Perfumer Thierry Wasser.
So, what is the recipe for a big-budget, got-to-be-successful, no-room-for-error, if-you-build-it-they-will-come perfume? To judge by Guerlain’s approach: Mix equal parts imitation, predictability and risk aversion in a large bowl. Bake in a lukewarm focus-group until stale. Sprinkle with olfactory least common denominators. Serve in a bottle replete with historical Awethenticity™. Buon appetito.
Am I cynical? Clearly, but I can’t hold a candle to Guerlain.
Thierry Wasser is the successor to Jean-Paul Guerlain. But with Mon Guerlain Wasser shows that he learned a trick or two from Jacques Guerlain’s. Jacques was known for nicking someone else’s ideas (namely, François Coty’s) and making them better. Mon Guerlain riffs on two other perfumes: Lancome’s end-of -the-world-as-we-know-it lollipop, La Vie Est Belle, and Mugler’s iconic poison-apple, Angel. Angling between these two perfumes Guerlain casts its net as wide as possible, hoping for a hit that would break all box-office records.
Angel might have launched two decades of straight-faced gourmand perfumes but it did so inadvertently. It was anything but straight. Angel’s cotton-candy is counterbalanced by an enormous inedible chemo-floral note and an earthy patchouli. It smells sweet, but it’s pure venom. La Vie Est Belle has no nuance, no subtext. It’s pure candy. Wasser’s Mon Guerlain looks for an easy reconciliation of the two perfumes because they are both overdosed with ethylmaltol. He misses the point that Angel, twenty five years later, is still a motherfucking monster. La Vie Est Belle on the other hand is the most vanillla of Disney fairy princesses.
Wasser uses lavender to twist Mon Guerlain into a taffy fougère. Pouring it into a version of the brand’s historical quadrilobe bottle is an attempt to draw a connection to Guerlain’s classic, sweet fougère Jicky, but don’t believe the hype. Despite the deception a list of notes provides, Mon Guerlain has no relationship to Jicky.
Sample provided by Saks Fifth Avenue.
(image Strange Fiction)