This seems to be a bit of a step child in the Guerlain line up of great classics; a recent release, cheap, not available for half the year and barely talked about whenever this venerable house is discussed. Now me and Guerlain is not the easiest of matches; I admire their offerings but I find many of them hard to wear. Case in point: my bottle of Mitsouko doesn't come out of the fragrance drawer often. Shalimar I only own for reference. I love Vol de Nuit but I'm not brave enough to throw myself into the craziness that is the vintage Guerlain market. L'Heure Bleue and Jicky I admire from afar. Samsara is the classic that suits me best, but it's loud and quite sweet and I have to be in the mood for it.
So my most worn Guerlain, by a mile, is the overlooked, tropical delight that is Terracotta. It's not a fragrance that would show up in my lists of favourites; it's not even my favourite tropical floral, that honour goes to the much more arresting Moon Bloom. Yet I wear it ridiculously often; it is my work horse summer scent. So why is that? One reason is that it does what it does so very well. It's a quintessential, tropical, beachy, summer floral. All the notes that should be present in such a scent are present: creamy ylang, subtle tuberose, orange blossom and jasmine form the heart, resting on a bed of vanilla and some well dosed (that is, sparingly) and not plasticky coconut. The headiness of the flowers and the sweetness of the base is balanced out by some bergamot that turns almost lime like, as if your fancy summer cocktail is within reach. It speaks of golden beaches, suntan-lotion, and smooth salty skin. It's just so fucking pretty and uplifting that I keep grabbing it over and over again, burning through my big bottle at a speed that none of my favourites can boast of. I already know that another bottle will follow it when it's empty.
So is this what people sometimes refer to as a 'dumb reach'? No it's not. It's far too good to be called that. It may not be the most original or complex of scents but it doesn't have to be. It's pretty, it's delicious, and it makes me happy.
I re-sniffed and retried Terracotta after a year, and couldn't get my nose off my right forearm all the evening. Mmmm.
My rating jumped from 3 stars to 5 almost instantly. It's just so elegant, calm, creamy, dreamy and gorgeous. Coconut is very perceptible yet blended, perfumey (in the best sense of the word!) and elegant, grown up. A little bit of bitter greenery that reminds me of fresh leaves and buds shows through, and some white petals. Those freshly bitter buds and leaves are still there in the drydown, too, beautifully woven into coconutty and vanillic sweetness. It feels very seamless, if feels...ah.
The first time I tried it I found it beautiful, creamy and elegant, but maybe a bit too elegant and too feminine/grown up (NOT old!) for me, and this time it felt just right. Has my nose grown up a bit? Did I start appreciating and loving beautifully blended florals? Was I just craving some coconut? Have I stopped hating ylang ylang? A scent that makes you wonder and ask questions about yourself is a good sign. Several more re-tries of this beauty and maybe even a bottle later await me, no doubt!
Bitterness. Coconut is light. Tiare flower is big. The heart flowers blend nicely. Hint of sugar. Somewhat dirty. Not an offensive skank-like dirtiness - just a little randiness. I seem to get more coconut, in the sillage. I can't state that TLP smells exactly of suntan lotion but, definitely something beachy or tropical in its character.
Ylang seems the stand-out note here which I thoroughly enjoy. Vanilla & musk don't get too rowdy here. They make their statement without clashing with the floral notes.
I randomly tried l'Instant and Terracotta at the airport. One on one wrist, the other on the other. They both make me think of honeysuckle, vanilla and something savory in my mother's kitchen. L'Instant is more bitter but lighter. Terracotta has the same base but performa better, feels sweeter and of course more powdery.
They are both beautiful but Terracotta is more worthy of my money.
Quite simply the best beachy summer fragrance I've ever worn. It's similar to EL's Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent but with better projection and longevity and (presumably) higher quality ingredients. Despite its name, Terracotta Le Parfum is an EdT and performs as such, about 6 hours from start to finish and a skin scent for the final 2-3 hours depending on your skin. Gorgeous.