“My invisible tattoo, my fragrance, Mon Guerlain.”
Notes: Bergamot, Carla Lavender, Paradisone (radiant floral), Coumarin, Iris, Vanilla Tahitensis, Sambac Jasmine and Album Sandalwood.
Guerlain has long been the perfume house I’ve most admired. They are not a designer brand that does fragrance on the side to bring in the big bucks – they have only ever been about the scent.
However, a while ago I gave up on their new releases because for me, they never lived up to the promise of the past. I tried to switch-off and content myself with the classics, such as my holy grail, Vol de Nuit. However, it’s hard to ignore this recent big launch, especially as they have Angelina Jolie fronting the ad campaign.
Mon Guerlain may have some nicely musty lavender in its top notes along with some citrus sparkle but this is no 21st century Jicky. Guerlain categorise it as a “fresh oriental” although I’d describe it as a gourmand with a feather-light fougère accord (which comes from the combination of lavender and hay-like coumarin).
I wasn’t surprised that Mon Guerlain is another sugary confection, especially given the pink juice, but you might have expected otherwise if you knew the inspiration was Angelina’s “strong, free and sensual femininity”.
Perhaps it’s naive to think it would – or should – reflect anything other that what is popular right now. The last time I looked, the number one selling perfume in France was still the iris-drowning-in-caramel that is La Vie Est Belle.
Mon Guerlain is nowhere near as invasive as the Lancome, or even Chanel’s Allure which features a similarly frothy cloud of candy floss, albeit it at fifty times the volume. Unlike most other modern gourmands, Mon Guerlain is surprisingly soft spoken. There’s not much throw, which is an asset in my view. At least that closeness to the skin echoes a kind of tattoo-like intimacy.
Admittedly, I have a low tolerance for sweetness in perfume and am not generally a fan of this style but I still think it’s a shame that we no longer have to wait for the trademark Guerlain vanilla base. It used to be that you had time to anticipate your dessert – now it arrives with the starter. It also makes the fragrance less sophisticated because it’s missing that air of mystique. Mon Guerlain isn’t bad, it’s just not very compelling.
Without contrast there is no tension and without tension there is no excitement, no drama, no addiction. For that, see the coquettish caramelised lavender of Kiki by Vero Profumo who incidentally, had the fragrance as tattoo concept with Rozy back in 2014.
It’s funny, I commented on Bonkers About Perfume the other week about how I wasn’t pro negative reviews, but hopefully it’s clear I’m coming from the perspective of a long-time Guerlain fan and heavens knows they won’t be affected by what I write.
It’s not my Guerlain but it may still be yours.
How have you fared with Guerlain’s releases of the last decade or so?
31 responses to “Mon Guerlain by Guerlain”
What a brilliant line ” It used to be that you had time to anticipate your dessert – now it arrives with the starter.”
I am totally on the same page as you Tara. I’m waiting for the caramel Tsunami to pass but I fear it’s here to stay judging by the sales figures. I too was underwhelmed by Mon Guerlain, although I hope it revives a taste for lavender.
An excellent review!
Thanks, Sam. I think this style is here to stay but I hope in the future there won’t be quite so much of it. It’s really tedious when it’s not your thing but every other new release smells like it.
“Underwhelmed” is right!
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I completely get what you’re aiming at, and applaud you for the way you describe what’s disappointing to you about Mon Parfum.
Well, pink juice is kind of a sign that it won’t be my kind of perfume, and I won’t rush out to try it either. You mentioning la Vie est Belle, and its iris drowning in caramel, made me think why Guerlain wouldn’t dare to make a mainstream version of Iris ganache instead? Basically do a LPRN, being the front runners, twist a unique perfume into a mainstream but keeping a bit of its soul… ah well, wishful thinking.
I appreciate that, Asali and so agree that it’s a shame Guerlain don’t dare to be a front runner.
Good point also about releasing something like Iris Genache whose day seems to finally have come. From what I hear, Mon Guerlain is a version of Mon Exclusif anyway.
Or how about a balls-to-the-wall vanilla to show the others how it’s done?
Yup, another great idea. Perhaps the materials are too expensive, or it’s really all about doing the mass market…
Yes, it’s all about mass market appeal to bring in the cash, not spend it.
Hi Tara, I loved reading your take on this. To be honest, I like sweet perfumes and actually enjoyed Mon Guerlain. Angelina Jolie is a great celebrity for this IMHO and to say the least – the bottle is beautiful. Have a great week. Sandra xo
It’s great to hear you enjoyed it. I know you love your sweet perfumes. It’s so cool they’ve brought back the quadrilobe bottle.
I am so pleased to see you demolish this clearly underwhelming offering and thanks for linking to my ‘dissing’ post. I have to say that even without having tried Mon Guerlain, lavender and caramel didn’t strike me as the most felicitous of bedfellows. That said, I have a much greater tolerance for caramel notes than you – or it would seem Sam from her comment. I didn’t like Angel Muse for example, but I LOVE Prada Candy and I think that anyone who likes that one might not be averse to La Vie est Belle, which I am wearing today specifically to check its toffee levels. So far so good, but I get that a hater of sweet wouldn’t fare well with it.
Your own tolerance for sweetness will play a huge part, V, it’s true.
I thought Prada Candy was original and very well done, matching the caramel with benzoin.
I really liked the first few minutes, and had such high hopes, thinking that I could tolerate the swirl of sweetness that sat with the lavender at the top. It was *pretty*. And then my teeth started curling up as it got sweeter and sweeter. And sweeter. Blimey. Too much for me. But that’s ok, I have Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue, VdN, and Jicky to love from Guerlain. (And I get my lavender/tonka smooth happiness from Fourreau Noir, which on me delivers only petit-four-sized sweetness into the mix)
A friend of mine has fallen in love with Mon Guerlain though, and it makes her happy enough to be contemplating a wee bottle… so, that’s something.
Well, you have a lovely Guerlain collection to content yourself with, that’s for sure.
Yes, it gets a lot sweeter pretty quickly after the bright opening.
I wonder if people get on better with Mon Guerlain if they don’t know and love the classics? Which I guess is most people.
I’ve never tried Fourreau Noir but you make it sound interesting.
I’d be happy to send you a wee sample/decant of the FN if you’d like to try it. I think it’s gorgeous.
I think you’re right–if you don’t have a taste for unsweetened classics, something like MG probably seems worlds away from the existing mainstream of ever-expanding, nuclear sweetie clouds. (But, I do love the old Grande Dames of Guerlain and do my best to fight against the siren calls of the vintage juice on ebay…)
(That said, there can be a lot of pastry/cake in guerlainade…)
Thanks very much for the offer, Crikey. I’ll read a bit more about it.
Oh it is hard to resist going vintage, especially as the old Guerlains smell so much better generally in the old formulations. Dior too though. I will be giving in to vintage Miss Dior at some point.
Yes, there’s always been pastry in Guerlainade but was never the whole story. I sound like a moany old woman!
Fantastic review. I don’t need to smell it now.
Thanks Neil! You have much more of a sweet tooth than me but then again you have great taste so not sure how you’ll get on with this.
Ah yes but I’m not tacky. Commercial gourmands have that ‘vanilla’ at the end I find plump, obvious and vulgar; that whole ‘Saturday night slag’ vibe.
The last thing you are is tacky. Mon Guerlain is far from vulgar but frothy and girlie.
That I can bear to smell at least once!
Oh do and I hope to read your take on it.
I honestly can’t be bothered. Yours said it all ( I liked I Scent You A Day’s as well).
Haha, fair enough.
This is a lovely dissing post, Tara. I am never too sure about the no negative review rule…sometimes needs must. 🙂
I have just found that out! Thanks, Sabine.
I must be ignorant, or bored (or boring…), but I didn’t even know there is a new fragrance by Guerlain out there. After rading your review I was (un)lucky enough to promptly find it at the Tax-free shop at Frankfurt Airport. Boy oh boy… I found it a generic, plasticky, girlie pink scent – without originality or charm. For sure didn’t help that I don’t like A.J. either …
You were unlikely to get on with anything this girlie, M. You’re right about it being generic which is the most disappointing aspect considering it’s a Guerlain.
Just from looking at the list of notes Mon Guerlain looks like Mon Exclusif for poor, and since I wasn’t that impressed by the latter, I don’t think I need even try this new perfume. I also liked the line about dessert 🙂
Hopefully, this one won’t become “modern classic” and will get discontinued soon.
Yes, it’s weird how they seem to keep recycling their compositions. This is the third time I can think of. I wouldn’t be too impressed it I’d splashed out for Mon Exclusif. Very odd.
I shudder at the thought of it becoming a modern classic!
Love your truth Lady! Very nicely said Tara, too frothy and girlie doesn’t appeal to me either. Mass market is the aim for this Guerlain.
I have been given La vie est belle as a gift, and it’s not my favourite, but wear it to work sometimes.
Ha! Thanks, Anna Maria. It is a mainstream release so they’re going to go for the mass market, it makes sense. I guess I expect too much of Guerlain these days.
What an awesome post, hun! Very pretty and very well presented. You are a great writer, too! My favorite perfume is Jaipur by Guerlain. I also love their Kiss Kiss lipstick, their Kohl eyeliner and their bronzing pearls! All fabulous products and in such beautiful and elegant packaging, too! It reallt makes me feel special each time I am using them.
If you want to see some fabulous outfit pairings and fashion show reviews, you should click this link to my blog, view and come and follow me:
I have the perfect clothes, shoes and bags to go with your perfect perfume! It is incredibly trés chic!!
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