Skin Scent or Skinny Scent – LUI by Guerlain

I officially felt old the first time I reencountered mom- jeans. I wanted to gently tap the young woman’s shoulder and tell her, that mom- jeans didn’t do anything for her figure, and were not even  fashionable at the time, hence the name…

Apart from mom-jeans the 90s brought us some amazing and iconic perfumes, (feminite du bois, le feu d’issey etc) but mostly it brought us the beginning of ghostly anemic fragrance and the end of interesting mainstream releases.

I was truly looking forward to smelling the new LUI by Guerlain, which mistakenly I though was a new mainstream release when in fact it’s a 160€ per 50ml -thing! I loved the idea of Guerlain going explicitly gender-bender on us, calling a shared fragrance for LUI. Even the notes read like something I would love: vanilla, clove, benzoin, leather, smoke, carnation and resins. “A universal perfume” is how Guerlain terms it, add to that not one but two superstar perfumers; Thierry Wasser is joined by Delphine Jelk.

The idea of turning a heavy oriental perfume into a skin scent, might be a good one, at least in theory, but in reality, to me, it just smells skimpy. I can smell the clove/ carnation and the soothing concoction of vanilla and resins. Perhaps I can even imagine that the  leather takes the perfume away from being too cloying or vanilla-cosy, but more realistically, had I blind-sniffed LUI, I wouldn’t have given it a second chance, too many good carnation/ clove centric perfumes already exist. This one seems simplistic and unguerlain, even if I agree with the many forum voices calling the drydown akin to (a skinny) Bois d’Armenie.

I find that LUI jumps on the niche bandwagon of using as fewer ingredients creating more linear fragrances, which is disappointing coming from the venerable old perfume house.

If diet-oriental scents are your thing, give it a try. It might also be for you if in general you enjoy skin scents and the niche brands which have made it their aim to use a limited molecular palette.

If you like a fuller carnation there’s the magnificent En Avion by Caron, Washinton Tremlets overcosy and quite musky Clove Absolute (think Musc Ravageur goes clovy) and Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano if you like a strong, spicy, Italianate carnation. For another transparent carnation there’s Prada’s Infusion d’Oeillet.

I assume the target groups chez Guerlain consist of all the mom- jeans wearing hipsters who agree that this spectral 90s incarnation (pun intended) is the bees knees. It makes me feel old.


11 thoughts on “Skin Scent or Skinny Scent – LUI by Guerlain

  1. ‘Spectral 90s incarnation’, haha. Loved the review if not the sound of this scent. I am a big fan of Bois d’Armenie but clove and carnation are two note nemeses, so a diet / skinny drydown of the former would not compensate for the latter, sadly. I do think these great houses have got themselves into a bit of a strategic pickle.

    • Dear Vanessa, thanks I always think of you when I find a sentence like that comes out of the keyboard ? How right you are about the big houses, how are they to keep up? The pressure from the investors and shareholders is real, and their profit is only a good one if it keeps increasing, it’s truly quite disgusting.

  2. I’m so sorry that (one more) perfume from a favorite brand was a disappointment for you (which isn’t extremely bad at that price, if you think about it 😉 ) but I enjoyed your review: it made me smile a couple of times. I know, it’s easier for me: I do not like Guerlain in general, though I have several favorite perfumes from the brand. But for me each success with the brand is rather an exception so I do not get disappointed.
    On the positive side, that carnation stem on the picture makes it look like a cat tail: I look at the picture and see a black cat with a striped tail.

    • I have been in a real conundrum of late, as most new perfume releases just feel soulless. All that white musk/ ambroxan/ blonde woods etc, that generic dry down-smell just drives me insane. I want to write, but find it hard to find (new) perfumes to write about.
      Maybe like you, I should dive into some of my older samples.?
      Ha, a cat’s tale… so the cap is the head? Without ears? I made an ear version I wanted to insert here, but I can’t insert pic, unfortunately.
      Thank you for your thorough and actually uplifting comment. I should stop having too high expectations – from any brand.

  3. Oh, that’s a shame. I mean an oriental (especially Guerlain’s) should smell big. I mean that in the most positive way – enveloping, rich and well, full-bodied (not skinny).
    I’ll give it a try when I get the chance but I’m not keeping my hopes up.

    • I can’t imagine it being for you either, Ines, but I’ll happily send you my sample ?
      I wish for this simplistic perfume fashion to die – SOON! But as it maximises profit, it don’t see it happening.

  4. Quick break from my oven ….. LUI? It only
    reminded me of something I would put on a toothache if I had no proper painkillers. Horrible. Vero gave me her vintage En Avion. Lui? No ta. Hugs. xxxx

    • Val, hallelujah, I’m not the only one thinking this one belongs back on the drawing board!
      En Avion! Just gorgeous, and then from Vero’s collection, how truly special.

  5. Why have Guerlain lost their self-belief and stopped doing what they’re great at? I find it baffling. Why does everyone only want to cater to the mom-jeans wearing Millennials? Could they afford this anyway?
    I’ll stop asking questions now and just say this was a great post with a stunning image. Thanks, Asali.

    • Especially, the economy part; have they lost their marbles, who is their core audience? Do what everyone else does, and surely you lose?
      So happy I’m not the only angry ‘old’ woman around, though ?
      Thank you dear. It cost me sweat and tears, because I wanted to try and see a shimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

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