Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Toilette

I tested this scent first in extrait (parfum) and then in eau de parfum; I felt both concentrations were a bit intense at the time, but now I've found my favorite version of it, reborn with new and improved presentation. Bye bye, little black moo-moo; the eau de toilette is presented with a drawing of a little black strapless on a streamlined bottle sans gradient hues, in a pretty pale pink shade. Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire eau de toilette (2012) is so much lighter than the eau de parfum, it smells like a whole new scent, and for me, a more wearable one.

Initially, I picked up only a unified part-spicy, part-aromatic, sweet licorice (anise)-type aroma that was deliciouly perfumey with a boozy, well-rounded texture, but now that I've been wearing it quite often, I also pick up Guerlain Attrape-Coeur (Guet Apens) in it: warm, spicy woody-musky nuttiness and all. Just as I'd picked up a combination of Guerlain Samsara and Parure in Attrape-Coeur, I find La Petite Robe Noire edt to be like a cross between Attrape-Coeur and La Petite Robe Noire extrait which to me was more of a Sambuca-strength anisic scent like Lolita Lempicka, or Givenchy Hot Couture (from which the packaging / campaign idea seems to be taken), intense and hypersweet Woody Orientals better known as Gourmand.

The House of Guerlain seems to be recycling their perfume compositions as building blocks for new blends, which is fine by me since the new creations smell beautiful, unique, well thought out and executed. They don't smell like flankers at all but like pieces of an intricate puzzle made of Guerlain accords that fit perfectly well together like magic. The finished result in La Petite Robe Noire is a diaphanous gourmand with emphasis on a more luminous floral heart and fresher top notes. I also catch whiffs of woodsiness, which somehow takes me to the Japanese countryside in the summer when the incense coils are burned to keep mosquitos at bay, and the scent mingles with those of pure nature. The borderline Chypre quality adds another dimension to this utterly sophisticated fragrance.

A blend of depth and light, ranging from warm black licorice to cool minty air, it's easier to wear than even the Attrape Coeur and its parts that I smell in it, and although it seems a bit too perfumey for hot weather, it's not a total stranger to balmy days and nights in these neck of the woods--in New York where I call home, where the summers are still drier than in my birth city.

La Petite Robe Noire eau de toilette smells like a fragrance that fits in with the post-Cashmere Mist genre along with Twilight Woods, but also elegant and refined like ladies' perfumes used to smell. It is classic Guerlain only modernized with a light skin musk dry down, sheer enough to function as an everyday, year-round scent. It's so versatile it can just as effortlessly go from a casual lunch date to the opera. The only exception I'd make is for playing sports in, as it is still on the boozy-sweet, heavy side, but wear it to an after five office party in a smart black number to make a luxurious impact. Guerlain has created another masterpiece to follow in the elite lineage of Jicky, Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit and Shalimar, and if asked to choose one direct ancestor, it would be Vol de Nuit (1933), a vintage Guerlain in the Oriental family. It's a winner!