Thierry Wasser 2009, EdT 2010, Parfum 2011, Duet Rose-Patchouli 2011, Eau Sublime 2011, Duet Jasmin-Lilas 2012, Love Blossom 2014
Family: floral, chypre
Notes: neroli, lily of the valley, peony, freesia, jasmine, lilac, Bulgarian rose, patchouli, white musk
Dewy youth elixir
Period: The recapitulation years

"Luxury is something pretty and discreet," Jean-Paul Guerlain said, and his protégé Thierry Wasser seems to have been listening. Like his predecessor's Chant d'Arômes (1962), Wasser's first big feminine fragrance for Guerlain introduced an aim of being a break with the brand's more complex and daunting perfumes, all sober and romantic. In perfumery, floral romance is per definition a cliché which the advertisement for Idylle didn't try to elude, stating that the scent "encapsulates the idea of an idyll, a joyous, lighthearted romance." If Idylle was a cliché, then it was a very good one: the sweet story of the birds and the bees, the aching longing for simplicity and youth. Its bouquet of fresh flowers and Bulgarian rose felt like entering a florist shop, delightful and, yes, pretty. Thierry Wasser later revealed that Idylle was designed especially for the Russian and Scandinavian markets which prefer fresh floral scents to orientals.

Much like Narciso Rodriguez For Her, but without the unpleasant bimbo-with-cigarette note, the drydown was heavy on patchouli and white musk, which Guerlain termed the "chypre sensuality" of Idylle. The rose-patchouli accord isn't by itself an innovation, and the fragrance has been treated as unoriginal by many a fragrance blogger. But, Idylle's beauty was in its texture, a dewy, nectarous touch that kept it engaging and hard to resist, even for unsentimental souls. It somehow made sense when Guerlain described it as a "floral mist", visualized by golden raindrops.

Young French designer Ora-Ïto was behind the bottle, bronze-coloured and formed like "a tear of joy", with fluid lines as romantic as Art Nouveau ever was, and widely acclaimed for its shapeliness. The pointed cap bore the sign of a renewal, like spring flowers poking their heads out above the soil. Eventually, the bottle was sold without the bronze paint. In 2017, Guerlain replaced the Idylle bottle with a frosted version of the bee atomizer.

EdP, EdT, Parfum
The EdP was the first Idylle format to be issued, prominent on the patchouli-musk effect. The EdT pushed up the fresh-flower aspect (neroli, freesia) while minimizing the musk, and it added ylang-ylang as a different kind of warmth to juxtapose the freshness of this version. "More extroverted, more uplifting, and fresher, as if stripped of its finery," as Guerlain put it, the EdT felt cheerful, spring-like, and peppery. By contrast, the Parfum version was all about finery, with the fresh flowers significantly toned down to only include freesia, and heart and base put into focus. It intensified the Bulgarian rose by adding rose absolute, and the base, which was much woodier and drier, with a strong herbaceous tone of patchouli, included a reworking with the metallic, leathery, dried-apricot facets of ambrette oil. The Parfum version of Idylle was discontinued in 2016.

A limited edition version of Idylle appeared in 2011, called "Duet" since it highlighted the two signature ingredients, rose and patchouli, with the rose playing a denser and distincter role throughout. A mossy note replaced the white musk for a darker, firmer timbre. The result was an almost classic red rose perfume, made for the evening. It was reissued in 2014 under the name Duet Rose-Patchouli, to distinguish it from another Duet version from 2012, called Duet Jasmin-Lilas, which focused on the opposite aspect of Idylle: the bright nuance of spring blossoms. The latter was reissued in an EdT version in 2014, limited to airport shops, under the name Idylle Love Blossom. The more widely available flanker Eau Sublime (2011) rendered the rose scent lighter and sweeter using rose water, which is the liquid left over from distilling rose oil. Rose water has a distinctly soapy scent, often used to flavour food and sweets in India and the Middle East. Eau Sublime added peach for a luscious, fruity sparkle.

  We love: the Parfum

  Give in to the prettiness

  Guerlain can make even a dewy-eyed floral enjoyable for men

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