The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Guerlain Lui

WHAT I SMELL:  Lui opens with a warm, lightly spiced benzoin that’s deeply sensuous and lightly tar like, but without the heavy weight.  Soon enough, a buzzing carnation makes an entrance in the quietest of ways.  And then, a nutmeg and clove spice begins to take shape after a short time adding just a bit of a bite.  The perfume is rather brooding in it’s spicy persona with a mix of benzoin, leather and vanilla spice carrying the perfume on its journey.  In the end, you’re left with a light smoky dry haze of a perfume that hugs close to the skin.

From the Guerlain website:

Feminine. Masculine. Why choose? LUI is a fragrance that likes to blur the boundaries. Not entirely feminine, nor truly masculine, it is both at once. Inspired by a generation that is breaking free from gender norms, Guerlain had the idea of an unmistakably universal fragrance.

Its ambiguous fragrance trail is based on benzoin: floral, spicy and woody in turn, this resin is revealed in all of its complexity as the composition created by perfumer Delphine Jelk unfolds. Fused with powdery and spicy carnation accents, they form an equally unexpected and harmonious blend.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:   Autumn in Paris.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE LUI:  reserved, contemplative, semi-spicy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT LUI:  The Black Narcissus, Colognoisseur

BOTTOM LINE:  I love Guerlain perfumes, but I don’t love Lui.  Truly a fall and winter perfume, the nutty-ish spice almost reminds me of the season’s tragic “pumpkin spice” phenomena.  And weirdly, Lui doesn’t make me feel any emotion as I wear it.  Instead, it just rather bores me.

  • Bone Rating:  2.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Spicy Woody Floral
  • Nose:  Delphine Jelk
  • Classification:  Unisex
  • Expense:  $185 for 50 ml eau de parfum


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Vintage Shopping: Hermès Calèche and the Guerlain Mystery Perfume

I love shopping for vintage perfumes.  I mean, physically going to antique stores and estate sales to find those hidden gems.  One of the down sides of living in Mexico is that there are neither.  Yes, once in a while I can find a vintage perfume online, but it’s not quite the same of the rush of finding a treasure hidden in some dark cabinet in the back of a store.

We recently went back to the US to the outskirts of Seattle, Washington.  We love Mexico, but getting away from the heat every once in a while is essential and that part of the country is incredibly beautiful and the weather this time of the year is perfect.  But one of the best things about going back to the US, even in this time of COVID, is the ability to go shopping for vintage perfume.  What a treat!

Of course, these days, not all of the antique stores were open.  And in the ones that were, the the pickings were rather slim , unless you were looking for the random celebrity perfume.  But I did manage to find a bottle of 1980’s Hermès Calèche Eau de Toilette.  The perfume was used, came in a weathered box and was not the greatest bargain.  Even with given all of that, of course I had to purchase the perfume!

WHAT I SMELL:  Calèche opens with bright aldehydes, mixed with the lightest of soap tinged soft and tender florals.  Quickly, a light oakmoss begins to appear from below and the perfume becomes a bit more muted with a cottony finish.  In short time, the florals, now warmer, come forward with a richness and radiance that is pure luxury.  And as the perfume continues to settle, a light leather pins itself under the dusty florals.  Calèche is never heavy, nor sweet, but is an understated confident beauty that radiates a elegant aura.

From the Hermes website:

Written in 1961 by Guy Robert, Calèche was Hermès’ first fragrance for women. A highly feminine, woody, chypre floral, its name refers to the horse-drawn carriages that are emblematic of the house. Calèche is a novel that dazzles with the beauty of its raw materials, from the joyfulness of citrus fruit to the modernity of aldehyde notes; from the floral heart embellished with ylang-ylang, rose and jasmine to the woody, chypre sillage underscored by the nobility of the iris.

Jane Fonda

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  1970’s sophistication.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CALÈCHE:  dusty, easy, tailored

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CALÈCHEThe Black Narcissus, Yesterday’s Perfume, The Vintage Perfume Vault

BOTTOM LINE:  I have no regrets with my purchase and surprisingly it seems that the top notes have held up better than I had anticipated.  Calèche is a beauty that is easy to wear and thankfully perfect for the hot Mexican weather as the sun and heat make it bloom without being too heavy.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Aldehyde
  • Nose: Guy Robert
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: Prices for vintage vary.  Review based on the eau de toilette version.

EPILOGUE:  When I transport vintage and used perfumes in my luggage, I typically use Parafilm to ensure that the perfumes don’t leak.  If you haven’t heard of Parafilm, I suggest you read the wise words of Undina who has helped me save many a perfume throughout the years.  However, this time, even though I carried Parafilm with me, I failed to use it and the bottle leaked.  I didn’t lose a great amount of perfume, but just enough to ruin the already tattered box as well as to rub the finish off the perfume’s cap.  Of course, this does nothing to take away the beauty of the perfume…but I, like most other perfumistas, would rather have a pristine bottle sitting on my shelf.  Lesson learned!

The damaged Calèche and the Guerlain Mystery Perfume.

VINTAGE GUERLAIN MYSTERY PERFUME

When I travel to the US to visit friends, I typically will purchase a few items on eBay before I go, just because I can’t do it here in Mexico.  Prior to going to the US this time, I noted that there was a 100 ml vintage Guerlain cologne bottle for sale at a very low cost.  The bottle had no label on the front and no label on the bottom.  On the plus side the perfume was sealed.  And I should say that I love Guerlain colognes as they’re perfect for the Mexican heat.  So, for a mere $35, I purchased the perfume.  So what was in the mystery bottle?  Or was it just a factice?

The mystery perfume turned out to be Shalimar.  The really wasn’t a surprise as it seems to be the most widely available vintage Guerlain cologne on eBay.  I have no complaints as the bottle is in great shape and the perfume smells fabulous.   For $35 would you have purchased the perfume even without a label?  As for me, I would do it again in a heartbeat.


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A Visit to the Mexico City Guerlain Boutique & Joyeuse Tubéreuse Review

The Scented Hound and hub just got back from a short getaway to Mexico City, which is quickly becoming one of our favorite places to visit due to its rich heritage, beautiful parks, incredible restaurants, fantastic shopping and numerous and interesting museums, not to mention the warm and friendly people.  Now that the first Guerlain Boutique is open in Latin America, a “must-stop” for anyone travelling to Mexico City is located in the El Palacio de Herrerio Perisur department store.  Located outside the central city, the boutique was an easy Uber ride from where we were staying and completely worth the trip.

The first thing you notice when you step into the boutique is a display of all the colorful bee bottles.  To be honest, looking at the collection is a bit head spinning knowing that you have the option to put your favorite perfume into one of these spectacular little jewels of a bottle…but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As soon as I walked in, I was warmly greeted by the boutique staff as well as the boutique manager, Alberto Plata. Unfortunately, he spoke very little English and I speak very little Spanish.  But without hesitation, Melina Rodriguez, makeup artist, came over from the Guerlain makeup department to help translate.  We were all business at first, but through “fun with translation” and just having a great time, we all quickly became fast friends.

So with the hub sitting patiently on the side, Alberto had me sit down for a fragrance consultation.  Of course, having already a collection of Guerlain perfumes, both current and vintage, I pretty much knew what I was looking for, but I wanted to go through the consultation process to see what it would reveal.  Alberto started off with questions about the comforts of home, foods that I like, special memories associated with smell, etc.  I revealed that I love luxury in the bedroom with nice linens, but that my favorite food is pizza.  I knew I was going to be a challenge.  After going through the questions, I was then asked to rate the smell of some blotters.  After putting this information into their consultation system, it revealed that my fragrance personality was “Floral/Fresh.”  I clearly had no arguments with this as I do love my florals!   Given that and based on other provided information, the system made four recommendations for perfumes:

  1.  Chamade Pour Homme – My goal for the day was to buy a bottle of this lovely perfume which I had just written about.  So far I was impressed with the results!
  2. Samsara – Samsara is already in my collection.  I have a big bottle of vintage parfum that I wear when I want to be noticed.  It really is a spectacular perfume….still impressed with the results.
  3. Bois d’Armenie – This recommendation was a bit of a surprise as it’s an oriental.  I like the perfume, but knew it was not for me because wearing it in the heat and humidity of Merida would make it suffocating except for the one or two months where it was just a bit cooler out.
  4. Joyeuse Tubereuse – Another surprise because the perfume was no where on my radar of something that might be to my liking.  Actually, it stole my heart.

As I mentioned, I knew that Chamade Pour Homme was on my “to buy” list, but I decided to go ahead with a purchase of the Joyeuse Tubereuse as well.  So off to the bee bottles…

Of course, you can purchase the perfumes in their original bottles, but how many times do you have the opportunity to have your very own customized bee bottle?  Alberto and Melina led me over to the display case where I picked out a lovely green bottle for the Joyeuse Tubereuse and a grey bottle for the Chamade.  The next task was for me to decide what to have etched on the bottle.  I chose for both, a simple font of my initials.  The bottles were then placed in the etching machine and given to the technicians.  Here, the technicians suited up in sterilized robes and gloves prepared the bottles for filling.  First, they cleaned the bottles out with alcohol and then with a small amount of the perfume and then filled the bottles, recording on the bottom the perfume batch information.  These ladies were masterful in their handling of the product and it was so fun to be able to witness their skills.

One of the things that I was not thrilled about with the bee bottles is that they’re only available in splash.  Not to worry, for each perfume I was given a 30 ml refillable spray bottle and funnel.  And too boot, as part of the purchase I was given a free gift of a suede fringe purse…not really my thing, but it’s beautiful and it will make for a fabulous present for someone special.

The technician’s ended up wrapping up my new treasures in the most beautiful of way and after sharing hugs we ventured off on our way.  This truly was a fun and wonderful experience.  The customer service from Alberto and Melina and staff was exceptional and I left feeling like I had some new friends.  I cannot wait to head back to Mexico City….in fact I wish I would have purchased a bottle of my beloved Chamade in parfum extrait….but that just means that I’ll have to go back sooner than later.  Thanks Guerlain, for making Mexico City just that much more wonderfully perfumed.

JOYEUSE TUBÉREUSE REVIEW – 

WHAT I SMELL:  Joyeuse Tubéreuse opens with freshest of green stems.  The perfume is soft, pretty and feels like dew that’s sitting on top of the morning’s fresh cut flowers.  A tinge of lily starts off the fresh introduction of florals with the mildest of tuberose coming in slowly.  There’s nothing harsh with the pretty white florals; instead they glide in effortlessly and remain in the most delicate of state.  Still dewy, the perfume brings promise of a beautiful spring day ahead.  As the perfume develops, the tuberose begins to take it’s place as the quiet focus of the perfume and the perfume begins to lightly warm with the softest of vanilla.  Joyeuse Tubéreuse makes wearing tuberose and easy joy with its soft and light touch.

From the Guerlain website:

An airy and radiant tuberose. Exquisitely innocent, amazingly fresh.  Floral green.
Top notes: green notes.
Heart notes: tuberose, lily, sambac jasmine.
Base notes: sandalwood, vetiver, vanilla.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A fresh and dewy spring morning.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE JOYEUSE TUBÉREUSE:  Soft, serene, fresh

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT JOYEUSE TUBÉREUSE:  CaFleureBon, The Black Narcissus, Stephan Matthews

BOTTOM LINE:  Joyeuse Tubéreuse is a simple perfume…simply lovely.  But that’s part of it’s charm.  It doesn’t take you on a ride of development. Instead, it eases you into a spring day in the most perfect of way.

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral
  • Classification:  Leans feminine
  • Expense: $260 for 2.5 oz. eau de parfum