When a family of perfumers with a tradition of many generations sold its business to the LVHM Group in 1994, it in some way marked the end of an era. Nevertheless, on the position of the main perfumer of the company remained a descendant of the family, the creator of many famous perfumes (such as Chamade, Nahéma, Jardins de Bagatelle and my beloved Samsara), the 4th generation of the famous Guerlain noses – Jean-Paul Guerlain.
Although Jean-Paul Guerlain officially retired in 2002, he still collaborated with the company and created new perfumes (e.g. Spiritueuse Double Vanille in 2007).
As a consequence of a television interview in In 2010, after which he was accused (and also found guilty in 2012) of racism and Guerlain faced not only a lawsuit but also a boycott of some customers, he was pushed out of the company and his successor Thierry Wasser became the main nose of the house.
From that moment on, people were still waiting and speculating, expecting Guerlain to open his own brand with his own collection. And in the end it really happened.
I wondered if it was possible to draw a thick line under the past and comment on the new creations of the new independent company without going back to past, but after trying them, I decided against the idea.
So why am I going back to the past, to the misstep for which the old man was convicted and punished – he paid a fine – and he even apologized?
Yes, Jean-Paul Guerlain apologized for his statement on television. In a way that would deserve to send him back to stay in a corner. He declared that he was not a racist. He called his racist statement “imbecile” and if it weren’t an unwanted attack on another group of people again, I would almost agree with it.
But the statement was clearly arrogant and self-centered, as was the excuse.
And now let’s look at his new brand My Exclusive Collection.
That it would be an expensive, luxurious and inaccessible affair, everyone probably assumed. And indeed it is. A bottle in a wooden box with a content of 80 ml for 480 € is not a thing that a person can buy just without thinking to have it and then forget about it in the back of the drawer.
So let’s look at the presentation and sale of these jewels (at least cost-wise).
At the home page (only in French), where there is also an e-boutique that ships internationally, you can (hooray !!!!) buy samples.
Even for a really minuscule price – given the price of the scent. Unfortunately, these are only scented papers, but some other perfume brands choose this way too – I do not know what leads them to do such a thing, but I respect that.
Of course, I ordered them right away and they arrived in a really short time. So let’s take a look at them.
And its contents (creasing will probably be the fault of the post office):
Unevenly cut pieces of handmade paper marked with a simple watercolor brush stroke probably want to look artistic. However, a plastic bag only half-size – which I assumed to mark the scented part of the paper – looks strange and on top of that, because it is smaller, it is of course not sealing. Nevertheless, the smell remained on the papers. How faithful it stayed is questionable and also of course it is not possible to assess the effect on the skin.
The attached letter – this time in French and ALSO in English – is brief, but contains important information – which color of the paper carries which scent.
So after a brief letter and a brief impression of a brief sniffing of four (brief) papers, here are my brief impressions:
Acapulco – It’s as if the assignment was “Mon Precieux Nectar for gentlemen”. But, in my opinion, the result is definitely usable for ladies as well. Orange flower, lightly spiced and with an almond trace in the background. Basically cedar, but certainly other woods as well. It has a yellow card and yes – it creates a yellow, sunny, but non-beach impression. It evokes a bit of atmosphere of Jour d´Hermes.
Aqua Vallis – This is really men’s. A mixture of subtle spicy tones with translucent incense tones and the occasional smell of rose.
Bouquet de Palmyre – Delicately sweet balsamic oriental scent, saffron included. Very pleasant, slightly nostalgic, but not very original scent.
Calice des Fleurs – Women’s version of Aqua Vallis. Identical spicy tones, incense, here feel more oriental balms and sweeter, almost honey-like ylang.
And what is my overall impression of this experience? Same as from the above interview and apology. Arrogant and self-centered. Would I buy one of the brand’s fragrances? Well, I have to say that I can’t imagine what an angelic scent would make me to swallow this.