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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Perfume Review: Guerlain Philtre d'Amour

Philtre d’Amour was first released in 1999 as a Limited Edition fragrance; recently it was relaunched as a part of Guerlain’s Les Parisiennes collection. With notes of lemon, bergamot, verbena, jasmine, petit grain, neroli, myrtle, and patchouli (according to Basenotes), this is a sophisticated citrus scent with an unmistakably “Guerlain” streak running through and especially evident in the drydown. The name would make us believe that this fragrance is a veritable love potion, however this is an elegant, understated and tasteful scent with nothing overly (if at all) passionate or romantic about it.

Philtre d’Amour starts with a bright burst of hersperidic notes; I smell lemon, verbena, and also a sweeter citrus note similar to mandarin. The fragrance remains a citrus-heavy scent throughout its development; in the middle stage a gently floral accord of jasmine and, to my nose, iris, is quite apparent. I believe that the list of notes that I have been able to find online is not complete, because, for example, the base notes include much more than just patchouli (which by the way is not even evident to me). The drydown is that dark, slightly powdery, pleasantly robust accord that smells like a blend of musk, sandalwood, and amber (and perhaps patchouli), which makes Philtre d’Amour so obviously and unquestionably a Guerlain scent. Philtre d’Amour smells much more “like a Guerlain” to me than the other two exclusive Guerlains I have tried recently, Attrape-Coeur and Véga. That is not to say that it is a superior scent (I like it just a little bit less than Attrape-Coeur and quite a bit more than Véga), I am simply stating the fact that, to my nose, Philtre d’Amour smells like it is much more closely related to such Guerlain classics as L’Heure Bleue and Shalimar.

I am quite impressed with Philtre d’Amour, it is a complex, “dressed up” citrus-oriental scent, chic and elegant. In my opinion, if you, like me, find Shalimar rather too heavy and demanding, and if Shalimar Light smells too gourmand, too lemon-cake-like to you, Philtre d’Amour might be a great alternative. I must add that this review is for the original Limited Edition Philtre d’Amour, I am not sure how much (if at all) the fragrance was changed before being re-released as a part of Les Parisiennes collection. **

Right now, Philtre d’Amour is only available in Paris and retails somewhere in the region of EUR 130. Fingers crossed, Les Parisiennes will be available in the new Guerlain boutique in New York.

*The painting is La Philtre de la Magicienne by Anne Bachelier.
**Edited to add: Please click on comments link below. According to V. (Bois de Jasmine) , Philte d'Amour has been changed before being relaunched, and not in a good way. :-(

12 Comments:

Blogger boisdejasmin said...

Oh, no! Sounds like they changed it quite a bit. I have some of the new Philtre d'Amour on my arm right now, and if I did not know it came from Guerlain, I would not have guessed. It smells like a generic floral chypre, dominated by synthetic lemon and verbena in the top and carnation in the heart. I read your description and immediately looked for my sample from La Maison Guerlain. Ok, as far as I am concerned they can keep this one in Paris. I would rather see Derby and Attrape Coeur in the States.

11:04 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Oops they did it again! What a shame. And why bother changing such a recent scent? Mind boggles. Well, the old bottles are still available on ebay from time to time, but still...How disappointing.

11:13 PM EST  
Blogger Cait Shortell said...

I was thrilled to see this review because the name of the scent attracted me so. I have been known to buy many a lipstick sight unseen based on the names alone. I do like citrus so I am curious to give this a try, diminished version though it may be.

2:26 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

I read this review, and the postscript, and I want to weep -- as someone who loves the Guerlain base, I am baffled by revisions which make them less Guerlain-esque. It sounded perfect. Until they fixed it.

9:00 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Cait,
If you don't mind buying on eBay, it is still possible to find old (new in box, etc) bottles of Philtre there. Just sayin' :-D

9:10 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Dear Marchlion,
The thing is that though the Guerlain base was there in Phitlre d'Amour it certainly wasn't as heavy or dark as in classic Guerlains. Why get rid of it, I can't understand that.

9:12 AM EST  
Blogger Christina H. said...

It sounds kind of like Eau d'Hadrien with a Guerlain dry down.How do these two compare?If they are anything similiar then I won't be coveting this at all!I have enough Eau d'Hadrien to last me for a while.

11:31 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

Oh dear. Read with great anticipation only to see that it is already reformulated! Ah well, will be interested to try it anyway, it sounds like something I would like.

11:55 AM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Christina,
It is not really similar to Eau d'Hadrien, which is one of my favorite citruses too. They quite different.

12:23 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

R,
It is a bummer, isn't it? The one that I have is the old Philtre, hopefully you will like it.

12:24 PM EST  
Blogger Anna, Fair and True said...

Just wanted ti say Hi! I've been off the blogging scene for a couple of weeks but now I'm back!

4:42 PM EST  
Blogger colombina said...

Great to have you back, A! I hope you are having very happy holidays!!

4:51 PM EST  

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