL eau de cologne. I highly recommend this (I read in an old advertisement that only 1/10,000 men wear this) to anyone who wishes to wear a fresh, historic, summery scent year round.
18th March, 2015 (last edited: 18th June, 2016)
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Nice citrus lavender cologne. It blends with the tonka to give it a fresh laundry scent. I used to own this but switched it for Eau de Guerlain.
23rd November, 2014
A good citrus cologne with lavender, woods, soapy notes and a slightly musky base, can't go any more classic than this – and you can't go wrong if classic is what you're looking for. Though, to me it's actually as much invigorating and elegant as ordinary and frankly not even that high quality, at least in the recent version (the infamous floor cleaner/car freshener feel). It may have been an iconic scent and perhaps it would be better to look for earlier bottles; today in my opinion it's just a tad above pleasantly mediocre.

04th October, 2014
Genre: Citrus

Impériale is the soprano voice in Guerlain’s eau de Cologne chorus. Its charmingly tart lime top note sets a high olfactory pitch, and the rest of its traditional citrus and herb arrangement keeps well to the right end of the keyboard. Impériale’s lime-centered citrus accord is far sharper and brighter than Eau de Guerlain’s lemon and verbena, bears few of the floral embellishments that distinguish Eau de Fleurs de Cédrat, and eschews the warmth of Eau de Cologne du Coq’s lavender and animalic musk. Doing without these weightier components lets Impériale soar unencumbered, but also deprives it of endurance and complexity. The voice is clear and luminous, but its range is narrow and its song is brief. It is the simplest of the Guerlain eaux and as befits its age, the most traditional in style and content. However, I also think that it’s the least individual in character, and hence the last of the collection I’d be tempted to acquire.
13th June, 2014
A classic

I love this one. It's one of my favorites. To me it's a Victorian classic ... complex and elegant. Of course it's citrusy, but the citrus is toned down by the lavender and something else that gives it a pleasing "dry" smell. What do I mean by "dry"? I dunno ... like the driest Brut Champagne. It is very old fashioned and reminds me of romantic days gone by. I only wish the longevity was a little longer.

04th October, 2013
Truly lovely and refreshing but you'd need to spray it on every 10 minutes to get that effect. It doesn't last for any longer than that, but it's not supposed to. I get a citrus blast and then a cedar flash and then the show is over. Great.
24th October, 2012
Well....... it looks like I'll be the first member of the female sex to write a review on Imperiale.
To begin with Imperiale while now marketed as a masculine, was originally worn by both men and women. Just the same as the other cologne that Imperiale reminds me of - 4711 Echt Kolnish Wasser.
I love 4711 so it's not surprising I think Imperiale is wonderful as well. I love a good citrus and herbal mixture.
Imperiale also shares another trait of 4711, it has very minimal longevity. But it's lovely while it lasts.
13th March, 2012 (last edited: 15th March, 2012)
Wonderful, shiny, morning sunlight fragrance that, as someone noted before, will get you from the bathroom to your dresser where you can then apply the fragrance of the day. I wish I had kept the bottle when it was finished. What a wonderful rememberance - and yet...

I cannot see myself wearing it now. I am not that young man any more. Somewhere between this exhuberant innocent youth and the wakes-up-gritting-his-teeth, steel grip handshake, 70-hour work week corporate head that is Lauder for Men, I will find the right scent for me.
07th February, 2012
This is an eau de cologne which I spritz on after a shower during the warmer months of the year to feel fresh and complete. It is not a fragrance to weat for other is my own after shower splash. It is a beautiful citrus -- light and airy --and it makes me feel even cleaner after my shower and shave. Thumbs up all the way. It wears off completely in 15 minutes to half-an-hour, just in time for me to apply the eau de toilette I want to go out of the house wearing. Thank goodness it comes in the 500 ml and 1000 ml size. I apply it with abandon. Imperiale is just grand
09th October, 2011
Thumbs up for its perfect iteration of the EDC genre, although I agree with those who point out that you'll have to be as rich as Napoleon to be able to use enough of it. It is lovely but fleeting.
02nd March, 2011
A brief encounter... However, one you will wish to re-visit time after time. This exudes pure quality and is genuinely unisex. Despite its heritage it somehow seems contemporary and invigorating, in fact it does this better than many modern fragrances that aspire to do exactly that.

Frequent applications required, but then why wouldn't you? Its sublime.
01st February, 2011
Worth having, but it's even worth more getting it from a discount place.

Cologne is by definition fleeting, and you will need Imperial means if you buy it new and want to use it the Imperial way.

Yes, it's something that's fun drowning yourself into, just like Bonaparte did with Farina's cologne. I wish the alcohol therein was unadulterated because I'm sure it could make a great drink! (Eau de Cologne was indeed drunk until Bonaparte forced manufacturers to put on the label their ingredients. From then on, Cologne makers labeled their product "for external use only" and used adulterated alcohol.)

I drown myself in it after a good bath, bask it its smell for its short duration, and put on another Eau de Toilette once it's gone. I also like to use it when I'm feeling yucky or sick. It focuses the brain on something bright and nice, soothingly.
30th January, 2011
This is a beautiful, classy EdC cloud. It has lovely and refreshing citrus notes, followed by light wood and hay (from the tonka). Orange blossom lingers in the mix for a respectable period. Don’t get lavender as a distinct note. The tone and longevity are appropriate for this sort of of classic scent. One could bathe in it, and certainly re-apply many times a day.
10th January, 2011
bbBD Show all reviews
United States
To review Imperiale as one would review a contemporary fragrance misses the point entirely. One can hardly apply current standards of review to a perfume pushing 150+ years old. Imperiale is a true historical artifact and a glimpse into perfumery past. That it remains in production is a nod to the grand history of Guerlain and its place as the matriarch of French perfumery. It will not last very long on the skin, it does not contain any exciting or novel citrus/floral accord, and it is not going to replace your current favorite citrus cologne of choice. In fact, the next time you enjoy your favorite cologne you can thank it's great-great-grandfather Eau de Cologne Imperiale.

So how does one enjoy Imperiale? It so happens that Imperiale was my father's 'signature scent'. Years after I became interested in fragrance I made an uninformed comment along the lines of "well it doesn't last very long." My father explained that he doesn't want to small like any fragrance all day, but rather splashing on Imperiale after a shower was his morning 'wake up refresher' - part of feeling clean and awake and ready for the day. Given its bright and bracing lime-centric citrus topnote blast this makes perfect sense to me. Thumbs UP.

29th August, 2010
This is the bourgeoisie version of Creed's Selection Verte. Opening is very similar, but this is much more fleeting. Fades away within an hour, but that hour is light, clean, and lovely. Love this style of perfumery. Citrus burst at the beginning, the lavender comes out lightly then is tempered by the cedar while it lingers close to the skin. Very classy, unoffensive smell suited for a banquet or night at the theater.
17th July, 2010
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
This is a great classic and wonderful to wear--it just simply makes you feel good. For about twenty minutes. The light and bright bergamot opening is perfectly supported by the lavender and cedarwood. If only it lasted longer! This is what I imagine Don Fabrizio wearing in di Lampedusa's "The Leopard." While I am not given to constant reapplications throughout the day, this cologne not only warrants it--it necessitates it.
20th May, 2010
This is just BORING !!! It's supose to have some nerve/migraine calming propreties, but I can't feel any, and can't see how this plain citrus cologne can be anything else than dull.

There are far better citrus EDCs out there if you're interested, and at lower prices.

It might have a placebo effect on some, thinking it's Guerlain, and what it's purpose is supose te be... plus the bottle is very nice to look at...

The package might do the trick here...

However, I don't think it smells bad, just terribly boring. So... neutral rating.
16th April, 2010
I purchased this at the Guerlain boutique in Las Vegas after a very helpful salesman ran me through some of the vintage Eau de Colognes available for purchase. I mentioned my enjoyment of Creed Selection Verte and he pointed me in direction of this little number. His evaluation of the fragrance was spot on:

A light, throughly enjoyable citrus that will require frequent application throughout the day.

I can wear this fragrance to work confidently. I work in a very conservative environment where any scent that makes waves would be frowned upon. With Imperiale, I can quietly enjoy it on my skin without being concerned about blowback.

For the record, I like this better than Selection Verte and look forward to powering through this bottle during the next couple months. It has a bit more bite and smells manlier overall. Be sure to pick it up at an online retailer for half the price I paid at the boutique!
15th April, 2010