Happy Chinese New Year! Review: Guerlain Le Parfum du 68

By Sandra

Happy Chinese New Year! Welcoming in the Year of the Horse is a quiet celebration this year in our family.


Being a global nomad since birth I was lucky to find a global nomad soul mate. As fate would have it we grew up as third culture children and we therefore feel at home with everyone and everywhere. Our niece and nephew are growing up as third culture kids as well and are currently living in Beijing. Hearing about their celebrations to ring in the new year in Beijing and keeping the customs I picked up from my 15 years working in an NGO, we usually celebrate with a lavish Chinese dinner but this year we are keeping our Chinese New Year simple.

Customarily I like to choose perfumes for special occasions throughout the year. Truth be told, I was more concerned with getting the house ready and buying the red envelope to fill with money than with choosing a perfume this weekend.

So when push came to shove I looked to one of my favorite perfume houses for inspiration. Remembering that Guerlain created a new perfume in celebration led me to seek out my sample for my celebratory weekend.

parfum du 68

The Guerlain boutique on the Champs d’Elysees underwent a major renovation in 2013 and for its completion Thierry Wasser reinterpreted the classic Cologne du 68. He gives us Le Parfum du 68 which is available in an Eau de Parfum as well as an exclusive extrait version in a gorgeous black Baccarat bottle.

The Guerlain website describes Le Parfum du 68 as follows:

“The scent, floral and woody, plays off the contrast between warm and cool spices and harmoniously blends everlasting flower and rose in a unique floral duet. A bouquet of heliotrope and benzoin envelops the fragrance, leaving behind a trail that is irresistibly Guerlain.”

According to Fragrantica the notes are “spicy notes, immortelle, tonka bean, benzoin, incense and leather.”

Le Parfum du 68 opens up with a wonderful floral citrus composition which quite quickly moves into what I describe as a cologne vibe. This is not at all a bracing citrus but one tempered with immortelle and tonka bean. Ever so slowly the perfume morphs into a beautiful woody, incense-infused leather perfume.

What is so fascinating about this perfume is that if I hold my nose right up to my arm I get the cologne vibe throughout its development. But if I sit back and inhale the perfume it is as if I am sitting by a crackling fire on a leather couch. The tonka bean is there but it is not a sweet tonka bean. In fact, this perfume is nowhere near the vicinity of being a sweet perfume. This is a warm, woody, leathery perfume.

maison guerlain

This is a beautiful addition to the Guerlain repertoire and I am so pleased that Monsieur Wasser decided to expand on Cologne du 68. It is a classic in its own right and is in my opinion completely unisex. I can imagine that this would be stellar on a man.

Le Parfum du 68 was a perfect addition to my Chinese New Year.

Image source: beautezine.com, guerlain.com, thenonblonde.com

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21 Responses to Happy Chinese New Year! Review: Guerlain Le Parfum du 68

  1. I’m wondering if you dabbed it on or sprayed it on? Because I found Le Parfum du 68 to be remarkably sweet, almost to the point of marshmallow sweetness for me. But perhaps I just have a low tolerance for sugar in my perfumes. Happy Chinese New Year to you too! 🙂

  2. Zazie says:

    Hi Sandra, happy chinese new year to you too!
    I’m very curious (and have ambivalent expectation) about this perfume, and am wondering if I should track down a sample…
    I love Guerlain, but hated la cologne du 68… I’m having trouble grasping how much le parfum du 68 is related to la cologne… Do you think one can hate the latter and love the former?
    My favorite Gs are Shalimar, Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, Jicky and Chamade. I hate Après l’ondée but like very much it’s close relative, l’heure bleue, because of it’s amped “gourmandise” and plush texture… Can you make anything of that??!?

    • Sandra says:

      Zazie I understand your wariness in approaching this perfume. I do not wear the cologne and have never been tempted. Le Parfum du 68 is completely different in my opinion and definitely worth sampling. I love your list of Guerlain favorites.

  3. lucasai says:

    I’m looking forward to trying Parfum du 68. I signed up for a decant in a split, there are still a few more people necessary for it to work out.

    • Sandra says:

      I hope you enjoy your decant Lucas. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

      • lucasai says:

        I just hope that the split won’t be canceled because of the lack of interest.

        • Zazie says:

          Hey Lucas, I would be very much interested, I do not know how splits work, this would be my first one…
          But if there is one space missing, I’ll be happy to fill in, especially after Sandra’s kind answer!
          How much would the decant cost and would the “host” be willing to ship to Italy?
          (if it is not possible to participate, then don’t worry and ignore my request! Thank you anyway!)

  4. Mary E. says:

    I purchased this from Bergdorf which besides Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC seemed to be the only two stores stocking it. I had a sample in a vial which doesn’t do it justice. IMHO, it must be sprayed and it’s lovely EdP which you described perfectly. If you love leathery scents with some immortelle & tonka bean notes than you’ll be smitten by Le Parfum du 68.

    • Sandra says:

      I am so glad that you like it too. I never dab my perfumes so I am happy to hear that spraying Le Parfum du 68 works better. This is definitely on the short list to buy.

  5. Tara says:

    Sandra, I do envy you being a globe-trotting family. It must be so nice to have properly experienced so many different cultures.

    Parfum du 68 sounds like a perfect celebration perfume and I REALLY want to visit that refurbished Guerlain mothership store.

  6. sophie says:

    Happy CNY! 🙂 I’m sad to be away from my family in Hong Kong this year, as I am missing out on those red pockets… and the lavish feasts. Instead I just had a small hotpot meal with friends. I wore Hermessence OY, because the black tea and osmanthus flowers remind me of delightful 3-hour dim sum meals.

    I have only tried Cologne du 68 but I will be sure to give this a try as well.

    • Sandra says:

      Happy CNY Sophie! I am sorry that you weren’t able to get home to celebrate, but it seems that you did a nice job with your friends. Wonderful choice with Osmanthus Yunnan- a favorite of mine.

  7. Darilyn says:

    Hi Sandra! Happy CNY! This sounds intriguing and I’m a huge Guerlain fan!
    I’m not sure about the leather note, but I’ll seek out a sample. As always, a great
    article and review with the usual enticement!

  8. laniersmith says:

    Gung Hay Fat Choy! Chinese New Year is very big here in San Francisco and we are celebrating too! It all culminates next week with a huge parade. I can’t wait. Lovely review and I have smelled Les Parfum du 68 and found it to be quite beautiful. Guerlain is one of my favorite houses too.

  9. Sandra says:

    We really enjoyed Chinese New Year in San Francisco! You live in such a gorgeous city. Enjoy the parade next week. I am happy that there is another admirer of Le Parfum du 68. 🙂

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