Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Alexander Mcqueen Kingdom and Gucci Envy : Long Lost Favorites

For today’s post in the Long Lost Favorite Perfume series, I’m combining three requests: Elaine’s for Guerlain Attrape-Coeur, Azrifah’s for Alexander McQueen Kingdom and Cybele’s for Gucci Envy. Since I have already reviewed these perfumes, I decided to skip the descriptions and focus on exploring alternatives for these discontinued gems.

And gems they are! While these are three very different perfumes, they have in common their distinctive and striking character. This also makes these fragrances hard to match. As with complex works of literature and music, we love perfumes for different reasons: for the memories they elicit, for a particularly elegant drydown or for the rich, enveloping sillage. I hope that my suggestions capture some of the most interesting dimensions of these exceptional perfumes, and of course, please share your suggestions as well.

Guerlain Attrape-Coeur / Guet-Apensretro elegance of amber and peach

“I never thought I’d get upset about a fragrance being discontinued. There are so many good fragrances out there, after all. I have a long and ever growing wish list of perfumes that are readily available, and I already own enough perfume to keep me fragrant for the rest of my life. So why pine for a fragrance that I can’t have? Then along came Guerlain Attrape-Coeur and I understood,” wrote Elaine. Attrape-Coeur was created in 1999 by Mathilde Laurent and relaunched in 2005.  It has a warm accord of sandalwood, amber and rose with a delicious peach sweetness. It’s languid and seductive, but not overly exotic or heady. Two fragrances I wear for a similar sensation are Serge Lutens Bois Oriental and Bois et Fruits, which have a woody drydown so luscious that it can almost be gourmand. If you like the juicy peach notes of Attrape-Coeur, Bois et Fruits with its compote of plums, nectarines and figs will satisfy the craving.

Among Laurent’s own fragrances, Cartier L’Heure Deféndue has a similar abstract gourmand mood as Attrape-Coeur. It wraps its woods and ambers in chocolate and patchouli, thus adding a sultry feeling, but it’s nevertheless very elegant and retro.  Givenchy Organza Indécence goes much further into the gourmand territory with its sugared almonds and cinnamon dusted plums, but the earthy breath of patchouli keeps things memorable.  Finally, the amber and milky woods of Costume National Scent Intense would be an interesting discovery for those who love the opulence of Attrape-Coeur. Scent Intense has a romantic jasmine tea top note, but its heart is smoldering and rich—a fascinating combination.

Alexander McQueen Kingdomcumin dusted woods and flowers

Cumin smells dirty and sweaty, and while a small amount gives an intriguing twist, a big dollop as in Kingdom registers as raunchy and almost obscene. That isn’t a bad thing in itself, but for a big brand launch, a sexy, dirty number is challenging. So, Kingdom didn’t last long on the perfume counters. When I think of Kindgom and its bombshell personality, the fragrance that comes to mind is Maison Francis Kurkdjian Absolue Pour le Soir.  Absolue Pour le Soir is dark and woody, with a bold animalic note that smells of hot skin and warm furs. It lacks the transparent rose accents of Kingdom that made it feel luminous, but the impression it gives is likewise unapologetically sultry.

If I want even more unabashed seduction, I reach for Vero Profumo Rubj, which smells like strawberries and orange blossom, but also like salty kisses and sun warmed skin. It accents its plush petals with enough cumin to be lusty,while the musk and civet create its femme fatale in the tropics aura. Should I crave a more modest dose of cumin, I instead choose Serge Lutens Fleurs d’Orangera heady perfume that makes me wonder how on earth orange blossom received its “prim and innocent” reputation.

However, Rubj and Fleurs d’Oranger play with the floral notes, whereas Kingdom is more about woods, amber and musk. If that’s what you love about it, I would recommend trying Dinner by Bobo, a fragrance by a niche French house. It’s more playful than seductive—it spices up its gingerbread, jasmine and patchouli heart with cumin and plays with the savory, salty notes. Another perfume that uses cumin to give woods an alluring warmth is Idole de Lubin, a composition of sandalwood, saffron and leather. Idole is elegant and introspective, a different creature from Kingdom, but it has enough personality to seduce its wearer.

Bonus reading: an interesting analysis of Kingdom’s stunning ad campaign on Tinsel Creation.

Gucci Envymetallic lily of the valley

Lily of the valley can be playful and pretty as in Stella McCartney LILY or delicate and ethereal as in Christian Dior Diorissimo. In a surprising and unpredictable twist Gucci Envy makes it edgy and glamorous. The metallic note—think of sucking on a silver spoon—runs through the whole composition and it gives Envy a sparkling, fizzy quality. I discovered some of Envy’s vivid green notes in Ormonde Jayne Tiare, which is much more baroque in comparison, but it also has a dramatic brightness.

Issey Miyake A Scent takes its inspiration from Chanel Cristalle, but the metallic accent on its lily of the valley notes reminds me of Envy. Likewise, the metallic iris of Serge Lutens Bas de Soie is wrapped around enough green, watery notes to give a lucid, cool impression. It isn’t a favorite, I admit, but its polish and radiance are distinctive. However, there are days when all I want is a crunchy green top note of Envy, which smells like green ivy and jasmine tea. That’s when I pick up my bottle of Annick Goutal Eau de Camille and wrap myself in its sheer veil of honeysuckle and freshly cut grass. It may not be edgy as Envy, but Eau de Camille’s champagne-like sparkle never fails to delight me.

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48 Comments

  • Persolaise: Thanks for this post. My bottle of Vol De Nuit Evasion is one of my most treasured possessions. I’d love to get my hands on another one. May 25, 2012 at 7:59am Reply

    • Victoria: You know, I’ve been meaning to smell it, but I never got around to it, and of course, now it’s too late. May 25, 2012 at 9:44am Reply

      • Persolaise: I’m reliably informed that it is literally just a weaker concentration of Attrape-Coeur.

        I’d be happy to send you a small vial. Send me your address to persolaise at gmail dot com, if you like 🙂 May 25, 2012 at 9:46am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you! I will email you once we get an address. We’re currently between apartments, so to speak, which feels very disconcerting! I’m writing while sitting on a box full of packing materials. 🙂 May 25, 2012 at 9:51am Reply

          • Persolaise: Ouch! Not fun! Good luck with it all.

            And I’ll try not to use up the bottle before you write 😉 May 25, 2012 at 9:53am Reply

            • Victoria: Thanks so much! No, not fun, but I hope that the new place is nicer than the current one. May 25, 2012 at 7:19pm Reply

      • Henrique Brito: I have chances of sampling Vol de Nuit Evasion and i have a bottle of Guet Apens. Both are, for me, virtually identical. I assume that if you love guet apens so much you’ll find the little aspects that makes it different from Vol de Nuit Evasion. But, besides that, one is equal to the other. May 26, 2012 at 4:05pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, this makes sense, Henrique. Definitely a must-try then. May 27, 2012 at 12:36am Reply

  • Suzanna: Great suggestions, all!

    I still have my original bottle of Kingdom (and the lotion). I can remember an SA wrinkling his nose at it and referring to it as “the stinky McQueen,” but I loved it and bought it. The lotion is still a favorite of mine. It smells surprisingly delicately of dried roses and non-sweet spice.

    Rubj is a terrific suggestion for replacement.

    And Attrape-Coeur, I recall as one of the most beautiful things I ever smelled. So beautiful that I walked away without buying it. May 25, 2012 at 7:59am Reply

    • Victoria: Ha, I had the same reaction from an SA when I first went to the store to try Kingdom. He said, “this one smells dirty,” which only piqued my curiosity further. 🙂 May 25, 2012 at 9:45am Reply

  • Henrique Brito: Considering Kingdom, one of the fragrances that i sampled and seemed pretty similar on my skin is Lorenzo Villoresi Alamut. I’d also consider trying Hermes Rouge Eau Delicate, which is also discontinued but a little bit easier to find. It has a similar rose and hot oriental aura, but more powdery and dry. I suspect that the current version of Rouge Hermes is the Delicate concentration, but i’m not sure…. May 25, 2012 at 8:58am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for these interesting ideas. Now I want to revisit Alamut. I liked Hermes Rouge Eau Delicate, and I can see what you mean about its similarity to Kingdom, but without the cumin note. May 25, 2012 at 9:46am Reply

      • Henrique Brito: Yes, without the cumin note, but the hot, rose aura has similar elements, but it seems more powdery for me.

        I love kingdom, it’s one of the fragrances that most draw me compliments. May 25, 2012 at 1:49pm Reply

        • Victoria: I don’t wear Kingdom as often anymore, but I agree, when I did, it elicited plenty of compliments. Sometimes even from complete strangers. May 25, 2012 at 7:20pm Reply

          • Henrique Brito: So i suspect that your skin blends well with Cumin too, right? Based on your impressions and your favorites, i’m almost comming to a conclusion that you’re my scent twin Victoria lol (only one that writes much, much better!)
            Btw, i reminded another two fragrances with similar auras: Azzaro Visit Her Edp and Choppard Madness EDP. And curiously, i was thinking that all of them (Kingdom, Alamut, Rouge, Visit Her, Madness) seems to revolve around a red theme, but with different aromatic details. May 26, 2012 at 4:03pm Reply

            • Victoria: Yes, I don’t have many issues with cumin, with few exceptions. It smells warm and delicious to me. It’s always good to meet a scent twin! 🙂
              I love Madness, by the way. What a great, underrated perfume. May 27, 2012 at 12:38am Reply

              • Henrique Brito: I find Madness very interesting, one of the hottest spicy feminine fragrances i have tried so far. A good thing of being underrated is that its price didn’t achieved absurd values, so you can still get a bottle for very affordable prices 🙂 May 27, 2012 at 2:53pm Reply

                • Victoria: Good point, Henrique! I just bought a bottle for a friend for about $15. That’s a steal. May 27, 2012 at 5:08pm Reply

              • Henrique Brito: Btw, have you tried madness pure parfum? I see one eventually at ebay but never found anyone that tried it… May 27, 2012 at 2:53pm Reply

                • Victoria: I haven’t, mostly because the edp seemed opulent enough. But it sounds very good. May 27, 2012 at 5:10pm Reply

  • Henrique Brito: Btw, your phrase resumes briliantly Vero Profumo Rubj:
    “If I want even more unabashed seduction, I reach for Vero Profumo Rubj, which smells like strawberries and orange blossom, but also like salty kisses and sun warmed skin. ”

    It really has this delicious sweet fruity floral aroma, with something salty, a little bit dirty, but very solar and springish. I see that the edp concentration is even more solar and warm too, but it seems to loose part of the salty and dirty impression. Both versions are amazing orange flower scents. May 25, 2012 at 9:00am Reply

    • Victoria: I preferred the parfum at first, but now I love and wear both versions. The EDT was a bit too animalic for me initially, but maybe I got used to it over time.
      Glad that you liked the post! May 25, 2012 at 9:47am Reply

  • Cybele: Hi Victoria, thank you for including Envy!
    I never found anything like it but I love Cristalle as well and appreciate A Scent while I cannot deal with Bas de Soie. I am curious about Eau Camille now. The only fragrance that replaces some of the Envy crispness for me is Vetiver pour Elle. I wonder about Untiteled M. Margiela, have not tested it yet. May 25, 2012 at 10:56am Reply

    • L.: Cybele, just saw your comment – how funny! I love envy, can’t wear bas de soie at all, and recently started wearing vetiver pour elle almost in spite of myself. I must say that I have not replaced envy in my line-up, just bought a back-up instead. May 25, 2012 at 2:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not a fan of Bas de Soie, but those who love cold, metallic notes might find it great. When I posted my review, several people responded that this is the aspect they loved, and I know that it has its fans. Envy, on the other hand, has a crunchy, leafy note that makes it feel sparkling and bright. May 25, 2012 at 7:22pm Reply

  • Raluca: Gucci Rush is one of my treasures. It’s distinctive, sophisticated, and playful. Carnal Flower is another one but Rush has a special place in my heart since I remember when it first came out and it fascinated me from the start. May 25, 2012 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Rush is one of my top favorites. I absolutely love this fragrance for its radiance and warmth–an interesting combo. May 25, 2012 at 7:23pm Reply

  • ScentScelf: Interesting trio to tackle — this, that, and another thing. 🙂

    I adore Attrape-Coeur so much that I don’t even pretend to find an alternate. Your suggestions are intriguing, though; I already enjoy Organza Indecence, though I do find it can be either too much or a bit chemically on some days, a bit of unpleasant mildly rude behavior A-C never subjected me to.

    Am chuckling outright at seeing the Kingdom entry. At myself, mind you; I have never been shy about expressing my head snapping / running away from aversion to the McQueen…yet I saw fit to purchase a full amount of the equally cumin saturated Absolue. What gives? Not sure, except that the Kurkdjian dries down into a super sultry sweet but not too much warm cozy depths of a scent, whereas Kingdom just keeps on rubbing my nose in its…well, there.

    Envy is a good challenge. For some reason, when you mentioned Bas de Sois, I thonked my forehead with a “right!” It’s no dupe, but there is something about the spirit, or the experience, that echoes properly. Cristalle is family but only kin; Eau de Charlotte just as you say.

    Enjoying the “if not x, then what?” line of thought(s). May 25, 2012 at 12:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: I like playing this game, if only because most fragrances share DNA with other perfumes. There are very few truly original blends. But a perfumer’s ability to create new combinations of familiar motifs can be impressive. May 25, 2012 at 7:25pm Reply

  • Cybele: some more about Envy, I wear it mostly in the tropics, where I often work. It really smells incredible in hot humid weather and salty air. Love it from the beginning but always find the drydown astonishing, whatever musc is in there. May 25, 2012 at 12:39pm Reply

    • Victoria: I can see that, Cybele! Envy is one of those fragrances that I keep wearing mostly in the summer, like Cristalle and some others I mentioned. That cold lily of the valley note makes me feel refreshed, and its lack of anything heavy or sweet in the drydown is just perfect for the hot weather.

      I will have to revisit Vetiver pour Elle. Thanks for that suggestion. May 25, 2012 at 7:27pm Reply

  • L.: LOL “metallic lily of the valley” is word-for-word how I describe envy to anyone who wants to know about the scent! it was my signature for years when I thought I needed a signature scent so I always like to see its mention.

    To your list I would add chanel no.19 as kindred in spirit although certainly less contemporary. also original DKNY be delicious is almost identical in structure and shares many notes w/envy including roucel’s signature base, and I have seen their similarity often noted by fans of the two. consider be delicious a smiling envy, maybe it forgot why it was envious. doubt it can serve as a *replacement* but someone who enjoys envy might find themselves unexpectedly charmed by delicious.

    perhaps someone can tell me if envy smells dated – as an envy fan, I would be unable to tell but I am curious.

    also, Cybele mentions it is good for hot weather; I would add it smells great in winter on woolen fabrics, almost cozy. a mean cozy 🙂 May 25, 2012 at 2:36pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for mentioning Be Delicious, a fragrance I love for its cool violet leaf masquerading as an apple. Roucel at his best! The flankers to Be Delicious aren’t that compelling, but the original is.

      I don’t think that Envy smells dated at all. In fact, it’s one of the most modern green florals I know. May 25, 2012 at 7:28pm Reply

    • Cybele: To the question if Envy smells dated; the opposite, to me it is the most modern or contemporary smelling fragrance I know, that is part of why I like it so much and why Cristalle do not close the gap that Envy leaves. Vetiver pour Elle smells contemporary too but in a far more natural way, whereas Envy is abstract, I see similarities with Chanel No5 in that sense. May 26, 2012 at 9:15am Reply

      • Victoria: Ormonde Jayne Tiare is closer to Envy than Cristalle and feels more contemporary. I can see why Cristalle doesn’t quite cut it, if what you love is the salty, metallic aspect of the floral notes in Envy. May 26, 2012 at 10:09am Reply

        • Cybele: I will try Tiare, Eau de Camille and Be Delicious. I love Cristalle too, it’s just something else as you say. Bas de Soie for some reason smells weired and unpleasant to me. May 26, 2012 at 10:58am Reply

          • Victoria: Please let me know what ends up working best for you. If I think of something else, I will add the ideas in the comments here. May 26, 2012 at 11:01am Reply

  • Elizabeth: Chanel 31 Rue Cambon reminds me a lot of Attrape Coeur. I think it’s the amber. Otherwise 31 Rue Cambon is drier, with what I think of as a peppery-jasmine-patchouli accord, and those Chanel aldehydes on top. Still, I think there’s a similarity in there. May 25, 2012 at 2:57pm Reply

    • Elaine: I have and love 31 Rue Cambon and agree there’s a similarity. May 25, 2012 at 5:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Chanel 31 Rue Cambon is an interesting idea, Elizabeth. It’s billed as a chypre, but it can almost be an oriental with its delicate sweet notes. Well, a light oriental, at any rate. May 25, 2012 at 7:30pm Reply

    • OperaFan: I was just looking for notes on AC and stumbled upon this discussion.

      I happen to be wearing AC side by side with Parfumerie Generale’s Iris Orientale (or I.Taizo) in order to decide whether the PG is a worthy substitute to AC. I’m one of those who sat on my hands too long and missed the boat ($$$), but I DID manage to acquire enough decants to last me a while.

      I’m glad Elizabeth mentioned 31RC because I’ve always felt there was a kinship with AC – but the Chanel is lighter, drier, and more patch heavy. Iris Orientale, on the other hand is richer with that boost of vanilla at the base. It’s still not quite there, but I would say that IrisO would sit at the halfway mark between the 2. So I’d like to include it for consideration. November 13, 2012 at 4:36pm Reply

  • Azrifah: Hope am not too late to comment. Am a rather sporadic-but-reads-everything-at-a-go reader.

    Thanks ever so much for the analysis. I realized belatedly that perhaps I should have explained why I liked Kingdom so much but you’ve done a way better analysis that I could have. All I knew was, I was 17, I loved it, saved up forever to buy it only to find it gone. Eventually found a dusty bottle years later.

    I’ve never found it ‘dirty’, just warm flowers blooming (in 30 degrees heat). Have tried the FK – not really the thing I was looking for. But will try the rest of your suggestions – esp Rubj, which appeals to my Poison etc loving nature. 😀

    Also, loved that you did Envy alongside Kingdom. Maybe bec I still have a large bottle, I never quite realized it was D/C.

    Thanks Victoria! May 26, 2012 at 6:09pm Reply

    • Victoria: You’re most welcome! I hope that you will find at least one of the suggestions to your liking. Rubj is definitely a must try for anyone who loves heady perfumes like Poison. It’s a bombshell perfume, just like Kingdom.

      It isn’t that Envy has been completely removed from Gucci’s catalog (they still list it as available, but it isn’t really sold anywhere in the US). May 27, 2012 at 12:36am Reply

      • Cybele: I don’t see it in stores in Europe anymore either, but good to here it has not entirely disappeared yet. May 27, 2012 at 11:06am Reply

        • Victoria: Rush is another one that’s more or less gone from stores, but Gucci lists it as available. May 27, 2012 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Zazie: I’m sorry I’m late to the discussion! I am an attrape coeur lover (I bought 4 back up bottles when I could!).
    I appreciated your suggestions for a similar peach and amber effect, thank you!
    However, what I love the most in AC is the complex tratment of the violet note, which reminds me a bit of feminité du bois’ opening… with the added guerlain softness and gourmandise.
    Do you have any equally plush and complex violet fragrance recommendation? The closest dupes I could find (a couple of SLs and tom ford’s violet blonde) do not fit the bill for me… Thank you! May 28, 2012 at 10:08am Reply

    • Victoria: I know exactly what you mean, and that’s really my favorite aspect too. Which is why I suggested Bois Oriental and Bois et Fruits, which are essentially Feminite du Bois to me with more fruit and more spices. Have you tried these particular SLs?
      Other than those, maybe Estee Lauder Sensuous. It’s less complex and definitely much less creamy, but it has a violet wood theme going (again, it feels inspired by Feminite du Bois to me). May 28, 2012 at 10:35am Reply

      • Wordbird: Didn’t Serge Lutens do a Bois et Violette? Would that satisfy the violet cravings in the right way? June 3, 2012 at 9:52am Reply

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