Guerlain – Royal Extract
Guerlain have produced a lot of very commercial fragrances in the last 15 years, whether you like them or not. But they’ve also, quietly, been producing some very beautiful limited editions and collectables, notably the translucent, delicate and pretty Aqua Allegoria scents which, for summer are in my opinion non pareil. Royal Extract is a Limited Edition collaboration with Harrods and at £280 it’s probably one for collectors only, but it is undeniably an exquisitely formed fragrance, in the old Guerlain tradition of Shalimar, Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleu etc etc Its name is a tribute to Guerlain founder Pierre-Francois-Pascal, who, in 1828, the year the house was established created a perfume named ‘Royal Extract of Flowers. No coincidence that Guerlain was the supplier of perfume to many of the great courts of Europe at the time. As you might imagine, this is a potent grown up ‘madame’ of a fragrance, redolent of a rather grand lady in expensive lingerie, perhaps tweed, perhaps fur. Indeed some of my perfume writing compatriots have deemed this sort of scent the smell of ‘knickers’ or ‘inner thigh’- an ‘amber’ with its heavy dose of vanilla entwined with rose jasmine and tuberose. Delicate it is not. The dry down reminds me of Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan and Shalimar by turns and yes, there is something of intimate female bodily odour about it (not that I am familiar with any other than my own!) – heavy with suggestion and intimation as it is.