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This is truly a beautiful fragrance. I merely "liked" the EDT after multiple testings, but this EDP version really "wowed" me. It opens quite similar to the EDT version, just with the citrus dialed down and the cocoa notched up slightly. They also transition similarly in the first hour or so, where the patchouli kicks in a bit more, and the citrus/cocoa combo actually has a bit of freshness & "brightness" to it. Then, about 1-2 hours in is when the EDP really makes its play. It projects quite well for the first couple of hours, then settles down gradually to more of a skin scent, albeit a rich/strong one. It doesn't make a loud statement, but you also know it's there, presenting its classy, understated confidence.
The citrus and patchouli play around with the cocoa for quite a while in the middle, where you get what most people describe as the "bitter" cocoa, yet that's also what gives it the slightest bit of "brightness", freshness & masculinity. The late drydown on this it where it just blows me away though. As the patchouli & citrus fade more, the cocoa blooms and sweetens a bit (but not overly so), and just smells so natural and exquisite. I know there's often debate on whether or not this is a true gourmand or not. I'm definitely not experienced enough to make this call, but I can say that the cocoa that develops in the later phases, when it's truly more of a skin scent is in delectable, almost like a high-quality powdered hot cocoa before it gets dissolved in liquid.
It's at this point that I can easily see why many give it the gourmand designation. In the early to middle stages, however, it's very likely only semi-gourmand, as the citrus, patchouli & woods, balance out the cocoa much more, and present a well-blended masculine fragrance that oozes class & quality. Longevity is great on this one. It projects quite strongly for the first couple of hours, and then gradually settles in as a stronger skin scent, often for 24 hours or more. To me, this is truly a masterpiece by Guerlain, and a fragrance well worth seeking out to at least sample for any fragrance enthusiast.
25th November, 2012