In 2003, Luca Turin wrote an article in Duftnotes titled “The Fall of the House of Guerlain”. I quote, “when, some years ago (1994), the Guerlain family sold the family silver to LVMH (the Microsoft of fragrance), Guerlain jumped off the skyscraper nine decades of genius had built. Its been falling in slow motion ever since, and a crowd of perfume lovers has slowly gathered to watch it crash.” Typical of Luca’s writing style – nasty, direct and vivid with no reservation. But, in the same article, he thought that Guerlain had worked hard to reverse the free-falling, and in 2003, they released L’Instant, which turned out to be a very good effort (4 stars).
A year later, Guerlain released Insolence EDT (4 stars), and in 2008, they released Insolence EDP, and finally got a 5 stars review from Luca again.
So here’s the math – for almost 14 years, according to Mr. Turin, Guerlain had not released any perfume worthy of a 5 star rating from him. I am looking at a bottle of Insolence EDP sitting on my desk right now, taking a deep sniff of my wrist, which has been sprayed generously with the perfume. Do I agree with him? In my head, all I can smell is Mr. Bubbles. But very divine Mr. Bubbles. (Reminds me of The Ghostbusters movie where the gang was told to choose the form of their world destructor; everyone emptied their minds, but one guy chose Mr. Puft the marshmallow man.) Now that I’ve killed Mr. Bubbles in my head, and smell again, it is quite wonderful. It’s feminine, but not the typical jasmine/rose/tuberose combo, rather, a soft and sweet violet/iris/tonka bean scent. It reminds me a little bit of Balenciaga’s Le Dix, which I also think smells like Mr. Bubbles. Oh, Mr. Bubbles again.