Gucci Premiere ~ perfume review

Blake Lively for Gucci Premiere

Gucci, as a brand, doesn't really appeal to me; so far as I can remember, I've never owned a single Gucci item other than decants of the original (not version II) Gucci Pour Homme. Gucci's popular fragrances of the late 1990s, Envy and Rush, both passed me by entirely — I did not smell either until after 2005. Gucci by Gucci (2007) and Gucci Flora (2009) were both just fine but did not go on my buy list; Gucci Guilty (2010) I liked a little less, although I'll go for Jessica's characterization of Guilty as "modern" and "wearable".

And where does the newly launched Gucci Première fit into the mix? According to Procter & Gamble, the holders of the Gucci fragrance license,

We have three big pillars that we want to support and make as long-lasting classics in the market,” added Luigi Feola, vice president of Procter & Gamble Prestige, referring to Flora, Guilty and Gucci by Gucci. “Première will be the female counterpart to the male Gucci by Gucci,” he explained, noting that the original women’s Gucci by Gucci — Giannini’s first fragrance for the Italian fashion house, which some considered quite masculine — has become more of a niche perfume.1

So, Première, presumably, is meant to sell in a way that Gucci by Gucci did not, in which case I hope that many consumers found the Blake Lively commercial considerably more captivating than I did — what's with all the fragrance commercials featuring women in couture staring longingly out of windows, anyway? Or perhaps many women will be impressed by the "Hollywood glamour and the iconic women of Hollywood’s golden era” backstory,2 which strikes me as dime-a-dozen at this point.

Or perhaps the bottle will sell the juice? In keeping with the "replace Gucci by Gucci" idea, perhaps, it's the same basic design as that one, but done in a shiny gold finish. It's not quite so opaque that you can't see the liquid inside, still, watch out for fingerprints.

Gucci Première opens on an enormous fruity musk — it smells like a berry punch shampoo or body spray, and it's rather more exuberant about it than it ought to be. On paper, that stage lasts for a good long time, but on skin, it's relatively short-lived. The heart is blended floral notes, the base is a clean fruity-woody musk with a touch of dry leather. Imagine what you think of as "leather" in perfume, now take that one step smoother and two steps cleaner: that's the leather in Gucci Première. In other words, it has something like the idea of leather without being in any way animalic or dirty. The longer it's on skin, the darker and drier it gets; after an hour, it's something a man could easily get away with, still, it's not so overtly "masculine" as Gucci by Gucci. The whole thing, once the top notes fade, is rather subdued, not close to the skin exactly, but certainly much quieter than the opening.

Première is clearly going for a slightly older, more sophisticated market than that for Flora or Guilty — the women who would have bought Gucci by Gucci had Frida Giannini not “unleashed her affinity for masculine notes” with quite so much abandon. I'll be interested to see if it hits its mark. For my tastes, the dry down is nicely done and a reasonably good fit with the bottle and the concept,3 but it's not memorable or interesting enough to make my buy list, and the opening seems made for another woman entirely. That's not all that unusual in the prestige fragrance market, where a "fun" opening on a paper blotter helps move things along at the fragrance counter, but I wonder if in this case it's rather too much fun for their purposes? We'll see. If you've tried it, do comment!

Gucci Première fragrance bottle

Gucci Première is a floral woody musk; the notes include bergamot, orange blossom, white flowers, musk, leather and wood. It is available in 30, 50 ($87) and 75 ($105) ml Eau de Parfum and in matching body products.

1. Quote via Women's Wear Daily, 6/22/2012.

2. Ibid. Gucci Première is named for the brand's Première Collection line of couture gowns that debuted in 2010.

3. It's not what I'd put on with a couture gown, even if I was just going to hang around by myself staring out the window, but quite a few women reviewing it online mention its sophistication.

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  1. eaudemale says:

    Would this one be something like the RIP: By Dolce&Gabbana?
    Seriously, why did DG stop making those?

    • Robin says:

      I never smelled that one, but based on everything I’ve read, I’d say no — always heard that was a spicy, sexy floriental, and rather unusual.

    • FragrantWitch says:

      Definitely not like By!

  2. antonpan says:

    Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the personality here. A typical white floral in the base (with no flower dominates) and a typical fruity citrusy opening. Just normal. Gucci Guilty is much better (i like lilac there), Gucci by Gucci is really good (though it doesn’t last long as I know)

    • Robin says:

      Did GbG not last on you? I didn’t have that problem. I’ve seen a few complaints about the lasting power of this one, too, but it goes easily 5-6 hours on me, which is as long as I want anything to last.

      • antonpan says:

        I’m male, but everyone around me who wore GbG complained of a weak longevity. In any case GbG is quite similar to Narciso Rodriguez fragrance which lasts appreciably longer

  3. Dusan says:

    LMAO at endnote 3!

  4. Lys says:

    Wow, I got very little fruit in this, at least the sweet fruit that’s obligatory in fruity florals. Shows how much my nose is skewed toward expecting a screeching Lola or Ed Hardy in dept store perfume. I felt the musk, altho not at all dirty, was at least recognizable as “musky” as opposed to “dryer sheet.”

    No idea why Blake Lively is the face altho she’s popular. But like you say Premier is consciously trying to be sophisticated. Not that she’s unsophisticated, just that she’s around neutral on the sophistimeter.

    • Subhuman says:

      Blake Lively strikes me as “young with too much money” rather than sophisticated, but perhaps I’m influenced by her character on Gossip Girl.

      Also, I must be the only person on the planet who found GbG too sweet by a mile to qualify for anything approaching “masculine”. If only.

      • Robin says:

        It really was terribly sweet in the early stages — like this one, not something you’d expect to smell on a man until the far dry down.

    • Robin says:

      Nearly everyone is neutral on my sophistimeter because I never know who anybody is, including her :-)

      It definitely isn’t a fruity floral, so you don’t get that much “unadorned” fruit, that’s for sure! And agree it isn’t dryer sheet, at least for that.

    • Perfumista8 says:

      “sophistimeter” :) Love that.

  5. Lovetosmell says:

    I really liked this one probally because it has been striped down and spade.Its a great office scent doesn’t give me a headache and I like the bottle.

    • Robin says:

      Yes, can see it working well for the office-into-evening.

  6. FragrantWitch says:

    This did not smell ‘Premiere’ to me at all. Not sure who Blake Lively really is so no idea if she fits the target market. On me, this was fruit (though not FROOT) and a knockoff Gucci leather jacket. It did definitely seem like two different fragrances and the opening would never tempt me to buy. Nor would the drydown really! I liked Envy from Gucci and the original GbG but of late it is joining Givenchy in the ‘barely on the fragrance radar’ category. Shame but more money for other goodies!

    • Robin says:

      Fruit + knockoff leather jacket is a perfect description! And funny you mention Givenchy, because exactly: I have trouble keeping the modern fragrance lines straight. Dahlia Noir could have been Gucci and Premiere could have been Givenchy, it’s all the same to me. Just based on that, I think you could argue both fragrance brands are a failure — they do nothing to reinforce the brand identity (although in this case, and w/ Guilty, at least the packaging does that job).

      • FragrantWitch says:

        Exactly! Gucci does at least communicate the brand in the bottle but Givenchy could be anything- the bottles, marketing (of which I can recall none) and juice are so forgettable and interchangeable. Guerlain, Chanel and Estee Lauder put the two G’s to shame. Hey, maybe they could merge and keep the interlocking G’s?!

        • Robin says:

          LOL — and it would be easier for me to keep track if they did! Of course, for all I know, the fashion lines are entirely different animals.

        • pigoletto says:

          Funny that – Tom Ford was good at creating (overseeing) scents for Gucci and YSL that were actually in line with what he was designing – Envy, Gucci EDP (maybe not so much with EDP II, but was that when he was still there?) and then Nu and Cinema. Gucci under Giannini sorta kept it up with Gucci by Gucci and maybe to a lesser extent with Flora (I’ll give it a break as it was influenced by a scarf pattern more than anything else), but clearly now has gone down the road of just churning out what sells. I can’t really think of any designers that are really keen to put out a perfume that matches their design philosophy other than Bottega Veneta – that was well done, but I always got the impression Tom Ford was sort of a ultra-perfectionist/control type – which is no bad thing considering the beauty that was Envy.

          • Robin says:

            I always thought that of TF too, and I think he’s done a really good job with his own signature line as well. My esteem for his fragrance skills went way downhill with Private Blend, which I think helped him make the discovery that if he just charged enough, people would buy *anything*.

          • pigoletto says:

            I know what you mean. I almost felt like he was trying to place himself with a house like Creed with the PBs, but they were hit and miss quite a bit, even though the materials are clearly good quality – I haven’t come across one yet I felt I would pay out that money for, although Neroli Portofino comes in a slightly less £-painful eau fraiche splash. I think the ‘mainstream’ signature stuff is extremely well done for where its placed in the market though. Violet Blonde is my favourite so far even though the base isn’t quite as interesting as the top/middle.

          • Robin says:

            I’ve never been able to shake the idea that most of the original PBs were discarded unfinished mods for Black Orchid. Then they sold, and he said, hey, this is a viable business model :-)

  7. Merlin says:

    I tried this some weeks ago and remember describing it as ‘generic’. I couldn’t have come up with notes other than unspecified floral. But then quite a few people I met seem to have liked it…

    • Robin says:

      I was really surprised at how many reviews mentioned the orange blossom, which I hardly noticed — it just smells like “flowers” to me.

  8. Robin, you kill me:

    “Première is clearly going for a slightly older, more sophisticated market than that for Flora or Guilty — the women who would have bought Gucci by Gucci had Frida Giannini not “unleashed her affinity for masculine notes” with quite so much abandon.”


    Full disclosure: I own both Gucci Flora (bought just before I TRULY fell down the perfume rabbit hole, not one of my faves now, but also decent enough to keep in my collection) and Gucci by Gucci (whose sweet patchouli I do quite like). So I don’t hate the modern Gucci line. And I do love me some Gucci Rush – scent of my sorority house. I felt Gucci Premiere was pretty ‘meh’ on a strip, but I did not try it on skin, so I never got to the ‘idea of leather’ note. That sounds at least remotely interesting…

    • Robin says:

      Do not get me wrong — I don’t “hate” Gucci at all! I just don’t care about it as a brand, and I don’t get excited when I hear they have a new fragrance coming out.

      But both Flora & GbG were really well done, and that’s more than I can say about many mainstream fragrances. I’d wear either one without embarrassment.

  9. naomi77 says:

    I haven’t smelled yet but am interested to do so. I really disliked Guilty, and was neutral on Gucci by Gucci. However I think my deep love and affection for Gucci EDP (old, brown juice) makes it impossible for me to love any of these other Gucci releases as for me they don’t come close to the quality and originality of that juice!

    • Robin says:

      And I don’t even know the original Gucci or Gucci II or any of that series!

      • naomi77 says:

        I have a half bottle on the go and a stashed away extra bottle. I can send you a decant at some point (i.e. when i remember to actually do the decanting) if you’d like. I have smelled, but do not own, the II (pink) version. But I see the pink in stores sometimes and never, ever any more see the original.

        • Robin says:

          That is terribly sweet, but it’s a beloved scent and you probably can’t replace it -> don’t waste it on me!

  10. Querelle 3 says:

    Since Giannini became creative director, it’s all about image and that’s all actually.. As the great Tom Robbins quoted: Perfumes named after glorified tailors. It’s sad but true.

    • Robin says:

      SO true about “glorified tailors” — it’s never been clear to me why anybody thinks fashion and perfume are such a natural pairing, or why a designer is any better placed than anybody else to make a great perfume.

      But Giannini replaced Ford, right? Admit I’m not a fan of Ford either, but he was probably responsible for Envy, Rush & Gucci Pour Homme, so arguably he did a much better job overseeing the fragrance line than Giannini has.

  11. Musk at the opening? Musk in the middle AND the dry-down. I’m moving on.

  12. Nile Goddess says:

    Why do I get this feeling they are all trying to make a Bottega Veneta smell-alike while pretending not to? Like a flock of sheep…

    Funny thing is, Fendi did Fan di Fendi at least one year before BV but it’s not nearly as popular.

    • Robin says:

      Fan di Fendi must have outsold BV though? It certainly has much wider distribution.

      And BV was very well done but hardly the first leather of its kind (it often gets compared to Daim Blond, to name just one) so not sure its anybody’s reference.

      • Nile Goddess says:

        On my skin BV and DM are identical.

        What I mean is that mainstream fragrance seems to have become increasingly risk-averse but may copy the style or trend of a sucessful niche or semi-niche fragrance if it suits them.

        Here Fendi is available only in internet shops – it disappeared completely from brick and mortar stores. I’ve not tested it yet and the reviews were lukewarm, unlike BV.

        • Robin says:

          I would agree with that — risk adverse and prone to copying.

  13. Nile Goddess says:

    Forgot to add – I tested Gucci premiere and did not understand what its theme is – something bland and bizarre that wore too close to the skin to actually discern any notes. Got the same feeling after the new Cool Water Woman (golden bottle too)

  14. eminere says:

    Women in couture in fragrance commercials stare longingly out of windows because they long to be free from the Spanx keeping them in to their couture.

  15. Penny says:

    I am wearing Gucci Premiere at the moment and am finding quite lovely. It is a good fragrance to wear to the office as it stays close and is an elegant and lovely presence. I cannot wear many scents and don’t like walking into a cloud of someone’s fruity , melony musky disco perfume that makes my eyes water. I love Gucci by Gucci and I am liking this new version as well.

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