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. :-(