Hoping To Sing Another Te Deum For Mitsouko by Guerlain {Scented Thoughts} {Perfume Short Reviews}


This is a follow up to my previous post about Mitsouko Eau de Toilette. During my recent trip to Europe I made a point of sampling Mitsouko by Guerlain in different places and in different concentrations because it was so hard for me to believe that the perfume's quality had completely gone down the drain. I still believe in a Guerlain gold standard of quality I suppose.

As I already mentioned in that previous post I was in shock when I tested Mitsouko at Marshall's last fall because it was so bad-smelling but at the same time thought there was perhaps a possibility that a cheaper version might have been dumped on sections of the export/US market....

Well, from a duty-free shop in Amsterdam to a Guerlain counter in Paris the results of the testings were the same: Mitsouko smells like a ghost of its former self. It now offers a synthetic overtone and a flattened impression that were not there before. This, unfortunately, applies to all three concentrations I found out, not just the eau de toilette. The parfum, eau de parfum, and eau de toilette, all three present a rather dominant synthetic hay-smelling note. I am guessing that it is the coumarin.

Back at home in Paris I was able to find an ancient bottle of Mitsouko pure parfum, unfortunately almost empty, but still having kept enough scent that I could refresh my memory of it. Even better and even more ironic, I found a bottle of Mitsouko deodorant dating from the same period, about 25-28 years ago, with a significant amount of product in it and it smells exactly like in my memory, that is rich, pruney (the peach), complex. The irony of course is that the deodorant version I have now smells 10 times better and richer than the current pure parfum extract of Mitsouko that is sold in Guerlain boutiques.

We have to hope that Mitsouko, somehow, will be restored to its old original richness and glory, even by other means.

I wanted to add that I also tried L'Heure Bleue in pure parfum and it seems to have been tampered with as well. In fact, I have an eau de toilette of it that smells more like the version I remember. I only sniffed Vol de Nuit parfum in the bottle and it seemed to smell the same although I must say that I did not have the courage to do a skin test in case I would have had to realize it had also been modified.


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11 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. I am agree with you. I have old Mitsouko EDP and it's so different to new EDP.
    the vintage has a darker green-brownish color
    due to oakmoss time alteration. I only buy vintage Mitsouko (ebay ,etc).
    Sooner or later Guerlain become Spears.....

  2. I am told by sources here and there reformulations are pretty evident everywhere when it comes to many of the classics. Like you, M-H, the Mitsouko parfum that I remembered some 20 years ago was a dark juice, very potent, thick and oily. While I haven't tried the new version, I'm sure it's just as much as a let down as the new version of Jicky, thin, hardly full and long lasting enough to be even called a parfum.

    Chanel also has changed their formulations of Coco. I have an old version and a new version. The old version was a dark amber, thick, with a slower development, where the newer version lacked in ferocity--flat, without fire. Same goes for the new Egoiste. Even the Cologne Concentree used to last longer than their new reformulated, thin EdT.

    My old bottle of Coco is definitely going into the refrigerator to hopefully preserve its glory.

    I wondered why many scents could keep a rather low price in this day and age. Silly me, thinking that it was probably cheaper to extract raw materials nowadays, but I'm sure now that most scents today are 99% synthetic, no better in quality than deodorant in a drug store. The only difference is that your scents today are just better crafted than your deodorant.

    R.I.P. to these Classics, and to the Classics that are about to befall the same fate!

  3. Maria,

    Yes, the new version both smells and looks paler, I agree.

    I will have to do the same, look for vintage bottles of Mitsouko from now on.

  4. iMav,

    My sister-in-law who is a Guerlain woman was also telling me last week in Paris how she noticed the Guerlains now don't last as long on the skin as they used too. They have become thinner juices, especially the classics it seems.

    I smelled Coco not long ago and the spirit of it was still there to me. I was not struck by a major change of personality as for Mitsouko.

    I don't mind synthetics as long as they are good, but sometimes it just seems like they are the approximate versions of the natural aromas.

  5. Thank you for the post.

    I don't have any experience w/ vintage, but, someone sent me a sample of current Mitsouko and I couldn't understand what the fuss was about.

    What do you think the ingredients are that are being substituted? Surely, there are adequate synthetic alternatives? Do you think this is due to health and environmental regulations, or, is it purely money considerations? Is Guerlain under some sort of new management?

    Most interesting... Seems like suicide.

  6. Mitsouko has a very short formula (10 lines). My guess is that they have changed real "amber tincture" for a synthetic substitute. Another change coud be in a substitute in the C14 or C18 aldehyde for an IFRA compliant product.

  7. Guerlain recently confirmed in email to me that they have indeed reformulated Mitsouko. If you read between the lines, it's apparent that they have removed the oakmoss, at the very least. Here is the text:

    Dear Madam,

    I acknowledge receipt of your mail dated 11/6/2006 and I thank you for sending it.

    Further to your letter regarding a mythic and historical perfume in Guerlain, MITSOUKO, I have the pleasure to answer to your request.

    MITSOUKO was created in 1919. How can we remain loyal to this perfume after 90 years of existence?

    As you may know, Guerlain has combined for years, two essentials values: Tradition and Modernity.

    Tradition is quality in the olfactive elaboration of every Guerlain perfume, in the respect of know-how and heritage.

    Modernity is to strictly respect European Legislation in order to give you comfort and satisfaction.

    So, MITSOUKO had the chance to benefit of the most recent olfactory innovation, so as to respect its past and to be in accordance with European Regulation.

    Thank you for your interest in our brand.

    Yours faithfully,

    Isabelle ROUSSEAU
    Customer Relationship Department

  8. Thanks Twitchly! I will put this info in the next roundup of comments:)

  9. Rachel,

    Sorry! I forgot to get back to your post!

    I think that people who have not used the old version of Mitsouko will find that the new version is acceptable. It's okay in higher concentrations, but it just does not compare. It was a goddess, now it's a mere mortal!

  10. I am so glad i found this site! i was wondering why my new bottle smelled strange. How can you order older bottles of mitsouko? and is the stuff on Ebay to be trusted? (obviously i'm talking about bottles that look like they are in original packaging.

  11. right so basically, it's down to eec regulations again. first it was chocolate, now perfume, what pleasures will we be left with?


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