First off — welcome back, everyone who went to the Sniffa!! How was it? Go ahead. Torment me.
I´ve always thought of the Aqua Allegorias as training-wheel Guerlains – light, simple, and generally short-lived, both in terms of sillage and presence on the retail shelves. They are “refreshing” in the sense that they often have unexpected citrus/herbal notes or combinations and are nice and light for summer. Quoting Sephora: “Ever since they first appeared in 1999, Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria perfumes have been lauded for their boldness, inventiveness, and luminous grace. The à¼berfresh collection enchants each season with a new chapter, each scent giving its top billing to an unexpected raw material (like a flower, fruit, or an aromatic plant).” And yes, I had to stick that in because of their deployment of à¼berfresh.
Right now our Sephora still stocks Figue-Iris, which was quite nice, Mandarine-Basilic, which was just okay, and (inexplicably) Pamplelune, which ended up doing the grapefruit-urine thing on quite a few people, including yours truly. But since the store´s still selling it, I guess it´s more popular than I realized. It´s not like I have the definitive, perfect skin for fragrance testing.
Our local Sephora now has the two new offerings, Cherry Blossom and Tiaré Mimosa.
Tiaré Mimosa is described as a “solar floral” with notes of citrus, pink pepper, mimosa, tiare (Tahitian gardenia), vanilla, vetiver, and musks. It starts off fairly sweet, as you might expect from a scent featuring both mimosa and tiare, but it´s not cloying, and the burst of citrus and pepper offset some of the sugar. My initial reaction was, to use the term of an amateur perfume nut, meh. Twenty minutes later I´d revised my opinion. The drydown isn´t floral on me at all (sayonara, tiare mimosa) – instead, it´s just vanilla, vetiver and musks. I think Guerlain´s required by company policy to stick vanilla in everything they make, and in this case it´s both recognizably Guerlain and a lovely offset for the slightly rooty vetiver. Also, and I admit I´m the musk magnifier, it has an interesting, kind of salty musk (or maybe that´s just the vetiver messing with my nose.) It´s really pretty, a dressed-up version of Kenzo Winter Flowers, which shares some of the same notes. I didn’t whip out my MasterCard, but I’d definitely wear this if it fell in my lap.
Cherry Blossom is (literally) pink in the bottle. Notes: bergamot, green tea, cherry tree flower, cherry, peach, powder accord. I was dreading trying it. First off, we are in cherry blossom high season right here in D.C., and while there´s no denying that cherry blossoms are quite lovely, particularly in mass plantings around the Tidal Basin, other than a slight vegetal greenness the blossoms are essentially unscented. People grow all sorts of ornamental cherry trees in these parts, and I am still waiting to run across the one that smells interesting enough to command a fragrance. I think the concept of “cherry blossom” in perfume is based on their frothy appearance, hence their constantly cropping up in places like Bath & Body Works in some generic pink-floral scent. In any case, Cherry Blossom opens much more tart than I was expecting; it´s pretty much bergamot, citrus-y tea and tart fruits. I was not looking forward to peach and powder accord (from the heliotrope-loving house o´Guerlain), but we never really got there. It remained a not terribly interesting generic tart fruit until it faded into nothingness after a couple of hours. If I´d found this on the shelf at BBW, labeled Sultry Sour Cherry, I´d probably think hey, not half bad. As a Guerlain it´s not setting my heart afire. Also, this one in particular has a lot of alcohol at the top, so do yourself a favor and don´t stick your nose in there right after you spray.
I like the very Guerlain-ish AA Figue-Iris, one of the prior releases still at Sephora, and would cheerfully wear it if presented with a bottle. The new-ish Laurier-Reglisse (bay leaf, licorice, amber, violet, bergamot, orange blossom) was also delightful surprise; I am not the greatest fan of licorice except in jelly-beans. There´s something about the licorice/herb/citrus dynamic that is quite refreshing and unexpected. However, the only AA I´ve felt moved to buy is Winter Delice (notes of pine, gingerbread, incense, labdanum and vanilla.) I think it´s a wonderfully spicy walk through the winter woods, although some people can´t bear it, and it´s unusually long lasting for the line. It´s getting harder to find online in anything other than the minis.
Which are your favorites of the Aqua Allegorias?
Postscript: giving myself a headache squinting at the bottle images online and my notes … I swear I think the Tiaré Mimosa is not hyphenated, unlike their usual convention (Mandarine-Basilic, Figue-Iris, etc.)? I could be wrong. If someone’s staring at bottles of any of these, help me out. It bugs me that I’m not sure.