Guerlain Homme Intense by Guerlain (2009)

Nose: Thierry Wasser

Guerlain Homme Intense is one of those scents which seem deceptively “generic”, while instead scream quality and class like a very few others. All is quality for me here: the materials, the composition, the evolution. Still keeping it incredibly versatile and crowdpleasing. You can enjoy a crisp office scent without caring about its subtle superb quality, or you can dive into it and amaze yourself with Guerlain’s heritage on display – because, yes, Guerlain Homme Intense still belongs to “the great Guerlain’s” (unlike, for instance, L’Homme Idéale). Citrus, bergamot, bracing mint and its floral counterpart – geranium, other floral notes, bitter grass, a crunchy rhubharb note, a drop of rhum, sharp cozy woods. Dozens of mainstream green-woody perfumes feature these same notes, but what once was “the Guerlain treatment” brings them all up to another level here. Which is the real of pure understated elegance. You just have to smell this to get what I mean. It’s a matter of radiance, richness, a perfect balance of realisticness, deepness and “polished” cleanliness. Then, all nuances are just so deep and sparkling, morphing and evolving under your nose, in a subtle but totally perceivable way.

Homme Intense starts with a bracing, invigoranting and fresh slap of citrus, mint and grassy notes, then slowly revealing a warmer heart of rhum, geranium, pepper and woods, slowly drifting to an incredibly refined drydown which features a throwback in time – a really old-school, top notch quality smoky-salty vetiver note. Which is dry and woody, but perfectly enriched by rhum and made greener by a nondescript sort of bracing grassy-floral accord. All – I mean, all! – of these notes, try to imagine them in the best quality and crispness possible, blended together in a bright, cozy blend fitting you like a bespoke suit. Pure delight. The texture is clean and transparent, mostly green-woody with a slightly more unusual palette of nuances – rhum, rhubarb, a slight earthy-vegetable feel reminding me of good old Coriolan... Everything is perfectly safe and classic, even slightly formal, yet perfectly contemporary, as an everyday fragrance for “the modern elegant men” is meant to be. Fresh and sensual. This is my idea of modern luxury in a bottle; high quality and discreet elegance – and don’t have me started speaking about quality versus price, ‘cause the price of Guerlain Homme Intense makes any other self-claimed “luxury” scent look more ridicoulous than they already are. The only flaw of this fragrance is that maybe it is... a tad really too “apparently-generic” to be appreciated as it deserves. If I was more presumptuous I would rate this “for connoisseurs only”, but – aside from being uselessly pretentious – that wouldn’t do justice to the versatility and the positive “crowdpleasing” nature of this fragrance. Just, don’t underrate this.


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