Saturday, June 9, 2012

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia: fragrance review

A warm, sandy beach...soaking up the rays, you rest sprawled in a deckchair, your hand hanging down in the shadowy spot beneath it, idly caressing the sugar-spun grain...kicked off sandals nearby...a faint hint of tropical flowers and suntan lotion in the breeze...and the world sits still for a while. This summer fantasy leads to soothing thoughts and sensual imaginings and it's all the fault of Guerlain's Lys Soleia, I'm convinced! An interplay between light and shadow, between heat and , basking in the afterglow.

Guerlain had the brilliant idea to offer something for casual wearing and younger dispositions around 1999, the Aqua Allegoria line. Incongruent, with agile, ambrosial specimens alongside undoubtably acrylic painting flops, the line has thankfully picked up in the last couple of seasons (for instance see Guerlain Jasminora ) and Lys Soleia, the latest fragrance in the collection, is among the clear winners.

As announced previously, Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia is centered around a semi-fresh, semi-tropical floral composition, which reproduces the sensuous aroma of oriental yellow lilies and the regal white lily. The treatment is initially leaning into the delicious tannning lotion aroma of classic European favorite Ambre Solaire, with a tangy hint of citrus ling-a-ling (and Guerlain is no stranger to great citrus, just witness Shalimar Light), rich in salicylates and the tropical floral note of ylang ylang as well as the greener part of the tuberose plant, heady and sensual. Lys Soleia is taking a page off both Guerlain's own Terracotta Sous le Vent dry oil and the green-powdery-lily strewn Vanille Galante in the Hermessences series by Hermes with its delicate veil of vanilla. The spicy touch of lily is nicely peppered, biting gently, bridging the gap between lily and ylang ylang. This tender and very temperately sweet fragrance doesn't really lose its sensuous tropical flower feel upon drying down on the skin, but enhances the muskiness of warmed skin and light creamy vanillic nuances.

Perfume enthusiasts who like Nuxe Parfum Prodigieux, Cartier Baiser Vole, Serge Lutens Un Lys and Hermes Vanille Galante are advised to try it; it shares kindred DNA. But so are lovers of feminine tropical florals who don't want oppressive clobber-you-down tiare re-runs smelling cheap. Lys Soleia smells eerily familiar and at the same time freshly renewed, with a delicacy and balance of composition that denotes true Guerlain mastery. Perfumer Thierry Wasser proves he can carry the baton after all. Who would have thought he'd do it with an Aqua Allegoria?

Available at major department stores £37/€51 for 75ml

 pic via


  1. MariaA16:29

    I am in love with it! Bought it just about 3 weeks ago (with a bit discount) and it was love at first spray. The lily in it is a bit different, a bit more "solar" as you say reminds a bit summer tan lotion and becomes very addictive. My colleagues keep sniffing me at work and everybody likes it as it is summery without being watery and light. Very well done Mr. Wasser.

  2. siren16:35

    I don't know why but whenever I smell this, I get a strong banana aspect that I can't get past to reach the lily...

  3. M,

    I can see why!! It's totally what is considered a satisfying scent in the Mediterranean sensibility: has that breeze in it, it's floral beachy, but lightly done, no coconut, not too sweet, and is tenacious enough for our heat.

    Enjoy!! I see a bottle in my future as well (the store was out of stock, otherwise I would have bought one on the spot)

  4. Siren,

    you have a wonderfully attuned nose, actually. Banana facets naturally come off ylang ylang (and in some jasmine variants, like pink jasmine which has a banana/bubble-gum nuance).

  5. MariaA19:26

    Indeed it is one of the "good" Allegorias, I bought also Bouquet de Mai this year. I really want to try the teraccotta perfumed with Lys Soleia too, I think it will make a nice combination with the perfume.

  6. Shall be interesting to try this if it comes my way Helg.

  7. I'm really impressed with this too, and I'm glad that someone else agrees on the connection with Vanille Gallante.

    More like this please, Monsieur Wasser!

  8. Anonymous16:49

    Perfect review! i smelt this at Shoppers Drug Mart, and just loved it. So soft, and sweet, and delicate-TW is just an amazing perfumer. I wonder if it's a permanent part of the line?

    Also, I bought the bronzing pwder last year, and if they ever patent that smelll I will buy it. The Terracotta brozer, in the pretty round black wood case.

    i hope you are well, and thank you for the review,


  9. It sounds appealing although I'm not into beachy fragrances. Actually, the beginning of the description almost gave me creeps. The awful sand, awful heat, awful allergic rash, no way. (Hey, I was to a conference with a spa hotel and lovely outside pool and I spent all my free time wandering in the nearby woods, if it tells something).

    However, banana-flavoured ylang-ylang sounds too good to miss. I'll certainly check it out.

    I actually got a summer fragrance - people at the office seemed to get annoyed by Iris Ukiyoe (erm.....) so I'm splattering myself with Manuel Canovas' L'Ile Bleue. (I'm in no mood for accents, sorry folks). It has no sillage at all. I need to do something about the new interface of blogspot, I hate it, can't find my way around and it positively takes my joy of blogging away. Le sigh.

  10. Maria,

    if you mean the Terracota Sous le Vent dry oil (in the tall glass bottle with the black wooden cap), I have no doubt it will be a good match.

  11. M,

    I think it will be available in Oz, you do get all the Aqua Allegorias, don't you? It's not a boutique only thing.

  12. D,

    it's very satisfying and especially so in that it is balanced so expertly. Pleased to find we agree on the VG connection! It was a good reference to make in the first place and it was inventinvely incoroporated instead of just "copying" (like with Idylle).
    Mr.Wasser should be proud of this one.

  13. Carole,

    awww, thanks!

    Yes, this one is one for keepers. I immediately fell in love. It's so good! I think Wasser took his while to acclimatize himself in the Guerlain tradition, but now he proves he can utilize it and offer something modern too. What better than that?

    I need to track down the wooden-boxed Terracotta now... (Not sure I'm thankful, LOL!!)

    Best! :-)

  14. I'm curious: what would you say he copied with Idylle?

  15. L,

    haha, I detest the heat as well (rushes all over, hair that sticks on the nape, mascara that melts, things like that...) but I forget everything when I'm at by the sea. Pool just doesn't have the same cachet, I guess (though it's cooling too)
    I do think you will like Lys Soleia; it's delicate, but satisfying, not too sweet, not too cloying, never cheap-smelling tan-lotion-copy (you know, that plasticky coconut scent from cheap body lotions).

    The Canovas frag sounds good! Can't fathom why your co-workers would object to Iris Ukiyoe! My staple in days of heatwaves when in close company with non-beloved ones is the extra-dry Cologne au Gentiane Blanche (again Hermes); this aesthetic pleases me no end and never offends anyone apparently.

  16. D,

    the marketing directive rather (not Wasser's decision) was "we need our own Narciso". It's the 00s reference of choice, it seems (everyone has to have one etc)

  17. MariaA19:03

    No Elena, I mean the teraccotta powder in compact I think it will be available in 2 shades and will be scented with Lys soleia. Haven't seen in in the shop yet though.

  18. Maria,

    you're right, I just searched for it. It sounds absolutely fabulous, what a nifty idea!!
    I do hope they bring it here on the counter (I need a terra cotta powder for summer, I've run out)


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