Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture ~ fragrance review

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture

This month Guerlain released La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture, a flanker to La Petite Robe Noire — the 2012 version, as Robin recently explained, not the 2009 or 2011 versions.1 This new interpretation reportedly combines "fresh floral notes" with "ultra-refined woody notes" in a composition of raspberry, bergamot, rose essence, rose absolute, patchouli, moss, vetiver and tonka bean. It was developed by Guerlain house perfumer Thierry Wasser.

As you may remember, I was not terribly fond of 2012's La Petite Robe Noire. I do prefer this Eau de Parfum Couture version, because I find it softer and less aggressively youthful. Its raspberry note feels creamier and less like an artificially flavored soda drink, the addition of rose in the heart is a pleasant surprise, and the tonka comes across almost like toasted almonds. This nuttiness is complimented by a licorice note and a gourmand-woodsy base. Is there such a thing as candied patchouli? If there is, this is what it smells like. La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture has very good staying power, but since it's not as sweet as its 2012 predecessor, I didn't keep wishing I could wash it off.

As you may guess, the combination of red fruits, tonka, anise and sweet patchouli in La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture still evokes the original Lolita Lempicka fragrance. In fact, the first day that I tested this scent, I was out in public, and I kept thinking that I was smelling Lolita Lempicka on someone nearby. And as much as I can understand Guerlain's need to court younger shoppers, I wish they could do so without releasing an imitative "fruitchouli," even a well-composed one. In my real-life wardrobe, I can never own enough black dresses. In my perfume collection, on the other hand, I tend to avoid fragrances that feel too derivative of things I already own.

Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Eau de Parfum Couture is available in 30, 50 and 100 ml. For more purchasing information, see the listing for Guerlain under Perfume Houses.

 1. The 2011 version, though, is reportedly coming back as 'Mademoiselle Guerlain'.

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  1. scentfromabove says:

    The notes to this one sounds very appealing to me. I also love a good fragrance with staying power where I don’t have to keep reapplying it all day. I think the bottle is pretty.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m still not crazy about the graphics (and I really hate that lettering), but you can’t beat the classic Guerlain bottle profile! It’s beautiful.

  2. happy888cat says:

    When I tried EdP Couture, Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” came to mind.
    It’s not a bad fragrance but I find it a little too cute and generic to be donned “Couture”. I would perhaps felt better if “Chic” was chosen.
    To me it wears more youthful than the original and day time appropriate.
    So, quoting the song: “Don’t get me wrong, I think you’re alright, but that won’t keep me warm in the middle of the night”

    • Jessica says:

      I couldn’t agree with you more. “Couture” sounds elegant and hand-tailored and one-of-a-kind… but this fragrance is really more “ready-to-wear.”

  3. mals86 says:

    So if you had a choice between this and Lolita Lempicka you’d pick… which?

    I like the idea of creamy raspberry and toasted almonds in my rose-vanilla. My guess, though, is that LL might be a much better bang for the buck, and that counts too. I keep dithering on whether I should pick up a mini of LL anyway – or maybe I’ll just go buy a small bottle of PdN Kiss Me Tender.

    • Dilana says:

      I have not smell this Guerlain but I recommend looking around the usual discount sources for the original LL. It’s a good (perhaps the only example) of something being young, fruity, light, inexpensive charming and interesting. I can imagine a tween sneaking into her grandma’s room for a sniff of a “real adult perfume” while her grandmom sneaks into the tween room for a shot of LL

      • Jessica says:

        I’ll always love the original Lolita Lempicka! It’s a favorite of mind. I like the Minuit versions, too.

        • Poppie says:

          And something needs to be said about the bottles — one of the pleasures I enjoy with perfume the little spark of delight I get when I glance at the bottles on my vanity. The Lolita lavender apple still makes me smile when I see it. So do the little Bulgari gems.

          The black dress graphic in slightly jarring, too cartoony in some way for my taste. And it’s that shade of sweet fruity pink that’s become offputting to me.

          Bottles seem to prepare my nose for what I am about to sniff, and they need to be congruent for me to enjoy the experience. Or else completely utilitarian like the generic sample containers.

  4. Celestia says:

    I’m on the other side of the coin:
    1. the second original was well done but too heavy for my tastes.
    2. the EDT version I find more wearable. More bergamot and green apple in it.
    3. Couture is also more to my taste. A modern chypre.
    4. don’t like the idea of using an iconic 100 year old bottle with a youthful picture. Invest in a new bottle designer for brand new juices, please.
    5.I have an extensive LL collection and find the LPRN series and LL quite dissimilar. Surely they are related but to me, are still different.
    6. I only wear black under duress which is for work. I’m all about living my life in colour and black will do for my coffin.

    • johanob says:

      Could you possibly be my scent twin??Lol!I agree with all your points,especially about LL,which ventures(to my nose)wayyyy more to the Angel side than to LPRN.I love both Angel and LL,but find them unwearable,LPRN in Original exclusive,EDP,and Couture versions are all really wearable,I’m just very light on the spritzes.

      • Jessica says:

        It’s always nice to find a scent twin here in the comments!

  5. Rappleyea says:

    I really want to try this for some reason, although with that said, the raspberry aroma-chemical doesn’t work on my skin, and other than Iris Ganache (which I love), Wasser’s fragrances haven’t worked for me either. But M. Guerlain has been much more persuasive than you and has me very tempted.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m a fan of Iris Ganache, too! I like the raspberry here — it’s much less cloying than the fruit in the 2012 version.

  6. dbelt says:

    When I tried La Petite Robe Noir (whichever version it was–I had no idea there were three different iterations with the same name) I was pretty underwhelmed too, and I remember being surprised that Guerlain would put out something like that. It just seemed sort of…run-of-the-mill, even though I feel horrible for saying it. I kind of feel like I have to try this, though, for the sole reason that I’m a Guerlain nut. Although if it smells like Lolita Lempicka, it might not be half bad…

    • Jessica says:

      Well, why not give it a spritz, once it arrives at more fragrance counters… it’s fun, just not terribly distinctive!

  7. annemarie says:

    I like raspberries fresh off a bush; can’t abide them in fragrance, so no form of LPRN is ever going to work for me. I’m glad LPRN is so popular though. This is surely how Guerlain funds its other ventures.

    • hajusuuri says:

      …and don’t forget about that Fiat 500 La Petite Robe Noir ;-)

      • annemarie says:

        Oh Lord yes, I had forgotten that. We have come a long way from when in 1912 Jacques Guerlain stared into the blue Parisian sky and received inspiration for L’Heure Bleue.

        • johanob says:

          As much as I love and wear LPRN,you cannot ever beat the precious beauty that is L’Heure Bleue.My favorite Guerlain,whether vintage/brandnew/edt/edp!

        • Jessica says:

          Hear, hear.

    • Jessica says:

      Oh, about funding other ventures — exactly. As long as Apres l’Ondee and Nahema remain, even in their present-day formulations, I’ll turn a blind eye to these youth-oriented scents!

      • johanob says:

        Oh,hear hear!!;-))

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