The idea of combining the sober, cool, and darkish notes of laurel and licorice in a fresh summer eau sounded attractive and promised some interesting dissonance. The concretization of this vision however is sorrily missing in inspiration. It seems as though Figue-Iris, reviewed yesterday, got the better budget and greater amount of attention, while Laurier-Réglisse did not really have the time to bloom properly. If, as said previously, Figue-Iris is able to make a Mediterranean summer scenery come alive, one constantly pays attention to the inner workings of Laurier-Réglisse feeling like a plumber of sorts peeking into the guts of the fragrance because a problem is felt. It is perhaps inevitable that when a twin or grouped launch occurs, one scent will be less developed than the other(s), but let us hope for the best.
Laurier-Réglisse was composed by perfumer Marie Salamagne in collaboration with artistic director Sylvaine Delacourte. She already composed Mandarine-Basilic in the Aqua Allegoria line last year while Jean-Paul Guerlain was in charge of the creation of Angélique-Lilas. We have only cursorily smelled these, so we cannot draw a comparison.
The scent opens on a strong show of juicy citrusy, fruity (bergamot, orange blossom), lightly aromatic, and green notes. The discrepancy in quality with Figue-Iris is immediately apparent. The initial accord feels actually harsh and starts sending a pain-signal to the brain to tell you so. Laurier-Réglisse is very much cruder and less subtle than Figue-Iris, coming across more as a meli-melo of notes than a carefully constructed scent, this both on skin and blotter.
The initial freshness of the notes is underlined - and in fact unfortunately more than that - tends to be overtaken by warmer and overbearing underlying notes of vanilla and ambergris. The laurel note seems to be impeded from expressing itself fully and when it does, one feels it does so in a non-descript fashion. The licorice seems to be mainly alluded to through an anisic accord that feels generic. The result smells indefinite, evoking a shampoo, and the sensations in the scent therefore appear to be banal.
As the perfume evolves, it becomes a bit more streamlined and clearer. But it continues to lack saving grace. The licorice note peeks through more, with a little licorice caramel nuance, but tends also to be shut down by more violent, uncontrolled notes of bergamot, orange blossom and other just plain chemical impressions that express themselves shrilly.
The composition seems to have trouble reaching a moment of plenitude. Perhaps, in the end, as the synthetic-feeling brassy notes soften down and a leathery nuance of licorice appears, however timidly, finally mingling a bit rather than competing with other notes in the scent and letting out some quiet minty nuances, do we get a glimpse of what the perfume could have been. It actually only smells nice several hours later when all the cacophony has subsided and a softer, fresh, fruity, green galbanum drydown is but a mere whisper on the skin. Perhaps it needs to age more. But overall, Laurier-Réglisse feels strangely rushed, lacking in finesse, more like a mod to some extent than a finished fragrance composition.
Notes: Bay Leaf, Licorice, Amber, Violet, Bergamot, Orange Blossom.