At the mothership, the Paris Guerlain boutique. I’m trusting y’all not to stalk me!
Après L’ondée is probably my most-worn Guerlain. This is because Après L’ondée is more palatable to modern tastes than the other old-school Guerlains, by which I mean that it is much less likely than its contemporaries (Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, Jicky) to elicit gagging noises from Perfume Muggles. Après L’ondée is a somewhat utilitarian fragrance for me, since it is what I wear when I need an inoffensive perfume. But of course, Après L’ondée is so much more than inoffensive.
Après L’ondée is an exquisitely gentle fragrance, a delicate composition that tenderly evokes the smell of sweet violets soaked in rain. Its anisic top notes evoke its sister fragrance, L’Heure Bleue, but the remainder of Après L’ondée is entirely original. Après L’ondée is said to have been inspired by the Impressionist movement of its era, and it does invoke the same wistful loveliness that one sees in Monet’s water lilies or in Renoir’s lush women. Après L’ondée is frusturatingly elusive: it can only be found in two places in the world (the Paris boutique and Bergdorf Goodman), and it has absolutely zero lasting power. It’s still worth it.
First, what’s up with the ad? Homegirl appears to be a mermaid android, and while that’s all well and good, where do the orchids fit in? Do mermaid androids have proms? There were definitely no proms in The Little Mermaid. I call shenanigans.
Oh, I guess they do have orchids. My bad.
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Jasminora is a lively, clean-scrubbed perfume that is really more of a lily of the valley scent than jasmine. It is completely non-indolic, and true jasmine lovers would most likely find it unsatisfying. I usually feel overpowered by the richness of traditional jasmine fragrances, so I find Guerlain’s latest Aqua Allegoria to be very pleasant. In the unlikely event that I would wear a jasmine fragrance, this would be a strong contender.
I think that Jasminora has the potential to become very popular with the young whippersnappers. It’s citrusy enough to be youthful, and it smells so much nicer than most of the current fragrances targeted towards the youth market. Between Jasminora and the recent Shalimar Initial, Guerlain appears to be doggedly pursuing the hearts and wallets of younger women. Personally, I have my doubts about the wisdom of this marketing choice. It’s been an awfully long time since it was scandalous to wear Shalimar. Justin Bieber’s fragrance was the top-selling perfume of 2011. Is an old-school brand like Guerlain really going to be able to attract all those Bieber-buyers? But assuming that they are successful (and God knows, I wish them well), I would much rather have to constantly smell Jasminora than Shalimar Parfum Initial.
AA Pamplelune is a vibrant, acidic grapefruit fragrance with those herbaceous Guerlain underpinnings. Grapefruits are my favorite citrus fruit, and Pamplelune is the most accurate and enjoyable rendition of a grapefruit that I have ever come across. Its energizing and uplifting properties would make it an ideal summer scent, but for one little problem: I am afraid to wear it out of the house. Makeup Alley reviewers repeatedly declare that Pamplelune smells of “cat pee” and “body odor”. One review even states, “I personally loved the smell of this going on me… [but] it is clearly perceived as B.O. by others.” I am legitimately puzzled. How could such a gorgeous grapefruit scent inspire such revulsion? Does the same perfume that makes me feel happy and alert really remind others of a litter box desperately in need of cleaning? I would definitely still recommend Pamplelune, but obviously you wear it at your own risk.
As the (somewhat reluctant) owner of a turtle, I have to say that I’m not even really sure what “cat pee” smells like. Can anyone comment on whether Pamplelune is indeed urinous?
Imagine what would happen if the lovely Dita von Teese went onto one of those awful makeover shows. After a few snide remarks about how “old-fashioned” she looks, they would no doubt replace her red lipstick and retro-fabulous wardrobe with low-rise jeans, halter tops, and goopy pink lipgloss. The end result might well still be attractive, but Dita would have lost the glamour that made her so special in the first place. I’m sure y’all can see where I’m going with this.
Shalimar Parfum Initial represents a similar transformation. Shalimar’s in there somewhere, if you squint hard enough, but its luscious lemon has been replaced by generic “pink” notes and an overwhelming amount of patchouli. I was honestly repulsed the first time that I smelled Parfum Initial. I still do not find it particularly pleasant, even compared to its pink patchouli peers. Parfum Initial is far from an improvement on Shalimar, and is honestly unworthy of Guerlain.
In the BBC’s perfume documentary, perfumer Thierry Wasser states that he is working on a “pink Shalimar”, but does not have a formula for it yet. This, in my opinion, is Parfum Initial’s downfall. Wasser was clearly crafting a perfume around an image, rather than an image around the perfume. Some of Wasser’s other contributions to Guerlain’s distinguished range include the Narciso Rodriguez rip-off Idylle and the dreadful Iris Ganache. I find myself feeling a bit concerned for Guerlain.
Yesterday we discussed My Insolence, an unfortunate example of When Guerlain Goes Wrong. Today I have the happier task of reviewing a a perfume where Guerlain got it right, the sadly discontinued Meteorites. I suspect that might have had something to do with the fact that the bottle most closely resembles a bottle of nail polish. Seriously, I keep mistaking it for a topcoat.
Meteorites is meant to be an amplification of the fragrance found in Guerlain’s famously violet-infused Meteorites face powder. The scent is not quite the same- Meteorites perfume has a chilly touch of iris that is altogether absent from the face powder- but Guerlain did succeed in evoking the spirit of these indecently luxurious, glistening pearls.
Despite having been released as recently as 2000, Meteorites’ notes of violet, iris and heliotrope give it a charmingly old-fashioned character. Some don’t consider “old-fashioned” to be a desirable quality in a perfume, but to me this sweetly musty violet scent speaks of glamour. Red tubes of lipstick, an oversized powder puff, crystal vases brimming with calla lilies. Meteorites is a deeply feminine perfume, just the girlish beauty that I had mistakenly believed My Insolence to be. To be worn with bright pink lipstick and the flirtatious cherry-studded sundress Marilyn Monroe wore in The Misfits.