Smelling the new Guerlain Idylle – okay, hold up, first of all, remember when Guerlain hired Thierry Wasser as the in-house perfumer and all was going to be rainbows and unicorns? And then we were (okay, I was) wondering whether Thierry had, like, fallen down in le Metro and bumped his head, because where oh where was his name on a new Guerlain? They released three or four or nine (?) more scents last year without his name on it, right? Am I right?
So, this one is finally/apparently/legit by Thierry Wasser, and how is it?
Well, first – the good news. There is not one drop, jot, dot, iota or speck of what I have at this point come to refer to contemptuously as “that vat of powdery-heliotrope-violet dreck” that the Guerlain trolls must keep in 55-gallon drums at the Guerlain-R-Us factory outlet, out past one of the drearier Paris arrondissements, and have poured liberally into every one of their many Quand Vient Plus Que La Petite Robe Elixir Barbare releases in recent memory. So, yay! None of that here!
Idylle’s notes are “a mist of flowers… Bulgarian roses, peony, jasmine, freesia, lilac, lily of the valley, married with the chypre sensuality.” There are two phases of development: the more floral top, with a hint of freesia and something faintly buttery which I like very much; and the drydown, which is floral-musky. I can’t identify the rose at all – the only one I notice is jasmine, and that’s because I’m looking for it. Idylle is fairly seamless. Furthermore, I don’t know which chypre sensuality this is married to, but I’m thinking it was one of those Vegas things – a brief hookup that doesn’t leave any lasting impression. Seriously, there isn’t a thing about this scent that I’d describe as chypre. There’s something faintly, pleasingly woody/raspy in the base.
Now, the rest of the news. I might as well frame this truthfully: the first time I tried this, I’d gone to Saks to try Natori and the Narciso Rodriguez For Her Intense LE side by side, because I was going to buy one or the other, having decided I wanted another nice wallpaper scent for myself but not feeling the need for both. And there sat Idylle, so I had to try it too, right? Well… stylistically, Idylle is much like these other two. If you want to draw some lines between the soft-musky-cottony goodness of NR and the soft-musky-floral cuddliness of Natori, you can definitely stick the white-musky-floral Idylle on the third point and make a perfect triangle.
So I went back and I tried just the NR Intense and the Idylle, and … gosh, people, once you get a half an hour into the develoment, that musky base smells a lot alike to me. I noted when looking for reviews that Octavian, who can talk much more intelligently about aromachemistry and construction than I ever will, also mentioned NR (Essence). Now, I love the musky drydown of the NR scents, but I admit it’s a little disconcerting to have it pop out at me from the Guerlain bottle – and more about that bottle in a bit. In case you are wondering, yes, I did wonder whether I was somehow cross-contaminating my sample, so I laid off NR the third and fourth times (quick – how close do you think they are to banning me from Saks?) Idylle definitely has got more going on than NR Essence does, it’s more sweetly floral on top, although not as sweet on me as regular NR, and it’s very, very pretty, where NR Intense smells more (to me) like something that would scent a really good soap. Idylle is also very glowy – Octavian mentions the hedione – although I wouldn’t precisely describe it as light, any more than I’d describe the NRs as light. If you’re attuned to their presence and are not anosmic, they are very much there around you. (Early reviews on MUA: if you add up reviews that mention NR plus “not very original,” you’ve covered six of the nine.)
The bottle. I am not the first person to notice the immediate resemblance to the Secret Obsession bottle – if you took SO and sliced two sides off, and dipped it in gold, you’d have Idylle. It’s kind of hard to tell from the picture, but the two sides of the bottle are clear flat glass, you are looking through it to the visible juice. It’s not hideous, but I’m not anxious to own it. I thought it looked very odd with the rest of the items in the line. I was told by the SA that it was supposed to resemble “a drop of gold.” Man, I am so grateful I don’t have to toe the party line and say that to customers with a straight face all day long.
Bottom line? I’m contemplating whether to get Idylle instead of the NR Intense, because I definitely don’t need both. Although, being me, I want both. That Intense has some amazingly persistent sillage, but I think I like Idylle a hair better. Maybe I should buy both and layer them?
(PS I’ve kind of decided I want that killah Natori body butter but I’m having trouble coughing up 75 bills for it. Oh, funny story: I said to the gal, isn’t it like $80 for the cream? She’s all, no, no, nothing of the sort! She scans it and says triumphantly, $75!!! Am I the only person who finds that funny? Of course I’m lucky the Saks perfume SAs haven’t tied my legs together with decorative ribbon and stuck me with a shiv…)