Security Blanket – Review: Guerlain Tonka Impériale

I love Guerlain, I love gourmands, I love the L’Art et la Matière line, so Tonka Impériale was a slam-dunk for me. One of those rare perfumes you know you will love just by reading about them.

Tonka Impériale was created by Thierry Wasser in 2010 and includes notes of bergamot, rosemary, tonka bean, honey, spices, almond, jasmine, vanilla, cedar, pine, incense, tobacco and amber.

Tonka Impèriale starts with a subtle sparkle of citrus and rosemary before it fully falls into the warm soft blanket of almost tangible sweetness. On my skin the honey plays a prominent role once more (like here), but it is balanced well by tobacco and spicy amber. On me Tonka Impèriale does not change very dramatically, it is rather linear in its  development, sillage is a little above average especially in the first hour, and it wears for at least 6-8 hours on me.

Tonka Impèriale is the ultimate security blanket. Soft, worn-in, a little faded, cosy, warm and fuzzy, Tonka Impèriale gives protection from the harsh world, feels like an additional layer of secure familiarity. It smells like everything and nothing, at once familiar and satisfyingly surprising, it is just there for you whenever you reach for it.

You might reach for it, because you are cold – it warms you. You might reach for it because you feel insecure – it strengthens you. You might reach for it because you feel lonely and sad – it gives you comfort. You might reach for it because you just want to smell really good – it does that too.

Tonka Impèriale is an olfactory band aid, it helps just by being there and doing what it does. Applying it makes it all better.

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This entry was posted in Benzoin, Fragrance Reviews, Gourmand, Guerlain, Guerlain L'Art et la Matière, Honey, Oriental, Resins, Vanilla, Woods and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

48 Responses to Security Blanket – Review: Guerlain Tonka Impériale

  1. skyonfire17 says:

    You make it very hard not to blind buy this one! x

  2. civava says:

    I liked it imediately. Without a second tought. It’s confortable and uncomplicated.

  3. Tara says:

    I love Linus!

    Tonka Imperiale is so you.

    Still waiting for your March Full Bottle Reveal 🙂

  4. Sally- Anne says:

    evening ,Birgit!!!!! This list of ingrieidients is beautiful…so i think I might really enjoy this. Another,like Killian’s Amber oud which shall have to wait until a very cold day.
    Linus is as adoreable as your own children

  5. andrea says:

    I agree, this is the one that I almost bought a FB of in Paris, I had a sinus infection which explains why I was drawn to it so much, I have a decant that I love wearing and now it always reminds me of Paris. 🙂

  6. deeHowe says:

    I think I might need a bathtub full of this stuff…


  7. This one just makes me say “YUM”!

  8. judith DM says:

    Another on the list, the Lust List!

  9. Alexis says:

    Easily a blind buy for me….(goes to ebay now)

  10. Vanessa says:

    I do like this one, though I am not sure which one of the range I’d go for if I was in FB splurging mood. Maybe even Angelique Noire after my recent – broadly successful! – attempts to emulate your magic skin. Bois d’Armenie is another fave, and Rose Barbare, and I have a few still to try.

    For some reason I put Tonka Imperiale into the same general family as Havana Vanille (that was) and the one by Tom Ford – Tobacco Vanille – that’s it. Maybe even Cuir Beluga too. Not because they smell the same, but they are in the same register, as it were.

  11. Oh dear. That does sound lovely. My resolve – to love the perfume I have – is crumbling.

  12. Tatiana says:

    I know I’m late the party here. But I went to The City yesterday and managed to pop into Neiman’s to try the line. (They are the only store in this area that has the L’Art et la Matière line.) For me I would have to say Tonka Impériale was too gourmand. It made me want to find dessert somewhere and eat a ton of sweets. I liked Cuir Beluga and Bois d’Armenie enough to try them on my skin. I think I need to go back and revisit Angelique Noire before I decide to try it on my skin. Thanks for the beautiful reviews that convinced me to seek out this high quality line of fragrance.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m glad my reviews made you seek out the line, it is beautiful.
      If I had to pick a favorite, I guess mine would be Cuir Beluga closely followed by Bois d’Armenie too. 🙂

  13. I used to not like gourmands. I have found a very short list of this category that I like. But your reviews, and knowing your preference for this category are slowly opening my mind, Birgit.

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  15. Gogol says:

    Just trying this for the first time. Gourmands can be hit-and-miss but this is definitely lovely – my automatic thought was cashmere blanket. I get the Tobacco Vanille allusion as well.
    Mmmm, nice.

  16. judith dm says:

    I have a very nice sample of Tonka Imperiale, which YES! Is right up my alley, but have decided, no going back, on the Cuir Beluga….would have been happy with either, and yes, wouldn’t it be fabulous if they had an introductory set! I would jump on that immediately Minis, imagine how beautiful this set would be! In my dreams!

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  18. Zubi / melissa says:

    Going to the Guerlain store in Paris tomorrow, and you are making it so hard for me not to save some money (that may or may not have been meant for gas) for a bottle tomorrow. On my iPad, so this is short because my fingers don’t seem to understand this keyboard

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  22. Philipp says:

    Today I sampled Tonka Imperiale on the back of my right hand and I was rather confused. The opening accord reminded me very much of Hermes’ Ambre Narguile (marzipan, dried fruit, cinnamon and caramel), whereas the heart accord reminded me of Serge Lutens’ Rahat Lokhoum (bitter almonds, honey, white woods and rose-infused musk). Although I liked what I saw, I thought TI was very derivative of other fragrances.

  23. dukehunt says:

    Great review. I’m just about finished nursing a small spray sample and am about succumb and spring for a full bottle 🙂

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