Thursday, 14 April 2016

L'HOMME IDEAL EDP - A Step Too Far?

New releases are usually trumpeted from afar but Guerlain have been surprisingly quiet with the launch of their new L'homme Idéal Eau de Parfum. This is the third "version" to bear the L'homme Idéal name and, with the second release missing the mark by becoming a shrill interpretation of the masculine original, there were high hopes when this one was announced last year. With the Press courted and the store exclusive periods confirmed it's finally time to discover if this latest addition to the Guerlain masculine range is a novelty, a serious contender for Habit Rouge's crown or simply a step too far.

When Guerlain launched L'homme Idéal Eau de Toilette back in 2014 it was an all-out attempt to lure back the younger market whilst gently modernising the existing followers. Thierry Wasser's previous masculine, Guerlain Homme in 2008, had been a modern but classically grounded creation. The original EDT and subsequent L'eau version proved popular, but rumour has it they had to go because they sat too close to the upcoming Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde, and the company desperately needed a new success in that range.

So, the original 2014 L'homme Idéal gave us a rich almond note which travelled downward onto a vetiver and leather base. Its codename of "Superman" before it launched showed how important this fragrance was to Guerlain. Some people thought that the overdose of citrus gave it a metallic note, but that never bothered me. Also, as it was a powerful fragrance no one ever truly thought that there would be a need for an EDP. Its first sidekick arrived the following year in the form of a Cologne version, although it was actually another EDT. It was simply called “Cologne” because of its fresher form. In this one we got more of a green almond, with an interesting Campari note mixed in, that opened out onto a base of white musk and vetiver. Summery, yes, Guerlain, no.

This brings us up to 2016 and the new EDP which is a co-creation between Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk. Delphine has worked alongside Thierry since 2009 but this is the first time that she has been credited as a co-creator. Is this an indication that she may soon have a fragrance solely under her name in the Guerlain cannon? In 2014 L'homme Idéal was Woody Aromatic, in 2015 it became Citrus Woody, so inevitably 2016 brings Oriental Woody. Straight away you get a fresh burst of citrus accompanied by an almond and rose combination. A spicy note follows this along with the first hints at a leather effect. Everything then seems to develop very quickly and you plunge headlong into an incense, sandalwood and tonka base.

If you were worried about the EDP being stronger than the EDT then you needn’t have been concerned. Yes there is a richness here, which previous reviewers have agreed points towards Ambre Éternal, but I can’t help but feel that it has more in common with the Cologne than the EDT. It also has an astringent vanilla quality about it which unfortunately makes me think of cleaning products. I’m happy to have the EDP to complete the set, but I don’t think it will be coming out of the cupboard again anytime soon.

2 comments:

  1. I think it bears a resemblance to Dior's Fève Délicieuse. Maybe some cross pollination has occurred at LVMH?

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    1. You can pick up a few Dior references in there, but I guess it's inevitable that the perfumers are influenced by commercial successes.

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