If I was Thierry Wasser and people kept banging on about Mathilde Laurent's Eau Legere, Jean Paul Guerlain's assault on it, unfortunate names that suggested a diet Shalimar and now a discontinued Eau de Shalimar I would also restore the fragrance. He has been the 'Great Improver' and those of us who have benefited from his tweaks of MItsouko bow to his artistry. There are great specifics there from Mr Bon Vivant's review; cool iris and thyme made me my knees tremble. And I am indeed kicking myself for missing Eau Legere because I came late to Guerlain; the Dowagers in my family wore Caron, Chanel and very 'Green' fragrances that were the rage. Having tried Cologne today I knew I was undone.
Shalimar Cologne, the 2015 flanker, is none other than perfumer Mathilde Laurents Shalimar Eau Legere given the Wasser treatment. Eau Legere was a 2003 fragrance meant to be a gateway to Shalimar. So Guerlain has fallen back on its habit of re-issuing defunct fragrances under new names.
Like Eau Legere, Cologne opens with a sweet lemon accord. There are discreet floral touches in the heart. The base is the rich musk-vanillin combo that has been Guerlains signature since the early 2000s.
How is Cologne different from Eau Legere? For starters, Wasser lightens the whole fragrance. Eau Legere, despite its name, was a fairly heavy fragrance whose sillage kept rolling off your skin in great musky vanilla waves. Cologne is considerably lighter, with a more discreet sillage. The top notes, while maintaining the same accord as Laurents, are made more acidic (or tangier), which is where the grapefruit marketing comes in. A discreet touch of ozone keeps the citrus crisp and fresh into the heart. If youre a stickler for details, you will catch whiffs of a cool iris and some thyme.
Since I sometimes find the old Eau Legere a bit heavy in the heat, Cologne (though also an edt) is a welcome dilution. However, I admit I was hoping for something a bit crisper, given the name. And if I had known it was essentially the same as Eau Legere, I wouldnt have bought it (blind).
So, Cologne is a lighter version of Eau Legere (and not Shalimar Light, nor Eau de Shalimar). If you already have Eau Legere in your hoard, skip this one as it is redundant.
But if youre kicking yourself for missing Eau Legere and ebay prices are certainly too steep to justify buying a bottle then this is your chance to snag it one last time at retail price. At least until its re-re-released under a another new name.
Sillage: medium to discreet
Juice: pale gold (not pink)