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November 29, 2005

Fragrance Review: Guerlain Metallica / Metalys

Titianflora

Carnations set in gold, Metalys is a composition that respects classical canons, and yet the result is a modern floral crowning a soft oriental base. Alight with amber, the fragrance captures the same golden glow that bathes the figures and the landscapes in the paintings by Titian.

The metallic note hiding under the flower petals in the heart harmonizes the cold aldehydic top accord with the warm Guerlinade base. While the carnation dominates, the lily-like sweetness of ylang ylang and the fruitiness of jasmine are woven into the floral accord. The spicy petals peel away slowly to reveal the core of the composition, accented by the same metallic brilliance that gives Paco Rabanne Calandre and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche a distinct touch. Yet, in Metalys, the metallic note conjures visions of burnished gold, rather than polished steel. Its illusory fragility is contrasted elegantly with the layers of creamy vanilla. ...

Were it not for the metallic freshness, the fragrance would have dried down to the same dense richness that marks L’Instant de Guerlain. In Metalys, the classical Guerlain vanilla has enough darkness from the shadows filling the base accord to render it abstractly gourmand rather than candy-sweet. Illuminated by the transparent woody amber, its velvety veil attains a thin cashmere quality.

Luxurious softness of the drydown is a perfect accompaniment for the chilly winter days and the cold summer evenings. Metalys is easy to appreciate, especially for those who love classically themed floral and floral oriental bouquets with a twist. Originally created in 2000 by Jean Paul Guerlain, the fragrance has been pulled from the shelves following a trademark lawsuit with the band Metallica. Name changed to Metalys, the fragrance fortunately has been released for the opening of the renovated La Maison Guerlain at the special request from Roja Dove, a person whose name might be familiar to the Guerlain aficionados.

Metalys does not differ much from Metallica, except for the fact that the carnation is spicier in the former. While in Metallica the base has a creamier quality, in Metalys, it is rendered as a fraction lighter, which makes carnation shine more vividly--a subtle, but very effective touch.

Notes include vanilla, ylang ylang, rose, carnation, iris, tonka bean, amber. For the time being, the fragrance is exclusive to 68 Champs Elysées boutique at 130 euros for a 125 ml bottle, however it can be ordered by emailing Antoine-Olivier Metz, the store manager, at aometz@guerlain.fr. I hear rumours that this is one of the fragrances that will be featured in the new Bergdorf Goodman Guerlain boutique in New York, however I have not been able to confirm them.

Painting: Titian. Flora. c.1515-1520. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence, Italy. From efn.org.

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