Philtre d’Amour was first released as a limited edition scent in 1999 and has recently become part of Les Parisiennes collection (available only at the Guerlain flagship store in Paris). As much as I adore Guerlain and have tried most of their perfumes, Philtre d’Amour had somehow managed to escape me. I knew it was a lemon scent, and somehow that combined with the name Guerlain didn’t sound very promising. One valuable lesson I’ve learned in my perfume addiction years is to never give in to your prejudices. In other words, smell as much as you can, smell everything, even if it doesn’t sound potentially good. The lesson is particularly priceless when it comes to limited edition fragrances – if you pass on the opportunity to smell it while it’s here, you might have to pay an arm and a leg in the future. In this case, I didn’t have to (thank goodness for eBay!) But you get my point.
Philtre d’Amour is indeed a lemon scent but there’s more to it than that. It’s a hesperidic (citrus) chypre. Its beginning is a literal overflow of all things citrus – tart and juicy lemon, bergamot, mandarin. The effect is so bright it’s borderline pungent. Since it’s a chypre, there has to be oakmoss. It seems to show up quite a bit later, somewhat towards the drydown, bringing out a completely different facet – green and slightly dry. Jasmine and rose become more apparent in the heart, tinged by soft geranium. The best part of Philtre d’Amour is the drydown – it’s more complex and embracingly warm and sort of bitter-powdery. Philtre d’Amour is without doubt the most interesting lemon scent I’ve ever encountered. Another lesson learned: never doubt Guerlain.
Philtre d’Amour features the notes of mandarin, lemon, bergamot, myrtle, oakmoss, lily, carnation, jasmine, iris, musk, rose, coriander, geranium, sandalwood, amber, patchouli.
P.S. Some might disagree with the doubting Guerlain statement. I know, I know. L’Instant and Insolence haven’t necessarily lived up to our expectations. Ah, but who doesn’t make mistakes?
Image source: courtesy of Perfume-Smellin’ Things
20 comments March 1st, 2007