Well hello there, APJ family! We all made it to 2019. I hope your bellies are beginning to subside and you have practiced saying/writing 2019 instead of 2018.
A few months back, I was doing my usual perfume rotation and I found a couple bottles of perfume I had been saving for the ‘right time’. Obscure, not terribly exciting ones that I had left for whatever reason. One of these was Love is All by Guerlain. It was released in 2005, around the same time as quite a few misses from the house. I am really not too sure what was happening behind the scenes at Guerlain at this time, but teen growing pains at LVMH ownership may have been part of it. I’ll explain why in a moment.
Love is All by Christophe Raynaud (2005) for Guerlain
I decided to open it. I had never been attracted to the box because it always seemed too frou-frou teen to me. Pink, a computer generated image of a brunette.. you get the idea. Then there is the name. Just take a look at the Insolence flanker names while you are at it. Bizarrely, the L’Art et la Matiere series had been released around the same time, as well as the incredible L’Instant range. Why Guerlain went with this Love series is still beyond me.
It does not end there. The bottle itself is a variation of the heart topped squarish ones used for Mitsi and L’Heure. It curves at the edges, giving it a more modern appeal, yet definitely marks its difference from the classics. The graphics on the front of the bottle are cheap and something I’d expect from a celebrity scent. I am impressed, however, with the sticker on the base. I can read it quite easily and seems it will last longer than the graphics on the front!
So, what of the scent? That is why I opened the box, to know what might lurk inside. I had a vague notion that it was powdery and fruity. In all honesty, I expected very little, given the impressions of the box and the bottle. Upon first spray, I got a huge intake of a peppery passionfruit. It stayed that way for about 2 minutes. I nearly went to scrub it off, but then the powder hit. That Guerlinade that is instantly recognisable. Guerlain has an uncanny ability to make purple flowers morph into what ever they want. Fragrantica lists iris and mimosa as the two main notes. It explains the powderiness, but I would not have guessed it as being iris.
Fragrantica lists the following notes: passionfruit, pink pepper, mandarin, mimosa, iris, orange blossom, freesia, neroli, nutmeg, amber, musk, vanilla, woodsy notes.
The fruits dry down quite quickly and I honestly do not detect them at any time after the initial spray. The mandarin is not even detectable to my nose at any stage. So, the mimosa-iris combination is pretty much what I am left with for the entire time after. Linear, somewhat flat and very average projection. It lingers as a skin scent for about three hours. While Love is All has the hallmarks of a Guerlain, it certainly does not announce itself to a room and hasn’t the heady present of its contemporaries, such as Insolence and L’Instant edt. I will admit that the white florals that peek out after two hours give an indication of what Guerlain could achieve with L’Instant edt, Nerolia Bianca and Lys Soleia. To me, it seems as if Guerlain eased its usual quality into a more marketable mass appeal, but lost, in its translation, the very thing that makes Guerlain remarkable .
I do not regret opening Love is All. I am not disappointed, for I had really only bought it for two reasons: first, it was dirt cheap at some hidden suburban chemist; a bargain, I suppose, and second, I had hoped to profit off it one day.; an investment. It is by no means an unpleasant scent, but I do not reach for it. I have to wear it in order to remember what it smells like. That tells me I have no feelings towards it and will probably just sit there til I feel ready to part with it.
I suspect Guerlain was trying to capture the market being cornered by Paris Hilton, JLo and the rise of the celebrity scents. Both Colour of Love and Love is All were limited editions and were eventually superceded by La Petite Robe Noire and Insolence, which probably did better for Guerlain at speaking to Millenials. There was the changing of the perfume making guard, adding to Guerlain’s identity issues. It seems that Guerlain, headed by Wasser, has come into its own and remembered what it does best – make classics.
Let me know what you think are Guerlain’s hit and misses in more recent times. Are there any possible classics amongst them all? Or do you think Guerlain has completely lost its way?