28 agosto 2011

Guerlain Vetiver 2011: new restyling

"I awakened to the cry
that the people have the power
to redeem the work of fools
P. Smith - People have the power

Guerlain Vetiver edition 2011
Perfumeries downtown at the end of August are a bit like women getting back from vacations: the latter try to get back in their feet with a look remake after having led themself go on vacation. The first instead remake the windows, move the sale's baskets in a hidden corner and refill the shelves with new stocks and new launches for the fall. So being even more curious after reading latest Octavian Coifan's bad reviews, I was hunting for Chanel No. 19 Poudré or Givenchy Dahlia Noir to try them out. No traces of that two ones, but suddenly my eye fell upon the new packaging of Guerlain Vetiver I was waiting for. Since longtime rumors talked about a possible reformulation too and the general fear was, after the first terrible one in the satin bottle packaging this time it would have been like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

To tell the truth it must be said that since LVMH put its hands on the Maison Guerlain, they  got up to all kinds of mischief, above all when it came to the reference "vetiver", or the touchstone to compare every masculine vetiver based fragrance since fifty years.

Guerlain Vetiver edizione 2000
First of all in 2000 the packaging change with a beautiful satin glass bottle, together with the change of the juice color from golden to green and till then it was ok. The first troubles began when the fond customers that have been using the fragrance for a lifetime suddenly realized it changed, that that green juice wasn't anymore "their" vetiver. The double joke took place when accuses of reformulation rised from the various forums and bloggers and even at the customer care sercives, accuses to which LVMH swore again and again that it was pure fantasy and that fragrances didn't change since ever. For the customers this was insult added to injury. the first effect was the hunting for the few bottles of the old juice left around and of course the springing out of the ebay parallel market for vintage vetiver bottles sold at prices more and more growing. As chance would have it, Guerlain later launched an Extrème version attributed to Jean-Paul Guerlain himself that aimed to make up to the complained evanescence of the new eau de toilette. The second reply LVMH gave was iron hand against the parallel market on ebay France, where they reached to forbid the sales of bottles of all the fragrances of the group (brands like Dior, Givenchy, Guerlain...). The move from one hand got the lovers of the brand angry, from the other hand it was the attempt to silence them on an evident truth.

Now this umpteenth packaging change seems to reverse gear, seems like aiming to make peace with the history: it goes back to a traditional Guerlain bottle, it gets back to a formula without that tiresome dishwashing lemony opening that had nothing to share with the original one. Not only, I've been pleasantly impressed by the new version for the generous reappearence of tobacco with that chypreish base that is not and will never be as it was back in time, but at least it took me back to the memory of the "wet patch" sensation that used so much to turn up my nose when I was a child and was the trademark of how uncompromising was this wood. Finally I got in another perfume shop to spray my other arm with the satin bottle version to play at the find the differences game: all the impressions matched, even about the lasting power that they managed to improve in the last release.
I'd like to think for once this reformulation is the effect of many voices, the ones of many people passionate about fragrances or simply people that live with them as a part of their emotions and memories that for once have been so loud and unanimous that it was impossible to ignore them. I'd like to think one of the voices is mine.

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