Thursday, July 3, 2008

At Last: Guerlain Homme

We had announced a while ago that Guerlain is issuing a new masculine fragrance this year. We're pleased to see that the photos of the ad campaign and the bottles are great (created in collaboration with the Pininfarina automobile design studio) and the notes sound good. Not to mention the slogan: For the animal in you! (growl!!!)

The fragrance acknowledges the “animal instinct” every man harbours, according to the company. However, Guerlain is anxious to point out that its target market is no “hairy, lantern-jawed beast”, but a male who has razor-sharp reflexes, smooth moves, natural flair and an “undeniable aura of masculinity”.

This positioning is perfectly illustrated by the TV advertising campaign (devised by Jean-Paul Goude, who also shot the print ad), which features the green-eyed Brazilian model Renne Castrucci completely at ease in a jungle setting.
Guerlain Homme is supposed to be a fragrance that defies the traditional pyramid structure. The juice, created by Thierry Wasser and Sylvaine Delacourte, is said to have been composed in three parallel phases: Consequently the notes include, in the middle, beginning and end of the composition a mojito accord of sweet lime, mint, rum and rhubarb. The second accord features floral-citrus notes of bergamot, green tea and pelargonium. The third phase combines cedar, vetiver and green rhubarb, to echo the initial freshness.

Pics and press release via the Moodie report


  1. Well, I'm not sure of how much of an animal a mojito is meant to make me feel... Probably a thirsty one, at the very least. Just hold the rhubarb and geranium in the drink. ;-)

  2. LOL! It looks like an animal straight out of "Lost" doesn't it?
    The notes are in contrast with the slogan, I guess, but in any case a new Guerlain is always cause for desire to sample :-)
    Love the bottle, don't you? Seems hefty and solid: Hurray, into the direction that Dior Homme showed!

    You caught what caught my attention as well: it's the first time I see pelargonium in notes listed too (not that it hasn't been extensively used in fragrances for decades, nay centuries!) ;-)

  3. I shall seek this out and have a sniff when it comes my way Helg!
    I have to tell you - my husband NEVER wears aftershave! LOL
    My daughter and I have bought it for him but it just goes on the shelf and goes off!
    I guess its just me and the dogs that smell here! LOL

  4. Anonymous09:27

    Ha! I am excited! Sounds good and i love things jungle-y, that's why i like the campaign.
    As my SO is a "perfumista"-grade user of EdT he will surely be, too! :-)

  5. M,

    what a pity! Perhaps if it is unisex enough however (and why shouldn't it be with all this minty, rosey -the pelargonium- stuff going for it) you might wear it yourself!
    Am awaiting impressions when you try it out in any case :-)

  6. The campaign should be good, which is always a nice bonus. Of course if the juice is disappointing it's a bummer, but I think they have set a good example with L'Instant HOmme which was fabulous, so let's hope for the best.
    Lucky you! ~it's great to have a SO who appreciates this stuff, isn't it?

  7. Anonymous04:08

    I 'm so tired of all those lame people who are excited everytime there 's something "new" out there!
    With Thierry Wasser as Guerlain new in-house perfumer, Guerlain has officially become Dior 's clone. Say goodbye to guerlinades and hello to insipid fruity florals for girls and woody florals for guys!

    Daltroffian Girl (The Kathy Griffin of the Perfume Community, the only girl who speaks her mind, banned and re-banned many times over, not from the View or the Morning Show but from those perfume boards crowded with old haggard women! hehe)

  8. Daltroffian Girl,

    or A or whatever, you're always welcome to comment here. We speak our mind here too!
    {And I haven't forgotten about the Caron *cough* issue *cough* which will be tackled in due course}.

    I do hope you're not implying any of our discerning readers is lame or haggard or any of those things; maybe you were thinking of some select exceptions on other venues?
    I like to think of the Shrine as the place goddesses gather and have a chat between conquests!

    To revert to our issue, you bring an interesting point on the table: the Dior-ification of brands, which is not the most desirable effect, I agree. However I hope that Wasser's tenure at Guerlain might help bring some coherence and -dare I say it?- new ideas. It's great that they bring back scents from their archives but they need to make the mainstream offerings good too and propose a new vernacular for the young people who are easing into the brand: if they bring out the same as everyone, then the game is lost. The first Aqua Allegorias were a good introductory step, then they lost it completely and churned out candy after candy after candy...Insolence to me was a good idea as well: it is distinctly Guerlain, yet has a modern feel to it.

    I fervently hope that that will be in the near future. Of course I have been disappointed before, but let's not jinx it even before smelling it, shall we?

  9. I am curious about this "defiance" of the traditional pyramid structure. Does it mean, in effect, that it creates a 3-level linear ribbon? And the curiosity of a relative newbie also makes me wonder how if all things are going on simultaneously, how does one identify three separate multi-note accords, versus an overall melange of scent??

    That said, I have to admit I am intrigued, and will be searching this out to give it a try. We'll see if it ends up getting a nod for self or spouse...


  10. SLF,

    Honestly, I think all that innovation professed in advertising is a bit exagerrated. I recall Allure being toted to be shattering the traditional pyramid (and it does have notes which come and go and then come in again and then go again etc.) and Insolence supposedly being constructed like a prism. Smell them with a non-expert perfumer's nose and the concept doesn't really leap to the...nose, so to speak. These innovations are wonderful for the technicians and the people who appreciate the architecture of the fragrance (like a critic we all know) but in the end the consumer usually doesn't perceive them as such: they just like or dislike the final product, end of story.

    I do hope it turns out to be good. L'Instant Homme was excellent!

  11. Anonymous22:00

    PerfumeShrine, I 'm glad you let people speak their minds here; actually I remember the way a few POLers treated you because of your Perfumes The Guide review... these people who think so high of themselves are really stripped of any sense of humor, sense of irony and take everything seriously, anyways...

    I hope we 'll have a chance to tackle the Caron reformulation thing too. Actually I was thinking to reorder the complete sample programm again. I do it every year and these perfumes seem to change each time...it 's so weird!

    I 'm a little perplexed about Thierry Wasser, I hated his Iris Ganache, to me it 's what I would expect from Montale but not from Guerlain, specially at this price, sure composed with high quality ingredients but the execution was just some thick overtly sweet concoction.
    and Guerlain Homme is so Dioresque... That said I welcome new ideas too but the challenge is to preserve identity. Guerlain is not Dior, Guerlain doesn 't have a legacy of minimalist classics such as Diorissimo, Eau Sauvage and Diorella.
    Me too I really like Insolence, it 's still Guerlain, futurist, fun, carefree yet elegant, inspired by Apres l 'Ondee I thought it was the best Guerlain release since Samsara, a fragrance that can be worn by women of all ages, you can be 16 or 65 as long as you 're young spirited.

    Daltroffian Girl

  12. Daltroffian Girl,

    thank you. Well, I did receive lots of mails congratulating me on that honest review, so it all balances out! I like to think there are people with varying degrees of humour and irony in any venue, so I don't ruffle my feathers too much.

    Very weird what you're telling me about Caron!
    I confess I haven't done this myself so my samples are a mixed lot and often I don't know which exact year they're hailing from (which is what happens with swapping)~have to investigate further~ while my own bottles are all rather old.
    But I did notice that they were praised in 2005 (many of them) then bashed in 2007. Was it "going by memory" on the former? Possibly. I just can't believe there are so many differences in 2 years's time!
    BTW, an interesting aside: in the book there is the mention that only two companies refused to send samples and only one is named (Le Labo), but if you pay attention in one review (TB)there is some hint that it might be them ;-)

    Young-spirited is an excellent term: that's what we're aiming at! After all some people are just born old, you know?

  13. Anonymous02:20

    I know, unfortunately that 's human nature...

    You know I didn 't wait for Luca Turin bash Caron reformulations, I was the first one to talk about it at POL and other boards back in 2004/2005 already but it never really went anywhere, mostly because it 's was coming from "me" and also I noticed most cyber-perfume afficionados who discuss Caron rarely wore them before the Groupe Ales Richard Fraysse era (1998).
    These perfumes are so "rich" and heady compared to the myriad of insipid fruity florals so that for newbies they smell classic and deliciously vintage but for someone like me and many others, some of them who 've been wearing them for thirty years and more, they 're just horrible.
    En Avion shouldn 't smell like a mossy ambery version of Lady Caron (an old-fashioned at its worst perfume created by Fraysse that was instantly a flop the day it was on the market); where 's its timeless and ageless classic execution, its dark spicy orange opening, its violet and carnation, its airy powdery notes? Last version I tested all I got was an old-fashioned heady rose and jasmine, thick powdery notes and a too strong mossy leathery drydown that was poorly reminiscent of Daltroff 's Mousse de Saxe.
    I believe Narcisse Noir, Poivre and Tabac Blond have also suffered terrible reformulations. Seriously it 's no fun for me to write this, Caron is my favorite perfume house, I have nothing against the new owners at all, I wouldn 't be bash them for no reasons.

    Daltroffian Girl

  14. Anonymous02:30

    * PerfumeShrine, about the book, I wish it had been "him" and not "her" reviewing the Carons...but I don 't think he would have come up to different conclusions. I read his 1994 Caron reviews in french, they 're all excellent, back then he admitted TB had been "watered down" a little but that it was still beautiful...I shall find this out very soon, I just won a small TB vintage bottle from the 60's on ebay, it was mispelled so not too many people knew about it. But did you see that one? it 's a TB bottle from the 80's/early 90's, I think vintage Carons have a bright future ahead of them:



  15. Daltrofian Girl,

    I admit I thought you were younger: I don't have your scope of experience with Caron wearing I'm afraid. I came late to the brand via swapping/online buying, with the exception of a couple of fragrances which were available where I live (the rest were not).
    Therefore I difer to your greater expertise on the matter.

    I do believe he reviewed some Carons as well. There are vast differences with the older guide, the one in French, which was more poetic, less snarky and all in all a completely different body of work.

    As to vintage juice, I usually am very wary of it, unless someone has concrete experience with the specific fragrance in question so as to be able to compare with some authority.

    Of course I agree with your view on Carons being miles away from the inspipid or the ultra-girly teeny bopperish, which works in two ways: for and against them. For because it means respect from fragrance lovers who keep them in business, but against because those people are relatively few compared to the average audiences who have been brought up with different ideals (I am not bashing their taste, please note).

    The minimalisation of their NYC endroit was not the most heartening news :-(
    Let's hope they don't close down completely after this severe criticism they have endured, though.

  16. Anonymous21:14

    I 'm 38, not that old after all but I 've been around LOL. I started wearing En Avion in the late 80's and it was always as beautiful and unchanged until Groupe Ales took over. (Caron has had a succession of different owners between the 80's and the late 90's so Groupe Ales was seen as financial security found back then). I have had lengthy discussions with Diane at their new location, she 's been very upset lately, their most loyal clientele has been complaining a lot, everytime she contacted Paris they wouldn 't even return her calls, she 's left out here on her own to deal with upset customers. Caron 's american clientele is their most loyal, historically Caron 's most profitable branch was in America not in France, and even in Paris their clientele in the 80's and 90's was first and foremost american. The Madison boutique closing thing is pathetic, even Floris and Penhaligon 's are still on Madison Ave and they didn 't end up in a spa less than two blocks away from the Queensboro Bridge...

    From my experience, most Caron vintage perfumes decently well preserved are bonified just like wine. I only found vintage Fleurs de Rocaille rancid once but I tried again and it was great that time. Even you lose some of the top notes, a vintage of Narcisse Noir in its crystal bottle will always be a million times more beautiful than wearing their current version which is nothing but "pisse de chat" (cat pee lol).

    About le Labo, I also feel Luca Turin was angry with their attitude and probably lost his objectivity over it but personally I 'm not digging their "freshness" marketing concept.


  17. DG,

    thanks! I haven't been around as long, but I did have some older En Avion which was fabulous (same with Alpona) and I realise that I will probably never get as good a batch, ever again.
    Didn't follow the previous ownership of Caron, just know about the Ales Group.
    I also came to understand that the reason I never "got" Tabac Blond is possibly because I never tested it like it should be!

    This game of reformulation is trully confusing, especially since to the average perfumephile "vintage" is a formulaic term on which there is no elaboration on which particular year. And since manufacturers don't mark their bottles like wine is, it becomes even more confusing hunting for the elusive, unspecified bottle :-(

    I have read about how Caron's potency was best appreciated in America when Daltroff was still composing.
    However it is perplexing why they deem the American customer so low now, since by your account they behave in such a manner (not returning calls?!) ~and if the vulgar Lady Caron (supposedly dedicated to American ladies) is any indication...uh huh.

    I don't have much appreciation for the Le Labo concept myself, frankly, but then I find By Kilian mostly equally pretentious in their ad copy (and not that original in their compositions), therefore...what's sauce for the goose, should be sauce for the gander; isn't that an American saying? ;-)

  18. Anonymous06:31

    Good comparaison, their compositions failed to deliver on promises but don't start me on them! LOL By Kilian and all the others hope to do what Serge Lutens started doing more than fifteen years ago but none of them have his visionary genius. It takes more than overtly gourmands or insipid scents at $200.00 a bottle to come up with a masterpiece perfume; most use high quality ingredients but the compositions are poorly executed and their "concepts" are just pure marketing crap!

    Old perfumes have been reformulated many times over but since the mid 90's reformulations have taken a turn for the worst so many perfumes are barely recognizable now which is the reason why I chose not to buy the new Carons anymore. The Carons from the 90's have gained cult status already on ebay...

    Daltroffean Girl

  19. Thank you. I am sure you'd have LOTS to say! LOL

    Autres temps, autre moeurs...

  20. Dear Helg, the whole summer I was teased by your review waiting till Guerlain Homme will come to the shops. Well - yesterday I could smell it. So I wanted to find your review after you've smelled it, but I couldn't. So - very curious to what do you think about the scent. For me personally - it makes me smile and I can't take it seriously. The fact Guerlain makes a mojito, a film about Mowgli used to advertise, a contrast between a promised beast and green fresh scent... The mojito accord is lovely although ;-)

  21. AromaX,

    that's easy! You didn't find a review because I have yet to smell it! (I know, unbelievable, isn't it?) I have postponed it but I hear it panned so much I am really curious now.
    Will definitely report back when I do! (mojito is a good thing, it's the other things I am most worried about, as you succinctly point out!):-)


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