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  1. #1
    Pollux's Avatar
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    Default Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complexity?

    I have the feeling Guerlain exemplifies the best standard of what is known as "French perfume style": there is complexity in all the scents made by them that I could not find in fragances blended by other houses of the same origin.

    I would like to know if this complexity can be found in fragances made by other traditional perfume houses, like Caron, Galimard, Molinard, Fragonard, Piver and other less known traditional French houses. To the extent of my knowledge, I find Pour Un Homme and Zizanie quite fine scents, but not as good as the ones I own made by Guerlain - Vetiver, L'Instant, Heritage, Habit Rouge, Coriolan, Shalimar and Mitsouko. Based in comments, Habanita might be a choice in these terms. What about Rafale and Madrigal... do any of you have any comments about these ones? Or any other suggestion?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I find Amouage Gold and Ubar to be very old school French.

  3. #3
    zztopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Is it still 1985? No? I thought so.

    Guerlain has fallen far from its lofty heights - its now a commercial frag-popping factory with an occasional good composition (despite Theirry Wasseur's best attempts...) slipping out from the labs, but still barely able to nibble at the feet of the fast reformulated Guerlain classics of yore that the house still pushes to good sentimental effect.

    If you are talking about the grand, expansive, loud 'french' style of fragrances then you may have missed the Amouage/ Montale/Serge Lutens revolution (ofcourse not all of their offerings are uniformly good). Try some of them and see which fits you best.
    -

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    Guerlain has fallen far from its lofty heights - its now a commercial frag-popping factory with an occasional good composition (despite Theirry Wasseur's best attempts...) slipping out from the labs, but still barely able to nibble at the feet of the fast reformulated Guerlain classics of yore that the house still pushes to good sentimental effect.
    ZZ, you are really BRUTAL!!!!!!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I continue to think a lot of the Parfumerie Generale fragrances i've used are very oldskool french. I'm probably the only one who feels so, too.


    PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather




  6. #6

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Side rant - I was just saying to a Guerlain SA, what I think about when I think of their frags (of old anyway) is that I can RESPECT them even if I don't like them. To highlight one word you used "Complex", I think is a good term. I found many of Guerlain's frags are composed in a way that makes me have to think about them. They're harmonies of unexpected combination and even if I don't actually care for the result, I still respect it. Plus, it's still "reachable" for most of the masses both in terms of what the smell is and their prices.
    Last edited by Master-Classter; 3rd February 2010 at 05:43 AM.
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  7. #7

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp View Post
    Is it still 1985? No? I thought so.

    Guerlain has fallen far from its lofty heights - its now a commercial frag-popping factory with an occasional good composition (despite Theirry Wasseur's best attempts...) slipping out from the labs, but still barely able to nibble at the feet of the fast reformulated Guerlain classics of yore that the house still pushes to good sentimental effect.

    If you are talking about the grand, expansive, loud 'french' style of fragrances then you may have missed the Amouage/ Montale/Serge Lutens revolution (ofcourse not all of their offerings are uniformly good). Try some of them and see which fits you best.
    +1.

    If you combined the best of Lutens and Malle it would likely cover the full arc of French fragrance sense and sensibility, from full-bodied eaux de colognes to the richest and most unapologetic orientals. Guerlain R.I.P.
    "When he shook hands with me my nostrils were assailed by all the perfumes of Arabia."
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  8. #8
    Pollux's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Thus, according to your posts, that leaves Amouage, Malle, Lutens, Montale as valid alternatives to Guerlain. I can attest as to Amouage, I liked Gold Men, compared to the Guerlains mentioned, it shares a traditional French character that has been aestheticaly islamized, resulting in a very curious bold blend in its originality - after all much of the patisserie as well as fragance making is taken from the Middle East and the Magreb.

    Regarding the demiss of present-day Guerlain, it would seem Guerlain Homme is a good proof to it - I am curious as per the Intense version, unavailable down here. Reformulations due to LVMHS corporate policies and / or IFRA's guidelines? Luckily, most of the bottles I've got date from the time Guerlain was owned by the Guerlain family. That might be the reason for my reaction as well as observations.

    Whatosoever, it would seem the *ards (Moli, Gali and Frago) are not as good, judging from the few comments and reviews most of their scents get. Caron? Judging from reviews, Tabac Blond would be an option.

    Well, at least, there are alternatives when it comes to dealing with the watery emasculated templates so in vogue nowadays. Hope is not lost, at least, they might me references for better styles to come.

    Edit: I forgot to include Parfumerie Generale among the ones mentioned.
    Last edited by Pollux; 3rd February 2010 at 06:26 AM.

  9. #9
    DustB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I've always thought Caron was as good myself. I don't think Molinard or Fragonard, although very good, are as good as Guerlain and Caron. No body stick me for my praise of these -ard houses (I don't know Galimard), because I have praised their products on this forum, but I don't think they're as much of a smell/imagination experience/journey, Pollux. So I think you're right when from the comments on the thread you conclude that they're not thought of as highly. Their good I believe, but not as good as Guerlain and Caron.
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I also think Chanel keeps the Gallic flame ablaze!

  11. #11
    DustB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggles View Post
    I also think Chanel keeps the Gallic flame ablaze!
    I dunno. I've not thought much of anything Platinum Egoiste and after. Maybe I just don't get the vision they've got for what a person of our times should smell like. I find Sycomore as heartless and lost as Platinum, for example.

    I'd be tempted to give a nod to Dior myself, although many recent releases tend to dreadful also. Fahrenheit Absolute, though, is fantastic to put into the mix of our times, and Dior Homme carved out new territory. Also I'm in love with the not so long ago re-releases of Miss Dior, Diorella, Diorissimo, and Diorama. Great fun stuff.

    I also don't instinctively class Chanel and Dior with Guerlain and Caron because the latter two make almost only products for the nose (make up too in the case of Guerlain). Chanel and Dior sort of don't fit with the purist houses.
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I find that Serge Lutens Royale Shiseido House is indeed up to date and apprises the guerlain house within realms of competition. Serge Lutens and Christopher Sheldrake put concentrated heart and soul amongst their works. Serge's hacienda of
    Marrakech has evoked the most illuminating inventions that he has to offer, he discovered the likes of Ambre Sultan, The Serge Lutens best seller. It was amongst these ruins and vicinities that lied The tree that would create history, and considering the fact that it was a scarce entity to look amongst, serge knew what it held and he acted on it! He is innovative and an epoch to fashion..God can only create a man like this and it has me to believe.

    He once quoted "When I find something that is more superior to perfumery, I'll take it up in a heartbeat" thus, he also quoted -> [sic] "I think hell, for me, would be a world without change, change is key to a life full of integrity!" Well with those two quotes in hand I'd say that Serge has been consistantly looking in other aspects of life though it's just Perfumery has infinite additives...It's just impossible to stop learning..It's everlasting! He's willing to change...it's just that he hasn't found a replacement yet! :P
    Last edited by Balavassassin; 3rd February 2010 at 06:53 AM.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    from the guerlain perspective (smell, presentation, bottle, timeless accords); Amouage does fit in the bill and so does Malle & Serge Lutens (not exactly from the bottle perspective).

  14. #14
    DustB's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Oh, and Pollux, I forgot to mention Madrigal and Rafale which you asked about.

    They're good in a foolproof, reliable gift, good to make dad and uncle happy way, but they're not on par with Habit Rouge, L'Instant PH, Vetiver. They're neat but they don't make a mark in your nose in the powerful way. (Madrigal is from the 20s or 30s, I think, and Rafale from the 70s. Neat.)
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I love Guerlain. All the houses are reformulating; and Guerlain and Chanel are doing a much better job than many. Some of Guerlain's newest creations are actually quite good as well, not only their classics. I personally don't agree with the "RIP Guerlain" sentiment.

    Having said that, I think that Malle, Lutens, Amouage and to a certain extent Goutal are all carrying forward that same tradition. I think de Nicolai is an exceptional outgrowth of the French perfume tradition and is very underrated. Her packaging does not help her cause, but it does keep the prices down while she is able to keep the quality of her fragrances up.
    Last edited by mrclmind; 3rd February 2010 at 07:07 AM.

  16. #16

    narcus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex




    Caron
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Oh yes, of course Caron, Narcus. The mens side of the line especially. The women's side has fared pretty poorly on reformulation as compared to Guerlain and Chanel as far as I'm concerned.
    Last edited by mrclmind; 3rd February 2010 at 07:14 AM.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Amit, you should get paid for how much you promote Parfumurie Generale.

    Is there no love for L'Artisan? I find Dzing! to have a very similar dry down to Jicky EdP (however I've not sampled side by side.) I also think they have a broad range even though some think they are too watery.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Quote Originally Posted by runstile View Post
    Amit, you should get paid for how much you promote Parfumurie Generale.
    I probably already do get paid haha.
    Last edited by Amit; 3rd February 2010 at 08:23 AM. Reason: Fixed.


    PVC and Leather. A Chain and a feather




  20. #20

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Oohh, Haha, L'artisan is an amazing house aswell..though Serge Lutens has me at a tangent of lust! I find it's more intimate with the Serge Lutens house, like a personal relationship..though whereas with L'artisan's house it feels professional...mildly cordiall..yet mostly professional, I don't know...it's weird though I do get a inclined feeling once presented with the juice of a fine made serge lutens bottle. Which so far, is all!

    - Balava
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I suppose it's just a matter of taste. I like several of the l'Artisan fragrances, but the line as a whole is not really my favorite.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    If any house deserves ZZ's thrashing it is Caron. WTF? They destroyed most everything they had. Guerlain is still tops! Insolence is pure genius! Guerlain Homme Intense is very, very good.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Haha. True that...I find Carons potential is ever-so-slipping atm, Though it's still a milestone! They'll thus re-invigorate their name!
    - Balava
    Last edited by Balavassassin; 3rd February 2010 at 07:45 AM.
    - I Want To Appreciate You With My Eyes Closed-

    - Anonymous

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  24. #24

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Another vote for Chanel, plus Givenchy, YSL, Hermes, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels and Rochas- as designer houses
    Serge Lutens, Roger & Gallet, Rance 1795- as niche houses

    Up to different extents, with highly variable degrees of success and through different means, they are all some of the names who manage, more or less, to keep a more significant proportion of the original French style alive and give in much less to reformulations, generic youth culture, postmodern globalized economy and its profit margins (e.g. mass-market production mostly at the expense of quality)
    Last edited by Ken_Russell; 3rd February 2010 at 01:04 PM.
    Currently wearing: Khaliji by Al Rehab

  25. #25

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    I am finding whispered echoes of old-world Guerlain in the offerings of Mona di Orio.
    Chamarré and Nuit Noire have this beautiful appeal to me.
    Last edited by Sorcery of Scent; 3rd February 2010 at 01:21 PM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Serge Lutens comes closest, IMHO, but Serge really needs to pull up his socks these days...

  27. #27

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Patricia de Nicolai, who is after all a Guerlain herself, MUST be mentioned here.
    The golden age of Guerlain is clearly over. A LVMH brand has other priorities than making the best possible perfume, which I believe the Guerlain family was truly commited to, without losing sight of economic necessities. That doesn't mean Guerlain is now all bad, but brands of this size are no longer the place to look for the ultimate in craft and aesthetics, I believe, just as you very rarely find the really good music in the Top 40 these days, or even signed to Majors.
    Last edited by the_good_life; 3rd February 2010 at 01:54 PM.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Quote Originally Posted by the_good_life View Post
    Patricia de Nicolai, who is after all a Guerlain herself, MUST be mentioned here.
    The golden age of Guerlain is clearly over. A LVMH brand has other priorities than making the best possible perfume, which I believe the Guerlain family was truly commited to, without losing sight of economic necessities. That doesn't mean Guerlain is now all bad, but brands of this size are no longer the place to look for the ultimate in craft and aesthetics, I believe, just as you very rarely find the really good music in the Top 40 these days, or even signed to Majors.
    Oh, most definitely! However, the only reason why I (personally) never considered Patricia de Nicolai is largely due to the fact that I have yet to find a perfume FBW. Most of her creations are extremely good but I'm always left wanting something more. Subjective, yes, but I definitely know I'm not the only one who has the same sentiments about this house.
    Last edited by Trebor; 3rd February 2010 at 02:41 PM.

  29. #29

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier and Patricia de Nicolai for sure. When it comes to individual fragrances, few can match Eau d'Hermes - it's incredibly french.

    Caron is nowadays very poor, I also have no interest whatsoever in L'Artisans new releases. It has been downhill after Jean Laporte left them to establish MPG. They are weak and lacking depth. Usually there is a good idea for a scent, which just is not enough when the execution is so mediocre.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Are there any other French perfume house catching up to Guerlain's excelence in terms of complex

    Quote Originally Posted by Balavassassin View Post
    Haha. True that...I find Carons potential is ever-so-slipping atm, Though it's still a milestone! They'll thus re-invigorate their name!
    - Balava
    I very much doubt it unless they find someone to replace Richard Fraysse

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