Guerlain Rose Nacree du Desert : Perfume Review

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When I first heard about Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert, which is part of the Les Déserts d’Orient collection, along with Encens Mythique d’Orient and Songe d’Un Bois d’Été, I was only mildly curious. Had it been a part of the regular collection, I would have been more proactive in seeking out a sample, but Les Déserts d’Orient is sold at only a few boutiques, and I dislike falling in love with something this exclusive. (Can you tell where this is going?)

deneuve

To make a long story short, a sample found its way to me thanks to a kind reader, and whenever I have been wearing Rose Nacrée du Désert, I’ve been experiencing minor scented epiphanies. I may be doing something as unglamorous as picking up dry cleaning, when I suddenly catch a whiff of dark roses clinging to my skin. It’s an instant dose of chic, and on most days, I desperately need it.

I loathe recommending an expensive, “available only in Paris” type of perfume, so let’s take a short quiz. Are you a Guerlain addict? Are you a fan of classical symphonic fragrances? Do you like your roses dirty? Do you enjoy classical Carons in all of their dark mossy glory? If you answer yes to all of these questions, then you’re a good candidate for Rose Nacrée du Désert.

True to its name, Rose Nacrée du Désert (Pearly Rose of the Desert) has a big red rose in its heart, but decent roses are a  dime a dozen on perfume counters, and this perfume is much more than just a pretty blossom. Layered with musky leather and patchouli, Rose Nacrée du Désert is full of interesting twists. The first surprise comes right at the top when a wave of shimmery aldehydes–they smell like candle wax and starched linen–rises up only to fizzle out and reveal a tangy, bright rose. A few minutes later, under the hot breath of sweet clove and pepper, the rose darkens, wilts and becomes dry and smoky.

The drydown is the best part of Rose Nacrée du Désert. On the one hand, it’s a classical mossy patchouli touched by rose, but the saffron and musk give this Guerlain a sultry quality. The mossy layer is cool and powdery, reminiscent more of Caron Nuit de Noël with its dark undercurrent, rather than of the typically sweet and plush Guerlains à la Shalimar and L’Heure Bleue.

In contrast to other bombshell dirty roses like Agent Provocateur, Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady or Etat Libre d’Orange Rossy de PalmaRose Nacrée du Désert is much more versatile and subtle. Perfumer Thierry Wasser might have been inspired by the Middle East when he created Rose Nacrée du Désert, but this rose in the dune fantasy comes to us by way of Champs-Élysées. Rose Nacrée du Désert is understated and nonchalant, rather than in your face glamorous.  It’s sexy in the same way that a fitted black shift dress can be irresistible. For this reason, it wears like a perfectly tailored jacket and it feels haute couture all the way. Too bad that Guerlain chose to limit the distribution of this beauty.

Guerlain Rose Nacrée du Désert is available at the Paris Guerlain flagship store and Haute Parfumerie Place Vendôme in Belgium, both of which ship internationally. Edit (thanks to Katie): Harrods and Selfridges in London carry this line as well. Since Les Déserts d’Orient perfumes were originally created for the Middle Eastern market, the fragrances are also sold in the United Arab Emirates and other Middle Eastern locations. 75ml, 190 euros.

Sample: my own acquisition (many thanks to my kind reader David)

Image: Catherine Deneuve, Helmut Newton, Paris, 1976

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86 Comments

  • Barbara: I answered yes to all of those questions. I’m doomed, V! 🙂 August 6, 2012 at 8:24am Reply

    • Victoria: Well, if I judge by how Guerlain acted in the past, if the fragrances do well, they might end in the regular collection. August 6, 2012 at 10:10am Reply

  • Anne Sheffield: Grrrrrr me too! Answered yes to all. It does sound so guerlain divine! August 6, 2012 at 9:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I really enjoyed that Caron-like mossy darkness in the base. I think that it’s really well made. But why this exclusive distribution? August 6, 2012 at 10:12am Reply

  • Lucas: I’m not a huge rose lover in perfume (Lyric Man beyond my reach being an exception) but this Guerlain sounds interesting.
    Anyway I’ll never get a sample of it because Guerlain has no boutiques in Poland and of course Sephora is too mainstream to have them August 6, 2012 at 9:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I bet that you can live without it. It’s a big rose fragrance, and it’s less woody and spicy than Lyric Man. So it may not be worth the trouble for you.
      Is there any location in Poland where Guerlain is sold? I remember seeing Shalimar and the like at the department stores in Warsaw and I even recall purchasing my bottle of Herba Fresca there. August 6, 2012 at 10:14am Reply

      • Lucas: All Sephoras and Douglas Perfumeries in Poland carry the basic, mainstream line of Guerlains. August 6, 2012 at 10:35am Reply

        • Victoria: I see! I misunderstood that you were talking only about the exclusive collections. Even in the US, those are really limited to a couple of places. August 6, 2012 at 10:40am Reply

          • Lucas: That’s why I don’t cry now that you said that I can definitely live without it August 7, 2012 at 4:25am Reply

  • Zubi d’Nova / Melissa de Blok: Last time I was in Paris, this didn’t appeal to me, but I only smelled the opening notes. I’ll try it again – you have made it sound very appealing with the “dark” talk. I should give this one a try. That time I was enchanted by Gourmand Coquin, which went home with me that same day.

    Also – sidenote: Anyone up for joining me in a small group meet-up (informal) in Paris in September? I hope you don’t mind me “spamming” this in a way, Victoria. I’d like to not go alone as it is my last time in Europe (I’m still going to travel there by car, if there is no one joining me).

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/307423-Potential-September-quot-perfume-tour-quot-in-Paris August 6, 2012 at 9:13am Reply

    • Victoria: This is the kind of fragrance that you need to court slowly, because like many complex blends it takes its time to unfold. The top notes weren’t particularly memorable, but the drydown–and it lasts for hours–is splendid.

      Your potential itinerary sounds like fun, Melissa! And September should be a great time to go. August 6, 2012 at 10:17am Reply

      • Zubi d’Nova / Melissa de Blok: Let’s hope at least one person (preferably female if it is only the two of us) agrees to come with!

        Yes I know I should give them a while to develop, but that Gourmand Coquin was just enchanting me for the hour I stayed there! Could not look at or even think about anything else, lol. August 6, 2012 at 3:49pm Reply

        • Victoria: Ah, I just found a sample of Gourmand Coquin in my box of samples, and I had no idea it was there. Now, that’s an upside of being disorganized–a pleasant surprise. 🙂 You’ve inspired me to try it. August 6, 2012 at 4:21pm Reply

  • Kerrie: Hi Victoria,
    Thank you for the beautiful photograph. I imagine Catherine wearing an exquisite perfume such as this one. August 6, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: I can look at the photographs of Deneuve for hours. I was trying to think of something that captured the idea of this perfume for me, and then I remembered this photo–elegant, chic, slightly mysterious. None of that stereotypical “Arabian Nights” exoticism that the press release promised. August 6, 2012 at 10:18am Reply

  • Nancy A.: Hi Victoria,

    A “dry and smoky rose”. Of course, I’m a lover of Guerlain! Our association goes way back.
    Remember when Deneuve had her own fragrance? August 6, 2012 at 10:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Ah, Deneuve! It is probably still one of my favorite green chypres. I have only a tiny sample, but I only need a small whiff to remind myself of what true elegance is all about. August 6, 2012 at 10:19am Reply

      • Patt: I have a little Deneuve too, Victoria, and use it only for very special occasions. Do you know of any similar green chypres that are readily available? August 6, 2012 at 11:34am Reply

        • Victoria: I would say Estée Lauder Private Collection, Jean-Louis Scherrer Scherrer, Jacomo Silences (much much greener though). Also, Le Labo created a fragrance for Anthropologie called Belle Du Soir, and apparently it’s very close to Deneuve. I haven’t tried it myself, but a friend who wore Deneuve swears that it’s similar. August 6, 2012 at 11:57am Reply

          • Nikki: Jean Louis Scherrer, the original, was truly great, however, I recently bought and returned a new bottle which was very inexpensive on e-bay ad totally different. The one I really like now is Francis Kourdijian’s Lumiere Noire, CD’s bespoke perfume. I love it, it reminds me of JLS in the eighties before reformulation. I like Lumiere Noire so much, I bought three! It is a perfume which is ieven great for this hot weather we are having in the USA. August 6, 2012 at 12:16pm Reply

            • Victoria: I like Lumiere Noire too, and it was created for Catherine Deneuve before it launched in stores, according to an interview Francis Kurkdjian gave. I can definitely see how this elegant blend would suit her perfectly. August 6, 2012 at 12:29pm Reply

          • Patt: Thank you! I have some ELPC and will have to dig it out. I also have an old bottle of Schrerrer II fom the eighties, which I loved at the time. August 6, 2012 at 5:33pm Reply

            • Victoria: Private Collection is one of my favorites from Estee Lauder. A beautiful, elegant perfume. August 7, 2012 at 4:23am Reply

  • ellenb: Ah, I must sample this. One of the perfume decant sites says that it is also available in the United Arab Emirates. I am afraid that I will love this. August 6, 2012 at 10:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Ellen, yes, that’s right, the stores in the UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia carry it.
      I love mossy roses, so I unfortunately fell for Rose Nacree du Desert August 6, 2012 at 10:38am Reply

      • ellenb: My sweetheart travels to both Europe and sometimes to UAE, I’m working from different samples trying to decide what to ask for next time he returns to Paris! And thank you for your blog, your writing is lovely and melodic. You have an eye for beauty! August 6, 2012 at 10:40am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you very much, Ellen! 🙂
          I hope that your SO can find these fragrances on his trips. Certainly, in Paris he should have no issues locating them at the main boutique at 68, Champs Elysees. The SAs are usually very helpful there and are willing to make samples. August 6, 2012 at 11:33am Reply

  • Absolute Scentualist: Oh no! You had me at dark roses and patchouli, Victoria. I simply have to try this and hope I won’t fall in love. But as the original AP, L’Arte di Gucci, Rose 31, Paestum Rose, L’Inspiratrice and POAL in my collection suggests, I’m sure I’ll fall totally in love. Do you know if the Guerlain boutiques in the States are getting these? August 6, 2012 at 10:49am Reply

    • Victoria: Sounds like this perfume is a great candidate for you! You’ve named some of my own favorites in this genre.
      I don’t think that there are any plans to present these fragrances in the US right now. I asked the SA at Bergdorf and he didn’t think that they’re coming. Not this year, at least. August 6, 2012 at 11:35am Reply

  • Anna Minis: The exclusive collections are sold in The Hague (Douglas). I bought there Sous Le Vent–it was more expensive than I thought, but I missed it so much when it was discontinued. Now I stay away from Douglas Den Haag: I said ”yes’ to all your questions, but I can’t afford a perfume for months to come. Sous Le Vent took it all. But it makes me happy! August 6, 2012 at 11:36am Reply

    • Victoria: Sometimes I no longer want to buy everything that I like, mostly because I already have so much and I’m happy with my perfume wardrobe. But I’m happy to discover things that make my heart skip a beat and to write about them. I’m glad that they exist and that beautiful perfumes are still being made. I don’t know if that makes sense. August 6, 2012 at 11:40am Reply

      • Mimi: I know exactly what you mean. The world of perfume is one of joy. I too am so thankful that beautiful perfumes are still being made.

        Discovering one is heart-stopping. Revisiting old friends is too. I still love Picasso. Every time I spell it I am just amazed.

        Thank goodness for Surrender to Chance, The Perfumed Court, Posh Peasant and others for the decant. Such a great way to enjoy a fragrance I don’t have the money to buy a full bottle. August 11, 2012 at 4:29pm Reply

        • Victoria: I love those ladies and their services! They make it so easy to explore and try many different scents.

          And I agree with you. Revisiting perfume favorites and feeling that rush of pleasure is the best part! August 11, 2012 at 5:22pm Reply

  • L.: You are the perfect person to answer my question about this perfume. I’ve tried it – the Iranian rose is divine. However, to my nose the drydown contains an uninvited peppery-woody, stale-drawer-air type note. It’s not attributable to the oud nor the patchouli, so I need to know, does Rose Nacree contain a sizeable amt of Iso E Super?

    I’ve been avoiding training my nose to really hone in on Iso-E for fear that it will demystify too many current fragrances. I do know the Songe d’Un Bois is pretty Iso-E-y, and, where I notice it there, it seems to work among the woods and leather. But in Rose Nacree d’D, once the rose has blossomed and faded, the sweaty-stale drydown was a real deal breaker for me – this from someone who would have gone after a bottle! … which may just be how my particular skin type dismantles this fragrance over time (on fabric, I didn’t get to this effect until the next day).

    Encens Mythique is by far my fave of the three. August 6, 2012 at 11:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I still haven’t tried Encens Mythique properly, so I worry that now I might have another favorite from this collection. Well, at least Songe d’Un Bois isn’t exciting at all to me.

      I don’t know about sizable, particularly since there are so many other woody materials similar to Iso E Super that perfumers use today, but the woody notes are very pronounced in this perfume and they support the rose all the way. Iso E Super really smells like fresh wood shavings, nothing stale or musty about it. I don’t get a sweaty note in Rose Nacree, but if I were to pick something mildly raunchy, it’s whatever makes up the oud accord in it. Ouds in modern fragrances are usually made up of bases, and they can include several different types of notes–leather, animalic, woods, musk, etc. HTH! August 6, 2012 at 12:04pm Reply

      • L.: Yes all that helps, normally I don’t worry about the ingredients just the effects but this one just irked me b/c I wanted so much to love it! LOL for me the rose departed after a few hours and all I got was stale, slightly peppery funk. Maybe sweaty is the wrong word, it’s not properly sweaty like cumin, maybe stuffy or oppressive works better. I bet this is just one of those perfumes that’s born for a skin type other than my own, and I would still call this one a really good perfume but def. not for me!

        I never got that drydown effect from the other ouds I’ve tried. So like you suggest maybe it’s part of the particular “oud” accord that Guerlain is using here. Sorry to write so much. You will love the Encens. You will love it the most of the Deserts! 🙂 🙂 🙂 August 6, 2012 at 1:03pm Reply

        • Victoria: Please don’t apologize. It’s fun to take a perfume to task and figure out why it isn’t working. Of course, it’s a bit hard without smelling it with you on your skin, but in general, I notice that the green, grapefruit and animalic notes are the ones that can be hard. Some skin chemistry pushes them out of proportion to everything else. Also, in Rose Nacree there is a distinctive animalic note that smells like wet leather to me. I find it in many classics too (or something similar). Which is why some older Guerlains can be so polarizing. August 6, 2012 at 2:26pm Reply

          • L.: Curious, in which older Guerlains have you found that “wet leather note”? It would be fun to seek it out since I hadn’t come across it before in a Guerlain. Anyway it *is* all very interesting. August 7, 2012 at 10:15pm Reply

            • Victoria: If you really want to see what I mean, I would recommend not the Guerlains where it is present, but is subtle, but something like Shocking or Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum. If you haven’t smelled those perfumes, they are worth exploring for the way they convey the sultry-raunchy and yet elegant and polished character. A very unusual combo.

              In older Guerlains, I was thinking mostly of Shalimar (but vanilla wraps it so well) and Sous le Vent, Mouchoir de Monsieur. Jacques Guerlain loved animalic notes, and towards the end of his life he created these extraordinary, over the top animalic compositions that made people wonder if he might have become anosmic to them. Unfortunately, they haven’t survived, but when I was a student, I had a chance to smell them in the archives. Very odd, but somehow compelling.

              Anyway, Shocking or Paloma Picasso should give a great glimpse of the animalic-leathery effect. August 8, 2012 at 2:45am Reply

            • Julia: Interesting! I always come to your website when I am either considering or testing a possible new perfume. As a long-time Guerlain fan, I tried the three fragrances in this set. I did not care for Songe.. at all. Encens I did not take it at first, and liked your description of crisp white linen.. Very true. However, Rose Nacree I ended up liking, and have now purchased it. I wore it and visited a friend. She immediately said she liked my perfume and that it smelt of suede! I cannot get this smell from it at all, so it is interesting to see it commented on here. One person’s suede is another’s wet leather, it seems.
              Interestingly, the weekend I tried all three samples, my skin changed them all quite significantly.. and for this reason I preferred Rose Nacree… However I have tried Encens again a few times and find it quite delicious now. April 20, 2014 at 11:15am Reply

  • Anna Minis: That makes sense, certainly, but I can’t place it in this context. Sorry! August 6, 2012 at 12:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: My fault then. I was just trying to say that I also have a strict budget in place for my purchases. In the past, I wanted everything I liked immediately, now I prefer to take my time. At the same time, I’m glad to be able to find more excellent new perfumes, even if I can’t/don’t want to purchase them all. August 6, 2012 at 12:24pm Reply

  • Cybele: Hi Victoria, how would you say it compares to Rose Barbare?! August 6, 2012 at 12:31pm Reply

    • Victoria: Very different! Rose Barbare is very earthy, much more patchouli and leather. It feels rougher, thicker, more one-dimensional next to Rose Nacree. The rose in Rose Nacree is a delicate tea rose at first (it reminded me of Creed Fleur de Thé Rose Bulgare), whereas the rose of Rose Barbare is spicy. August 6, 2012 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Natasha: I said yes to all. No no no!! Oh Guerlain is such a tease. Thanks for the beautiful review Victoria! Hopefully I can get a sample.

    I’m just so happy this was made by Thierry Wasser. I have this crush on him. He’s just so charming! 🙂 August 6, 2012 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’ve never met him, but people who did say that he’s very charming and very nice. I like his style, even when he’s doing something I don’t particularly like. August 6, 2012 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Anna Minis: Oh, I see, thank you. What I tried to say is not that I want to buy everything immediately (that is impossible, given the enourmous amount of perfumes today). I too like to take my time (mostly), but now, the time will be extraordinarely long. But staying away from the perfumeshop is perhaps a little bit exaggerated, I admit! (btw: I hope you did not also intend that SLV is not worth all that money?!). August 6, 2012 at 12:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ha, you’re talking to someone who scraped funds during her student days to buy a bottle of SLV! 🙂 Worth every penny (and you do get a lot of perfume for the price.) August 6, 2012 at 12:56pm Reply

  • Lisa: Hmm. “Dirty rose” scents are a real hit or miss for me. Heeley’s Hippie Rose is one of my all time favorites. I cannot express in words just how much I adore this scent; it’s a real people pleaser, too — loads of compliments on this one. OTOH, I’m not overwhelmed by any of the Carons. They’re nice but far too dense for my liking. I would probably purchase a sample of the Guerlain out of sheer curiosity, but I doubt that anything will surpass my love for Hippie Rose. August 6, 2012 at 2:15pm Reply

    • Victoria: This one is far less dense than most Carons, but yes, it’s not a fragrance I would recommend for a blind purchase.

      Hippie Rose is another good dirty rose. I smelled it only on the blotter, but I liked it very much. August 6, 2012 at 2:28pm Reply

      • Lisa: HP seemed to have made its debut without a lot of fanfare, and yet it’s so exquisite, and dare I say, even outrageous. I would love to hear your thoughts on it in greater depth!

        ::Hint:: August 6, 2012 at 2:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: You guys are a bad influence! 🙂 But I love it; that’s why I keep asking more of your recommendations. There are so many new fragrances being released that I find it much and much more difficult to keep up. I will definitely revisit Hippie Rose. As far as I’m concerned, one cannot have too many dirty, sexy roses. August 6, 2012 at 3:04pm Reply

  • solanace: I have a sample of this, and I adore it. Another one that restores my faith in humanity. It really seems to shine in multiple tones. I’m afraid it gets reformulated if they change the distribution, so I’m getting at least a big decant soon. August 6, 2012 at 3:30pm Reply

    • Victoria: A, so true! Whenever I smell something new and wonderful, I feel more energy for working with perfume and for writing this blog. Nothing depressed me more than the unexciting perfume releases, especially from the houses that should do better. August 6, 2012 at 4:23pm Reply

  • Sandra: Oh the more that I wear my sample, the more I love this perfume together as well as Encens Mythique. Your review is lovely. I really have to learn from you and not buy everything I love, but a FB is calling my name! August 6, 2012 at 4:03pm Reply

    • solanace: Encens mythique is amazing! I’m loving this Desert series. And craving a full bottle, too. August 6, 2012 at 4:14pm Reply

      • Victoria: Sigh… I can’t resist! *goes off to find her Encens Mythique sample* August 6, 2012 at 4:17pm Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 I admit that it’s harder when it’s something like a limited edition or a classic on a brink of reformulation. But for instance, Chanel Coromandel has been on my wishlist for more than a year, and I finally got a bottle two weeks ago. In the meantime, I’ve eked out my sample. August 6, 2012 at 4:20pm Reply

  • Eva S: I absolutely love this one! And Encens Mythique as well! So much that I’ve already bought FB of both from Place Vendome, and I have absolutely no regrets despite the price, I’m sure I’ll enjoy these two for a long time.
    According to the description Encens actually contains genuine ambergris, though how an big amount I’m not sure. If that’s actually the case I guess Guerlain might have had a lucky chanse to find a supply but that it won’t ever be widely distibuted or indeed in production for long? What do you think? August 6, 2012 at 4:35pm Reply

    • Victoria: I just went to Place Vendome in Wevelgem, and what a perfume paradise! I felt like a kid in a candy store.

      Anyway, if they are using real ambergris in this perfume, then it isn’t likely that they would be able to keep it for the wider distribution. It’s simply too costly and rare for that. After all, they’ve reformulated Mon Précieux Nectar when it went into the regular collection. August 6, 2012 at 4:52pm Reply

      • sweetpea: “they’ve reformulated Mon Précieux Nectar when it went into the regular collection” – I remember people arguing over whether this was the case when the MPN Parissiene came out. Do you know this for certain or have you tried both? August 6, 2012 at 5:40pm Reply

        • Victoria: I have samples of both, and they just don’t smell identical. Not sure exactly what they’ve changed, it might even be that the concentration is different or maybe some materials are of varying qualities, but there is a difference. August 7, 2012 at 4:24am Reply

      • solanace: That’s all I’m thinking about… Must. get. full. bottle. August 6, 2012 at 7:27pm Reply

  • Undina: I was prepared not to like these three… Yeah… With me, not being a Guerlain fan, it’s not fair! I like two out of three! August 6, 2012 at 5:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I wouldn’t have expected to like this collection either, mostly because I thought that it would be something predictable (oud, oud and more oud!) August 7, 2012 at 4:22am Reply

  • StephenMc: I am really pissed off with Guerlain! Last week I emailed them requesting samples of this collection. I live far from a Guerlain boutique and my nearest point of access is a local chemist that stocks a good range of perfumery but unfortunately employs two of the snobbiest b*****s I have had the misfortune to deal with. I am a customer, but under duress, and will only use this place as a last resort. However it is the only place that has a small range of Guerlain products. I have also been a relatively loyal Guerlain user for the past thirty years! So imagine my disbelief at the unhelpful reply I recieved from Guerlain’s customer relations department:-
    Dear Sir,

    I acknowledge receipt of your mail from 8/4/2012 and I thank you for sending it.

    You express the wish to receive amples of the Deserts d’Orient series.

    I am sorry to inform you that Guerlain is not able to send samples by post. They are kept exclusively in our shops and given out depending on the availability of stocks. Moreover, I precise you that the Deserts d’Orient series are only available in Guerlain boutiques in Paris/France and Middle East and that the exclusive perfumes are not declined in samples.

    You will find all the addresses of our boutiques, our institutes and our points of sale in France as well as the rest of the world in our website http://www.guerlain.com.

    Thank you for your interest in our brand.

    Yours faithfully,

    Isabelle ROUSSEAU
    Customer Relationship Department

    I have no problems receiving samples from say, Serge Lutens, or, By Kilian etc etc, yet a company the size of Guerlain will not furnish a long standing customer a sample of a newly introduced line? I am sure samples were sent to all the perfume sites and blogs. It seems it may be that this laissez faire attitude is the reason for the shrinking shelf space that Guerlain has in my hometown! August 6, 2012 at 5:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: In my 7 years of blogging, I have never received a single perfume sample from Guerlain. Mind you, I never asked. I also doubt that Guerlain would send out samples of this extremely limited distribution line to anyone for free. They will sell out in their intended markets, without any extra buzz. I sympathize with you, but seeing how stingy companies are with samples, this doesn’t surprise me. At least, you’ve received a polite response. August 7, 2012 at 4:29am Reply

    • Steven: Dear Stephen,

      I can imagine that you do feel pissed of, but you have to see the other side.
      We at Place Vendôme Haute Parfumerie in Belgium, do get every day mails asking for free samples to be sent.
      If we would start sending to everybody samples it would just not be do-able….

      We have a policy that people need to earn samples, so we only offer samples with a purchase. So being a “a relatively loyal Guerlain user ” one can always buy a product that you use frequently and with this purchase ask if there is a possibility to have a sample of a fragrance you dearly want to try out.
      This is my advice I can give you.

      With kind regards,
      Steven October 19, 2012 at 10:26pm Reply

  • Kaori: very, very tempting to get a sample this as well as Encens Mythique. It is very hot and humid, so I have to wait for a while..

    The expression “effortless chic” is perfect for Catherine Deneuve. I also like Romy Schneider very much:)

    Kaori August 6, 2012 at 9:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: It is surprisingly airy. I’ve been wearing Rose Nacree in our heat wave, and it’s perfect. Encens Mythique is similar in this respect. None of the heavy, brooding incense notes in it.

      Romy Schneider is so beautiful in “the Swimming Pool.” Perfect, really! August 7, 2012 at 4:34am Reply

  • Edward: Hello Victoria,

    I have good access to all Les Déserts d’Orient collection since I am based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. I remember, of the three, this is the least appealing to me since I am not into rose perfume. I can *feel* the luxury aspect of all three but the smell is just too heavy to my nose. So I will pass on this one.

    Regards,
    Edward August 7, 2012 at 5:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Hi Edward, thank you for your thoughts. Always helpful to get another perspective on the same perfume.
      Which one did you like the most? August 7, 2012 at 5:20am Reply

      • Edward: Among the 3, Encens Mythique d’Orient is what I’d choose if I were to buy one. I find it unique and to my nose, the most subtle among the 3. The other one, Songe d’un Bois d’Eté, I find very sweet. August 11, 2012 at 4:26am Reply

        • Victoria: Songe d’un Bois d’Eté is sticky-sweet on me as well. I appreciate it, but only from afar. August 11, 2012 at 5:20pm Reply

  • Katie Puckrik: Victoria, I see Rose Nacrée du Désert has inspired some beautiful writing from you – a testimony in itself! I am doolally about this range, and Rose Nacrée and Encens Mythyque d’Orient are both vying for my love. I’ve hoping to get my own reviews up before too long. BTW, it’s also available in London at Harrods and Selfridges. August 8, 2012 at 3:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: Katie, thank you! I cannot wait to see your reviews. I’ve been sitting on these samples for such a long time and finally I thought, hey, time to at least smell these perfumes. Didn’t expect to like this collection as much as I did.
      Thank you also for your note about their London availability. August 8, 2012 at 3:39pm Reply

  • HB: Lovely review, thank you! What an interesting and educating discussion.

    I used to think that I don’t really love Guerlain fragrances (even though I wore l’Heure Bleu for a couple years back in the late 80s) – probably because of the sweet, to me – the vanilla – accords I grew up around with my mother’s Shalimar sillage. Then I discovered all the citruses. And the men’s fragrances – oh my. I appreciate some of the women’s fragrances from a distance still, like Mitsouko, but I love a good rose. And dark green vintage Caron? Patchouli? Oh my yes. I am just this evening testing out Sweet Dreams as I catch up on my reading and think between that and my “yes” responses I may be a goner for this one. August 9, 2012 at 12:12am Reply

    • Victoria: You’ve pointed out something that doesn’t get mentioned enough about Guerlains–the collection is really diverse. Maybe, that’s one of the reasons I enjoy this line as much as I do and one of the reasons I get critical when they keep missing the mark (Idylle, I’m looking at you!)
      The men’s fragrances are excellent and can work so well on women. Habit Rouge is perfect for a woman who finds Shalimar too sweet. August 9, 2012 at 4:17am Reply

  • Joe C: Can I suggest trying Rose Nacree Du Desert with a few dabs of Nahema parfum? Truly wonderful. August 10, 2012 at 4:42pm Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you, Joe! I will be sure to try it. It sounds like a great combination. August 11, 2012 at 5:19pm Reply

  • Karen: Had a wonderful time this morning trying on some Guerlains and fell hard for this! One the one hand I have two dark roses – La Fille and Portrait of a Lady – but the Oud in this gives the rose a different feel. And here I was saving my $$ for Carnal Flower, now I have to add another to the pricey-but-worth-it list! March 3, 2015 at 2:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what you mean…. That list can get very long. 🙂 March 7, 2015 at 8:19am Reply

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