I am quicksilver, the fox in the night, emotional about the poetry, love & desire in scent, read me.
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Beauteous Love…..Falling for Guerlain again: ‘La Petite Robe Noire’ & ‘Lys Soleia’ (Part II)
would have thought that Thierry Wasser would create his most beautiful
work thus far for Guerlain as part of the more incidental and experimental Aqua
Allegoria range? But that is what he has done with Lys Soleia.
years a number of odd little fragrances have popped up among the Aqua Allegoria
line. Originally launched in 1999 as a cheaper, lighter more spirited
introduction to the Guerlain name, fragrances are added and taken away, year in
year out. Some are lovely, delicately scented and sometimes erring on the
quirky and strange side. What has been interesting is that if they don’t work,
they are removed and replaced with something else and so on. The line has the
feel of a testing ground, for playing with scented ideas. They are not
expensive but still retain a quality feel to them. I really like the lightness
they often have and the interesting and imaginative combinations of notes and
I loved Rosa Blanca from 2011, a strange and
zingy rose scent with touches of magnolia and luscious peach. Thierry Wasser’s Jasminora from 2011 did not sell well,
but I really liked it’s snowy whiteness, the underpinning of galbanum and musks
which gave the drydown a lovely laundry feel. My two favourites to date were
the weird and wonderful Laurier Réglisse (2008) by Aurélien Guichard and Anisa Bella (2004) by Marie Salamange.
The Laurier Réglisse had a delightful
orange blossom giggling quality as it went on, supported by bay laurel and bergamot.
I don’t normally like too much citrus, but any bitterness of the orange blossom
was sublimated by the soft rooty drag of licquorice, a note I love but don’t
come across that often in fragrance (apart from the deliriously trashy Loverdose by Diesel….). A lot of people
hated Laurier Réglisse, complaining
about longevity and a certain harshness or synthetic nature to the later stages
of the drydown. But I like a whiff of plastics and burnt flex in my floral
indolics, so I rather liked the ambiguous and trembling uncertainty of the licquorice
and more verdant facets of the foliage.
Anisia Bella was a coldhearted child. Chilly and
beautifully distant. Aniseed is a tricky and potentially suffocating note. I
love its effects in the original Lolita Lempicka
eau de parfum, lashed to powdered violet and mounds of woody vanilla. I
wear this over and over again, a twisted fable of a scent, imprinted with claws
and tears, sugar and spice. When Annick Ménardo reworked the formula for the boys
it was dull and lacked teeth, testing flat in comparison to her glorious and
horny Kourous Body, one of the
sexiest men’s fragrances ever created, all chewy woods, sage, incense and a lickable
outpouring of benzoin. The whole composition smells buzzy and anisic, powdered
and breathless. Anisia Bella was the
thoughtful, reserved opposite. Green tea, violet and bergamot seemed to bring
calm and poise to the notes like a sudden icy zephyr. I love star anise and
licqorice, they add mystery and nostalgia to fragrance. The overall effect was
a scent of powdered verdant chills. Quite a feat and one of the most enigmatic
Aqua Allegoria fragrances.
the years I keep an eye on the line, they come and go, I dip in and out. Then
this year, a lot of buzz started up around Wasser’s latest creation Lys Soleia. Already this year, 2012 had
seen a lot of creamy orange blossom and sun lotion type releases, beach holiday
aromas dripped through scent and
Mathilde Laurent had already produced an outstanding lily soliflore, Baiser Volé, for Cartier last year. But
it seemed that Wasser, freed from the pressures of producing the next big
mainline Guerlain hit or working at the extreme end of the luxurious niche
lines (money spinners in Asia, Dubai and Russia) had been playing with the lighter
Aqua Allegoria line and produced something truly wonderful.
it registered for me as another lily orientated fragrance. This time an
interpretation of oriental yellow lilies blended with creamy boudoir
ylang-ylang and the beautiful tanning lotion aromas of salicylates. But there
is a massive fountain of green in it, a juicy bamboo note which rolls across
the skin underpinning the potentially rampant inundation of flowers, musks and
vanilla. Guerlain list palm leaf as a note, maybe it’s this, although I’m not
sure how much of a facet this brings to the perfume. The bergamot and lemon at
the top smell like lemon ice cream, soft and melting, with pieces of real zest
and a lickable Italian style gelato sensation.
overall feel is utterly dreamy and enfolding, another beautiful beachy, suntan
lotion take on white floral notes, this time minus this year’s ubiquitous
orange blossom facet. In fact the composition has a very 70s hazy feel to it,
soft and filtered, bronzed yet intensely romantic and innocent. Reminiscent of
those haunting washed out beach scenes from Death
in Venice, posed and vaguely unattainable, just out of reach on a scented
horizon. For there is to me, something a little strange and deathly in Lys Soleia, a coldness, a face at a
window that disappears from view when you turn back to look again.
I wear it, I feel a little more haunted. The whiteness becomes translucent,
ethereal. It has a wonderful creamy x-ray quality, skeletal and utterly pared
down. A strange sensation for a fragrance so rich in white flowers and vanilla.
Wasser has produced a remarkable perfume. Like driving along expanses of empty
roads and suddenly coming upon a beautiful hitchhiker backlit against a morning
sunrise. It has that shock of grace and smile to it. The more you wear it, the
love turns colder, the summer turns to winter and still you love. It holds you.
Addiction is an exhausting state. Three bottles in, I know this.
quirky and opposite Guerlain fragrances merit attention. One is comfort and
sugary desire, so much fun and darkly compulsive in a well turned out velveteen
candy way, with just enough bite to draw a little ruby red blood. The other is
a glorious evocation of sunlit skin shot through with wistful longing and a
ghost of love, the notes dying away softly into a slow white dawn.
For Part I of this Blog piece, please click below: