Product Type: Guerlain fragrances
Newest Review: ... some personality and a certain charm, but - but - but I'm afraid it's just not particularly interesting. Compared to the great perfumes b... more
I Love Paris In The Springtime
Guerlain Champs Elysees Eau de Toilette
Member Name: luxuryliner
Guerlain Champs Elysees Eau de Toilette
Advantages: Good quality, easy to wear, 'happy' fragrance,
Disadvantages: Too sweet for my taste, uncomplicated, disappointing compared to Guerlain's other offerings.
Champs Elysees is unashamedly feminine and unabashedly Parisian - the Guerlain flagship store is on the Champs Elysees and this perfume is an attempt to capture some of the spirit of Paris. The box is gold-coloured with abstract shiny gold lines, capped at each end with a pink strip at the bottom and a larger pink rectangle at the top, bearing the words "Champs Elysees". It's simple enough and in the usual format of Guerlain perfumes; the bottle is a clear glass offering which shows the very pale yellow (almost clear) perfume, tapered at the bottom with a flat base to stand it up and a glass lid. It's not as beautiful as the Mitsouko bottle or as innovative as the Insolence bottle, but the whole effect is nevertheless quite elegant and classic.
THE PERFUME ITSELF
The top notes of Champs Elysees are floral and sweet, sweet, sweet: rose emerges first, but not a heavy type of rose - this incarnation is light and sparkling, very fragrant without being sickly, and backed up by the further sweet, light fruitiness of peach and something that smells a little bit champagne-like to my nose. There's nothing watery about the top notes (Champs Elysees is far from being aquatic or citrus) but the initial scents lack depth or conflict; they sparkle, certainly, but all the sparkle is very 'surface', not backed up by anything deeper underneath, or any darker notes to add interest. In fact, the whole effect at first is very clean and clear, perhaps a little soapy, with a lot of brightness.
The middle notes, developing after about 30-40 minutes, are dominated by mimosa blossom, which is a strange sort of scent - very delicate and definitely floral, but with a hint of wateriness and soap too. I've heard it described as being 'cucumber-like' before, and that seems to fit the bill very well, actually; it's the sense of water and liquidity but also a certain floral/vegetal quality which definitely comes out at this point. Buddleia makes an appearance at this point, adding some heaviness but not much variety as it's still a very floral scent. For such a light, floral, sparkling kind of perfume, the sillage on Champs Elysees is unbelievable - it remains very potent even as the top notes die away, so be careful about how much you apply and be prepared to scent the whole room you're in!
As the middle notes turn into base notes, the scent becomes much creamier and, if it's possible, even sweeter. The heavy and floral buddleia becomes smooth almond - not gourmand-type almond (there's nothing foody or edible about it) but scented and pastel-ish, kind of like the scent equivalent of a sugared almond. The champagne reappears, but in a flatter, less sparkling form, along with a definite hit of vanilla which combines with the almond to produce a really creamy, almost powdery effect which lingers on and on and on.
This might just be my skin, but at no point did I notice this scent losing any of its sweetness or developing anything approaching woodiness/musk; I've read a couple of descriptions which say that there's a 'woody' scent which appears in the base notes, which I suppose may be true on certain skins, but it's never there for me.
I acknowledge that there is much to appreciate about this perfume. I like its 'happy' qualities - it's bright, sparkling and very fresh, perfect for a good mood and warm clear weather (although maybe not hot weather, as it's potent stuff and the almond and vanilla would get a bit too much). I like the interpretation of the Parisian theme and the fact that it's anything but cheap-smelling; there's no doubt that this is a quality perfume, well-blended and with a nice development as far as it goes. If you like your scents sweet, feminine, easy to wear and very floral/clean, this might well be a good bet.
So there's nothing wrong with Champs Elysees: it's very likeable, inoffensive and easy to wear, it's got some personality and a certain charm, but - but - but I'm afraid it's just not particularly interesting. Compared to the great perfumes by Guerlain (Mitsouko, Shalimar, Vol de Nuit or even something like Samsara, to name just a few) it's uncomplicated and lacks a lot of the layers which make a truly brilliant perfume. Perhaps a lot of its trouble is its very easy-to-wear qualities themselves; it doesn't demand much and doesn't develop very far or go anywhere interesting or surprising. I have a bottle and do wear it sometimes, particularly in the summer, but it's not usually my first choice.
I would have liked to smell the original 1904 Champs Elysees formulation, but seeing as it's incredibly rare and costs about £14,000 if you can even manage to locate a bottle, something tells me I won't be getting to try it any time soon!
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
Champs Elysees is, like all Guerlain perfumes, quite expensive and not always widely available in standard high-street shops, though unlike something like Vol de Nuit which is becoming very difficult to find, anywhere that has a Guerlain concession will probably stock this one. Try Debenhams and House of Fraser; if you're in London then all the big department stores will have it. I've also had some luck with Guerlain perfumes in independent chemists, too, so it's worth checking. It is expensive, though, retailing at about £93 for 100ml EDT.
Summary: If you can handle the sweetness, this might be just the thing for a carefree summer day.