Perfume Review: Guerlain Guerlinade
Guerlinade is the famous “signature accord” present in most Guerlain fragrances; it is the presence of Guerlinade that makes the scents created by this perfume house smell magically and unmistakable “Guerlain”. In 1998, to celebrate the house’s 170th anniversary, Guerlain released the fragrance called Guerlinade; based on the legendary accord, Guerlinade has the notes of bergamot, lilac, linden, rose, iris, jasmine, tonka bean and vanilla. Having said that, paradoxically and perhaps a little disappointingly, I find Guerlinade being less “Guerlain” than, for instance, L’Heure Bleue, Mitsouko or even the gentle Apres L’Ondee. It may have been inspired by and based on “the signature accord”, but the dark, balsamic, powdery undertone of the classic Guerlain creations is strangely absent in Guerlinade.
That disappointment aside, Guerlinade is a beautiful floral bouquet, incredibly, shamelessly romantic fragrance. Lilac is the most prominent note on my skin, and I always perceive the smell of lilac as being melancholy, that is perhaps why I find Guerlinade a little poignant, like a scent of love that is deep inside suspected to be unrequited, but that, because of that very lack of reciprocation, is all the more intense. Linden and jasmine are also quite apparent to my nose, both contributing to the dreamy, gauzy spring-like feel of Guerlinade. I do not smell much of tonka bean or vanilla here, there is certain sweetness to the scent, but I perceive it as a natural, God-given sweetness present in the smell of the flowers themselves. As a whole, Guerlinade has a certain “natural” feel to it, this a bouquet of flowers gathered not in a well-tended garden, but somewhere in the fields and forests, perhaps during a long romantic stroll filled with daydreaming and beautiful sadness.
Guerlinade made me think of a poem by one of my most favorite Russian poets, Anna Akhmatova. I believe it relates the atmosphere of Guerlinade to perfection (I must admit though that I like the English translation much less than the original):
My feather brushed the carriage roof.
I was gazing into his eyes.
A pain, in my heart I failed to know,
caused by my own sighs.
The evening breathless, heavily-chained
under a heavenly cloud-bank,
as if the Bois de Boulogne were stained,
in some old album, with Indian ink.
Scent of lilac and benzene,
and a quiet, guarded waiting…
with his hand he touched my knees
again, and without trembling.
Перо задело о верх экипажа.
Я поглядела в глаза его.
Томилось сердце, не зная даже
Причины горя своего.
Безветрен вечер и грустью скован
Под сводом облачных небес,
И словно тушью нарисован
В альбоме старом Булонский лес.
Бензина запах и сирени,
Он снова тронул мои колени
Почти не дрогнувшей рукой.
*The photo is from Gazeta.ru. The painting is Lovers in the Lilacs by Marc Chagall.