Hidden Gem – Review: Guerlain Cologne du 68

I received a sample of Guerlain du 68 with something else, so I never actively sought it out. I applied it expecting a fleeting citrus cologne in the classical manner. That is something I like well enough, but I don’t find it worth the money and effort most of the time, due to its fleeting nature. (That is why I love Atelier Cologne so much, inspired idea!)

But I was in for a surprise with Cologne du 68.

It was created by perfumer Sophie Labbé in 2006 and was exclusive to the Paris store, but is in slightly wider distribution since 2008. Cologne du 68 is named after the house number of La Maison Guerlain on Champs Elysees in Paris. It is supposed to have 68 notes, that may be true or not, in any case 68 are listed on the package.

They are as follows: bergamot, green mandarin, citron, clementine, cedrat, blood orange, limette, grapefruit, basil, fennel, star anise, lavender, bay leaf, cypress, elemi, thyme, myrtle, bigarade, mandarin petitgrain, lemon petitgrain, pear, violet leaves, ivy leaves, gentiana, sap, blackcurrant, freesia, lily of the valley, hazelnut leaf, cyclamen, cardamom, coriander, black pepper, pink pepper, nutmeg, ginger, jasmine, frangipani, magnolia, orange blossom, peony, rose, carnation, ylang ylang, lychee, fig, blackberry, immortelle, lentisque, opoponax, amber, benzoin, vanilla, cistus, heliotrope, iris, tonka bean, sage, musk, patchouli, agarwood, cedar, sandalwood, vetiver, vegetable musk, praline, myrrh and moss.

Cologne du 68 opens as hundreds of other colognes do, with an invigorating burst of citrus notes. The top notes are amazingly bright and clear, like a soprano singing a Schubert Lied in C Major. But soon the surprise creeps in in the form of increasing minor-ness to stay in the musical simile. The tone changes, the perfume becomes darker, muted, lies in shadow. There is a strong anisic note together with dark green leaves that lend Cologne du 68 a gravity that is unexpected. It continues to change towards warmth and spiciness, cardamom, coriander, pepper, nutmeg and ginger make up a spicy cocktail that suffuses the floral notes now emerging, before leading Cologne du 68 into a lovely (and fairly long-wearing) drydown that is dominated by a warm and creamy, Guerlain-typical gourmand amber-vanilla-wood accord.

To put it short: I love it.

It is a wonderful, surprising perfume, that grabs me in every phase of its development, as different as they are.

For me Cologne du 68 is a sleeper hit among the modern Guerlains. Shame it is not in wide distribution, I would recommend everyone to try it. It is perfect for both genders, and adequate for most occasions. A true gem!

Picture source: Alastair Miller via dailymail.co.uk, gemstone courtesy of Photo8.com, thank you!

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
This entry was posted in Citrus, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Guerlain and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Hidden Gem – Review: Guerlain Cologne du 68

  1. lady jane grey says:

    You scared me off with the anise…

  2. Tara says:

    Isn’t it great when you don’t have high hopes for a sample but it turns out to be something you love? Good to hear that this is long-lasting for a cologne and has the lovely Guerlain dry-down. Like Lady Jane Grey, I’m wary of the anise, but will give it a try if I get the chance. Hope to purchase one of the many Guerlain colognes this summer.

  3. I love anise, coriander, ginger, pepper…. another one for the wishlist! :)

  4. lady jane grey says:

    Come-on, there is no need to pout : we love you in spite of the anise !

  5. Victoria says:

    Isn’t it fantastic! I also adore Cologne du 68, and I keep going back to it. A very special fragrance and for someone who expects just a light, gentle cologne, it will be a surprising discover. It is rich, yet fresh, an interesting blend.

  6. deeHowe says:

    There are a few colognes in my collection (and two Guerlains) but I don’t reach for them often enough—I think because after that first burst, I kind of feel let down. While I like to re-apply throughout the day, I don’t want to do it ten times! Cd68, on the other hand… sounds yummy! I love coriander, and am always keeping my nose alert for whiffs of it :)

  7. Lisa says:

    Oooh, this sounds lovely. I am another fan of anise, ginger, nutmeg … etc. etc.! I will have to look for this. And now I will know to wait out the citrus phase. :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Lisa, I hope you find it, let me know how you like it! :)

      • Lisa says:

        I just had to come back and report. Got my hand on this (or got this on my hand, rather) a few days ago, and … I love it! The opening was indeed *much* too citrusy for me, but it mellowed into such a luscious, easy to wear scent. Thanks for the review!

        • Olfactoria says:

          How nice of you to come back and let me know you love Cologne du 68. It is really far from your regulat citrus scent, isn’t it? I am glad you like it! Have a great weekend, Lisa! :)

  8. JoanElaine says:

    Sounds just lovely. I love a good cologne! I’m hoping to have a few drops of this very soon courtesy of a swap!

  9. Andrew says:

    Just purchased a bottle of 68, based on reviews only, I love it and can’t wait to get home and test it on my wife, a Shalimar girl only for 30 years..Andrew

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