Perfume Reviews

Reviews of Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain

Despite having no floral components, EdC Impériale leans towards the feminine. Thanks to the tonka in its base it has something like the sweet powderiness found in 4711 that gives a softness rarely found in a cologne.
Good quality materials - as befits an empress, but ephemeral; there being no white musks available in the time of Napoléon III.
02nd July, 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
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This is, without a doubt, my absolute favourite fragrance of all time. I actually wear this more than any other scent that I own. It is what one might refer to as my "signature scent". It really is an "Imperial" eau de cologne. This means that it is far superior to any other traditional eau de cologne. It is similar to Citrus Bigarrade by CREED, but despite being similar, this Guerlain scent is better. I highly recommend this one. I guess only 1/10,000 men wear this one!!
18th March, 2015
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
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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
Kav Show all reviews
United States
The scent may be 'short lived' but the effect lasts the day. This is antidote to
the olfactory insults of our chemical polluted world. I get a good 30 minutes of maturing scents and then a very faint lingering smell. Women tell me I 'smell nice' hours after the bees reflect the sunrise.
28th November, 2009 (last edited: 28th January, 2010)
bokaba Show all reviews
United States
Guerlain Eau de Imperiale is probably my favorite of the classic Guerlain eaus not including Eau de Guerlain of course and its prodigious caraway note. The opening is fresh citrus, lime to be precise, and then lime blossoms backed up by the lightest of cedars and the mere essence of tonka and verbena to create an aristocratic ambiance. Imperiale is well, imperial. It is short lived and has poor sillage, but that's what it was meant to be. Having worn this for a couple of days I can certainly say that I smell indolic flowers and an animalic musky tonka in the base albeit extremely light and close to the skin. This is what aristocratic Napoleonic dreams are made of (Napoleon III mind you as Napoleon I was dead before Imperiale debuted in 1853)! It's affordable, so spritz some on with reckless abandon of course!
16th November, 2009 (last edited: 19th November, 2009)
A beautiful, realistic citrus opening, but quite short-lived. A touch of lavender, cedar and tonka underneath. A must try classic Eau de Cologne. I personally prefer Guerlain’s Eau de Cologne du Coq, as providing a little more complexity and longevity. But there is nothing wrong with this 1853 classic!
04th August, 2009
A lovely citrus/green smell. Very fresh! Unfortunately, this only lasted 20 minutes on me. It is an eau de cologne, so you can't expect it to last long. As such, it still gets high marks from me. Great for scent-free work places...hehe
29th November, 2008
Fairly straightforward and good for Guerlain collectors of those that like a bit of green in their cologne style fragrances. Doesn't last at all on me.
11th November, 2008

The opening is immediately a bit sour, but the sourness disappears in seconds and the opening settles down to a very refreshing and clean citrus accord that is a little less interesting than before… I liked that that sour note. The remainder of the top notes is a delicate citrus with a light verbena and bergamot accompaniment. The middle accord is supposed to be lavender, but it is quite light, and I miss it unless I directly sniff my skin. The middle accord is gone very quickly, to move into the very light cedar drydown, which also lasts for a very short period of time. This could very well be paradigm for the classic citrus cologne. Its lasting power is minimal, but it is lovely and sensitive and its historical story is as attractive as the fragrance itself. Refined, transparent, unbelievably refreshing… it is certainly a thumbs up fragrance, but, personally I slightly prefer Roger and Gallet’s Extra-Vieille for a citrus cologne… E-V retains the sour note longer and lasts a little longer on my skin.

17th October, 2008
Eau de Cologne Impériale is one of the oldest EDC's on the market, and in my opinion one of the finest. Like many EDC's, Impériale is a "top note" fragrance. It's basic character is based primarily on an extremely fine bergamot, neroli and lemon accord. There are slight undertones as well, but you have to really smell carefully to find them. The undertones include petitgrain, lemon verbena, a mild lavender and some slight tonka and wood in the base. People who complain about this having no longevity are not familiar with this genre of fragrance. A classical eau de cologne is based on the idea of a refreshing splash. This is the oldest fragrance type with the characteristic of being fresh and natural. Natural fresh notes are made from fine essential oils with extremely high volatility. This means that the fragrance develops very quickly and is finished. If you want the experience to continue, frequent reapplication is necessary.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Neroli, Lemon, Verbena, Orange
Middle Note: Lavender
Base Notes: Tonka, Cedar
04th September, 2008 (last edited: 28th January, 2011)
pasha Show all reviews
United States
This is not a bad scent at all. It is cologne, so the most you are gonna get out of it is a good 15 minutes before it completely leaves your skin no matter how much you apply. The top notes are every single type of citrus possible: lemon, neroli, lemon verbena, orange and bergamot. And it is quite potent, unbroken splash of Vitamin C hitting your skin, to be sure. And then it very quickly moves to the basenotes, which are tonka bean, a very strong rosemary and a slight note of cedar. Lemon is ever-present though.

I must say, maybe it is the obnoxious modern fragrance consumer in me speaking, though it is in no way disappointing, it is so not ground-breaking. It will not shake you to the core, and 15 minutes is anyways to short to experience any type of strong sensation, especially with notes like these. But normally 15 minutes is long enough for a complete olfactory orgasm if the notes combined are genius, that is for sure. I suppose what makes me feel a little blase to the whole thing is the fact that this scent has the most regal and colossal name in the entire fragrance universe; 'Eau de Cologne Imperial'. That is pretty bold, and one does expect great drama, and challenge in a frag named like that. Stuff like Bulgarian roses, violets, amber notes of some sort: rare and natural ingredients that will make you feel 'regal'. None of those are here in this water-clear scent, in the most gorgeous bottle possible.

In no way I hate this fragrance, but I am a little underwhelmed. Not by its longevity, but its lack of bold character. That being said, if I were a woman, and could carry this gorgeous bottle in my purse anywhere I go to apply every 15 minutes, I most certainly would. By the way, no picture does the bottle any justice. It is perfection: so decadent and delicate looking, it is an ode to beauty. True work of art, but Guerlain always designs a chic bottle, even during the 19th Century!
10th August, 2008
As with most things Guerlain it's not cheap, but I feel it's well worth it.

Like Eau D'Orange Verte and other eaux I own, this is for when I want something feather-light that doesn't skimp on quality. Particularly good for days where I may want to wear something later on.

It's not likely to turn anyone's world upside down, but for those who want to experience a classic eau de cologne this is one of the better places to start.
19th January, 2008