Looking For Spring With Guerlain – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum London

As I wrote in my previous Looking For Spring post, this time of the year lends itself to fresh and uplifting perfumes that jolt me out of my cold-induced rigor.

I received a sample of Guerlain’s newest addition to their former Les Voyages Olfactifs line, now renamed Un Ville, Un Parfum – a perfume featuring my favorite city, London. I will go there in spring, but until then, I’ll rely on Guerlain to bring me closer both to London as well as springtime.

London was created in 2011 by Thierry Wasser and includes notes of rhubarb accord, grapefruit and bergamot, rose absolute, rose essence, cardamom, black tea, vetiver and cedar.

Like the one other scent of the line I have tried Moscou, London reminds me of something, but it was clear from the outset what that is – Hermessence Rose Ikebana.

Both share the refreshing bergamot – rhubarb top, the rosy heart and tenderly woody drydown. Although where London clearly beats the JCE creation, is in strength and longevity. Its Eau de Parfum concentration and generally bolder stance that makes the Guerlain preferable for me.

The top notes are exuberant and simply gorgeous, they stick around very well, as the perfume develops the heart of rose and cardamom gets stronger and deepens the perfume’s character without lessening its vibe of cheerful and carefree happiness, but just enough to add more gravity and dimension.

London sweetens over time on my skin, and the drydown is a woody rose with a bit of tenacious rhubarb hanging on until the very last moment. Over the whole fragrance lies a tea note, like a veil, transparently holding the flighty, airy notes together before they can take off.

So does spring live within that bottle? You bet it does!

How does that make me feel? Pretty damn good!

My sample came from Place Vendome Haute Parfumerie in Belgium.
Image source: fragrantica.com, sei.maow.blogspot.com
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About Olfactoria

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This entry was posted in Citrus, Cologne, Floral, Fragrance Reviews, Fruity, Guerlain, Rose, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

46 Responses to Looking For Spring With Guerlain – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum London

  1. Undina says:

    What a beautiful review! What a perfect picture you chose for it!

    I didn’t try this perfume on the skin yet (I just didn’t have any skin left at the time) but I smelled it on a blotter and liked. I’ll try it when I have a chance.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you, Undina!
      I was totally overwhelmed when I was at Guerlain boutiques in London and NY and didn’t test anything on skin. It works better for me when I can test at home at my own pace.
      I wouldn’t mind living nearer to a boutique though…

  2. lady jane grey says:

    Sounds damn yummie !
    Is it a special, or freely available (almost) everywhere ?

  3. Ugh, I was not interested in this collection, and now I want to try it RIGHT NOW !

  4. Asali says:

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this one Birgit, I was really enamoured by Voyages Olfactifs London, and like you I find this one great for spring (contemplateing a bottle here, actually, as I have nothing to fit this bill ;-))

  5. Alexandra says:

    Good grief, you are WAAAAAY to good at making things sound delicious, besodes I am not sure I have ever noticed rhubarb as a note in perfume before. Sigh – another one for my ‘To Try List’!

    By the by, I didn’t know London was your favourite city, it is looking awfully grey from where I am sitting ;-)

  6. andrea says:

    On my to smell list when next in London, as well as all the other exclusives, as you know I am starting to love / own / covert a lot of the guerlains. Sorry my photo proved to be too tempting. :-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      The exclusive Guerlains are a seductive bunch, aren’t they?
      I wrote at least 5 messages and always deleted them, but the photo was too much for my restraint in the end. ;)

  7. Sandra says:

    Well, you certainly have a knack for making all the Guerlains sound delectable! Hmmmmm…

  8. Rhubarb is one of those notes that is so good that I’m surprised to see that it’s not used more!

    I tried this one very briefly when I was at the Guerlain counter in Selfridge’s and I honestly cannot remember what I thought of it, I shall have to try it again next time I’m there. It sounds very uplifting and spirited!

  9. Suzanne says:

    This is the 2nd beautiful review I’ve read of this, and considering that both reviews were by women I adore and whose taste is exceptional, this one will go on my to-sniff list. :)

    • Olfactoria says:

      Why thank you, I quite relish being in the company of said other woman, who I happen to adore as well. ;) I had already written this when her review came up, pheww! was I glad she didn’t rip it apart, but really liked it as well.

  10. Tara says:

    “…cheerful and carefree happiness” sounds lovely and very spring-like to me.

    So happy London is your favourite city, I would have sworn it was NY!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love the quaintness London has, despite being a huge city. And the way the streets are numbered (which is totally incomprehensible for an outsider). And the accent. :)

  11. Anita T. Monroe says:

    Dear Olfactoria, What a lovely review. It strengthens my deep love of Guerlain. Chances are this one will be out of reach for those of us living here in the wilderness, but I’ll just dream about it. Once in a fit of passionate love for Vol de Nuit, I wrote to Guerlain and told them the “The world is a more beautiful place because of Guerlain”. They have sent me nice e-mails ever since. There is no one else in my rural world with whom I share this passion, so my world is more beautiful because of you and your elegant blog.
    Sweet regards, Anita

    • Olfactoria says:

      Dear Anita, how beautifully put – I couldn’t agree more. The world is indeed more beautiful because of Guerlain.

      The internet is so amazing since it brings perfume fiends from all over the world so close you think you can reach over and touch them.

  12. Dionne says:

    I’m embarassed to admit I’ve never given the Les Voyages Olfactifs a second glance when I visit the Guerlain counter at Holt Renfrew, partly because I thought the bottles looked boring. (I know, shame on me. Never judge a jus by its cover.) But rhubarb? Better longevity than Rose Ikebana? Now I’m interested.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I totally understand that reaction Dionne! I was set to ignore them as well, but I’m glad I stumbled across London. Perfect spring-beauty! :)

      • Vanessa says:

        I have only tried this on a blotter during a busy day’s sniffing in Zurich, intrigued by the rhubarb note, one of my favourites. I need to revisit it, preferably on skin, because it didn’t grab me on first sniff. I think it was a bit sharp, but I do agree with the Rose Ikebana comparison. Tbh, I probably find that one a tad sharp! As I get older, I seem to crave more sweetness, maybe that is it… ; – )

        • Olfactoria says:

          I think rhubarb has a certain sharpness, I’d rather call it tartness though, to it.
          I must be getting to the age of sweetness as well, looking at all the gourmands I have been craving lately. ;)

  13. unseencenser says:

    Hmm – I thought “Smells nice, not interested” when I sniffed this here in NY – now you make me want to go back and pay attention. (I was looking for something for a friend at the time and knew this wasn’t it, so I didn’t have much brain space for something new anyway.)
    I find it amazing how many Guerlains there actually are in in one of the boutiques; I find them far more confusing than Carons that way, and somehow more variable in delightfulness. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t love Guerlain; I totally do.
    Will go back to this one and see if I can sniff the tea. I would love more tea in a spring perfume.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Another excellent tea perfume for spring is Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan, perfect for the season.

      The whole exclusive thing is definitely confusing, worst of all is the fact that things get discontinued very quickly sometimes… :(

  14. Alexis says:

    That sounds lovely. I need to try that one next time I’m at Neiman Marcus. I smelled Tokyo and I really loved that one. I don’t know if I got this right, but I’m pretty sure the SA told me that they are changing the bottle or something? I just hope it doesn’t get discontinued anytime soon.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The change of bottle – the first three perfumes in the Les Voyages Olfactifs were called 01 Paris-Moscou, 02 Paris-Tokyo and so on. Now with the fourth in the line they are dropping the Paris part and they are only named after the city – so this one is 04 London. So therefore the bottles will be changed bearing the new, shorter name.

      • Karin says:

        As I understand it, they’re also switching the rest of them (Moscou, Tokyo, and NY) to EDPs – higher concentration in smaller bottles.

        BTW – I love London! Especially the tea note in it. Have yet to try the rest. Looking forward it.

        • Olfactoria says:

          Glad to hear you liked it too!
          Yes, the whole line is revamped, different names, bottles and concentration.

        • unseencenser says:

          Interesting – thanks for pointing that out. I liked London but didn’t love it, but could well imagine that if it were ramped up as an EDP it would appeal more strongly.

          But I loved the old bottle, so! I hope the new one is as attractive.

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