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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Bouquet No.1: fragrance review & giveaway

What do you get when you cross-polinate a popular feminine theme from the early 90s with the desire to break away from the simplistic fruitiness of the latest Aqua Allegoria fragrances? You get Guerlain's Bouquet Numéro 1!

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 It seems poised in between, with a nod to the 90s (read further on) but not much beyond that to justify historical references that far back.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 Sudséa Nymphéa. It leaves me wondering how a perfumer of the Transparency School, like Bertrand Duchaufour or Jean Claude Ellena, would go about this kind of concept, yet I fully understand that Guerlain cannot deviate from the curvaceous path they have paved on for centuries.

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.

A sample of Guerlain Bouquet No.1 will be handed out to a lucky reader, randomly picked from the comments. Draw is now closed, thanks!

The bottle was purchased by me. All Guerlain photos taken & copyrighted by Elena Vosnaki.

79 comments:

  1. Your review made me very curious....pick me, Random!

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  2. Hi E! I'm wondering -- who would appreciate a hip modern juice that also references lineage, in blurb form anyway, with potential buyers? I'm thinking that it could be the very well-informed perfume fans, i.e. us. Perhaps this is meant to regain some much-needed street credibility with the niche-buying market. The marketing will tell this tale. To do it right, there would be a need for word of mouth to develop before plunging right away into consumer advertising. IMHO at any rate. We'll see.

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  3. Anonymous14:13

    The cap (third picture) looks too massive and I am not sure about the peach.
    E, what is your most favourite AA?
    Lavinia

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  4. Fiordiligi14:32

    TWO Guerlain reviews in one day - what a treat, my dear! Except not, in this case, I think.

    I'm not a fan of the AAs which have always been Guerlain for Beginners, to my mind, and this one doesn't sound promising. Eau dear! Forging a somewhat tenuous link with Guerlain's illustrious history seems misplaced in this case, methinks.

    No need to enter me into the draw, thank you.

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  5. Nancy C.14:34

    Sound delightful! I'd love a sample.

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  6. Ann C.14:49

    Sounds delightful! I just bought a bottle of Mandarine Bsilic, I wonder if I should have gotten this instead.

    I'd love to be entered into the drawing

    Thanks!

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  7. maria14:55

    I would love to try it. At the moment can't get enough of Apres L'Ondee, so perfect for these spring days.
    Enter me for the draw!

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  8. Though I am not a fan of the AA line, I do enjoy "classical" Guerlain so definitely intrigued by link to lineage. Please enter me in the draw. And thank you for your great reviews and this opportunity

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  9. This sounds fairly intriguing. Please enter me in the draw--I'd love to try this for myself!

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  10. I personally think the peach sounds fabulous. I want to try this one.

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  11. After whining miserably about how much I hated the ads for Flora Nymphea (they strike me as sexualizing children, although I do know that the actual model is well of age) - I actually find the notes appealing on this one.

    I've probably got plenty of pleasant, inoffensive floral scents, but I admit to being a fool for a good peach and would love to smell Bouquet Numero 1, thanks!

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  12. Anonymous16:29

    pick me!pick me!*raises hand frantically*. I've been searching for the perfect peach and Bouquet No. 1 may be it. Didn't think I'd have a chance to smell this being a travel exclusive and all but here you are with a draw! Thanks for the opportunity.

    Dagney

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  13. You know Guerlain's are my faves. I would love it.

    Did you love it?

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  14. I have never had the chance to smell guerlain scents. But I am very curious!! Pick ME, please!!

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  15. I'm definitely curious, I'd love the chance to sample it :)

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  16. Anonymous18:59

    I hope I get picked randomly for GAAB No.1
    Thank you!!!

    DB@ME

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  17. ooh want! Would love to win this. I am currently obsessing over perfume so much and would love a new sample :D

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  18. Since I am most probably not travelling anywhere this year, and our local distributor quitted with Guerlain, all the Guerlain news make me so sad. I hope I'll have a chance to try/buy new allegorias some day!

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  19. Anonymous21:48

    It's a shame that my Sephora -- andpossibly all branches of Sephora-- stopped carrying Guerlain AA, or else that's where I would go right now to sample this enticing creation. This sounds like one of the nicest new fragrances of 2010. : )

    Kitty

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  20. I would love to try this! Thanks for the review. :)

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  21. Chris G00:39

    I just love peach!! Please enter me in the draw - thanks!

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  22. Elizabeth02:29

    Hmmm, peach makes me nervous, but I am always open to a new scent. Please count me in! Thanks.

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  23. Anonymous02:51

    Dear E,

    Please include me in the draw. I am always interested in a new Guerlain.

    Natalia

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  24. vol de nuit03:13

    It seems my favarite! I'd like to try!!

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  25. Mystic Knot06:37

    Sounds very interesting Helg. I am gonna check it out ! :)I ownder if it's hit duty free shops yet,worldwide ?

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  26. I really need to work on trying more of the Guerlain scents. They all seems so beautiful.

    Enter me please. :)

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  27. Thanks for your blog!

    I want this Guerlain! Pick me, plese!

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  28. This fragrance sounds luscious. the bottle is gorgeous! I'd love to own it.

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  29. I love jasmine and peach, so please may I be entered into the draw?

    That said, I love full-on jasmine; I've just bought a full bottle of A La Nuit in preparation for summer.

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  30. Olfacta,

    exactly my qualm!
    Since this is a travel exclusive (like some in the past which have been revered such as Vetiver pour Elle) there needed to be some enticing which would intrigue the "niche" crowd (us) into seeking it out. Nothing wrong with that in principle, as long as it's coherent. It's the coherence which I don't particularly see, but it's a nice enough introduction all the same.
    Who knows, they might elevate it in boutique exclusive status one day? ;-)

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  31. Lavinia,

    I'm sure the cap looks bigger thanks to my own clumpsiness of angle! (trying to minimise refraction of light on the bulb)

    To answer your question, I have always had a soft spot for Flora Nerolia (perfect little thing)which I do really love. I deeply respect Herba Fresca, Pamplelune and Winter Delice too. But curiously, I'd rather wear Ylang & Vanille than them most days (suits my skin better)

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  32. D,

    you're welcome to the treat! And I can see your doubt and can tell you it probably will leave you lukewarm knowing your tastes.

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  33. Ann,

    don't worry. This one is only sold in travel retail, it's not like it was in front of you to choose it.

    Good luck!

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  34. Maria,

    it's a different mood than AlO, much less spicy, much more peachy-rosy. Good luck!

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  35. Sean Jo,

    thank you for your most kind words and you're welcome on the opportunity.
    I can't say I see much lineage although it's a curvaceous, little pretty thing. Girly but not air-headed.

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  36. Matt,

    you're included. Hope you win!

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  37. BB,

    if you're a fan of peach, you're in for a treat! Good luck!

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  38. Mals,

    I recall!
    It's uncanny how BN1 takes a well-familiar theme and respins it into an airier formula.
    Hope you win!

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  39. Dagney,

    you're welcome, it's exactly the more obscure ones that I like to present in draws, so that people get a chance to smell something not widely available.
    Good luck!

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  40. K,

    of course I do!

    I didn't love it, I didn't hate it, I'm someplace in the middle without being negative. I find it nice enough and certainly much better than most of the AA of late!

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  41. Kim,

    thanks for stopping by and hope this is your chance to try one (and don't stop there, it's a house with LOTS of things to explore)

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  42. Proximity,

    best of luck, I know it's intriguing.

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  43. DB,

    you're welcome, good luck!

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  44. Esz,

    hope you enlarge your sampling drawer then!

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  45. Sarka,

    oh so sorry about that. But there's always the internet and the boutique in Paris takes phone orders for Europe. I believe they include the Chech Republic ;-)

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  46. Kitty,

    don't feel bad, this wouldn't be available at Sephora anyway. It's a travel retail exclusive.
    It's certainly a romantic pretty scent, fit for spring. The notes are indeed nice. Hope you win!

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  47. Justin,

    you're welcome. Good luck!

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  48. Chris,

    peach is calling your name! You're in :-)

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  49. Elizabeth,

    I know! It's certainly lots of peach, but thankfully not sugary sweet or too dense. It's above juvenille, although certainly girly. Good luck!

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  50. Natalia,

    don't I know that feeling. Best of luck!

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  51. Vol de Nuit,

    taking in cue your username it might be a little girlier, but I hope you get the chance to try for yourself!

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  52. MK,

    it just has! Do try it out if you can, it's more romantic than the previous AAs.

    PS.I have sent your little prize but they told me that it will get delayed due to holidays. Give it a little time please!

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  53. Diana,

    and even if when they're not, they keep sounding beautiful, LOL!
    Guerlain is certainly the first stop for a selection in beauty. Several are just that.

    Good luck!

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  54. Katyonok,

    thanks for complimenting and good luck!

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  55. SGS,

    the bottle is indeed just lovely (the golden label, the friendly shape, the bee on the cap, the peachy-hued juice).
    Hope you get to sample this!

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  56. Mim,

    of course you may, best of luck!
    Sadly, the jasmine is nothing like ALN, but one can't have two ALNs I guess ;-)
    BN1 is nice for what it is.

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  57. Ooops! Somehow my post disappeared!? Perhaps because I'm another Karin? This is Karin from Maine. :-) Please include me in the draw. Thanks, Elena! And have FUN on your Easter jaunt!

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  58. Oh my!
    I adore Aqua Allegoria series! Guerlain perfumes always live up to my highest expectations! I so love to wear them! :-)

    Please enter me too, dear!

    Thank you for the amazing reviews! ;-)

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  59. Too bad it's exclusive to travel retail!

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  60. Yum, I'm going through a peach phase so please enter me if the giveaway is still open. Thanks!

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  61. Sounds intruiging...please enter me as you have piqued my interest!

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  62. Please enter me in the Random drawing as well. In my neck of the woods, the only scent I've had the opportunity to smell was Shalimar.

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  63. Hi , Please enter me in the draw. I am very curious about this one Guerlain No. 1

    I do like Tresor and White Linen. alas I love aldehydes but whatever.
    Great review . Always room for something new.

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  64. I don't think an average customer will care a damn about history, a normal type will think Oh, bouquet #1, will there be a #2 next year, or, wait, I don't like this one, hey, shop assistant, I want to try bouquet two NOW!

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  65. Hello.

    I would really like to have a sample of this new Guerlain perfume!

    Thank you,
    AB.

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  66. Anonymous18:46

    Hi, this is Susan in Memphis. I'd like to be included in the draw. I like a couple of these AAs. Curious about this one.
    Thanks.

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  67. This sounds interesting. Can't wait to try it!

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  68. Anonymous06:23

    Hmmm, I'd love to try this one. I thought Floral Nymphea was the newest AA? Or is this one of the newest threesome to appear? Oh, and that cologne! Gosh, I'd love to try all the Guerlain colognes! That would be a lovely sample pack or coffret for someone to offer! Cologne minis in the Guerlain bottles... I'm drooling... Anyway, please enter me. Thanks,
    Laura M

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  69. I would like to be entered in the draw - thanks!

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  70. i just love aromatherapy!

    my email is missbanana(at)dwx(dot)com

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  71. hope i win!

    my email is missbanana(at)dwx(dot)com

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  72. kathleen12:39

    Please enter me in the draw

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  73. what a lovely perfume, I would love to win this!
    shou.milk@gmail.com

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  74. I love reading your blog. You go so in depth that I feel like I can actually smell the perfume just by reading. Keep it up. Oh, and pick me!

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  75. Ascentoftime07:17

    The review is mouthwatering, please enter me in the draw if still open!

    ReplyDelete

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