Les Legendaires Guerlain—Which Have You Tried?

PerfumePorMoi

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 2, 2008
Hello folks,

I'm a longtime member, mostly lurker, but do have a question for you all.

My knowledge of the house of Guerlain is pretty much limited to Shalimar and Apres l'Ondee. I have never pursued the other classics because I've done enough vintage-chasing with Shalimar to last me a lifetime. It was the first Guerlain I ever smelled, back when Dillard's carried pretty much all the classics, and I was hooked. So that's where I've targeted my collecting. I do have a bottle of Apres l'Ondee, which I love, but never really got along with Mitsouko or L'Heure Bleue.

But now there they all are, neatly gathered together as Les Legendaires, for semi-reasonable prices to boot, and I'm tempted to dip my toe in with a purchase of Vol de Nuit, Jicky, and maybe Chamade.

If any of you have tried these—or any other of the "legends"—I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks!
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
I've only tried Jicky and Apres l'Ondee of the 2021 Legendaire line, and they're wonderful - better than they've been in years, IMO. I even bought a backup bottle of Apres l'Ondee, and would have done the same with Jicky, if I didn't already have several good versions of it.
 

mikeperez23

Be Here. Now.
Basenotes Plus
Dec 31, 2006
In my opinion you should sample all of them. They're not good candidates for a blind buy (many people don't like how "dated" they smell - I personally LOVE that part of them) but any serious fragrance-enthusiast should 'know' the classics, and these are classics.

FYI: It took me years to like Jicky and now I've gone thru many bottles of it. So don't rush yourself. p.s. - if you want to read all about the positive feedback on the 'new' version our BN member le mouchoir de monsieur, posted a thread here that is a lot of fun (he has a way with words lol). Also BN member Bonnette posted this one on Apres l'Ondee here.
 

WillC

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 25, 2009
I've recently bought:

Jicky
Apres L'Ondee
L'Heure Bleue
Mitsouko
Vol de Nuit

All excellent. Vol de Nuit is lacking in the greenness it used to have judging from previous samplings, which is a bit disappointing, but it still smells great. L'Heure Bleue lacks the richness it used to have, but still excellent and worth buying. Mitsouko probably has less oakmoss and sandalwood, but that's to be expected, and it stands up well anyway. The others are all good.
 

PerfumePorMoi

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 2, 2008
In my opinion you should sample all of them. They're not good candidates for a blind buy (many people don't like how "dated" they smell - I personally LOVE that part of them) but any serious fragrance-enthusiast should 'know' the classics, and these are classics.

FYI: It took me years to like Jicky and now I've gone thru many bottles of it. So don't rush yourself. p.s. - if you want to read all about the positive feedback on the 'new' version our BN member le mouchoir de monsieur, posted a thread here that is a lot of fun (he has a way with words lol). Also BN member Bonnette posted this one on Apres l'Ondee here.
I read the thread on Apres but the other didn’t come up in my search. Thank you!

As for dated, that’s fine with me. Shalimar is pretty much my cold dead hands perfume 😂, but point taken.
 

mrcologneguy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 2, 2009
Purchased Chamade and Apres L’Ondee — both excellent. Already own nice bottles of Jicky, Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue, Chant d’Aromes, and Samsara. Nonetheless, I’m interested in sniffing all of the newly revamped Legendaires collection.

The one that’s really burning a hole in my pocket: the new, expensive version of Arsene Lupin Voyou, from the L’Art & L’Matiere collection. I’d be happy to take a deep dive into all from this group, but the $360+ price point is a little out of my pocket change budget.
 

FiveoaksBouquet

Known to SAs
Basenotes Plus
Jul 16, 2004
It's great to hear all this positive news about the Les Legendaires line. Has anyone smelled the new Chant d'aromes? I wonder how it compares to the bee bottle version.

Lilly33, I'm curious about Chant d'Arômes too. The latest versions in the bee bottle were nothing like the original. CdA was gutted years ago and changed radically. For the Légendaires version to be like the original it would have to once again have notes of mirabelle plum and chypre/oakmoss along with the floral blend. Here's hoping that CdA is truly restored, as it was once my favourite Guerlain.
 

Lilly33

Super Member
Oct 20, 2012
Lilly33, I'm curious about Chant d'Arômes too. The latest versions in the bee bottle were nothing like the original. CdA was gutted years ago and changed radically. For the Légendaires version to be like the original it would have to once again have notes of mirabelle plum and chypre/oakmoss along with the floral blend. Here's hoping that CdA is truly restored, as it was once my favourite Guerlain.
You're absolutely right. I have a tiny amount of vintage Chant d'Arômes and it's almost a totally different scent to the pale floral in the bee bottle. I know it's impossible to restore to its former glory, but I'm just wondering if the new version has been given a bit more depth.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Lilly33, I'm curious about Chant d'Arômes too. The latest versions in the bee bottle were nothing like the original. CdA was gutted years ago and changed radically. For the Légendaires version to be like the original it would have to once again have notes of mirabelle plum and chypre/oakmoss along with the floral blend. Here's hoping that CdA is truly restored, as it was once my favourite Guerlain.
There isn't even a nod to plum in the description on Guerlain's site - they list only honeysuckle, undergrowth notes (huh?) and sandalwood. I was actually surprised to see that they'd bothered to reissue it, considering how much damage it's suffered over the years. I'd so welcome an improvement on the bee-bottled scented water...would love to hear that it's been reborn. But those notes don't inspire much hope.
 

FiveoaksBouquet

Known to SAs
Basenotes Plus
Jul 16, 2004
There isn't even a nod to plum in the description on Guerlain's site - they list only honeysuckle, undergrowth notes (huh?) and sandalwood. I was actually surprised to see that they'd bothered to reissue it, considering how much damage it's suffered over the years. I'd so welcome an improvement on the bee-bottled scented water...would love to hear that it's been reborn. But those notes don't inspire much hope.

That’s sad, Bonnette. I found a Chant d’Arômes note list from the 1984 H&R Fragrance Guide, a far cry from the current notes:

  • mirabelle, gardenia, aldehydes
  • jasmine, honeysuckle, clove buds, ylang-ylang
  • benzoin Siam, musk, olibanum, vetiver, moss, heliotrope
I once saw CdA described as being situated right on the borderline between an aldehydic floral and a chypre and to me that’s what gave it a febrile, alive quality.
 

mikeperez23

Be Here. Now.
Basenotes Plus
Dec 31, 2006
That’s sad, Bonnette. I found a Chant d’Arômes note list from the 1984 H&R Fragrance Guide, a far cry from the current notes:

  • mirabelle, gardenia, aldehydes
  • jasmine, honeysuckle, clove buds, ylang-ylang
  • benzoin Siam, musk, olibanum, vetiver, moss, heliotrope
I once saw CdA described as being situated right on the borderline between an aldehydic floral and a chypre and to me that’s what gave it a febrile, alive quality.
Great description. I usually don't like aldehydic floral chypres but CdA is the exception. When I wear it (usually on a blazing hot summer day) it sparkles all around me. Mine is vintage EdT.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Great description. I usually don't like aldehydic floral chypres but CdA is the exception. When I wear it (usually on a blazing hot summer day) it sparkles all around me. Mine is vintage EdT.
Yes, it was wonderful. I hope someone has tried the 2021 reissue and can report on it, but I doubt it will be among the top sellers in that collection. The missing plum is sad, and I wouldn't risk a blind buy on this formerly buoyant floral whose description now lists only three notes. What in the world do they mean by "undergrowth notes"? Fungus? Rotting roots? We're down to honeysuckle as the single flower. :cry:
 

FiveoaksBouquet

Known to SAs
Basenotes Plus
Jul 16, 2004
The website shows the three notes under “Ingredients” but elaborates further on:

citrus, honeysuckle
gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang
underbrush, sandalwood, vanilla


Interestingly, they do call it a chypre (“chypre, woody, floral”):


In any case, will sniff when the opportunity arises.
 

GoldWineMemories

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 22, 2019
Fairly certain that undergrowth is synonymous with the oakmoss accord they're using. Could be related to French laws that require more accurate descriptions on notes that America doesn't, and the translation becomes undergrowth rather than the usual oakmoss.
 

FiveoaksBouquet

Known to SAs
Basenotes Plus
Jul 16, 2004
Fairly certain that undergrowth is synonymous with the oakmoss accord they're using. Could be related to French laws that require more accurate descriptions on notes that America doesn't, and the translation becomes undergrowth rather than the usual oakmoss.

🤞 It would be nice if undergrowth is code for oakmoss. That leaves only the little plums MIA.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
The website shows the three notes under “Ingredients” but elaborates further on:

citrus, honeysuckle
gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang
underbrush, sandalwood, vanilla


Interestingly, they do call it a chypre (“chypre, woody, floral”):


In any case, will sniff when the opportunity arises.
Oh, thank heaven! Still no plum, but okay...and the chypre designation sounds like a stretch. But the proof's in the pudding, eh? Thank you for offering to sniff this, if the opportunity arises!
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
Fairly certain that undergrowth is synonymous with the oakmoss accord they're using. Could be related to French laws that require more accurate descriptions on notes that America doesn't, and the translation becomes undergrowth rather than the usual oakmoss.
Hope that's the case. An unfortunate translation, if so...but I can't come up with a more romantic, perfume-y one, off the top of my head. :)
 

mrcologneguy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 2, 2009
Well gee, I like the bee bottle version of Chant D’Aromes. The light quality makes it more like a unisex floral eau. A few quick sprays in the morning, it’s a nice way to start the day. But I also like the idea of a more full-bodied version, especially featuring the elusive plum notes mentioned in this thread.

This is the kind of stuff Basenotes is great at — pointing out fragrances you might not stumble across on your own, and then prompting you buy a second bottle after you’ve already sprung for it once. Thank you, Basenoters!
 

FiveoaksBouquet

Known to SAs
Basenotes Plus
Jul 16, 2004
Well gee, I like the bee bottle version of Chant D’Aromes. The light quality makes it more like a unisex floral eau. A few quick sprays in the morning, it’s a nice way to start the day. But I also like the idea of a more full-bodied version, especially featuring the elusive plum notes mentioned in this thread.

This is the kind of stuff Basenotes is great at — pointing out fragrances you might not stumble across on your own, and then prompting you buy a second bottle after you’ve already sprung for it once. Thank you, Basenoters!

Although the last bottle of Chant d’Arômes I purchased was disappointing due to the lack of notes I had grown to expect, it dawned on me that if a person was not familiar with the original and was judging the new one on its own merits, it would come across as a pleasant and easy-to-wear, if somewhat generic, floral. Nothing wrong with it in its own right, other than not smelling like Chant d’Arômes. 😊
 

cheapimitation

Basenotes Dependent
May 15, 2015
Oh man, I got the last gen of L'heure Bleue and Mitsuoko EDP from a discounter just as I saw the overhaul coming... and I don't really like them. I find them heavy and old fashioned smelling but figured maybe I'll come around to them with repeated exposure. But now I'm wondering if it would have been better to wait and buy the newly relaunched EDT versions which I might like better.
 

mrcologneguy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 2, 2009
Oh man, I got the last gen of L'heure Bleue and Mitsuoko EDP from a discounter just as I saw the overhaul coming... and I don't really like them. I find them heavy and old fashioned smelling but figured maybe I'll come around to them with repeated exposure. But now I'm wondering if it would have been better to wait and buy the newly relaunched EDT versions which I might like better.
I have the same sneaking suspicions. I like the bottles of L’Heure Bleue EdP and Mitsouko EdP that we have on hand at my house. My wife wears them. But I’ve always suspected there are better versions out there, so artfully composed that I could get past their sort of sledgehammer heaviness.

I prefer the bottle of Mitsouko EdT that I bought in the men’s fragrance department at my local Dillards a few years ago. Yes, Mitsouko EdT in the men’s department, in a department store in Kansas, right there next to all the usual hairy-knuckled scents. I became a fan because of the slightly drier, easier to wear qualities of the EdT.

Very interested to see what Basenoters report about the new versions. I’ve already sprung for the new Vol de Nuit based on BN raves, a semi-blind buy. Thankfully, the Le Legendaires versions aren’t bracingly expensive. I see one or two more purchases from this line in my fragrance future. . . though I’m tempted to spring for a bottle of the new, pricey version of Arsene Lupin Voyou instead. Of course, if I were counseling other Basenoters on this choice, the inevitable conclusion would be “buy both.” Such is the life of Basenoters.
 

PerfumePorMoi

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 2, 2008
Oh man, I got the last gen of L'heure Bleue and Mitsuoko EDP from a discounter just as I saw the overhaul coming... and I don't really like them. I find them heavy and old fashioned smelling but figured maybe I'll come around to them with repeated exposure. But now I'm wondering if it would have been better to wait and buy the newly relaunched EDT versions which I might like better.
I have never had an easy time with Mitsouko. I had a vintage decant, nope. I was gifted a supposedly great formulation year (2014) and still could just not with it. I keep hoping one day I'll get it. Maybe a sample will be in with my order of Jicky and Chamade. 🤞
 

PerfumePorMoi

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 2, 2008
I have the same sneaking suspicions. I like the bottles of L’Heure Bleue EdP and Mitsouko EdP that we have on hand at my house. My wife wears them. But I’ve always suspected there are better versions out there, so artfully composed that I could get past their sort of sledgehammer heaviness.

I prefer the bottle of Mitsouko EdT that I bought in the men’s fragrance department at my local Dillards a few years ago. Yes, Mitsouko EdT in the men’s department, in a department store in Kansas, right there next to all the usual hairy-knuckled scents. I became a fan because of the slightly drier, easier to wear qualities of the EdT.

Very interested to see what Basenoters report about the new versions. I’ve already sprung for the new Vol de Nuit based on BN raves, a semi-blind buy. Thankfully, the Le Legendaires versions aren’t bracingly expensive. I see one or two more purchases from this line in my fragrance future. . . though I’m tempted to spring for a bottle of the new, pricey version of Arsene Lupin Voyou instead. Of course, if I were counseling other Basenoters on this choice, the inevitable conclusion would be “buy both.” Such is the life of Basenoters.
Interesting! Maybe I need to try the Mitsouko EDT . . . Those where the days, when Dillard's carried all the Guerlain classics. It's where I fell in love with Shalimar, to the point where I've ignored most other Guerlains. But these prices are good, so I'm going to order two bottles, one of them Jicky, but I'm trying to decide between Chamade and VdN for the other.
 

L'Aventurier

Basenotes Dependent
May 8, 2008
I got to try Samsara EdP in the Legendaires today. It smells great, like all the Legendaires I've tried so far, but it's a faded photograph of what it used to be. I don't have a bottle of the last formulation to compare with, but I have a bottle of the vintage from the 90s that I know really well. So I can't really comment on whether the bee bottle was better.

One thing that I've noticed, and mentioned within another thread on here, is that the Legendaires collection all have the same kind of quality: all the notes have been smoothed out by a new transparent musk accord (not unpleasant or chemical), and everything feels one dimensional. Notes like oakmoss and sandalwood no longer provide backbone. You can smell them, they're still there, but you don't feel them anymore. It's like smelling a hologram. The texture is ultra smooth, and there aren't really any layers anymore. Performance is good, and there is still progression from top to bottom.

I also have an old vintage bottle of 2000s Chamade EdT and I own a bottle of the new Legendaires Chamade EdT. The new formulation got the same treatment as the others: muskier, soapier, hollow, but pleasant and still has the same character. The iris feels synthetic now, and the top notes are stronger. Kind of feels like a really amazing 1970s detergent, but the vintage had that feel too, just more natural, more layered... yada yada.

Samsara is still Samsara, and Chamade is still Chamade, etc, but there is almost no depth - it's just flat and soft, but pleasant. The positive is that they still smell good, and they're much easier on the nose, maybe less dated smelling, still charming, still good quality, good performance. The negative side is that if you're attached to the vintage version, you'll probably be disappointed with the new ones (I am, but I saw this coming).

Anyway, that's it for now.

Edit: Here are some formula codes for the Legendaires:

Chamade EdT: 14840, new code for Legendaires 2021
Jicky EdP: 16638, new code for Legendaires 2021
L'Heure Bleue EdP: 11152 (EdP) (same as it was in 2017, no official change for Legendaires)
 
Last edited:
Apr 8, 2021
L'Aventurier: I appreciate your thoughts. I have a bee bottle Samsara edp and when I bought it in 2020 I thought it was pleasant, but I did not get that "gut feeling" of recognition. You know, when a perfume is so familiar it instantly takes you back in time (I wore Samsara in the very early 90s). The bee version was brighter, more floral, and in the base I think there was distinctly a sweet vanilla note. The sandalwood depth was gone. Still, it was "nice". Like a pretty good approximation of Samsara. But when I bought a vintage edp in the clear bottle, more recently, that's when the real recognition struck me. That was the Samsara I remembered. I've no interest in trying the Les Legendaires version to be honest.

I'm wondering about these new versions now. I hope they will still find an audience in the younger folks, even if those who have an emotional connection to the old scent may find them wanting. I don't see Guerlain putting any efforts into marketing them so far, though.

On another note, has anyone any news about why the classic parfums have disappeared from Guerlain's website and stores, apart from Shalimar? I heard it was "just supply issues". Surely, surely it can't be that they would just be discontinued -- or re-bottled in generic packaging? Say it isn't so.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
On another note, has anyone any news about why the classic parfums have disappeared from Guerlain's website and stores, apart from Shalimar? I heard it was "just supply issues". Surely, surely it can't be that they would just be discontinued -- or re-bottled in generic packaging? Say it isn't so.
This is my concern, too. Even if all of them were to suddenly reappear, after so long an absence I'd be too suspicious to buy any of them - I'd have to wait for reviews to start popping up.
 

GoldWineMemories

Basenotes Dependent
Nov 22, 2019
L'Aventurier: I appreciate your thoughts. I have a bee bottle Samsara edp and when I bought it in 2020 I thought it was pleasant, but I did not get that "gut feeling" of recognition. You know, when a perfume is so familiar it instantly takes you back in time (I wore Samsara in the very early 90s). The bee version was brighter, more floral, and in the base I think there was distinctly a sweet vanilla note. The sandalwood depth was gone. Still, it was "nice". Like a pretty good approximation of Samsara. But when I bought a vintage edp in the clear bottle, more recently, that's when the real recognition struck me. That was the Samsara I remembered. I've no interest in trying the Les Legendaires version to be honest.

I'm wondering about these new versions now. I hope they will still find an audience in the younger folks, even if those who have an emotional connection to the old scent may find them wanting. I don't see Guerlain putting any efforts into marketing them so far, though.

On another note, has anyone any news about why the classic parfums have disappeared from Guerlain's website and stores, apart from Shalimar? I heard it was "just supply issues". Surely, surely it can't be that they would just be discontinued -- or re-bottled in generic packaging? Say it isn't so.
I don't think there's any reason to worry about the parfums not being available other than supply issues. Who's spending $350 on Mitsouko or Jicky? People who have $350 to drop without questioning, and want Guerlain to keep the same perfumes they've been buying for decades. These people will continue buying the parfums, and I believe Guerlain will keep making them.
 

PerfumePorMoi

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 2, 2008
I got to try Samsara EdP in the Legendaires today. It smells great, like all the Legendaires I've tried so far, but it's a faded photograph of what it used to be. I don't have a bottle of the last formulation to compare with, but I have a bottle of the vintage from the 90s that I know really well. So I can't really comment on whether the bee bottle was better.

One thing that I've noticed, and mentioned within another thread on here, is that the Legendaires collection all have the same kind of quality: all the notes have been smoothed out by a new transparent musk accord (not unpleasant or chemical), and everything feels one dimensional. Notes like oakmoss and sandalwood no longer provide backbone. You can smell them, they're still there, but you don't feel them anymore. It's like smelling a hologram. The texture is ultra smooth, and there aren't really any layers anymore. Performance is good, and there is still progression from top to bottom.

I also have an old vintage bottle of 2000s Chamade EdT and I own a bottle of the new Legendaires Chamade EdT. The new formulation got the same treatment as the others: muskier, soapier, hollow, but pleasant and still has the same character. The iris feels synthetic now, and the top notes are stronger. Kind of feels like a really amazing 1970s detergent, but the vintage had that feel too, just more natural, more layered... yada yada.

Samsara is still Samsara, and Chamade is still Chamade, etc, but there is almost no depth - it's just flat and soft, but pleasant. The positive is that they still smell good, and they're much easier on the nose, maybe less dated smelling, still charming, still good quality, good performance. The negative side is that if you're attached to the vintage version, you'll probably be disappointed with the new ones (I am, but I saw this coming).

Anyway, that's it for now.

Edit: Here are some formula codes for the Legendaires:

Chamade EdT: 14840, new code for Legendaires 2021
Jicky EdP: 16638, new code for Legendaires 2021
L'Heure Bleue EdP: 11152 (EdP) (same as it was in 2017, no official change for Legendaires)
Very interesting—thank you! I have a bottle of Chamade on the way (Vol de Nuit is out of stock, Jicky will have to wait). I never smelled a vintage of it, but I am aware of that depth you speak of, given my familiarity with vintage Shalimar, Apres l’Ondee, and to a lesser extent Samsara.
 

mr. reasonable

Basenotes Dependent
Jan 1, 2009
I have bought 2 bottles of L'Apres Ondee - it's a very good update on the mixed up mess that happened a few years ago. Back to how it should smell :)

Yesterday I picked up the new Vol de Nuit. It's good stuff. This was always a bit of a strange thing - beautiful but lacking in personality, if you will. I have a lovely EDT from the 80's and this new one references that . . . good stuff.

The girls gave me samples of the new Jicky & Mitsouko EDTs - will get to know them over Easter.
 

heavy black heart

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Mar 20, 2022
sprayed some Jicky today & thought it was p amazing!

I have no reference points as I am new to it but I think it is lovely

I definitely pick up something animalic that gives it oomph but Fragrantica does not seem to list it... hmm...

I look fwd to spending time with it
 

Henna

Basenotes Member
Jan 25, 2021
Oh man, I got the last gen of L'heure Bleue and Mitsuoko EDP from a discounter just as I saw the overhaul coming... and I don't really like them. I find them heavy and old fashioned smelling but figured maybe I'll come around to them with repeated exposure. But now I'm wondering if it would have been better to wait and buy the newly relaunched EDT versions which I might like better.
Well tell me if you decide to sell them because I've just decided that I'll stick to vintage hunting rather than try these new versions... although they are so reasonably priced that they're pretty attractive to a vintage hunter.
 
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