Or, Try Before You Buy
Since I have been doing lately what passes for a deep-dive into the world of Guerlain people have in the comments been suggesting other of theirs to try. So off to Surrender To Chance I went, for samps of Chamade, Samsara, and L’Heure Bleue.
Chamade was created in 1969 and has notes (From Fragrantica) of
Top notes are Hiacynth, Aldehydes, Rose, Jasmine and Bergamot; middle notes are Galbanum, Rose, Lilac, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-Valley and Cloves; base notes are Tolu Balsam, Benzoin, Peru Balsam, Vetiver, Amber, Vanilla and Sandalwood.
Well you would have had me at hyacinth, which is a favorite. Add in jasmine, lilac and lily-of-the-valley and I am in white-flower heaven. But on me it just kind of.. missed. It was nice, mind you, but there was a heaviness to it that just wasn’t working for me. That earthiness gets more pronounced as it wears but there was something about it that just didn’t work on me: maybe the dissonance between the opening and the drydown was too great? If the opening is sparkly and vivid, the drydown is still flowery, but overlain with a honeyed sweetness and the famous Guerlinade base that was Just. Not. Me. Perhaps it’s you?
Samsara was done in 1989 and looking at the notes (again from Fragrantica)
Top notes are Ylang-Ylang, Peach, Bergamot, Green Notes and Lemon; middle notes are iris, Jasmine, Narcissus, Orris Root, Rose and Violet; base notes are Sandalwood, Vanilla, iris, Amber, Tonka Bean and Musk.
You would think that this one would have been door #2 to Chamade’s #1 finish, but no. Everything that seems not to work on me with Chamade comes together perfectly in Samsara: Jasmine and Sandalwood balance each other perfectly, each sanding down the other’s rough edges, and while sweet it’s not syrupy. I am kind of shocked that of the two this is the one I much prefer- looking at the notes and year it was created I would have thought the opposite.
Now to L’Heure Bleue. Oh, dear. I really wanted this to to work. I love wearing a vintage perfume like this and having someone ask me what it is, and being able to whisper “L’Heure Bleue” as if I was letting them in on the best secret ever. Fragrantica lists the notes as:
Top notes are Anise, Neroli, Coriander, Bergamot and Lemon; middle notes are Heliotrope, Carnation, Violet, Cloves, Neroli, Ylang-Ylang, Bulgarian Rose, Jasmine, Orchid and Tuberose; base notes are iris, Vanilla, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Musk and Vetiver.
But all I get is play-doh. I have had this happen with another scent back in the day that everyone was crazy mad about and I cannot for the life of me remember what it is or what someone said was in there that not only makes that association for me but absolutely short-circuits my olfactory system so that all I get is that. Play-doh. When it goes on, in the middle, hours into it. All I need are a bouncy house and a kids ball cage and I could be a Chucky Cheeze. Disappointment!
Now I am sure that a lot of you have had better luck with these (and I have had turnarounds with other Guerlains; it took years for Jicky to finally work on me.) Please let us know in the comments how well, or not so well, they did for you.
My samples were from Surrender to Chance. Images: Pexels, my iPhone.