Guerlain Limon Verde ~ fragrance review

Guerlain Limon Verde

When I reviewed Lys Soleia back in 2012, I said I have something of a love-hate relationship with the Aqua Allegoria range from Guerlain. Aqua Allegoria started out as a youth-oriented line highlighting natural materials, but it's evolved, over the years, to something better expressed by the tag line they now use on some of the advertising: "the collection of fresh fragrances". And as "fresh", likewise, has evolved over the years to mean synthetic clean notes instead of things that are naturally fresh, like sparkling citrus and light florals, so the Aqua Allegorias have followed suit. My main complaint with Lys Soleia, and Jasminora before it, was how close they came to smelling like scented laundry products.1

In its favor, Limon Verde, the latest Aqua Allegoria, does not smell like laundry products. Its inspirations, expressed as the exhortation to "savour a Caipirinha under the lemon trees along the Amazon River", fit well with this year's emphasis on Brazil and the upcoming 2014 World Cup.2 Limon Verde's notes tell most of the story: cachaca, lime, cane sugar, fig, tonka bean and tropical fruits. So, the opening is a very green citrus. It's bright and terribly crisp (Bois de Jasmin notes a "razor sharp green accent", which is fair enough) and not at all sparkling, in the way that green citrus often is these days — it doesn't smell like laundry detergent, but it does vaguely recall air freshener. That is, it smells more like "citrus product" than like citrus.

The dry down is sweeter and fruitier and figgier, figgy enough that they might reasonably have called it Limon Figue (although of course they've already done Figue Iris). It doesn't recall a caipirinha to me, but it does have a tropical cocktail vibe, and the dry down is just creamy enough to almost, but not quite, smell like coconut. The base is pale musky wood. As you'd expect from an Aqua Allegoria, it's not likely to make it through an 8 hour day, but the lasting power is reasonable for a summer-y Eau de Toilette. I would call it a unisex, although I believe this line is marketed solely towards women.

Verdict: Limon Verde is pleasant enough, and I found it wearable, but it didn't evoke any strong reaction either way: I don't love it and I don't hate it. It didn't particularly say "Brazil" to me, but then, I've never been to Brazil. The Brazil of my imagination is better expressed by something like L'Artisan Batucada (which they seem to be relaunching at the moment) or Bahiana by Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, both of likewise take cues from the caipirinha, and both of which I found far more fun than Limon Verde. Both, of course, also cost more than the Guerlain.

If you have a favorite Aqua Allegoria, do comment! The last one I bought was Mandarine Basilic, and it's still one of my most-used summer citrus scents.

Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde was developed by Guerlain perfumer Thierry Wasser. It is available in 75 and 125 ml Eau de Toilette (Guerlain, so far, does not appear to be interested in joining other youth-oriented brands that have moved to smaller sizes).

1. I cannot comment on the last Aqua Allegoria before Limon Verde, Nerolia Bianca, because I never tried it, indeed, I never even saw it. The Aqua Allegoria range is not widely distributed in the US, although Sephora has more than most stores.

2. See also: Molton Brown Caju & Lime, Lancaster Sol de Bahia, 2014 Fifa World Cup Brazil Classic & Passion, Puma's Green and Yellow Brasil edition, Azzaro Chrome Summer and Pour Homme Summer, Adidas Get Ready.

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  1. rickbr says:

    I don’t know why they said the inspiration was caipirinha. I’m Brazilian and to me this doesn’t smell like caipirinha at all, the traditional one or the ones made with other fruits too (Passion Fruit and Red Berry Caipirinhas are great!). To me this is more of a fig scent than a Lemon one.

    I disagree with you that Jasminora smells like ccented laundry product Robin, it smells like real and expensive Jasmine, only it’s not indolic.

    • Robin says:

      Oh, I’m sure many people will disagree with me! I am not a fan of white musk unless it’s in such small concentration as to be unnoticeable — if I can smell it, chances are it will smell like detergent to me. Even if the jasmine had been indolic, Jasminora would have still reminded me of Tide :-)

      But now I want a passion fruit caipirinha, that sounds wonderful.

      • rickbr says:

        It’s not hard to do Robin, here in Brazil we also do caipirinhas of Vodka instead of Cachaça. It works fine too!

        Oh, you were talking about the musk, i thought you said the jasmine on it smelled like detergent.

        I don’t remember musks on Nerolia Bianca, i thought to be a very juicy orange fragrance. Good amount of fruits and flower, very summer-like.

        • Robin says:

          It’s the musk, which I think they also used in Lys Soleia. And possibly in this one as well, but not in such a heavy concentration.

          Will have to find the Nerolia eventually!

          • Laurels says:

            I was going to jump in and defend Jasminora, too (superpretty), but it occurs to me that I didn’t notice any clean musk, and it also lasts no more than an hour on me. Musk anosmia strikes again, I think, although in this case it apparently makes for a better-smelling (if short-lived) perfume.

          • Robin says:

            Well gosh, you can defend it anyway! I’m only talking about my own tastes. But if you can’t smell white musk, then I wish I had your nose.

  2. rickbr says:

    I also diasgree that Batucada represents Brazil. That fragrance is awful, synthetic, calone bomb. I hate it.

    • Robin says:

      Hey, I didn’t say it represented Brazil, just the Brazil of my imagination! But fair enough if you hated it.

      • rickbr says:

        Sorry! Well, it’s hard, when people think of Brazil they usually project the beachy parts, like Rio de Janeiro and Salvador. But we also have areas which are very different from that. I don’t undestand why they don’t use things like Acelora, Cupuaçu, Breu Branco or Priprioka as materials to create something inspired on us. That are so many options!

        Even a coffee fragrance would be a great Brazilian fragrance, since at a time in history we were big coffee explorers. Imagine an Aqua Allegoria Coffee Magnifica or something like that lol

        • Robin says:

          Yes, quite true that most of these use the same cliches! I would buy Coffee Magnifica unsniffed :-)

          • Aparatchick says:

            Mmmmm… me too; that sounds wonderful!

        • Omega says:

          Cafe plantain? That says Brazil to me.

  3. Nightingale says:

    Perfect timing! Last night I received a FB of Herba Fresca. I had tried it once before from a small tester, and didn’t get the full effect. Now with a proper spray it’s lovely and minty and becomes a light floral.. Sorry the lemon verde isn’t working out, the notes sounded promising.

    • Robin says:

      I always liked Herba Fresca. Just mentioned on FB that I keep meaning to try it again to see if it’s changed, and was told it smelled more like green tea now. So will have to find a tester myself! Do you think it smells like tea?

      • Nightingale says:

        I haven’t found the tea yet, but today is my first full wearing. I do wish it was just a little bit stronger, but may feel it is in warmer weather.

  4. sweetgrass says:

    I haven’t tried many of the AAs. I’ve tried Mandarine Basilic and Pamplelune at Sephora, but that’s about it, and neither of them really did it for me. I wanted to like Pamplelune, but the blackcurrant note went a little more cat-pee than I wanted. I don’t think I’ve tried Herba Fresca, though I think I’ve seen it. I wish they were more distributed over here, though, because I’ve seen ones listed on Fragrantica that I’ve never heard of, and there are a couple that sound interesting to me, like Anisia Bella and Winter Delice.

    • Robin says:

      Those are both discontinued anyway, I’m afraid. I really liked Anisia Bella, that’s another one I bought a full bottle of.

      Pamplelune is straight cat pee on me.

    • kindcrow says:

      Winter Delice does sound intersting. I see that STC has samples …

  5. pyramus says:

    Herba Fresca has definitely been reformulated: I had a full bottle back when it was new and loved its grassy-minty quality, but now it’s been made into something clean and fresh in the modern style.

    I took a whiff of Limon Verde at Sephora last week — I was surprised that they did a lemon, since they’d already done Lemon Fresca a decade ago (and I’m sorry I didn’t buy it) — but couldn’t really form an opinion of it. I could tell it’s not my kind of thing, though.

    I’m still a fan of Anisia Bella. It’s the only full bottle I currently have.

    • Robin says:

      Ah, thanks. Shame. But I know some people thought the original was too minty.

      Anisia Bella was great, I still wear that one too.

    • Celestia says:

      There are many regional variations in French and Spanish of the words for lemon and lime (eg. limon, citron, citron vert, citron jaune, etc.) which are of Arabic origin. It’s confusing.
      Limon Verde is a lime fragrance.

  6. Aparatchick says:

    I’ve only tried a few and the one I loved, Winter Delice, was discontinued. Why do they always d/c the ones I love (I know, it’s the perfumista’s eternal cry).

    • Robin says:

      I assume they keep the ones that sell, which makes it all the odder that Pamplelune has lasted so long when so many people find it unwearable! Just checked, Sephora only has 3 others: Herba Fresca, Mandarine Basilic, Limon Verde.

  7. happy888cat says:

    They just recently discontinued one of my favourite AA’s – Flora Nymphea.
    Thank god they still have Mandarine Basilic (I always feared they would take it down since so many people prefer Pampleune, which I detest.).
    I recently received a sample of Limon Verde. When I applied, I got no fig but a heavily watered down lime water that evaporated in 30-35 minutes (I drained the whole sample at once btw). I was unimpressed.
    I think it would fare better as a summer “eau de lingerie” linen spray or something to freshen up your beach towels.

    • Robin says:

      Interesting you thought it smelled watered down…to me, the lime is pretty heavy! Still, unsatisfying because it’s so freshly done and un-sparkling. Agree it would be perfect to freshen beach towels, though!

  8. galbanumgal says:

    Robin, would you please remind me the name of the online tea purveyor you mentioned recently? Not Harneys, another one. Thanks!

    • Robin says:

      Upton, probably? And will warn you up front that they are VERY old school, nearly everything comes in a plain bag & the website is not fancy. If you want nice tins & whatnot you probably will prefer Harneys.

      • galbanumgal says:

        oh, that’s it, thanks. Damp & drizzly all day, has me in a tea state of mind.

  9. cazaubon says:

    Not too fond of the AA collection.. the only ones I found tolerable were Ylang Vanille and Lys Soleia. As for Brazilian themed fragrances, I really liked the MPG Bahiana and the bottle was fabulous, green with those colored feathers attached to the neck!

    • Robin says:

      I’m a fan of Bahiana too, and it’s still around…keep thinking I might buy it, then I don’t…don’t want 100 ml, don’t want to spend over $100 on it.

      • odonata9 says:

        Does it last more than 30 minutes on you? I got a split of that and liked the pineapply-ness of it, but then it was gone in a blink!

        • Robin says:

          Not a powerhouse, but yes, more than 30 minutes!

  10. AnnieA says:

    I received a bottle of Ylang Vanille in a swap and I sometimes wear it as a bedtime fragrance.

    • Robin says:

      That was a pretty one.

    • nebbe says:

      I bought a mini from eBay and use it for the same. Great scent for bedtime!

    • Isabella says:

      This made me smile. I have a few fragrances that I pretty much only wear to bed, and I love that I’m among my people, here! Robin, you should do a bedtime fragrances poll someday…

      • Robin says:

        Gosh, I know we’ve done that as part of one of those “three questions” or “four questions” or whatever polls, but probably time to do it again!

  11. Karin says:

    When the Aqua Allegoria fragrances first came out in 1999, I purchased THREE bottles – Herba Fresca, Ylang & Vanille, and Pamplelune. But lame brained as I was back then, whenever I moved, I downsized…and that meant downsizing perfumes as well…and I moved a lot. I gave soooo many bottles to the Goodwill that I now wish I still had! These three were part of the casualties. Oh well! Can’t cry over it. ;-)

    Since then, I sort of forgot about the line, and never tried any of the others…until Lys Soleia, which I really like (no laundry scent for me). :-)

    • Robin says:

      Wish I’d shopped at your local Goodwill! Angie always finds stuff at Goodwill, I never do.

      Lys Soleia was pretty, and didn’t find it as clean as Jasminora.

  12. foxbins says:

    I bought Pamplelune in 1999 at a duty-free shop and it’s still the only AA I own. Regarding Goodwill, mine never has any perfumes. I donated Tocade and Fracas but they never showed up for sale. I think Goodwill may sell some items online so maybe that’s where my scents went.

  13. Rappleyea says:

    Guerlie-girl that I am, the AA line never really worked for me. Like you on this one, I don’t hate them, but I don’t love them either – even the older ones.

    I just wanted to check in so you know I’m reading . ;-)

    • Robin says:

      LOL…that is extremely conscientious of you!

      But when did you change your avatar, I missed it!

  14. Nile Goddess says:

    I disliked Limon Verde, it smells like citrus toilet disinfectant.
    Herba Fresca is my favorite of the AA’s, followed by Mandarine Basilic. MB is wonderful but a bit simple, I tend to layer it, usually over HF.

    Another one I loved, now discontinued, was Flora Nymphea.

    Pamplelune is great, just not on me.

    AA’s used to come across as very luxurious, now they smell cheap. Such a pity!

  15. odonata9 says:

    Herba Fresca and Mandarine Basilic for me. I think I could go the entire summer just wearing those 2, with a little Fresh Brown Sugar once in a while for my lemon fix (instead of lime or orange)! I guess I like my citruses. Will have to stop by Sephora and give it a sniff.

  16. donanicola says:

    Nice review. I received a sample of this when I bought some eye concealer thingy. Anyway sample resides near the cat’s litter tray because I quite like it but not to wear! I have a bottle of the discontinued AA Flora Nerolia which is a lot about jasmine too. Very pretty. I bought my Mum AA Herba Fresca but she seems to prefer the decant of Bel Respiro I gave her!

  17. irisfreak says:

    Menta Fresca, even reformulated, is my heat-wave go-to. Laurier-Reglisse I discovered in an airport duty-free, and I still use it every summer when I want something more floral than MF and the day is too hot for just about everything else. I keep a mini of Pamplune to combine with a soliflore rose (Sa Majeste La Rose) when I want an astringent floral. I’ve smelled all the others in the AA line and they produce a yawn, one and all.

    • Robin says:

      I really liked Laurier Reglisse, keep hoping I’ll run across a cheap bottle somewhere.

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