For most of us the house of Guerlain is automatically associated with France and with everything that is European. Even if Guerlain did some oriental fragrances in the past, they seemed to smell very French, at least in my opinion. But in 2012 the house introduced a fragrance trio which was dedicated to the Middle East market. The collection was called Les Deserts d’Orient.
First fragrance in this line is Encens Mythique d’Orient.It opens with a lustful aroma of ambergris which is warm, tender and very sophisticated. The elegance of this note is highlighted by the warmth effusing from the top on the composition. After 15 minutes the fragrance gains dept when the incense accord starts to play gently, like a nymph playing on a harp. Persian rose essence makes this oriental Guerlain fragrance more rich and wealthy. There’s also something velvety and plushy about this note, also it seems to be a bit dusty to me. Later on the balsamic and voluptuous tones turn weaker and aldehydes become a dominating elements of this scent. They smell very traditional, airy but also a little bit greasy. After 1 hour the composition is spiced up with the wonderful saffron accord. It’s warm, intensive, and a little bit sweet but not edible.
Essences sourced from pink pepper add strength to the piquancy but the feeling is much milder than the one of black pepper. And the pink variety doesn’t give the cold metallic effect one can meet using black pepper in perfumes. Around 2nd hour of wearing Encens Mythique d’Orient the composition gained more smoky edge, the incense became stronger and combining this note with woody chords intensified the feeling. For the next few hours I could smell mostly warmth of saffron and ambergris and some rose with hints of aldehydes. After 4-5 hours I can smell the drydown which is warm and spicy. I also detect some woody aspects of vetiver and earthy (but not dirty) patchouli note. For the next couple of hours the composition doesn’t change much, slowly fading away. After around 7, maybe 8 hours the scent vanished from my skin. Or it was too weak to smell it.
Another fragrance in this oriental collection from the house of Guerlain is Rose Nacree du Desert. This perfume starts with a very classy and middle-east-style rose accord from Persia. It has a fuzzy, velvety, almost plushy smell that is very sexy and alluring. There’s also something dusty about this note and that actually adds a little bit of darkness and mystery to the composition. Very soon you can smell saffron in the composition. It’s bright, warm and spicy aura fills the air around you making it so material that it’s almost drinkable. Now this is what I call the seductive weapon. This scent is very inviting and alluring. 45 minutes later Rose Nacree du Desert becomes even more dramatic and enchanting with just a tiny bit of oud added to the composition. It introduces just enough of its presence to add some balsamic and dark tones without overpowering the rose.
As far as I’m concerned Rose Nacree du Desert has dominating femininity about it but at the same time I have no doubts that many guys will be able to use it succesfully. The next couple of hours with this perfume are rather boring as the scent doesn’t change at all. A lot of velvety rose, a hint of oud and lots of nice saffron. However, after 3-4 hours you can notice some caramely and balmy resin – especially benzoin coming out to the top of the blend. Patchouli accord is in the background, adding some more spiciness with an earthy breath. There are two problems about this scent. First of all – it’s not very original, rose-saffron-oud compositions have been quite common in the last years. It’s actually quite similar to MFK Oud Silk Mood, Oud Ispahan from Dior or Histoires de Parfums Rosam. Secondly – it doesn’t last longer than 5-6 hours. Shame.
The third, last and at the same time my favorite in this trilogy is Songe d’Un Bois d’Ete. It opens with a very prominent saffron accord that is bright red, very rich and oriental in character. Thanks to it the perfume is instantly warm after applying on skin and that causes it to blossom beautifully, wrapping you with a scented scarf. After 15 minutes myrrh accord will emerge from the composition. It adds a lot of balsamic tones and I’m happy it doesn’t smell like burnt plastic on me. It’s the second time like this, could be that Guerlain myrrh is the one I can actually wear? After another 15 minutes oud appears on my skin. It adds a lot of smoky and intensive aromas with some dirt, earth and darkness. It’s just slightly overdone for me but it smells surprisingly good, especially on a men.
As the composition of Guerlain Songe d’Un Bois d’Ete is affected by time, air causes the fragrance to change. Cardamom note makes it a little bit colder (as it’s a “cold” spice) but the warmth of saffron counters that effect and provides a balance. Patchouli combined with bay leaf both have dusty connotations to me and bay leaf especially makes me think of some oriental, indian stew. The finishing note is cedarwood which is dry, full of splinters and also a bit sweaty but tolerable. I was surprised that I liked this one best. It’s different, less European and more challenging than the other two. Still it’s not that very scary once you get to know it. There are other perfume that give me bigger chills of scare. I’m happy to enjoy this one.
The 3 fragrances in Les Deserts d’Orient collection from the house of Guerlain are very nice and they are likeable. All are eau de parfums which were composed by Thierry Wasser. 75ml bottles are of the same design as L’Art et la Matiere line but they have a golden arabesque motif at the front. On side walls are perfumes names both in English and Arabic. The oriental character of them is at a moderate level, they could be still more middle-East accentuated. Guess the French house had to add something European to stick to their agenda.