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January 19, 2012

Guerlain Myrrhe et Delires : Perfume Review

Md1

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Star rating: 5 stars--outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars--very good, 3 stars--adequate, 2 stars--disappointing, 1 star--poor.

I have not been excited about any release from Guerlain’s L'Art et La Matière Line since Bois d’Arménie with its softly sketched out woody accord. Iris Ganache and Tonka Impériale were enjoyable, but like a high-calorie dessert, too rich to savor for long. An acquaintance with Myrrhe et Delires, on the other hand, quickly turned into an infatuation.

Peppery and citrusy at first, Myrrhe et Délires immediately changes course into the woody direction. At the heart of Myrrhe et Délires is a beautiful floral accord, which allows you to enjoy the cool, earthy touch of iris and the honeyed embrace of rose. The powdery candy-like violet and the milky peach add a pleasant sweetness.  Just as you settle in to linger over these morsels, you become aware of the savory, cool leitmotif running through Myrrhe et Délires, that of myrrh.

Myrrh has an interesting aroma, which I can best describe as a mixture of black licorice, mushrooms, smoky wood and freshly baked bread. It packs a lot of character, but myrrh is notoriously difficult to use in fragrance. It wraps and suppresses all nuances and can all but suffocate the blend. However, in Myrrhe et Délires the myrrh lends a lush, sumptuous note, while allowing the iris and rose to take center stage. The natural licorice facets of myrrh are augmented with spicy anise. Such subtle touches make for an interesting effect. Myrrhe et Délires dries down to musk and woody amber, with a whispers of incense lending the composition a smoky warmth.

However for a fragrance named Myrrhe et Délires (délire as in “delirium”), it feels far too soft-spoken and timid. I wish the perfume had more volume and a stronger presence. On the other hand, maybe it would have lost its tender, romantic quality that draws me to Myrrhe et Délires. It has something of the soft violets of Après l'Ondée and the sweet leather of Cuir Béluga—a surprisingly polished pairing. Myrrhe et Délires is elegant and charming, and more importantly, it brings back the wistfulness and refinement to the Guerlain collection that I have been missing in the recent launches.

Please come back tomorrow for a story about myrrh in perfumery and a selection of my favorite fragrances with this unusual, rich note.

Guerlain Myrrhe et Delires is available from Guerlain boutiques. 2.5oz ml Eau de Parfum, $235.

Sample: my own acquisition

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