Guerlain Habit Rouge and Its Family : Perfume Review

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Jean-Paul Guerlain, the last perfumer for the house carrying the family name, once memorably said that one could be a Shalimar woman or a L’Heure Bleue woman, but not both. Of course, he made the statement in his usual provocative manner, but the idea was that the two perfumes had such different characters that you loved either one or the other. I had all the makings of a L’Heure Bleue woman, having fallen for its older sister Après l’Ondée, but then I met Habit Rouge. One encounter was all it took for me not only to be captivated by its velvety orange blossom doused in incense and bergamot, but also to understand the allure of Shalimar.

Habit-Rouge-Guerlain

That Habit Rouge is marketed to men should make no difference to women. In 1965, when Habit Rouge was created by Guerlain, the collection had many splendid feminine perfumes like Jicky, Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, and Mitsouko, but the offerings for men were considerably less outstanding. The exception was Vétiver, which Jean-Paul Guerlain created a few years earlier. His solution to draw gentlemen to the perfume counter was to take the basic outline of Shalimar and its famous accord of citrus and sweet oriental notes and give it a dandy appeal with leather and green orange blossom. The result was a less sweet, less curvy and less ripe version of Shalimar, but with all the elegance and panache of its great ancestor.

Tweaking Shalimar may not sound like an inspired idea, but the genius of Guerlain is in the details and the way he manipulated notes for a dramatic effect. By highlighting the contrast between fresh, cologne-like notes and the warm ambery drydown, Guerlain created a fragrance that has plenty of facets and strong character. Unlike the sweeter, heavier Shalimar, Habit Rouge is more bracing but it nevertheless has an opulent, seductive side. As you wear it, you notice how different facets reveal themselves with time. At first, it’s the harmony between the citrus and vanilla that gives Habit Rouge its opulent character, then the orange blossom and leather set the mood, and finally, the patchouli and tonka bean darken the outlines.

To put it simply, Guerlain’s Habit Rouge is one of the most distinctive oriental fragrances you can find today. Despite the inevitable changes, reformulations and alterations that it has seen since its birth in the 60s, it remains an excellent example of the genre, dark and light, velvety and radiant.

Habit Rouge is an excellent option for anyone with a penchant for dramatic scents. The master of drama, Tom Ford, took it as a starting point for his very appealing Tom Ford Noir. One could marvel at Ford’s audacity to rework this classic in his own mold, but Tom Ford Noir is injected with such a great touch of citrusy lavender and feels so contemporary that I can’t hold Ford guilty of mere copying.

A review of Habit Rouge unexpectedly turned into a month long endeavor, as I realized that not only was the fragrance reformulated numerous times, it also has enough variations–Extrait, L’Eau, Sport, Légère, etc–to make one’s head spin.  Below is my humble attempt to sort it out.

Habit Rouge Eau de Toilette

The Habit Rouge Eau de Toilette you’ll encounter on Guerlain’s counters today has been given a major facelift over the years. The balance is weighted towards the citrus and herbal notes, and the plush vanilla and toasted almonds in the drydown are toned down. The leather is slicked with musk, and on the whole, the perfume feels brighter and bigger. How you feel about the new version vis-a-vis the older one depends on what you prefer–the shimmer or the powder, the fresh or the animalic notes.

Habit Rouge Eau de Parfum

The Eau de Parfum, on the other hand, is not simply a stronger concentration; it has a completely different character and seems more austere and sober next to the baroque Eau de Toilette. Created in 2003, it caters to the new flavor of the moment by adding oud to the mix. There is still enough bergamot to perfume a sack of Earl Grey tea, but the citrus layer is more subdued. The dry raspiness of oud is punctuated by patchouli and modern day cedarwood and amber notes that are as crisp as shards of ice. The surprise is a romantic accent of iris, which pops up half way through the perfume’s development. I like it very much.

Habit Rouge L’Extrait

The Eau de Toilette outlasts the Eau de Parfum on my skin by several hours, but if you want not just tenacity but also curves, look no further than L’Extrait. Created in 2008, it doesn’t stray too far from the original Habit Rouge idea–take Shalimar, add leather, reduce sweetness, add more spice and incense. Beautiful and perfect for gents who want to feel like modern day maharajas, but I’ll take the chiseled good looks of the EDT and EDP over this plump cheeked charmer.

Habit Rouge Sport

In 2009 Habit Rouge fathered the inevitable Sport version. Putting the patriarch on the treadmill required the intervention of various trendy notes like bamboo and pink pepper. While it has an interesting combination of green notes with patchouli and leather, this sports cologne is not outstanding. If you find the original Habit Rouge too sweet and imposing, why not consider its ancestor Jicky?

Habit Rouge L’Eau

I’ll skip the incomprehensibly named flankers like Habit de Métal (2008), Beau Cavalier (2009), Sport Gentleman Driver (2010), Habit de Cuir (2011), and instead talk about Habit Rouge L’Eau, a variation created in 2011 by Thierry Wasser. This Habit Rouge is further from the original than any other version I’ve described, and the warm drydown is sheered out and softened. The murmur of leather is replaced by toasted woods, and the freshness of the top notes is longlasting. Appealing enough.

Since Habit Rouge is a perfume legend and a trendsetter, its story is far from finished. To be continued.

Habit Rouge Eau de Toilette includes notes of bergamot, lemon, lime, bitter orange, neroli, spices, cedarwood, patchouli, leather, amber, and vanilla. Habit Rouge Eau de Parfum: bergamot, lime, orange, neroli, cinnamon, cedarwood, leather, oud, patchouli, and vanilla. Habit Rouge L’Extrait: bergamot, lemon, lime, orange, leather, patchouli, and vanilla. Habit Rouge Sport: bergamot, citrus accord, lemon, lime, bitter orange, bamboo, jasmine, neroli, pink pepper, cedarwood, leather, patchouli, amber, and vanilla. Habit Rouge L’Eau: bitter orange, hazelnut, jasmine, patchouli, and vanilla. Available at Guerlain counters and boutiques.

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113 Comments

  • Marsha: Victoria: Is the EDT the one with the “citrusy lavender”? October 6, 2014 at 7:20am Reply

    • Victoria: I only tried the Eau de Parfum version of Tom Ford Noir, and I haven’t compared it to the EDT that was launched later. October 6, 2014 at 7:55am Reply

      • Eric: The edt of Tom Ford Noir is more herbal, but he got rid of leather and musk and it doesn’t have the same animalic drydown. A little bland. I like the edp best. October 6, 2014 at 10:35am Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, I will have to try them side by side. October 6, 2014 at 3:47pm Reply

  • George: Habit Rouge is a combination of the too feminine and the too leathery for me. New York pre-reformulation (but I note there is a new intense version out) was my preferred “man’s” oriental, even though it was heavily indebted to HR. October 6, 2014 at 8:17am Reply

    • Victoria: New York is very good, but I haven’t tried it recently, so I’m not sure how much it has been changed. How do the two versions compare? October 6, 2014 at 10:09am Reply

      • George: I’m afraid I didn’t get any further in to analysing it than “that’s not New York” when last I smelled it. I’d bought to 30ml bottles previously- one for me and one as a gift- and used up both so was really well acquainted with it. What was on the smelling strip when I went to re-buy just wasn’t the same fragrance. October 6, 2014 at 11:15am Reply

        • Victoria: That’s what I read on Basenotes. Someone mentioned that it smelled simply just too different, so different that it should not have been called New York. October 6, 2014 at 3:50pm Reply

  • Tijana: I love this one on my husband. It was only a recent discovery for him (I’ve known about it for a long time and always liked it), but he seems to be enjoying it a lot! October 6, 2014 at 9:41am Reply

    • Tijana: PS: And now you intrigued me even more so I have to try it on myself as well! 🙂 October 6, 2014 at 9:43am Reply

      • Victoria: Please do! I wear it myself, and I love the way it smells–leathery, incense-like and very warm. October 6, 2014 at 10:12am Reply

    • Victoria: I bought a bottle of the EDP for my husband, after he wore and liked Tom Ford Noir. It smells really wonderful on him, and since he usually wakes up and leaves very early, much earlier than I, I love smelling a bit of his perfume lingering in the air. It really has a great sillage. October 6, 2014 at 10:12am Reply

  • Eric: Thank you for a detailed review. I wear Vetiver and still need to try Habit Rouge. I might start with the edt. October 6, 2014 at 10:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Habit Rouge and Vetiver are very different, but both are perfume legends. Definitely try the former! October 6, 2014 at 3:47pm Reply

  • Michaela: I admit I searched for this review on your blog when I read the ‘100 Fragrances that Influenced Perfume History’ series. But the time was not yet. I’m happy you finally wrote it, and you wrote it very well. Thank you.
    As for the fragrance, I have to try it again. It seemed ‘the elegant man’ for me. October 6, 2014 at 10:56am Reply

    • Victoria: I can’t agree more! Whenever I smell Habit Rouge on someone, I think how elegant it seems. October 6, 2014 at 3:48pm Reply

  • Austenfan: I feel very guilty for swapping away my bottle of Habit Rouge edt years ago. I might like it now. Anyway I got some great fragrances in return.
    Your review has made me want to retry this, as I love Shalimar and generally get on well with Guerlains. October 6, 2014 at 11:06am Reply

    • Victoria: Well, one can’t keep it all! I recall swapping away a bottle of L’Heure Bleue at one point, the version that today would be quite precious. I simply didn’t like it that much back then. October 6, 2014 at 3:49pm Reply

      • zari: Victoria, I’m trying LHB again tonight, and I realize I like it much better in the cool weather than on a warm day. It is stifling on a warm/hot day. It smells like a confectionary (still Indian) shop, and I do like it more. Maybe I’ll grow it like it as much as I do Samsara and Shalimar. October 7, 2014 at 9:09pm Reply

        • Victoria: I can’t imagine most of Guerlains on a hot day, except for Vetiver or Apres L’Ondee, and I start craving them the most most once the weather cools down. So, yes, maybe LHB will grow on you after all. October 8, 2014 at 7:51am Reply

  • Erin T: Nice to see all the (current) concentration comparisons. I’m most fascinated by the quotation about only being allowed to be a Shalimar or L’Heure Bleue woman, though! Seems sort of bossy or stingy to only allow you to be one. But he was probably right. *sigh* At first, I was torn, because I own and love Shalimar Eau Legere, but must confess that I’m probably a L’Heure Bleue girl, for similar reasons to you. I own Habit Rouge EdT from about 6-7 years ago and I love to smell it, and smell it on others, but I almost never wear it, for some reason. (Although I am wearing the stronger, pre-formulation PdN New York today. I’ve heard New Yrok got quite wimpy after the IFRA regulations, which is why Nicolai is releasing an intense version.) October 6, 2014 at 11:21am Reply

    • Austenfan: I wonder what JPG would make of me because I like both equally well. October 6, 2014 at 11:37am Reply

      • Erin T: I figured there were some of you out there who would be much more torn/balanced than me! Despite leaning more LHB, I love and admire both – and if I had to be one type of Guerlain woman, I’d be an Apres L’Ondee one. October 6, 2014 at 1:32pm Reply

        • Austenfan: I can’t decide which classic Guerlain I like best, the one I still haven’t tried is Vol de Nuit. October 6, 2014 at 4:18pm Reply

          • Patricia: Neither have I, Austenfan, and would love to. Not to mention that the bottle is fantastic looking! October 6, 2014 at 5:38pm Reply

            • Austenfan: Yes, and it always reminds me of the fact that I still need to read that novel! October 7, 2014 at 9:21am Reply

      • Victoria: Me too, and I imagine there are many perfume lovers on the blogs who love both of them. October 6, 2014 at 3:53pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t think that he meant that one is allowed only one, only that people tend to like one or the other, rarely both. In a sense, it makes sense, because while both are orientals, they have such different characters. It took me much longer to appreciate all of that amber, musk and leather of Shalimar, whereas the marshmallow soft orange blossom and iris of L’Heure Bleue were instant loves. But today, I wear all of them, including Mitsouko, Jicky, Chamade, Vol de Nuit, Nahema… October 6, 2014 at 3:52pm Reply

  • Steven: What a great review of my all-time favourite! To me it’s the most elegant, most sophisticated, most handsome perfume. Sorry for the hyperbole. I just love it so much. 🙂 October 6, 2014 at 11:24am Reply

    • Victoria: 🙂 It’s a great perfume, so I completely understand you. And it does smell very elegant. October 6, 2014 at 3:52pm Reply

  • iodine: There’s definitely something going on between me and HR, it’s a kind of slow and cautious courtship we’re engaging since a couple of years… I’m more familiar with the EdT and I love its opening, so bracing and uplifting, I’d say I smell pine, or turpentine- but it must be the facets they share with citrus! My partner says it smells like… high quality, fully buttered popcorn!, but that’s another story 🙂
    Thanks for the infos on the various versions and reformulations, one feels a bit lost. October 6, 2014 at 11:52am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m intrigued by his comment, and next time I wear Habit Rouge, I will have to look for popcorn. 🙂 October 6, 2014 at 3:55pm Reply

  • Merlin: And if Jean-Paul was here I would assure him, in my most imperious tone, that a woman of good taste would wear neither.

    (…goes off to spray on some Britney Spears.) October 6, 2014 at 12:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: Ha! I’m wearing Kate Walsh’s Boyfriend today and loving it.

      But I don’t think that it’s a matter of good or bad taste, simply personal preferences. October 6, 2014 at 12:57pm Reply

      • Merlin: I don’t really have an opinion on the objectivity/subjectivity of it all – but I can only hear that famous statement being pronounced in a velvety voice dripping in condescension!

        I don’t yet own a proper celebrity scent, though I do quite like Rogue… And, unfortunately, South Africa never got Boyfriend 😀 October 6, 2014 at 4:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: I guess, I didn’t read his comment that way. He seems to be merely commenting that two perfumes have very different characters, which is true. His way of expressing himself is old-fashioned, but this comment dates to the 50s or 60s. October 6, 2014 at 5:11pm Reply

          • Merlin: For some reason I’v got that line from the film Lady Butterfly in my head. The Chinese man who plays the female role of Madame Butterfly in the opera, and who deceives the English diplomat into thinking he is a woman for 2 decades says, ‘only a man knows how a woman is supposed to act’. I’v always admired the cutting elegance of that speech 😮

            Of course that has nothing whatsoever to do with Guerlain! Perhaps my ear picked up some rhythmical parallel, lol! October 6, 2014 at 8:08pm Reply

            • Victoria: I remember that scene from the film best of all! Now, that drips with condescension to me. October 7, 2014 at 7:40am Reply

          • Aurora: Yes, Jean-Paul Guerlain did get some rap for using old-fashioned words, I don’t think he was treated very fairly by the press.

            I miss him, he did some outstanding work and I recall fondly his advising a lady who complained Apres L’Ondee was not available anymore (it was the early eighties maybe 1981 or 2) that she should try Cabochard and I thought it was lovely of him not to recommend another Guerlain but to lead her to a competitor.

            Thank you for Habit Rouge my brother used to wear that one and it was lovely I will try it for myself inspired by you. October 7, 2014 at 6:01am Reply

            • Victoria: I was thinking of how fickle press is when I read recently about John Galliano returning to fashion, having been selected to design for Martin Margiela. Now, the things he said were truly abominable, and yet somehow it all seems forgotten.

              Jean-Paul Guerlain represents the generation that is unfortunately steeped in a very particular way of seeing the world. I find some of his statements unpardonable, but this one quoted here is merely amusing. If someone is allowed make categorical statements about Shalimar or L’Heure Bleue, then it would have to be the perfumer who knows them better than anyone else alive. October 7, 2014 at 7:53am Reply

              • Ann: And how unmemorable it would have been for him to say, “one could be both a Shalimar woman and a L’Heure Bleue woman…” n’est-ce pas? October 7, 2014 at 11:58am Reply

                • Victoria: I agree, that would not go down in the perfume history lore. 🙂 October 7, 2014 at 12:49pm Reply

              • Aurora: I’m with you about on John Galliano, his comments, even under the influence, were very disturbing. Compared to him JPG only used once an old if offensive French expression, so I would give him the benefit of the doubt on this occasion October 8, 2014 at 5:57am Reply

                • Victoria: Disturbing is right! I was extremely disappointed to read the news about his return to fashion. October 8, 2014 at 7:55am Reply

  • Kat: Oh! thank you so much, Victoria, for this review. I love Habit Rouge, especially the EDP. I sensed that the citrus was lighter, but couldn’t define what I adored about it until you mentioned the iris, cedarwood and oud–it must be one of those…or how they meld so wonderfully together! October 6, 2014 at 12:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: I bought the EDP for my husband by mistake, planning to select the EDT instead, but in the end, it was a great discovery, and I love the mix of oud and iris. Now, how is that for original! October 6, 2014 at 3:56pm Reply

      • Kat: These things happen… 😀 I purchased Guerlain’s Vetiver for my husband, as I was entranced with my sample. But, he mostly sticks to his old standby, so I enjoy the vetiver on myself and around the house (bedding, sofas…nothing is safe from a spritz, here and there!) October 7, 2014 at 1:43pm Reply

        • Victoria: More for you then! And your house. 🙂 October 8, 2014 at 7:40am Reply

  • Annette Reynolds: Good morning, Victoria! And how serendipitous is your review today. I just happened to have samples of both Habit Rouge EdT and Vetiver sitting here, waiting to be tested by my husband. I thought I’d give them a try first!
    I wore Shalimar when young and loved it, but find it doesn’t work for me anymore. (I do wear Les Nereides Opoponax now, which I love. Get lots of compliments.) My mother was the l’Heure Bleu woman to the max. It’s all she wore all her life. It was perfect on her; not on me. Now I just sniff the bottle to remind me of her.
    I like the Habit Rouge on me in the final drydown, but don’t like the getting there. I really love the Vetiver, but after 20 minutes it has disappeared. Sigh…
    So, will give them to Michael to see what they do on his skin. I want him to be a Guerlain man!
    Thanks for the wonderful, edifying review, Victoria.
    Signed: Still Searching October 6, 2014 at 12:11pm Reply

    • Victoria: Heritage is also excellent as well Coriolan. But I prefer Vetiver and Habit Rouge among Guerlain’s masculines. There is something so baroque, but not too over the top, about them.

      Opoponax is a wonderful perfume, and I also got lots of compliments on it when I wore it. Have you tried Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur? That’s another twist on Shalimar and a very good one. October 6, 2014 at 3:59pm Reply

      • Annette Reynolds: No, I haven’t tried the Frederic Malle. Will have to go to Luckyscent and look it over. Thanks, Victoria! October 6, 2014 at 4:02pm Reply

        • Victoria: Please try it then! It’s one of my favorite Shalimar siblings. October 6, 2014 at 4:11pm Reply

  • OperaFan: IMHO – There can never be too many takes on a classic Guerlain, and I respect your opinion.
    I’ve toyed with the idea of trying Habit Rouge seriously before and if the current edt is still good (though granted different from the original), then I feel more confident about giving it a whirl. Besides, the husband would never go for that sweet, oriental base so it would be All Mine! October 6, 2014 at 12:46pm Reply

    • Victoria: Please try it! It’s such an excellent perfume, and it’s really a shame that Guerlain divides its collection into feminine and masculine. Most of their perfumes can be worn by both men and women. I know a couple of guys who wear Shalimar and Mitsouko, and these fragrances suit them so well. In same vein, Habit Rouge is perfect for anyone who likes oriental notes and sweet leather. October 6, 2014 at 4:05pm Reply

      • Notturno7: I love all these old Guerlains!! I have perfumes of Shalimar, LHB (and love them both, sorry JP Guerlain😜, for LHB I like it best after first 20-30min and Shalimar I don’t wear in hot weather )also perfumes of Mitsuko, Nahema, Samsara,Vol de Nuit and Chamade,all 1oz except Samsara which came in half ounce. I love them all! And wear them depending what I feel like that day.
        I ended up returning Jicky perfume after few days because sillage was so low that I couldn’t smell it on me even after I’d dab in on 5-6 times.
        What’s the point of spending $$ when you can’t enjoy smell it. I loved it in the bottle but alas! I was so glad they gave me the refund.
        Habit Rouge was instant love and I bought a big 1.7 oz of extrait they had as a special. My first impression was that it suited me well because it felt masculine and feminine/romantic at the same time, so well balanced.I love to dress up and wear pretty and romantic clothes but feel very solid, strong and tough inside and sometimes have been told by girlfriends that they want to be like me. And that’s how HR makes me feel😊!! Priceless! Yay! April 9, 2016 at 5:16am Reply

        • Victoria: You made a right decision. If a perfume doesn’t have much sillage on you or if you can’t smell it, then you’re less likely to reach for it later. Enjoy Habit Rouge! April 9, 2016 at 3:43pm Reply

    • OperaFan: Oops… forgot to cast my vote for preferences, which is rather funny because my 2 are Apres L’Ondee and Jicky – which happen to be direct ancestors of the 2 in question.
      I do find Jicky edt to be highly refreshing in the summertime, in fact, it was a spritz on a hot summer afternoon that made me fall in love with her. October 8, 2014 at 9:45am Reply

      • Victoria: We clearly would have had a fun chat with JPG about our multifaceted perfume preferences. 🙂 October 8, 2014 at 12:57pm Reply

  • Amer: EdT outlasts the EdP??? Weird October 6, 2014 at 1:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: The EDT and the EDP are nothing more than marketing appellations, and they are really different perfumes. The supposedly higher concentration of oil in the EDP doesn’t always translate into longer lasting power. October 6, 2014 at 4:01pm Reply

      • Amer: I thought that in the past those terms were quite literal. Now they only translate in style. When did this switch happen? October 7, 2014 at 7:38am Reply

  • solanace: I am definitely a Shalimar woman, and need to try Habit Rouge the next time I get into a Sephora. October 6, 2014 at 2:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I would love to hear what you think of it! If you wear Shalimar, it might be a good fit, especially if you don’t mind something more bracing and less sweet. October 6, 2014 at 4:05pm Reply

  • behemot: Great review, I am waiting for Part II October 6, 2014 at 2:34pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m sure Guerlain will continue making these flankers, so Part II is in the not too distant future. 🙂 October 6, 2014 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Nancy A.: Hi V,

    I, too am a L’Heure Bleu devotee, have worn Shalimar but never returned to it as I have with LB but appreciate it on others and yes, I’ve worn Habit Rouge. Thx for the HR breakdown. For me, there’s no replacing Jean Paul Guerlain – a master nose. October 6, 2014 at 3:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: He really was! From what I read, he was not exactly the most hardworking perfumer from the family, but whenever he started something, he often achieved amazing results. October 6, 2014 at 4:08pm Reply

  • Cornelia Blimber: I love Shalimar better than HR. Must revisit HR, maybe my taste has changed (it does from time to time). I love almost every Guerlain, but my true loves are Mitsouko, Jicky and Heritage.
    Your article is a masterpiece of research and detailling! October 6, 2014 at 3:11pm Reply

    • Cornelia Blimber: And yes, L’Heure Bleue works better for me than Shalimar. I love the vintage, and the new LHB as well. October 6, 2014 at 3:13pm Reply

      • Victoria: I like the new L’Heure Bleue as well. It seems sweeter and fluffier in the drydown, but it’s still very good. October 6, 2014 at 4:10pm Reply

    • Victoria: Gosh, thank you! I realized that I had all of these notes on hand and a few different samples. Plus, it entailed wearing my beloved Habit Rouge often, so it was a pleasant research. October 6, 2014 at 4:09pm Reply

  • maja: I love HR and wear it sometimes during winter instead of Shalimar. 🙂 It is so cozy and elegant at the same time. It is just perfect on my husband although he protested the first time during the opening. It did seem a bit… too-old-fashioned. 🙂 October 6, 2014 at 4:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, you put it well–cozy and elegant, not too high-maintenance. It’s not the kind of perfume that makes you feel like you need to dress up for it, and it’s easy for me to wear. I don’t mind a bit of old-fashioned. 🙂 October 6, 2014 at 4:12pm Reply

  • Katy: I have such trouble with Shalimar. I have a vintage EDT that is far nicer than the modern iteration but still not love. I love Shalimar Parfum Initial, so different from the original it really is not Shalimar. I have Habit Rouge EDT and it was my first Guerlain. It is wonderful and I think it is great for men and women. It can also be had quite inexpensively online. I wear it frequently in the winter. October 6, 2014 at 4:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: Parfum Initial was so much fun, and as a fruity-gourmand riff on Shalimar it really worked. Too bad they discontinued it.

      Have you tried Shalimar Light or Shalimar Legere? I also liked Ode a la Vanille version. October 6, 2014 at 5:13pm Reply

      • Katy: One of my eternal perfume regrets was returning a bottle of Shalimar Light to Marshall’s because I had never smelled it and was trying to get out of the habit of buying big bottles untested! October 7, 2014 at 4:38pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’d be kicking myself for that, but hey, what can you do? October 8, 2014 at 7:42am Reply

  • Andy: Such a wonderful, comprehensive look at Habit Rouge. I tried the EdT once, and liked it, but I really can’t remember it all that well. I had no clue the EdP and EdT were so drastically different, I’ll have to seek the two out and try again! I’m sure one or the other would suit me pretty well, being a lover of Shalimar. October 6, 2014 at 4:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: It surprised me too. I didn’t expect them to be so different, but the EDP is really well done, and it is a bit more updated. October 6, 2014 at 5:14pm Reply

  • Joy: I very much enjoyed this review of Habit Rouge. I wanted to walk right down to the perfume boutique to try it! However, I don’t have a perfume boutique where I live. I am traveling to Seattle in a couple of weeks where I will be able to sample this. All of the comments are causing me to add to my list.

    I love L’Heure Bleue and Mitsouko. Wearing L’Heure Bleue brings to mind a beautiful wool, tweed blazer with a crisp white shirt, elegant, classy, but not fancy.

    Shalimar has not been a favorite even though I have tried it many times.

    Thank you for the review. October 6, 2014 at 5:52pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also still find L’Heure Bleue and its kin like Oscar de la Renta and the rest so much easier to wear than anything from Shalimar family. But sometimes Shalimar is exactly what I crave. So, on those days I wear Habit Rouge. I’m sure you can find it easily in Seattle. It should be at any Guerlain counter. October 7, 2014 at 7:42am Reply

  • Courant: Hi Victoria, this fabulous review serves as a reminder to try the classic perfumes for the cornerstones of our perfume education, the rest can wait, some will have been damp squibs anyway. I had, in fact, just ordered Habit Rouge; what an opportune time with your lovely review to further pique my interest. Tell me, was Eau Legere by M Laurent better than the current Eau de Shalimar? I fall into the L’Heure Bleu camp but I came to it late. I wore Le Parfum by Lalique yesterday and they all swirl together in my mind, beautiful orientals all the way October 6, 2014 at 9:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: The beautiful aspect of these great perfumes is that even if one doesn’t find them easy to wear (after all, they were meant to provoke strong feelings), you can smell them just to discover something new. Habit Rouge is so changeable and it really has many twists.

      I like Eau Legere much more than Eau de Shalimar, because it has this frothy, jasmine-lemon sorbet feel, whereas Eau de Shalimar is simply citrusy. But it is also very good, especially if the original Shalimar is too heavy and ambery for you. October 7, 2014 at 7:46am Reply

  • annemarie: I appreciate and own Shalimar AND L’Heure Bleue but don’t love either, so that leaves me out in the cold I guess. 🙁

    I’ll try HR again, but when I sprized it last – must have been the EDT – it felt too dandified for for me. Something that Lord Peter Wimsey would wear. Silly I know. Now that I’ve read your review I’ll be better informed for next time. October 7, 2014 at 6:27am Reply

    • Victoria: Well, you could be a Mitsouko woman or Nahema woman, or a woman who loves many different things (and not necessarily Guerlain)! 🙂 October 7, 2014 at 7:55am Reply

    • Courant: I don’t luuuve either Shalimar or L’Heure Bleu either but I think I’m right in saying we are No 19’ers Annemarie October 7, 2014 at 9:46pm Reply

  • Ann: This was such a fun review Victoria. I don’t think my nose is sophisticated enough to parse out the differences between scents and their concentrations beyond “sweeter” or “stronger,” so I really love it when you help us peek behind the curtain. Harrumph… don’t have either Habit Rouge or Vetiver… and now am having a serious Guerlain yen… I think it will be a Shalimar day! October 7, 2014 at 12:05pm Reply

    • Victoria: I’m not yet scented today, so once I return home, I will also pick a Guerlain. I’m still deciding which one… October 7, 2014 at 12:50pm Reply

      • Courant: When you wear Apres L’Ondee is it the vintage or the modern? I may cry when I hear the answer. I have been quite enchanted by Musc Nomade body cream (it has been heavily discounted at SNet)
        of late; this led me to other musks for comparisons. I think there is comfort in both musks and amber and the challenges come from perfumes such as Apres L’Ondee October 7, 2014 at 9:55pm Reply

        • Victoria: I love any version, vintage, modern, in between. The more recent Apres L’Ondee seems less spicy, but it is still excellent. It’s like a cozy blanket for me. October 8, 2014 at 7:52am Reply

  • bregje: So funny! I’ve just been researching Guerlain fragrances this past week.
    I like l’heure bleu but i think it is still a bit much for me or too old-lady like(a beautiful Catherine deneuve lady).
    I love apres l’ondee.
    I love Vetiver:both my boyfriend and my dad wear it.
    But i don’t like the modern ones like petite robe,idylle,l’instant(i don’t hate them but 13 in a dozen on my skin).
    Really hated Insolence(only smelled the first one that came out).

    I’ve been very curious about shalimar legere because it was created by Mathilde Laurent and my favourite perfume of the last couple of years is Baiser,but it’s very hard to come by here in Holland.

    Samsara was and is the scent of my neighbour when i was a kid:she’s a very exotic looking lady with caramel skin and green cat-eyes;) October 7, 2014 at 7:13pm Reply

    • Courant: Guerlain swear they didn’t alter ML’s Eau Legere when it changed course into Eau de Shalimar but if Luca Turin and Victoria like it better then I’m with them (this time LOL) I, too, have a fascination for Eau Legere October 7, 2014 at 9:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: The EDP of Insolence is very good, and if you weather “the strawberry in the hair salon” opening, you’ll be rewarded with the lush L’Heure Bleue-like drydown. Idylle and L’Instant I can live without, though. October 8, 2014 at 7:49am Reply

      • bregje: Strawberry in a hairsalon:).Exactly!!!
        I’ll have to try the edp sometime then.

        And thanks, courant,now i’m even more curious October 8, 2014 at 1:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: I really don’t like that part, but the rest of the story is worth it. October 8, 2014 at 2:25pm Reply

      • Michaela: Thank you for this tip. Insolence EDP goes on ‘to sample’ list, for its interesting drydown. I tend to categorize all ‘modern’ Guerlains in the same family: ‘commercial’. Such a mistake. October 9, 2014 at 5:43am Reply

        • Victoria: Many of them are commercial but still very nicely done. And not as expensive as their more exclusive line. October 9, 2014 at 9:36am Reply

  • Rowanhill: “Putting the patriarch on a treadmill”! You made my day with that one Victoria. I wish I had come up with it myself. Brilliant. 😀 October 8, 2014 at 8:13am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you! 🙂 I had fun thinking of an analogy. October 8, 2014 at 8:16am Reply

  • Jordi: I had smelled HR EdP on paper and thought it was nice and classic, something I could wear but not on my line. However I had asked for a sample that sat on a shelf almost forgotten because I could never see an occasion to wear it, until this morning. I had a family lunch and thought family and tradition could work.

    As soon as I put it on it smelled wonderfully, not at all old but full of style powdery-leathery and mildly citrusy. As soon as I met my family I got complimented for it, even my dad mentioned I was more elegant than usual.

    So far longevity is good as well as sillage, a serious candidate for whenever I need a step forward and give a great impression. A lovely unexpected surprise. October 12, 2014 at 10:25am Reply

    • Victoria: Perfect occasion! I like reading how you select your perfumes, very thoughtful. 🙂

      And of course, I’m glad that you’ve rediscovered Habit Rouge. It has so many layers, and whenever I wear it, I feel that I’m finding something else to enjoy about it. There are a few perfumes like that in my collection. October 13, 2014 at 9:18am Reply

      • Jordi: I wore it again today, I think this could very possibly be my next full bottle to my own surprise.

        It has such a strong personality and an amazing evolution it is like an opera unfolding in front of you as it goes through its stages.

        And it is also true that the more you smell it the more different nuances you find to it. Today I even smelled a floral that reminded me to carnation and I don’t know where I got that impression from it as it is not listed on its notes.

        I totally encourage anyone who finds it too old fashioned or feel they are too young to wear it, to try it for a full day and let it grow and live each phase.

        Also worth noting that most perfumes have a short life on my skin but HR goes thru a whole day with no problems on me.

        Did I say I fell in love? Lol October 13, 2014 at 4:50pm Reply

        • Victoria: Sounds like you did! It’s a good point that simply trying it without preconceptions is the best way to approach Habit Rouge. It doesn’t smell old-fashioned to me in the slightest. October 14, 2014 at 9:13am Reply

  • Farnas: Viktoria,i always read your comments about a perfume,i am so passionate about it and i read everything you write.I adore perfumes from the age of 7,but i live in Serbia so i am not in the position to try some of the greats.What do you think ,what is the most intoxicating men perfume you tried that you felt like it is your opbsession and your home at the same time?Thakn you so muck in advance. November 30, 2014 at 6:02am Reply

    • Victoria: Hmm, this is hard question, and I really don’t think that there is such a thing. Maybe, it’s easier to suggest something for you personally, especially if you tell us about your favorite perfumes. November 30, 2014 at 10:14am Reply

  • Farnas: Well,my favourite perfumes are Hermes Rocabar and Dior Eau Sauvage,i am very into classic perfumes even though i am in my twenties .I like also Guerlain Vetiver and Caron pour un homme de Caron.I would like you to recommend me some classical perfumes taht you like and think it would fit me .I ‘ve noticed that you didn’t rewiev Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier Parfum D’Habit ,i am eager to know what would you say about that one ,if you didn’t already said it . November 30, 2014 at 1:13pm Reply

    • Victoria: I don’t know Parfum d’Habit, so maybe someone else can comment on it. But based on your other favorites, I think that you might like Lalique Encre Noire for Men. It’s a vetiver perfume, rich, a little earthy but also very elegant. December 1, 2014 at 8:07am Reply

  • mARIOS: I love edt and Tom ford noir edp as well….and im thinking of Habit Rouge edp as well….having those two, is a good addition the HR edp? or actually is not needed? December 1, 2014 at 2:27am Reply

    • Victoria: No, not really needed, since they are too much in the same vein. December 1, 2014 at 8:14am Reply

  • Farnas: I have tried today Encre Noire ,it is the most beautiful perfume i have ever tried!Thank you so much!I also tried Guerlain L homme ideal,it is not bu Guerlain standards,but it is a nice fragrance .Also,i tried Cacharel Noa and bought it for my girlfriend,and Lancome Poeme for my mother ,this day is full of fragrance happiness ,thank you! December 1, 2014 at 10:47am Reply

    • Victoria: So happy to hear this, Farnas! Enjoy Encre Noire! And your perfume gifts sound great too. 🙂 December 1, 2014 at 11:53am Reply

  • Andy: I actually find HR more similar to L’heure Bleue. It must be the orange blossom, spice, carnation and vanilla. Both HR and LB is said by guerlain to exhibit a ‘marshmallow’ accord. Though not listed in its pyramid, HR is loaded with lavender and iris. This is most apparent in the edc(now discontinued) along with spicy carnation, anise and pepper. I like the original edc the best for its dandy character. But the current edt is still just fine. January 12, 2015 at 6:07am Reply

  • James McNie: Having used Habit Rouge Aftershave Lotion since it was launched in 1965, I was dismayedin the past year or so having been unable to find anywhere selling the original. Guerlain’s own site does not even mention it. INstead there is a choice of fancy bottles and sprays none of which remotely resemble the original. On my most recent trip we scoured the Guerlain outlets at major airports on our travels, to no avail. On the point of giving up, I found exactly what I was looking for at Ocean of Smells http://www.ocean-of-smells.de, who sold me two bottles, and confirmed that it was not old stock, but still available on order from them. Other fans of the original may appreciate having this information. March 14, 2015 at 7:40pm Reply

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