Tag Archives: Caramel

Mon Guerlain by Guerlain

 

“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.

 

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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.

 

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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?

 

 

 

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My Favourite Bottled Lavender – Kiki Extrait de Parfum by Vero Profumo

The ingenue grows up…

Notes: Cassis, Lavender Essence, Bergamot, Lemon, Caramel, Lavender Absolute, Geranium, Ambergris, Opoponax, Patchouli and Musk

 

Independent perfumers generally seem to me to make fragrances that feel a lot more personal. This is probably because they have the freedom to put so much of their own vision into them. Their creations often have strong characters that evoke a person, place or emotion. Vero Profumo’s Onda Voile d’Extrait triggered so many feelings in me, as did Rozy.

Another gem from Vero Kern that has my vivid imagination racing, is the fabulous Kiki Extrait de Parfum.

Only the alchemy performed by Vero could make the impossible possible: She created a lavender-centred perfume that even people who think they can’t abide lavender, fall in love with.

In Kiki, Vero turns the traditional use of lavender on its head. Instead of being cold, herbal and masculine-leaning she makes it warm, feminine and even flirty. Who would have thought it?

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I was already won over by the sprayable Kiki Voile d’Extrait as you can read here, but Kiki Extrait de Parfum takes me to new heights.

Its inviting from the very first encounter, welcoming me by rolling out a plush purple carpet. There’s no sharp lavender opening, just a sense of complete ease and abandon. The inspired use of caramel brings out that self-same facet found in Lavender Absolute and this is what transmutes the material from medicinal to sensual.

If Kiki Voile d’Extrait is an ingenue, then Kiki Extrait is the same woman a couple of years on; more polished and knowing but with the same joie de vivre.

Kiki is steeped in Paris.

The city is her playground as she spends the day free-wheeling with artists and intellectuals and the evening trysting with her amour. The couple whisper sweet nothings in a dimly illuminated corner booth…

 

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During a busy day at work I suddenly thought “Something smells really good, what did I put on today?”. The answer was Kiki Extrait. Even though it’s pure parfum which is designed to be dabbed rather than sprayed, it has enough throw for you to enjoy it as you concentrate on other things. It’s a multi-faceted jewel radiating soft amethyst light.

Perhaps its the tension between the cool tones of lavender and the warmth of caramel that makes it so addictive – the usually frigid Lavender softens and melts in Caramel’s heated embrace. Perhaps it’s the blackcurrant pulp which adds that surprising touch of nonchalance. Or maybe it’s simply her womanly yet playful nature that captures your heart.

Whatever it is, wearing Kiki is pure Parisian pleasure.

 

Do you know Kiki? Have you found a lavender to love?

 

 

 

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