Guerlain Idylle

Guerlain IdylleI can’t say I’ve been bored with the new releases.

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…)

46 Comments

  1. A Guerlain Hershey’s Kiss, at least in this picture. Ironic that it’s holding one of the few non-candied fragrances that they’ve released in recent months/years.

    I don’t do very well with the NRs, so maybe the slightly woody-raspy base of Idylle would suit me better? Or maybe I’ll just stick with the lovely Sophie, although I wish her jasmine notes hung around a bit longer!

    And I’m just dying to see the “drop of gold” next to a bee bottle or two.

    • Damn blog, it’s been down again, and now I see my response to you vanished! GRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

      Sophie is a much more sophisticated scent, although I don’t mean that (necessarily) critically of Idylle. But it’s not exactly the Second Coming. Laboring to produce a fragrance that reminds a lot of folks of NR/SJP seems a waste of Wasser’s time, but it’ll probably be commercially successful.

  2. I didn’t see the SO bottle resemblance at all, I must be honest. Though, the SO reminded me of an onion and this does look slightly onion-y…. Look, it’s even got a skin!

    I just went down to le Saks and sniffed… a good fourth of their selection (I’m a newb, they had the By Kilians…). I got Idylle on a scent strip and it just smelled white to me. It was very pretty and clean. I don’t know if I need pretty and clean, but I haven’t yet put it on skin yet, have I? xP

    I love when the salespeople pull that, “Oh, it’s really only $900, not $905!” while looking triumphant. But my annoying SA’s with frequent visits is one of my biggest perfumed fears. That and falling in love with something of which 2 bottles were made and require a kidney, a second mortgage, and the souls of an entire village.

    Perfume. It’s an emotional minefield.

    • You know when you need pretty and clean? You need it one day when you wake up smelling like another really perverted musk or indolic monster or what have you. It’s like rolling over with a hangover and thinking: what I need is a cheeseburger. 🙂

  3. Let March sniff it. Ta.

    I will likely give this a whirl, but am sooo durn cynical about the new releases this fall, especially the more mainstream-though most niche-y things are leaving me meh as well.

    I’m rejoicing in early fall with explosive spices (CdG Original, Spezie de Medici, Kretek) and my woods n incense (BdI, BC, Nk Incense).

    Oh, and I usually buy a mascara every 4th visit to Saks-it’s just too sad to go otherwise 🙂

    • The spices! Ya know what I’ve been doing? Layering my decant of Micallef Gaiac with other things. Yum. I want it to cool off a squidge more so I can break out the big guns.

      • The squidge arrived here…perhaps it is heading your way…

        Louise, I ♥ your list, except the NK Incense, which I do not know…which means I have stuck my fingers in my ears and started humming. I don’t want to know. D/c’ed, right? Wonderful, right? Na na na na na….

        • Shelley-Norma Kamali Incense isn’t discontinued, AFAIK. It’s just very….potent. Resinous, deep, long lasting. One drop type o’thing. Did I mention strong? I spritzed it liberally first time from my decant, and thought my son was about to leap outta the moving vehicle 🙂

          • Okay, I think I’m getting that perhaps NKI packs a bit of a punch? 😉 You and March have now sufficiently warned me. I’m still charting my perfume profile, natch, but I know that DK Black Cashmere is all cozy to me, and YSL Nu sometimes veers a bit sweet. (Which is weird, because that is supposed to be the dry one, right?) But neither one take over my nose and hold me in a half-nelson…or come screaming through like a banshee…I am intrigued by this NKI. Hmmm, who can I persuade to come out with me and take cover, I mean, provide another sniff???

            • Hahahaha — yeah, don’t spritz it. Here, let me paste in my candy review: “Norma Kamali Incense – they wouldn’t let me try this on when we were playing at Nancy’s house; she sent me home with a sample. I can see why. You know I love incense. I like Norma Kamali Ceremony a lot, which is $80 on Beautyhabit and well worth it, IMHO. I smell incense, myrrh and woods in Ceremony. Norma Kamali Incense is $220, and … whoa. It smells to me like frankincense from the most expensive head shop on earth. NK Incense spends 60 interesting seconds after application wafting all sorts of odd smells – mushroom, sweet, resinous musk, bitter herb (sage?), dust — while it rearranges its skirts or something. After that it’s essentially like being whacked by a Flintstone-sized cudgel of incense. And I put on maybe 4 drops. Norma recommends layering it with her NK fragrance. I recommend not wearing it to work or in confined spaces, and double-bagging your sample vial. Potent stuff. I do like it, though.”

  4. I tried Idylle last week and liked it but the resemblance to NR bothers me a bit. I wish it were more original. NR is nice and I’m occasionally contemplating a purchase but I guess I don’t like it enough to go and actually buy it. I can’t smell it after half an hour 🙁 Idylle really lasts on me and if I were to go for a nice musky wallpaper scent (I love that concept March!) I’d probably get it instead of NR.

    • Idylle really lasts on me too…. I already own NR, so I’ve been telling myself I don’t need the Intense, but the Intense is so great and musky on me. The Idylle does last a good long time.

  5. Great review March – I especially loved the vat description. But if you’re still debating buying it after trying it enough times to risk banishment from a department store that has to be prostrating itself for business, that’s sort of damning it with faint praise in my opinion. Sigh…. I’ve been a Guerlie Girl since I bought my first bottle of Vol de Nuit in high school and I’l just go ahead and admit that that was coughfortycough years ago! Too old to change to this new fangled Guerlain style.

    • As I said above, coming up with something that is reminding many people (not just me) of NR seems to be a bit of a waste of Wasser’s talent, although hey — anything that smells like NR is likely to be a commercial hit. You could do worse.

      No, I am just an idiot. I don’t mind owning, say, 15 incense fragrances that are just a hair different from one another. But I have some odd standard that says I only “need” a very few wallpaper scents. I really want both Idylle and NR Intense, and my guess is I’ll get them.

  6. I love that postscript – so true! I have one high-end department store where something similar has happened to me about five times. They’re trying to sell me on something and I say, basically, “It’s very pretty… but it’s not $140 worth of pretty for me.” Scandalized, they say: “It’s only $120.” (!!) And I say: “With tax?” And they say: “No, no tax.” That makes it $138 after our federal and provincial taxes. This response forces me to say: “And will you sell it to me with no tax?” Whereupon the ones that know me laugh like I’ve said something hysterical. (I buy a lot of perfume there. They feel obliged.)

    • So it doesn’t just happen to me. I do find it very funny, I guess it’s the whole $99.95 thing.

  7. March, did you ask about layering the two? And call them wallpaper scents elsewhere? Okay, too much home improvement elbow grease in my past…which = a GOOD thing, because I won’t be tempted to add layers of wallpaper upon each other. Which means if I end up liking, I will force myself to choose. Which means…

    …oh dear. Which means maybe I’ll justify finding Louise’s NK Incense. NOOOOoooo….na na na na na na na na na….

  8. I still haven’t tried Idylle, and for that matter, haven’t tried the NR (wasn’t going to since the first NR bothers my sinuses). But this is not what I expected. It sounds less distinctive than L’Instant, even? Do you think?

    • Yes. Less distinctive than L’Instant. I don’t particularly like L’Instant, and maybe I’m kidding myself, but at least it’s its own thing. If I and Octavian and the majority of the early reviewers at MUA are mentioning either NR or SJP (which I can’t smell) well…

      • I don’t like L’Instant either, but this seems sad…not about Guerlain really since I don’t expect much, but about Thierry Wasser.

        • Well, I am looking forward to your opinions on it. I have no idea how the fragrances are developed, I can’t help but wonder whether this started out as something quite different and they changed course? (Wasn’t the release delayed?) If you want to do another NR, for sure you don’t need Wasser.

  9. I tried this on paper and thought that it smelled very pretty, but nothing else. It doesn’t sound like I need to try it on skin as I already have a couple of “pretty” scents for when I need them.

  10. Okay, yet another Guerlain to Not Seek Out. Since in my case, Seeking Out Guerlain means Option A) paying for samples or B)driving six hours to NoVa or possibly only three hours to Winston-Salem and then wandering around a mall… I don’t have time for that.

    Dang. I’m usually happy with “just pretty” – but my vintage Sortilege pdt and a big honkin’ bottle of Mariella Burani arrived today, and I’m not feeling the need for more “just pretty.” Especially at, what, $120 for the Idylle? Um, no. (Although I am still going to sniff that 3 Fleurs thing everybody’s so unimpressed with because it’s “just pretty.”) Thanks very much for the Sniff and Report, March! It is so helpful to cross things off the list.

    • Well, and there’s that hint o’ mint in Charmes et Feuilles to ease a tummy sickened by musk…for me, I’d be sickened by sweet. (I did manage to stare Nahema down to a draw today, but it’s probably a good thing there were no spectators.)

    • That poetry is loverly! Also loving the way the wee alien is back to morphing… makes me happy.

  11. I smelled Idylle this weekend. It was pretty and generic and definitely qualifies as a wallpaper scent, which I don’t need any of. But the BF raved about it and thought it was great stuff. ??? I guess they will be selling a lot of bottles of this stuff, since as dept store wallpaper scents go, it was better than most, but nothing I would spend money on. Men will definitely buy it.

    • I think it’s got that musky/creamy/comfort smell men love – they certainly like NR. I wish the bottle weren’t so weird…

  12. idylle hasn’t yet arrived in hong kong yet…but i did smell nr essence and i liked it…the sales lady tells me it is “limited edition”… (the collecter/hoarder in me kind of makes me want to have it…) and if idylle is pretty….well i guess u really should have both…

    • So I might as well fess up that I bought both the Intense and Idylle 🙂 I really like them layered. I already own regular NR EDT, and I was told the Intense is a LE, but you never know (oddly, I don’t remember being told that about the Essence, but you never know.) The Essence is my favorite bottle of the bunch, but the rose went wrong on me.

      • so..i got to smell it today…i kept thinking i was wearing NR…( i bought essence impulsively and then exchanged it and added the balance to buy jubilationxxv for my hubbie…and boy am i am glad,) i enjoyed it but felt is was really strong… hours later..the drydown is gorgous…i am not sure why but the nr essence seemed to dissapear on me ….this idylle is clinging mightily….BTW my friend saleslady…she said the bottle resembles and upsidedown high heel..good hey!!!The NR essence is now available online..so i am really not sure about the limited edition thingy…the idylle reminds me of the original nr as the essence just disappeared(and i tried it at least 4 times)

  13. ps hope u bout the small sizes…i think the idylle and the essence bottle will be better design wise in the 50ml

  14. Thierry Wasser was also behind Guerlain Homme, which was released in 2008.

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