Guerlain L’Homme Ideal : Fragrance Review

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The first time I smelled Guerlain’s L’Homme Idéal, I chuckled, because clearly, their ideal man is wearing a little black dress. Yes, L’Homme Idéal is a masculine twist on La Petite Robe Noire. But this kind of borrowing, right down to the toasted almond and praline details, is clever rather than boring. This is not just another bland and safe sports cologne, that’s for sure.

Guerlain-L-Homme-Ideal

The quest for an ideal man is nothing new, in life or in perfume, and Guerlain’s approach to L’Homme Idéal is rather humorous. Instead of using notes that for reasons of accident and culture came to be seen as the only ones appropriate to men, like lavender, herbs, cedarwood or mild spices, perfumer Thierry Wasser loads the composition with gourmand accents.  It tries to tempt men with the same delicious notes that made La Petite Robe Noire such a success. First, L’Homme Idéal makes sure that potential male customers won’t be scared off by too much indulgence, and it starts its story with a bright citrusy opening. There is plenty of rosemary and orange blossom that offer a cologne like freshness and keep things tame enough.

The interesting part starts after 15 minutes or so, when the rich almond accord dominates the composition and takes L’Homme Idéal into a completely different direction. If you’ve tasted Amaretto liqueur with its distinctive bitter almond and mandarin flavor, then you’ll recognize the same note in L’Homme Idéal. It’s undeniably addictive. The almond extravaganza doesn’t obscure the subsequent leather and cedarwood layer, and the vanilla and musk amplify the sweetness further.

L’Homme Idéal is loaded with plenty of woods and balsamic notes to place it in the same woody oriental camp as Paco Rabanne Black XS and Thierry Mulger A*Men, and if you like that kind of rich and sweet effect, then L’Homme Idéal will likewise satisfy. It will last for many hours, and its sillage is strong and distinctive.

The main complaint will be from die-hard Guerlain lovers who remember the glory days of Habit Rouge and Vétiver and who expect something no less ingenious. L’Homme Idéal, for all of its clever, eccentric character, is milder and tamer. It also won’t impress those who don’t have much of a sweet tooth. But if you’re tired of being told that real men have to smell like synthetic lavender or citrus on steroids, then you’ll enjoy the flamboyant sweetness of this new Guerlain.

Ladies, don’t be put off by Homme in the name. If you like dark, sweet woods, you might find L’Homme Idéal, well, ideal.

Guerlain L’Homme Idéal includes the notes of citrus, orange blossom, rosemary, almond, praline, tonka bean, vetiver, cedarwood and leather.

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58 Comments

  • Sofie: Funny, I’ve received a sample of this with some purchases a while ago (all veering into the masculine camp) and tonight was the first time I put it on. So I’m reading your review while sniffing at the same time. Nice coincidence :-). A nutty praline, soft and warm. Quite nice to have put on at bedtime actually :-). July 28, 2014 at 8:20am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s fun! And I imagine that many women will enjoy wearing it too. There is nothing too hair chested about it. July 28, 2014 at 11:20am Reply

      • Sofie: It really is a lot of fun! I’m wearing it today on a very windy, chilly, overcast winter day (South Australia) and it makes me smile every time a catch a whiff. I agree that women will enjoy wearing it too. Why can’t we start a ‘unisex’ line, like rose wine? This man/woman separation is actually a loss on both sides… July 28, 2014 at 8:17pm Reply

        • Victoria: I know many women who wear masculine perfumes exclusively, because they don’t like that most feminine offerings are too sweet. Of course, L’Homme Ideal is sweet as far as masculines go, but it is not cloying. And yes, I agree, the division is just arbitrary. July 29, 2014 at 12:44pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: Thanks for the fun review. I chuckled at “citrus on steroids”. 🙂 There’s nothing wrong with Guerlain making more trendy perfumes but I still prefer older Guerlain perfumes. My ideal man would actually wear perfumes like Habit Rouge and Vétiver. Hermes Equipage would be another one. In fact, I bought Vétiver for my dad and I’m planning to borrow some from him. He liked Habit Rouge when we were testing perfumes together but I thought Vétiver might be a better choice for summer. July 28, 2014 at 8:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t mind it either. When I smelled the perfume at the counter for the first time, the male SA looked visibly disappointed by it, but to me, its difference from typical masculines was a plus.

      As for Habit Rouge, I adore it and I wear it myself. July 28, 2014 at 11:21am Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: Guerlain has of course that ancient
    and more than respectable tradition, but once upon a time that old style was trendy. So why should Thierry Wasser not compose perfumes for his own time? As long as they are of good, Guerlain quality.
    I smiled at that Homme Idéal in La Petite Robe Noire—let’s hope he has passable legs!

    My favourite from the older ones is Héritage. July 28, 2014 at 8:52am Reply

    • Merlin: Cornelia, me too! I have and like the Edp, but while I like it I actually think the Edt is even nicer and also, as a woman, would be easier to wear. The other classical Guerlain’s for men are all too bitter for me. In fact I prefer heritage to their woman’s classics as well!

      And now I HAVE to try L’Homme Ideal too 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 9:13am Reply

    • maja: Mine, too. Heritage is truly a masterpiece. July 28, 2014 at 11:14am Reply

      • Victoria: I need to revisit Heritage! 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 3:48pm Reply

      • Tracey: Heritage is my absolute favorite for my husband and he loves it and wears it well. September 11, 2014 at 2:08am Reply

    • Victoria: No reason, of course. I didn’t mean that he should continue creating in the same vintage style, just that going for more dramatic and for more character is not a bad thing. But as it is, L’Homme Ideal is very interesting. I would not mind smelling it more on men around here.

      I’m myself between Habit Rouge and Vetiver, but Heritage is a gem too. July 28, 2014 at 11:25am Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: In Amsterdam, we have to waite until september. July 28, 2014 at 11:59am Reply

        • Victoria: Oh, I didn’t realize it will come later. Hope that you will smell it soon, then. July 28, 2014 at 3:49pm Reply

          • Cornelia Blimber: Not before september! but yes, that is soon. You made me so curious–I love A*Men, and I love tonka bean.
            That Souffle in the blue bottle is for the future, the SA did not know (she denied that Initial was discontinued) and she had never heard of Cologne du Parfumeur. July 28, 2014 at 4:07pm Reply

            • Victoria: I haven’t tried it Souffle yet, although I saw it at the counter. Someone left a comment about liking it very much, so I’m curious. The bottle itself is beautiful. July 28, 2014 at 5:59pm Reply

              • Solanace: I’m eagerly waiting for your review! July 28, 2014 at 9:24pm Reply

  • Polly: My current love affair with fragrance started when a friend came to visit from France wearing Dior Homme. I loved it so much that I begged his bottle off him and wore it for a year before realizing that I was limiting myself. I have quite a collection now but the masculines, Homme, Vetiver, Habit Rouge and Egoiste are still among my favorites. Sadly, I have not yet been able to find an Antaeus that was not prohibitively expensive (still recovering from the vintage Vetiver!). I will definitely be trundling out to the store for the new Guerlain. Thank you for the advice. July 28, 2014 at 10:30am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s fantastic that you’ve started straight with Dior Homme. It’s a beautiful fragrance! I also think that the masculine vs feminine division is more theoretical than anything else. I’ve worn Vetiver, Habit Rouge, Dior Homme and Egoiste myself, and not only do I enjoy them, the others compliment me too. Good perfumes are beyond gender. July 28, 2014 at 3:44pm Reply

      • Cornelia Blimber: Absolutely true. Did you also try Dior Homme Intense? I love it. July 28, 2014 at 4:09pm Reply

        • Polly: Oooh. Thank you, Cornelia! No I haven’t tried Intense. This is a dangerous, dangerous place to visit.

          No worries. I can give up perfume anytime. I’ll start tomorrow. Or maybe the day after. July 28, 2014 at 5:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: Yes, and I liked it very much. It has more woods and less iris to my nose, but overall, it’s a very interesting fragrance. July 28, 2014 at 5:59pm Reply

  • george: It sounds like a masculine version of Hypnotic Poison, albeit downsized. Your review seems to position it somewhere between HP, Hugo Boss, the Thierry Muglers for men, and Very irresistible for men. The last modern Guerlain masculine I tried (I can’t remember the name- was it L’eau) was a right dollopy very Very Irresistible-like concoction, but more technicolour than this sounds- beachwear to L’HI’s nightclubwear. However, they both sound very much aimed at the same type of man, and I can see this topping many a youtube reviewer’s most complimented fragrances top ten rundown. July 28, 2014 at 10:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, you’re right, it’s in that ballpark. It’s very well-done, though, and it’s a pleasure to wear. So, if sweet notes don’t put you off, I recommend trying it. I, for one, love bitter almond nuances, even though I don’t care for Amaretto. July 28, 2014 at 3:46pm Reply

  • Anka: Thanks for the review, I am curious to test L’Homme Idéal since I like the A*men ones.
    Ha, it looks like the add’s statement is: why have a real partner when I can hug the ideal substitute…and that would be a really funny twist in my opinion, to give a fragrance targeted on women that name. July 28, 2014 at 10:50am Reply

    • Victoria: They don’t smell identical, of course, but the character and richness are similar.

      Your comment made laugh. Oh, yes, why not? The ad certainly implies something like it. July 28, 2014 at 3:47pm Reply

  • maja: I guess anything is better than those aquatic sport colognes, really. And I am glad Wasser is having fun at pleasing the gourmand crowd – I’ll definitely check it out. 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 11:12am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, I take it over anything sport cologne like and aquatic! It’s much more fun than that. 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Solanace: Sounds like another one I’ll test for my husband but will end up coveting for my greedy self! And now I want to try Heritage, too… July 28, 2014 at 11:21am Reply

    • Victoria: I predict that I will get a bottle for my husband and will end up wearing it myself. July 28, 2014 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Austenfan: It sounds really lovely, especially the bitter almond part. Does it remind you of Douce Amère at all at that point? July 28, 2014 at 12:41pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t get anything like Douce Amere. I’ve just tried it. It’s much more green, absinthe-like than L’Homme Ideal.
      And the bitter almond part is my favorite. July 28, 2014 at 3:50pm Reply

      • Austenfan: Thanks for trying and comparing! And it has reminded me of how much I love Douce Amère. I will wear it tomorrow. July 28, 2014 at 4:32pm Reply

        • Victoria: I was thinking the same thing! I put it on briefly today to compare after I read your comment, but now I want to wear it properly. July 28, 2014 at 6:00pm Reply

  • Hannah: I have spent the past few days looking for almond fragrances. For some reason I am in a big almond/amaretto/heliotrope kick right now.
    I’m going to try this. July 28, 2014 at 3:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m eating chocolate covered marzipan right now, because I also had the almond craving. You might know this German brand, Niederegger. July 28, 2014 at 5:56pm Reply

      • Austenfan: I need to lose some weight so I should probably stop reading your blog. I love marzipan. Funnily enough it was my grandmother’s favourite as well. So we share more than just our christian name. July 29, 2014 at 9:29am Reply

        • Victoria: I even love the world itself–marzipan. It sounds so baroque and delicious. 🙂 July 29, 2014 at 1:37pm Reply

      • Hannah: I am crazy about Niederegger. Whenever Americans say they hate marzipan, I will not take them seriously until I know they have tried Niederegger.
        My favorite is plum & Armagnac but that might be a seasonal variety.
        I also went to the Niederegger Cafe in Lübeck but I didn’t get anything because I was with someone who wasn’t interested. July 29, 2014 at 10:33am Reply

        • Victoria: Mmmmm…. You’re making me hungry, Hannah! I love the combination of prune and Armagnac. July 29, 2014 at 1:42pm Reply

  • kaori: Thank you for the review. I have to wait for testing for a while. I have just bought a bottle of Terracotta Le Parfum which is a FUN!

    I hope you have a wonderful vacation 🙂 July 28, 2014 at 9:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: Terracotta Le Parfum is a lot of fun, and I really liked it for the summer. It replaces the discontinued Lys Soleia for me. July 29, 2014 at 1:02pm Reply

  • Kneale: What a great review, Victoria! I read it to my husband and he and I are both intrigued. Can’t wait to try a sample. I adore marzipan, too- I have a homemade batch in the fridge waiting to be turned into a cake 🙂 July 29, 2014 at 4:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Mmm, homemade marzipan is even better! 🙂 July 30, 2014 at 5:36pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: L’Homme Idéal arrived in Amsterdam. I am very disappointed. It smells cheap. If I had smelled this blind, I never had thought this was a Guerlain.
    Well, money saved. September 6, 2014 at 12:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh well, money saved! There will be something much better, I’m sure. 🙂 September 7, 2014 at 12:57pm Reply

  • George: I sprayed this on a card and stayed with it for about six minutes, whilst also smelling philosykos. I really didn’t get the sense of a four star perfume- more like a one or two. I thought it was woeful. I would say that I will travel further into it to see if I experience more of what your review reports but I just can’t summon the interest. September 14, 2014 at 8:35am Reply

  • Rick: I liked it.
    It´s a pitty people base their review while spraying it on a piece of paper. September 18, 2014 at 6:57pm Reply

  • Jordi: A couple weeks ago I tried it on skin and got a free sample they are promoting it in Sephora over here now. It struck me at first overly sweet like a Vanilla overdose which could be the tonka bean ( my nose is not that well trained yet 🙁 ) But i wore it for good 4-5 hours and the amaretto shows up. I like the liquor but I dont seem to fancy them so much when they are in perfumes like Bulgari man in black and its rum notes.

    Might be that I prefer drier things like equipage, bel ami vetiver or terre d’hermes. The sweetest thing I wear is vetiver tonka from hermessence and I love it. So I may just retry l’ideal again and go one step beyond my comfort zone and see if I discover great surprises October 3, 2014 at 7:44am Reply

    • Victoria: It is sweet, no doubt about that. If you like your perfume like your martini–dry!, then it won’t work. But it was fun to try something different for a change. October 3, 2014 at 11:17am Reply

  • Olivia: One whiff of this and I was instantly sold! Bought it on the spot for hubby who (thankfully) also enjoys wearing it. Reminds me somehow of Drakkar Noir which is also one of my favourite mens cologne. November 25, 2014 at 7:42pm Reply

  • john: Please excuse my ‘bumping’ this thread so late, but I wonder if you’ve had a chance to sample the Eau de Parfum formulation of this. I recently came across it while lamenting the very limited range of mainstream designer scents in a store where I was killing time and I was quite impressed, but did not have the inclination to test it on skin (it was a hot summer day and I was wearing something else already.) Please do let me know if you have any thoughts to relate! October 6, 2016 at 12:48am Reply

    • Victoria: There is more leather, vanilla and tobacco, so the effect is warmer. I prefer it to the EDT. October 6, 2016 at 9:56am Reply

  • john: Yes, I’d read about the effect of the vanilla ‘tincture’, notably in the drydown. I’m enthused to hear that you preferred it (I did too, considerably), considering your four stars for the original… I’ve seen one or two references on Fragrantica to that review as a balanced one given the reactions (good, bad or meh) it seems to have provoked along – I suspect- both generational and Guerlain-fan lines. October 6, 2016 at 11:11am Reply

  • Ilijas: Hi Victoria, my partner and I have been following your magnificent blog for years now, and we both consider your reviews to be the most thorough and eloquently descriptive of all that we have read.

    I was just wondering if you think the EDP merits a review of its own. I personally love the EDT, but I can see that the construction of the EDP is so much more intricate, subtle and the overall experience is markedly different to the EDT.

    Sorry, this is my first time posting, so hopefully I haven’t put my foot in it, as I have a silly habit of doing that.

    ~ Ilijas December 30, 2016 at 4:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ilijas, welcome to Bois de Jasmin! Thank you for your comment and an interesting observation. Yes, I agree with you, the EDT and the EDP are so different that they could be two separate perfumes (under another name). I like the brightness of the EDT, but the velvety drydown of the EDP is irresistible. I should review them separately. December 31, 2016 at 8:57am Reply

      • Ilijas: Thank you for the welcome! We love reading your reviews and blogposts! 🙂 December 31, 2016 at 5:30pm Reply

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