Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto (2017) {Perfume Review & Musings}

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Looking back at 2017 and smelling it anew in the beginning of 2018, La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto Eau de Parfum Florale by Guerlain is, to our mind, one of the best perfume launches from last year in terms of the jus proper. The flacon is not shabby either. It is an interpretation of La Petite Robe Noire of 2009 by duetto of perfumers Thierry Wasser and Delphine Jelk, a perfume destined to woo a new generation of customers. The latter is the original author of LPRN. The former is the in-house head perfumer at Guerlain's since 2008...

When a Guerlain perfume is well done, it carries with it a comfort factor allied with newness which is rarely matched elsewhere. Established in 1828, worn in the 20th century by generations of customers, the house's scents offer a familiar imprint, which is cultivated and sought.

Black Perfecto, while offering new tonalities, manages to not only echo the first fragrance in the collection, but also to express once more in a classical manner what it is to wear a Guerlain perfume, thanks to the Guerlinade base which surfaces from the depths of the composition. Old and old-new meet. The Guerlinade has had to be revised, tweaked, updated too. Wasser was thinking out loud about it in 2008. It's the scent of continuity. You have other ways too; the cherry note in LPRN and Black Perfecto is a not-so-distant echo of the Heliotrope note found in L'Heure Bleue; Bulgarian rose is a must for a Guerlain perfume.

In Black Perfecto, you get the paradoxical, wanted effect of discovering a recent, novel composition, which at the same time makes you feel like you've found a pair of old leather gloves which fit you snuggly, unearthed from behind a piece of furniture you just moved for the first time in decades. It has nothing to do with producing a copycat and everything to do with the type of phenomenon that anthropologists like to study under the general title of "tradition and modernity."

It is no mere chance, as it turns out, that worn leather gloves pop up in your mind. Black Perfecto features a mellow leather accord, which almost transforms itself into cream, so mellow it is. You don't instantly think of it as leather but rather animalic cream. It is the buttery aspect of certain luxury leathers which seems to serve as inspiration. Cosmetic nuances of lipstick and powder make the perfume feel particularly feminine.

If you've ever wondered what a sensation you could call "crème de lipstick" might smell like in the smoky atmosphere of a tea house filled with the steam of dark tea leaves while sweet cherry and almond nibbles beckon, then you've come to the right bottle of perfume.

Black Perfecto will please rose lovers. It was designed to be a rose feast for the nose. The two perfumers have built a triple rose threat by layering the scent of rosewater from Bulgaria, with the more carnal rose essence and rose absolute of May Rose from Grasse - with its jam-like raspberry heart. This triple-threat rose is lush, decadent even, perfectly balanced out by dark notes of leather, tea, patchouli, musk and cherry. Although cherry is not explicitly mentioned, it is part and parcel of the original LPRN, appearing in a juicy and dark form here too.

La Petite Robe Noire Black Perfecto is a kicking Guerlain. It is both through and through old-school - with subliminal hints of Shalimar, Habit Rouge and Héritage - and modern. It even presents the slight flaw, to which you have had to get used in the last decade (see the saga here), of a sligthly "plastic" note, deftly covered up by the smell of cosmetics and rich roses, which allows for a reduction of the incongruous artifical smell. In spite of it, it gets our not-to-be-missed seal of approval. It's a pleasure to wear it and you want to spray on more and again, which is the ultimate litmus test for a fragrance.

Fragrance notes

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