Jean-Paul Guerlain 2010
[arsɛn lypɛ̃ vwaju]
Family: aromatic, woody
Notes: bergamot, artemisia, coriander, lemon, cardamom, Bulgarian rose, clary sage, clove, benzoin, patchouli, labdanum, sandalwood, white musk
Clary sage, rose and cinnamon
Period: The recapitulation years

In many ways, the Arsène Lupin fragrance duo is Jean-Paul Guerlain's retrospective self-portrait. His public image is the cultivated and chivalrous gentleman but with many love affairs in his past, he has always been a lady's man. His book Parfums d'Amour explains his perfumes as chiefly rooted in his attraction to a woman and a desire to seduce her, stating in the preface that it all began with his grandfather Jacques' famous words: "My boy, never forget that you always create perfumes for the women you love, whom you admire, and with whom you live." (The plural form is most likely Jean-Paul Guerlain's own recollection.) The same book recounts how during a promotional trip to Buenos Aires (whose tango clubs inspired the 2006 perfume Nuit d'Amour), he carried an Arsène Lupin book in his pocket. "I delighted in the adventures of this character, at once roguish and courageous. I imagined him perfectly, and somewhere I felt close to him in this dual personality. I also had in me this iconoclastic and dandy edge." Back home in France, he started to build a pair of perfumes that would depict his olfactive vision of Arsène Lupin's two faces, and named them Dandy and Voyou. The latter is French for "rascal", and typical of Guerlain, the most benign sense of the word was presupposed, charming and handsome from start to finish. As we might have guessed, there's nothing "rebellious" at all about the scent of Arsène Lupin Voyou.

Both Dandy and Voyou were meant to stand out from mainstream masculine perfumery, with rare and refined ingredients like cardamom, sandalwood and balsams. But whereas Dandy was made with dry resinous notes in the transparent and rather pale style of "niche" perfumery, Voyou had the warm, rounded feel that we think of as classic Guerlain. Its main accord was made up of clary sage, Bulgarian rose and ambery sandalwood. In fact, Voyou represents the first time that Guerlain highlights Bulgarian rose in a men's scent, traditionally a feminine ingredient. Jean-Paul Guerlain's love for roses is well-known, and with Voyou he proved how well it could work on a man, by marrying it with a fresh and stimulating cologne top note. Especially clary sage, with its characteristic and potent lavender-like scent, was noticeable, but we also found artemisia, adding a bracing bitter-herbal facet. As Voyou developed, the Bulgarian rose revealed its syrupy and spicy eugenol core, which joined a beautiful, long-lasting drydown of sandalwood, benzoin with its cinnamon and caramel notes, and white musk. The inclusion of white musk, rendering a sensual, pillowy effect, was one more proof that Voyou was not your average men's fragrance. One of Guerlain's very best masculines, Arsène Lupin Voyou certainly deserves its membership of the Exclusive collections. However, it doesn't deserve the lack of public awareness that this membership unfortunately entails. Read about Arsène Lupin Dandy

For the Arsène Lupin duo, Guerlain introduced a whole new bottle design, featuring wooden frames around a glass container. The style, which was eventually extended to the entire line of Parisiens, was very contemporary, save an Art Deco imprint of the fragrance's name. Like the L'Art & la Matière bottles, placed side by side, these bottles are meant to appear like books lined up in a library. Unusually informal by Guerlain standards, the look of untreated wood nicely reflected the rustic warmth of the Voyou fragrance.

  We love: that Guerlain wants men to wear rose

  For its rose, benzoin and sandalwood

  A rose scent for men

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