Guerlain, Guerlain, Guerlain Samples


Post by Eliza D


I’ve been in a bit of a rut fragrance-wise for a few months, then I got to go to The Perfume House in Portland and I was instantly lifted out of my snit. Though the two samples I brought home were not right for me, there was a fragrance on the sleeve of my sweater that had to be a Guerlain, since I spent a lot of time in that corner of the store, sniffing fragrance and making weird murmery noises that scared the other shoppers.

Guerlain, Guerlain, Guerlain Samples

So, I went to the Posh Peasant, and found out that I could get 5 x 1.5 ml spray samples of any Guerlain fragrance they carry for $26 US+shipping. and ordered Shalimar PI, L’Heure Bleue, Champs Elysee, Vol de Nuit and Chamade. They arrived in four days!

Vol de Nuit

Vol de Nuit Guerlain Fragranticahoto Stolen Fragrantica

First on was Vol de Nuit. Oh my gosh, how wondrous! The bergamot and light top notes gave way very quickly to that incredible powdery dry down anchored with vanilla and moss that is so familiar to me from the other two Guerlains that I have owned or tried: Samsara and Mitsouko (the latter of which instantly transports me to my mother’s bedroom in the 60s…she did not wear perfume, but her friends did, and when we had parties the impromptu coat room was a glorious treasure trove), but I was disappointed with its longevity.


Chamade Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Next day was Chamade. Oh my word! Lovely cripsness followed by flowers and then sandalwood. Could this be my new forever fragrance? Could I wear this to work and not feel as if I was pushing the limit of acceptance? Was it better suited for home, when I was alone with my loved one? What an amazing feat, and of course created in the era I consider to be my formative time.

Champs Elysees

Champs Elysees Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Monday was Champs Elysees, and of all the five, this was the most disappointing. No bones, just fluff, and too sweet. Yes roses, but grocery store roses, not boutique roses…I almost washed it off.

Shalimar Parfum Initial

Shalimar Parfum Initial Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

Then I tried Shalimar Parfum Initial. This was the one I almost did not order. I had read so much about how it was JUST a flanker, and what was Thierry Wasser thinking to mess with an old classic and how it was made for soccer moms and teenagers. I sprayed with trepidation. First came the citrusy top notes calling out while the rest of the perfume gathered in the wings. Then jasmine and iris and some rose, but a different rose. Yes, sweet, but not bubble gum headache sweet…more precious. Lovely, soft, modern, patchouli and vanilla. Incredible. I loved this from first sniff. Great sillage! Could it be the one?

L’Heure Bleue

L'Heure Bleue Guerlain FragranticaPhoto Stolen Fragrantica

But I still had one more to go: L’Heure Bleue. I chose this because it is a classic, and because of the line in the Bond Movie about it…

I sprayed it on after arriving home from work. Immediately I knew this was not the same as the others, but still somehow similar. Licorice topnotes warm and balmy from the start, it deepened as I wore it with neroli and tuberose taking main stage. I was swept away to a place where the air is thick with fragrance all the day long, this is an after the hot tub fragrance, a bundle up in fur in winter and dream of longer days fragrance.

I am so grateful to Guerlain for continuing the art of perfumery through the years. Perfumery is divine. I am blessed. And I am wearing Shalimar PI.

Eliza D

13 thoughts on “Guerlain, Guerlain, Guerlain Samples

  1. Welcome ElizaD,
    I hope you have a long and fruitful tenure here at APJ. This is a lovely post, congratulations. As you know I am a Guerlain baby through and through so you had me at hello.
    Portia xx


  2. Lovely reviews and thank you. You’ve made me want to try Chamade, one of the Guerlains I have not yet sampled. Glad Shalimar PI was right for you – I think it’s great as well.


    • MaggieCat, I wore Chamade all Sunday! So beautiful! Balmy, soft. The weather is getting colder here and I loved the feeling of warmth from the scent on my skin….You’ll have to try it.


  3. I am so glad you wrote this post! I had to laugh about your description of yourself in the perfume department at the store, hahaha!!! Perfect!

    Guerlain is my favorite perfume house, hands down. The only only one of this group that I haven’t yet tried is Vol de Nuit, and I have no idea why I haven’t tried it yet! Your comments about these beauties are great, thanks again!


  4. Glad you like SPI. I do too, and was annoyed at some of the snooty reviews. I get a lovely, bell-like iris out of it, and the sillage is to die for. All I have is a mini and at least for the moment, that’s all I need. It doesn’t work for me all the time though. Sometimes it seems to get sweeter and sweeter on my skin and gets a bit tiresome. But in the right day and in the right mood, it’s magic.


  5. Thank you, Eliza! Your post brought back lots of happy memories for me. Mitsouko was the first perfume I chose for myself. I love the peaches and oak moss and wore it for years, delighted. My resulting intrigue prompted a visit to the Guerlain house in Paris on my honeymoon. My treasure from that trip was a bottle of Vol de Nuit, although it has felt a little bold and intimidating for me at times and I haven’t worn it very often. (I am older now, and based on your experience, I’m going to give it another try.) My last trip, I went in search of something lovely for my mother, a floral girl. Jardin de Bagatelle was totally the right choice. She was thrilled. Thank you for reminding me of all these happy thoughts and prompting me to keep exploring!


    • Thanks everyone for your wonderful comments ! we had Thanskgiving holidays here in the US, and I had to be fragrance free for the last 4 days! But I devoured two great books in the meantime: Scent and Subversion and The Perfume Collector, and am now working on my second review. Something from my small but growing collection, or should I get some more samples….it’s all so EXCITING!


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