Guerlain L’Homme Ideal ~ fragrance review

Guerlain L'Homme Ideal advert

No harm to the models (a paying gig is a paying gig)...but the print and video ads for the new Guerlain L'Homme Idéal1 are so daft! Believe me girls, there is nothing shocking, surprising, "dirty" or revelatory inside that bottle! (Maybe they're just happy about the bottle, which everyone in Perfumeland seems to love.)

Guerlain hasn't released a men's pillar scent since 2008's Guerlain Homme; and I just realized the last Guerlain men's pillar scent I bought (recently) was 1992's Héritage. Though I appreciate perfumer Thierry Wasser's reformulations of Guerlain classics (and can't wait to smell his sought-after Terracotta Le Parfum), I've never bought a Wasser perfume creation (which means nothing, except he and I have different styles/tastes).

L'Homme Idéal opens with strong leather-tinged bergamot: opaque, slightly mentholated, and a tad artificial. Next up? A flat, harsh-smelling orange blossom note. What disappoints me most about L'Homme Idéal's opening is its lack of sparkle. The orange blossom note turns creamy in mid-development and blends smoothly into L'Homme Idéal's "amaretto accord," which is sweet and heavy with tonka bean — a mainstay in contemporary men's fragrances and a note that can dominate a composition. The base of L'Homme Idéal presents soft vanilla, a touch of almond, faint cedar wood and a "caramelized/toasted" note. (L'Homme Idéal's base smells very much like Thierry Mugler's A*Men "Pure" perfumes...but, for me, is not as pleasing.)

L'Homme Idéal has received raves and some less-than-enthusiastic reviews from bloggers; I don't love it and I don't hate it. I'm unmoved. Either in actuality, or in their treatment or combination, L'Homme Idéal's materials smell very synthetic to me. Has Wasser, tired from around-the-clock reformulations thanks to IFRA regulations, simply chosen ingredients that are not on IFRA's radar...forestalling a re-mix?

Every perfume house has to make money; if that perfume house is "venerable" with a large portfolio of fragrances to maintain, it needs hits to keep the machine rolling. Guerlain had a major hit with La Petite Robe Noire; now, perhaps, it will have a big men's success with L'Homme Idéal — a perfume taking a well-worn (mainstream) path. If L'Homme Idéal finds a huge audience, good!  As long as Guerlain keeps my many old favorites in stock and in shape, I'll be happy.

Guerlain L'Homme Idéal has good lasting power and sillage; it's available in 50 ml and 100 ml (at Sephora in France prices are, respectively, 58,50€ and 82,90€). 

1. Perfumer Thierry Wasser; listed notes of bergamot, tangerine, rosemary, orange blossom, amaretto accord (almonds, vanilla and tonka bean), leather, vetiver and cedar.

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19 Comments

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  1. Merlin says:

    I am interested enough to try this! I like the leather/orange blossom mix in Cuir Mauresque (at least in the wax sample) and also in Dior’s Cuir Cannage. Often I like gourmand too – but this sounds like it could be heading in the same direction as Valentino’s Uomo…of which I am not a fan.

    And count me in as a fan of Heritage :)

    • Kevin says:

      Merlin: I did think of the Valentino too, but this is much richer.

  2. nozknoz says:

    I love Thierry Wasser’s Idylle Eau Sublime, a dewy rose perfume. It’s easy to find heavily discounted bottles on Amazon and the discount sites (no affiliation).

    I was going to say that I like Arsene Lupin Le Dandy, but that one is actually by Jean Paul Guerlain, not Thierry Wasser.

    • Kevin says:

      noz; dewy rose sounds nice…I’ve not tried that one.

    • Merlin says:

      And I think La Cologne Du Parfumeur which is by Wasser is the best of the Guerlain colognes…

      • Kevin says:

        Merlin: the white musk killed it for me.

  3. Dilana says:

    Actually, the ladies look like they are yawning. Take away the name Guerlain, substitute Ambien and you have a perfect advertisement for a sleep drug

    • nozknoz says:

      :-)

    • Kevin says:

      Dilana: HAHA! So true, especially the model on the left.

  4. BigslyFragrance says:

    I can no longer imagine that a scent like this would be of any interest. With materials now being used, it’s like “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” Few seem to have the complexity, richness, depth, etc. that I think of as fundamental, or else the composition has already been done and I have a scent that is similar. For example, you could swap out the mint for a tequila note in Roadster, but I’m not paying retail for that (already have a bottle of Roadster). I hope to be pleasantly surprised by a new non-
    “exclusive” designer release at some point in the not-so-distant future, but I no longer have any interest in sampling them, and these days I usually only sample them if I get a vial in a swap, for instance.

    • Kevin says:

      Bigsly: I admit it’s hard to not be jaded these days…I still have moments of “hope” when I read a list of ingredients (like today’s announcement here of the new Diptyque with mimosa, beeswax and mate tea) but I’m almost always disappointed…mainstream or niche.

  5. des esseintes says:

    I’m quite ok with waiting seven years for a new pillar fragrance. That’s the way things used to be. You know the time when you could actually get aquainted with all new releases.

    I still want to know what meant whe he said he took the almond from Jicky. Doesn’t sound very Jicky-esque to me. Could it be classed as a gourmand fougere, perhaps? Ha, I just canme up with a new perfume type!

    L’Instant Homme (or Pour Homme?) can’t have been a hit. Haven’t seen it at counters for years. Not that I miss it.

    • Kevin says:

      des esseintes: oy…you’ve just given me a stomach ache with the idea of a gourmand-fougere! HA! And I don’t mind waiting awhile either for a new pillar fragrance…but I wish they were worth waiting for.

  6. pigoletto says:

    Is it just me or is Guerlain slowly getting sweeter and sweeter in their new releases? (not a good thing)

    • Kevin says:

      pigoletto: agree…very sweet stuff.

  7. Supersmell says:

    And Jacques Guerlain’s rotating underground…

    As for “Terracotta le Parfum”: if you know Le Labo’s Lys 41 you know this one. Just that Le Labo’s got more style in my opinion.

    Doing an Estée Lauder Bronze Goddess limitation scheme for this creation has not helped to increase my ever dwindling esteem for Guerlain.

    Well, money rules, not originality.

    • Kevin says:

      supersmell: haven’t sniffed Lys 41…will have to snag a sample.

  8. Rictor07 says:

    I have no Guerlain in my collection now after having finished my bottles of both Vetiver and L’Instant PH. Feel like i need something, though this doesnt hold as much promise after reading your review. Wonder when it will hit the stores around here.

    • Kevin says:

      Rictor: don’t know…it seems to be in very limited distribution right now

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