Reviews of Arsène Lupin Voyou by Guerlain

This was originally named after Arsène Lupin, a ‘fictional gentleman thief and master of disguise’. [Wikipedia]
Épices Volées – which is Thierry Wasser’s update of the original – is a sweet-powdery (spicy) masculine, like a thousand others of the Chrome family and with no distinguishing features.
Which will be handy the next time you steal the diamond necklace from the dowager's hotel suite. Poirot won’t recognise your cologne from all the other bland non-entities and you won't get fingered for the crime...
3rd May 2022
I find the vanillic sawdust vetiver accord headache inducing.
6th July 2021

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.
19th May 2021
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.
11th December 2018
A mirthful mingling
Of Derby's world and Thierry's.
Fine fragrant mischief.
10th December 2017
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.
24th June 2017
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.
21st November 2015
Well, I didn't hate this nearly as much as everyone else seems to. It smells like a powdery fougere with a touch of pepper and citrus keeping it from being completely boring and the Guerlinade holds things together nicely. That's really about it. It's quite pleasant to me, but I wouldn't spend the money for a bottle--especially considering it seems to be rather weak. Took a few sprays to feel like I smell like anything, and even after that projection was on the low side. I thought it was rather nice, if undistinguished, and it has Guerlain stamped all over it.
19th December 2014
Tested Arsene Lupin Voyou side by side with the different (and far greater) Dandy version, well I just see a balmy-rosey benzoin/sandalwood/patchouli accord supported by rich spices (probably cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom) and a final touch of muskiness. The synthetic vibe is effectively notable but the aroma is delicate, spicy and pleasant. Anyway any trace of texture or elegance. A touch of sweet tobacco takes probably part at the ceremony. An humble fragrance not in line with the great Guerlain's tradition.
2nd November 2014
Eeeewk! A total scrubber! Harsh and strongly synthetic woody-patch-sandalwood combo with dreadful spicy notes thrown-in! MEH With a notes list like that, how can they do it wrong?

No No No!

11th January 2013
Le Voyou has been almost universally slated by the blogosphere and I confess that when its top notes reached my nose, I thought my assessment of it would be pretty negative too: the fragrance that Guerlain would have us believe is Le Dandy's alter ego opens with ultra-generic, synthetic, citrusy woods of the sort that endlessly clog up the men's section of perfumeries. However, a few minutes into its development, it does display a more compelling attribute. Up close, it continues to smell formulaic, but from a distance, it radiates a more powerful version of the powdery florals from Le Dandy. Although this doesn't fully redeem the whole, it does at least make it marginally more likeable and provides evidence that somewhere in its core lies a praiseworthy idea.
11th November 2011
The scent starts off with a brief burst of bigarade that was probably the best part of the scent experience for me. That lasted maybe for a half minute before it turns into a semi-sweet powdery lavender vanilla and sandalwood mess. I am not the biggest fan of powdery scents, and Voyou is no exception. If you like powdery scents Voyou may appeal to you, but if powder is not your thing, my advice is to steer clear of this 2 star out of 5 miss.
6th November 2011
Looking for a woody scent, I stepped into Voyou - the bottle frame does a good job at tricking you - I must say..

But after a not so unpleasant 10 second initial impression, what stayed on my skin for the rest of the day (because you have to admit this thing has unfortunately quite some longevity..) was just an unbearable sweetness..was it the sandalwood, the benzoin, both? I'm not sure, sure thing is..never again..
8th May 2011
This starts with an herbal-citrus blast that quickly dries down into a rather unremarkable melange of dry woods & sweet notes. The sandalwood is pleasant & persistent upon a benzoin/amber/vanila/patchouli accord touched with rosy notes. Enjoyable, translucent, & warm but Voyou has neither the novelty nor the aesthetic to justify its price tag.
12th February 2011
Quite binary impresssion, but thumbs up anyway.
Too woody at the start and too sweet in the middle, IMHO
12th January 2011
Voyou was my first purchase choice from the Newly Launched Arsène Lupin duo. Voyou is the quieter of the two scents. It starts out with an aromaitc opening of sage and absinthe (wormwood) camphor, pepper and coriander. The opening tugs at my heart, but the real beauty of Voyou lies in its heart and base notes. The heart of Voyou is its sandalwood. This is a soft, refined sandalwood blended with rose petals warmed gently by the base notes of benzoin, patchouli, vanilla and amber. The whole effect of Voyou is very beautiful, warm, inviting and elegant. It's not a loud scent at all, but it does project well. The longevity is about average, not bad, but I wished it lasted longer. Overall, Voyou does not come off as a thug or even a rascal, at least not overtly. It behaves like a true gentleman, and is one of the best releases of 2010.
15th November 2010