Guerlain Philtre d'Amour hits the same sweet spot that was occupied by Eau d'Hadrien in its wonderful original formula. This, of course, may be the very reason the latter was viciously reformulated and Philtre d'Amour was discontinued (after the 2005 reissue). It looks like at lest half of the stuff that went into this non-classic Guerlain is now a controlled substance as far as IFRA is considered, and that's a very big shame.
Philtre d'Amour is a bracing citrus with that added bonus of a Guerlain(ish) base. If you ever wondered what would happen if Eau d'Hadrien and Sous le Vent had a little green baby, this is your answer. Just replace the cypress with myrtle. Philtre d'Amour is not quite a citrus cologne (Guerlain certainly has plenty of those) and not quite a chypre as it lacks the drama of the full chypre accord. Instead, it has a bewitching luminosity thanks to the bitter-tart opening, and it grows ever so darker and deeper as romantic notes appear one by one (jasmine is listed but I think I also smell a very refined and dry iris). There is an interesting restraint to Philtre d'Amour. It's not trying too hard, there are no over-the-top accords and no flashy tricks. It seems like a simple perfume at first, but the longer and more often that you wear it, the scent unfolds and draws in deeper.
My bottle of the original EDT has aged nicely. There's a mild sweetness to it, the patchouli is smooth and seductive and the name Philtre d'Amour, love potion, makes a lot of sense. The fragrance seems easy and accessible but has more twists and turns than it first appears and ends up wonderfully irresistible and joyful to wear.
Notes: lemon, bergamot, verbena, jasmine, petigrain, neroli, myrtle,and patchouli.
See more reviews of Guerlain's Philtre d'Amour on Perfume Smellin' Things, Pere de Pierre and Fragrance Bouquet.
Art: The Love Potion by Evelyn De Morgan via the De Morgan Centre.