Tag Archives: Thierry Wasser

He-she-us-we, Guerlain Lui

Guerlain makes perfumes since 1828. That means that length of their activity is 7 times longer than my current age, which probably makes me the worst person to talk about the brand. Yet sometimes I want to do that. Let’s make it clear from the start – I value Guerlain for their heritage, for all those old fragrances of almost mythical status. But I’m somehow indifferent to their novel offerings. Yet I wanted to try their latest fragrance, I searched for sample & swapped with someone to get it.

Guerlain Lui (meaning “him” in both French and Italian) is marketed as a perfume of a new genre. It is inspired by a generation of those who refuse to be viewed through the prism of gender & stereotypes connected to them. The brand says “neither totally feminine nor truly masculine, it is both at once”. The brand clearly changes their mind quickly because just few months ago we celebrated ultra femininity with Mon Guerlain, and now we’re all about refusing being defined by gender norms. You gotta be flexible if you want to cover the broad spectrum of a market, I guess?

You know what? I’ll do what I always do. I will forget about marketing chit-chat and tell you about Guerlain Lui as if it was any other perfume I decided to review. The opening of Lui brings forward a sheer smokiness that progressively puts on weight in the next couple of minutes. Even though it becomes more substantive I still consider it light, it’s like a gray-tinted veil of smoky goodness. Right behind a front facet of smoke I detect a burning aroma of myrrh, it’s faint but it’s there. It has a little bit of that melting plastic vibe on my skin but I find it to be mostly spicy with a hint of woods.

It doesn’t take much time longer until Lui warms up with a delightful clove accord. This note is a marriage of warm and spicy elements that entwine together in a beautiful way. This warmth is embracing, soft & sensual. As the perfume accommodates on the skin it starts to unleash the sweetly vanilla-scented zephyr. It adds a delicious, full-bodied flavor to Guerlain Lui, making it feel more creamy in a non gourmand way. On my skin it feels very rounded and really sophisticated.

guerlain-luiWhen vanilla joins the composition, a clove note is still very present. This particular note then gradually transforms into carnation. When that happens it almost feels as if someone put that soft spiciness of clove on fire which gave birth to a flower. Carnation rising like a phoenix from ashes. Floral tones in Guerlain Lui are elegant yet something is lacking. The flower is subdued too much. It becomes even less noticeable when base notes start to appear from the depths of Lui.

Soon appearing leather note makes carnation almost completely hidden. Even if it’s not exactly leather in my opinion, because it’s fuzziness and something powdery in the second plan make it much closer to suede, its fragrance is so full of power that carnation loses in this battle for attention. Things become even more dense when benzoin shows up. This time it’s very resinous, balsamic. But it’s somewhat bright, honeyed, so that in overall Lui doesn’t feel like a dark perfume.

In more distant drydown I can smell pear for a few minutes before it’s gone in unidentified blend of woody tones, slightly animalic musk that smells of fur, probably also some patchouli or amber (though these are not listed) Guerlain Lui is a linear fragrance. Most of these things above happen within 1st hour and then it just exists on the skin in not much changing state. Lui not only is a letter play on a name of 1929’s Liu but even a bottle design is borrowed from this historical fragrance.

Do I like Lui? Oh yes, I do, very much. Screw the fact that it’s not unisex at all. I like the way it smells good and my nose finds it attractive – that’s all that matters to me. I’d be happy to have a bottle of Guerlain Lui but with its luxurious pricing (160€ for 50 ml) it’s very unlikely that I will get it. But this bottle is lemming-worthy too! Despite its linearity, Lui is a lasting fragrance, it stayed on my skin for a whole day with a constantly low sillage. It’s a perfume to seduce someone. Perfumers behind this eau de parfum are Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk. Lui is one of Guerlain exclusives.

Tagged , , , ,

Following the Silk Road, Guerlain Shanghai

Looking into past and present times of perfumery it seems like various cities around the world have always carried the inspirations for the perfumers to create their masterpieces. How many there are fragrances carrying a leitmotif of streets, squares and sights of Paris for example. Among the metropolises on Earth, one from the far East is especially rich in memories, tales and places that are suitable for the inspirational material. That city is Shanghai.

Just give it a quick thought… In the last years we’ve had perfumes such as Tom Ford Shanghai Lily or Amouage Journey which was also inspired by Shanghai. When in 2009 the house of Guerlain launched a collection of fragrances inspired by cities, it was just a matter of time before we’ll get the scent inspired by the largest Chinese city. And we got Shanghai in 2012.

Guerlain Shanghai opens with a very gentle citrus vibe which is kind of abstract because the bergamot accord doesn’t smell like it usually smells. I can’t smell the rind or juice at the regular level, everything seems to be toned town to the very minimum. After 10-15 minutes the composition slowly becomes warmer when sandalwood joins the composition. Sandalwood is the note that often appears in Guerlain perfumes. In this scent it’s very light and I dare to say airy. It doesn’t feel substantial but lightweight and almost nonexistent. Despite that the woody facet is present.

After a while the sandalwood chord, smooth and polished gains the lovely and gourmandy milky facet provided by the elegant touches of vanilla. The moderate sweetness it introduces is nice and pleasant and it makes the entire composition of Shanghai even softer and more fluffy. When almond note emerges and becomes possible to smell, the scent gains a little bit of volume. At first it also gives something nice and crispy, crunchy, slightly nutty to it but then after 30 minutes it evolves into a sheer powdery concoction which is sweet and lactonic like a milky candy.

After 2 hours Shanghai is still a pretty creamy composition but now is obtains some additional floral elements. First of all there is an ylang-ylang accord that gives this slightly greasy, coconut-like smell that eventually transforms into a creamy floral. On the other hand there is a handful of orange blossom added to the composition – those orange flowers provide a nice white floral tones which are a little bit soapy. The perfume doesn’t provide any dynamic changes, everything that happens in this perfume happens in a slow motion and rather seamlessly. That actually is a good thing.

As the time flies I can smell some star anise in Guerlain Shanghai. It is slightly spicy and it has a little bit of sweetness as well. Because of it I start to think of some sort of sweet and shiny icing on top of the gingerbread. When drydown slowly comes up from the deeper parts of this fume I detect some powdery and yellow elements of mimosa. They are then followed by cedarwood and vetiver.

Both these notes are presented in a nice way – inoffensive, quite dry and also aromatic. For the rest of the time this perfume spends on my skin I just can’t detect any significant changes that would be worth further analyzing. Shanghai is a rather minimalistic composition but it has some good features as well. It’s definitely not boring. Not to mention that it smells very pleasing.

According to Guerlain website, Shanghai is a perfume that found its inspiration in the stroll around Chen Xiang Ge Temple and Yu garden. In a visit to Old Street Market, Tong Han Chun Tang pharmacy and in having a cup of tea at Huxinting teahouse. This perfume is a composition that stays really close to the skin and its projection is very minimal. You will have to pull the nose to the wrist to smell this fragrance. The longevity, as for eau de parfum, could’ve been better than 5-6 hours.

The 100ml bottle of Guerlain Shanghai has a clean and simple design. At the front there is a sketch of Pearl Tower (also seen on the picture above) – one of the famous sights of the city of Shanghai. The sketch is a piece by Serge Mansau. The perfume was created by Thierry Wasser and it is a part of Une Ville, Un Parfum (One City, One Perfume) collection. If you tried Shanghai but were not sure if you want to buy it or not, this could be your last chance because this year Guerlain will discontinue the entire Une Ville, Un Parfum line. The scents will be available only until stock lasts. I like this perfume a lot but at the same time I don’t feel the need to have it.

Tagged , , , ,