Hi Guys. My name is Spencer, a self professed men’s fragrance junkie. I am in love with the idea of wearing genuine quality fragrance and have spent years researching and wearing numerous different fragrances. I have blogged for Chave and Jackson before and am delighted to today focus on the House of Guerlain. They have a brand that I truly respect and admire; so here goes with my research and thoughts…
Thursday September 14, 2017
Bit of History
The House of Guerlain was founded in 1828 and is one of the longest standing and most respected perfume houses in the world. They have had 5 master perfumers across their near 200 year history. 4 of these were actual members of the Guerlain family, which certainly contributes to the history and sense of cohesion of the brand. Two stand-out selling points of Guerlain to me, are that a lot of their fragrances share a common accord, typically referred to as ‘Guerlinade’. So although the fragrances are all different, the similarities are enough that you tell a Guerlain fragrance whatever it is.
From their very inception, Guerlain has focused on making the very best fragrances. This is one of the main reasons why I’m excited about this particular blog. Hopefully if I can achieve anything after you read this, it’ll be that you guys pop into store and try some of these on your skin. Fragrance as we know is an extremely personal thing but with Guerlain I always feel there is always something for everyone.
I have explored six Men’s Guerlain fragrances:
- L’Homme Idéal Cologne
- L’homme Idéal (Eau De Toilette)
- L’homme Idéal (Eau De Parfum)
- I’Instant de Guerlain Pour Homme
- Habit Rouge (Eau De Toilette)
Let's start with...
L’Homme Idéal Cologne (Eau De Toilette)
Composed By - Thierry Wasser
Ideal Use - Spring/Summer daytime.
My thoughts immediately were that this could easily be someone’s signature scent. I was really pleasantly surprised by this one. Despite wearing fragrance predominantly for myself, I also like other people to enjoy what I’m wearing too, so when I see the term ‘Cologne’, alarm bells go off in my mind. However with this one, although it’s referred to as a ‘Cologne’, it’s actually an Eau De Toilette.
The fragrance itself starts with lots of citrus, making way to a light pink pepper, eventually adding a well-rounded almond note into the mix. You wouldn’t ordinarily think of almonds and citrus as working together, but Guerlain really nailed it here. This one doesn’t fall into the pitfall of being another straight Aqua or Citrus scent clearly designed to be for the daytime, which I feel is down to the bold almond note that stays with the scent right through to end where it meets up with Vétiver and even White Musk. The scent is fresh from start to finish but a massive amount of interest is added by having the almond at the core of the scent. I would say the scent always stays quite close to the skin, which is why I’d recommend it as a highly interesting daytime staple/signature scent.
An uplifting and highly contemporary scent. A go-to for the perfect daytime fragrance.
Vétiver (Eau De Toilette)
Composed by - Jean-Paul Guerlain
Ideal Use – A perfect daytime fragrance. I think you could get away with this all year ‘round, but I’d suggest being easy on the trigger. I think this one works better when the spritz is light.
Vétiver is super fresh and classic. Lots of notes at the beginning. Plenty of citrus in bergamot, lemon and mandarin mixed with coriander. The heart and soul of the fragrance comes from the Vétiver mixing with tonka bean and tobacco. It’s hard to even try and explain how something containing a tobacco note can be so fresh but if you have doubts, then just try out this fragrance. I was introduced to this one through writing up this blog, but I will certainly be picking up my own bottle. It lasts well on the skin, but I can’t imagine it projecting outwards. I don’t see that as being a negative for a daytime scent of this type, I can’t imagine you’d really want to be leaving a fragrance cloud behind you.
A timeless masterpiece. Fresh and earthy, all within the same bottle. I really enjoyed this one. I want to wear this as often as possible. Quick!!!!
L’Homme Idéal (Eau De Toilette)
Composed by - Thierry Wasser
Ideal Use - Autumn/Winter. A perfect evening fragrance if sprayed on skin, but in the colder months, I’d probably even be inclined to spray this one on a scarf and wear the scarf in the day time.
This is the fragrance that all other L’Homme Idéal fragrances manifest from. The glue that holds them together is the almond note, which personally for me, still isn’t used as often as it could be within fragrance. We do touch upon citrus with this one but this one goes off in a thicker, more robust direction with the tonka bean and the almond combining to give a lovely, creamy amaretto vibe. There is a definite sweetness to this fragrance, but being that the citrus, almond and tonka mixes with some leather and cedar notes, it almost creates the same kind of sweetness that you might find in tobacco.
I certainly think this would be ideal for the winter months due to its sweetness, which might become a little heavy if combined with the warmth of summer. This scent projects nicely and also lasts very well, which is why I’d save it for the daytime.
The beautiful almond note here is an absolute winner for me. Highly distinctive. Projects well and it lasts on the skin. A perfect scent for the change of seasons.
L’Homme Idéal (Eau de Parfum)
Composed by - Thierry Wasser
Ideal Use – Perfect for Autumn/Winter. Categorically I feel better for the evening. The go-to scent for date nights!!!
As it’s an Eau De Parfum, this is a more concentrated fragrance than the Eau De Toilette however with that extra strength, we actually get a lot more sweetness. This is absolutely gorgeous, but I’d actually say the standard Eau de Toilette is probably a bit more masculine. The main heart of the fragrance for me is almond mixed with cherry (Yes, cherry!!), vanilla and tonka bean. Originally when I heard about L’Homme Idéal I was thinking Amaretto, but this scent is like wearing an expensive, well blended cocktail or a rich dessert.
L’Homme Idéal (EDP)projects well and has lasting power. If you aren’t put off by food fragrances and don’t mind sweet, sensual scents, then this one is going to be perfect for your colder winter evenings. This is a fragrance that could create a big following for gourmand scents and I would say that the scent is more expensive than it’s price tag. I also think because of the vanilla and the cherry, it actually adds a little bit of playfulness to the scent.
Fabulous. Playful for that winter evening.
L’Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme (Eau De Parfum)
Composed by - Beatrice Piquet
Ideal use – Once again perfect for autumn and winter. Still great for daytime, but be easy on the trigger. Otherwise for me this is an ideal night time fragrance. In scarves, in hair. Everywhere!
My top fragrance of all time. I find it a crying shame that this one is a bit of a best kept secret, at least within my social circle. It is a highly rated scent among the fragrance lovers of the internet, but outside of myself, I only know of one person who wears it. As I love the scent and it’s so personal to me, it’s always a bit of a double-edged sword recommending it to someone else, but it deserves far more attention than it gets, so here we go!
Most of the popular men’s fragrances have one thing in common and that is that they project well and that they last all day (examples Joop. Le Male. Armani Code. 1 Million). Well maybe this fragrance just really likes my skin, but I can tell you that I sprayed this ONCE on my wrist at about 10:30 the other morning. I spent an hour on the train and did some household chores (including washing up). Later on, I walked to the shops in the rain at around about 7pm. I went for a 5 kilometre run in the aforementioned rain. I had a shower. I gave my wrist a sniff at around about 1:30am the follow day. This fragrance was still there with its beautiful, dark, Patchouli and Cacao dry-down. That’s the kind of strength that this one has. I can spray it on a shirt and I’ll walk past my wardrobe a day or so later and wonder what smells so good.
The first blast of fragrance will give you citrus, which ordinarily would make you think of a clean freshness, but being that this is mixed in with Star Anise and Elemi (pine + lemony scent) the effect is more intriguing than standard. The star anise and elemi gives the citrus a bit more of an earthy feel, which allows the fragrance to blend in to the other stages in a beautiful way. The reason for this is that shortly afterwards, we are introduced to the Neroli (a sweet but green smell), Patchouli (again, earthy but with a degree of sweetness), Jasmine and Tea. For the base, we’ve got Cedar and Sandalwood, but the most prominent part for me is the Patchouli mixing with the Cacao and that’s what carries the scent through until the end. Personally, although you can’t find many mentions of it, I think there is some faint Vanilla in this one, too.
My favourite fragrance of all time. Complex. Beautifully composed. Challenging, but in a good way. Maybe not for youngsters, but who am I to say?
Habit Rouge (Eau De Toilette)
Composed by - Jean Paul Guerlain
Considered to be the male Shalimar, this is one of the foundations of which Guerlain is built upon. It’s a piece of history and, by most accounts, is credited for being the first men’s commercial oriental fragrance. Created originally back in 1965, “Habit Rouge’ translates to ‘Red Jacket’. I believe this was because back then, fragrance was seen as being a luxury that only the aristocracy could really afford and the Red Jacket is referring to the jacket worn by men who took part in hunting.
It starts off with an almost candied citrus feel. Lemon, bergamot and lime, I also feel like I get vanilla placed alongside rosewood. As this dries slightly, you start to get some florals (rose, carnation) coming through alongside patchouli and then as it is fully dry on skin, you're left still with subtle vanilla. You're still getting florals through, but you’re now also getting some leather. The dry-down itself is a little like incense to me and I believe this is down to a the powdery vanilla combining with a light leather.
Like a lot of the very best fragrances, I wouldn’t really say this is inherently just for men. I’d say a woman could easily wear this one, and probably quite enjoy it. It isn’t overbearing, but still be easy on the amounts you spray.
I like that this is so challenging for a fragrance that’s of age. Even back when this was first formulated, Guerlain were not giving you straight citrus openings, which means no one else has an excuse. They were breaking ground before it had even been properly built! However, and this is a big however, I can never find an actual occasion to wear this. I’ll put it on occasionally just to smell at home, but I never find the right occasion to wear it outside of that. I think potentially I feel like it’s a too much of a statement fragrance for me, so I can’t pull it off. Saying that though, hopefully some of you can!
A super iconic fragrance from an iconic brand.