When Guerlain announced this spring's Aqua Allegoria perfume was to be named Nerolia Bianca, the comparison to their discontinued Flora Nerolia was inevitable. It should surprise no one that many have found it lacking in comparison, especially considering the lukewarm reception among die-hard Guerlain fans of other recent releases in the series. I still like most of the old Aqua Allegoria fragrances, and I certainly don't hate Nerolia Bianca, but when this particular limited edition goes to the great Guerlain counter in the sky I doubt many will miss it.
The main problems of Nerolia Bianca lies with its ubiquitous nature. This fragrance is mostly a classic eau de cologne (though in EDP concentration), that throws in all the usual suspects of the genre: orange and orange blossom, neroli, and petitgrain (bitter orange). The latter actually saves Nerolia Bianca from smelling too generic. It adds a dry green facet that I find very attractive and would have love to get more. Unfortunately, this Aqua Allegoria quickly sinks into the floral trap and starts smelling like a luxurious linen spray, especially as it descents into laundry musk territory.
The first couple of times I applied Nerolia Bianca it was before spending long hours out and about, mostly outdoors. The fragrance didn't last beyond a couple of hours other than as a smooth skin musk. However, when wearing it at home I've discovered that I get much more neroli, petitgrain and co. as the perfume develops and it remains detectable for about six hours.
I still wish for more character beyond the sheer and gauzy curtain that is Nerolia Bianca, but even more than that, I wish Guerlain would take the Aqua Allegoria line and make it into luxe laundry products. I'd love my sheets to smell like this.
Notes: orange, bitter orange, neroli, ylang ylang, orange blossom, cedar, amber and white musk
Top image: Cover of Vogue Paris, Summer 1946 Summer by Eric (Carl Erickson) via hprints.com.