This Eau de Cologne has much more than the others of the same kind. The fruit is ripe, bursting, and there's an unusual, vintage, floral note. The bawse is pollen and honey. Great performances as well!
Rumor has it that when it came time for Jean-Paul Guerlain to follow the time-honored tradition of making his own eau de cologne to be added to the ranks of each house perfumer's eau since the first, he decided not to make something fresh and ephemeral as his fore-bearers, but to instead make more of a lasting fragrance while staying at eau de cologne strength. Little did he know then that years later a market would emerge for longer-lasting takes on the eau de cologne style, particularly in higher-end designer and niche markets, but his original Eau de Guerlain (1974) was perhaps the earliest example of what we now would probably call a luxury eau de cologne. You can contest that "extra-vielle" variants of the original Farina recipe released by Roger & Gallet predate this, but they don't really have much longer wear time than most standard eaux, plus the contents of the alleged first "Olivier Creed Eau de Cologne" bottles from when Creed re-appeared as a perfumer (after the centuries-old haberdasher/leather maker ran by Charles Creed shuttered) cannot really be confirmed. With that out of the way, it's safe to say Eau de Guerlain is the world's first "strong" eau de cologne, but this strength comes at extreme cost to fidelity with the traditional neroli-lead eau de cologne style. Also, this was marketed to men, but like most takes on the eau de cologne style, is thoroughly unisex, because lemons and florals don't exactly declare themselves endowed one way or the other.
For starters, the opening blast of Eau de Guerlain is not neroli and bergamot, but rather lemon verbena, bergamot, and petitgrain, the last one often considered a lower-cost substitute for neroli. Petitgrain has a much sharper smell than neroli, being extracted from the leaves of the bitter orange rather than from orange blossoms, and this adds the desired potency alongside the cleverly-placed verbena and rosemary, but at the loss of the soapy fresh opening you expect from an eau de cologne which neroli brings. That isn't to say Eau de Guerlain isn't fresh, but it's a rather smart freshness instead of a soft one. Caraway seed leads into some evolving jasmine and rose later into the dry down, which is completely unlike most eau de cologne formulas except maybe the aforementioned Creed Original Cologne/Pure White Cologne (2011), which uses some rose. The floral chypre demeanor here in Eau de Guerlain presages later floral masculines like 1881 pour Homme by Nino Cerruti (1990), while also being a bit on the dry woody side like Eau de Rochas pour Homme (1993). Being as this is about 15 years before the second one, that puts Eau de Guerlain in pretty futuristic footing for the time, but the traditional oakmoss chypre base boosted with sandalwood, white musk, and amber, shows the true traditional face of the scent. Wear time is going to be eight hours, which is definitely an improvement over a bottle of a Farina-style eau de cologne, and projection is moderate to light, but still more than you'd expect.
As with most eau de cologne style fragrances, this is purely a warm weather treat, because even with enhanced performance thanks to some stiffer ingredients and a heavier base, Eau de Guerlain still disappears under the nose in cold weather, unless wearing indoors after a shower. Like all eau de colognes available from Guerlain, this one has also been moved to the spray-topped 3.4oz/100ml "bee bottle", where it can be found most places that handle a larger selection of Guerlain beyond the token Shalimar (1925) and maybe a few others. Geoffrey Beene Bowling Green (1986) and Verveine L'Occitane (2003) get pretty close to this in style, particularly the former, with it's focus on the verbena, sandalwood, oakmoss, and lemon. Neither of these have the soft dandy rose/jasmine core, but perform better than Eau de Guerlain does. Also sadly, there is no discernible "Guerlinade" here, but I don't think it gets included in the eau de colognes anyway. One last thing of interest here is that this would be the last "cologne de parfumeur" made by an actual Guerlain, as Jean-Paul would be replaced by Thierry Wasser, who would literally name his entry into the cologne canon as La Cologne de Parfumeur (2010), likely to show his relative anonymity as a perfumer hired to curate the house of Guerlain rather than being a blood-relative of the namesake family. Definitely not your average eau! Thumbs up.
The opening blast is fairly typical of the good Cologne: bergamot, lemon and petitgrain, providing the fresh and summery touch. This is, in the traditional way, combined with some herbs, with basil being expected, but a caraway provides and a slightly unusual twist. All balanced beautifully.
The drydown sports a lovely jasmin in its core, but the floral side is more complex, with the carnation and the rose coming first, with whiffs of geranium present transiently too. The rose is not prominent; it is a darkish rose that is a bit green and not very voluptuous; it is on the trimmer side and fully integrated into the whole mix as an equal, not as a ruler.
Later into the heart notes an interesting patchouli arises, which is a restrainedly crisp patchouli but overall on the softer side.
Towards the base a wood note leads into the base; touches of sandalwood are there but only faintly. The base is a rather more spicy affair, rioted is a dark musk and enhanced with a mossy amber that rounds it off.
I get moderate sillage, very good projection twelve hours of longevity on my skin.
This scent for cooler summer days and evenings starts off as a classic Cologne with an original touch. After about three hours the character of this creation changes, extending the customary floral/herbal stage, toning down the woods and finishing of with a spice mix as a complimentary enhancement. Whilst the bigger emphasis on the spicier notes dims the fresh Cologne character, especially after the top notes are gone, the overall result is quite convincing. The quality of the ingredients is excellent, the performance splendid. 3.75/5.
A more interesting take on eau de colognes from Guerlain (compared to, say, Eau de Cologne Imperiale which I have always felt so let down by).
This edc has a richer, longer lasting quality to it which has more going on within to make it MORE than just another edc: This citrus aromatic is fresh and spicy, helped along by the presence of fancy ingredients like sweaty caraway, tasty basil, and pleasant floral of rose, jasmine, and unusual carnation blossom. All sit atop a warm amber-moss-musk base.
Compared to other edc's, this one has a sharper touch to it, which makes it stand out. Initially, it can come across as cloying, but give it some time to settle down and "move" in its development before making a final decision.