Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Persolaise Review: Mitsouko from Guerlain (Jacques Guerlain; 1919 [and Thierry Wasser; 2013/14])


I seem to have written about the current formulation of Mitsouko in all my usual haunts except, ironically, on this very blog. So I've decided to take a few minutes to remedy the oversight, mainly because the end of the year is almost upon us and I want to strike this off my To Do list before we hit 2015. I realise that the blogosphere has already gilded Thierry Wasser's re-working of Jacques Guerlain's 1919 master-chypre with layer upon layer of praise - and rightly so - but I'm eager to add my own voice to the compliments, just in case there's anybody out there who's in two minds about whether to get their hands on a sample of the stuff.

Several reports have been published on the methods used by Wasser to bring the scent closer into line with Jacques Guerlain's original vision. They all make fascinating reading, but for the sake of brevity, I won't delve into them today. Suffice it to say that whether it's because he increased the dosage of vetivert in the base, or he revitalised the citruses at the top, or, most interestingly, he created a special 'oakmoss-like' accord to compensate for the shortcomings of synthetic substitutes, the result is that the current Mitsouko feels like it has just emerged from the fountain of youth.

It remains pensive, mature and unreadable, but now, it also sparkles. Whereas in recent years, it had become somewhat more inward-looking, its current iteration gazes straight into the heart of the world with a smile that is welcoming and magnetic in equal measure. Mitsouko had started becoming all about breadth, but now its height has been restored, plunging from bergamot to woods to mosses with irresistible clarity. It is a multi-faceted shimmer of delight. Seek it out... and fall in love all over again.

[Review based on a sample of extrait provided by Guerlain in 2014 and samples of eau de parfum and eau de toilette obtained by the author in 2014. For more thoughts on what many consider to be the greatest perfume ever made, please visit Bois De Jasmin, Now Smell This and The Black Narcissus.]

Persolaise

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The small print: It almost goes without saying that the most beautiful of the current Mitsouko formulations is the extrait, but the eau de parfum and the eau de toilette are wonderful too, so sample all three if you can. Make sure you're testing a fairly recent batch; you're safe with anything from January 2014. On the Net, you'll find several reliable guides to decoding Guerlain's batch code system; here's one. If you're parting with cash, be aware that, in several shops, the testers aren't from the same batch as the bottles being sold. And finally... Over the course of the last few months, a few people have claimed to me, independently of each other, that they have cause to suspect the quality of the citrus oils used by Guerlain: to their noses, their effervescence seems to go off faster than it should. Time will tell if this turns out to be the case with Mitsouko, but for the moment, its opening catches the light like a finely-cut citrine.

12 comments:

  1. I hope the new Mitsouko is as refreshing and effervescent as your wonderfully written description.

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    Replies
    1. Joan, thanks very much indeed. I hope you have a chance to try it soon :-)

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  2. Feeling rather rueful about this rapturous reception because I have Mitsouko parfum that pre-dates the reinvigoration that was undertaken so carefully by Wasser. Buyer beware indeed!

    Anna in indifferent Mitsouko in Edinburgh :-(

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    Replies
    1. Anna, I'd say Mitsouko has always wonderful, but the current formulation really is rather special.

      When I read your comment, I wondered if there'd be grounds for returning your bottle to the shop and asking for it to be replaced with a new, superior version. No doubt, an interesting conversation would ensue!

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  3. i am trying to decide which formulation of mitsouko to buy for my birthday and would really appreciate a short description of the differences between the 3 if you can manage it : )

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    Replies
    1. Flowergirlbee, thanks for your comment.

      First off, I'd say you really need to sample all three for yourself.

      In the Bois De Jasmin review - to which I've linked above - Victoria Frolova states that the edt is bright and citrusy, the edp is peachy and the extrait emphasises jasmine. I'm inclined to agree. As you'd expect, the edt is sharper and more transparent (almost peppery), the edp starts to give greater prominence to the fruit and then everything comes together in the extrait with a heavy, plummy/floral thickness.

      All three are recognisably Mitsouko: their mossiness is distinct and clear.

      Do let me know which one turns out to be your favourite.

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  4. Hi & all the very best for this new year!
    I`m wearing Mitsouko for years now and most enjoyed its depth and bitter-woody final stages. It also seems to me that this perfume has an ability of aging fantastically. That said, the Wasser-recreation still is one of my all-time favourites and I`m glad I got 80ml of the Extrait from a sharing. But the parts that made the 70s- to early 2000-batches more of a 'masculine' perfume seem a little less pronounced in the recent scent. I can remember these peppery-cedar and dark clove-patchouli qualities in the zig-zag-box, black-golden-box and even orange-yellow-striped boxes of the extrait, not so much in this one. I also miss a certain longevity.
    Kind regards, Tim

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    1. Tim, all the best to you too, and thanks for stopping by.

      It sounds as though you're something of a Mitsouko expert. 80 ml of the extrait? I'm impressed. Enjoy wearing it :-)

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  5. Of course not. I'm just writing down my personal experiences (perfume version). I simply loved a certain 'edge' that I'm missing in the recent Mits. Still do months later. It might be an aging issue though, not sure. There are quotes saying that reformulation only has been done with the EdP (e. g. monsieur guerlain). Whatever ... perfectly fine if perfumes like this keep existing, being handled with care & patience. All the best! T.

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    1. Tim, thanks for your comment. I hadn't heard what you say about the EDP. And yes, I agree that it's wonderful that Guerlain are still putting love and attention into Mitsouko.

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    2. having worn mitsouko since 1969 I was horrified to learn of the reformulation! I wondered why my last purchase in 2014 was smelling peculiar- disinfectant is only way to describe it! then I read the blogs. By chance I spotted a lonesome mits bottle on a shelf in an olde worlde chemist which turned out to be real mits.lovely!! But now it's empty and I'm in despair - sadly no other perfume is as compatible with me and my skin! I've resorted to Bulgari jasmin noir which my nose just about passes as acceptable. Are there any other perfumes that come close to the divne and magical fragrance of mitsouko?

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    3. Hi Anon,

      Oh dear, that's a tough one. Simple answer: No. I would say your best bet would be to find a well-composed modern chypre, like Amouage's Jubilation 25 or Le Labo's Ylang 49 or maybe even, in a funny sort of way, Etat Libre D'Orange's The Afternoon Of A Faun.

      Good luck!

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