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  1. #1
    Theo's Avatar
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    Default Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    I'm curious to hear some feedback about the house of Guerlain with Thierry Wasser firmly at the helm. Unlike many on this site, I'm an admitted Guerlain noob. It's not the most readily available brand to find in the states. I had tried Guerlain Vetiver years ago when they used to carry it at Sephora and hated it, I found it to be perhaps the most dated fragrance I had tried up to that point and unfortunately formed the opinion that Guerlain was not a fragrance house for me.

    After reading a lot of feedback on the Guerlain Homme line a few years back, both negative and positive, I had decided to blind buy Guerlain Homme after it became heavily discounted (something I rarely do anymore) and fell in love with it. I went on to purchase GHI and L'Eau Boisee blind and love them both as well. I obtained a partial bottle of L'Homme Ideal EDT in a swap, and although I'm not usually a fan of sweet tonka type fragrances, I think this one is really great and blended very well with a great drydown.

    I now see that Wasser has been involved in around 100 fragrances during his time at Guerlain, and granted most are flankers, I still find it a strong testimonial to his passion and dedication for fragrances and Guerlain as a house. I know since inheriting the throne from Jean Paul Guerlain there are mixed reactions about Wasser's talent as a perfumer, but everything I've tried that is crafted by him has been quality to my nose. L'Eau Boisee might be one the most well blended, minimalist fragrances that I've smelled in a long time. The perfect modern office/casual fragrance IMO. Habit Rouge Dress Code, although I've yet to sample, seemed to really impress a lot of people as well about Wasser's talent as a perfumer. And while Guerlain is no doubt looking towards the future and attracting a younger demographic, they're never going to be targeting the clubbing/Invictus crowd. I still find there to be a level of sophistication in their fragrances that I don't smell in a lot of other designer fragrances. I feel like Wasser is the right nose for Guerlain at this juncture in their history but of course would be curious to hear what other Basenoter's think!

    Cheers,
    Theo
    Last edited by Theo; 4th August 2016 at 06:02 AM.

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    I also like the fragrances that were created with Wasser at the Guelain helm, but then again, I seem to like all Guerlain offerings past and present.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  3. #3

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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    I haven't tried a large range of Guerlain but own and enjoy some of the 'classics' - Derby, MdM, Jicky, HR, Vetiver as well as some of the Homme and l'Homme Ideal lines. I think Wasser has done an excellent job in diversifying into more contemporary fragrances whilst maintaining and extending a more 'niche' line-up.

    Guerlanistas expect everything to contain 'Guerlinade' and are mightily miffed if it is absent. Unfortunately they are a small fraction of the population relative to your average Joe and Guerlain (especially under LVMH) is, first and foremost, a business that relies on expanding its clientele.

    Wasser has had a hand in many modern classics and IMO has done a fine job.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Guerlain is just a fantastic house. From the old ones such as Vetiver and Habit Rouge to the newer ones like LIDGE. Such variety. The only line I don't like is l'homme ideal.

  5. #5
    Dependent Darjeeling's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    I'm not into the classic Guerlains, but I own bottles of Songe d'un Bois d'Ete and Guerlain Homme by Wasser and Songe is one of my top 5 scents.
    I can't speak for his overall output, but I think he's done some good work.
    1. No, never blind buy (I do, but do as I say, not as I do. I'm taking no responsibility for your fragrance gambling).
    2. Get them both. You're a Basenoter and you know you're going to end up purchasing them both eventually.
    3. Yes, it has been reformulated.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    He's done some terrific work, and is on record saying that some of the flankers he is required to do are irrelevant but business is business - he's a straight talker. He's also one of the few industry people (along with Frederic Malle) who made a serious effort to take on the EU about the systematic destruction of modern perfumery - not just how 'we' get pissed off at losing some of our favorite ingredients in perfumes, but also how a large number of farmers, orchardists, 'growers' are effectively being put out of business.

    I go thru a lot of his Cologne du Parfumeur, I think the 'Middle Eastern Trio' are great, Voyou is quite 'commercial' but quality (one he co-authored with JPG). The Shalimar 'Vanille Trio' are excellent, and his variation on L'Heure Bleue called L'Heure Nuit, is great (altho, to me, it should be called L'Heure d l'Apres Midi or something along those lines).
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  7. #7
    Basenotes Institution badarun's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Agree with Mr. Reasonable - Wasser is churning out some good ones, the desert trio being the highlight so far, along with Dress Code, which was a hot seller per the Guerlain boutique in Toronto. Wait to see how the older classics get revamped though...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Sorry -- off topic a bit

    Jacques Guerlain is the real genius

    Shalimar is just mind-boggling

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Wasser in Guerlain is a waste of cash for LVMH... guess they don´t care that much since the "Guerlain cosmetics" sales seem to be solid... better to focus on Dior and the new Louis Vuitton line for real perfume projects and leave the clown run his mini show for a while until a good Guerlian idea comes up in the directive board...

  10. #10

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    So far, my personal Guerlain favorites listed in the BN database as being crafted by him include, in no particular order:

    Guerlain Homme Intense, Guerlain Homme Eau Boisee, Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde, Songe d`Bois d`Ete, L`Homme Ideal Cologne

    many or all of these, as well as other of his Guerlain releases not mentioned by me (not because they are not well-made, for more either not being among the favorites yet or not tried yet) do reach, personally speaking, the levels of excellence, craftiness and sophistication typical for this historical house
    Last edited by Ken_Russell; 4th August 2016 at 04:23 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    I've discussed this before, but to sum it up, I really like what Wasser's been doing and think he's done a great job with the Guerlain Homme Line, HR L'Eau and Dress Code, Songe d'Un Bois d'Ete, and most recently the L'Homme Ideal EDP. He's also been quite impressive on the women's side. I think he maintains the unique, distinct character of Guerlain while helping to usher them into a more modern, global era.
    Currently wearing: H.M. by Hanae Mori

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Laurent Boillot is President / CEO and probably 'at the helm'. That said, Mr. Wasser evidently created La Petite Robe Noire (I've never smelled) which is frequently cited in LVMH finanicals in positive light as a prime contributor under the brand name... at least the reports I've glimpsed. I've got no insight as to Wasser's control/autonomy.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Guerlain is one of my favourit houses, and I think Wasser is the right guy for the job.

  14. #14
    Basenotes Junkie mhiregoudar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Things end
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Quote Originally Posted by DuNezDeBuzier View Post
    Mr. Wasser evidently created La Petite Robe Noire (I've never smelled) which is frequently cited in LVMH finanicals in positive light as a prime contributor under the brand name... at least the reports I've glimpsed. I've got no insight as to Wasser's control/autonomy.
    The original was by Delphine Jelk; Wasser only tweaked it for re-release.

    What you say about Wasser's autonomy is key, I think, and it's really difficult to know whom we should blame for Guerlain's race to the bottom. He's obviously under immense pressure to keep producing heavily commercial stuff that sells (or might sell), hence the stream of tooth-rottingly sweet juice that has little to do with the Guerlain of old, but at the same time among those dozens of fragrances he hasn't produced anything truly remarkable. I thought Habit Rouge Dress Code was quite good, but the rest of his output has left me unimpressed.

    Where I do think he's done well is in his attempted restoration of the Guerlain classics, which for me have improved in terms of quality even if they don't match the old stuff. He's no master nose, though, and the contrast with his immediate predecessors is striking.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    I concur wth saminlondon 's assessment. Thus far Wasser has shown a steady hand guiding the grand old ship through choppy waters with one hand still tied to his back. But the jury's still out on whether he has what it takes to take Guerlain to greater heights. I fear the decline is set to continue. We haven't seen the bottom yet.
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Quote Originally Posted by saminlondon View Post
    What you say about Wasser's autonomy is key, I think, and it's really difficult to know whom we should blame for Guerlain's race to the bottom. He's obviously under immense pressure to keep producing heavily commercial stuff that sells (or might sell), hence the stream of tooth-rottingly sweet juice that has little to do with the Guerlain of old, but at the same time among those dozens of fragrances he hasn't produced anything truly remarkable. I thought Habit Rouge Dress Code was quite good, but the rest of his output has left me unimpressed.

    Where I do think he's done well is in his attempted restoration of the Guerlain classics, which for me have improved in terms of quality even if they don't match the old stuff. He's no master nose, though, and the contrast with his immediate predecessors is striking.
    I concur.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    There's some valid criticisms here but Guerlain is still at the forefront of perfumerie and there is something for everyone in Wasser's work.
    Currently wearing: Antaeus by Chanel

  19. #19

    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Quote Originally Posted by NickZee View Post
    ... Guerlain is still at the forefront of perfumerie...
    Nope, Guerlain is heavily relying on former glories and flankers. Forefront?! Maybe even ten years ago but definitely not now.

    Quote Originally Posted by NickZee View Post
    ... and there is something for everyone in Wasser's work.
    If that was the case, I'd own at least one creation by Wasser. But I don't... and nor do I want to.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    The last good Guerlain release was Coriolan. IIRC, that was also the time when Guerlains lost (sold) their company to LVMH.
    So nothing great has come out from this house in almost 18 years.
    Now if you look 18 years before Coriolan you had Heritage, Derby, Samsara to name a few.
    As a perfumer, I like his Dali PH. I wish he was half as daring with Guerlain as he was with Dali. Could be he has no say or could be that he has nothing to say.

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie Max Magnus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Guerlain today is steered in totally different direction with new masculines (historically held pretty straight line with Jean-Paul Guerlain). All Guerlain's masculines released in Wasser time reek of 18-35 focus groups efforts.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Guerlain and the Wasser Era

    Quote Originally Posted by epapsiou View Post
    Could be he has no say or could be that he has nothing to say.
    Brilliant!

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