I was awaiting Idylle Duet rather impatiently for a mainstream flanker launch. Probably because I had already heard many good things about it and because I rather like Idylle, which is a nice fragrance if you don’t expect it to knock your socks off.
I called it “one of many” in my review from last fall and I am still of that opinion. Now what about Duet? Is it another chop of the same block? A step in another direction?
I got the full marketing treatment when I sought out Idylle Duet at the department store. A Guerlain representative was there and was obviously desperate for someone half willing to listen to her fascinating story of the latest patchouli harvest! Nodding at regular intervals and otherwise – desperate all right! – trying to close my ears to her hair-raising drivel (bringing to mind old traumata), I tried to concentrate on the scent I applied to my arm.
Notes include rose, patchouli, freesia, jasmine, lilly of the valley, peony and white musk. It was created by Thierry Wasser.
I wouldn’t have thought Duet to be related to Idylle, had I smelled it unknowingly.
There is a dominant rose note complimented by the much touted “super-special rare patchouli previously never used in a fragrance” (How stupid do you think I am, good woman?). The rather sparkling and luminous floral accord I like in the original Idylle and that gives it its character is absent here and I am not sure if the new emphasis in Duet is enough to entice me. I got the impression of the whole thing being rather thin and a bit sour. I don’t want to trash it, but I am hard pressed finding less harsh words.
The other recent rose-patchouli fragrance comes to mind of course, but comparing Portrait of a Lady with Idylle Duet is rather like comparing Beethoven’s Ninth played by the New York Philharmonic with full choir and world-class soloists with “Freude, schöner Götterfunken!” sung by my son’s Kindergarten group (and they are not bad, mind you, just a bit hampered by overexitement and a few weak links ;))
Thankfully I now know that “Mister Wassler” [sic] personally saw to it that Idylle Duet was only made of “a few select roses harvested last year and therefore long gone” and if I didn’t buy this precious gem right now its presence at the store tomorrow could not be guaranteed any more (You don’t say! I strongly suspect this is true for everything!)
Despite the enthusiastic and learned observations of this heartwarmingly dedicated Guerlain SA, I did actually resist buying Duet and it was not hard to do. (To her utter disappointment and incredulity: “But it is limited Edition…”).
I must say I rather like the box Duet comes in, it is the same style as for the excellent Shalimar flanker of 2010 Ode a la Vanille. The bottle is the same in shape as for the original Idylle, but it is rose-gold rather than yellow-gold and the juice – yes, it is pink! It comes in 35ml Eau de Parfum.
There is also a extra limited Edition within the limited Edition (gotta love that!): a Swarowski-crystal embossed flacon presented in a silk-lined wooden box. So if you really love Duet, here is the way to spend some extra money on it. ;)
On a side note: Wouldn’t it be a grand idea for Guerlain to actually train their employees?
I am sure the lovely, if a little overly made-up Guerlain representative I met at the department store would have had the mental capacity to reproduce in an understandable fashion the correct information pertaining to a perfume, a perfumer or an entire perfume house. It cannot be an issue of this singular woman, because haven’t we all met one or more of this species?
I am sure, aside from the hardworking “Mr. Wassler”, there are people at Guerlain who know what they are doing, wouldn’t it be a good thing for a company to employ people who get the tools to do their job properly? Wouldn’t that improve the image of said company (and it is not only Guerlain, ha, I wish it were limited to Guerlain!) enormously?
But obviously I have not the first idea about how business is done, so I better forever hold my peace.
And I’ll leave Idylle Duet to those who appreciate super-special patchouli.