Guerlain: L'art et la Matière - Three random picks

Here's three random picks I reviewed from Guerlain's renowned "L'art et la Matière" exclusive series.


Cruel Gardenia

Year: 2008
Nose: Randa Hammami, Sylvaine Delacourte

Nice and pleasant opening of rose and gardenia, with a fruity pomegranate note and an almost bittersweet touch like rose pepper or pimiento, a substantial dose of aldehydes, a nice green leafy feel and a earthy patchouli note (I know half of this it's not listed: still this is what I smell). Soft and cozy base of sweet sandalwood and white musks, soft and cozy as a freshly-cleaned super soft pillow – so nor creamy neither powdery. A bright, golden, elegant but lively and vibrant fragrance, quite multi-faceted – it has a slight spicy-saffron note, a super slight boozy hint, with herbaceous/natural and floral echoes, and just the right amount of synthetic which gives it the "right" shape, roundness, overall transparency and contemporaneity. Besides, it eventually emerges a peculiar and really interesting salty note which smells just like the skin of a woman wearing a scent under the sun, so there is "the scent" but also a hint of salty skin-sweat (I don't mean "bad-smelling" sweat, just that tiny translucent layer you have after having spent an afternoon under the sun - or... doing some other equally hot activities, if you get what I mean). Which gives a really sensual, materic skin-like shape to this. Good persistence and projection. Not a masterpiece given we're talking about Guerlain, but really good!



Bois d'Arménie

Year: 2006
Nose: Annick Menardo

Pungent, sticky, dense woody-balsamic opening, with some floral notes accidentally entangled in this syrup, a caramelised vibe with anise notes, and a quite realistic, dry, dark aromatic note – the guaiac wood, softened by an incense fog which makes it smell dustier and darker. Earthy patchouli and a subtle fresh breeze. A bag of spices, and a hint of vanilla. Finally, a round, discreet, powdery and bit plastic iris note. Once it settles on the skin, it slowly becomes unexpectedly more and more bright and luminous, something that really "opens up" your nose – perhaps it's some particularly balsamic incense accord, however it's nice and aerial. It then evolves on a spicy/medicinal accord with floral notes and a woody base, and a thin, rarified but palpable smoky/incense meditative breeze all around. Pleasant, interesting, intriguing, really aromatic, worth a try. Weak persistence.



Cuir Beluga

Year: 2005
Nose: Olivier Polge

The opening is elegant, aerial and captivating, with a mellow, silky, sumptuous and super soft suede note sided with a subtle aromatic woods note, in a rich, dusty cloud of vanilla and talcum, blended with a floral-spicy heart (saffron, cumin?). If you inspire with more strength you detect a dry, dark far base, which may be the "below side" of suede, with anise notes and a bitter, crunchy, subtle herbal feel. Quite a deep scent, with a strong "dimensionality", rounded by a "Guerlinade" of aldehydic vanillin-orris. Also I agree with the references to Shalimar, this smells quite like a "futuristic" tribute. As minutes pass the green-suede accord emerges better, with a bittersweet, almost animalic feel dusted with a talcum-vanilla powder – unpredictable, but really elegant and quite sensual too, also because of a slight salty "skin" note. To sum up: a powdery suede-vanilla accord with spices and a slight metallic feel, developed in a translucent, aerial, deep, cozy richness, with a peculiar personality which i am not able to describe – just try it. Not a gourmand, though; it's all quite breezy and ethereal, don't expect any "thickness". Big promises which however, sadly, are then partially disappointed: in fact, after a while it just starts to "fall apart", many notes vanish one after another, like in a dream just before waking up, when "stuff" around you starts to disappear (actually it never happened to me as far as I remember, but in movies it happens often). And you end up with a generic, still nice but a bit "pointless" drydown of vanilla on a subtle metallic-suede base. Actually more than losing notes, it loses in depth and width. The drydown, however, lasts for ages and it's not bad. An interesting fragrance which for me, is worth a try. I tested the old version (darker juice), I am given to understand the more recent one is lighter and more delicate.


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