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Friday, December 09, 2005

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 The painting is Van Gogh Iris by Charles Schridde.


Blogger Marina said...

Christina, it is just so frustrating, isn't it, all these exclusives, non-exports...oh come on people make it all easily or even a little easier available LOL

10:54 PM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

Brilliant post as usual! I have this sense that now, untested, I MUST have this perfume. It sounds like all the disparate elements of different perfumes I adore. I am also enchanted by the several different names of the perfume. Attrape-Coeur is a great one, in my opinion. How can Paris and the frozen north become a little closer together so that I can get my hands on these pretties by walking down those cobbled streets?

11:58 PM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

Patty, you are very kind. If you are feeling so generous as to email me, I would love to have the name of a contact at Guerlain. To quote a line from one of my favorite musicals (child actress here) "Look out world, here comes Rose!" I am scared to check the balance on my bank account once I have a contact at Guerlain.

12:55 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Thank you Cait! Ooh, you like the risk...I don't know if I would dare an unsniffed purchase of this and cost :-D But you know what if you MUST have, then you really should go for it!

8:16 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I am kind of glad that violet wasn't more pronounced on my skin. I have a complicated relationship with that doesn't always work on me.

8:18 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Patty and Cait,
I am definitely not the one to preach not buying unsniffed having sinned myself many times in the past :-) Cait, if you go for it, let me know how it goes!!

8:19 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Dear M,
Thank you very much for this information, I think I would prefer to actually hear a voice with a lovely French accent (?), reassuring me that all will be well with my purchase/package :-)

8:21 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I wonder if there is any chance that Attrape-Coeur would be sold at the boutique...I sure hope so, but I am not holding my breath :-(

8:22 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

P, you 've been baaaad...and good for you!
Creed Flower did not work for me, but it is a lovely scent!

10:38 AM EST  
Blogger NowSmellThis said...

M, have only tried the original Guet-Apens, and only once at that. Will have to get on the ball before the new Guerlain boutique opens! Was very happy that I didn't fall in love with Cuir Beluga, Rose Barbare, etc, and will be equally happy if I don't need Attrape Coeur :-)

12:55 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

R, I would be very curious to test Guet and Attrape side by side.
Do you think they will have Attrape-Coeur in the new boutique..?

1:01 PM EST  
Blogger Caitlin Shortell said...

Hello Marina,
I read on MUA that you need to sample a couple of other scents to make your sampling of SL complete. I happen to have one of those (NN). Email me and I can send you a mini.

6:00 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

You are too kind!! Thank you so muc...for the life of me I cannot figure out how to email you...If you let me know your MUA name, I could mua-mail you :-)
Thank you again!!

8:08 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

V., it is so nice to know that the new name did not mean a cardinal reformulation.

8:09 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Attrape-Coeur is now available from Bergdorf Goodman .Gerlain has a boutique in one of the New York locations.A Guerlain salesman ,Jason Beers , helped me by it recently and shipped it to me in Alabama. He can be reached at 212-872-2734. His business card says he is located on the Plaza at 754 Fifth Ave.

The cut crystal bottle and carved stopper are almost as alluring as the fragrance. It is divine and worth the hunt.I've been trying to replace this scent since buying the original US special edition in 1999. I could not stand to use the last haunting drop until finding the source of its replacement. I hope this blog will keep this fragrance alive on this side of the pond for a long time to come.

12:14 PM EDT  

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