Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
As much as I love the complex perfumes that are the olfactory equivalents of Tolstoy’s War and Peace, I am always looking forward to Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria collection, which tends to feature much more lighthearted fare. The selection runs the gamut from ingenious Pamplemousse to lovely Herba Fresca to decidedly dull and un-kiwi like Tutti Kiwi. This year’s Laurier Réglisse and Figue Iris caught my eye with their unusual and potentially brilliant pairings—bay leaf and licorice, fig and iris. I felt as curious about experimenting with these ideas in the kitchen as about smelling them on my skin. …
Laurier Réglisse created by talented young star from Firmenich Marie Salamagne (the same perfumer responsible for last year’s light and effervescent Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic) is my favorite of the two. Vivid, green, scintillating, Laurier Réglisse is wonderfully refreshing and instantly appealing. I love its crisp citrus notes paired with petitgrain (leaves of bitter orange tree) and neroli (its flowers). Laurier Réglisse reminds me of iced black tea with lemon, especially once the richer woody notes start to gain strength. The bay leaf note, which is reminiscent of chilly, metallic clove adds an interesting and unexpectedly savory facet. Overall, it reminds me of Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien, given its dry pairing of woods and icy shards of citrus.
One can trace Guerlain’s lineage much more clearly in Figue Iris , which relies on a lush dose of violet, vanilla and tonka. Denser and sweeter than Laurier Réglisse, it would be less appropriate as a splash on a hot day. However, as a fragrance to wear on a warm evening, it would be just right. Although Figue Iris is richer than Laurier Réglisse, it seems to lack the body to truly fit the Guerlain mold. It is a waifish take on Guerlinade, if you will. Nevertheless, it has a good signature, and its green fig note proves to be an interesting match for violet and iris. Now that is an idea I would like to see developed further.
Aqua Allegoria Laurier Réglisse contains notes of bergamot, orange blossom, galbanum, licorice wood, bay laurel, violet and ambery notes. Aqua Allegoria Figue Iris includes notes of bergamot, grapefruit, violet, iris, fig, milky sap notes, woods, vetiver and vanilla. The fragrances are available from Sephora and Bergdorf Goodman.
Please see Robin’s great review at Nowsmellthis for another take on this collection.