Perfume Review: Guerlain Attrape-Coeur
Before I begin the review, I must first thank Patty for giving me the opportunity to sample this beauty. Attrape-Coeur (formerly known as Guet-Apens) is available only at Guerlain boutique at 68 Champs Elysées (by the way Attrape-Coeur also used to be known as No. 68, in honor of Guerlain’s new store). Guet-Apens was composed by perfumer Mathilde Laurent; when the name was changed to Attrape-Coeur, the authorship became attributed to Jean-Paul Guerlain. I have not had a chance to try Guet-Apens, but according to Luca Turin, the new version is not much different from the original, only “a little brighter up top, a little thinner in the middle, but basically the same perfume, only slightly less good.”
Guet-Apens must be absolutely out of this world, because even this “slightly less good” version is heartbreakingly exquisite. Patty mentioned that Vega (another très exclusif Guerlain scent I got to try thanks to her kindness) smelled to her like a distant relative to Bois des Iles. I have not tested Vega properly yet, but the first sniff from the vial was indeed somewhat alike (much more floral) Bois des Iles. What I did not expect was that Attrape Coeur would also smell to me rather along the lines of Bois des Iles. And then I found a review of Attrape-Coeur by Luca Turin (yet again), in which he writes that Attrape-Coeur “has the mulled-wine effect of Chanel's Bois des Iles, but in the Guerlain manner, i.e. based around an amber accord”. The two are not by any means identical. Attrape-Coeur is airier, a little fresher, more floral, less woody and sweet than Bois des Iles, but they do share the same soft golden smoothness that I find absolutely and utterly irresistible. I believe that the woody accord in both scents is responsible for the similarity; sandalwood notes in Bois des Iles and Attrape-Coeur are rather alike, they share the same velvety warmth and dark sweetness.
Attrape-Coeur opens with the iris note, and it is iris at its best, it is fresh, creamy, raw, and rooty all the same time. Iris combined with sandalwood and, later, vanilla, are the notes most apparent on my skin. I do not smell much of the rose; violet appears for a short period, it is a sweet and soft note and vanishes quickly. Until the drydown comes, Attrape-Coeur does not strike me as a very “Guerlain” scent. I do not mean that as a criticism at all, a scent does not have to be a Guerlain to smell stunning; neither should all fragrances of the same perfume house necessarily smell alike. What I am trying to say is that fragrances like Mitsouko, Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue and even Après L'Ondée smell like they are unquestionably related to each other, the same dark, powdery, “very Guerlain” blood runs in their veins. To identify Attrape-Coeur as a Guerlain, one has to wait till drydown, when that amber accord mentioned by Turin comes into play, blended with vanilla (the iris note is still evident here, adding a little agreeable sharpness to the mix). Until then, Attrape-Coeur is more of a step-sibling to the aforementioned Guerlains. During the drydown, which is somewhat Guerlainesque in its dark, slightly powdery sweetness, Attrape-Coeur reveals itself as a relation, but even then it is a cousin many times removed, one of whose ancestors apparently had a little fling with one of the Chanels.
Attrape-Coeur proved to be indeed a “Heart-Catcher” for me. I love it and want, need, must have a bottle. As I mentioned before, Attrape-Coeur is exclusive to Paris; it can be ordered via email and costs EUR 130 for 125 ml (“bee” bottle). Santa Baby, are you reading this?
*The photo of 68 Champs Elysées boutique is from osmoz.com. The painting is Van Gogh Iris by Charles Schridde.