Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
La petite robe noire, little black dress, is a perfect concept for a fragrance. Scent is as much of an embellishment as beautiful clothing, and an appropriately selected perfume can lend much to the allure of its wearer. Moreover, the idea of a little black dress — the perfect, versatile garment — is very appealing. As such, Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire ended up on my must-sample list. Alas, the problem with La Petite Robe Noire is that it does not convey to me the timelessly chic quality that its sartorial referent should have; it is more of a dernier cri attire suggested by the composition of bubbly red fruit on a cotton candy and patchouli base.
The initial impression of La Petite Robe Noire is my favorite aspect of the composition. The anise-almond top accented with citrus notes is immensely appealing, with a lush red fruit accord lending the composition a mouthwatering, delicious quality. The fruity notes, suggesting a range of impressions from wild strawberries to raspberries, are sumptuous and juicy. Once the fruity top and the supporting cast of sheer floral notes settle, the ubiquity of La Petite Robe Noire becomes apparent. A big dose of Velvetol (cotton candy note) and patchouli provide the main character. All I am left with is some Angel inspired déjà vu.
While La Petite Robe Noire is not without its merits—fans of fruity gourmands will appreciate its vivacious treatment of the theme — there are so many other fragrances of its type. It is hard to say what exactly makes it more interesting from the others or what justifies its high, ultra-luxury price. I certainly do not harbor illusions that Guerlain should only release fragrances in its well-worn oriental genre amplified by plenty of Guerlinade, but I so wish that its new releases would at least explore new territories, rather than offering us yet another good market-tester.
Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire (fragrance family: fruity floral) includes notes of lemon, star anise, bitter almond, rose, licorice, raspberry macaroon, patchouli, white musk, smoked tea, and vanilla. There are numerous comparable fragrances, but here are a few contenders in the lower price category: Dior Addict 2, O Boticário Acqua di Colonia Floral, Cacharel Amor Amor (especially its lighter, fruitier flankers,) Bath & Body Works Black Raspberry Vanilla, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Calvin Klein Euphoria Blossom, Lancôme Miracle Intense, and Estée Lauder Pleasures Exotic.
La Petite Robe Noire has also received a richer floral flanker, La Petite Robe Noire Modèle 2, created by Thierry Wasser. It includes notes of bergamot, lemon, galbanum, iris, orange blossom, marshmallow, white leather and musk.
Sample: my own acquisition