Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bouquet Numéro 1 was created by Thierry Wasser comprising notes of bergamot, freshly cut green grass, white flowers, delicate fruity notes, peach and jasmine. The fragrance arrives in a newly designed flacon with golden honeycomb, a bulby stopper with seperate cap (former Aqua Allegoria scents had no cap on the incoroporated bulbous sprayer) and a golden label, packed in an outer carton decorated with a pink bee, as you can see from the photographs I took of Bouquet No.1. [click to enlarge]. It really does look luxurious and pretty, doesn't it? Even though I personally preferred the more impressionistic outer cartons of yore.
According to the official blurb pains were taken to link it to the linage of the company: The name itself reflects Guerlain’s fragrance heritage, as it references the compositions of Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, founder of Guerlain, and his heir Jacques, namely: Bouquet du Roi d’Angleterre, Bouquet du Jardin du Roi, Bouquet de l’Impératrice, Bouquet Napoléon, Bouquet Duchesse, Bouquet de Paris and Bouquet de Faune. Personally I am not so sure the interweaving of quite so much history in what is definitely a modern juice is really helping either group of potential buyers: hard-core traditionalists or hip modernists. It seems poised in between, with a nod to the 90s (read further on) but not much beyond that to justify historical references that far back. It must be terribly difficult to reconcile the two, we've said it before.
Guerlain's Bouquet Numéro 1 reminds me of both a less sugary or dense 90s Trésor and of Estée Lauder's Pure White Linen Pink Coral from last spring minus the powdery aldehydes. Add the intense peachiness of MDCI Pêche Cardinal and you're almost there! (The same aromachemical as the latter ~which I hypothesized is Decanoic acid 5-hydroxy-lactone~ is used in this composition for the peach note). The introduction on a sharpish note of citrus plus green is meant to be refreshing. Almost immediately, the core chord of peach plus rose is palpable; that velvety, tender, very feminine lactonic vibe which was so obiquitous in the early 1990s through the bombastic popularity of ~mostly synthetic anyway~ Trésor and the products that followed in its zaftig steps. Today, when that theme has been exhausted in commercialised deodorants, body creams, even fabric softeners, it seems a little passé. Enter the bolstering of the peachiness in Bouquet Numéro 1 to render a contemporary fruity note plus ever popular white flowers deprived of their more conniving Gloria Swanson proclivities or animalistic meowing in heat.
They mention that "Guerlain in-house Perfumer Thierry Wasser has chosen to lighten the generous accents of jasmine and rose in the heart of the fragrance. Jasmine offers its light petals, and their lingering scent. Mirroring this emblematic ingredient, rose blend magnifies the heart. At the very core of the fragrance, rose epitomizes femininity. Guerlain uses the rarest essential oils of 'May rose' with a hint of honey for sensuality and 'Damask rose' for fresher and more spicy smell. These two emblematic ingredients optimize the signature of Guerlain's Bouquet n°1." Even though jasmine is touted as a core ingredient, there are no decaying indoles, or nighttime lushness; what I perceive is more of an abstract orange blossom plus a wink of honeyed lilac pollen which gives a little of an effet lessivière, polished though, while the rose, yes, it's discernible all right. The bouquet is therefore a fantasy one, much like the gardenia in the lovely Cruel Gardénia is a the idea of a flower on the drawing board seen through a camera lucida: what you see is assuredly not what you smell. Not that it matters of course! This concept of transparency and abstraction has been utilised also in their other Aqua Allegoria launch this spring, the more mainstream Flora
The scent remains through its base notes a trail of sweet juicy peach and white musks, clean throughout. A gentle fragrance cloud rounded up at last with a delicate hint of almond aroma. The formula is more tenacious on clothes than on my skin where it retains the squeaky clean floralcy better and longer and I can report it doesn't stain. Certainly not "me" in any "cushions of white flowers thrown in a mad sexy war between lovers", but I'm at least happy it signals a deviation from the route of the last few (catastrophic in my humble opinion) Aqua Allegorias.
Aqua Allegoria Bouquet Numéro 1 is Guerlain's first global travel retail exclusive fragrance and available in 75ml of Eau de Toilette.
The bottle was purchased by me. All Guerlain photos taken & copyrighted by Elena Vosnaki.