In the span of seventeen years, Guerlain has released thirty-six Aqua Allegoria fragrances. Usually, each year has seen two new Aqua Allegorias — some years even three — but since 2010, one of the launches has been reserved for traveller's duty-free shops, packaged in airport-friendly 100 ml bottles.

The boom in air travel and discount airline companies has made airport shops an important venue for fragrance companies. In addition, marketing experts agree that airport shopping is much more spontaneous than what we see in major cities' high-end boutiques. Maybe Guerlain's marketing team figured that part of their creative energy could be saved by pushing one yearly launch into the travel retail business, at least that's what we think, seeing the same fragrance, Flora Rosa, appearing in airports for three consecutive years.

For 2016, Guerlain has released a new Aqua Allegoria travel edition, called Rosa Pop. Like Flora Rosa, it’s designed to get you hooked the minute you sniff it from the tax-free shelf, with red berries over floral notes, this time peony instead of rose. It also smells 95 percent like Flora Rosa, pink and freshly floral, if only somewhat softer at the drydown. Appropriately, the name refers to the Italian word for pink, "rosa", which is also the colour of the box. Then what about "pop"? "Admirer cette explosion de couleurs pop," the French packaging says, alluding to the vivid colours of American pop art. This tagline goes hand-in-hand with Guerlain's current celebration of coloured and graffiti painted bee bottles.

So now back to what Rosa Pop smells like. It starts out like a real pick-me-up, with a tart, fruity-floral mix of lemon, raspberry, and over-the-top peony or whatever citrusy floral note. The scent eventually turns violet-like, reminiscent of the hairspray facet of Insolence EdT, until it gets sweeter and more powdery, with the cottony effect of white musk.

In what is perhaps a cost-cutting measure, the Rosa Pop bottle is presented without the golden honeycomb on the shoulders of the Aqua Allegoria bee bottle. So now the poor bee etched on the lid has no hive to fly back to!
(March 2016)

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