Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire (2012) ~ fragrance review

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire 2012 advert

As announced earlier this year, Guerlain has released a new version of La Petite Robe Noire, the 2009 limited distribution perfume inspired by the wardrobe basic “the little black dress." This new iteration of La Petite Robe Noire was developed for Guerlain by house perfumer Thierry Wasser; its composition includes notes of patchouli, almond, red fruits, bergamot, rose, licorice, smoked black tea, tonka bean, vanilla and iris.

I was puzzled by the La Petite Robe Noire concept when the first version was launched, and my confusion has only increased while I've been trying out this 2012 variation. First of all, what does the "little black dress" motif have to do with Guerlain, one of the few major fragrance brands that has no fashion connection? (It would make perfect sense for a Chanel perfume, of course.) Did anyone really think that the cartoonish silhouette of a dress fits well on the classic square Guerlain bottle with its inverted-heart cap? Why was the romantic-revenge anthem "These Boots Are Made For Walkin'" chosen for the commercial? And is the fragrance itself some kind of cynical joke?

If you want the long-story-short, here it is: to me, La Petite Robe Noire 2012 is a washed-out copy of Lolita Lempicka topped with a shot of Cherry Coke. There's a fizzy-sugar red-fruit top note. The second phase of the composition is a smoky-sweet tea with bergamot, and I did enjoy this element of the composition, but it didn't last long. The extended heart and base of the fragrance is a slightly muffled blend of iris, licorice and tonka. Hours and hours later, some traces of the cherry notes re-emerged in the final vanilla-anise dry-down. If you like Lolita Lempicka (now called Lolita Lempicka Le Premier Parfum), you'll like this fragrance well enough, but why bother, when you can just buy another bottle of the cheerier, better-rounded Lolita? Even as a derivative scent, La Petite Robe Noire ends up falling flat.

I'm not necessarily opposed to "younger" releases from venerable fragrance houses, if they're done well and they convey some aspect of the "brand DNA," as marketing people say. Délire de Roses made sense to me because Caron has released so many rose-inspired fragrances over the past decades; Houbigant's Oranger en Fleurs applies contemporary dryness to a traditional white floral theme. I liked Shalimar Light well enough, and I could see how a young woman who wore it might eventually investigate the original Shalimar. However, I can't image a twenty-year-old wearer of La Petite Robe Noire taking much of an interest in Mitsouko or Chamade (one of my favorites!) or other Guerlain classics.

Or am I completely missing the point? What do you think?

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire is available in 30 ($64), 50 ($80), and 75 ($115) ml Eau de Parfum. For purchasing information, see the listing for Guerlain under Perfume Houses.

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  1. I struggled with this one. In some respects, it is nice to see Guerlain get good placement in Sephora and be well-promoted (my Sephora associate told me that the perfume was selling very well). Although I agree that the marketing isn’t totally in with with the house of Guerlain, I find it cute.

    But, unfortunately, I didn’t get much out of the perfume itself. I thought the main cherry note was quite well done and realistic (not generic “froot”). But, then it disappeared. I wonder if I am anosmic to something in this one? I’ll give it at least one more try – I got a sample spray from the Sephora guy.

    • er, that should be ” isn’t totally in line with the house of Guerlain”

      • Jessica says:

        It’s certainly getting prime placement at Sephora, thanks to the LVMH connection! I suppose it could make some customers stop at the Guerlain section of the aisle, and *maybe* they’ll try another Guerlain scent or two while they’re there… but for some reason, I’m not very hopeful.

  2. ladymurasaki says:

    Thanks for the review, Jessica. Though I don’t mind the lighthearted ad and bottle design, the juice is a disappointment. Before I tried it, I thought it would make a great present for my daugther for her birthday, so I got a sample for her, but she dismissed it completely. I can see why. It is uninspiring and flighty, and as you point out, derivative.

    • Jessica says:

      That’s an interesting reaction, from the target audience, no less!!

      • ladymurasaki says:

        I know! And it’s not just my daugther, but her friends as well. “Meh” was all I got from them. Here I thought I knew what girls of her age group liked, but I guess I underestimated… Just shows, “mum doesn’t know everything”. lol

  3. Dusan says:

    I think you’re quite right – this one is a horrid little number I fail to see the point of. In a blind test, I’d never guess it was a Guerlain.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m glad to know that this isn’t just a case of pure crankiness on my part. ;)

  4. eaudemale says:

    OK people, it’s time to realize that Guerlain is working to approach a younger crowd instead of limiting itself to release fragrances for the niche public to criticize and keep their production in the corner of perfumeries although they’re produced in mass.
    I have to disagree on this one with the Lolita Lempicka comparison, it’s cherry coke with some warmth sugar notes and powdery base, it’s not hard to imagine without sniffing it but it’s well done, LL is warm and aniseed to the max which makes these two different. If you would have mentioned Hot Couture, my respects though.
    It’s time to let go that Shalimar and Chanel No.5 and the other and the other smell good. Bad news, they don’t, our noses have evolved and all I get and most of the people I know also do, is old lady smell, primitive components nor extraction methods. Love the classic, yeah, those were good decades ago. But if you’re young and you arrive smelling like a funeral for the girls or old furniture for the guys, you have to leave.

    • Jessica says:

      All I can say to that is… de gustibus non est disputandum. ;)

    • egabbert says:

      I like the suggestion that, rather than fashions changing, our noses have actually evolved substantially in the span of a few decades to experience these perfumes differently. Seems plausible.

      • Lys says:


        • Ari says:

          Elisa is facetiously pointing out that it would take far longer than a few decades for our noses to literally physically evolve to the point that we would perceive smells differently than the last few generations. “Conditioning” would probably be a better term than “evolve” to describe how this generation’s taste in perfume is different than previous ones.

          • Jessica says:

            I agree! and even conditioning is very subjective. Once I was wearing a vanilla-and-anise niche fragrance that my husband strongly disliked because it was “grandma-ish.” No two noses/minds are exactly alike, in any time.

          • Lys says:

            I picked up on the facetiousness but somehow also thought Elisa was making a point about us being exposed to more and more synthetic scents and fewer natural ones today, in our environment beyond just fragrances. I think I was misreading it but might make for a nice discussion.

    • Mitzi says:

      Well but then what is the point of the discussion? Your generation does not want to smell like an old lady, well it’s fine with me, but I do not want to smell like warmed up Cherry Coke… I dare say that a high school student with pink hair who sat next to me on bus stop another day wearing high top sneakers and pushing a lollypop in and out of her mouth would probably not want to smell like either…
      It is only exchange of opinions isn’t it?

  5. Lys says:

    Saying Guerlain can’t do a little black dress is a little like saying Cartier can’t do an Essence de Bois b/c they’re not a lumber factory. To a younger crowd, La Petite Robe Noire isn’t the competitor Chanel’s little black dress, it’s the LBD of Seventeen magazine or Cosmo. It’s what you wear when you want to party and have fun and so is La Petite Robe Noire. So there’s that.

    The Nancy Sinatra ad is meant to be campy. And youthful again b/c you’re pairing your chic LBD with some badass stomping boots. It’s fun.

    I think LPRN 2012 is a nice black cherry fragrance and I think of it in terms of the red fruit spirit of original Miss Dior Cherie with a harsher side like Coco Mademoiselle.

    Original LPRN was much more like Lolita Lempicka, I do not get much licorice in the new one so while I understand the comparison I can’t quite assume it myself. I still consider original LPRN a Lolita Lempicka for people who do not want to smell cheap or now it’s also for people who do not want to smell like Elle Fanning.

    Re: the Guerlainishness of LPRN, the original release was in many ways very Guerlain with a complex blend of floral and gourmand accords and a classical Guerlain structure. The new version is less Guerlain but has a kinship to the muscinade of newer entries like some of the Art et Materie and Mon Precieux Nectar. Arguably LPRN has more of a point of view than some of the more polite Art et Materie.

    New or old, I do prefer LPRN to the likes of Shalimar Initial. I also like it better than Idylle. L’Instant was itself an outlier to the Guerlain tradition and is a good scent. BTW I keep my bottle of Insolence EDP tucked away from the light next to my Parisienne of Derby and I am equally grateful for both.

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, I certainly understand camp, and the need to bring in new/young customers, etc. I just feel so disappointed, almost embarrassed by this fragrance. It reminds me of the way I used to feel as an undergrad when a professor would make a reference to no-longer-current pop culture icon as part of a jokey analogy, and no one would laugh.

      • Erin says:

        I didn’t find the ad fun, either – the concept didn’t seem witty enough to be camp. And I thought the original LPRN was more enjoyable than this iteration, but it still smelled plenty cheap (which is not always a negative in my book). Lolita Lempicka has the benefit of actually *being* quite cheap, as it is available at many discounters… as well as just generally better than LPRN, in my view. As you and Robin say: de gustibus non est disputandum.

        • Lys says:

          I may be blessed with having good skin for the stuff, but the original LPRN on my skin reveals violets, roses, peach, almond, lemon chiffon. Side by side, Lolita Lempicka shouts while 2009 LPRN sings, IMO ;). The new LPRN was done in house and suffers from not having the same secondary notes present, being instead mostly about husky patchouli, cherry and musk.

          BTW Jessica I hope my comment did not come across as dismissive! I love these reviews especially the ones with which I disagree.

          • Jessica says:

            No, you are have very valid opinions!! and now I’m really sorry I missed the first version. Le sigh, as someone below said. Maybe it had more of that smoky tea note.

        • Jessica says:

          I’ll never stop loving Lolita Lempicka. Lots of good memories associated with that one. I don’t wear it so often these days, now that I’m in more of an office/work setting, but I’ll always own some.

    • Zazie says:

      Yep, I totally agree: you don’t need to sell clothes in order to name a fragrance after a little black dress.
      I do find however that the communication effort on LPRN wasn’t blessed with the $$$ and “image construction” that has accompanied other campaignes, and that it sort of shows. But it makes me root even more for the juice!

      • Lys says:

        I think the first release showed a lack of though in terms of the PR but this new one feels very well organized. Guerlain doesn’t seem to use “faces” much for their perfumes and the redesign of the LPRN silhouette girl by Deygas + Kuntel was a great way to reclaim the imagery used in the 2009 release. At least for the Paris release there seemed to be a lot of though put into the PR campaign. But I don’t know if it was actually effective so I can completely see your point.

      • Jessica says:

        Well, Prada doesn’t make candy, but I completely understood Candy in relation to the brand, since Prada has always had a witty, unconventional streak. But maybe I have an outdated understanding of a “little black dress” as “classic, modern, versatile.”

  6. JolieFleurs says:

    Well, but how evolved does one have to be to want to smell like a piece of fruit? Or even a piece of fruit with a dash of clean laundry musk?

    Don’t get me wrong, I have several fruits in my perfume arsenal (I like a nice peach now and then) but it seems like the wheel of evolution would roll more towards complex things like the complexity in funerals and old furniture rather than back towards the basic smell of fruit.

    (Full disclosure, I am the proud owner Demeter’s Funeral Home and am still searching for something that smells of old books and deeply waxed furniture)

    • Jessica says:

      Old books and freshly waxed furniture can be wonderful smells. My mother always used a lemon-oil polish on the antique furniture in our house, and it’s one of my favorite olfactory memories. I suppose that’s where my problem started, loving scents like Shalimar. ;)

    • Erin says:

      JF, have you tried CB I Hate Perfume’s “In the Library”? You might enjoy that one if you’re looking for old books and waxed furniture.

    • Emily says:

      There’s a Demeter Funeral Home? Googling that right now.

      • Jessica says:

        It’s a Demeter classic! Definitely check it out. :)

  7. Ari says:

    Totally agree that Lolita Lempicka is much fuller than this, although I do find the drier cherry note in LPRN sort of interesting. Don’t much want to wear it, though.

    • egabbert says:

      The original, pre-reform LPRN was much closer to LL, I think, and generally much fuller and better. Le sigh, as they say….

      • Jessica says:

        I’m sorry I missed that one. I did try the second Robe Noire fragrance, about a year ago…? and I found it very marshmallow-y.

  8. lenika says:

    I tried it and somehow missed the top notes, all I remember that they were harsh and thin, but then it became better and better, and the dry down was really nice on me. Maybe I’m anosmic to something in its top notes, I don’t know; probably because of it LPRN didn’t smell to me like something girlish at all, but like rather “mature” fragrance.

    • Jessica says:

      That’s an interesting response! Thanks for reading, Lenika.

      • lenika says:

        Ok, update ;) Today I *did* smell the first notes, and even for rather long time – maybe an hour or something (could it be because I put sunscreen on this morning – some 9.5 hours before trying it?)
        Anyway, I didn’t like the opening at all (it IS fruity and girly; not that I generally against fruity and girly, but the opening was unpleasant for my nose), and, like on the first trying, it became better and better with time (while Violet Blond worse and worse on another wrist lol). I do like its base very much and agree with kaos.geo that it feels like there’s no connection between first and second “halves” of this fragrance.

  9. Zazie says:

    Oh, I beg to differ! ;)
    Among my favorite fragrances lay the three glamourous greatest: shalimar, mitsouko, jicky. I wear mouchoir de Monsieur very, very often (it is very, very “me”) and have a soft spot for chamade and l’heure bleue. I have four (4) bottles of attrape-coeur in stock, so I can splurge in its violet tinged peaches for many winters to come.
    So, I have a Guerlain badge! :)
    I must say that I feel thrilled about LPRN. Because to me it is much better that any of those horrible recent releases. Mainstream and not.
    LPRN is nice. It is fun. I don’t see much resemblance with the LDL perfume. Almond marzipan vanilla cherry…I like it. I have even worn it a few times and, seriously, to make me wear something that sweet and fruity is quite an exploit. I hope LPRN sells well. And that it puts Guerlain on the right track! :)

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you! Differing opinions are always welcome here, especially when they are well-informed and well-stated. ;)

    • Lys says:

      Four (4) bottles of attrape-coeur in stock? O.O
      Oh the awesomeness!

  10. Emily says:

    Just out of curiousity, Jessica, how would LPRN compare with Hanae Mori Butterfly? I wore that one for a long time before I seriously fell down the perfume rabbit hole (and I still think it’s a well-done scent, but I’m not that into sweet gourmands anymore — aside from Lolita Lempicka.) Anyway, some of the LPRN notes instantly made me think of Butterfly (almond, red fruits, vanilla).

    Neither here nor there, but “LPRN” sounds like a hybrid of various nursing certifications available here in the States :)

    • Jessica says:

      Emily, I can’t really wear Hanae Mori… it’s just too much berry and vanilla and whipped cream on me. I like quite a few loukhoum-inspired scents, and berryish things like CK Euphoria, but I can’t quite handle HM somehow. I’d say LPRN (which really does look like a medical degree!) is more toned-down and considerably less sweet than HM.

      • Emily says:

        Thanks, Jessica. That’s sort of what I suspected, based on your review. I can’t do HM anymore, either —and I shudder to think of how flagrantly I over-applied it, back in the day — but sometimes I get nostalgic for it. Probably I’ll stick with Lolita Lempicka (in small doses) for my gourmand-fragrance needs.

  11. melisand61 says:

    For me, it’s fairly simple. I don’t mind the concept, nor the idea of Guerlain reaching out to the Sephora crowd. The bottle design is could either be viewed as heresy or campiness. I’ll choose to view it as campy. I preferred the original, although it’s still not my style of fragrance. And none of the three (the original, LPRN 2 or the 2012) are terrible fragrances, to my nose. But I’ll continue to wear my mossy, funereal fragrances and leave the cherry sweetness to others.

    • Jessica says:

      “Mossy, funereal fragrances” sounds just fine to me! although I do like many sweet florals too.

      I bet I could have written a review saying that the bottle is fetching, and the ad is fun, and the fragrance is delightful and delicious, and that I love Guerlain’s latest direction… and we’d be seeing just as many passionate and strongly-divided opinions. :)

    • Emily says:

      And if the profits from the cherry-sweet offerings can subsidize the production of more mossy-funereal offerings, so much the better.

    • Abyss says:

      “Mossy, funereal fragrances”. Ha! :D

      It feels like autumn has well and truly arrived here and I woke up with a craving for a spritz of mossy Mitsouko. My sample of vintage EDT is all but empty and I’m not sure what I’ll do once it’s all gone. I only wear it a couple of times a year but nothing else quite does it when I find myself in the mood for it.

  12. sweetgrass says:

    I didn’t like LPRN when I tried it, but “red fruit” notes tend to smell kind of harsh and screechy to me.

    And if not smelling like fruit salad = smelling like a funeral, then I guess I’m perfectly content to smell like a funeral. It keeps my inner goth girl happy. :P

    • Jessica says:

      I actually do like red currant and pomegranate notes! It just depends, for me, on the degree of sugariness and on the rest of the composition, of course.

      • annemarie says:

        Yes, me too. I missed the smoky tea notes in LPRN, or I might have liked it better. I’ll give it another try.

  13. poodle says:

    I have no opinion because I have not smelled this but I love everyone else’s strong views on it. I don’t usually like fruity but cherry might be interesting. I’d also be willing to bet that a lot of people buying it have no idea that Guerlain has nothing to do with actual little black dresses. I see it as Guerlain trying to grab a piece of the pie.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m probably a little too interested in fashion history for my own good… and I’m sure many fragrance-shoppers don’t know about Dior’s New Look, or Donna Karan’s pioneering work in knits and bodysuits, blah blah blah, but that doesn’t affect perfume sales! ;)

      Do try it, next time you pass a Guerlain counter, and let us know what you think!

  14. niche says:

    My sister is 17. I’m 27 so I think I have become too old to be the exact target market for this stuff. Based on my sister’s habits, I can tell you that you are missing the point. Guerlain has no perfume targeted to the youth market. Shalimar Light is not a success in that respect. The average young woman is not going to go to the Guerlain counter. They go to Sephora and try Marc Jacob Dot/Daisy. Maybe they’ll try Prada or Chloe or Chanel if they are a bit more sophisticated. Scents like Shalimar are not on their radar at all and it is unlikely that they will ever discover it given the crowded fragrance market. My sister hates most my fragrances. She says they are too powerful. I think she means they are too complex for her because all she wants and expects is fruity and vanilla.

    • niche says:

      Just want to add, I don’t think Guerlain expects people to try this and buy the other fragrances. I think this is the start of a series of more commercial, youth oriented fragrances. Selling at Sephora is all about the $$$. I bet there will be a flanker in a year. :)

      • Jessica says:

        My problem is that I expect too much and I take things too seriously!

      • Lys says:

        I bet the fragrance will lead some new people to explore the brand’s color cosmetics line.

        • Jessica says:

          I love their Rouge Automatique lipsticks, the ones named after the fragrances. And the Meteorites powder is a classic, of course!

  15. annemarie says:

    I think the ad is as cute as the dickens and have watched it many times with great enjoyment because it is so well done. What is interesting is that Guerlain have framed the entire marketing campaign around an American song sung in English (with original soundtrack). In grabbing a piece of the pie, as Poodle puts it, Guerlain has mostly bypassed its French customers and decided that the greatest piece is likely to be coming from the US.

    Thanks for the link to the Nancy Sinatra video – it’s fabulous!

    • Jessica says:

      I’ve always loved that crazy video. The sweaters! the hair! the groovy dance moves!

      Although, once again, I’m asking too much… but I wish that people would listen to the lyrics of a song before they tack it onto an ad campaign / political campaign etc. I’m a purist, I know. And I realize that the under-25s may never have heard the full song before!

      • annemarie says:

        Or, if they are French-speaking, catch its nuances. You are right, there is so often a disconnect when you fit an old song on to an new ad.

        It’s fun though, when that disconnect is a yawning chasm. In the 1970s there was a TV ad for instant coffee that was backed by the opening 45 seconds of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. It was pretty hilarious, but the greater result was that everyone was bowled over by the amazing music and that led, I think, to a resurgent interest in the whole piece.

        • Jessica says:

          Or the Volkswagen ad that introduced so many people to Nick Drake’s music about a decade ago!

    • Interesting point. In a market where 2 out of every 3 fragrances seem to be built around oud, in order to appeal to the Middle Eastern markets, here is one straight for U.S. tastes.

  16. Nile Goddess says:

    Love your review! So many people gush about this one just because it’s a Guerlain. In my opinion it’s a poor excuse for a Guerlain. I wonder what Jean-Paul thinks about it.

    Or if mainstream perfumery will ever release a grown-up perfume again …

    • annemarie says:

      Botega Venetta?

      • Jessica says:

        There are some nice things out there… I liked the recent Elie Saab one, too. We just have to seek them out, beyond the Biebers!

        • samantha says:

          I love Elie Saab, too! So pleasantly surprised by that one! Nice review, Jessica- I thought it spot-on.

    • Jessica says:

      With Guerlain, I feel like I’m damned if I say I like it, and I’m damned if I say I don’t like it. We’re all very invested in the brand, in our own ways! But I *can’t* take the attitude of, oh, poor Guerlain, they’re just trying to make money like everyone else. They’re not some mom-and-pop operation. They’re part of a global luxury-goods conglomerate.

    • hajusuuri says:

      Baiser Vole?

  17. Abyss says:

    Oh, wow, some pretty strong opinions!

    I did snicker at Jessica’s description of Guerlain’s rather confused marketing strategy for this :D That said, I don’t mind the juice. I never smelled the earlier version, I’m not part of the target audience and I wouldn’t wear this but I found it far less objectionable than a number of other ‘young’ releases (yes, including the already-mentioned Parfum Initial).

    LPRN reminded me a little of that Guerlain’s Paris-Moscow thing. Except that’s where context made all the difference for me – P-M’s placement as exclusive and expensive despite the banal juice was exasperating. LPRN’s lack of pretension makes it that much less bothersome.

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, the whole EXCLUSIVITY and LUXURY thing, when it’s hung on not-so-amazing fragrances… so frustrating, when *any* brand does it.

    • Lucy says:

      You are spot on with the Paris-Moscow recognition. I received a sample of LPRN in the mail today. I kept thinking that I had sampled this before but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I didn’t really like the p-m line, although I remember that Tokyo was okay. It wasn’t special enough for a purchase during my first Guerlain boutique visit though. I liked the 2009 LPRN much better. It had a much more prominent Anise note and less berry. I wish I had realized at the time it was a limited edition and bought it.

  18. Flora says:

    You know what bugs me the most? The “LBD” on the perfume label is not the kind of chic little black dress any stylish woman would wear! It looks like the dresses I put on my paper dolls when I was about 7 years old. Not exactly what Audrey Hepburn would wear…

    • Jessica says:

      I agree! Maybe they should have used a silhouette of a woman *wearing* a little black dress? They’ve tried three different free-floating dresses by now, and all of them looked a little cheesy.

  19. samantha says:

    Hated it. Wanted to own a bottle with that adorable top (though I agree, the silhouette could be better), but the perfume reeks to my nose. And I love cherry!

    • Jessica says:

      I didn’t actually hate it, but I only *really* liked the tea accord, and the rest of it just felt flat and flimsy to me. I wouldn’t mind the concept/visuals etc. so much if the fragrance itself were more substantial!

  20. averij says:

    I sprayed one little spray of this on my wrist and had a headache for the rest of the day. So I kind of hate it. There was still smell lingering after two showers and a sweaty hike in the mountains though! Amazing lasting power but headache-inducing for me.

    • Jessica says:

      Wow! It really *did* last on you. It had pretty average power on my skin, but I also got some on my shirt-cuff when I sprayed my wrist, and it stayed loud and proud on the fabric all day. It was kind of distracting, actually.

  21. olenska says:

    It’s sad to think that Guerlain only wanted to profit from the youth market without inviting them to explore the back catalog for which this house is renowned. It’s a bit like keeping a guest standing in your foyer without offering them an actual seat in your house. Oh, and charging them a C-note for the privilege.

    • Jessica says:

      Olenska: hear, hear.

    • Lys says:

      RE: “without inviting them to explore the back catalog,” to be fair the Guerlain press releases of this scent consistently make mention of heritage Guerlains like L’Heure Bleue and Mitsouko – the Chinese press release elaborates that this is the little sister who has watched those two beautiful older sisters dress up and go out. You *could* argue that this one isn’t properly part of Guerlain hertiage, but Guerlain clearly is trying to use LPRN in part to invite the new customer into the whole Guerlain family of scents.

      I think however sites like Sephora who notoriously garble and reinvent copy will omit this.

  22. kaos.geo says:

    Hi Jessica!

    This time I do not agree with your review (which does not mean I didn´t enjoy it anyway! :-) )

    This one does not remind me of lolita lempica or cherry coke.

    IMHO this is something like an attempt of doing a permutation on the Fruitchouly trend.

    I honest to God did not smell licorice (which is indeed very present in the original Lempicka) perhaps it is there but I got overripe red and purple fruits (a little tart still, but deeper than regular red-purple fruits) and then a base which is woods and tonka-vanilla. Or perhaps mixed in so well that my nose cannot detect it. I mean the original lempica was STRONG licorice and anise, and I dont get either of those on this one.

    What I DO not like about this one is that the top half of the perfume is IMHO disconnected with the bottom half.. the red fruits make a comback after the middle and top notes have already gone, but only the tartness comes back.. a weird effect that clashes with the more warm base. So in my mind this could be better excecuted and integrated. Still I like it very much. Feminine and modern with a sprinkle of Guerlain finesse

    Like you said, de gustibus non est disputandum… and the Spanish-Argentinian version “Sobre gustos no hay nada escrito” (there’s nothing written about taste)

    Thank you for the review, it is good to have different opinions and certainly makes for a more livelier comment posts! :-D

    • Jessica says:

      KG, Thanks! and thanks for sharing your impressions, too. I definitely agree that there’s something wonky in the structure of this fragrance. (“Wonky” being a highly technical term, of course.) :)

  23. AnnieA says:

    PRN just smelled cheap to me — I couldn’t believe it didn’t get the bum’s rush from the Guelain boutique where I’d sniffed it.

    • Jessica says:

      I have to say that it didn’t smell high quality to me, either. I don’t want to Guerlain to stop coming out with fragrances, and I’m not saying that they shouldn’t ever reach to a new audience… but I expect a *little* more from them. It’s GUERLAIN, for Pete’s sake!

  24. ChocolatEyes613 says:

    Love how split the opinions of La Petite Robe Noire are. That, in and of itself, is intriguing.

    I think LPRN is a well done perfume, though not very original. It is one of the better youth-oriented fruitchoulies, and fruity-gourmands on the market. LPRN is a fun and flirty scent, yet still retains some class. Kudos to Guerlain for creating quality perfumes that appeal to the younger demographic, with this and Shalimar Parfum Initial.

    Though, for “fun” perfumes I will stick to Lolita Lempicka and Coco Mademoiselle. Both of those have a nice air a sophistication about them.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m sure that “youthful” and “sophisticated” is a tricky balance, but I just didn’t feel like LPRN achieved it. Yes to Coco Mademoiselle, though… and I also like Lolita Lemicka’s Si Lolita for that combination of fun and polish.

      • ChocolatEyes613 says:

        I agree, Jessica…. Si Lolita is really nice.

  25. Merlin says:

    Wow, so much controversy! Now I have to retry this. The first time I tried it I immediately loved the top notes and heart notes but found the longer dry down disappointing. I do like ‘sweet’, in that I liked Cartier Delices, Butterfly and the early Dior Cherie but I never loved LL and definitely found Loukhoum, as well as Vanillia nauseatingly sweet – in fact, almost metallic in their sweetness.
    PRN, in contrast, has some depth and richness to it.
    PRN is a conventional fruity-floral, BUT its a well-made one; the ingredients smell high quality and to me it is not unsophisticated.

    As for the bottle and advert – I have to admit to loving them! I like a bit of fun poked at the whole elegant-black-dress notion. The Chanel black dress idea is steam-lined, perfectly cut, simple, serious and even masculine (Chanel-women suits etc). One would wear a Chanel black dress with something austere, a chypre or something green – something that displays *good taste*.

    This black dress is over-the-top flouncy: it is even more amusing on the severe shape of the classical Guerlain bottle. The shape of the bottle takes it way way out of Vera-Wang-princess territory!
    And then, the hyper-feminine flounciness is given even more punch by the threatening undertone of the ‘These Boots are Made for Walkin’. i.e I may be pretty and sexy – but do not think that makes me a harmless walk-over!
    As for the advert – I adore the pink, black and grey tones, the seamless blend of elegance and fun. The crystal palaces, hyper-stylized Arc De Triomphe and glowing pink ferris wheel, together with that ever-so-styish and spunky heroine (Female James Bond or Pink Panther?) make this a well-conceived, and truly artistic fantasy!

    • Merlin says:

      Eek, didn’t mean to kill the conversation with an essay!

      • Jessica says:

        Oh, Merlin, I don’t think that’s what happened at all! The post just happened to slide down onto the second and then third page. :)

  26. Ariel says:

    Just got a sample if this today ( free with online purchase at Sephora). I totally agree with the Lolita Lempicka comparison – I get LL layered over cherry ice cream. As I have a bottle of LL already (and won’t miss the cherry ice cream accord), this sample is going to my 14 year old niece.

  27. themrdave says:

    Well, I think that this could be a kind of “newbie” perfume. I’m quite new to the world of fragrances, but I understood your point of view. I went toa shop some days ago, in order to find a decent perfume for my girlfriend. She never used perfumes a lot, she’s one of those who say: “buy me the acquolina one, it’s very sweet!!” but hey, I didn’t want to give her such a childish perfume. I tried or the “BIG ONES” from Guerlain, Dior, Givenchy, etc… but they’re too powerful for a young lady, even if we all know how some of the classics are really good perfumes. So I tried this. After 1 minute I was like: “Too sweet or not? I cannot choose” After 5: “Not too sweet, maybe there’s something missing, or something that should have been missed” After 10 (i like smelling perfumes very times and in different moments in order to catch the right sensation) “Well it’s pleasant”. Not exceptional, not very very good, and certainly a little unusual from Guerlain, but pleasant. It’s kinda “bridge” perfume between the world of “serious” perfumes and the other ones… so I bought it for her. Moreover, art is made of contrasts, and if this perfume has many cons, this can be his power. I sprayed some on my wrist and it lasted the whole day… certainly the smell was decreased, but I found it sweet. In conclusion, I find this perfume in tuning with its name: it’s like a young lady who dance with frenzy, than find a lover, and at the and of the day imagine herself still dancing with that man, with a bit of sweetness and a bit of sadness.

    • themrdave says:

      Moreover, due to the licorice smell, it makes hard identifying the character of the person wearing it… it’s like: “sweet… but there’s something I can’t get…” And I really liked it, even if I know it’s a very personal impression ;)

  28. Andreea says:

    I finally made it to a sample and I have to say: As bad as it sounded. Guerlain? I don’t mind going mainstream, but you can do it well – or the cherry coke way.

    Somebody threw things togenther like the most choosen lipstick scent (cherry), a memorable name, a classic bottle that looks expensive, and there you got your CASH COW. nothing more, nothing less.

    Nothing to do with Guerlian, okay, but eevn if you do not stick to classics or know about perfume houses or or or: This is really not a good perfume. Sorry.

    • Andreea says:

      …and now I am going to use some of my old L’heure Bleue Extrait.
      Just because I can!

    • themrdave says:

      This is quite a sharp review ;)

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