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Idylle, the brand new feminine from Guerlain, is not a chypre - regardless of what Guerlain’s marketing says.
Okay. I said it.
Nonetheless it is a sweet, fruity musky rose – one that plays hard-to-get: a handwritten love letter, written on thick stationary that fades away quickly, as if written with invisible ink.
The bottle is gorgeous: a hybrid of a miniature genie’s lamp and some sort of bronze plated onion. The glossy, metallic finish (pink gold?) contrasts with the gently tinted glass bottle and rotating it in light it gives off an optical illusion…tiny, gold bubbles appear to be floating inside the bottle. Even the atomizer is strangely ‘invisible’ - only visible when you hold it up to the light. It feels expensive and luxurious in your hands – the attention to the littlest of details is evident in all of the marketing/branding.
Idylle begins with a rose note wrapped up in a varnish-like aldehydic mixture of sweet and dusty nuances. For the new few minutes the scent simultaneously gets fruitier and the florals became more sharply focused – which start to balance out the sweetness and add depth and fullness. The sweet facet is not an edible sweetness – I’m overjoyed that it avoids smelling like a dessert (or a flavorant). The fruity aspect confuses me, since the pyramid lists no fruit notes yet an acidity exists…on the edges of the rose: a hazy, stone-fruit-like juiciness mixed with a tart, berry-like smell that mixes perfectly with the rose and freesia (I smell very little lily of the valley). The mixture conjures up a very vivid fruit/floral, sweet/sour, yin/yang combination – like some futuristic, Asian, hard candy that keeps changing flavor as it dissolves in your mouth. It’s fascinating.
Nonetheless, all I kept thinking while this hummed along on my skin was, ‘So… when am I going to smell a chypre?’ As I mentioned, it doesn’t smell like a chypre. The Guerlain chypres I love (Mitsouko, Chant de Aromes, Derby) capture so well that vibrational mix of citrus, resins and oak moss – an obvious element that is absent in Idylle. Instead the musk base that the scent relies upon, supporting the florals and fruit, is missing a strength or solidity that chypres exhibit. In addition, musk heavy floral fragrances instantly smell feminine on me(and I hate using gender to describe a fragrance), but I smell Idylle and I imagine: boudoirs, lingerie, a woman at her wardrobe…the like.
Yet it still maintains a sexy, sultry aura – which is probably the image Guerlain was trying to convey, in the advertising. They succeeded! Not smutty – but a scent that draws you in flirtatiously with small, tiny details. And it lingers. Until all of a sudden, it up and disappears. When it is gone, it is totally gone. I am not sure if this is because of my musk anosmia (is there a lingering base note that I just cannot smell?) or the scent – or maybe skin chemistry. I tried spraying lightly and heavily – either way, the longevity of the scent was only about 6-7 hours. Sillage, though, is very strong. Strategically applied, this is one scent that I will enjoy smelling in the air, on the right woman.
Me, I’ll stick with my Mitsouko. :)
13th February, 2010