lundi 21 décembre 2009

Guerlain Tonka Impériale: Regal Balsam


Tease out and blow up L’Heure Bleue’s full, almondy notes, tone down the orange blossom and heliotropin, hold the spices and you’ve got Guerlain’s next installment in the L’Art et la Matière collection: Tonka Impériale by Thierry Wasser, to be launched on February 1st 2010. Along with Bois d’Arménie, I find it to be the best of the line, and quite an encouraging sign for Thierry Wasser’s upcoming, less mainstream Guerlain compositions.

Like Wasser’s Iris Ganache and Olivier Polge’s Cuir Beluga (both from L’Art et la Matière), this is a gourmand with restraint, as creamy rich as the finest French chocolat filled with a Tonka bean ganache, yet laced with a hint of the trademark Jacques Guerlain aromatic herbs – in this case, rosemary – to man up the composition.

With its almond, tobacco/honey, balsamic and hay facets, Tonka bean absolute is practically a perfume in itself. In Tonka Impériale, the warm balsamic effect predominates, boosted by vanilla; its caramelized, almost roasted effects give the fragrance a chocolate-like richness without the actual flavor of chocolate. In a word, this is a Guerlain in the grand tradition of the patisserie, its cloyingness kept in check by the sheer feeling of quality: no empty calories here, just I-could-lick-my-arm-raw sensuousness. A gourmand for people who, like me, don’t like to smear themselves with olfactory dessert, and much subtler than, say, its boozy-sweet big sister Spiritueuse Double Vanille, namely because Tonka bean is a little less common as a dessert note… It’s also got considerable radiance and tenacity, so if you try it out on skin, don’t plan for other tests: a couple of spritzes will swallow up any other perfumes, and probably quite a few credit cards.

But don’t complain if you get bitten while wearing it: just bite back.


Image: Benjamin Constant, Empress Theodora at the Coliseum.

29 commentaires:

  1. I have such an ambivalent relationship with gourmands, but when Guerlain gets one right, it's usually a beauty. Even those that leave me vacillating between love and not-love (Iris Ganache, I'm looking at you) wind up in my collection sometimes.

    If I could, I would add Quand Vient La Pluie to the gourmand collection. I love the touch of praline in the base, but I don't love the price. So, maybe Tonka Impériale will be the next Guerlain love to join my collection?

    RépondreSupprimer
  2. Carmen,
    What a great review. Thank you so much. I can't wait to try this one.
    Arwen

    RépondreSupprimer
  3. Melissa, as you've probably guessed from my description, Tonka is not at all an iris-violet-heliotropin style scent like Iris Ganache or QVLP. I'm not a big gourmand fan, but I've been wearing it with pleasure: the balance feels just right.

    RépondreSupprimer
  4. What a lovely review - thank you! I am rather excited about this one and have a feeling it will be added to my collection. It is such a relief to know that Guerlain can still produce the goods, alongside such mediocre offerings in their main "commercial" line.

    RépondreSupprimer
  5. Fiordiligi, the L'Art et la Matière line always seems to offer good compositions -- not cutting-edge, but then that's never been Guerlain's story even in its creative heyday -- but quite consistent and tasteful. Tonka Impériale is an excellent addition.

    RépondreSupprimer
  6. It was a great priviledge to be able to smell this, thanks! It's not entirely my thing, but your review is spot on as usual (now wish I had paid more attention...)

    RépondreSupprimer
  7. I like anything almondy.I will definitely try it.

    RépondreSupprimer
  8. Ooh ooh ooh, this was an alluring review! I am a Guerlain junkie and agree about Bois d'Armenie being the best of that line. I bought my mum a bottle of it in April for her birthday and am struck again by its quality every time she wears it.

    Very much look forward to trying this whenever I make it back to the boutique on the Champs Elysees.

    Biting back is always advisable, I think ;-)

    RépondreSupprimer
  9. Oh, this sounds so very lovely! I'm hoping I don't turn it to sweet or plastic, as my skin often does with vanillics-but less with Tonkas. Did you say balsam? Oh, my!

    RépondreSupprimer
  10. Silvia, I thought it wasn't mine either but I've actually taken my sample along for the holidays... Go figure.

    RépondreSupprimer
  11. Della, definitely you should. It's thousands of miles away in spirit and texture from your wonderful Kyoteau, though...

    RépondreSupprimer
  12. Louise, I've smelled what your skin can do to a scent and I'm guessing you'll amp up the sweet. Still, worth a test!

    RépondreSupprimer
  13. Mimi, you've got a nicely smoky-balsamy-smelling mother, for sure!

    RépondreSupprimer
  14. What a wonderful Christmas present - a promising Guerlain! Maybe there is hope yet. Thank you for a great review. This should hit BG in time for their spring gift card. LOL!

    RépondreSupprimer
  15. Wow, this sounds amazing. Only Guerlain can make a gourmand I lust after and Tonka Impériale sounds like the next one to want. I haven't actually tried any of the recent stuff because I didn't think I had a direct Guerlain perfume counter. Lo and behold I just found it recently when I was hitting up those Van Cleef and Arpels. I'm going to sink even farther down the hole....

    RépondreSupprimer
  16. Rappleyea, the L'Art et la Matière have never made me jump up and down with excitement, but they're always very lovely and elegant, and I'd be surprised if Tonka Impériale weren't quite a success.

    RépondreSupprimer
  17. Eric, you're right, if anyone can make a gourmand, it's Guerlain. The aromatic note in Tonka Impériale make it quite balanced in the gender stakes... Sorry about your budget, but go for it!

    RépondreSupprimer
  18. Oh, I do love tonka, but I don't love smelling like a cupcake. This sounds like dangerous for me.

    Probably this is a dumb question, but I seemed to have missed the info somehow -- are the L'A et M frags limited editions?

    RépondreSupprimer
  19. Oh, my gosh, Denyse, you have sold me on Tonka Imperiale. And I've just ordered a bottle of Bois d'Armenie after saving my pennies for many months. Darn. Should I have waited to buy this one instead? If you could only have ONE, which would it be? I do trust your good taste. . .

    Hope you are having a delightful holiday and wishing you much peace and joy, dear woman. Wishing all your readers the same!

    RépondreSupprimer
  20. This must be wonderful. I love Guerlain perfumes.... thanks.

    RépondreSupprimer
  21. Amy, the L'art et la matière collection is permanent, so no worries there!

    RépondreSupprimer
  22. Robin, I really wouldn't know what to answer, as they're so different. I never bought Bois d'Arménie because I think Patchouli 24 is a stronger statement of the same idea by the same author, but that's me: an extremist.
    On the other hand, I'm enjoying my decant of Tonka Impériale.
    No, can't choose, they just fulfill entirely different cravings.

    RépondreSupprimer
  23. this sounds VERY interesting. I'm a huge LB fan and I think tonka bean is one of the very best notes out there. I can't wait to get some of this!

    RépondreSupprimer
  24. Rose, you might really enjoy it. I know I am, despite not being the hugest gourmand fan. It works.

    RépondreSupprimer
  25. Late to the party (as ever!). Thank you thank you thank you for the opp to try this. It is very well balanced and so feels like a gourmand for grown ups. I did indeed want to lick my arm (you knew!). My reaction surprised me as I am one of the few who do not appreciate Hermes Vetiver Tonka but I think the more rounded herbiness of this agrees with me much much better. Lovely review. Nicola

    RépondreSupprimer
  26. Nicola, Tonka Impériale and Vetiver Tonka couldn't have more different vibes... I agree that the Guerlain version is well balanced and that the aromatic touch is just what it needs to keep it from being cloying. As for the arm-licking, bear in mind that we didn't eat a single bite that evening!

    RépondreSupprimer
  27. https://softpharmacym.com
    https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-adipex-online/
    https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-qsymia-online/
    https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-lomaira-online/
    https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-clenbuterol-online/
    https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-saxenda-online/
    https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-contrave-online/

    buy-adipex-online/
    buy-lomaira-online/
    buy-saxenda-online/
    <a href="https://softpharmacym.com/product/buy-contrave-online/“>buy-contrave-online/</a>

    RépondreSupprimer