I am inordinately happy about the fact that I managed to get my little Guerlain-crazy mitts on the latest trio of exclusive Eaux de Parfums. This time Guerlain made it even harder for us fans, since those three perfumes are limited in distribution to the middle east (but are also available at Maison Guerlain in Paris and, as it turned out, luckily also in my personal part of heaven: Place Vendome Haute Parfumerie in Belgium. They ship internationally!)
So without further gloating, here are my impressions of this elusive trio:
Songe d’un Bois d’Eté:
Songe D’un Bois d’Eté (Dream of a Summer Forest) was created by Thierry Wasser and includes notes of laurel, neroli, jasmin, patchouli, saffron, cedarwood, leather and myrrh.
Songe is a leather scent, very dry, the harsher side of patchouli and cedar along with a rough leather dominate throughout. It smells like a very old leather bag, worn in and with a history.
The opening is slightly herbal and spicy, the drydown becomes more and more soft as the leathers melts into a bed of myrrh. Resinous and woody, I smell not much of the floral aspect in here, and I must say I could use it. Songe teeters on the edge of too masculine, too dry for me and I wish I got more of the jasmine that is listed in the notes. Over time jasmine does come into its own though, and time and again I am surprised by the tender beauty that lives inside that old leather bag, you just need to open it.
That much punch, that take no prisoners attitude, the decisiveness this perfume exudes, is very unusual for a modern Guerlain, I must say. It is obvious that it was not made with the American or European market in mind.
Songe is not easy to wear for me, but I love it anyway. It is butch and it doesn’t apologize for anything, I like that straightforward assertiveness in a perfume.
Longevity and projection are above average, they are in Amouage territory actually. I am indeed reminded of Opus VI when wearing Songe.
Encens Mythique d’Orient:
Encens Mythique d’Orient (Mythical Incense of the Orient) includes aldehydes, frankincense, ambergris, saffron, rose, patchouli, vetiver and moss.
From reading the notes list, you have no idea how this smells, trust me. This was a total surprise.
Encens is very (and I mean very) sweet on top. It starts with an intensely sweet amalgam of notes that peek out at me for seconds, before hiding underneath the sugarcoating again. There is saffron, some rose, a musky note, almost dirty at times, the infinitely tiny bubbles of aldehydes (but not aldehydes as you know them, here they are much less, much more subdued). And for the life of me I can’t smell any incense for at least an hour. Then slowly you get the idea of a slow curl of smoke rising from your skin, but not enough that I would have gotten the idea to name the perfume after it. If I was not looking out for incense, I’m not sure I would have smelled it at all. The sweetness abates somewhat over time and gets to a comfortable level of “hmm” eventually, but that sure takes a while.
Encens is the most “European” of the three, it would fit into the L’Art et la Matière line without a hitch. There is not much incense, not much myth and not much orient. Of the three, it is the one I don’t feel particularly excited about. It seems like a slightly confused gourmand.
Rose Nacrée du Désert:
Rose Nacrée du Désert (Pearly Rose of the Desert) also a Wasser creation includes notes of rose, saffron, cardamom, agarwood, benzoin, patchouli and myrrh.
A rose-oud fragrance, Rose Nacrée turned out to be my unexpected favorite of the three. It is by no means a totally new, highly original invention, but it is a beautiful rendition of a familiar theme with a new twist. The spicy rose of Nacrée lies on a soft and pillowy oud that is made even softer by myrrh and is sweetened by benzoin. The rose seems a bit dusty, as if dried and faded, but in a good way. Rose Nacrée has a very meditative feel, although it is powerful in its presence (again: projection and wear time are outstanding) it has a calming aura. It feels soft and tender, like a caress. It is similar in smell to By Kilian Rose Oud, but is less clear, it smells as if viewed through a soft focus lens. Guerlain’s own Rose Barbare is brighter, more upbeat and easygoing. The grand perfumes Neela Vermeire Creations Mohur and Amouage Lyric are bigger roses than Rose Nacrée.
The three perfumes are a departure for modern Guerlain as we know it, in terms of power and longevity. Clearly their market destination is evident and that is a good thing in my opinion (although they could and should sell them throughout the world, they are exclusive enough as is, if they would be in Guerlain boutique distribution).
Songe d’un Bois d’Eté is a powerhouse and the most unique of the three, Rose Nacrée du Désert is the most beautiful and Encens Mythique d’Orient, well, it is the sweetest of them all.
Do you crave that newest release? How are your lemmings doing, Guerlain-lovers?