Last week was trying. Sold former car and managed to feel guilty about saying goodbye to it. Picked up new car which drives really nicely, but dog is flummoxed by jumping in/out of the back of a two door. He gets in ok but getting out take 5 minutes (I think I’m actually going to have to get in the back with him and show him what to do). I did something to the outside of my left foot so it’s slightly sore and it is also affecting my calf muscle. So, just to see if things would get worse or better, on Saturday, my plan was to walk to the farm shop for ice cream after lunch (it has an artisanal chocolate and ice cream counter – see pic).
I was so focused on the car comings and goings late last week that I didn’t put on any fragrance Wed-Fri. Finally managed to focus on Saturday morning and realised I hadn’t yet tried my Guerlain sample of Embruns d’Ylang. So, popped on and it then occurred to me (because I hadn’t come up with anything for a post this week) that it would be fun to do a side by side of this with my beloved Le Labo Ylang 49. So I did.
The weather has improved significantly here and heady florals sit very well. It’s not hugely hot – just really nice – and it’s been sunny for days. The garden has done a bump up in growth.
So, the two ylangs. I’ll start with the Guerlain (a lot of Guerlain on Posse recently).
(ylang flowers from Pexels)
Embruns d’Ylang (embruns means embrace – so I guess being embraced by ylang?) is part of the l’Art et La Metier line and was released in 2019. The nose is Thierry Wasser. Per the Guerlain site, this is a “solar flower with salt coated petals”. And straight off I have to say it is. Before I read the notes list I thought there was something marine/ozonic, but don’t be put off if that’s not your thing – it’s not mine either. This sings because of it. The florals are actually beautifully offset by the salt. Notes list includes salt, bergamot, ylang, jasmine sambac, cloves, vanilla, patchouli and iris. On me, it’s salt, heady florals and cloves until the drydown, when it the vanilla emerges and boy, is it nice. Salty vanilla? Salt water toffee? By the salt is still there and there’s something … juicy? … going on, which doesn’t make sense as the citrus bits should theoretically come in the opening. Who knows. (Here, it’s £280 for 100ml.)
On to Le Labo Ylang 49, which Patty and Tom reviewed in 2013. This is interesting because when I looked up the year of release on Fragrantica it said 2015 – and I think I commented on that weird anomaly when I last wrote about it in a post.
The Le Labo (the nose is Frank Voelkl, who I had to look up) is labelled a floral chypre and notes include ylang, patchouli, gardenia, oakmoss, vetiver, benzoin and sandalwood. This is a much heavier fragrance than the Guerlain, though the vetiver and oakmoss are astringent enough to mimic a saltiness. But I don’t think that was the point.
I get ylang and I think gardenia in the opening, vanilla and something similar to clove but not. There is green under the flowers as this opens up (which I guess is the vetiver – oakmoss isn’t really green on me; rather, that astringent thing I mentioned above). And I get a tiny bit of vanilla, like essence (I wonder what this would have been like if the nose had a dumped a load of vanilla into it). The drydown remains floral and gets a bit woody. Soft woody, not like something with a lot of cedar. I’ve stated before that I appreciate LL offering smaller bottles. I continue to think it’s something all houses should do.
I hadn’t done a side by side in a long while and it was actually a lot of fun going from wrist to wrist. The LL is far more unctuous, and it actually feels more floral to me (ie, rather than ‘composed’, which is how the Guerlain feels). It’s a very heady perfume, quite voluptuous and diva-ish.
In the end, very different takes. The Guerlain is more ‘austere’ but not terribly austere given it’s based around ylang. It’s less in your face than the LL but I actually think it’s a more interesting fragrance. That’s not to say I don’t still love Ylang 49 – just that, well, the Embruns is a Guerlain after all.
Will I buy the Guerlain? No. I’ll enjoy my sample but I just don’t feel the need for a full bottle or even a decant (I think that might be because I just bought a car…).
Just to close, on Saturday, gave up on a healthy lunch and had ice cream (only had one scoop and wish I’d had two). Salad for dinner – it’s all how you balance things out …
(pastries next to the ice cream — which look far prettier)