Puckrik on Perfume

Katie Puckrik ON Oct 09, 2009 AT 11:40 am

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

Katie Puckrik: Photographer Martin Shaw

Guerlain Attrape-Coeur
By Katie Puckrik

I’ve just discovered my newest favourite niche perfume house. It’s a little outfit called Guerlain – perhaps you’ve heard of them? No? Well then, let me fill you in. They have a couple of hits in high rotation Shalimar is probably the one that’s played the most. And Mitsouko is Guerlain’s “Stairway to Heaven” epic – everyone seems to know it and have an opinion about it, even though you don’t really smell it on the airwaves anymore.

But until recently, the rest of the line was a mystery to me. Guerlain classics like L’Heure Bleue, Vol de Nuit and Jicky, heralded in song and story, were inaccessible to me. Niche-style inaccessible. Just not…physically gettable – in that actual bottle-to-palm, nozzle-to-nose way.

I Iive in a major metropolis, with the space-age ability to drive my car in any direction that might have one of these storied Guerlains at the other end. And there is no Guerlain at the other end, in any direction.

Until suddenly, Saks 5th Avenue Beverly Hills open their very own Guerlain mini-boutique. I stumble into it while dodging the sales assistant trying to contaminate me with Chloé. Unexpectedly face to face with the venerable stars of Guerlain, I get goose bumps. And a nipple hard-on.

Look! There’s Derby – so handsome, so debonair! Ooh! Vetiver pour Elle – even more striking in person! And get a load of Nahema – a prima donna among prima donnas. I felt like I was at a movie premiere gawping at the biggest names in show business.

Guerlain's Attrape Coeur was originally Guet-Apens

Guerlain's Attrape Coeur was originally Guet-Apens

I methodically begin sniffing scent strips spritzed with each of these new-to-me perfumes. I make it through two, and then am stopped in my wild animal tracks by Attrape-Coeur. I get the moronic face cats have when they smell sexy kitty pheromones: the slack jaw and unfocussed eyes.

To begin with, I can’t even put my finger on what’s giving me “dumb kitty-face”, other than mmmmmm…velvety warmth. Attrape-Coeur (French for “heart-catcher” – perfect!) is ample, welcoming. And it has that lady-knickers Guerlain gaminess, but it doesn’t seem as thick and insistent as it does in Mitsouko, for example.

Knowing that “mmmmmm…velvety warmth” won’t exactly cut a dash with my discerning readers, I struggle to understand exactly what Attrape-Coeur is doing to me. Amid the beguiling play of sweet, boozy, and bitter, I get my first light bulb: amber. Then violet begins to assert itself. Okay, I’m on a roll now: amber, violet, gamey lady-knickers. And there’s a floral fruitiness, a wet peach-like quality rolled up in powdery iris and rose.

Just as I’m thinking, “Wow, I can really carry off this 90-year-old perfume!” I learn that Attrape-Coeur was actually introduced in 1999, created by Mathilde Laurent and initially called Guet-Apens (French for “Ambush” – also perfect!). The tone of this eau de parfum is one of old-fashioned Mitsouko glamour, but the 1999 birthday explains why there’s such a sheerness and lilt to the composition.

Attrape-coeur is formal, yet comfortable. Wearing it is like kicking off your heels at fancy party, and feeling the dense pile of the carpet cushion your stocking feet as you eat cakes and bop in your evening gown. It’s a perfume for a grown woman who stays for the lock-in after the ball. And merrily gets into consensual trouble.

Attrape-Coeur info & stockists: www.guerlain.com
More perfume rants and rambles on
www.katiepuckriksmells.com

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