It's easy to be convinced that the later day Aqua Allegorias have been subpar: The history of the Aqua Allegoria line by Guerlain proves they were not always so, yet the fruity examples of the last few years have been steadily dwindling. Nevertheless, I really surprised myself with Jasminora, Guerlain's latest addition in the line: A fresh jasmine floral which should delight fans of the classic Diorissimo (due to the latter's hyperbole of lily of the valley flanked by the grace of jasmine), as well as the acolytes of Chanel Cristalle and Ormonde Jayne Tiare (due to the crackling effect of both scents' citrusy trompe-l'oeil atop the green floralcy). The Aqua Allegorias have firmly moved from fruity territory into florals (judging by Flora Nymphea and travel exclusives Bouquet No.1 & Bouquet No.2) and if this one is any indication, there's hope yet!
According to Guerlain: "Aqua Allegoria Jasminora is a limited edition for 2011. This fresh floral fragrance opens with notes of galbanum, bergamot and cyclamen. The heart features Calabrian jasmine, freesia and lily of the valley, while the base consists of musk and amber."
In Guerlain's Jasminora the protagnonist is hedione (Methyl Dihydrojasmonate, the sparkling, limpid green note isolated from jasmine, paired with the lightening pepperiness of freesia. Here the perfumer used specifically Hedione HC from Firmenich, taking on citrusy touches reminiscent of bergamot juice and magnolia petals. The airy tang is complimenting the floral heart, taking on the refined delicacy of classic vintage Guerlain colognes (like in Eau de Fleurs de Cedrat) and echoing one of the most successful Aqua Allegorias, Flora Nerolia to date (Where the lightly bitter-sour neroli takes on a sensuous overlay, thanks to jasmine). The initial impression is one of electric shock, the peppery flash of freesia and some citrus creating a shockingly "fresh", piquant aura, the air ripe with the promise of rain.
This is supported by a chord of lily of the valley and jasmine which unmistakably translates as "green floral" (the resinous backbone of galbanum grass is furthering this "fresh", bracing impression). Hence my (tentative, as they're not really alike) comparison with vintage Diorissimo, especially in the lighter, fresher concentrations. But whereas the Dior classic veered into a decidedly naughty note in the background ~most notable in the extrait de parfum concentration~ in Jasminora the refined feel is that of a Japanese garden, misty at the edge of dawn and full with the electricity in the air before a rainstorm.
The aqueous elements are woven expertly alongside a sweet note reminiscent of the headiness of honeysuckle, resulting in an uplifting, refreshing melody which is heard though canopies of bright white. The lasting power is very good for an Eau de Toilette, in what is by definition a light genre, through the synergy of modern musks (only lightly powdery) and a subtle mossy note, boosting the freshness into an exploding sense of elation.
Much has been written about how Guerlain is abandoning la patrimonie of their impressive tradition, but with Jasminora they're revisiting part of that heritage with surprisingly credible results and a modern fresh feel. If I might be allowed to grumble amidst a positive review, it's a profound pity Guerlain reserved it for just a limited edition.
The newest Aqua Allegoria, Jasminora, by Guerlain, is available from major Guerlain stockists, £35 for the standard 125ml spray bottle.
Music by Manos Hadjidakis The waltz of lost dreams, from the 1961 Greek film Χαμένα Όνειρα (Lost Dreams).
Picture of Greek actress & dancer Maria Nafpliotou