This website is about a man's admiration for the famous French
perfume house of Guerlain. Calling all honey bees and Guerlainophiles!
This website is about a man's admiration for the famous French perfume house of Guerlain. Calling all honey bees and Guerlainophiles!
Jean-Paul Guerlain excl. the Guerlinade
Will Guerlain customers get confused when My Exclusive Collection releases new fragrances by Jean-Paul Guerlain?
"Jean-Paul Guerlain is an artist, his name belongs to him, and he will therefore sign his creations and make his name appear on the products. LVMH is well aware of the existence of our company and Jean-Paul Guerlain's collaboration with My Exclusive Collection," says Stéphane Laffont-Reveilhac, CEO of the new brand. "In any case, we do not compete with them. We are a small organization that doesn't constitute any threat to LVMH."
Laffont-Reveilhac emphasizes that Jean-Paul Guerlain's new scents will not resemble anything he has made before. "He hasn't used the famous Guerlinade and wanted to start with something completely new to make these fragrances, also to show that he's still capable of taking the world of cosmetics by surprise." According to Laffont-Reveilhac, 80-year-old Jean-Paul Guerlain has composed 45 new scents in just 18 months — an impressive creativity, to say the least, and vastly more than when he worked at Guerlain, where he created one perfume approximately every four years. By comparison, Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk jointly make ten new fragrances per year. Read more
Jean-Paul Guerlain's new fragrance brand
Jean-Paul Guerlain's much-anticipated fragrance line, My Exclusive Collection, was revealed recently at a soirée at Les Salons de l'Hôtel de France opposite the Versailles castle. Here, guests were invited to discover five new Jean-Paul Guerlain fragrances. "We have a close partnership with Jean-Paul Guerlain, who has created around thirty fragrances for us. He's still just as enthusiastic and creative and capable of doing exceptional things," says Stéphane Laffont-Reveilhac, founder of My Exclusive Collection.
“The fragrances are going to be released towards the end of 2017,” Laffont-Reveilhac adds. “It’s a modern collection, destined for the Middle Eastern market, but the scents are also quite classic, quite Guerlain, as we know it from Jean-Paul's creations.” According to Laffont-Reveilhac, the scents cover a wide olfactory spectrum that has the potential of reaching an international audience. "M. Guerlain has travelled a lot during his career, so he knows precisely the different tastes of various countries, and I think we have a palette that is able to attract very different cultures."
The vision of Laffont-Reveilhac has been to create a new universe around Jean-Paul Guerlain, helped by a group of young talents. “We want to make a difference. We want to be part of French haute parfumerie, with natural raw materials, and to have M. Guerlain as the creator is really extraordinary.” Read more See My Exclusive Collection
At Guerlain, 2017 is the Year of the Woman, as communicated by Angelina Jolie and the PR for the fragrance Mon Guerlain. Now, 66-year-old exiled Burundian Princess Esther Kamatari, who was named ambassador for the brand in 2015, joins in the campaign, saying in an interview that she's "proud to embody a symbol for the new generation of African women." Like Angelina Jolie, Kamatari is known for her humanitarian work.
In the interview, Kamatari makes a direct comment on Jean-Paul Guerlain's racist remark made on French television in 2010: "This M. Guerlain spoke on his own behalf. At that time, the Guerlain house was already bought by LVMH and was no longer linked to its founder," she says.
Kamatari emphasizes that by asking her to represent the brand, Guerlain wasn't just attempting to wipe the slate clean, but wanted a brand ambassador who could speak to all of the world's "African beauties". The interview with Kamatari was published the day after the release party for Jean-Paul Guerlain's new fragrance brand, My Exclusive Collection. Read interview
L'Homme Idéal Sport
This spring, Guerlain launches a Sport version of L'Homme Idéal. It's described as a mix of fresh spices, lemon, bergamot, almond, aromatic and aquatic notes, neroli, green apple, patchouli, vetiver, and coumarin. As such, it represents Guerlain's first use of aquatic notes, which gained popularity in the 1990s. L'Homme Idéal Sport is the fourth Guerlain fragrance officially attributed to both Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk.
For this fourth member of the L'Homme Idéal family, the bottle comes with a marine blue colour scheme. Image from uptodaete.com Read more about L'Homme Idéal
Muguet 2017 in Guerlain's Eau de Rituel spray bottle
This year’s edition of Guerlain's Muguet recycles the frosted bee spray bottle known from Les Eaux de Rituel, decorated with an embroidered silk bow by Atelier Bizet and faux lilies of the valley by Maison Legeron. This bottle, a frosted Aqua Allegoria bottle without the honeycomb mesh, is Guerlain’s most plain-looking presentation. Les Eaux de Rituel correspondingly have the lowest retail price of Guerlain’s entire fragrance catalogue, namely 81 € for 125 ml. Muguet is priced at 430 € for 125 ml EdT.
Since last year, Guerlain's Muguet features a new fragrance formula by Thierry Wasser, at once greener and creamier than Jean-Paul Guerlain's version from 1998. See all of Guerlain's Muguet bottles since 1998
Thierry Wasser: "Angelina Jolie was never in my mind"
In a recent interview during his promotional tour for Mon Guerlain, Thierry Wasser explains that he's always three years ahead of time when creating perfumes that are scheduled for launch, and that when he began working on the Mon Guerlain accord, what he had in mind was the forthcoming 190th anniversary of Guerlain. "My idea was to celebrate 190 years of dedication to beauty," he says.
He felt inspired by the brand's historic tradition of paying tribute to a woman, like the French Empress Eugénie, Sarah Bernhardt, Josephine Baker, and Natalia Vodianova. He imagined a Guerlain portrait of women in the 21st century, who since 1828 have had to fight for independence and equal rights in several domains. During his travels to search for raw materials in Africa, Asia and India, he has observed that women play a crucial role in society. "I decided it would be a good omen to create a portrait of women, not a portrait of one woman, but a portrait of all women." To him, each of the main ingredients of Mon Guerlain represents an aspect of the importance of femininity: lavender (truth, spontaneity, justice, simplicity), jasmine (passion), sandalwood (resilience, power), and vanilla (motherly love).
Thierry Wasser emphasizes that he knew nothing about the project with Angelina Jolie while creating the perfume, and that Jolie hasn't had anything to do with the inspiration for the scent, which was already completed when she came into the picture. "Angelina Jolie was never in my mind or anywhere else, but our president, Laurent Boillot, absolutely wanted to collaborate with Angelina Jolie. He went to meet her in December 2015 while she was directing the film that has been released a few days ago in Cambodia. I didn’t know anything about it, nothing at all. State secret. And when he came back, she said yes. The story, the concept, and the fragrance had been presented to Mrs. Jolie, and she liked what I had made."
This revelation contradicts the brand's official PR, which promotes the scent as "a tribute to today’s femininity — a strong, free and sensual femininity, as inspired by Angelina Jolie."
Mon Guerlain is a manifesto to the world — more than 100 Guerlain boutiques to open up worldwide
In a recent interview, Guerlain's CEO, Laurent Boillot, announces what is the most radical change within the brand’s soul since the LVMH takeover in 1994, saying that the launch of Mon Guerlain marks "a new phase in the development of the house".
"La Petite Robe Noire was a revival, and Mon Guerlain is a manifesto to the world," Boillot says. "With Mon Guerlain, it's an opportunity to show the know-how of French haute parfumerie to the entire world." He explains that it took 300 trials to arrive at the formula, after which the fragrance was tested with customers at Guerlain boutiques. (Editor’s note: at that time, the scent was called Mon Exclusif.)
“We chose this fragrance, because it was very well received,” says Boillot, and Guerlain then developed the ideas for the bottle and the marketing campaign. “After five years without a celebrity face, we have surprised the luxury industry by choosing someone who has rejected to be the face of many houses before signing with Guerlain.”
"We're fighting against the big houses with the same weapons, and we sometimes use the cinema term 'blockbuster'. Mon Guerlain is certainly designed as a blockbuster. Then we'll see how it turns out."
Boillot says that for operational and strategic reasons, China and the US will get Mon Guerlain later than the rest of the world.
He also reveals that the brand is opening up exclusive Guerlain Parfumeur boutiques in major cities around the world, the first one being in Brussels in May. In 2017 alone, six new Guerlain boutiques will see the light, after which 100 new boutiques will be opened over a ten-year period. See interview
La Cuvée Secrète
Guerlain has introduced La Cuvée Secrète, a fresh cologne that joins last year's Un Dimanche à la Campagne to form a new line called Les Eaux Exclusives. La Cuvée Secrète contains the same notes as the discontinued Cologne Fond de Cuve (bergamot, petitgrain and lavender), but with a ml price that is three times higher.
Cologne Fond de Cuve (2013) was a commercialization of Véritable Eau de Cologne Pour le Bain, which Guerlain used to give out for free to its staff.
Guerlain releases Mon Guerlain
Guerlain has now released Mon Guerlain, four days ahead of the previously announced release date. Engraving of the bottle can be ordered online as well. The scent is also available as body lotion and shower gel. Read fragrance review
Mon Celebrity Caramel
Guerlain’s teaming up with Angelina Jolie for the new international fragrance release, Mon Guerlain, is the brand’s biggest marketing triumph since Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain was appointed fragrance purveyor to the French Empress Eugénie in 1853. Fragrance is such a rarefied and specific subject, while celebrities are undeniably more popular.
Since the announcement of the partnership with Jolie in January, followed by large-scale press events all over the world, Guerlain has probably received more international media coverage than in the past 188 years combined. Social media have been ablaze with news about the campaign weeks before the official release date on March 1st, and some shops are selling the fragrance ahead of time. It’s no secret that Guerlain’s brand awareness is lagging catastrophically behind, especially outside of France. On its US Facebook pages, Guerlain’s weekly PTAT (People Talking About This) number rarely exceeds 100 persons. Known for her unique blend of natural beauty, artistic talent, and humanitarian involvement, and as "the most admired woman in the world" as stated in Guerlain's press clip, Angelina Jolie lends not only enormous exposure to Guerlain, but also an aura of philanthropy. Jolie’s film about the victims of the Cambodian genocide during the Khmer Rouge, which premiered in Cambodia on February 18, as well as her statement that she's donating her entire Guerlain modeling fee to charity, only adds to the good press.
Except for the facts that Angelina Jolie is American and extremely thin, both of which have enraged most of Guerlain’s French Facebook followers, the only disadvantage of using her as a spokesmodel for the campaign is that it completely overshadows the fragrance itself. However, in the case of Mon Guerlain, there’s nothing new under the sun anyway, because for two years the fragrance was known as Mon Exclusif, which has now been discontinued. Read full review
Prerelease of Mon Guerlain
Mon Guerlain, scheduled for international launch on March 1, is already available in some webshops and stores here and there. Helped by Angelina Jolie, it's the brand's most anticipated fragrance launch ever, with shops being bombarded with telephone calls and emails.
For this release, Guerlain has reinvented the historic quadrilobe dab bottle (1908) as an atomizer, crowned with a plastic quatrefoil cap. The base of the cap is surrounded by an embossed, gilded metal band that replaces the traditional cording by the Dames de Table. Like Mon Exclusif, the bottle comes without a label, so we assume you're supposed to have it engraved with a name of your choice. In fact, it's Guerlain's most anonymous fragrance presentation to date, with the Guerlain name almost invisibly moulded into the glass. According to Guerlain boutique staff, the fragrance is almost identical to Mon Exclusif, which has now been discontinued, with notes of lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, orris, tonka bean, and vanilla.
Aqua Allegoria Rosa Fizz
There's a prerelease of this year's Aqua Allegoria travel edition at some airports. Called Rosa Fizz, it replaces last year's Rosa Pop, which was a reissue of the successful Pivoine Magnifica from 2005.
We can't detect much of a difference between Fizz and Pop, but it sure is a wonderful, citrusy fruity-floral, designed to get you hooked the minute you sniff it from the tax-free shelf.
It's the first time that an Aqua Allegoria comes with the frosted bottle design, known from Les Eaux de Rituel. Unlike last year's travel edition though, the honeycomb mesh has not been removed. As this year's costly Muguet edition also features the frosted Aqua Allegoria bottle, it feels like rather bad timing to use it for a tax-free scent (64 €). At least Guerlain could have waited a couple of years to do so, or, better yet, found a more appropriate bottle for Muguet. Read more about Aqua Allegoria
Just six months after its previous addition to the L'Art & la Matière line, Néroli Outrenoir, Guerlain launches the line's 11th member, called Joyeuse Tubéreuse.
The scent is officially co-authored by Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk, and it marks the first time that Jelk's name is mentioned on Guerlain's website, although her first creation for Guerlain was La Petite Robe Noire in 2009. Sylvaine Delacourte has already said that "no one has the monopoly" at Guerlain, but this is a new kind of transparency about who actually makes what in the Guerlain lab. Traditionally, only the appointed master perfumer has been stated as the creator of Guerlain’s fragrances. Since his entry as perfumer at Guerlain, Thierry Wasser has generally been pushing the brand towards greater openness about facts that are usually regarded as trade secrets within the fragrance industry, not least those concerning reformulations and changes in raw materials. Read review
Bergamote Calabria or Gingembre Arancia?
Considering that Guerlain’s Aqua Allegorias are promoted as "the Collection of Fresh Fragrances," it’s quite remarkable that we had to wait almost twenty years to get one named after bergamot, perfumery’s most widely used fresh note and even featured in the list of Guerlinade ingredients. Maybe one reason is that bergamot is not what it used to be. Thierry Wasser has explained that while raw bergamot oil smells heavenly, deep, complex and rounded, almost like a perfume in itself, it can cause allergies when exposed to sunlight and therefore has been substituted with a “cleansed” product that smells somewhat flat and lifeless in comparison. According to Wasser, the absence of raw bergamot oil is one of the main reasons why modern Shalimar is so different from the vintage version. Read fragrance review of Aqua Allegoria Bergamote Calabria
Guerlain discontinues most of its bath products
Guerlain has discontinued all feminine bath products except for the "unisex" Les Délices de Bain, La Petite Robe Noire, and Shalimar. Soon, Mon Guerlain will be added to the line.
Guerlain's bath products now come in a uniform plastic variant of the bee bottle, similar in shape to the first bath bee bottles from the early 1990s. The design of the new bath bottle is more streamlined though, with a smooth cap and without the Vendôme column's fish-scale pattern on the upper part of the bottle.
Guerlain: gossip or glory?
The latest issue of French gossip magazine Point de Vue features an article about Le Roman des Guerlain, historian and perfume expert Élisabeth de Feydeau's well-researched book about the Guerlain family history.
It's difficult to understand why Feydeau and her publisher chose a release date that coincides with Guerlain's revelation of Angelina Jolie as the brand's new spokeswoman. Feydeau's book is infinitely more interesting than any American celebrity or mainstream caramel fragrance ever was, and it's an awful shame that Feydeau's contribution to our understanding of the Guerlain history is now destined to drown in celebrity craze.
On a side note, the large image of Jean-Paul Guerlain isn't quite illustrative of Feydeau's book, which more or less ends with the death of Jacques Guerlain in 1963. Everything there is to say about the Jean-Paul Guerlain era is reduced into the ten page epilog, just three percent of the entire text. Did Feydeau run out of time? Or was she influenced by Jean-Paul Guerlain being persona non grata since his unfortunate racially denigrating remarks on French television in 2010 (a subject that coincidentally the book is silent about)? On the other hand, she doesn’t spare us the details about how much the sale of Guerlain to luxury conglomerate LVMH in 1994 ignited dissension within the family. Several members openly expressed that such a sale would be a betrayal of the brand’s history and founder. During the clearing of conference rooms and offices to make room for the new owners, Sylvie Guerlain found a large number of historic documents, and she decided that she would do everything she could to retrieve and preserve the vestiges of Guerlain's past. The book ends on a hopeful note, quoting Jean-Paul Guerlain’s wish that his young grandson, Paul Guerlain, will one day become Guerlain’s next master perfumer. Read book review
Guerlain devotes itself to women
We're informed that throughout 2017, Guerlain will devote itself to a special focus on women, starting with the announcement of Angelina Jolie as the brand's new spokeswoman. Angelina Jolie is an advocate of several causes, among them women's rights. In 2012, she launched an initiative against sexual violence.
Guerlain's announcement of the partnership with Jolie comes only a few days after the Women’s March, which was especially aimed at US President Donald Trump's statements regarded as anti-women. The march drew at least half a million in Washington, and some estimates put worldwide participation at 4.8 million.
Guerlain needs more brand awareness
Guerlain has revealed that its forthcoming international fragrance release for women, promoted by American superstar Angelina Jolie, is called Mon Guerlain. The main notes of Mon Guerlain are described as lavender, jasmine, sandalwood and vanilla. According to Guerlain boutique staff, the scent is practically identical to the recently discontinued Mon Exclusif.
Let’s be honest, it’s not the brand’s most sophisticated fragrance name ever, but it’s not stupid either, all things considered. First, the name is born out of a marketing strategy that promotes everything as being "mine", such as My Insolence, Mon Précieux Nectar, Ma Première Robe, Ma Robe Sous le Vent, Mon Habit Rouge Taillé sur Mesure, and Mon Exclusif. We imagine two little girls fighting over a bottle of perfume: “This is MY Guerlain!” — “No, it’s MINE!” — “No, it’s MINE!”. Soon you’ll be able to buy Mon Guerlain for 75 € at any airport in the world, but the name still has a certain ring of exclusivity to it.
Secondly, and joking aside, using Guerlain's brand name as part of the fragrance name is a clever way of increasing brand awareness, especially considering that world-famous Angelina Jolie is the face of the campaign. We imagine two colleagues talking: “You smell good! What are you wearing?” — “I’m wearing Mon Guerlain, the new fragrance by Angelina Jolie.” — “Wow! I need to get it too! How do you spell Guerlain?”
It’s no secret that Guerlain’s brand awareness is lagging catastrophically behind, especially outside of France. On its US and Russian Facebook pages, Guerlain’s weekly PTAT (People Talking About This) number is a mere 100 persons. With her six million followers on Instagram, Angelina Jolie will no doubt contribute immensely to Guerlain's popularity and brand awareness worldwide. Jolie’s statement that she's donating her entire modeling fee to charity only adds to the good press.
Le Roman des Guerlain: who actually made Jicky?
In a world with so much rampant marketing and capitalism, it’s a great pleasure to find the Guerlain story being told in a comprehensive and rigorous manner for the first time, by French historian and perfume expert Élisabeth de Feydeau. She calls her 360 page book "Le Roman des Guerlain" ("roman" is a novel in French), however it's by no means fiction, but based on family archives, mainly those collected and preserved by Sylvie Guerlain. Among many things, the book casts new light on who actually made Jicky, why Aimé Guerlain left no heirs, and how the perfume Kriss came into being. Read book review
Guerlain discontinues Mon Exclusif
While Guerlain is preparing a major international fragrance launch, called Mon Guerlain, the brand discontinues Mon Exclusif, only two years after its release. Mon Exclusif was promoted as a modern gourmand take on Jicky's classic fougère accord. However, except for the lavender, most fragrance reviewers saw no connection between Jicky and Mon Exclusif's sugary mix of butter caramel, patchouli and creamy-powdery floral notes, an accord that has been immensely popularized by Lancôme's La Vie Est Belle. Read more about Mon Exclusif
The 2017 limited edition bottle for La Petite Robe Noire
This year's limited edition bottle for La Petite Robe Noire EdP and EdT is a blackened bottle version with clear heart-shaped stopper, emblazoned with a red and pink "fashion show" label appropriated from the LPRN makeup line.
To add to the collectible value, fifteen different label designs have been produced which are all depicted on the back of each box. You won't know which of the fifteen you have purchased until you open your box!
The fragrances remain unchanged.
Un Dimanche à la Campagne
As if Guerlain hadn’t already spoiled us with enough fragrance releases this year (fourteen in the first ten months, three of which were reissued scents), out of the blue comes Un Dimanche à la Campagne (“a Sunday in the countryside”). It’s an Eau de Cologne, but doesn’t fit into Guerlain’s Eau Fraîche line, as it comes in the tall cylindrical bottle with the wooden cap first made for Cologne du 68 and later for Le 68 Cologne Fond de Cuve, instead of the classic bee atomizer.
The new scent is worked around orange blossom, an ingredient that seems to be quite fashionable these days. At Guerlain, orange blossom is now celebrated as one of the historic Guerlinade ingredients. Often described as a “marshmallow” note, yielding a sense of fresh-sweet, romantic purity, orange blossom is prominent in several Jacques Guerlain creations (notably Après l’Ondée, L’Heure Bleue, and Liu), but also in contemporary scents like Insolence, Mademoiselle Guerlain, L’Heure de Nuit, Le Bouquet de la Mariée, and Néroli Outrenoir.
Un Dimanche à la Campagne has a fresh, crunchy start of bergamot, green herbs and orange blossom, followed by a soft, clean, linear drydown of sweet woody-nutty notes and white musk. Very pleasant and gentle, the result reminds us of a mix of Thierry Wasser’s Cologne du Parfumeur and the discontinued Cologne du 68.
The ml price of Un Dimanche à la Campagne is significantly lower than that of the Eaux Fraîches, but 160 € still seems a bit expensive for a pleasant Sunday walk in the French countryside.
The truth about the Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue problem
Fragrance review site Auparfum has had the chance to speak with Thierry Wasser about the recent problems and changes in the compositions of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue.
Thierry Wasser reveals that the problem was about a raw material called Iriséine, produced by Symrise. The scent of Iriséine is described as warm, woody, orris-like and heady, which gives depth and roundness to a composition. Symrise had to reformulate this material, because one of its suppliers stopped the production of a special kind of méthylionones. Unfortunately, the reformulation meant that Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue developed an unpleasant tar-like odour over time.
The affected batches were coded 5T, 5U etc. Towards the end of 2015, Guerlain chose to suspend the production and sale of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue, while Thierry Wasser worked on a way to adjust their formulas without Iriséine.
Auparfum also provides reviews of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue, comparing the bad batches with the new adjusted versions. The general conclusion is that both fragrances now appear lighter, fresher, and less robust and rounded, but that L'Heure Bleue fares slightly better in the drydown. Read all the details at Auparfum.com
Book about Sylvie Guerlain's bottle collection
A new Guerlain bottle book by perfume bottle expert Bernard Gangler showcases Sylvie Guerlain’s magnificent collection, as well as her insight into the Guerlain history. The book is not an encyclopedia like Michèle Atlas and Alain Monniot's “Guerlain bottle bible” from 1997, but it features some very rare and hitherto unseen designs.
Shown here is a one-off Baccarat crystal bottle sculpture for Vol de Nuit by Serge Mansau, created after the year 2000. The sculpture has a bottle of Vol de Nuit inside, as well as an airplane mounted on the top. See more
Fifteen Guerlain releases 2016
In step with the market's increasing interest in luxury, Guerlain's creative speed has accelerated considerably over the past two decades, from one perfume every four years to more than ten new releases annually. 2016 has seen the following fifteen Guerlain releases:
• Un Dimanche à la Campagne
• 4 Saisons: Le Printemps, L'Été, L'Automne, L'Hiver
• Néroli Outrenoir
• La Petite Robe Noire Intense
• L'Homme Idéal EdP
• Muguet (new version by Thierry Wasser)
• Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita
• Aqua Allegoria Rosa Pop
• Ambre Éternel
• Promenade des Anglais (an EdP reissue of Aqua Allegoria Figue-Iris)
• Le Bouquet de la Reine (reissue of Aqua Allegoria Jasminora)
• Le Bolshoï Prima Ballerina (reissue of Moscow)
See what has come, changed and disappeared at Guerlain since 2013
Has Guerlain lost touch?
Guerlain and LVMH keep on posting and tweeting about stuff that they know people can't afford (64,000 €). Guerlain's Les Quatre Saisons on LVMH's website
Guerlain's discontinuations 2016
Guerlain each year releases an impressive number of fragrances, resulting in the need to edit the catalogue. "The Guerlain history is made up of almost 800 olfactive creations, but unfortunately it is impossible to keep them all," explains Guerlain's customer service department.
In 2016, Guerlain has discontinued 11 fragrances: Muguet (the Jean-Paul Guerlain version), Cherry Blossom, Mayotte, Chamade EdP, L'Âme d'un Héros, Arsène Lupin Dandy, La Petite Robe Noire Couture, Idylle Parfum, Oriental Brûlant, Cologne du 68, and Habit Rouge Extrait. See what has come, changed and disappeared at Guerlain since 2013
Sylvaine Delacourte launches her own fragrance brand
Sylvaine Delacourte has launched her own fragrance brand, simply named Sylvaine Delacourte. She starts out with five fragrances centred around white musk, described as woody, fruity, clean, vegetal, and velvety. At the same time, she announces that she will only work as a consultant for Guerlain from now on, without being involved in fragrance development any more. Earlier this year, Jean-Paul Guerlain also revealed that he will launch his own fragrance brand, called My Exclusive Collection, in January 2017. See the website of Sylvaine Delacourte
"A small number of passionate and highly educated people"
"Make good products, never compromise on quality," founder of the Guerlain empire, Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, once said. "As for the rest, stick to simple ideas and apply them scrupulously." That was in the nineteenth century. In 2016, fragrance marketing directors know that sticking to simple ideas won't make you rich and famous in an overloaded market, where everything is available to everyone. Keeping up a prestigious image takes other methods today than those prescribed by Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain.
In the latest issue of CosmétiqueMag, a professional journal devoted to the beauty industry, Guerlain’s marketing director Margerie Barbès Petit (pictured to the right) explains why the brand has begun to focus on luxurious packaging, limited editions, exclusive collections, and spectacular boutique decor, rather than what perfumery was all about in the golden days, namely olfactive creativity and quality.
"Among our customers there are of course a small number of passionate and highly educated people, but many are just looking for a rare perfume. These are the same who buy limited editions in fashion or design, and it reflects the current taste for personalization," she says.
According to CosmétiqueMag, the focus on exclusive packaging and limited editions is a very wise business strategy, because exclusive collections sell like hotcakes, despite little creative effort put into them, the absence of expensive ad campaigns, and a high sales price.
Luckily, the "small number of passionate and highly educated people" can still find such solid olfactive works as Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue and Habit Rouge in the Guerlain catalogue. But we might as well get used to the fact that the form-over-substance philosophy is here to stay. See CosmétiqueMag
The Four Seasons: Too little or too much?
Guerlain has launched a quartet of new EdP fragrances called The Four Seasons, not to be confused with the brand's 2008 box set of the same name. The fragrances are housed in 490 ml Baccarat quadrilobe bottles, exquisitely decorated by haute couture designer Janaïna Milheiro with coloured feathers and pearls to evoke each of the four seasons. The price is haute couture too: 16,000 € per bottle.
As Luca Turin once pointed out, fragrance brands should refrain from releasing more than one perfume at a time, because customers tend to judge a fragrance collection as a whole, not the individual fragrances within the collection. Hence, one inferior fragrance can ruin the whole launch.
Moreover, our judgment of a product will always depend on its monetary cost. At 16,000 € per bottle we expect nothing short of olfactory bliss. We know very well that the actual formula cost in all cases is very low, but when fragrance brands use Baccarat crystal bottles and haute couture decorators to up the price, our expectations soar equally sky-high. Yet, paradoxically, when prices exceed a certain level of grotesqueness, and the number of copies is equally limited, we begin to wonder if the perfumes were really created to be opened and smelled, or only to be displayed somewhere in the Arabic Emirates. For that matter, Guerlain could have filled the bottles with coloured water, and no one would be the wiser, that is, if it weren’t for the fact that Maison Guerlain has testers to try.
I have smelled the new Four Seasons collection, and in this short review I try to ignore the fact that its price could buy you a very nice BMW that would surely rock your social status more than a set of embellished perfume bottles. Read fragrance review
Le Bolshoï Prima Ballerina
Guerlain's Le Bolshoï edition this year is called Prima Ballerina. The fragrance is a reissue of Randa Hammami's Moscow from the discontinued City series, known for its brisk accord of pine needles and tart fruit. 60 ml EdP, circa 380 €. Read more about Guerlain's Le Bolshoï
Mitsouko, L'Heure Bleue, and Doctor Wasser
The Parfum and EdP versions of Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue are back, after being reformulated due to a problem with one of their shared ingredients.
When the suspension was announced, Guerlain explained that while olfactive variations from year to year in raw materials are normal, the lab had detected a change that was too radical to justify further sale of L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko. As a consequence, the brand decided to suspend the production of these fragrances for several months, while Thierry Wasser "puts all his talent and passion into readjusting the formulas of L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko.”
Thierry Wasser has taught us that suppliers of raw materials changing their products is just as frequent a reason to reformulate or discontinue a Guerlain fragrance as are IFRA restrictions. Most of Guerlain’s old formulas contain ingredients that can be difficult to obtain nowadays.
From the fact that Guerlain chose to downright suspend the fragrances for months, we can deduce three things: 1) the ingredient in question played a significant role in the compositions, 2) there exists no readily available substitute for this ingredient, i.e. it wasn’t a natural, 3) there's a limit to how much Guerlain wants to compromise on its olfactive patrimony. Read review
Guerlain corrects: Liu stays
Following two written confirmations from Guerlain's customer service and one oral confirmation from Maison Guerlain, Mr. G recently reported about a discontinuation of Liu from the Parisienne line.
Now, Guerlain's customer service has sent a correction, saying that its previous statement about Liu being discontinued was an error. The customer service apologizes for the confusion caused by this misinformation, which occurred simply because Liu has got a new product code after being transferred to the new packaging design of the Exclusives.
We're not fond of misinformation, but we love the fact that Liu stays.
Guerlain's big overhaul: 12 new fragrances, 11 discontinuations, 5 reissues, 8 bottle designs replaced
Guerlain each year releases an impressive number of fragrances, resulting in the need to edit the catalogue. "The Guerlain history is made up of almost 800 olfactive creations, but unfortunately it is impossible to keep them all," explains Guerlain's customer service department. In 2016, the brand's perfume range has undergone its biggest reorganisation ever, with 12 new fragrances, 11 discontinuations, 5 reissues, and 8 bottle designs replaced. See what has come, changed and disappeared at Guerlain since 2013
4 Seasons fragrance and art bottle collection
Guerlain is launching a highly exclusive "4 Seasons" collection of four new fragrances by Thierry Wasser, named after each season: Le Printemps (musky, green floral), L'Été (solar floral), L'Automne (fresh woody), and L'Hiver (green, woody musk). They come in 490 ml quadrilobe bottles, sumptuously decorated by Paris-based Brazilian textile and feather designer Janaïna Milheiro.
In 2008, Guerlain also presented a "4 Seasons" collection. However, only Brume d'Automne ("fall mist") was a new creation, while the other three scents were reissues of previous releases, and the fragrances came in a 35 ml size of the heart-shaped stopper bottle.
As we all know, high art comes with a price, reserved for only the most affluent collectors. These days, Guerlain’s “art bottles” usually come with a 5-digit price tag. The Milheiro bottles are 16,000 € each. Photos by moniqueledoledec on Instagram. Read fragrance review
The price that doubled in 10 years
Guerlain has just raised the price of its three remaining Parisien fragrances (Derby, Chamade Pour Homme, and Arsène Lupin Voyou) from 185 € to 210 €. The price increase is significantly higher than Guerlain's usual annual price increase, which is around 5 € on fragrances.
In 2006, a 125 ml Parisienne bottle of Derby (pictured left) was priced at 130 €. With the current price of 210 € for 100 ml, it means that the price of Derby has doubled in just ten years. By comparison, the consumer price index of France has risen 17 percent in the same period.
Exclusivity is now very exclusive.
Guerlain's bottle revolution
Guerlain informs us that its current packaging adjustments not only affect the golden canisters and the masculine line, but that an entire bottle revolution is going on, extending to the feminine fragrances as well. The changes include a replacement of several of the classic Parfum bottles by the standard quadrilobe bottle, while the Parfum version of Idylle is being discontinued altogether.
"At a time when most perfumers did not think of bottles as anything but a simple container, my ancestors quickly understood the subtle relationship that linked the bottle and its precious contents," Jean-Paul Guerlain wrote in the foreword to the colossal reference book, Guerlain Bottles Since 1828. However, as a consequence of Guerlain's standardisation of its packaging, there's very little left of Robert Granai's prolific bottle designs.
Edit: Guerlain says that the staff was misinformed about the Vol de Nuit and Chamade Parfum bottles, which apparently will not be changed. Only the Parfum bottles for Samsara, Champs-Elysées and L'Instant de Guerlain will be replaced by the standard quadrilobe bottle, while Idylle Parfum is discontinued. Read more about Guerlain's bottles
40 years of Guerlain with Thierry Wasser
In a recent advertorial in the French newspaper Le Monde, Guerlain's CEO Laurent Boillot reveals that Guerlain aims at keeping Thierry Wasser as the brand's in-house perfumer for forty years (i.e., until 2048 when Wasser will be 87 years old!), just like Jean-Paul Guerlain before him. Read the article
Originally launched as a trio, the L'Art & la Matière collection has grown to recently receive its tenth member: Néroli Outrenoir. The new fragrance is advertised as an olfactive paradox, "beyond black and still luminous", marrying the bright neroli note with black tea.
It was the French abstract artist Pierre Soulages who coined the term "outrenoir" ("beyond black") for the paintings he began working on in the late 1970s. He demonstrated that total blackness can actually be used to reflect light and colour nuances.
Neroli is the name of the essential oil of orange blossom. Compared to orange blossom absolute, which has a deep, sensual scent, neroli smells fresh, spicy, and cleanly floral. Therefore, it’s a typical note in fresh colognes, but high-end brands have lately made it fashionable to use it in very costly perfumes. According to Guerlain, Thierry Wasser wanted to express all the facets of orange blossom, "the orange-like zest of neroli, the woody-aromatic petitgrain, and the orange blossom absolute."
With a pun on the French expression "l'art et la manière", the art and manner, the L’Art & la Matière line is devoted to creative reflections on raw materials. With only two discontinuations in ten years, the line is obviously commercially successful. Personally, I'm not excited by the "back-to-basics, one-ingredient" trend of niche perfumery, which has all the snob appeal of Michelin menus, when in fact what you really hunger for is to sit in a noisy restaurant with a bœuf bourguignon, a crème brûlée, and a bottle of red wine. I can't think of any moment when I wholeheartedly feel like reaching for a L'Art & la Matière instead of one of Guerlain's classic or mainstream fragrances. If you insist on calling something "black neroli", just give me Habit Rouge and I'll feel endlessly more entertained and dressed up than in any "Exclusive" fragrance. Read fragrance review
Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue are back!
After months of suspension while being reformulated due to a problem with one ingredient, the Parfum and EdP versions of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue are now available again for purchase, one month ahead of schedule.
When Guerlain announced the suspension by the end of 2015, the brand explained that while olfactive variations from year to year in raw materials are normal, the recent change was deemed too pronounced to justify further production and sale of L'Heure Bleue and Mitsouko Parfum and EdP. Fingers crossed that the problem hasn't caused too much damage to Jacques Guerlain's beautiful classics, and we thank Thierry Wasser for his efforts to keep the Guerlain patrimony alive.
Shown here are some older Parfum bottles of Mitsouko and L'Heure Bleue.
New travel bottle
Guerlain has launched a new 15 ml travel bottle design, quite reminiscent of the puristic Hermès look. Shown here are Eau de Guerlain and Eau de Cologne Impériale.
New packaging design for the Exclusives
Guerlain has launched a new packaging for the Exclusives, now housed inside an elegant dark amethyst leather box decorated with a bas-relief of the Sun King logo. For the L'Art & la Matière bottle, a new on/off bulb atomizer design has been introduced. The old bulb atomizer had a serious issue with leakage, which the on/off functionality should solve.
Unlike the previous design, the new bulb atomizer is non-removable. As a consequence, you'll no longer be able to decant the fragrance into refillable travel sprays. Also, the golden metal strip carrying the name of the fragrance now features the Sun King logo as well as the revived 1930s' Futura font, which Guerlain has adopted recently for most of its presentations. On the occasion, there's a price increase of 8 €.
Shown below is the original bottle design, for which you could choose freely between a screw cap, a standard atomizer, and the bulb atomizer.
Summer contest: Win 5 vintage Guerlains!
You don't have to be in the Who’s Who of perfume to know what's what. It's time to flaunt your encyclopedic Guerlain knowledge! If you're able to answer twenty questions correctly, you'll have the chance to win five 1 ml samples of Thierry Wasser's coveted re-created vintage Guerlain perfumes. (As you may know, I was one of the bloggers who received samples of these to review.) Go to contest
Guerlain Homme's new look
Guerlain is changing the design of its masculine line, rendering it uniform with the classic "Habit Rouge" bottle and adding faux wood caps. Shown here is the new look for the Guerlain Homme duo.
Interestingly, the juice colours have now been reversed, so that the EdP is green while L'Eau Boisée is yellow. Before, the juice colour of Guerlain Homme EdP was rarely seen due to its black bottle, but special edition bee bottles (shown below) revealed that its juice was indeed yellow. Read more about Guerlain Homme
Habit Rouge Dress Code returns with a new look
When Habit Rouge Dress Code launched last year to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Habit Rouge, it was advertised as a limited edition. It quickly sold out and has been unavailable in Guerlain's French webshop for a long while.
Now, as Guerlain changes the design of its masculine line, Habit Rouge Dress Code returns with a new look that features a red faux wood cap on a black bottle with a chic tartan pattern. According to Guerlain, the new packaging is a limited edition, just like the previous one.
Guerlain's new masculine design
Guerlain is changing the design of its masculine line, rendering it uniform with the classic "Habit Rouge" bottle and adding coloured faux wood caps that match the exclusive Parisien collection. Shown here is the new look for Habit Rouge EdT, EdP, L'Eau, and Dress Code, Vetiver and Vetiver Extrême, Héritage EdT and EdP, L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme EdT and EdP, and Guerlain Homme EdP and L'Eau Boisée. Luckily, Dress Code proved successful enough to not be just a limited edition.
The decision to standardize the masculine packaging could be both a cost-cutting measure as well as a way to adopt the streamlined, minimalist appearance of niche perfumery. It means that only three masculine bottle designs are left in the Guerlain catalogue: the "Habit Rouge" bottle, the L'Homme Idéal bottle, and the Parisien bottle. (Mouchoir de Monsieur will still be the only masculine scent sold in the bee spray bottle.)
Masculine stick deodorants discontinued
Guerlain has discontinued its masculine stick deodorants. I’ve been using Habit Rouge stick deodorant for the past twenty-four years. I will miss it terribly.
The bee sprays still going strong
Guerlain is phasing out the refillable golden canisters, replacing them with the standard bee spray bottle. The bottles come with a new, streamlined label design, using the clean geometric Futura font. In addition, the label features the gilded Sun King logo. The Sun King, the Futura font and the cursive brand name logo all represent historic Guerlain design elements.
At the same time, Guerlain discontinues the EdP version of Chamade.
According to Guerlain boutique staff, most of the feminine EdTs and EdPs will eventually be transferred to the bee spray, including Samsara, Idylle, L'Instant de Guerlain, Champs-Elysées, and Insolence. It's a recent trend at Guerlain to replace the individual bottle designs with uniform standard bottles.
The bee atomizer first appeared in 1992, thus actually predating the latest design of the refillable canisters. It was initially meant for the Eaux Fraîches, but was subsequently used for Petit Guerlain, Après l'Ondée, Chant d'Arômes, Mouchoir de Monsieur, and Parure as well, and in 2013 for Jardins de Bagatelle. In addition, it was used for the limited editions L'Insolente (formerly Precious Heart) and Place Rouge (formerly Quand Vient la Pluie). Recently, the bee atomizer has also become the bottle for the home fragrances. Read more about Guerlain's bottles
Guerlain bottles changing
Guerlain changes the look of several of its fragrances, both feminine and masculine. Shown here is the new packaging for Habit Rouge, Héritage, Vetiver, L'Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme, Jicky, Chamade, Jardins de Bagatelle, Nahéma, and Vol de Nuit. At the same time, the EdP version of Chamade has been discontinued. The original masculine bottles are replaced by the classic "Habit Rouge" bottle, with a coloured faux wood cap that matches the exclusive Parisien line, while the standard bee atomizer replaces the golden refillable canisters. Also, Guerlain changes the label design for the quadrilobe Parfum bottle to match the new bee atomizer label, featuring the Sun King logo. Read more
Guerlain's shortest living flanker
Just as the new Intense flanker of La Petite Robe Noire is introduced, Guerlain discontinues the Couture version from 2014. It makes it Guerlain's shortest living flanker to date, even surpassing Shalimar Parfum Initial. Guerlain boutique staff informs us that very little stock is left. In addition, the two Parisien fragrances L'Âme d'un Héros and the "Dandy" version of Arsène Lupin have been discontinued. It leaves only three fragrances in the Parisien line, namely Arsène Lupin Voyou, Derby, and Chamade Pour Homme.
Couture was the first flanker of La Petite Robe Noire (not counting the EdT version as a flanker, although technically it is), a cooler and woodier variant with lots of raspberry and an addition of a chypre accord of moss, patchouli, and a fresh, almost petroleum-like vetiver. The scent won the prize for best feminine fragrance at last year's FiFi Awards.
L'Âme d'un Héros was introduced in 2008 as a reissue of Jean-Paul Guerlain's commercially unsuccessful, and thus short-lived, Coriolan from 1998.
The sophisticated cardamom-balsam fragrance Arsène Lupin Dandy launched in 2010 as part of a masculine duo by Jean-Paul Guerlain. The Dandy name was later removed due to a copyright conflict.
Some images courtesy of guerlain.com
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