“Whoever Loves Me Will Follow!” – Review: Guerlain Insolence

I never even bothered with Insolence. Truth be told, I roundly dismissed it as not worthy to be smelled. How snobbish is that? But to my defense, it comes in a highly questionable bottle (by Serge Mansau – he and I will never see eye to eye), it is pink, it is called Insolence, it really asks to be ignored, Guerlain or not.

Dee on Beauty on the Outside had written a damning review and sent me a vial, and going from her review, I was in no hurry indeed to apply the pink juice.

But it seems there is a time and place for everything. I recently applied a spritz of Frederic Malle’s Lipstick Rose, more out of a sense of duty, since it was the only Malle I had no sample of and never tested on skin. Promptly, I fell in love in the hours afterwards, such a lovely perfume. But budget and circumstances did not allow for more Lipstick Rose at the moment so I branched out and took a sniff through my sample box on the hunt for something similar.

To Dream by Sonoma Scent Studio was the first violet rose contender and it was a resounding success. L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Drole de Rose -well, not so much. It is too thin and rosy and altogether inconsequential to me. The more violet-leaning perfumes I tried at the time like Tom Ford Violet Blonde and good old Aprés L’Ondée are great, but did not exactly satisfy my Lipstick Rose craving.

Enter Insolence

Created in 2006 by Maurice Roucel (a good sign!), Insolence includes notes of violet, raspberry, red fruit pulp, rose, orange blossom, iris, tonka bean, musk and sandalwood.

The rather florid ad copy treads this fine line between irritating and amusing me, here are a few choice bites:

“L’Insolence is a spark in the eyes, an intrepid smile that knows no fear and fears no one, an amused silence. It’s a bearing; a careless grace; an ironic elegance. She is bold, with style to boot! To top it off, for nothing in the world would she be like everyone else. Her motto: “Whoever loves me will follow!”. “

-from the Guerlain website

Insolence’s opening is not pretty. Sharp, PINK and very fruity-berry-unimaginative, I was ready to dismiss this out of hand. But after the first ten to fifteen minutes, I got rewarded by the appearance of violet, some rose and a lovely iris. This actually started to smell like a Guerlain now. Like Après l’Ondée actually. Although less complex than its famous predecessor, Insolence is not really bad. It is a soft, warm iris-violet on a sandalwood and tonka base.

Insolence won’t see me racing out the door to get a bottle, but it won’t see me scrubbing it off either. It did appease my appetite for that cosmetic accord of rose and violet that Lipstick Rose awakened in me, at least for the moment.

But guess which perfume is on the very top of my wishlist now…

Image source: guerlain.com, laurenstriblog.com
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This entry was posted in Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Gourmand, Guerlain, Iris, Powdery, Rose, Violet and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to “Whoever Loves Me Will Follow!” – Review: Guerlain Insolence

  1. lady jane grey says:

    I’ve never tested Insolence – due to the exact same reasons as you had. Me and my shallow prejudices… (I’ve never tested Lipstick Rose either, because I don’t like the typical lipstick scent and I can’t get it off my brain/nose…)

  2. andrea says:

    I bought this one for my daughter, it was her first perfume and she chose it herself. Like you say it is a very nice perfume, obviously I could never wear it now as it would seem a bit strange smelling the same as my 12 year old.
    I got a sample of lipstick rose, did not really expect much from it, tested it when I was cleaning one morning and had to keep sniffing my arm as I thought it was divine, now that could have been to escape the smell of bleach though. :-)

  3. It will probably be no surprise that I love Insolence….

    Have you tried the Eau de Parfum? It is much more refined than the Eau de Toilette and the weird hairspray-like harsh opening is completely missing. I think you might love it!

    In other news, I have a 10ml travel spray of Lipstick Rose, that I think is about 1/3rd full. It’s really not me at all. Would you like me to send it to you?

  4. Tara says:

    I like Insolence but I worry that I don’t I have the fun, party life-style it seems to require! It’s crazy how I get these restrictive ideas about perfumes. I never wear Shalimar because I always feel like it’s the wrong time/place/outfit. Anyway, I agree with The CPB that the EDP is much, much smoother than the EDT. I’m impressed it’s managed to jump to the top of your Wishlist.

    It’s so funny B because I’ve also been craving a rose/violet perfume lately. One with more powder than aldehydes. I thought Putain des Palaces would fit the bill but while the drydown was gorgeous I could never get pass that spicy ginger. I’ve only tried Lipstick Rose once ages ago and I can’t remember it, so really need to test again – soon!

    • Olfactoria says:

      No, no, no! Not Insolence is on my wishlist, but Lipstick Rose!!! (But actually it is not exactly at the top either, but jostling for position in the shadow of a few exclusive Guerlains and Dior Bois d’Argent. :) )

      Rose-violet is such a lovely combo, and I prefer it powdery as well. I was thinking of trying Putain de Palaces next, despite the name and EldO song and dance, it is not encouraging that you don’t like it. :(

      • Tara says:

        So it’s not Insolence then?! Oh that adamant response to my mistake really made me laugh!

        You are more than welcome to my PdP sample. I just don’t like curry spices in my perfume, but dee is a fan so there’s a good chance you’ll like it too.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Lol, no it is not, indeed!
          Curry, hmmm, really not my favorite either, but we’ll see… no need to send it now though, just add it if the occasion to send me something should present itself again sometime in the future. You are so generous with me! xoxo

  5. Asali says:

    I couldn’t agree more, that you definitely have to try the EdP, it’s a very different thing alltogether. I also came across a very reduced extrait of insolence, so kind of had to get it ;-) and that is very beautiful too. I highly recommend trying both.

  6. Alexandra says:

    I fell down the perfume rabbit hole after a visit to Les Senteurs and a session with James Craven (lucky me!), Lipstick Rose was what I came away with. Since then my taste has defintiely turned towards the deeper orientals, but there still isn’t a perfume that makes me as giggle-y and pinkly happy as Lipstick Rose. I’m afraid I wasn’t bowled over by Putain de Palaces either, there is something harsh and dusty in it that turns me off…

    • Olfactoria says:

      So many of my English friends started out at Les Senteurs, James Craven and Frederic Malle. This seems to be a typical “start of the addiction” scenario! :)
      My review of LR will come soon…

  7. GeM says:

    Birgit, You’ve Said it All! —> Après l’Ondée
    That’s the f….. Point !!

    You can’t love one without loving or at least ‘JUST LIKING, APPRECIATING…’ the other. And I honestly can’t understand people who doesn’t see like this… To me it’s undeniable.
    When I first smelled Insolence, to my mind came what the vintage lipsticks-rose hahah- used to smell in the past! and also thought about almond and violet candies. Some time after, I’ve realized it’s something that has to be related to my next Guerlain’s discoveries: Après L’Ondée and l’Heure Bleue. Because the main thing is that Insolence provided me the inroad into the Guerlain’s essentials and into the Guerlain whole spirit… Without INSOLENCE, this had never been possible to me. I still remember how hit me profoundly. Like ANGEL did years before, there’s no doubt it is the other GREATEST HIT of the times I’m living.

    I’ve heard the original Insolence described as having a ‘hairspray’ topnote, and I agree, but I always tend to look over the obvious (admitting the fact I probably like the smell of Elnett! Lol) but to me, it’s more of a cold, TREMBLING, ‘ICED’ thing, I don’t know how to describe this but it’s a very common quality given by violets! … which I think -IMO- is clearly missing in the latest EDP. And I would add that as the EDT dries down is much more related to my beloved Après L’Ondée than the darker ‘sugarcoma’ EDP (that I appreciate, but I don’t love).

  8. malsnano86 says:

    It always amuses me to read a positive review of Insolence. Because of the rave in P:TG about the edp, I wangled a sample… and it was So Freakin’ Loud that I experienced it as an auditory assault (standing in a parking lot looking for your lost car, and every single car alarm going off around you – or being in a cage with thousands of shrieking parrots, THIIIIIIS close to pecking your eyes out). Aaaaargh. One of the very few samples I ever threw away. I shouldn’t have, I know, but I just couldn’t bear the thought of the thing sitting in the house like a time bomb while I looked for someone to send it to.

    And I LIKE violet+rose! (Didn’t like Lipstick Rose or Drole de Rose, either – the Lipstick was too… caricatured? for me, and DdR too silly. Another one along the same line is Bond #9 Broadway Nite, and while its florals are pretty, the entire effect is offputtingly neon. I like YSL Paris. I like Coty’s Paris as well (have a vintage miniature, and it’s lovely – interesting that both Parises are centered around a rose-violet accord), and SSS Lieu de Reves, and the TdP Miriam.

    ALthough ELd’O’s marketing annoys the heck out of me, Putain des Palaces is very very nice. I prefer JHaG Citizen Queen’s leather-musk take on the powdery rose-violet, though.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I must say I only dabbed Insolence, spraying it seemed a bit too dangerous.
      And it sounds like that was a wise decision. ;)
      Citizen Queen is nice, it was also part of my rose-violet exploration, review will come soon. And I have a sample of Lieu de Reves on the way, I have high hopes for this one.

  9. deeHowe says:

    Hey now! I wasn’t totally damning! I think I called it “fabulously trashy,” and said that it was “terrible, but I think I love it.” ;)

    Insolence was, for me, too much a reminder of playing dress-up in childhood, but then again, I’m the same person who finds tuberose/jasmine scents overtly girlish, so my context might be s little whacky, lol.

    I’m glad that you sniffed it, and liked it! Everyone needs a solid rose/violet scent, if you ask me :)
    So, are you getting a bottle of Lipstick Rose for your upcoming birthday????

  10. Alexis says:

    I just LOVE your Pink Ladies picture! hahaha

    I have never tried Insolence but I’m on the fence with Lipstick Rose. I need to dab that sparingly because I applied too much (or what I thought was excessive) and it gave me a headache. But being a girl that loves to persevere, I will try again!

  11. bloodyfrida says:

    I actually like My Insolence; need to re-sniff Insolence because I adore Apres l’Ondee

  12. Elisa says:

    Mals mentioned it above, but I want to put in a positive plug for Broadway Nite! You must only apply it in teensy doses, but it’s a beautiful aldehydic rose-violet. Smells much fuller and rounder than Lipstick Rose, IMO.

  13. the husband says:

    Dear all! Unfortunately Birgit came down with a nasty bug at around 5:00pm today (after her last reply) and has been awfully sick since. She will reply to your comments as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

  14. abigail says:

    The Eau de Parfum of Insolence is divine. I think I’ve only worn the EDT once and hated it. But I love love love the EDP.

  15. Joan says:

    Try Insolence EDP. It’s like Poison, only better.

  16. arline says:

    How do you decide what new fragrance to purchase when you have such a stellar collection? How do you decide what to wear between your samples and full bottles?

    I am learning so much, and am getting the wants in a BIG way!!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I decide what to wear depending on my mood and particular craving any given day (or night). For the blog I test many more samples than a “normal” person would of course, but it is real fun! :)

      How do I decide what to buy? Ideally a new perfume should fill a gap in my collection or be otherwise outstanding. My New Years resolution is to wait at least a month before buying a new bottle and seeing whether the lemming is still there then. If it is, I guess it is true love! :)

  17. Vanessa says:

    Get better soon, Birgit! And thanks to Mr O for letting us know, though with family commitments, especially at the weekend, I never expect B to reply to comments in anything like the timely manner she usually manages.

    Like Mals, I find Lipstick Rose a bit stylised and don’t warm to it, though I am a big fan of rose / violet / powder combos in principle.

    I have passed Insolence by for all the same reasons, and when a sales assistant said it smelt like Apres L’Ondee, or was the next best thing notewise in its absence (it was a small department store), I scoffed inwardly. Now I feel I should go back and apologise, and try the latest Birgit lemming!

  18. Warum says:

    Get better soon, Birgit!
    I haven’t tried Insolence, but I do love Lipstick Rose too. I rarely have a craving, but when I do — I really do. Treasure my sample vial of it.

  19. Suzanne says:

    Hope you’re feeling better soon, Birgit.

    Lipstick Rose … oh, someday I hope to have a full-bottle of it too. It’s not complex, but so delciously girly and pretty and fun to wear.

    (I guess since your post is about Insolence I should have remarked on it, but I’ve never tried it, and now all I can think about is Lipstick Rose!) :)

  20. annemariec says:

    Sorry to hear you are unwell Birgit. Please rest if you can.

    Like Suzanne, I’m a bit diverted by mention of Lipstick Rose. I tried it when I was in Melbourne after New Year. It is not really my kind of thing, but what I remember was the enthusiasm of the SA. He had given his girlfriend some for Christmas, and he obviously adores smelling it on her. She had worn in that morning, I gathered. He spoke of LR with such joy – he really had stars in his eyes. His girlfriend is a lucky woman. I think this will be the happy memory I will have of this perfume – not the perfume itself, but this happy conversation.

  21. angie Cox says:

    Spaceship for a bottle, horrible name so I too ignored it . Then one day the S.A came over and insisted I try it and I liked it. I agree that Lipstick Rose is better so I settled for the body lotion until I decide to but the fragrance.

  22. angie Cox says:

    That will be “buy” …it’s the new meds I am on ….really :)

  23. GeM says:

    Happy to see you’re feeling much better, Birgit. :)
    I don’t pretend dismything, but according to the points of similarity between the two scents, I would add that if you pay attention to Après L’Ondée and you’re on the alert of the ‘weird notes’ mentioned above in this post, it actually has the ‘hairspray’ connotation as well as the Insolence EDT…
    Maybe in a less harsh way… but In fact, It has too. See it, you just have to want it. ;)

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  25. skyonfire17 says:

    I have to say that despite hating the silly little bottle, the scent of it captivated me as you say, after the first 15 minutes. Until then, I smelt like a joss stick, gaggingly dry and herbish. I don’t think I will repurchase, it’s not that much of a love affair, but I have enjoyed wearing it over the winter.

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