Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Couture : Perfume Review


What kind of perfume do you select on days when you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders? A triple incense extravaganza that makes you smell like a Gothic church? A quirky niche perfume that requires a degree in philosophy? A complex classic? I love all of those, but on hectic days, sweet and frilly is what I turn to. Lately, La Petite Robe Noire Couture, a sophisticated variation on Guerlain’s original little black dress, is my sweet perfume of choice.


Here, I have to make a little aside. The original La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum released in 2009 was tweaked in 2012, and it’s this reorchestrated version that became a runaway success for Guerlain. It’s a raspberry macaron with a twist of licorice. The sparkling Eau de Toilette was released in 2013, and this year, we have the Couture version. All but the first La Petite Robe Noire were created by perfumer Thierry Wasser.

“Sugary,” said my husband a few minutes after I donned La Petite Robe Noire Couture. He’s right, because Couture has so many stewed raspberries that it smells like warm jam.  Peppery citrus tones things down enough to make Couture more palatable, but for the next hour or so, it remains intensely sweet.

What comes next is the best part. After fooling you into thinking that Couture is just another bubbly gourmand à la Miss Dior Chérie, the perfume reveals its darker layers. There is plenty of black licorice, moss, and patchouli. A cloud of powdered sugar melts away to reveal that Couture is related to Lolita Lempicka. Instead of cherries we have raspberries. Instead of leathery tobacco, there is more almond redolent tonka bean.  And the entire ensemble is embellished with a big crimson rose. 

The perfume lingers for hours, slowly tracing its progression from the raspberry top to the mossy and earthy drydown. Ideally, I would have taken down the sweetness a notch, but I can live with the candied raspberry interlude. At the same time, it doesn’t turn cloying and still has many layers. It’s still La Petite Robe Noire but more grown up. I simply enjoy wearing it.

In other Guerlain news, La Petite Robe Noire 2 will return as Mademoiselle Guerlain in its Les Parisiennes collection.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Couture Eau de Parfum includes notes of bergamot, raspberry, rose, almond, patchouli, vetiver, moss, amber, and tonka bean. Available at Guerlain boutiques and counters.



  • Sandra: Do you prefer this over the 2 other versions?
    I bought the EDT and had to return it because it stayed really linear on me-and I didn’t care for it that much.

    Have a great weekend. My fiance and I are headed to see the Orchid show at the Botanical Gardens in NYC. March 7, 2014 at 8:35am Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, by far! The EDT smells like sweet plastic on my skin, despite the lovely top, and the EDP is too sweet. I like the added mossy-woody layer to the Couture version, which makes it more interesting. It changes quite a bit on skin, which is another fun part. March 7, 2014 at 8:53am Reply

      • Sandra: Great! I will give it a try! Have a wonderful weekend March 7, 2014 at 10:11am Reply

        • Victoria: Looking forward to your thoughts on it! March 7, 2014 at 12:04pm Reply

    • Marie: I also didn’t like the edt. it doesn’t smell like LPRN. March 7, 2014 at 10:10am Reply

      • Victoria: I think that it’s meant to be a light, fresher version for the Asian market. The top notes of the EDT are excellent, and I love that part, but I was disappointed by whatever comes next. March 7, 2014 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Lauren: I’m ever on the hunt for my perfect rose perfume. Would you say this has enough rose in it to classify as a rose perfume, or is it just a flourish? March 7, 2014 at 9:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Rose is just an accent, so I don’t think that it will work as a rose perfume. Not sure what other rose perfumes you’ve already tried, but there are so many other better options. March 7, 2014 at 10:54am Reply

  • Anne Sheffield: I love guerlain, but I can get my nose around La Petite Robe Noire and it’s flankers. It is so mainstream to me, and almost smell cheap. Saying this, I do struggle with raspberry sweet notes in general. But I feel this is the black sheep of the house. March 7, 2014 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Anne, you’re, of course, right. It’s definitely commercial, mainstream, but I don’t mind that, if a perfume is well-made and is priced properly. Just something fun.

      Raspberry is even bigger here, so you might want to steer clear of Couture. March 7, 2014 at 11:48am Reply

  • Nicola: Interesting review, thank you Victoria. I have about 10ml of the non-TW original and it is too sweet for me to begin with though I do enjoy the middle and base layers on the days I can grit (and protect!) my teeth through the top. Sounds like this is similar but possibly even better! March 7, 2014 at 9:52am Reply

    • Victoria: Everyone says that the original original LPRN is the best version, but I don’t have a sample on hand to compare. I wonder how if you’ve tried Thierry Wasser’s version and compared them? Just my geeky curiosity. 🙂

      But this Couture version is slightly more complex, and if someone loves Lolita Lempicka, it’s a good perfume to try. March 7, 2014 at 11:59am Reply

      • Elisa: I only had a chance to try the “original original” once in store before it got reformed. I remember it as being very close to Lolita Lempicka. March 7, 2014 at 2:23pm Reply

        • Victoria: Thank you, Elisa. So, the Lolita connection must have been there all along. March 7, 2014 at 5:51pm Reply

          • Nicola: I’m glad Elisa was able to help! I believe the licorice and black tea notes are more prominent in the original original which is why I liked it. Thanks to you both for the LL connection though as I do like that very much. March 8, 2014 at 12:40pm Reply

            • Victoria: Thank you, Nicola. The black tea note or something smoky and dark would be interesting next to that gourmand sweetness. March 8, 2014 at 6:48pm Reply

              • Scentseeker: I would love to purchase the new La Petite Robe Noire, but am unable to locate it. I’ve tried Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and even Sephora without any luck or information. Please let me know where I can find it. Also, would you say that the rose is more prominent than the other versions? Thank you! March 26, 2014 at 5:52pm Reply

                • Victoria: I’d call the Guerlain boutique at Bergdorf Goodman and ask. Even if the Guerlain counters in your city don’t have it, the main boutique might offer some alternatives or suggest when the stores will receive the perfume.

                  Rose is a touch more prominent if I compare side by side, but it’s far from the main note. It’s a pretty touch, though. March 27, 2014 at 6:18am Reply

  • Marie: Nice review, I enjoyed it. I like the edp but I don’t want more patchouli. Worried Couture is too much patchouli for me. March 7, 2014 at 10:09am Reply

    • Victoria: I would definitely recommend trying it on your skin, because while patchouli doesn’t bother me, there are many more earthy, mossy notes that give Couture a different feeling. March 7, 2014 at 12:02pm Reply

  • Ashley Anstaett: Thanks for your review, Victoria! I haven’t had a chance to smell La Petite Robe Noire or any of its other incarnations, but this one really does sound fun, with a little bit of edge. I used to think I didn’t like sweet/gourmand perfumes but now I love them. I once believed that Chasse Aux Papillon was as sweet as I could go and I think was a bit turned off by all of the food-y smelling perfumes out there. But now I love Fracas, Prada Candy, and kind of consider myself a big fan of sweetness in all its forms. Things can definitely still be too sweet, but this sounds like it might hit the spot!

    I’m always curious about flankers (is this considered a flanker?) because they kind of overwhelm me, as it seems like there are just so many. Are there any you consider to be just outstanding? March 7, 2014 at 10:16am Reply

    • Victoria: Those perfumes are my favorite sweet fragrances too. I don’t mind some sweetness, especially on days when it’s too grey and too rainy. I can’t imagine wearing this perfume in the summer, because it’s just too sugary in the beginning.

      My favorite flankers would Dior Hypnotic Poison and Chanel No 5 Premiere. Prada Intense is another very good flanker, which I like more than the original perfume. Elisa wrote this great post on flankers not long, and there are some terrific ideas there, in the post itself and in the comments: March 7, 2014 at 12:22pm Reply

  • Aisha: I have a sample of the 2012 version. Although it’s nice, I wasn’t very impressed by it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wear it once in a while. 🙂 I think it’s nice to have a fragrance (or two) that just lifts your mood. They don’t all have to be complicated, unusual concoctions that win awards. That would be too boring. 😉

    For instance … I’m wearing Tory Burch’s fragrance today because I thought it would be fun. It’s a really nice scent, but certainly not what I would consider a five-star fragrance that *has* to be in my collection (I have a sample spray vial). But the point was to wear something fun today. 😀

    Anyway, if I run across a sample of La Petite Robe Noir Couture, I’ll try it. March 7, 2014 at 10:30am Reply

    • Victoria: A lovely way of putting it! Yes, not every single perfume in my wardrobe has to be a masterpiece, and also because if you really want a mouthwatering perfume, the new generation gourmands like Coco Mademoiselle, Angel, Lolita Lempicka or La Petite Robe Noire deliver really well. It won’t be possible for me to renounce No 19, but I won’t give up Pink Sugar either. Maybe, I’m just greedy. 🙂 March 7, 2014 at 12:27pm Reply

      • Aisha: I believe you taught me that philosophy, great master. 😉

        By the way, your obsession with Pink Sugar reminds me of my obsession with Lolita Lempicka. I finally bought myself a bottle and am so glad I did. Can’t wear Cuir de Russie all the time. LOL! March 7, 2014 at 12:56pm Reply

        • Victoria: 🙂 The best part of perfume is just to have fun.

          Lolita Lempicka scores on so many points, and can anyone resist that gorgeous bottle? March 7, 2014 at 5:43pm Reply

  • Alicia: I love Guerlain, I revered Guerlain, I don’t want live without most of its classics, but in at least two cases Guerlain has disappointed me: Idylle and La Petite Robe Noire (I don’t know the Couture version). I am not sure why I am not interested in them, as I am not sure why I don’t love L’Instant, which has most of the notes I usually enjoy. If I want a rose I go to Nahema, if something sweet to Insolence, if a floral to Chamade, and what to say of my endless love for L’Heure Bleue or my admiration for Mitsouko? Lately, in a hot summer day I might turn to AA Pamplelune. Idylle is pretty, LPRN quite pleasant, but there are too many pretty and pleasant fragrances in this world which might get from me a nod, perhaps a smile, but not my embrace. March 7, 2014 at 11:45am Reply

  • rainboweyes: I love the creamy raspberry note in Ramon Monegal Impossible Iris and I also like it in The Different Company Sublime Balkis but I doubt Petite Robe Noir would impress me (haven’t tried any of its versions yet).
    On hectic days I rather go for the incense option – Dzongkha in winter, Miller Harris La Fumée, Aedes de Venustas and Hermes Eau de Gentiane Blanche in in warmer weather.
    However, when I need the ultimate fruit boost there’s nothing like a spritz of Byredo Pulp! It instantly puts a smile on my face! March 7, 2014 at 12:19pm Reply

    • rainboweyes: I just realised that on some days I need some comforting sweetness too – this is mostly not on hectic, challenging days but on days when I feel melancholic and gloomy for no obvious reason (oh, well, the European winter weather might be reason enough, though). But even then, it’s moderate sweetness like in Silver Iris, Traversée du Bosphore – or maybe also the new Artisan – Jour de Fete? March 7, 2014 at 1:05pm Reply

      • Victoria: Nice ideas! Jour de Fete is a comfortable pashmina wrap. I haven’t tried the reissue yet, although I’m very curious, probably more so than in any other L’Artisan launch. March 7, 2014 at 5:45pm Reply

    • Victoria: Based on your favorites listed, I don’t thank you would like La Petite Robe Noire. But have you tried Parfums de Nicolai Kiss Me Tender? It’s like a soft orange blossom marshmallow, and it’s pretty.

      You have such sophisticated favorites for your hectic days, but I see why you picked them. They’re such serene, understated perfumes, and yet they have lots of character. March 7, 2014 at 5:41pm Reply

  • Merlin: Your mention of licorice reminded me of Hypnotic Poison: I recently tried the EDP and much preferred it to the EDT. It doesn’t have the fruitiness of this but I thought it was a worthy gourmand! March 7, 2014 at 1:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: You make me want to smell it, Merlin. Hypnotic Poison was one of the best sellers in France for a while, and I still smell it a lot on women in Paris. March 7, 2014 at 5:47pm Reply

      • Merlin: Lol! Nice that I made you want to try something:) March 7, 2014 at 6:41pm Reply

        • Victoria: I’m easily tempted! 🙂 March 8, 2014 at 6:22pm Reply

  • solanace: I’ve got a few samples of both the EDT and EDP, which I’ve enjoyed wearing – the opening of the EDT really is fabulous, I only wish it lasted longer. The EDP reminds me of a great cough syrup from my childhood that is forbidden today, and I like it for that. 🙂 Will give the ‘couture’ version a try when I have a chance. When I want pink, I go for Rahat Loukoum. Not the most sophisticated Lutens, but oh so happy! March 7, 2014 at 1:37pm Reply

    • Victoria: So you also find the EDT all front loaded? It starts on such a great accord and then it just fizzles out.
      Funny that you mention cough syrup, because the cough syrup from my childhood was scented with licorice/anise. For ages, I couldn’t stand anything
      anise-flavored or scented, but then unexpectedly I developed a strong liking for these notes. Nostalgia, perhaps? March 7, 2014 at 5:48pm Reply

      • solanace: Nostalgia would be my bet. And I can understand why a licorice syrup would not be popular with kids! The cherry flavored kind sold here back in the 70’s and 80’s was much apreciated, maybe even a little too much. 🙂 Reading the comments to this post I had to wear Lolita to bed. Another one that always cheers me up, and still another one I discovered here at BdJ. 🙂 Wishing you a good and peaceful weekend, Victoria. March 8, 2014 at 3:58am Reply

        • Victoria: Wearing Lolita to bed is like falling asleep wrapped in a cashmere blanket. 🙂

          Have a great weekend! March 8, 2014 at 6:33pm Reply

  • spe: Thrilled to hear the news about LPRN 2! I wear it on one side, LPRN1 on the other. So happy about Guerlain adding another green floral to the parissiene line up with LPRN2. Thank you for the information. March 7, 2014 at 2:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: My pleasure! I don’t know if it was changed much or not, but it’s a pretty orange blossom perfume. March 7, 2014 at 5:50pm Reply

  • maja: Ok, another one I need to try. 🙂 I have a small bottle of edp (“a raspberry macaron with a twist of liquorice” – spot on!) and wear it occasionally, it is my fun perfume along with Lolita and recently some vanillas I’ve been experimenting with. I have never liked gourmands and sweet scents but last month, as I was recovering from a rather unpleasant dental surgery I felt I needed gourmands and sweet, powdery things, to soothe the pain and my feeling miserable. 🙂 March 7, 2014 at 3:20pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, please do tell, which vanillas are you experimenting with?

      Hope that you’ve recovered fully from your surgery! I had one a couple of years ago, and the memory is still traumatic. Maybe, that’s when my love for sweet and comfy gourmands started too. 🙂 March 7, 2014 at 5:53pm Reply

      • maja: You must understand, thank you! I have recovered pretty well, I can even chew! 🙂 As far as vanillas are concerned I understood that finding the right vanilla is as difficult as finding the perfect rose or violet. They either have burnt sugar notes or cocoa or are too woody or even boozy so I tried layering different ones. Un Bois Vanille, Vanille Molinard, Artisan’s Havana Vanille… I am not sure how long this phase is going to last so I am not investing into really expensive samples or bottles. However, just a couple of days ago I realised that the vanilla drydown of Eau de Shalimar is the light vanilla I have actually been after. A kind of powdery, abstract, retro vanilla. March 8, 2014 at 8:50am Reply

        • Victoria: You’re on the mend then, and I hope that the rest will move along smoothly. 🙂 Your vanilla experiments sound so much fun. I’ve been meaning to revisit Un Bois Vanille as my contender for a woody, not too sweet vanilla. Have you tried Shalimar Ode a la Vanille? It’s another recent favorite, although I like Eau de Shalimar too. March 8, 2014 at 6:46pm Reply

          • Solanace: Seconding Shalimar Ode a la Vanille. Totally addictive dry down. March 9, 2014 at 4:44am Reply

            • maja: Oh, thank you, I guess one can never have too many Shalimars. 🙂 I have really mixed feelings about Un Bois Vanille that I’m still working on. I also forgot to mention Eau Duelle which is light and different but to me it is a bit like Voyage Hermes plus vanilla. My search will continue but the spring is coming and flowers and my adored roses in bloom so I’ll have to hurry up. 😉 March 9, 2014 at 9:10am Reply

              • Victoria: Chopard Casmir is a nice fruity vanilla, in case that’s what you’re looking for. But it’s definitely a bit over the top! 🙂 March 9, 2014 at 11:34am Reply

  • Katy McReynolds: I think our choices have a great deal to do with what we are struggling with. Parochialism is a constant theme for me now where I work and at the place I do most of my volunteer work. Huge failure of imagination all around me, it is quite frustrating! So with that in mind, I am reaching for Lonestar Memories, Olympic Orchids Devil Scents, my challenging fragrances! On days when I just need some comfort, it is always Caron Pour Un Homme. I am so infatuated with Habit Rouge and those three lovely Guerlains developed for the Middle Eastern Market, that I have not really explored the others! March 7, 2014 at 7:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: I didn’t think about it, but you make an interesting point. Something to reflect on! Gourmand perfumes have a cuddly, comforting feeling to me, so maybe that’s just something I crave right now. March 8, 2014 at 6:30pm Reply

  • annemariec: This one is too jammy for me. What’s fun are the little cloth thingies at the Guerlain counter with the LPRN graphic on them. Does anyone else see these? They look like clothing labels, and you can saturate them with any fragrance you want. I have a few floating around in my lingerie drawer. Of course the scent fades, but they are fun to have. March 8, 2014 at 12:57am Reply

    • johanob: I love those little garment labels you can test perfume on!They give me a way better impression of a perfume than the normal strips do!Also perfect for when I don’t want to test on skin,which I usually do.Serge Lutens also have them(I keep the Lutens in my T-shirt drawer) March 8, 2014 at 6:29pm Reply

    • Victoria: Those are great! I have a couple of them in my closet too. You can always respray them with another perfume. March 8, 2014 at 6:31pm Reply

    • annemariec: Hmmm … I said that the scent fades but two days later it is going strong. It’s tucked in my sock drawer at the moment and I think my socks are getting restive. They may rise up and walk off down the street, two by two, searching for a kinder owner … March 9, 2014 at 5:54pm Reply

  • Michaela: Ah, how much I miss the 2005 Miss Dior Cherie… One perfume I will miss. I wish I had bought it back then! LPRN is so not Guerlain to me, but, well, for me Guerlain = Samsara (vintage), Shalimar and Insolence. March 8, 2014 at 12:57pm Reply

    • Victoria: Miss Dior Cherie lost some of its dramatic contrasts between the salty popcorn and sweet strawberry, so it’s nice but not that different from other fruichoulis.

      LPRN Couture is not a classical Guerlain to me either, but for the price and quality, it’s a very good gourmand. Of course, if that’s not what you want, then it won’t be the right choice. March 8, 2014 at 6:52pm Reply

  • Michaela: And one more thing I forgot to mention: LPRN edp smells almost identical to Lolita Lempicka Midnight Black Couture. It is not that I dislike it, since I’ve bought the Lempicka Midnight. It’s just that this is not Guerlain. I am a snob, I want my Guerlain to be a bit more than a Lempicka-replica! 🙂

    Which brings me to the answer to the rhetorical question in your first paragraph: in such days I either pick Shalinar eau de toilette or a sweet, comfort-food perfume like L de Lempicka or Kenzo Amour. March 8, 2014 at 1:08pm Reply

    • Victoria: Kenzo Amour is another one of my favorites on such days–cozy, tender, sweet. It’s also one of my husband’s favorites, since he likes sweet perfumes but not anything overly sugary. He didn’t care for LPRN Couture that much, by contrast. March 8, 2014 at 6:54pm Reply

  • johanob: Happy International Women’s day Victoria!
    I own both the original and reformulated mainstream EDP La Petite,and really like them both!Looking forward to trying this one also.Lolita Lempicka is also a staple in regular rotation,although this past week I was completely besotted with the new Hypnotic Poison EDP.LoveLove!.Happy weekend! March 8, 2014 at 6:25pm Reply

    • Victoria: Then I’d love to hear what you think about the Couture version. If you like Lolita, it might be up your alley too.

      And all this talk of Hypnotic Poison EDP makes me even more curious. March 8, 2014 at 7:15pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: This sounds like it’s very much worth a try. The other 2 versions were too cherry smelling to me. Raspberry is a bit more to my liking and I like the fact that this one tones down the sweet a bit. Thanks for another great review! March 9, 2014 at 2:14pm Reply

    • Victoria: I also liked the raspberry accent more, because it reminds me of the pink colored violet candies sold at the French confectionery shops. Sometimes, a bit of sweetness is ok, and this is nicely put together. March 9, 2014 at 6:39pm Reply

  • Anne of Green Gables: I tested the EDP long time ago but I dismissed it as being not so interesting. Your post prompted me to test LPRN EDP, EDT and Couture last weekend. Out of the three, I liked the Couture best. As you described, the sugary powder against the earthy background was interesting. To be honest, I still think the scent doesn’t match the name (I don’t find it elegant and versatile like the little black dress) and I feel that the great concept for a perfume has been wasted. Also, if I want something similar, I’d rather buy Lolita Lempicka which is cheaper and more original. It’s actually quite well-known and popular in Korea as Lolita Lempicka belongs to AmorePacific Corporation, the largest Korean cosmetics company. March 11, 2014 at 4:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, it’s a sister to Lolita Lempicka. I still adore LL, but I’ve been wearing it for so long that I would like a change. March 11, 2014 at 6:11pm Reply

  • Nigel Resnir: Glowing review. Three stars. I don’t get it. July 29, 2014 at 8:26am Reply

    • Victoria: 3 stars means positive still. It’s a very good perfume, but it’s not distinctive enough, perhaps. July 29, 2014 at 1:05pm Reply

  • Jamie K.: Luca Turin raved about this on Style Arabia recently, giving it four and a half stars (a first for him!). I very much agree with your review, very well done but not particularly distinctive. I like it a lot better than the main La Petite Robe Noire, and part of me wishes that this was the one flying off the shelves rather than the original, but it’s not something that I feel that I need in my small collection.

    Lovely stuff though; this might be something I revisit come Christmastime gift-searching. July 30, 2014 at 9:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I also wish it was the first one out, but I’ll take it anyway. Good gourmands are always something I like to keep track of. July 30, 2014 at 7:11pm Reply

  • Emma: I had to test it after reading Luca Turin’s rave review, but also because so many people out there online call it sophisticated and even mature…
    I must be living in a parallel universe because to me it’s just some sweet generic stuff which target audience is 16-25 year old girls.
    True, the drydown is darker and more complex but the first hour is atrocious.
    To me, sophisticated is Cartier La Panthère, Joy Forever, mature is Mitsouko and Narcisse Noir… December 16, 2014 at 2:44pm Reply

  • ivy: I think what made him give it such a high score is that this is a synthetic recreation of a rose scent, and it has that lemony freshnes of a rose for a good 4 hours before it fades away into the drydown, i found that also awesome part of the scent, it is a perfume for night out so it has to radiate long distance hence sweetness? Or with such cheap synthetic stuff perfumers are allowed to use nowdays nothing more simmilar to rose is not possible to creat, this is my feeling!! Why is pathcouli so frequent nowdays?. No wonder when there is no moss, no sandalwood, ambergris, civet, nothing of an old age bases February 24, 2015 at 6:19am Reply

  • ishraq braham: I like your website m a huge fan of perumes i want a review of the new bamboo gucci July 23, 2015 at 4:01pm Reply

What do you think?

From the Archives

Latest Comments

Latest Tweets

Design by cre8d
© Copyright 2005-2021 Bois de Jasmin. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy