Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Fragrance of the Moment: Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens)

I have an interesting relationship with sandalwood; there are types I love and types I don't care for. I think sandalwood basically smells heavy, musky and dry, headshoppy and incensey, and it can smell warm and sexy or like I should be meditating at the nearest Buddhist temple, depending on my mood. My initial reaction to Attrape-Coeur was "wow, this is musky". I thought of Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum and Kiehl's Musk. I thought it was an obtrusive scent in the air and wanted to find fresh air around me. Then I gave it a second try and then I fell in love when I found the signature Guerlain scent in it.

The sandalwood in this perfume is so strong that I couldn't believe it was classified as a chypre by some sources until I found the spirit of Parure (1975) in it. Parure is a rosy-plummy-leather chypre which is sold here in the US but not in Japan where leather scents apparently do not go over well. I have Parure in EDT and in a tiny parfum mini, the parfum which has been long discontinued. It's a rich, mature, classical, haughty, sickeningly tasteful and elegant scent that evokes jewel tones and fine upbringing, the scent of a woman who's proud of having ben able to afford the best things in life. The character is so unlike me it's not funny, but it's a character I like to play through my scent once in awhile. Parure is quite powerful with a mannish edge and so serious it rarely cracks a smile, but somewhere deep down, its heart is full of romantic ideals. I can see myself making Parure a signature in about 20 years but not while I still refuse to fully grow up.

Attrape-Coeur is like Parure except it's got that megadose of sandalwood which takes it to the Samsara level of muskiness. Samsara (1989) is a younger perfume and it's one of those scents you'll either love or severely dislike because it's heady as well as heavy. Attrape-Coeur is warm and soft like Samsara and wearing Attrape-Coeur reminds me of how I felt when I first discovered Samsara: I thought the scent was above all else "creamy". So basically, Attrape-Coeur to me is a haughty, creamy, warm and musky...and beautiful scent.

I do love this Parure-Samsara incarnation but I know myself: If I bought it, I would wear it once a year and call it a day, the same way I have worn Parure and Samsara in the years I've had them in my collection. Still, it would be a distinguished perfume to own and wear on a big night out, perhaps for a monumental event for which I must dress to impress.