Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Guerlain Cologne du Parfumeur: new fragrance

News for Guerlain lovers and haters alike: A new Eau de Cologne in the classic mould but with a modern twist is being introduced in May 2010. Osmoz reports that "Guerlain and Cologne go way back. Each of the house’s perfumers has invented his own. Following in the footsteps of L’Eau de Cologne du Coq (1894), L’Eau de Cologne Imperiale (1853) and L’Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat (1920), in 2010, Thierry Wasser presents ‘La Cologne du Parfumeur’ [sic] a creation that Thierry admits having originally thought of for himself. The key note is a lovely Calabrian orange blossom intertwined with other citrus fruit. Yet this fairly classic cologne also has a ‘modern twist’ thanks to green, musky and sweet facets. The designer also acknowledges that it can be worn alone or layered with your usual scent. For the occasion, Guerlain’s various Colognes have all been graced with a new label on which you’ll find their date of creation and the name of the perfumer who designed them. Look out for La Cologne du Parfumeur from May 2010" .

Perfumer Thierry Wasser is reported to be a great lover of "green" (in olfactory terms) and to have been selfishly enjoying this new cologne which he composed simultaneously with Idylle in his downtime. The really interesting part is that the launch of the new cologne coincides with a revival of a very old tradition dating back from the conception of the Eau de Cologne (Read more on the history and composition of Eau de Cologne on this article). When Eaux de Cologne were considered a panacea for all ailments, people had been known to actually drink them by the gallon! Naturally in those days the alcohol was indeed drinkable, not perfumer's alcohol like today. But this old ritual possibly inspired Guerlain to introduce the new cologne with an accompanying cocktail drink that will be served to all customers at the boutique 68, Champs Elysees and which will include similar aromata as the fragrance itself, namely notes of lemon water, orange blossom, orange juice, lavender syrup, mint and rosemary! Sounds rather good.

Another interesting aspect is that the bottles of all the Guerlain Eaux de Cologne are revamped for the occasion: Each Eau flacon from now on will bear the name of its "author": Pierre-François-Pascal Guerlain, Aimé Guerlain, Jacques Guerlain and Jean-Paul Guerlain (for the lovely Eau de Guerlain from 1974). To that illustrious line-up Thierry Wasser is now adding his name too, F.Malle-style. A propos, please note that the recent Cologne du 68 (2006) by Sophia Labbe isn't included in this "classics" line-up, probably because despite the name it aims at providing a different, less traditional concept. Hence its exclusion.

A turn such as this regarding the positioning of the Cologne du Parfumeur leaves us musing about both Guerlain's and LVMH's (who own them) motivation into tapping into such a revered legacy, as well as Thierry Wasser's uphill battle to position himself firmly at the helm of the historic house as head perfumer. In my opinion, this move both attests the desire to make this position plainly obvious on behalf of the management and the motivation to let Thierry create fragrances that may appeal to both the classics clientele and the younger/more modern crowd who prefer a lighter scent. Clearly the well-familiar Eau de Cologne recipe is a prime target for reconciling both: who really hates it, I ask you?

The practice of hereby chronicling the heritage of the house by naming each successive perfumer on the eaux bottles themselves also indicates that the more cynical amidst the perfumeland ~who have been bemoaning the LVMH takeover as the cultural ruin of Guerlain for long~ are being heard. Possibly (but not conclusively) this is also a move to assuage the negativity of the Guerlain detractors being vocal on the Net. Whatever it is, it is a move that is bound to be discussed and dissected. We did our part and will return in due time.

Edit to add: Full review on this link.

pic via osmoz


  1. Well I am hoping we are being heard Helg.
    Not sure if this will sell well here for it will be very expensive and I cannot see Australian's paying that much for cologne honestly. Even I would rather put those Aus dollars towards one of their old classics .
    You knew I would say that didn't you ? LOL

  2. Fiordiligi09:10

    Thank you so much, dearest E. I had not heard about this new eau de cologne! Now, as you know, eau de cologne is really not my thing, coming as I do from temperate England, but I will be interested to try it, of course.

    Somehow, though, I think that Imperiale will never be surpassed for what it is - a true, old-fashioned eau de cologne for refreshing rather than really perfuming.

  3. think the name is confusing but will looki forward to the trying the juice of course- and I rather like the idea of having the names on them

  4. 'La Cologne du Parfumeur' sounded wrong to my ears - and it is: in French, Cologne is just the name of the German city and it always takes a capital 'C' (it's 'eau de Cologne', not 'eau de cologne'). You cannot say 'une cologne', whereas in English it has become a noun ('I don't like the cologne he wears').

    The name on the Guerlain bottle is 'Cologne du Parfumeur', not 'La Cologne du Parfumeur'. The wrong name was obviously announced by an English speaker and is now being spread around the blogosphere. I haven't found any reference to this scent on any French sites.

  5. Bela,

    I always think you're not reading this venue and you always prove me wrong, LOL!

    Obviously I very well know cologne derives from Cologne, the city, I have written a very long historical article on that (linked in my article), have you read it?
    But the official blurb I am linking and NB quoting from Osmoz mentions it like that and cologne has become an Americanism (is that even a word?) which is widely used across cultures now (lamentably for some, but there you have it!).

    Even while talking to Jean Claude Ellena, he mentioned "la cologne Hermes" quite casually; suppose he doesn't speak French as immaculately as all that? ;-)

    I'm surprised: Have you already seen the bottle??

  6. M,

    I hope we're being heard.
    From a market point of you, you have a great argument there. I wonder about the price though, I don't think it will be so elevated. The rest of the Eaux are reasonably priced (so far...).

  7. D,

    thanks, and hope you do fill me in with impressions when you do!
    It's true that EDC is more of a Med thing (and German obviously) since it's supposed to act as a cooling pick-me-up.
    I don't think they're aiming at a classic cologne recipe, though. What would be the use of that in their portfolio? As you say, if it ain't broken, don't fix it.

  8. K,

    I suppose the name wants to evoke some sort of authorship (does this sound very Frederic-Malle-like or am I the only one to think so?), so the natural progression would be to put the names on all the others (to denote cultural succession).
    Now imagine if this was called Jus du Parfumeur ;-)

  9. I was trying to explain why 'La Cologne du Parfumeur' had to be incorrect. I'll try again.

    '...cologne has become an Americanism [...] which is widely used across cultures now..' Not in France, it isn't. You cannot have an article before Cologne in French because it is not a substantive and therefore Guerlain - the epitome of French taste, tradition, etc. - cannot possibly have called one of their perfumes 'La Cologne...', and indeed they haven't.

    There is a picture of the bottle on The Scented Salamander. The name is very clear.

    Jean-Claude Ellena may well have said 'la cologne...' when addressing an English speaker in the course of an interview, it doesn't mean that it is correct or that Guerlain would make the same mistake.

  10. Bela,

    perhaps the article in the title might be ommited, if it offends you, I'm not averse to that. I do not read the SS so I haven't seen the pic, but a Google search reveals that SS also mentions it with an article in her own title! The quote is directly taken from Osmoz as mentioned in which they refer to it thus, so this is why I put it expressedly.

    French sites sometimes lag behind for some unfathomable reason, probably because the press releases are first circulated to English-speaking ones because companies have their eyes set on the American market (That's my theory)

    As to Guerlain being the epitome of French blah blah, obviously in recent years they have embraced different tactics. Or are you disagreeing with that? (No sarcasm in my questioning whatsoever, genuinely interested)
    As to JCE, you perfectly know I'm fluent in French so we conversed in what was the polite medium to do. :-)

  11. How funny! Why is it that when someone is proven wrong, they try to wriggle out of it by saying they will correct the mistake as a ‘favour’ to the person who pointed it out? The new Guerlain is not called ‘La Cologne du Parfumeur’; that’s nothing to do with me; it’s a fact. You corrected your heading because you’ve seen the pic of the bottle with the actual name on it, not to please me. A lot of things ‘offend’ me (injustice, violence against the weakest in our society, etc.), but bad grammar/syntax is not one of them.

    ‘Cologne’ might well become eventually used as a noun in French, but, as I said, not by Guerlain in this instance. I don’t have the time to discuss how the house has evolved in recent years. This is why I don’t read blogs on a regular basis any longer: I have things to do today that do not involve having long discussions about the French language or perfumers.

    I’d rather not comment on your fluency in French. Others have and you made it their problem too.

  12. Anonymous16:23

    That cocktail drink sounds sooo good. Do you think you'll be there to partake Helg? If so, I want to hear all about it. As for the new cologne, I am indeed excited to try it out. I really cannot have enough citrus in my life. Thanks for the great article!


  13. Bela,

    you said "How funny! Why is it that when someone is proven wrong, they try to wriggle out of it by saying they will correct the mistake as a ‘favour’ to the person who pointed it out?"

    Maybe because you're the very epitome of graciousness and good will and I hate to see you pout and sour!
    You win, yours is bigger than mine. :D

    BTW, Did you raise the same storm on SS, I wonder (I don't check there), insisting she changes her title because it's wrong? Probably not, because I suppose M-H would have edited out your comment on the spot!

  14. Dagney,

    who knows? I might at some point. I'm going a bit southerner this time.

  15. Aaaargh! The first flamewar around here and I've missed it.
    I'll save my gasoline to add to the fire for later, I hold hopes.


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