The Scented Hound

Perfume blog with abbreviated perfume reviews & fragrance reviews.


Derby by Guerlain

derbyAbout a year ago I smelled Derby at Bergdorf Goodman on paper and really liked it.   However, Derby comes in this very unattractive wood bottle and that bothered me.  Then I found out that it had previously come in the iconic bee bottle, but that had been discontinued in favor of the current bland boxy bottle.  So of course I had to obsess about how to get my hands on a bee bottle.  After searching around, including calling multiple Guerlain stores and reps, I came to the conclusion that I was not going to find my Derby bee bottle.  So I finally gave up and moved on to my next perfume obsession.

Last month when I was in Chicago, I stopped by the Michigan Avenue Saks store where I asked the sales associate if they had any samples of Derby.  Of course, I was given the “are you really asking me this” look and was told no.  After wooing her with some charm, she managed to go to find a small decant bottle and she provided me with a 5ml decant of Derby which was more than I had expected.  Note to sales associates:   you’re not dispensing gold, just perfume.

WHAT I SMELL:  Derby opens with bergamot and wonderful oakmoss (no wait, that’s carnation intended to mimic oakmoss) with a twist of lemon.  It’s slightly sparkling and a bit powdery and dry.  After a few minutes, Derby becomes a little more spicy… but it’s still fresh and clean.  After that, Derby stays clean, but some wood is added to the spice.  Supposedly there is leather there, but I have no idea where it is and figured that the cow must have run out of the door.  I wish I could add more, but that’s really where Derby left me.  It’s pleasant and pretty subdued and I found it to be a safe scent for men who don’t want to smell “out there.”

Derby Notes from Fragrantica:

Top notes are bergamot and orange; middle notes are spices, carnation and exotic woods; base notes are leather, birch, patchouli and woody notes

casualWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:   Perfect for jeans, a white shirt and a blazer…easy, breezy casual, but looking great.



BOTTOM LINE:   To me this smells a lot like my vintage Givenchy III, except with a slightly more masculine tinge.  I would like to smell the vintage Derby because I have heard that it’s a bit beefier and contains actual oakmoss.  The carnation mimics the oakmoss well, but it’s not the same as the real thing.  Do I want a full bottle of Derby?  No.  Wait…if someone has a bee bottle that they want to get rid of, I would gladly take it!!

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  Woody
  • Classification:  Masculine
  • Expense:  $245 for 100ml EdT