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