Family: floral, ambery
Notes: peach, rose, violet, jasmine, tuberose, cinnamon, amber, vanilla, orris, musk, sandalwood, oakmoss
Period: The searching years
Guet-Apens / Attrape Cœur collection
If you can imagine an amalgam of Nahéma's fiery fruity rose and L'Heure Bleue's enchanting bouquet of lipstick violet, musk and amber, you get the feel of Attrape Cœur. Behind this touching name ("heart catcher") you find one of Guerlain's most lavish perfumes — and one that has gained quite a cult status. Originally it was conceived as a 1999 Christmas limited edition called Guet-Apens ("ambush") by the talented Mathilde Laurent, at that time an apprentice under Jean-Paul Guerlain's supervision. For a short period thereafter, it was made part of an exclusive perfume duo and was renamed "Fragrance Collection No.68". Finally it was featured as the centerpiece for the opening of the renovated Maison Guerlain and presented to media and industry people in a quadrilobe bottle labeled simply "Maison Guerlain 7 Juillet 2005". Mathilde Laurent had by then left for Cartier, and it probably felt painful that this beautiful fragrance, Guerlain's best in many years, was signed by an outside perfumer, because it was now officially ascribed to Jean-Paul Guerlain.
For the commercial reissue in the new Parisienne line, it took the poetic name of J.D. Salinger's 1951 cult-novel "The Catcher in the Rye", titled "L'Attrape-Cœurs" in the French translation. Salinger tells the story about a young man who, faced with a hostile adult world, develops a fantasy of catching children to save them from falling into alienation, phoniness and superficiality. This could be the aim of this perfume too: to catch us with its scent and bring us back to our senses. Guet-Apens was indeed the antidote to the superficial. "An essay on amber," as perfume reviewer Luca Turin marveled, it had an intoxicating, luscious aroma of spiced Swedish glögg, burning hot and prepared with all sorts of luxurious ingredients: a huge rose and jasmine heart supported by peach, violet, cinnamon, orris, amber and vanilla, and lots of warm musk and sandalwood, the latter as fine as that of vintage Jicky. Any flimsy sweetness from amber and fruit was contrasted by oakmoss, dark and leathery. We must go back to the vintage catalogue to find another Guerlain with a similar richness and beauty. For unknown reasons, Attrape Cœur was taken out of production after 2009, to many a Guerlain lover's regret. The scent briefly reappeared in 2014 as a Harrods exclusive under the name Royal Extract in a 125 ml bee bottle with a hunter green ribbon at its neck.
Bottle. Upon release, Guet-Apens was presented in a faithful copy of the cobalt blue lantern bottle from 1936, also known as "the new Jicky bottle". were held in "bondage" by a gold cord and blue ribbon, alluding to the ambush theme. When reissued as Attrape Cœur, it came in the Parisienne bee bottle.
EdP, EdT. The fragrance was born as Eau de Parfum. In 2007, a limited Eau de Toilette version with a slightly more bright but surprisingly rich feel was introduced into French duty-free airport shops, misleadingly labeled as "Vol de Nuit Evasion" and further confusingly in the L'Heure Bleue bottle.
Reformulation. The scent of Attrape Cœur seemed identical to Guet-Apens. If anything, it felt a bit sparkling up top, which was probably only due to the freshness of the juice. In 2008, treemoss replaced oakmoss on the list of allergens printed on the box, but none of the relative harshness that treemoss sometimes yields was detectable here. Either its concentration was low, or the intensity of the other ingredients overshadowed it. As for the latest reissue as Royal Extract, the overall concentration seemed to be lowered, which is a common way of making a fragrance comply with IFRA safety norms.
We love: that this fragrance has been reissued so many times
To make winter warm
If you're a real Guerlain man, this one is mandatory
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