A Stroll Amidst the Temples – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Shanghai

By Sandra

When I think of Asia, China in particular, I think of all of the smells that I encountered in my travels to the region. First and foremost, tea comes to mind and in reality, there was always a good cup of green tea to be had, wherever I have been.

Other olfactory memories involve the gorgeous gardens, rife with the fragrance of trees and flowers, teak wood and various spices. I have an affinity for China and Japan in particular and could not wait to get my hands on Guerlain’s latest release, Shanghai. I was not disappointed and a bottle promptly came home with me from my recent trip to Paris.

Here is what Monsieur Guerlain states about this newest release from the Une Ville, Un Parfum collection by Guerlain.

“August 2012. Guerlain’s city collection, “Une ville, un parfum”, gets its fifth member. The new offshoot is dedicated to Shanghai, the Chinese megacity that also inspired Vetiver pour Elle. Composed by Thierry Wasser, it features the transparent freshness distinctive of this collection, a woody floral scent of anise, ginger, orange blossom, almond, cardamom, ylang-ylang, jasmine, iris, mimosa, cedarwood, patchouli, vanilla and sandalwood. The bottle is designed by Serge Mansau and showcases Shanghai’s famous Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower. 100 ml EdP.

What I have come to expect from this collection is to be momentarily transported to another city through smell. It works magically with Tokyo and I was surprised how well it works with Shanghai.

One of the most striking things for me, on my travels, were the temples, gardens and tea houses with their dark wood. The temples are filled with the smell of incense, but the wood itself resonates with a lively smell, the smell of earth, flowers and water. It varies in the different Asian countries, but it is always there. One would expect the smell of the wood to be dark (as the wood is dark) and brooding, but there is an airiness about it as well.

Shanghai captures the essence of the temples for me, as the temples are not about incense but about the peace and tranquility in the surrounding gardens. Gardens are abundant around many temples and that is where the floral notes come in.

This picture of my husband in Shanghai, in front of the wooden structure in the rain, is what this perfume encapsulates in its bottle (if you disregard the Starbucks in the corner!).

How does it smell, you ask? On first spray, I get a strong blast of orange blossom with just a tinge of ginger. The orange blossom turns almost buttery a few minutes later and then the floral heart arrives. I get about a half an hour of florals, especially iris mixing with cedarwood and patchouli, the latter being thankfully rather faint.

With this perfume, it is all about the drydown for me. Shanghai never gets sweet on my skin and it becomes all wood with a slightly dry vanilla in the background. It has soothing properties, just like the temples I remember from my travels.

Shanghai, Yuyuan temple garden, 1984

Now I think I’ll go and treat myself to a cup of green tea and daydream about my next adventure!

Thank you Guerlain, for capturing the juxtaposition of the smell of the temples and the surrounding gardens so perfectly for me.

More Un Ville, Un Parfum reviews: Moscou :: London

Image source: fragrantica.com, Sandra G., sacu.org

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23 Responses to A Stroll Amidst the Temples – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Shanghai

  1. Pingback: Do I Know You From Somewhere? – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Moscou | Olfactoria's Travels

  2. Civava says:

    Nice to hear perfume captures your feelings about the place. That is so much better than a postcard you bring back from the journey ;-). I’ve never been there but is high on my trip wishlist.

    • Sandra says:

      So true – postcards are wonderful, but sights and smells together is very satisfying. If you get the chance to go there I am sure you will love it – otherwise the perfume will take you there for a fraction of the cost! 😉

  3. Lady Jane Grey says:

    A lovely piece, Sandra ! I’m going off-topic now : I’d be very interested what you think about Tokyo… (and by the way, I loved London – I almost bought it last week…).

  4. lucasai says:

    Oh my! This sounds so good. And I think it would suit my taste. Too bad it’s exclusive to Guerlain boutique in Paris.

  5. Tara says:

    A lovely post Sandra with great pics! Sounds like Shanghai combines a lot of my favourite notes, especially orange blossom and tea. Is it very almondy though? I know it’s very Guerlain, but almond and I have personal issues 🙂

  6. Sandra says:

    Thank you Tara. There is no tea per se in Shanghai. I don’t get any almond so hopefully it would work for you.

    • Tara says:

      Oops thought tea was in it but no, just wishful thinking! Happy to hear you don’t notice the almond. I’ll definitely give this a try if I get a chance.

      BTW Osmanthus Yunnan is my tea scent of choice and it has a Chinese temple vibe for me too.

  7. Suzanne says:

    Sandra, this is an absolutely lovely post that is sooo stirring my wanderlust! (Not that that’s a difficult thing to do – I’m always dreaming about traveling – but your post with these two photos really makes me feel it as a pressing urge). And Shanghai the fragrance sounds exquisite!

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Suzanne. Writing it and sifting through pictures made me long for another trip to the region. Too many places to explore… – thankfully the perfume can take me there quickly. I must start saving for my next adventure!

  8. Great review! I have never been to Asia, but I can just imagine what it must smell like from your descriptions.

  9. Sandra says:

    Thank you.

  10. Pingback: Smell With Me – Olfactoria’s Travels Turns Two! | Olfactoria's Travels

  11. Kafkaesque says:

    I should be receiving Shanghai sometime this week and can’t wait! Like you, I adored China and, in fact, have been to the Yuyuan Gardens so that picture of yours really made me smile.

  12. Pingback: Springtime In Tokyo – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Tokyo | Olfactoria's Travels

  13. Pingback: Springtime In Tokyo – Review: Guerlain Un Ville, Un Parfum Tokyo | Olfactoria's Travels

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