Tonka Impériale by Guerlain (2010)

Nose: Thierry Wasser

Guerlain goes back to its majesty. I am not really a fan of tonka, so I procrastinated the approach to this scent. Which contrary to what I feared, is great. Beyond great! The opening is pure beauty, a sophisticated, rich, golden cornucopia of vanilla, amber, resins, aldehydes, jasmine, all together bringing in triumph a complex, faceted, rich, tremendously high-quality tonka note, well supported by a sweet, humid, rooty tobacco note. A warm, fairly unisex Oriental blend, slightly fruity too, refined and sumptuous and terribly pleasant to wear (at least for a while, especially for its first phase), well framed by a gentle breeze of petals and aromatic herbs which give this Oriental gem a touch of elegance halfway French and Mediterranean. The tonka note is perfect: dense, vibrant, round, precious, not cloying (to me it is, quite often) and not too almondy-roasted. It smells fresher and more vibrant than usual, partially probably due to its quality, partially to the simple yet totally clever composition which effortlessly enhances its nuances – from earthy to sweet. The tobacco note works perfectly in keeping the blend literally “down to earth”, providing a shady whiff of smoke, contrasting with while flowers and citrus bringing their sunrays in. And in the middle, this vibrating, warm heart of gold made of amber, vanilla and tonka. Great and elegant silky-talc drydown, discreet and still carrying soft hints of tobacco and vanilla, with no synthetic aftertaste. A perfect blend of richness and Exoticism painted with French grace and sumptuosity, great and irresistible from the very first sniff to the last second on skin. Smells, and is, hell expensive, but (finally!) for a reason. Fantastic, and for me easily the best from this “exclusive” line.


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