Six fragrances ranging from leather wrapped in incense and vetiver, to chocolate lava cake, amber roses, incense laced with green herbs and powdered roses, and green white florals splattered with chunks of juicy fruits — these are some of the bouquets represented by six creations from La Via del Profumo and AbdesSalaam Attar. Each fragrance caught my attention or stood out for some reason or another during the recent perfume seminar I attended in Italy. They are: Amber Rose, Amber Chocolate, Acqua di Angelica, Grezzo d’Eleganza, Tasneem/Tasnim, and Oasis. I’ll look at each one in turn, and provide comparative reviews whenever possible.
There are faceless men in Game of Thrones, men who go by no name, have no set identity, are fluid in their ability to take on different guises, and who worship the Many-Faced God. Guerlain‘s Myrrhe & Delires reminds me a lot of them: many faces with a fluid identity that is sometimes quite elusive and often quite forgettable.
It’s a fragrance which I first tried a few years ago, but I never got around to writing about it simply because it frequently slipped my mind. It’s all too easy to forget about Myrrhe & Delires, which is actually part of the problem. Or the biggest problem. Every few months, I made the resolution to cover the scent, but something interesting invariably came up, something which moved me for better or for worse, or triggered some sort of emotion. So, my little decant went back on the shelf. From time to time, I would see it and would struggle to remember what exactly Myrrhe & Delires smelt like because, you see, that faceless quality leads to an all too forgettable nature. I could vaguely recall a fruity, rose-y-ish gourmand with licorice smokiness, but that’s about it. It left no real impression at all. Even now, after re-testing it for the umpteenth time, it’s hard to describe its exact specifics because, on my skin, Myrrhe & Delires is the fluid Many-Faced Guerlain that has no real face at all.
I had forgotten entirely about Myrrhe & Delires (as usual) until a few days ago when the blogger, Monsieur Guerlain, announced on his Facebook page that the fragrance was being discontinued, and that Guerlain had confirmed it. Monsieur Guerlain states that the Myrrhe & Delires will only be sold in stores while stock or supplies last. In rounding up my retail links for this review, I noticed that the fragrance is already off the one Guerlain website that always allowed online purchases, the French one. Typically, all the Guerlain sub-sites permit you to put their niche fragrances on a wish-list, but only Guerlain France consistently permits online purchases of their higher-end releases. That is no longer the case for Myrrhe & Delires, a definite sign of discontinuation, so I thought it best to review the scent while supplies last for any of you who may wish to try it.
I generally think that it’s a good idea for a perfume lover to go outside their comfort zone from time to time, and to stretch themselves by trying a different sort of olfactory style than what they are usually drawn to, so long as the scent in question has a few notes which they really love. Yet, even with that last part as a solid and absolute requirement, I usually end up wondering why I bothered, because the end result is almost invariably, inevitably, a failure. “Stretching oneself” seems to be great in theory, but actual perfume experimentation outside of my olfactory comfort zone — and, most particularly, amongst brands whose aesthetic I don’t enjoy — rarely results in a happy surprise or a miraculous find. More often than not, I’m left feeling greatly irritated.
That was the case with two new releases that I tried recently: Diptyque‘s Florabellio and L’Artisan Parfumeur‘s Rose Privée. Diptyque is not a brand whose aesthetic I enjoy, because I find their scents to be excessively synthetic, fresh, clean, and sheer, but Florabellio tempted me with claims of coffee, saltiness, and toasted sesame seeds. Hmmph. L’Artisan is another brand that rarely works for me, primarily due to synthetics, sheerness, and longevity issues, though I did really love the great, once discontinued Safran Troublant (which, alas, was also badly flawed by unusually brief longevity on my skin). Nevertheless, the new Rose Privée beckoned to me, not only because it was created by Bertrand Duchaufour, but also because it contains lilac, carnation, basil, patchouli, hay, and amber. What an intriguing set of elements to go with rose, I thought. It can’t be too bad. Well, it wasn’t the worst thing that I’ve ever tried; it had a few bits that were quite interesting or intriguing in the first hour; it was far from the rose soliflore that I was dreading; and it was an A/P scent that actually lasted on my skin for a change. Unfortunately, I also found it to be schizophrenic in its changes, and unappealing as a whole. I’ll cover each fragrance in turn.
With summer underway, I thought it might be worth looking at two fresher, lighter fragrances that were recently released: Annick Goutal‘s L’Ile au Thé and Hermès‘ Le Jardin de Monsieur Li.
ANNICK GOUTAL L’ILE AU THÉ:
L’Ile au Thé is an eau de toilette created by Isabel Doyen. The fragrance comes in two different bottle designs, one for women and one for men, but they are the same scent. As a side note, Annick Goutal is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amore Pacific since 2011.
The Goutal website describes L’Ile au Thé and its notes as follows:
L’Ile au Thé is an infusion of well-being, an invigorating and soothing perfume to be shared.
Between the sea and volcanoes, a stroll in the fields of mandarin trees and tea plantations, waving in the wind of an Asian island. The crystalline mandarin bursts into freshness, contrasting, in a soft and soothing breeze, with the tea, green and leathery, and the osmanthus, carnal and fruity, like a caress on the skin…
[Notes:] mandarin; tea absolute; osmanthus; and white musk.