lundi 29 mars 2010

Aqua Allegoria Flora Nymphea by Thierry Wasser for Guerlain: Sudsy Fairy




A decade after being launched, the Aqua Allegoria collection – conceived as simple two-accord eaux to bridge the gap between the grown-up compositions of the house and its classic citrus colognes – has just taken a new turn. The bottle’s been tweaked, the ad campaign shows a face for the first time, and the name gives no indication of the main accords. Though in French, nymphea is the name of the water-lily there is, mercifully, not a molecule of the dreaded aquatic note in Thierry Wasser’s blend. Flora Nymphea’s name is meant to evoke the nymph in the ad (coincidentally, it was launched at the same time as Annick Goutal’s Ninfeo Mio); it also conjures Claude Monet’s famous water-lilies series painted at Giverny and thus, Jacques Guerlain’s taste for the Impressionists.

The scent itself also veers off the path of fresh, playful eaux: Flora Nymphea is much fuller-bodied than its predecessors, and definitely a white Guerlain in the manner of Idylle, Les Secrets de Sophie or Cruel Gardénia. If it does obliquely bring water to mind, it is that its creamy, inedible texture somehow conjures soap of the chicest, most expensive kind – an effect often produced by orange blossom. The main accord here is seringa (Philadelphus coronarius), known as mock-orange in English and as “poet’s jasmine” in France, where the intensely fragrant bush is a common sight in suburban hedges. The scent of mock-orange, as re-created by Thierry Wasser (you can’t extract its essence) does take after both orange blossom and jasmine sambac. It seems pretty close to my memory of the real thing, though it’s much too early in the season to compare.

Flora Nymphea’s mock-orange/orange blossom/jasmine bouquet is embellished on top with a tiny green-pepper effect from petitgrain and the merest touch of an intensely sour, almost metallic lemon in the top notes which briefly conjures magnolia. Honey starts seeping up several hours into the development – Guerlain bees homing in on the hive – and adds a linden blossom effect to Flora Nymphea’s white floral bouquet. While the honey warms the blend and tilts it towards a touch of woodiness, the scent stays well away from animal notes: this is white floral sent to scrub up its indoles. This nymph isn’t frolicking with satyrs any time soon.

In accordance to the Aqua Allegoria’s keep-it-simple concept, Flora Nymphea isn’t going to send you nose-to-wrist for hours trying to plumb its psychological depths. But despite Octavian’s comment on 1000 fragrances on its lack of tenacity and Robin’s from NST on its fresh, dewy character, I find it’s still welded to my skin twelve hours after spraying: at this stage it’s showing signs of settling down for the night. I may just be waking up tomorrow with a cute white-wigged fairy next to me hogging the duvet. At that stage I may have to get rough.



To watch the Flora Nymphea animated film conceived by Oscar B Studio with a voice-over by French singer-songwriter Olivia Ruiz, click here.




13 commentaires:

  1. I got a bit of a lilac impression from this too, although I'm assuming that was just an illusion conjured up by the mix of orange blossom and jasmine like notes.

    It was unfortunately a bit too sweet and pretty on my skin. I had been hoping for something with the arresting quality of the now defunct Aqua Allegoria Flora Nerolia, which I quite like.

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  2. Jarvis, there *is* something a little spicy and balsamic lurking in the background, but it didn't read as lilac to me very much. I agree this is probably not something a man could carry off.

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  3. Denyse, you know I do my best to stretch gender norms to their breaking point, but there are some things even I can't pull off. ;-)

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  4. Jarvis, imagine having olfactory gender norms snap back into your nose... it doesn't bear considering.

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  5. D, I giggled through your review, only because this sounds so very much not "you" -- kick that silly fairy out of bed with the business end of the horizontal Louboutins ;-)

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  6. March, you want to get me in trouble with the SPCA? Hey, as long as she doesn't shed hair, or feathers, or fairy dust and uses her litter...

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  7. Ah, I agree with Jarvis. Sweet little honey-tinged nymphs with soft white wigs don't suit me either. I need a nymph who plays beneath the stars with a gleam of mischief in her eyes.

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  8. Melissa, I need mine to roll around in the grass (though in fact this does have green notes) and in the earth...
    That said, this will be an improvement over much of the stuff that's sold to the young'uns: it's got a little heft.

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  9. You might want to kick off the fairy I guess. And it seems that the second AA is also reminiscent of diaphanous white florals albeit with a rich dose of peach and rose in it(just reviewed it & linked you on this). It's the travel exclusive one.

    @Jarvis,
    Flora Nerolia is quite nice, isn't it? There is quite a bit of jasmine in that one.

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  10. Helg, so Mr. Wasser is definitely on a romantic white floral kick! Maybe there's a will to impose this as the new Guerlain house style.

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  11. I really want to try this,as I seriously love seringa, which is usually buried in a mountain of other notes. What a lovely idea to showcase it in a simple fragrance such as this!

    I am willing to bet that it will last well on my skin too -I amplify all white flowers like nobody's business. :-)

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  12. Flora, you might get a lot of orange blossom and honey on this too: it's not really a soliflore. And if you amplify white flowers, you might find this is a sillage monster!

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