Guerlain Figue Iris & Laurier Reglisse, the 2008 Aqua Allegorias ~ perfume review

Guerlain Figue Iris & Laurier Reglisse

For those of you unfamiliar with the Aqua Allegoria range from Guerlain, they might be seen as "entry level" Guerlains; they are supposed to "showcase nature", and they tend to be lighter, younger and simpler in composition than the perfumes in the regular line. For the past few years they've been introducing two new Aqua Allegoria scents a year, and discontinuing those that don't do well. There are a few I really like (Herba Fresca, Anisia Bella, Mandarine Basilic), and despite the fact that some years they're just duds, I always look forward to trying the new editions. The 2008 entries: Figue Iris and Laurier Réglisse.

Aqua Allegoria Figue Iris is attributed to perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain. I'll start right off with a disclaimer: I love fig and I love iris, but the combination doesn't entirely appeal to me, and I've yet to meet a powdery fig I could love. This one starts with a sparkling burst of grapefruit, nicely sharp and summery, and for a few minutes as the juicy fig joins in, I am in love (the notes: bergamot, grapefruit, violet, iris, fig, milky notes, woods, vetiver and vanilla). The heavily figgy stage doesn't last, unfortunately; it's mostly taken over by the iris, which comes on slowly but gets stronger with time. Eventually, it's a middling sweet floral with creamy-powdery iris and lightly figgy undertones. The vanilla is subtle, and the far dry down is earthy enough to keep this from being girly-pretty. It isn't my cup of tea, and anyone looking for tons of fig may find themselves disappointed, but it's very nicely done and the lasting power is good.

Aqua Allegoria Laurier Réglisse, developed by perfumer Marie Salamagne, is my Aqua Allegoria pick for the year. This is a bright, citrus-orange blossom fragrance with lots of greenery, right up my alley. Like the Figue Iris, is is nicely sharp and juicy in the opening. The licorice is strong only for a very short time, but it lingers long enough to provide a nice bite (the notes: bergamot, orange blossom, licorice wood, bay laurel, violet, galbanum and amber), and the woody-musky dry down stays green all the way to the end. Laurier Réglisse is drier and closer to unisex than Figue Iris, and doesn't last nearly as long — isn't that the way? — although given the price, hey, just spray on some more. This one goes on my "buy when it shows up at discount" list, where Mandarine Basilic has been languishing since it launched last year.

Although I didn't like the Iris Figue, objectively speaking (yeah, like I'm objective, ever) I think this is the best Aqua Allegoria set since I started paying attention in 2004. I know many of you haven't tried them yet, but please speak up if you have — I'd love to hear what others think.

Guerlain Figue Iris and Laurier Réglisse are available in 75 and 125 ml Eau de Toilette. The larger sizes can be found now at Sephora for $50 each.

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Parfums Raffy


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Thanks again for the great reviews! I saw these on Sephora and was wondering if they deserved a try. I always know that this is where I can come to narrow down that ever-increasing list of “ones to try”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the kind words, and hope you'll like one or the other!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey R! Just wondering, if someone loves Premier Figuier for everyday, and sometimes wears Iris Poudre, do you think they might like Figue Iris for summer? (Yes, I'm looking for a mother's day gift!)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wah, I looked at Sephora today and they didn't have it. Do you think I'd like the Figue Iris? Do they wind up in all Sephoras eventually? Peer into your crystal ball, please…
    ps I reek. Got together with Louise today, am wearing 6 or 8 scents and searching for the Tylenol. May be shower time.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I tried to smell these at Sephora – they didn't have them yet! :(

    If I would have guessed, I would have thought you liked the fig/iris one the best – but your description of it sounds def like something I WONT like. I will try it, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Would you compare the Laurier Reglisse to Brin de Reglisse (Hermessence), well maybe minus the orange blossom?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Both sound liek the very opposite of what I like, it's like Guerlain set up to create my anti-scents :-) But I will try them all the same, of course.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the great descriptive reviews, I'll be heading to the counter now to try the Laurier Reglisse! I always like to smell licorice or anise in any form in fragrances- every company interprets them differently & you never know what you're gonna get.
    Hey, R, I think I'm having a memory flashback: Was it you, at a very early Sniffapalooza, who bought the Guerlain Anisia Bella? And you showed it at lunch— and I had to run back to BG to buy myself a bottle? Does my memory serve me correctly?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Pia, I think so, but refuse to take blame if I'm wrong ;-)

  9. Anonymous says:

    You mean you went to actual store, right? Because they are online. My local Sephora had them over the weekend, so would think all Sephoras that carry the AAs would have them by say, next weekend at the latest.

    I can't decide if you're going to like it, but thinking you're not going to *adore* it. I'm thinking it needs layering…like maybe I should have tried amping up the fig by putting it over Philosykos or something? But then I think, why bother, Philosykos is perfection.

  10. Anonymous says:

    And p.s., what great things did you & Louise smell?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Not much comparison to Brin de Reglisse — this is more about the laurier than the the reglisse. Way greener, less foody than BdR (although I only find BdR foody for a time), and more “fun” than “interesting”, you know? A little summery thing, which is about what I want from an AA.

  12. Anonymous says:

    No, that was Jen. I am cheap and waited a year to find it at TJ Maxx :-)

  13. Anonymous says:

    M, see, we're still EFTs at the core, no?

  14. Anonymous says:

    You know, not a single AA has had me fingering a credit card, but your description of Laurel Reglisse (which was the name that whet my appetite when it was first announced) has me wondering whether it's in Harrods yet. Silly question, but what 'kind' of iris is the Figue Iris – pseudo-violet / carrot root / vague floral? I'm gradually realising that iris means many things… But, I'm a sucker for liquorice. Sigh. I'm a sucker for so many things. Off to 'resist' the Kohdo things next week.

  15. Anonymous says:

    There is definitely some of that Guerlain violet going on, esp. in the early stages, and then I'd say vague-powder-floral, on the not-vegetal, not-rooty side of iris.

    There is not a ton of licorice! If you want licorice, you need Anisia Bella or that Caron Reglisse, which I only tried recently. Or Etro Anice, or…

  16. Anonymous says:

    No, no, nooooooooooo….! I'm not listening! There's only so much pain the Visa people will endure before they start emptying my collection into sacks and taking it away…

    Luckily, I already have Brin de Reglisse, phew. But Etro Anice…you know, I tested that in Liberty a while ago and it was very….no, no, no! Must leave budget for the Moussin,the Augustes and those Jo Malones.

    OTOH, AAs are really quite cheap…

  17. Anonymous says:

    I'm going to give it a try. If she doesn't like it, maybe I will use it, and you will get a large decant in the mail, LOL.

  18. Anonymous says:

    R – I stopped by my Sephora on Chestnut Street today to see if they have these (like I've been doing for the past month) and they finally did. But…NO TESTERS! I yelled at them for having the nerve to put it out without a tester. They didn't seem to understand why I might want to smell it instead of just buying a bottle instead. Maybe I'm missing something. Im actually excited to try the Laurier now – it didn't sound appealing to me at ALL. But now I'm going to pay atention.

  19. Anonymous says:

    If I trade Pampelune for Mandarine Basilic, we have the same AA likes (Mandarine Basilic is an okay for me and my partner actively dislikes it), though I haven't bought a full bottle of any, yet. Why won't they show up at TJ Maxx for me?

    Thanks for the review: I wanted to try these today, but they aren't out at my Sephora. I will have to poke my nose in next week to see if they show up. I sprayed myself with Omnia and The Blanc again to see if either suit. I still can't decide!

    ps. Don't you think it is odd that Omnia and the flankers were not in “The Guide”?

  20. Anonymous says:

    Lessee — some Liz Zorns and the new JMs (her.) For me: Jacomo Silences, vintage Vent Vert, vintage Vivara, Anarchy (Shorell Chaos Dupe), some Frankenmyrrh thing that was nice, Kenzo Tokyo, and Envy for Men.

    Hence the Tylenol.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Hey — but I want the large decant of the Laurier! Do buy your mom the Laurier, she'll love it! LOL…

  22. Anonymous says:

    My objection to the AAs is the bottles are too darned big. I want a 50 ml bottle for say, $35? $40? Something like that. I paid less than $20 for my Anisia Bella and it makes me very happy.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Ouch, that is brutal. You'd think they could open a box for you or something!

  24. Anonymous says:

    I've only seen them at TJ Maxx after being discontinued, unfortunately. And MB is at a couple of discounters, with say, $3 knocked off or something. I am waiting for a BARGAIN.

    Did not notice that Omnia was left out — there are other Bvlgari scents, so it is odd.

  25. Anonymous says:

    You had me at “stays green all the way to the end”. I'll definitely need to stop in Sephora at some point to check out the Laurier. Figue Iris I'll probably skip altogether, though I really love fig too. Really, what more does one need when Philosykos exists?

    Herba Fresca is the one languishing on my “to buy” list. I think these are great buys for the price, but you're right, 50ml is always ideal. I wish I hadn't read your comment about “cat pee accord” and Pamplelune, because I definitely noticed it in the drydown. Luckily, that's not the only grapefruit on the tree, so to speak (speaking of which, Energy C just showed up on Luckyscent, so I know where my money is going on payday tomorrow…).

  26. Anonymous says:

    I'm testing Ava Lux Film Noir right now, and it is *very* licoricey. With a hint of Band-Aid. Sadly, I don't care for licorice (but I want to see how the movie ends). But if you do like licorice, this would be one to try.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Vintage Vivara … sigh. It's not even my sort of thing, and it's breathtaking.. A mini-mini bottle the size of my thumbnail. No wonder people who smelled the original are furious. Plus I put on three micro-drops, which I can still smell on the back of my hand eight hours later. You know what it smells like? Quality, of the kind we don't smell often enough.

  28. Anonymous says:

    It is so true about Philosykos. Doesn't seem to stop them from trying though, does it?

    If you can get to the drydown of Pamplelune before you get cat pee, your chemistry likes Pamplelune much better than I. It is seriously horrifying on me, from the first spray to the time when I can take it no longer and have to scrub it off.

    Ooooh, Energy C hits the States, yay!!!

  29. Anonymous says:

    Do you even want to hear that Pampelune is sublime on me, with neither urine nor garlic notes, just glorious grapefruit?

    Probably not. But I bet you can wear things that I can't, too.

    I just bought Anisia Bella (from Imagination Perfumery, at a crazy low price), and I've had only the most cursory smell of it; it seems nice, like something I'd wear, but not as heavy on the anise as I would like (and I love love love anise/licorice scents). How does Laurier Reglisse compare, and how does either of them stack up against Caron's Eau de Reglisse? I was about to order that from Imagination, too, but stopped myself because the reviews on MakeupAlley weren't particularly positive.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I did notice that Omnia wasn't there, which I thought was strange, since it was a pretty big Bulgari release, and they did a bunch of flankers but not that one? I also noticed the relative paucity of Yves Saint Laurent reviews: In Love Again is absent, and Nu, and Yvresse and YSL Pour Homme.

    But this of course is because we all went through the book hunting for our favourites, and were surprised not to find them.

  31. Anonymous says:


  32. Anonymous says:

    Drat — I literally just gave that sample away unsniffed to someone who wanted to try some indie scents. Figures!

  33. Anonymous says:

    Interesting, I didn't notice the missing YSLs either. It really would be a huge book it they'd covered everything.

  34. Anonymous says:

    And maybe L'Artisan Fou d”Absinthe or Yohji Homme. Perhaps Le Labo will do Reglisse 34 as a New Orleans exclusive.

    Pamplune works a treat on me and stays very grapefruit for hours. It is very nice layered with Mandarine Basilic (if you can wear Pampelune) as I found out accidentally. Speaking of happy layering AA accidents, Herba Fresca smells great layered with M7 Fresh.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I was all set to try these, R, got sidetracked by some other perfume craving or another, and forgot about them. Plus, I have not liked the other AAs I have tried.
    But now that you have reminded me….______________(fill in the blank, lol!).

  36. Anonymous says:

    The Laural sounds like it might be a nice one to try – not crazy about licorice but can tolerate it in small doses. I will stay far far away from the grapefruit in the fig/iris. They seem to love adding grapefruit to the Allegorias, and their version is a horror on my skin (ruined the Pivoine Allegoria they released a couple years back).

  37. Anonymous says:

    Reposted to remove long link:

    On May 1, 2008 pyramus said:

    Haven't tried Douce Amere or Etro Anice. Obviously I need to get out more, or at least order some samples from The Perfumed Court.

    I have Yohji Homme, thank goodness (and I went to some trouble to get it, too:, and it is the best licorice scent I've ever worn. I can't believe they discontinued it, and I completely agree with Luca Turin that “there are only two or three masculines out there as good as this.” It really is fantastic.

    Reply to this comment

  38. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for these reviews, Robin. I've been lemming the idea of the fig iris one ever since I heard of it but if your reaction is modified rapture then maybe the JM Dark Amber thingy will be my next purchase and not this. Will still give it a whirl. My mum was interested in one of last year's AAs but I didn't like it (not the Mandarin Basil one which I do like) so I bought her Herba Fresca (she likes green scents!) and she professed herself happy. I enjoyed spending time choosing one for her so am now more attuned to them than I was previously.

  39. Anonymous says:

    Would love Reglisse from Le Labo!!!

  40. Anonymous says:

    Then I hope there is not any grapefruit in the Laurel…I wasn't paying attention. Don't think there could possibly be as much as there is in the Figue because I didn't notice it…I hope…

  41. Anonymous says:

    R, if you didn't like any of the AAs, I seriously doubt you'll want these. Thereby leaving you free to….____________________. HA! And hugs to you.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I didn't like the “other one” last year either. Angelique Lilas? Or was that the year before? Glad she likes Herba Fresca. I'm sort of surprised that one has hung on as long as it has!

  43. Anonymous says:

    Angelique Lilas – yes, that was it. It had something in the dry down which I really disliked. Might have been heliotrope. HF is bracing isn't it! But lovely.

  44. Anonymous says:

    I think that the discontinued ones were left out.

  45. Anonymous says:

    But Omnia isn't discontinued, nor are its flankers?

  46. Anonymous says:

    I like bracing — I'd call the new Laurier bracing too :-)

  47. Anonymous says:

    Oh, yes and all those discontinued ones are still in our shops here in Europe. It is weird.

  48. Anonymous says:

    Being a big Fig Hag I tried the Figue Iris a day or two ago and was similarly disappointed in the lack of fig, but I thought it had a very nice creamy drydown without being heavy. To put it another way: if I had tried it blind without any names attached to it, I'd have loved it.

  49. Anonymous says:

    A question: which is the “difference” between Herba Fresca and Mentafollia? I could sniff only the first one…

  50. Anonymous says:

    Wordbird, it's always hard to tell how differently you'd feel if you'd tried it blind, right? I might have liked it better, but don't think I'd love it anyway — the Laurier is probably more my style. I hope! Maybe I'll put Figue Iris in my purgatory basket and try it again in a few months.

  51. Anonymous says:

    I reviewed them together…click on “Perfume Reviews” at the top or bottom menu, then scroll down to Guerlain.

  52. Anonymous says:

    Yes these are still widely available overhere.

    About the new Guerlains: sorry people but I think that they are nothing special. There are much better scents with bayleaf, reglisse or fig.

    I know it is all a matter of taste:-)

  53. Anonymous says:

    I often agree with your likes and dislikes, so I'm going to try these with anticipation. There was one AA that you liked, though, (maybe Mandarine Basilic?) that I did not like at all, though it sounds like it would be right up my alley. Thanks for a great review, Miss R!
    I'm a very late convert, btw, to AG Chevrefeuille! Have gone back and reread your reviews and mentions of this and am in complete agreement now, after years of being totally indifferent to the scent. Who knows why we have such different reactions to the same scent over time??

  54. Anonymous says:

    Hey you, long time no see! I was on your blog the other day and should have left a comment. Glad you've fallen for AG Chevrefeuille, the more the merrier — it is yet another I would not like to see discontinued.

    Let me know what you think of the AAs if you try them.

  55. Anonymous says:

    I tried Laurier Réglisse and found it to be a sweeter, more mainstream gourmand version of Anisia Bella. Was hoping for something more “méditerranée”…

  56. Anonymous says:

    Ah, too bad! I liked it, but I probably like Anisia Bella more.

  57. Anonymous says:

    I tried these a few hours ago along with Mandarin Basilic and P… the grapefruit one. I found I liked these two best; Figue Iris came out the winner.

    I loved the opening of Laurier Reglisse; I can't better describe this because I was being rushed out the door by impatient friends. However, the heart reminds me of hemlock. Not the poisonous water hemlock, but the tree. I used to camp and we were advised to eat the neon green leaves; the heart reminded me of that. They were, really, not so tasty, so this part was much too much for me. (I have similar memories of violets, which are completely edible. I love how they smell and taste, though. xD) The dry-down was amiable but not engaging. It's the person you talk to on the street but don't invite to lunch.

    Figue Iris is lovely. It turns out that fig isn't an incidental note; I'm gonna have to start looking around for more fig (The Hermes Un Jardin… something-something Mediterranian [I'm not so good with unreasonably long French perfume names] is shaping up to be my next purchase and I've found it for $55, which makes it irresistable). I like most iris and when the vanilla kick in, I'm almost lost. I'm gonna put this on a look-out-for-at-discounters list. It's at a reasonably price but it's still not worth the full retail. I have other things that are higher priority.

  58. Anonymous says:

    The discounters have them, but they're hardly marked down at all. I'm sorry to say that I've had to wait as long as 2 years to find a real bargain on the AAs :-(

  59. Anonymous says:

    I can wait; Figue Iris not high on my priority-fragrances list.

  60. Anonymous says:

    might i suggest trying they sell the mini bottles of several guerlain AAs (just type the name of the fragrance and add the word mini), and they are cheap. of course you end up paying more for an ounce than if you bought a large bottle, but if you are not the type to wear a perfume long eough so you use a 100 ml botthe, this might well be for you.

  61. Anonymous says:

    hahaha. i could not decide if i want mandarine basilic or pamplelune so i just today bought them both thinking i will combine them:)

  62. Anonymous says:

    I tried Figue Iris – It was nicely done, but nothing to make my heart skip a beat. I am totally in love with Winter Delice and I just stocked up on some bottles from Ebay:)) I also just tried Anisia Bella and i liked it so much I… have to buy it:)) Again something to buy, sigh.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Can't remember, is Winter Delice another discontinued AA? I assume it is if you were on eBay. I still haven't drained my bottle of Anisia Bella, and would guess that one will do me for life :-)

  64. Anonymous says:

    Winter Delice is a discontinued but beloved AA, yes. Robin I just guarantee You're gonna like it if not love it very much! You can buy a mini at 5.99 on Ebay: just type in Guerlain Winter Delice on Ebay. This seller will do better on shipping too if You ask first. Believe me Robin, it is a MUST. Wintery, foresty pine accord, yummi gingerbread (without being too gourmand) and amazing incense,oh gosh. One more thing: lasts forever, seriously! Just gorgeous – why did they discontinue it? Every “perfumista” will tell You how amazing this is! I guess mass-market does better with pink peppercorns instead…

  65. Anonymous says:

    Oh no, I didn't mean I'd never tried it — I have some, and do like it although not quite “love” for me. Just couldn't remember if it was discontinued! And I can guarantee you that if you love *any* AA, it will get axed, LOL…

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