UPDATED TLDR: Good (3.25/5). In higher heat, the unsettlingly 'blue' opening note morphs into bigarde and any aquatic strategies disappear. Now adding 1/2 point to the score and changing to thumbs up to reflect the improvements wrought in this scent when high heat and humidity are present.
TLDR: OK (2.75/5). A hard to find, light, short lived, fresh spicy floral scent with a high price. The ingredients, blending and presentation are all high quality.
I like Arsène Lupin Dandy as well as most of the other limited release Les Parisians (I have not tried Chamade Homme), so when I recently ordered from Guerlain I decided to give Arsène Lupin Voyou a try. While this was a pricey blind buy, I rolled the dice on it because I really enjoy all of the many Guerlain fragrances I own. After a couple of wearings, the jury is still out on this scent. So for now, I am neutral.
Negatives: smells like so many other fragrances on the market; doesn't project much unless you spray heavily--more heavily than I like to spray; the opening notes have an almost "blue fragrance" accord until the blended spices tone down the fresh powdery notes; and longevity is not impressive in the conditions in which I have so far had a chance to wear ALV.
Positives: the longer you wear this fragrance(and it does have a material progression), the less ordinary ALV becomes, the excellent rose note in the mid here is exceptionally realistic with a charming sweetness; the quality of the ingredients seems high to me and the blending is very good; the musky base is clean, smooth and oh so consistent with the house style (in the base, to my nose, this could only be a Guerlain or a very good copy of the Guerlain style); and the presentation (nice bottle with a light color wood cap and bottle surround, excellent atomizer & nice leathesque, top-hinged box) is very good and consistent with the prices charged.
I am just having difficulty getting a grasp on ALV. I am both enjoying (late opening spice, mid and base) and disliking (early top) the notes in this fragrance. I find that unless over applied, this scent fades away very quickly after being a skin scent for most of the few hours it endures. I am also not sure when I will wear this scent, it is too floral-sweet for work and perhaps just a little too retro for evenings in fashionable environments. Perhaps I will try it at a few nice restaurant dinners(?). Similarly, I am not yet sure what weather conditions are best for ALV.
Therefore, as mentioned above, I am not ready to render a final verdict on ALV. If it were from a house for which I had less respect, would I be more harsh in my judgments? Perhaps. But Guerlain has more than earned the benefit of my doubt and patience.
I will update this review as appropriate following more wear time in different humidity and temperature conditions.
A moderate strength member of Guerlain's interesting ode to crime novelist Maurice Leblanc.
Arsene Lupin Voyou takes a more spicy-aromatic direction compared to Arsene Lupin Dandy: Sage, artemisia, coriander, and cardamom create a swirling mix of spiciness. This EdP, however, seems weak by nature and needs many spritzes to become noticeable to me. THAT would convince me against getting a full bottle, esp. with the steep prices.
It has some character and is a nice - not GREAT - formulation from Guerlain. But I'll skip on it though.
This begins as a generic oceanic woody scent, similar to seemingly millions of chain department store and cheap celebrity juices.
I kept waiting for it to develop in some way, as other reviewers have noted, but on my skin and to my nose, nothing further happens, other than a bit of spicy pepper slowly being added to the mix. It calms down to a mix of sweet musks.
Because of its lack or originality and its commonness, I must give it a negative rating, especially at the prices asked for it. The mix of notes seemed intriguing, but the end of the journey is not worth the experiment.
The first 30 minutes of Voyou might fool you into thinking it's just one of those really generic fragrances on mall counters. Indeed, it has a "been there done that" fresh and sweet vibe during this stage. But Voyou evolves into something completely different, dominated by sage, pepper and sandalwood, with a touch of sweetness (from the benzoin) to give it a playful character.
The melange of herbs, pepper and woods captures the magic of a master perfumer as the composition conjures up unmistakably Guerlain. It's definitely not a strong scent, it actually whispers. But the times when I catch occasional whiffs of it really are breathtaking, which makes me wonder if the herbs and spices are from exotic lands.
Voyou, the thief with many disguises, takes me on a journey I wish would never end.