Merci mille fois for sharing your fragrant journey with us, cher Larimar.
My first stop was Guerlain, La Maison at the Champs Elysees. I have to say that the impression I got from Guerlain was that 'there are the classic, but they are more of a burden than a rich legacy to be proud of'. They are trying so hard to be hip and modern and it's as if they tried to squeeze the trashy world into the rich and esteemed La Maison. Incoherent is the word I would use. Guerlain seems to push their La Robe Noire extremely and it was dedicated an 'exhibition' everywhere in the Maison. This prevented me to be able to smell the historical fragrances of Ode and Kadine from the scented chambers/drawers, because there was that La Robe Noir girl on shiny paper hanging in front of it. I did my best to express my contempt and ridicule by gesture. The fragrance has a Chergui appeal to me, but slightly trashy. All new Wasser creations suffer from a diabetes type II sweetness kind of problem. Another sign of internal ranking at Guerlain was that Sous le Vent and Vega were stashed awayin a board and only pulled out on demand, however it was unclear at first whether there was a tester for Vega or not. The second SA (more competent than the first, who obviously tried to pass me on, which was fine with me) introduced Mon Precieux Nectar to me and, if my French did not lose me, she said there was a last bottle. It's a sweet nice floral thing (tuberose for sure), which was very faint on me. So, nothing I got excited about. Habit Rouge L'Extrait still does not do much for me (again there seemed to be -currently, she said- only one bottle left - oh wow, this would have been my lucky day to snatch two last bottles at once or was it just to make me feel this way? ). Chamade Homme was terrible on paper, so I moved on. The current L'Heure Bleue EdP clearly smelled more synthetic to me than my vintage (oh bless my back-up stock) and the current Nahema extrait would make a great masculine, too. Samsara extrait smelled very nice to me, but I am not well familiar with it in neither (vintage) form etc. Rose Barbare is a great perfume, but I madly fell in love with Vega, which I bought on the spot.
Second stop - Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier: A very polite, well informed woman with class welcomed me. She later gave me her card, which showed that she was the Directrice de la Boutique. A nice noble boutique that pleases the eye. I tried Iris Bleu Gris on my skin, but unfortunately - after a great opening - it very soon dried down to a sweetish very nice musky base only. I had high hopes for this, but I would have wanted more iris dominance all through its development. Jardin du Nil smells the same like my vintage bottle to me, which is good to know. Pour le Jeune Homme was a wonderful re-discovery for me. I found MY Eau de Cologne. Neroli is not listed specifically, but to me it opens as a terrific aromatic neroli, which lasts and lasts. I can't see why people seem to have longevity issues. I was not terribly smitten by the new alternative version to Jeune Homme, which features a very prominent ginger note. I felt it was a bit overboarding. I sniffed the Jasmin, which is very nice as it is nicely balanced - not too sweet and not too overwhelming. Truly lovely! I was also introduced, which seems to be their latest creation according to my internet research now, to Ambre Doré. It is an amber with a not overboarding oudh note. If a strong Ambre Sultan (it seems to have gotten slightly weaker and weaker over the years) is what you fancy or crave - do check it out! Is this what the legendary Soir d'Orient smelled like? I have no idea, but this is very promising, strong AND good.
Third stop - Caron, Boutique Montaigne: I did not introduce myself, so I was a normal tourist and not the regular customer the women in the boutique would probably recall from the telephone conversations. The directrice of the boutique seems to be Mme. Naima Al-Saadi, who wore a lot of Caron powder and was dressed stylishly according to the glamor of the Caron boutique. The Baccharat fountains are magnificent, but smaller than I thought they were, also some seemed older than others. I noticed Pois de Senteur was obviously stored in its older traditional fountain with its name on. If it's any of any indication, I was surprised and a bit alarmed to realize that Acaciosa and Alpona did not have their own fountain anymore (with the introduction of the new two ones - Delire de Rose and Accord 119?). So, I had to specifically ask for Acaciosa. Everything smelled 'correct' and as expected to me ( I sniffed Tabac Blond, En Avion, Acaciosa, Pois de Senteur, Poivre...). I found it 'interesting' that Tabac Blond EdP was placed opposite the fountains where the masculines were. I also did a side-by-side comparison (on paper) of the current Narcisse Noir Extrait and EdT. The extrait has a lot more incense going on rendering the EdT much prettier and more 'feminine'. To be honest, I think the current extrait smells the same like my slightly vintage extrait in the black lacquered boxed deluxe edition. That's good news I thought. So, all seems well at Caron, but I am alarmed about Acaciosa being removed from the first row. I was not paid full attention being considered a tourist only probably, so I could easily thank the ladies and sneak out without feeling bad for not buying anything (my budget would have suffered even more then).
Merci mille fois for sharing your fragrant journey with us, cher Larimar.
Wonderful. More, more, more please.
I remember reading that Alpona and Acaciosa were being discontinued.
Thank you for this exquisite Review Larimar, Vega is indeed a work of art, enjoy it in good health.
Small question, are you still in love with that Animalic Beast Amouage Lyric Woman?;-) Take care mate!
Very nice report Larimar, thanks. While I'm terribly saddened about what's happening at Guerlain, at the same time I can't say I'm surprised
I've heard the alternative version to Jeune Homme is completely different from the regular, is it true or it's just enriched with some ginger?
Thanks all for your comments!
alfarom, I will think about adding pics to the thread here later.... it's all a mess right now, you impatient lot!
My understanding is that the formula was the same for the Jeune Homme and that is also what the directrice of the boutique told me. I found the ginger overboarding, but then, I am not too fond of ginger as a perfume note. Honestly, I found the old Jeune Homme lasted longer on my skin. Go figure!
Hedonist, I always espect you to drink the best - so, it is either Blue Mountains espresso or Kazaar! Do not disappoint me!
donna, thanks. Where did you read it? It's sad to hear that Acaciosa is next. My dilemma is that I am currently not in the mood for it and I already own Pois de Senteur, which is not unrelated IMO. They even shared the original design and bottle.
Last edited by shadesofbleu; 9th April 2012 at 02:57 PM. Reason: threads merged
Thanks Bono! Sure, I will never be without Lyric Woman. I absolutely adore the darkness of the extrait. It's hauntingly beautiful on a sultry summer night outside, but you know that.
Great stories, though sad about Guerlain.
When she said that this was the last bottle of Mon Precieux Nectar, did she mean in the 1 litre fountain form? Because I had the impression that Mon Precieux Nectar was "going public", in a smaller bottle. I am in on a split of it, from someone who bought several 225 ml bottles, so it seems Guerlain has given up the idea of selling it as a super exclusive fountain.
Sorry furrypine! I did not pay attention or ask specifically, but obviously there may be one bottle of old style (could it be that it had a bulb atomizer?) left.
Sounds like the LPRB launch (which Guerlain has obviously invested A LOT of money into) is still very front of mind over there - it all sounds like a bit of a deflating experience. I guess you didn't get much opportunity to quiz them about Sous le Vent's future etc. - although I'm sure they would have been able to dig out 'one last bottle' for you if you had asked
From the sound of this visit I think I am now even more appreciative of our two HK Guerlain counters - everything is there and easy to try, the only thing missing is Habit Rouge Extrait, which I may put in a request for at some point.
It was someone on another board who spoke to Diane from the NYC boutique last year. Diane mentioned this to them as they asked about sampling Acaciosa. I have a sample from the early 00s but it was Alpona I was really upset about. Hoarding my 50mls plus 15mls.
My fourth stop was Serge Lutens at the Palais Royal. What a fantastic presentation and set-up! It's all black and violet as if you were walking in one of the special edition bell jars. The staff was dressed in black and the lights were dimmed and only the desks with the flacons were under the spotlight. The new De Profundis smelled very interesting and promising on paper, but soon rather dull and faint (all new Serges do on my skin - dillution I figure...) on my skin. The fresh initial crysantheme (I figure) opening sparkle soon disappears. I smelled several bell jar Exclusives on paper - Mandarine-Mandarin, which I only know from a wax sample, seemed very woody to me. El Attarine is the curry/immortelle thing - an impossible smell for me! I tested Sarrasins on skin and was relieved to find it unchanged to my bell jar purchased almost two years ago. Fumerie Turque, Rose de Nuit... smelled the same to me on paper. I was gifted a complete set of wax samples for goodbye! A must visit for the experience alone, if you are in Paris, folks!
Guerlain did force the LPNR on me as well. Of course they dropped samples of it in my bag. You can get it in New York for heavens sake.
Mon Precieux Nectar is coming, In April (?)
I preordered one from Guerlain in Las Vegas, they told me they had about 9 bottles left for preorder.
here it is at BG:
Yay Larimar! More stories!
mr. reasonable, my experience is that if you want accurate and politically correct (you can't have one without the other, it seems ) from Guerlain you have to email Isabelle Rousseau and not Guerlain SAs.
Fleurine, Guerlain obviously did not dare to drop The Robe Noir thing in my bag. I'm not saying it is bad, but just not special or original... AND too sweet. Maybe in five years, Guerlain will look like a pink candy store, but if that's what women are asking for... seducing the candyman, eh?
My fifth and last stop was the Maison Francis Kurkdjian. A nice little store in a quiet street off Rue Rivoli. I have a soft spot for Francis Kurkdjian's fragrances and his idea of naughtiness (to my perception) packed into his creations. I am familiar with most of his creations, but was eager to try the new Elixir (Extrait concentration at 30 %) of Lumiere Noire Femme. As expected with this high concentration of perfume oils, this varies on skin. On me it was (as usual) not very sweet, 'fresh' with a wind chill (narcissus) with a lovely winey rose and no overtly dominant patchouli. I bought the Elixirs de Lumiere Noire Femme, which come in 4 times 5 ml roll on bottles. The SA, a very competent and charming young woman, said that it was originally a Catherine Deneuve bespoke perfume (the Lumiere Noire Femme in general, I mean), but since Mme. Deneuve was friends with Mon. Kurkdjian, she granted her permission to sell it to the public. The new Oudh has elemi oil in the mix and I could clearly detect it (as I am familiar with the essential oil). It's not a smell I am very fond of. It seems apt to me that it was used for Egyptian mummies somehow. I found the base of Oudh very nice, but the journey is not for me. It's a bit like a transition from Eastern style oudh perfumery to western French perfumery. Nicely done!
As a final goodie, the SA let me smell a special creation Francis Kurkdjian did for Chateau Versailles to re-create the scent of Marie Antoinette's skin. It was based on natural oils and ingredients only, so very oily. It kept my nose busy for several minutes in order to come up with
the association I could not name initially. First, I felt there could be some lilies in it, but finally it came to my head that it must contain significant amounts of narcissus as it reminded me of a softened, less edgy, floral-only Vol de Nuit. The SA approved whether it was for politeness only or from experience I can't tell. The drydown had considerable amounts of very exquisite orris in it. The SA said at the beginning that it was to contain rose, but she could not detect it specifically and neither could I.
Truly a great experience to smell this. I am so glad I squeezed in a visit to Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
That's it, folks! End of stories
Love it, can't get enough of it. Huge thanks.
Nice you came back.
Great reports , loved reading them , thank you .... love to see your pics
Bravo, Larimar !
Thank you for posting about your visits, sniffs, and impressions -- these are wonderful reports for those of us who cannot travel to Paris!
Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.
Thank you, Larimar, for the detailed report. It's nice to have impressions of your perfumed travels. I can see the shops in my mind's eye!
"...her fragrance all in my keeping; softly she comes in the night." Lyrics, Gordon Lightfoot, "Softly."
Fab report, Larimar- thanks so very much !
Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
Nice reports, Larimar! Thanks for posting. I've been to the 68 shop, but didn't get to spend enough time there. I was very surprised that they didn't have SAs that are more comfortable speaking English. I speak enough perfume French to make it work. I echo the sentiments of the others - it's a damn shame what's happening with this house.
I agree - the SL shop is not to be missed. It feels like walking into church every time I go in there - so dark and quiet, tucked away inside the Palais Royale. The SAs are as serious as nuns. Did they let you try things on skin? They have all those little blotters out - I never thought to ask to dab something on.
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I need to make a cup of tea and curl up with this thread. Mille grazie, Larimar!
What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!
Thank you all for your feedback!
Sure, rubegon, the Lutens nun dips a little blotter into the bell jar and wipes the jus on your wrist. She can do that for you.
*Lutens nun* - So true ! That's made my day
.... and I'm a non-believer! Ooops
Thank you for the great reports, Larimar! I enjoyed reading them a lot. I'm itching more and more to go to Paris and visit all the fragrance shrines. What a great pitty about Guerlain! Though, I'm not surprised either, seeing the direction they took during the last years.