The painting you see above, Lady In Oriental Dress, is a work by George Owen Wynne Apperley, an English artist (1884-1960) who lived mostly in Spain and Tangier; Apperley's more intense creations include smoldering nudes and portraits of passionate-looking Spanish ladies (among them his second wife). But it's the painting above that caught my heart with its tenderness and subtleties, not to mention the gorgeous dress and tapestry behind the subject.
Myrrhe et Délires is Guerlain's newest addition to the Art et la Matière line. I'm a big fan of this range of modern Guerlain perfumes. They're plushy and opulent, a great link and homage to the house's classic fragrances. Myrrhe et Delires is a little toned down compared to statement perfumes such as Tonka Imperiale, Iris Ganache, Angelique Noire and many of the others. I was ready to mentally file it with Cruel Gardenia which I never fully got or wanted to wear until I smelled it on the skin of someone else. I still don't wear it, but I gained a healthy appreciation of what's going on with this anti-gardenia.
Back to Myrrhe et Délires. It opens up sweet and somewhat powdery without being a power perfume. There's some brightness at the top, the obligatory peppery fruit. If it didn't have a very Guerlain feel I'd call it ubiquitous, but even the top notes of Myrrhe et Délires are full and cushy. So the freshness is not your average pink punch and has a somewhat pale caramel background. I can't isolate the scary pear note no matter how hard I try-- the fruit feels more like something in a reddish color, peachy without being an actual peach, just having that color and suede-like texture.
The tactile feel of suede continues when the dry iris arrives on the scene. Its treatment is again very obviously in the Guerlain way. I smell a faint echo of the classics more than the recently axed Iris Ganache. Myrrhe et Délires is not as sweet and more introverted and reserved than one might expect. Wearing it day in and day out under various conditions, I can tell that this fragrance gains more confidence and projection when my skin is very warm. Despite the general idea of hot and heavy notes, I see most of the potential for Myrrhe et Délires during the summer months.
What I barely get here is myrrh. Myrrh is not a typical Guerlain note; since this is a new release in a line that focuses on showcasing raw materials it's immediately compared unfavorably to the newish Myrrhiad from Parfumerie Generale (see Octavian's review on 1000 Fragrances). I get what he's saying, but I can't help enjoying Myrrhe et Delires for what it is, not for what it's not. The dry-down on very warmed up skin is delicate incense and even more refined patchouli. Again-- this is patchouli the Guerlain way, so I just want to wrap myself in its folds and curl in it. There are other perfumes to get an intense frankincense and/or myrrh fix, this fuzzy creature is not one of them, at least not in the dead of winter. Myrrhe et Délires is an excellent soft oriental for daytime (the low projection is very office-friendly) or a first date thing-- one would smell beautiful without radiating the wrong idea too soon. It's probably too soft for me at the moment, but it's so well-composed and pretty I just want to dive into it head first .
Notes: Grapefruit, Black Pepper, Pink Pepper, Pear, Myrrh, Iris, Rose, Incense, Licorice, Patchouli.
Myrrhe et Délires ($250, 75 ml EDP) is already at Bergdorf Goodman and in Paris. It will be in wider distribution at all Guerlain boutiques and everywhere that carries the Art et la Matière line. The press sample for this review was provided by the company's PR.
Art: George Owen Wynne Apperley- Lady In Oriental Dress