New Guerlains

Guerlain has added a couple of new scents in the past couple of months, but before they roll out their city fragrances, which I’m really anxious to try, I better sniff the last two they released, Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus and La Petite Robe Noir.

Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus starts out pretty traditionally Mitsouko, but not as heavy or powdery, it’s just brighter. It retains some of the peachiness on the drydown, but veers off enough that it is never heavy. It’s not light by any stretch of the imagination. I find the approach with this to be similar to what Chanel did with No. 5 Eau Premiere. They have made Mitsouko more approachable.  She still retains her underlying petulance in this new flanker, but she’s not as hard to get to know. I do like it, but will always prefer the vintage parfum to any other variety of Mitsouko.

La Petite Robe Noir could not be further from Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus.  Notes of Sicilian lemon, licorice, almond, rose, smoky tea, musk and vanilla make this a far sweeter perfume, though I very much like the way the tea and licorice comes through and gives it an updated Guerlain feel.  For the first 30 minutes I had it on, I really didn’t think I liked it at all, too sweet, but then as the sweetness faded and the other more gourmand notes simmered into a distinctly Guerlain feel, I’ve decided I like it quite a lot.  Sort of the poor man’s Quand Vient La Pluie. It’s put together really nicely, though it’s not breaking any new Guerlain ground.  No matter, it’s really pretty, and I’ll happily wear it any day this summer.

Both of these are quite good and very wearable.  If appealing to a new client will keep Guerlain in business and producing the classics and occasionally a great new perfume, I have no problem with their new releases not being strictly “Guerlain.” They seem to stay in the roots of Guerlain, but make those roots easier to access for new perfumistas.

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  • Joe says:

    So hard to imagine a sort of sheer, “more approachable” Mitsouko, but I should definitely sniff it just out of curiosity. I should also hunt down a tiny dab (can’t afford more than that) of the vintage extrait; my current bottle is circa 2001 EdP. (I’m also on a quest for a sample of vintage L’Heure Bleue extrait — if anyone can help in this regard, please contact me!) So, no synth-aquatic nastiness associated with that “Lotus”?

    That Robe Noire — yours is the first review I’ve seen of it, P. Sounds nice, complex, and sample/decant worthy. Thanks for this review of both of these!

    • Shelley says:

      Hello, Joe…thinking you probably weren’t meaning, “if anybody would like to share some vintage L’Heure Bleu extrait”…but just in case that train leaves the station…I’m ready to hop on board. 🙂

  • Musette says:

    I was resolute in my refusal to entertain the Mitsouko flanker, then La M turned around and bit me yesterday – and I realized it was time, weather-wise, for me to put her (and a couple of other chypres) to bed for the season. Perhaps the flanker can fill that summer void the way Eau Premier (which I was surprised to find I really like) does for those “I can’t handle No 5 today” days.

    Try as I might, I can’t get with the gourmands. So I will cleave unto JPG on this one.


    ps. how was your hike? did I miss the report?

  • mals86 says:

    Mitsy has refused to be my friend so far, so perhaps the flanker will work on me; hope so! I generally have good luck with the Guerlains I’ve tried, except for lesser concentrations of Shalimar.

    I do love Eau Premiere! No. 5 is my mother’s scent and it’s far too powdery on me, but EP is both a respectful homage and lovely on its own, I agree.

    I keep thinking that La Petite Robe Noire is a *terrible* name for a gourmand fragrance, which is about as far from the idea of the LBD as one could get. Actually, I think of EP and 31 Rue Cambon, my favorite Chanels, as being the fragrance equivalent of the LBD, so Ms. Chanel must be fuming from the afterlife…

  • Nava says:

    I actually tried this last weekend and it was very nice, until it turned really sweet.

    The two Guerlains I am really excited about these days are Iris Ganache and Spiriteuse Double Vanille layered. YUM!

  • Melissa says:

    I’ve been kicking and screaming my way to accepting even the existence of a Mitsouko flanker, especially a blue-toned version. But enough people have sung its praises that I should give it a chance.

    LPR, however, sounds too sweet, even for me. I like a few gourmands, but reports from friends put it pretty high on the pastry-meter.

    • Patty says:

      Well, they did a great flanker! That’s all I ask, if you’re going to flank a beloved classic, do it justice. Chanel did that with No. 5, and I think Guerlain has done the same here. I expect to see more of them, if this is successful. I had read somewhere that they did FdL for the Japanese market, has anyone else heard that?

      LPRN is definitely gourmand, and if you don’t normally care for them, i think this probably won’t change your mind, especially if you didn’t care for Quand Vient.

      • Melissa says:

        Actually, I like QVLP, but I have heard that LPRN is more fruity sweet perhaps? Described as cherry Koolaid powder in the top notes by someone we know.

        And I do love Iris Ganache, but on me, it does not go too candied. So, I will take the chance and try LPRN next time I have the opportunity, without getting my hopes up too high.

  • Louise says:

    I first met the news of a Mitsy flanker with a loud “nooooooooooo”! But I have been convinced that it’s quite lovely, and a friend is sending me a bottle. While I’m quite sure it won’t be stored anywhere near my precious vintage Mitsouko bottles (rosebud, slope-shoulders, PdT, etc.), I am guessing it’ll be a very wearable lighter riff on a delightful theme. I hope.

    Overall, I have come to believe that many flankers and re-forms are quite fine, as long as I make a mental divide between the classic goodies, and the modern retakes. Certainly, Chanel got it right with EP, as has been noted.

    La Petite Robe hasn’t a chance with me, though. I have smelled it on others, and it’s pleasant, but the very sweet note that was in the top for you (and base on others) is just too much for me.

    Thanks, Patty!

    • Patty says:

      Exactly! It won’t take the place of the real thing, but for those days when you just aren’t feeling the full Mitsouko, this one will work.

      Robe wouldn’t have worked for me if that overly sweet note in the first 30 minutes had stayd. But once it vamoosed, I really did love it.

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Oh Guerlain, Guerlain…I haven’t sniffed Fleur de Lotus but Mitsouko “the real thing” is one of my most dearly beloved fragrances, so it’s fair to say I’m a bit anxious about this one, but not as anxious as I am about La Petite Robe…..

    Guerlain Paris sent me a scented card of this and it was too awful for words, but I suppose I should be brave enough to try it on my wrists, even though I don’t want to smell like something from a patisserie. I’m also not 14 so I suppose I’m not exactly in Guerlain’s demographic for this scent either.

    Please, Guerlain, remember that many of us have grown up with your scents and they are an important part of our lives, loves and memories. Don’t try and fob us off with sweet and sticky confections which are not worthy of such a great and revered House.

    • Patty says:

      Diehard Mitsouko lovers won’t find, I don’t think, a new love with the flanker, but I don’t think they’ve disparaged a beloved fragrance either.

      I do like Guerlain’s gourmands, I think they do them better than anyone else.

  • carmencanada says:

    I think it’s Jean-Paul Guerlain who said “A woman shouldn’t smell like a piece of pastry”. La Petite Robe Noire smells nice — it is, after all, a Guerlain — and it’s well made but it’s something I’d really rather have in my plate than on my skin. I agree it’s a good thing for a company to have best-sellers to keep the classics in productions, but the Little Black Dress (Chanel is seething and sneering in her grave as we speak)isn’t widely distributed and won’t fulfill that role.
    As for the Mitsouko flanker, I’m afraid to say I haven’t been near it. The name, which in France has unfortunate connotations — “Lotus” is a brand of toilet paper here. The idea of a flanker. My general annoyance with things Guerlain these days. But if it’s as good a dumbing-down as Eau Première was for N°5, it’s certainly worth trying.

    • Patty says:

      I’ve learned to love the gourmands. 🙂 So JPG and I will have to part ways there.

      yeah, dumbing down works. and I hate that they have to work in the perfume environment they do, but when there are a thousand or so new releases a year, most of them horrible, it’s easy to get lost. so if they use their name and create something that works for that younger/perfume ADD generation, they should. It’s just reality.

    • March says:

      Now I have this image of Coco Chanel clawing her way from the grave … yikes. Wearing No. 22 and carrying a sabre.

      Patty, I can’t really criticize any scent that’s a poor man’s Quand Vient etc., but it’s SUCH a great name for a scent, I wish they’d used it on something else!

  • violetnoir says:

    I agree with Elle–I need to retrieve my sample of PRN and test it again.

    But I can’t wait to try Mitsouko FdL! I don’t think it will come anywhere near the vintage parfum, but I have heard some lovely things about it.


  • Elle says:

    I was stunned to find I actually quite like the Mitsouko FdL. Sampled it initially only on my knee because I was that certain I wasn’t going to want to catch too many whiffs of it as I worked on my computer. W/in minutes it was promoted to wrist sampling position. Robe Noir never made it past the knee, but I’m now thinking I should have given it more of a chance. Had a major sample organizing session yesterday, so I know exactly where it is – will go rescue it tonight and retry it on my wrist.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      As a die hard fan of Mitsouko, although I didn’t think it “smelled like me” at first, I’m anxious to try this flanker for the summer. Yvresse acts like a warm weather Mitsy, too.

    • Patty says:

      I liked Robe more than the Mitsouko flanker, but only because I just prefer hard-core mitsouko. 🙂

      Rober is incredibly easy to wear and very pretty.

    • Joe says:

      I, for one, think it’s hilarious that you exile certain scents to the “knee” sampling zone. Hey, why not?

      • March says:

        Dude, the knee is *prime* sampling zone. Although I’ve often longed for a third arm, and not just for more perfume. btw sniffing other people’s fingers and knees gets you funny looks. Ask me how I know this.

        • Musette says:


          Vida and I just went through this at the Drake – she put something on her ankle and threw it up towards me, the nimble thing – I threw my nose into it without a thought…..people sort of glanced….but it’s the Drake, so nobody would actually SAY anything…hee hee..