There is no question that Guerlain is one of the world’s oldest and most venerable fragrance Houses, having brought us such masterpieces as Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue, and Mitsouko. Then in 1999, the brand went in another direction and launched the Aqua Allegoria range, a selection of fragrances that are meant to compliment some of their more opulent creations, but in a fun new way — and all inspired by nature, I might add.
Housed in bottles with clean lines that sport a ‘honeycomb‘ shawl draped over the shoulders (a nod to the brand’s iconic bee motif), each also bears a distinctive coloured juice. Intended as entry-level fragrances that take their cue from nature, these are all about taking the natural world and injecting some fun twists into familiar ingredients — giving us creations that feel so effortless, yet still remain masterful in their complex simplicity. Fancy-speak for really, really, amazing scents.
Aqua Allegoria Mandarine Basilic (CAN $87.00/75 ml) | Launched in 2007 and created by Marie Salamagne, this scent is one of the veterans of the collection. Described as a citrus aromatic, it may very well have been inspired by the Tuscan landscape; think lush orange groves intertwined with giant clay pots of herbs. Fresh & summery in feel, this is a perfect mix of sweet and savoury, and while the citrus note is quite dominant upon the first spritz, the dry down awakens the basil — and yet the mandarin memory still continues to waft throughout. Key ingredients:
- Top notes: Clementine, Orange Blossom, Ivy, Green Tea, Bitter Orange
- Heart notes: Peony, Chamomile, Mandarin Orange, Basil
- Base notes: Sandalwood, Amber
Aqua Allegoria Coconut Fizz (CAN $87.00/75 ml) | Launched this year (2019) and created by Delphine Jelk, this is described as a fruity aromatic — but I think it should be re-classified as ‘vacation in a bottle’ instead. Many coconut-inspired fragrances exist and while this category can come across as sickly sweet, Guerlain has managed to work miracles here, giving us a fragrance that starts off more coconut-water, but which then begins to take on a creamy roundness with time, finally coming to soft finish like sun-warmed skin. Key ingredients:
- Top notes: Coconut Nectar, Bergamot
- Heart notes: Water Fruit (whatever this is, I like it), Freesia
- Base notes: Sandalwood, Tonka Bean
Aqua Allegoria Pera Granita (CAN $87.00/75 ml) | Launched in 2016 and created by Thierry Wasser, this is described as a fruity floral. In fact, the direct translation of the name is ‘pear sorbet’ which couldn’t be more accurate as this is juicy, crisp, bright, and instantly uplifting — much like its namesake mouth-watering ice treat. But don’t imagine for a second that this lighthearted fragrance doesn’t have a more sensual side as well; think rooftop cocktail party, and you’ll get the vibe. Key ingredients:
- Top notes: Grapefruit, Bergamot, Lemon
- Heart notes: Orange Blossom, Osmanthus, Pear
- Base notes: Oakmoss, White Musk, Cedarwood
Most eau de toilette fragrances I’ve tried are usually fleeting upon my skin, and while I don’t know what sorcery Guerlain has imbued the Aqua Allegoria range with, all three here display a significantly longer hold than expected. I may be biased, but Coconut Fizz has definitely won my heart (anything that reminds me of a tropical getaway — or that includes coconut), but surprisingly the other two appeal as well, as much for their bright crispness as for the uplifting feel they provide. With winter fast approaching, I can think of no better way to channel summer than with any (or all) of these fragrances … unless it’s an actual vacation, that is.
Available at The Bay, Holt Renfrew Ogilvy & Guerlain Boutiques
Kindly provided by Guerlain for my unbiased consideration