Life On Wisteria Lane – Review: Guerlain Les Elixirs Charnels Oriental Brulant

Oriental Brûlant is part of the Elixirs Charnels (carnal elixirs) line, exclusive to Guerlain boutiques worldwide. The line launched with three scents, Oriental Brûlant, Gourmand Coquin and Chypre Fatal. In the meantime two more have joined the ranks: Boisée Torride and Floral Romantique.

Oriental Brûlant had a few things going for it, but at least as many against it, and that is before I even started smelling.

I love Guerlain, I like gourmand-y orientals, I have yet to meet an almond-y tonka-vanilla scent I don’t like – those are the arguments on the plus side.

Oriental Brûlant is a pink juice in a questionably priced big bottle and is accompanied by the most luridly stupid ad copy of all time. Not very classy, Guerlain! (Or should I say LVMH?) That is the negative side.

But all theoretical musing aside, what decides in the end is how a perfume smells, so let’s have a sniff…

Oriental Brûlant (Burning Oriental) was created by Christine Nagel and includes notes of clementine, almond, tonka beans and vanilla.

I don’t get the clementine or any citrus at that, but Oriental Brûlant opens right up to the smooth, soft and warm oriental gourmand scent that I expected. The almond is fluffy and sugared, the drydown heavy on coumarin and vanilla. All very Guerlain-y, without the teeth though.

I liked Oriental Brûlant, it was perfectly loveable, but initially it failed to excite me. It was a bit too smooth, too perfect, too size 2, blonde and wrinkle-free, if you know what I mean.

At least that is what I thought the first few times I wore it, but after a few more wearings Oriental Brûlant grew on me and slowly began to unveil her secrets. They are not earth shattering, mind you. Her life is still pedestrian and no comparison to the wild, Parisian ride of her old Aunt Shalimar. But secrets they are. Oriental Brûlant hints at hidden depths, shows flashes of darkness, but never, never loses her composure.

Oriental Brûlant is easily wearable, comfortable and elegant and smells pretty damn good. But you have to go looking for its edge. Once you’ve found it, you’ll be loath to let it go.

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27 Responses to Life On Wisteria Lane – Review: Guerlain Les Elixirs Charnels Oriental Brulant

  1. Alexandra says:

    Phew – finally a review this week that doesn’t make me want to sell my cat to buy more perfume, I think it’s the pink juice and the too perfect comment, that decided me – thank you!

  2. Sandra says:

    Sometimes too perfect is just the thing to lift my spirits. I look forward to trying this one soon.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I look forward to hearing your opinion. I wrote this review a while ago and yet I’m still happily wearing my decant, it really has a way of growing on you. Something like this gets worn way more often than more earthshattering discoveries.

  3. andreawilko says:

    I have a decant of this one and for me that is enough (despite it being a Guerlain) I will have to try a few more wearings to see if I can get her secret as so far it has only smelt exactly how I thought it would, very pleasant perfume though and I am glad I have some (phew – 2 days in a row and I am not having to sell my soul) 🙂

  4. Suzanne says:

    It’s good to hear that Oriental Brulant turned around so nicely in your favor, especially when you weren’t expecting it. Always wonderful when that happens. Have a good weekend, B!

  5. deeHowe says:

    Perfection is something that turns me off just the littlest bit in perfume— I had this problem with Bois de Armanie, which was and is gorgeous, but just too perfect! I need a slight dissonance, a drop of discord, to really love anything (be it perfume, men, cats, or clothes) 😉

    However, OB still is sniff worthy, being a Guerlain!

  6. Alexis says:

    The name is pretty misleading according to your description. Well glad I can cross this off my list!

  7. Undina says:

    I do not think I want this one… I might have smelled it in the store or not – I do not remember. I do not think I will dislike it if I try – and I will try it when I have a chance. It just doesn’t excite me. And for whatever reason those big bottles rather scare me.

    • Olfactoria says:

      For the longest time it didn’t excite me either. Then all of a sudden it felt right. 🙂 The bottles are 75ml, better than 100ml at least…

      • Undina says:

        I don’t think it’s the size… Too tall, too unbalanced. L’Art et La Matière collection at least has some “supporting” metal side.
        Of course, it’s not a serious complaint 🙂

        • Olfactoria says:

          I see. 🙂 The bottles could really be better, they have the same cap as Ormonde Jayne and Roja Dove (i.e. generic), which is fine for such small companies, but Guerlain???

  8. None of the Elixirs Charnels struck me as particularly amazing, nice and good quality as per the Guerlain norm, but not overly interesting and certainly not worth the price tag.

    I love the Wisteria Lane analogy here – the Bree Van der Kamp of Orientals 😛

    • Olfactoria says:

      They could be a lot more inspired, but I think they get too much bad rap (I can only speak for this one and Gourmand Coquin though, which are lovely), the others I haven’t tried, amd the newest, Floral Romantique, is generic and substandard for Guerlain imo.

  9. Civava says:

    I don’t think this pink would impress me much.

  10. flittersniffer says:

    I tried this with Tara when we visited Harrods in January, and again on a brief visit in March, and definitely would like to spend more time with it, for precisely the reasons you evoke – it is easy to love, tame, composed, elegant etc, and these are more often than not good points in my book. As the Guerlain counter doesn’t do samples, next time I may go armed with an empty atomiser and try to blag one!

  11. Pingback: Pink Chocolate – Review: Guerlain Les Elixirs Charnels Gourmand Coquin | Olfactoria's Travels

  12. Pingback: Elixir Charnel Oriental Brulant by Sylvaine Delacourte and Christine Nagel for Guerlain 2008 « AustralianPerfumeJunkies

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