Do I Know You From Somewhere? – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Moscou

I must admit to not having the fondest memories of Moscow. I studied Russian in high school and we went there on a student exchange when I was sixteen. Let us just say getting lost all alone on the subway and the “interesting” food worked together, so I ended up not enjoying my stay as much as I could have. (Side note: It later turned out my husband was on that same student train, we didn’t know each other then though.)

Therefore a perfume called Moscou was not the first on my to try list. Since I got a sample, I tried it without any expectations, without having read a word about it anywhere.

So this is an experiment: I am going to review Moscou totally blind, meaning I have not read any review about it. I just checked the facts like launch date, perfumer, notes etc. Everything else is my – hopefully not totally off the mark – uninfluenced opinion.

Moscou is part of a collection called Un Ville, Un Parfum (formerly known as Les Voyages Olfactifs) sold exclusivly at Maison Guerlain and a few select boutiques the world over. It was launched in 2009 with its two companions Tokyo and New York. It was sold in 250ml Eau de Parfum bottles (*shaking head in defeat considering the size*)  designed by Serge Mansau, these days the bottle size is smaller (100ml EdP). In 2011 another city is slated to be added to the line – London. (Shanghai joined the ranks in 2012.) I got my sample from Place Vendome Haute Parfumerie.

Moscou includes notes of lemon, bergamot, red currant, jasmine, absinth, plum, vanilla, pine needles, tonka bean and white musk.

From the outset Moscou reminded me of something else, no doubt a high-quality Guerlinade enhanced version of something else, but still. It drove me crazy that I didn’t know what it was.

It is sweet, it is floral, it smells vaguely edible, like candied flowers. But like a diet version, as it is not overly sweet, which would otherwise send me for the hills quickly. This I like. It is a high class, low-sugar version of – dare I say it – a fruity musk like Narciso Rodriguez, Flowerbomb and the like. It is very feminine, very likeable and utterly recognizable as part of a certain trend. It doesn’t strike me as terribly unique.

That said, I still like it, but I don’t think it would warrant a bottle of that size and price. Give me a dainty, pretty 30ml bottle and easier access and I would happily aquire it and so would many others, I have no doubt.

When writing about and re-experiencing Moscou it suddenly struck me what it reminded me off – Idylle! Ha! It is very satisfying when you finally get hold of a thought or association.

It seems Guerlain did actually make Moscou widely available and in a small (if not very pretty) bottle to boot. I like it when my ideas get picked up. 😉

So if you fancy a little Moscou just go to the department store and smell Idylle. Pretty darn close!

Picture Source:,, some rights reserved, thank you!

About Olfactoria

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16 Responses to Do I Know You From Somewhere? – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Moscou

  1. Tara says:

    Thanks for the review B, I must admit I hadn’t even heard of Les Voyages Olfactifs. I think I need some sort of wall chart to keep track of all the various Guerlains collections. As I wasn’t a fan of Idylle I won’t be seeking this one out. Have you since compared your review with others?

  2. Victoria says:

    Given the concept, I would have hoped that these fragrances were more unusual. However, I have not seen any good reviews so far.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is really disappointing that such expensive and limited (in distribution) fragrances are not more original and interesting. If it weren’t a Guerlain and an exclusive one at that, it would be a nice perfume. But carrying a legacy means having to fulfill higher demands.

  3. deeHowe says:

    **sharp intake of breath, followed by audible sigh**

    How romantic! That your husband was on the same train to Moscow with 16-year-old B., Oh, that is so lovely. I wonder how many times you crossed paths unknowingly? That will make a beautiful sequence when the movie of your life is made 🙂

    As regards the perfume? I’ll stick that one in the “outer darkness” area of my brain for now (I stole that term from Anne-Marie—it’s a good one!).

  4. Tarleisio says:

    Lovely review, B!
    And yes, that IS romantic…your future husband on the same train as your 16-year-old self, and neither of you knew…
    If Paris – Moscou goes to Dee’s “outer darkness”, I think I’ll park this one in the Twilight Zone of ‘Fuggedaboudit’…I don’t much care for Idylle, so I can’t see this boiling my blood. A most excellent thing, since plenty else does!;-)

  5. Marina says:

    I am always lost in Moscow. But then I am capable of being lost here, on the way to work, if I come up from a different subway exit 🙂

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