Guerlain Myrrhe et Delires : Perfume Review

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Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

I have not been excited about any release from Guerlain’s L’Art et La Matière Line since Bois d’Arménie with its softly sketched out woody accord. Iris Ganache and Tonka Impériale were enjoyable, but like a high-calorie dessert, too rich to savor for long. An acquaintance with Myrrhe et Delires, on the other hand, quickly turned into an infatuation.

Peppery and citrusy at first, Myrrhe et Délires immediately changes course into the woody direction. At the heart of Myrrhe et Délires is a beautiful floral accord, which allows you to enjoy the cool, earthy touch of iris and the honeyed embrace of rose. The powdery candy-like violet and the milky peach add a pleasant sweetness.  Just as you settle in to linger over these morsels, you become aware of the savory, cool leitmotif running through Myrrhe et Délires, that of myrrh.

Myrrh has an interesting aroma, which I can best describe as a mixture of black licorice, mushrooms, smoky wood and freshly baked bread. It packs a lot of character, but myrrh is notoriously difficult to use in fragrance. It wraps and suppresses all nuances and can all but suffocate the blend. However, in Myrrhe et Délires the myrrh lends a lush, sumptuous note, while allowing the iris and rose to take center stage. The natural licorice facets of myrrh are augmented with spicy anise. Such subtle touches make for an interesting effect. Myrrhe et Délires dries down to musk and woody amber, with a whispers of incense lending the composition a smoky warmth.

However for a fragrance named Myrrhe et Délires (délire as in “delirium”), it feels far too soft-spoken and timid. I wish the perfume had more volume and a stronger presence. On the other hand, maybe it would have lost its tender, romantic quality that draws me to Myrrhe et Délires. It has something of the soft violets of Après l’Ondée and the sweet leather of Cuir Béluga—a surprisingly polished pairing. Myrrhe et Délires is elegant and charming, and more importantly, it brings back the wistfulness and refinement to the Guerlain collection that I have been missing in the recent launches.

Please come back tomorrow for a story about myrrh in perfumery and a selection of my favorite fragrances with this unusual, rich note.

Guerlain Myrrhe et Delires is available from Guerlain boutiques. 2.5oz ml Eau de Parfum, $235.

Sample: my own acquisition

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32 Comments

  • Suzanna: Sounds like a must-try! Myrrh isn’t one of my favorite notes, but I am ready to do an about-face if this latest Guerlain smells as good to me as it does to you.

    But then again, I am still saving for a bottle of Oriental Brulant, so… January 19, 2012 at 8:00am Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: I love Tonka Imperiale but it is “thick” and I rarely wear it two days running (except when it has rubbed off on a scarf or something then it’s yummy). Myrrhe et Delires sounds gorgeous. I am hoping the split I signed up to comes off! Thank you for an enticing review and I am looking forward to your myrrh post. Nicola January 19, 2012 at 8:35am Reply

  • alyssa: Ooooh, looking forward to the myrrh round up! And this sounds worth trying for sure. I only wish the line weren’t quite so spendy. I would own a bottle of Bois d’Armenie by now if it were under $150. January 19, 2012 at 9:28am Reply

  • maggiecat: I’ve been experimenting with myrrh and other “incensy” notes in perfumes lately and this seems like a must-try! Thank you for the lovely review. January 19, 2012 at 9:59am Reply

  • Victoria: Delirium inducing it is not, but MeD is so elegant and polished. If only it were not so expensive, I would have walked away with a bottle on the spot. For now, I shall be happy with a decant. January 19, 2012 at 10:05am Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, that’s it–Tonka Imperiale is so thick that wearing it for a few days straight, I feel overindulged. Myrrhe et Delires is different, more delicate, more nuanced. January 19, 2012 at 10:07am Reply

  • Victoria: I wish that Guerlain offered a discovery coffret of their L’Art et La Matière line, the way Hermes does. Wouldn’t that be a great way to sample them? January 19, 2012 at 10:09am Reply

  • Victoria: Myrrh is a wonderful note, and sometimes I just take out my vial of oil to smell. In perfumes, it is usually used in such small quantities (with some exceptions like Serge Lutens La Myrrhe) that the effect is more subtle. Smelling myrrh straight up, on the other hand—wow, it has an almost tangible presence in the air. January 19, 2012 at 10:11am Reply

  • Jenna: Sounds great! I love Bois d’Armenie and Cuir Beluga. How does it compare to those in terms of sweetness? January 19, 2012 at 11:44am Reply

  • Olfactoria: Thank you for that lovely review, it was just what I wanted to hear about this fragrance that I am anticipating very much. I hope to get a sample soon! January 19, 2012 at 1:00pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is less sweet than either and lighter. A friend of mine complained that it did not last on her, but I could smell it in the air–both her sillage and mine. January 19, 2012 at 1:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: Hope that you will like it! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on MeD. January 19, 2012 at 1:14pm Reply

  • Victoria N: Here is a question I’ve been pondering about for a couple of months but still no good answer… At Guerlain’s exclusive fragrance experience with Marie Line Patry, she identified my skin type as “carnal.” She said it was sweet. It is obviously professional jargon, as well as it is French. I’m no stranger to French but an in-depth understanding of the meaning of this statement stll escapes me. I wonder if you would be kind enough to explain and provide guidance… Are there any perfume notes I should avoid? January 19, 2012 at 1:25pm Reply

  • HemlockSillage: This sounds wonderful, and I will try it, once it lands in a store near me. Bois d’Armenie is amazing, and I would consider a FB purchase, though the price tag is high.

    I’ve always hesitated to buy it due to the packaging. I fear the atomiser will allow the fragrance to evaporate. Do you know if there is a plain cap that can be placed on the fragrance? I’ll have to check when I try the Myrrhe et Delires. Thanks for a lovely review. January 19, 2012 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: Whenever I’ve heard this term being used to describe skin, it meant that the person had a natural milky scent to them. It can be very sexy! There is nothing specific that you should avoid, because depending on their balance, some notes can work on you, regardless of your skin type. Based only on my observations, citrus-fruity, especially grapefruit and rhubarb, notes can go sour and the green notes can appear as very sharp.

    I so rarely encounter other Victorias, so nice to meet you! 🙂 January 19, 2012 at 2:22pm Reply

  • Victoria: My bottle of Bois d’Armenie is from the time of its launch, and I think that Guerlain changed the design since then. If so, it is a good thing, because the pump atomizer leaks! In any case, there is a plain cap that comes along with the pump atomizer. January 19, 2012 at 2:24pm Reply

  • alyssa: Let’s all begin wishing aloud for that. You never know who’s listening! January 19, 2012 at 4:16pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I must try this!

    Hugs! January 19, 2012 at 7:01pm Reply

  • k-amber: It is very intriguing. A must try. Bois d’Armenie is one of all-time favorites in winter. Tonka Imperiale is very rich, so I put it behind the knees and at the ankles. It rises beautifully.

    Kaori January 19, 2012 at 8:51pm Reply

  • Victoria N: Victoria,
    Thank you so much for your explanation; it makes a lot of sense. And it’s my pleasure of virtually meeting you too! We hail from the same old country … Spasibo bolshoye! January 19, 2012 at 10:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ne za chto! Glad to help. 🙂 January 20, 2012 at 9:33am Reply

  • Victoria: I save Tonka Imperiale for the coldest days. Then it is essential.
    Bois d'Armenie though is perfect anytime, and MeD is likewise versatile. January 20, 2012 at 9:36am Reply

  • Victoria: As Russians say, a thought can materialize. 🙂 January 20, 2012 at 9:41am Reply

  • Victoria: R!!! So good to see you! Hope that all is well with you. January 20, 2012 at 9:50am Reply

  • Austenfan: Is Diptyque’s L’Eau Trois myrrh based or not? In The Guide it says it smells of frankincense, but I have seen it reviewed elsewhere as containing Myrrh. It’s a very interesting fragrance either way.
    I still need to smell La Myrrh. January 21, 2012 at 6:23pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it contains both frankincense and myrrh. I have not smelled it in a while, so I do not remember off the top of my head which one dominates. I would guess that frankincense would, because it is lighter and more effervescent, esp on top. January 21, 2012 at 6:26pm Reply

  • karin: Trying this today. V – do you see a similarity to 31 Rue Cambon? It’s reminding me of it. February 17, 2012 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: I do, a little in the woody-iris twist. 
    Myrrhe et Delires dries down much more patchouli rich though, while 31 Rue Cambon is mossy and woody. February 17, 2012 at 3:53pm Reply

  • The Scented Salon: It’s interesting you get so many notes from this. Every time I sample it (on different days and different weather) I don’t get much at all but a very watery citrus smells with some woods thrown in. I get no myrrh at all and nothing that even resembled myrrh. The other Art/Matiere perfumes are wonderful and unique, long lasting and interesting in their own ways. This one left me completely cold. February 19, 2015 at 12:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: Not my top favorite either. It’s not all that memorable in the end. February 19, 2015 at 1:32pm Reply

  • Troy: I know this is an old thread but I was sent a sample of this as part of a myrrh sampler I ordered. It was love at first sniff for me. I wonder if it impresses me because it’s so different from the normally male-pitched perfumes I wear (I’m a guy). On my skin reminds me of a very refined version of a men’s cologne from the ’80s called Lagerfeld with additional floral notes. This has a lot more going on in terms of development but it has the same soft strength. I have to figure out how to get to your myrrh post now! October 1, 2016 at 7:19pm Reply

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