An extremely herbal but ultimately elegant Guerlinade is Véritable Eau de Cologne Impériale Extra Dry (Guerlain 1904). It’s green but demure and detached in a cool, breezy sort of way. The lemon verbena is especially noteworthy. It meets other very verdant notes to create an olfactory sensation akin to taking a drink of cold mountain fresh water. The neroli is lovely too. And while I can’t find a complete list of notes is it possible the bergamot is mixing with vetiver, a delicate rosemary and cedar? Of course, all these sharp notes are held to earth by the perfect choice of warm base notes.
Parure (Guerlain 1975) is denseand tumultuous green florals laced with bergamot meet a spicy purple plum. A glamorous rose and jasmine mix with sleek iris and the grounding, enduring oakmoss is heroic. Pretty, stoic amber finds thoughtful but aggressive patchouli, especially into the drydown. This is a heady but still springlike scent. Very romantic and very lovely.
Top notes: plum, fruity notes, green notes, bergamot and citruses. Middle notes: orris root, narcissus, lilac, jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, and rose. Base notes: oakmoss, patchouli, amber, leather, and spices.
Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain
In Samsara Guerlain 1989) luscious peach and citrus sweeten the skin with an emphasis on powdery lemon. Gummy jasmine and plush florals (violet, narcissus, iris, and rose) are warmed by the delicately sugared Guerlinade. And the Guerlinade, and sensual musk mix with amber to create the buttery richness of decadent toffee.
Top notes: bergamot, lemon, ylang-ylang, peach and green notes. Middle notes: jasmine, iris, narcissus, violet and rose. Base notes: sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean, amber, and musk.
Nose: Jean Paul Guerlain
Eau de Cologne Imperiale (Guerlain 1853) is an herbal beauty is cedar and citrus with a particularly piny lemon and crisp bergamot at the opening. Rosemary, lemon verbena and neroli mix into the dry down and it’s similar to No. 4711 but there’s that perfectly balanced, and very elegant Guerlinade that adds a special charm.
Top notes: orange, citruses, lemon verbena, neroli, bergamot, and lemon. Base notes: rosemary, tonka bean, and cedar.
Nose: Pierre Francois Pascal Guerlain
Eau de Guerlain (Guerlain 1974) is fresh lemon with stunning hints of crisp green basil and mint. Then there’s the comforting and lovely depth of neroli, rose, carnation combined with sandalwood and patchouli. But it’s primarily a refreshing scent without being cold in the slightest. And were it not for supple notes like oakmoss, amber and gentle musk at the base it’s almost reminiscent of Guerlain’s more recent Herba Fresca. However, I prefer Eau de Guerlain. Unequivocally.
Top notes: fruity notes, basil, bergamot, and lemon. Middle notes: caraway, carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, lavender, jasmine, mint, bergamot, and rose. Base notes: amber, musk, oakmoss, and neroli.
Nose: Jean Claude Guerlain
Sweet, gummy jasmine and velvety tuberose open Jardins de Bagatelle (Guerlain 1983). Succulent narcissus, gardenia and ylang-ylang enshrine the other florals with dainty yet effusive lily-of-the-valley humming a gentle, sugary tune. This is a luxurious scent in the bold 1980’s style with a lot of tenderness too.
Into the drydown the quiet, damp warmth of barely detectable but earthy patchouli accompanies sensual musk. Nearly sharp vetiver and subtle cedar add even more depth, creating an exquisite beauty.
Jardins de Bagatelle is opulent, round and bouyant without being oppressive or cloying. It’s a truly lovely fragrance…
Top notes: aldehydes, jasmine, violet, lemon and bergamot. Middle notes: orchid, gardenia, orange blossom, narcissus, rose, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley, tuberose, and magnolia. Base notes: vetiver, neroli, musk, cedar, tuberose, and patchouli.
Nose: Jean-Paul Guerlain
A sweet clover and fresh, vibrant lemon open Herba Fresca (Guerlain 1999) leading the way to an aromatic mint note of great exuberance and an earthy herbal green tea. Into the drydown the florals become more noticeable with a delicate and perfectly mint infused lily-of-the-valley. Herba Fresca is effortlessly lovely, crisp, and unisex. And although it is perhaps a mostly warm weather scent, it adds a certain elegant and fresh cheerfulness that can be quite nice all year round.
Top notes: clover, and lemon. Middle notes: mint and green tea. Base notes: cyclamen and lily-of-the-valley.
Pamplelune is decidedly unisex (Guerlain 1999). This aquatic citrus beauty opens with a clean, almost masculine presence. But as it continues it’s also a bit sweet like a contemporary feminine fragrance.
Pamplelune is gentle and elegant. There’s a subtle sharp edge, and a brightness. And into the drydown it has the uncanny olfactory effect created by peeling a citrus fruit piece by piece, particularly grapefruit.
Top notes: bergamot and grapefruit. Middle notes: cassia, neroli, and petitgrain. Base notes: vanilla and patchouli.
Green, natural and fetching lily-of-the-valley and jasmine start Jasminora (Guerlain 2011). Clean bergamot and freesia quietly, and gracefully appear moments after. And then the jasmine truly asserts itself, overtaking all other notes. It shines. Beautifully.
Top notes: cyclamen, galbanum, and bergamot. Middle notes: jasmine, freesia, and lily-of-the-valley. Base notes: amber and musk.
La Petit Robe Noire Couture (Guerlain 2014) is a sweet, tonka bean, gourmand raspberry. Yes. But oh, it’s gourmet gourmand… With the perfect Guerlinade patchouli it’s a fruity, juicy chypre in the best sort of way…
Top notes: bergamot and raspberry. Middle note: rose. Base notes: tonka bean, patchouli and moss.
Nose: Thierry Wasser