In keeping with tradition, Christmas sees a new splendid and bejewelled giant crystal bottle of Shalimar. This year, the honour furthermore goes to Thierry Wasser's Shalimar Parfum Initial. The presentations are made in collaboration with Parisian jewellery maker Gripoix who also worked with Guerlain on Muguet 2012 and the L'Heure Bleue anniversary editions. Shalimar Talisman Byzantin holds 1.5 litre of Parfum, decorated with deep blue stones and 24 carat gold, while Shalimar Parfum Initial À Fleur de Peau has two litres of EdP, adorned with blush coloured stones set in gold.
100 years of L'Heure Bleue
2012 marks the 100th anniversary of Jacques Guerlain's legendary Belle Époque perfume L'Heure Bleue. Since 1912, this fragrance, evoking sweet nostalgia and nocturnal velvet, has remained popular and celebrated as one of perfumery's most beautiful creations. Guerlain pays homage to L'Heure Bleue with two deluxe editions, both highly limited. First, a midnight blue crystal quadrilobe bottle by Baccarat, adorned with an impressive necklace of violets cast in glass and 24-carat gold, designed by Parisian jewellery maker Gripoix. The bottle holds 490 ml of Parfum. 11,000 €, or 6,500 € without the necklace. Next, a box set featuring three new interpretations of L'Heure Bleue by Thierry Wasser, alongside a bottle of the regular Parfum. The blue velvet box is decorated with a silver pearl embroidery spelling the Guerlain name, an artwork by Lesage Atelier de Broderie. All four bottles are the 30 ml size. The new interpretations are meant to symbolize morning, midday and midnight. Respectively named L’Aurore (EdT), Le Zénith (EdP) and Le Crépuscule (Parfum), they are composed with orange blossom, orris, heliotrope, white musk and gourmand notes, very much inspired by the original classic yet luminous and modern. 3,000 €. The EdP version will come out as standard-priced Parisienne in 2013. Read more See press material
Shalimar for Le Bon Marché
Le Bon Marché is one of the best known department stores in Paris, and also one of the world's first. 2012 marks its 160th anniversary and on the occasion, Guerlain has issued a special bottle edition of Shalimar in just twenty numbered copies. The presentation features a 250 ml size of the white bee bottle decorated with a piece of jewellery by French designer Sylvia Toledano. The adornment consists of a brass chain with two drops of lapis lazuli, a relatively rare semi-precious stone coming from India, suggestive of the jewellery of Indian princesses. 250 ml EdP, 450 €.
L'Abeille Aux Ailes Argent
"It took the Guerlain perfumer 450 days to create this unique fragrance. 12 hours for a glassblower blessed with a priceless talent at the Baccarat crystal works to transform a fiery gob into a sculptured piece of crystal. And 75 minutes for the 'dames de table' at the Guerlain finishing shop to give the perfume bottle its haute couture look. This incredible pool of talent has given rise to a new masterpiece in the world of fragrances: The Bee With Silver Wings." The press material doesn't hide Guerlain's light under a bushel when presenting the house's most collectible piece. L'Abeille Aux Ailes Argent is the third L'Abeille crystal sculpture, hand-blown by Baccarat in the shape of a giant bee. The first edition (2010) was all clear, faceted crystal, the second (2011) had gold leaf laid into the wings, while this year's piece features silver leaf. Named Rêve de Lune, the fragrance inside is a reissue of Jean-Paul Guerlain's Metallica, a limited edition from 2000. It evokes a "metallic" scent, based on orange blossom, carnation, ylang-ylang, tonka bean and vanilla. L'Abeille Aux Ailes Argent is made in 50 pieces, 245 ml Parfum, around 18,500 €.
This year's limited Habit Rouge
Guerlain has turned it into a yearly tradition to do a special-edition redressing of its two bestsellers, Shalimar and Habit Rouge. Habit Rouge of 2011 was clad in red leather, Habit de Cuir. This year, Jean-Paul Guerlain's masculine evergreen will get a black jacket, made of a quilted fabric suggestive of saddle pads and named L'Esprit du Cavalier. Fragrance and price are the same as regular Habit Rouge EdT.
A second batch of Ode à la Vanille feat. Madagascan vanilla
Ode à la Vanille was the name of a limited edition reworking of the legendary Shalimar, made by Thierry Wasser in 2010. It quickly sold out, due to its delicious enhancement of Shalimar's gourmand potential with a dark, silky vanilla tincture of an extra fine quality from Mayotte. This year, Guerlain has produced a second batch of Ode à la Vanille, retaining the fragrance formula of the first edition but using a new sort of vanilla from Madagascar. Thierry Wasser has proved his constant efforts in sourcing new raw materials from all corners of the world for both aesthetic and environmental reasons, and this vanilla is described as adding "a very suave and woody nuance" to the scent. On the occasion, the decoration of the box has been changed and accompanied by the subtitle, "Sur la route de Madagascar". 50 ml EdP, 90 €.
A second Bolshoi edition
Following the special edition perfume commemorating the reopening of Moscow's famous Bolshoi theatre last year, Guerlain now issues a second Bolshoi edition. It's on the occasion of this autumn's premiere of Verdi's opera La Traviata, and the 60 ml "prestige atomizier" will be redressed with a dark red cameo around the neck. The fragrance inside is the same as the first edition, namely that of Jean-Paul Guerlain's Les Secrets de Sophie EdP from 2009. Limited to Moscow in 655 pieces, but a few bottles are kept for sale at the Champs-Elysées boutique. Around 22 000 roubles.
Ma Petite Robe Noire, a collectible triple bottle edition
If you can't get enough of Guerlain's latest megahit La Petite Robe Noire but want something slightly special, this collectible bottle edition could be it. You can choose between three different new dress pictographs (or get them all!), each produced in a limited series of around 2000 numbered pieces. For this special edition, the name inscription says "Ma Petite Robe Noire", and the box design is changed as well, from standard cardboard into a fabric quality. The fragrance doesn't diverge from the regular edition. 50 ml EdP, 90 €.
La Petite Robe Noire EdT
When La Petite Robe Noire is rolled out globally this September, it will appear as EdT in Asia, Russia and Scandinavia. For this version, the juice colour is brighter, the bottle features a different dress pictograph, and the black shading of the glass is removed. The rest of the world will have to await the EdT version until next year.
La Petite Robe Noire Parfum
La Petite Robe Noire, a former Exclusif, was relaunched earlier this year, with a modified formula. The new LPRN, already becoming a modern Guerlain bestseller, is softer, rosier, more immediately appealing by its emphasis on musk, almond and cherry, and now Thierry Wasser has constructed a Parfum version. It will appear in an extremely decorative 7.5 ml size of the heart-shaped stopper bottle, with a pink cord, a silver seal disk, and the black dress pictograph imprinted on the back. For collectors, a giant Baccarat crystal edition with a different pictograph is available. See more photos
Fifth city fragrance: Shanghai
Guerlain's city collection, "Une ville, un parfum", gets its fifth member. The new offshoot is dedicated to Shanghai, the Chinese megacity that also inspired Vetiver Pour Elle. Composed by Thierry Wasser, it features the transparent freshness distinctive of this collection, a woody floral scent of anise, ginger, orange blossom, almond, cardamom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, iris, mimosa, cedarwood, patchouli, vanilla and sandalwood. The bottle is designed by Serge Mansau and showcases Shanghai's famous Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower. 100 ml EdP.
A new batch of Habit Rouge L'Extrait
Originally launched as a limited edition in 2008, Habit Rouge L'Extrait soon proved so popular that it was decided to make a new batch each year. Unlike Guerlain's bestsellers, Habit Rouge L'Extrait is not in continuous production. This year's batch has just been finished and is now for sale. It can be had as 50 ml spray, or ordered in the 500 and 1000 ml bee bottles, starting at 1,330 €.
The scent of Arabian nights: Les Déserts d'Orient
The spring season at Maison Guerlain closes with not one, but three new perfumes, a trio named Les Déserts d'Orient. Guerlain has then had twelve fragrance releases during the first half of 2012, if one counts flankers and reissues, a staggering number for one perfume house, although it doesn't exceed the statistics of around twenty yearly Guerlain launches. The trio is inspired by Middle Eastern spices and fragrant oils, like agarwood, rose, saffron, cardamom, myrrh, patchouli, incense and balms. Actually nothing new under the sun, since it was Guerlain's own Shalimar that came to define the oriental category in European perfumery. Recent years have seen a revived interest for the Arab world's mysterious scents, as reflected in Serge Lutens' popular Moroccan niche fragrances and agarwood attars being sold in the West. Guerlain's new trio is directly targeted, and premièred, at the luxury goods market of the Gulf states, with Arabic text on both bottles and ad material, although it probably will find admirers among Western perfume enthusiasts too. All three scents use saffron, which smells hay-like and slightly bitter and spicy, and two of them feature Persian rose, a variety rediscovered by Thierry Wasser and described as more "savage and dark". In accordance with the ornate style of Middle Eastern design, these Eaux de Parfum have been given long, exotic names that leave no hope for memorization. First, Encens Mythique d’Orient, an aldehydic chypre with notes of frankincense, ambergris, saffron, rose, patchouli, vetiver and moss. Second, Rose Nacrée du Désert, a floral woody with notes of rose, saffron, cardamom, agarwood, benzoin, patchouli and myrrh. And finally Songe d’un Bois d’Été, a leather perfume with laurel, neroli, jasmine, patchouli, saffron, cedarwood, agarwood, leather and myrrh. 75 ml EdP, 190 €.
This year's Muguet will, as in 2009, be presented in the 60 ml so-called prestige atomizer. The new edition has been decorated with a glass pendant in the shape of a lily of the valley, signed by the Parisian jewellery maker Gripoix. 1250 pieces worldwide, 285 €.
Mon Précieux Nectar as Parisienne
It's a very rare instance of democratization when Guerlain now reissues Mon Précieux Nectar in the Parisienne line. It was presented as the pièce d'exception of 2009 in a collectible one-litre crystal fountain, at the luxurious price of 6,000 €. We have been surprised to find that the Parisienne edition features the original Parfum concentration, making it suddenly Guerlain's least expensive Parfum. 125 ml, 190 €.
Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia and Bouquet de Mai
Guerlain has issued several fragrances inspired by sunlight and exotic flowers, the so-called solar florals. This year's Aqua Allegoria will be one of them, probably the most exotic-smelling in the series so far. Called Lys Soleia, it's meant to evoke the feel of sun on the skin. Thierry Wasser is the nose behind it, and notes include lemon, palm leaves, ylang-ylang, lily, tropical fruit, tuberose, vanilla and white musk. The "bonus" Aqua Allegoria, sold only in duty-free shops, named Bouquet de Mai, features white flowers and pink pepper and is inspired by "early morning in Paris, freshness in a garden."
La Petite Robe Noire in wider distribution
Created in 2009, the delicious and chic licorice-cherry-musk-patchouli accord of La Petite Robe Noire was reserved for Guerlain boutiques among Les Exclusifs. The fragrance proved extremely popular, and now it has finally been decided to launch it more widely. It will be available worldwide in different sizes, 30, 50 and 75 ml EdP, along with a matching bath product. The dress pictograph has been altered slightly and the box design is changed. The fragrance formula has been adjusted a bit too, with less licorice (signalled by a brighter juice) and more emphasis on the classic Guerlinade accord. To promote the new fragrance, a charming animated ad campaign has been rolled out, devised by the Paris-based visual artist duo Kuntzel+Deygas. Read more
Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau
L'Eau versions seem to be the new thing chez Guerlain since Thierry Wasser took over. The term hints at his taste for fresher and greener interpretations of established scents. First came Guerlain Homme L'Eau, then Habit Rouge L'Eau, and now Shalimar Parfum Initial L'Eau. Shalimar Parfum Initial was from the outset a big hit, and with L'Eau, basically an EdT variant of the EdP release, we get extra citrusy top notes of bergamot, orange, grapefruit and neroli, along with a lighter, less rooty and softly powdery iris base. Gorgeous. Read more
Guerlain Homme L'Eau Boisée
If something is good, why not make other good variations of it? Guerlain Homme and its L'Eau variant both smelled excellent, and another appealing version now sees the light. Called L'Eau Boisée ("woody"), it takes as its starting point the L'Eau version, the simplicity of the Mojito accord's fresh citrus, mint and rum, and then adds a larger dose of vetiver essence, clear and mild, a new kind which Thierry Wasser found near Coimbatore in South India. The result is a drier, very classic gentleman's scent, explicitly green yet warm down below, already giving rise to glorious reviews. The bottle features a handsome wooden cap to go with the name. Read more
Idylle Duet Jasmin-Lilas
Thierry Wasser has made a second limited Duet version of his own beloved Idylle. The first Duet from last year was a dark and intense interpretation highlighting rose and patchouli, the two main pillars of the fragrance. This time, he focuses on the aspect of Idylle that smells like a florist shop and spring: lilac and jasmine. The feeling is bright, optimistic and fresh.
Myrrhe & Délires
Two years after Tonka Impériale, the L'Art & la Matière line gets a new member by Thierry Wasser. During a trip to the Middle East, he fell in love with the ancient scent of myrrh, a material never used by Guerlain before. Apart from myrrh, the new fragrance has patchouli and licorice in its base. The new creation, beautifully named Myrrhe & Délires (the two words rhyme in French), is described as a very unique Guerlain perfume, not having the soft and sweet properties of the Guerlinade, but more of a mysterious and smoky oriental. Guerlain even compares it to the rare and sombre Djedi, the only completely unsweetened Guerlain perfume, but here modernized and made to smile by fruity notes of grapefruit, pear, apricot and rose. Guerlain also highlights the fact that Myrrhe & Délires has much more of a proper development curve than the previous L'Art & la Matière launches. On a side note, Iris Ganache (2007) has been taken out of production and will be available only until existing stock ends.
Some images courtesy of guerlain.com
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