Catch Me If You Can – Review: Guerlain Guet-Apens (Attrape Coeur)

We all have an idea how a Guerlain, a true Guerlain smells like. There are numerous perfumes bearing the famous mark of the Guerlinade at its base, all going off in different directions of course, but the common denominator “Guerlain” marks them.

If there was one perfume to represent the house, to show off all that is so wonderfully Guerlain, curiously for me it is a perfume NOT made by a member of the family, and one made relatively recently at that.

Guet-Apens (fr.: ambush) was created by Mathilde Laurent in 1999 and includes notes of rose, violet, iris, vanilla, woods and amber. In 2005 it was re-released under the name Attrape Coeur (heart-catcher) in the Les Parisiennes collection, but it has since been discontinued. Both version now have a high collectible value.

I’m very sorry that this beauty is no more, but from what I have heard, it would have been only a shadow of its former self after reformulations (necessary due to IFRA regulations) so it has been dropped entirely.

I have the good fortune to review the first version, Guet-Apens Eau de Parfum, here.

Guet-Apens is beautiful. There is no jasmine listed in the notes list above, but the floral heart of Guet-Apens smells very much of jasmine – a rich and sweet one – to me. A central bouquet of jasmine blended with rose, soft, powdery edges of violet and iris, a spicy facet introduced by cinnamon and the fruity richness of peach, all lie on a sumptuous base rich in the famous Guerlinade.

It is called ambush, probably because it takes you by surprise, shoots you in the heart with its beauty and holds you hostage from now on. Its later incarnation was even more aptly called heart-catcher, because that is what it does, with out the violent associations. It is love, not war, this perfume inspires after all.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this as a perfume everybody should smell, and the prediction that many, very many would fall in love with it, but alas, I can’t. Heart-catcher can’t be caught easily now, but if you can find it, don’t hesitate.

Catch it if you can and you won’t regret it.

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46 Responses to Catch Me If You Can – Review: Guerlain Guet-Apens (Attrape Coeur)

  1. Undina says:

    It’s very sad that beautiful things disappear. And it doesn’t even matter why. But at least now, with such talented bloggers as you, those beauties of the past get some mementoes – other than what used to be in pre-parfumista-blogs epoch: “when I was young I smelled a great perfume the name of which I don’t remember”. But still, it’s sad.

    • annemariec says:

      Yes, and that is why if I find something beautiful and heart catching, I buy it if I can. I bought a FB of SSS’s Nostalgie for that reason. I often think of Tania Sanchez’s advice:

      ‘When you love something, buy it … because there is very high chance that if you refuse love once, your chance will be lost forever. The fragrance will be discontinued or reformulated, and you’ll find yourself scouring estate sales and eBay auctions, bidding against other fools who didn’t get it while they could.’ (PTG, p. 14)

    • Olfactoria says:

      What a wonderful way of looking at it, and thank your for the lovely compliment, Undina! I agree, it is sad, though.

  2. Damn discontinuations and damn those pesky nitpickers over at IFRA! I have only tried this as Attrape Coeur and found to be as you described – very lovely stuff indeed.

    In a way I do applaud Guerlain for discontinuing some of their perfumes rather than reformulating, it’s nice to see a big brand sticking to their artistic integrity for once.

  3. Alexandra says:

    Since finding a bottle of Shalimar Ode a la Vanille this is at the very top of my dream find list. I have sniffed Attrape-Coeur and it is lovely already, I can not imagine how wonderful the more wonderful version must be. And look at that bottle, oh happy but longing sigh…

    • Olfactoria says:

      There are regularly bottles on ebay, but they don’t come cheap unfortunately. Mine was not cheap either, but I am glad I took the plunge, it is a treasure indeed.

  4. tara says:

    This is such a beautiful violet tinged, gourmand-y amber with just the right amount of powder. Thanks for the info on why it was discontinued, great pity though. Both its names were extremely apt.

    I doubt I will be paying the huge ebay prices but I’m very grateful I got to try it.

  5. Civava says:

    Now I must smell this.

  6. Ines says:

    So basically my quite large decant of Guet Apens was quite a good purchase? 🙂

  7. andreawilko says:

    Why oh why must you torture me with things I can’t have? Funny how I want it even more now. I am off to scour evilbay.;-)

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is a true sign of addiction, sorry, dedication to perfume. I know the feeling well.
      Let me know what you find!

      • andreawilko says:

        Found some for more than what it would cost for xerjoff discovery set or full bottle of Bombay bling, oh what to do? I found a good deal on full bottle of guerlinade but no idea what it smells like. At least I would know what I was getting with xerjoff and neela perfumes.

        • Olfactoria says:

          It is a tough decision. You could always sell decants of Guet Apens…

        • Kimberly says:

          My advise (not that you asked me, here you go!) get it. It will be one of the best purchases of your life, and, if somehow you end up not loving it, turn around and sell it to someone else. It is only getting more valuable, after all. You would definitely get your money back, maybe even make a profit.

          But chances are that, after owning it for a few months, you would rather cut off your own arm than do so:).

          • Olfactoria says:

            Thank you, Kimberly! I would have told her the same, but felt I shouldn’t influence her. What you say is so true!

          • andreawilko says:

            Thank you for your advice Kimberly, I will have another look on evilbay now.
            Birgit – Your influence has already steered me in the right direction so many times before, I feel that this could be another La Femme Bleue to me.
            Decants anyone???? I may have some available any day now. 🙂

          • Suzanne says:

            Andrea, I would be interested in purchasing a decant from you. Since I’m not on Facebook, etc., could you contact me via email if (and when) you do get a bottle (and if you still want to decant it then)? My email is on my website and also Birgit has it.

          • Olfactoria says:

            Have fun hunting! 🙂

  8. deeHowe says:

    I’m lucky to have a large decant of Attrape Coeur… Or unlucky: because I know that I can’t replace it when it runs out, I never wear it! I must revise my way of thinking, and try to just enjoy it while I can 🙂

    Lovely review, as always Birgit! ❤

  9. Suzanne says:

    Heartbreaking, but I’m glad to know that you have a bottle. I’ve never smelled it and am tempted to say that I’m glad I never have (which isn’t true, of course, it’s just that I hate having my heart broken!).

    Similar to what Undina said, though, you wrote a lovely tribute to it that will at least preserve it in the hearts and minds of people who once loved it. Perfume bloggers are heart-catchers, too — especially you. ❤

    • Olfactoria says:

      Aww, that is a lovely thing to say, dear Suz! I’ll make note to send you some in my next package (unless you really don’t want to smell it!)

      • suzannekeller says:

        That’s very generous of you, but no, I want you to hold onto it since it very precious and personal to you. The wonderful thing about Perfumeland is that there is never a shortage of beautiful things, so one never really feels deprived.

  10. Kimberly says:

    I am so happy to read a post on something I already have! Usually after reading your posts, I am left floundering in lemming land, but not today:). I am so happy for you that you have this, particulary in that beautiful cobalt bottle. I love the bee bottle, but for a perfume that you want to keep and treasure for years, that dark blue that doesn’t let in the light makes so much more sense. And the shape is beautiful, too!

  11. susan says:

    I have not yet really found the Guerlain that moves me, but have often wondered if this would be “MY” Guerlain. I don’t have the cash to find out! LOL. It’s okay though, there are so many other things to try.

  12. flittersniffer says:

    I have a teeny sample of Attrape-Coeur, and I do find it very affecting, though I have no point of comparison with its earlier incarnation. Someone in Perfume Land wore this on their wedding day, but I am blowed if I can remember who!

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  16. Inna says:

    I know it’s been a while since you wrote the article, but it’s still beautiful, nonetheless! I, too, own the precious blue bottle, so glad I found it, more than 8 years ago now 🙂 And yes, there’s a really strong jasmine in there for me, too.

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