Eau de Cologne Impériale (1853)

Eau de Cologne Impériale by Guerlain
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Eau de Cologne Impériale is a popular perfume by Guerlain for women and men and was released in 1853. The scent is fresh-citrusy. It is still in production.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Neroli, Orange, Lemon, Lemon verbena
Heart Notes Heart NotesLavender
Base Notes Base NotesRosemary, Tonka bean, Cedar

Ratings

Scent

7.9 (177 Ratings)

Longevity

3.7 (133 Ratings)

Sillage

4.1 (132 Ratings)

Bottle

8.5 (136 Ratings)
Submitted by DonVanVliet, last update on 21.11.2019.
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Reviews

6.0 3.0 3.0 8.0/10
FabianO

0 Reviews
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FabianO
FabianO
Helpful Review    11
Shorter than a Simpsons episode but still a wonderful Cologne
I had to smile first, when I read below rows by rows, that almost every perfume here the smell with 2.5 in durability and Sillage evaluates. Like you agreed.
Meanwhile, I'm afraid it's true. So far, I have never had a Guerlain in my hands whose length of stay on the skin is less than the length of a Simpsons episode.

Basically it has to be said that this more than 150 years old classic looks like the more noble and beautiful version of the classic "4711". Somewhat more lively, fresh, exquisite in its essences. Lots of fresh lemon, also orange, from lavender also a good shot.

This is how I imagine the little waters that may have been carried in Paris Grenouilles (albeit much earlier) by the wealthy citizens of the city.

Now I wonder what the "Imperiale" might smell like, if you perceive it after an hour in passing. How intense? Only as a hint and hint of the beautiful, lively cologne-likeness?

Anyway, it's a Guerlain from times long before the term "Guerlinade" might have played a role, because if I'm annoyed about the sad durability of Chanel's great "Pour Monsieur", I obviously have to beat my hands over my head in an appalled and horrified way.
After half an hour, there's still a blown primer of mild orange. I'm afraid that's all. Nevertheless - seen for itself a pretty fragrance, which is best bought by the litre.
4 Replies
WildGardener

100 Reviews
WildGardener
WildGardener
1
ephemeral impériale
EdC Impériale has no floral component but coumarin in the base leans it to the feminine side. This adds a dash of sweet powderiness and lends it a soft luxurious feel.

Coumarin doesn't overcome the problem of cologne's short longevity, but as the only known solution to that is white musk I'd rather just reapply this.
MasterLi

367 Reviews
MasterLi
MasterLi
1
Fleeting luxury of the highest order...
Eau de Cologne Impériale by Pierre Francios Pascal Guerlain, was created and presented to the Empress Eugenie of France as a cure for her headaches, or so the story goes. As with all "Eau de Colognes", the effect is a bright, refreshing citrus wakeup call which awakens the senses and refreshes the body... like a tonic.

The formula is an old one. Citrus, Bergamot, Neroli, Petitgrain, some light florals, and some green moss usually at the base (sometimes very light musk). But ultimately, this is a luxurious but fleeting experience. It is designed to be applied at different occasions, such as at the beginning of the day, after the morning bathing ritual, or throughout the day, when the weather is hot or when the humidity is overbearing. In all these situations, Eau de Cologne Impériale succeeds.

Where it does not succeed however is if you want it as a perfume for the entire day. It is not meant to be used as such. Because of this, I think if you are looking to buy a similar (to me nose extremely similar)fragrance... and if money is an issue, then go for 4711. Because the formula is almost the same, and the drydown is almost identical on many levels. I agree that the Guerlain smells different in the opening (more natural and citric), but only for the first 5-10 mins, after which they are hard to tell apart.

Ultimately, I would suggest this to anyone with money to spend on the "luxury" of an established, elegant fragrance meant for royalty (and for the history and prestige associated with the house of Guerlain). Otherwise, if money is an issue to you, there are other options out there which do similar things for a much cheaper price. In my opinion Eau de Cologne Impériale is one for the collectors, for those who appreciate history and tradition... and generally for those who have good taste!
GypsyJohn

4 Reviews
GypsyJohn
GypsyJohn
3
Where it all began...
*FIFTY SHADES OF GUERLAIN
*
#1) Eau de Cologne Impèriale
(1853, Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain)
-pastel chartreuse-

It does my perfumed heart good and gives me hope that today, in the early years of the twenty-first century, I can still purchase and am currently wearing Guerlain's EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE. First crafted by Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain in the mid-nineteenth century for the Empress Eugenie (wife of Napoleon) to ease her "migraine" suffering, this perfume has stood the test of time. Guerlain showed a thing or two to those snooty Parisian perfumers who, in 1828 when he opened his first shoppe on rue de la Paix in Paris, proceeded to tell him his perfumes were "worthless".

With worthy 1853 marketplace contemporaries like FLORIS London, Acqua di Genova, Meulhens, Roger & Gallet, Penhaligon's, Borsari, Houbigant, CREED and Grossmith to name just a handful-M. Guerlain had his work cut out for him. Taking and tweaking the original "Farina" 1709 citrus/cologne framework, he added subtle florality of neroli and limette and deftly threaded herbal nuances of verbena and rosemary throughout. After the Imperatrice tried this, Guerlain was promptly named as "royal supplier" to the court. Specializing in making personalized formulae for his clients, Guerlain created roughly 30 fragrances for which he is still remembered. EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE is, at least from my point of view, what began a legacy of nearly 300 fragrances and ushered in an empire dedicated to beauty, luxury and art that has survived almost 200 years to remain one of the oldest fragrances still in production today.

This fragrance bursts from the atomizer lively and revitalizing as cold lemon collides with bright bergamot. A healthy twist of zesty orange warms these, keeping them from waxing overly sour or bitter. Within moments, the herbal facets of verbena add a decidedly green smoothness to the citric edge wafting truly tonic, becoming neither medicinal nor astringent before fading into a creamy lavender note that straddles floral and soapy deftly. The result is a creamy pristine aura radiating freshness while leaving one "feeling" just showered and clean. The sublime simplicity of the fragrance (created and, no doubt, applied lavishly and often considering there was no indoor plumbing at the time and baths were a WEEKLY ritual, even for the aristocracy) is that it doesn't just smell like soap; or even all that much like perfume, for that matter. It possesses a lather-like quality, dense but airy, that clings to skin like a foamy veil; rather than a cloud of "perfume".

Those with "perfume sensitivity" that I know and have worn it around say they find this to be not only something they like...but would actually WEAR! Monsieur P-F-P Guerlain is still wowing *non-parfumisti* people 161 years later!! THAT is what true unadulterated beauty can do and its that transcendent and sublime quality that has made this a piece of history and work of timelessness. Innocent, yet elegant EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE does not say much, or say it very loudly, but what it does say is really fun, even uplifting and makes you feel renewed and refreshed-even if only for a few hours.

I am sure I do not need to talk at length about the poor longevity and soft sillage of this scent; being that this is (by name even) an EDC. I own 2 ounces (sent to me by a dear member who bought the 8 oz/240 ml "bee bottle" decanter) of this evanescent elixir. Worn twice before (and then only to bed), I wore it and it exclusively over the last three days. I applied it heavily and my supply is only down by about 1/3 total volume. I generally apply two sprays to each wrist *touching them to inner forearms*, one to each side of my neck two to the chest, one to the back of my neck and THEN walk through a dense mist, after dressing, to coat my clothing & hair. All this gets you a wee bit more citric heaven. Layering a hemp-based citric essence & blossom lotion over a verbena body wash (Yves Rocher) helped it shine a tad longer, as well. I am not worried by these so-called concerns and am quick to just follow my dear friend's advice and just apply more; and NOT just because it is "weak" or "fleeting" (which it is!) but mainly because it smells so amazing, crisp and real!

As far as the base notes and a fixative go, they are (as Sherapop so astutely observed) virtually non-existent-thus the poor longevity. I did, however, notice (after at least three more refreshing re-applications of jus) that what was on my (freshly showered and unadulterated) skin began to build up a gentle, almost chiffon-like, spiciness permeated with a savory sweetness, after the giggling of the neroli and linden flowers had finally quieted. I have worn, researched, dissected, spritzed and even tasted this scent, accidentally, as I was eventually splashing it on (with the wild abandon of the lady in the Jean Nate commercial) and actually had one of the most productive days I have had in months.

Aromatherapy? Most definitely. Perfume? Indeed. EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE is similar to the perfect tones and hues of a pastel landscape of a crisp & bright spring morning sunrise. You look at it, you SEE it but...until you look INTO it, you do not realize what a truly masterful rendering you are experiencing. This Eau is the first in a wonderful line of Les Eaux (one "cologne" composed by each generation's Master Perfumer) that could and may one day stand in a perfume museum to illustrate the evolution of citrus scents and eaux de cologne throughout the Modern Age.

Sillage: soft
Longevity: poor
Overall: 3.75/5
*TIMELESS CLASSIC*

May you rest in peace, Pierre-Francois Guerlain. Your brilliance and beauty's spirit live on today. In addition to smelling divine your perfumes and story serve as an ever inspiring example to those who may be plagued by naysayers and detractors that if you follow your vision and never compromise your art you might render a classic work and eventually be recognized, even celebrated, and know that others love and embrace your creations. There is no greater gift one can give to posterity than that.

I am both humbled and exalted when I sport this. Humbled to be able to experience a moment in time, the scent of an era. I am equally uplifted by both the fantastic aroma hovering close to my skin and the stories of the real people behind the legends. An Empress a perfumer nineteenth century Paris...it's all there...

...if you inhale deeply enough.
1 Replies
7.5 5.0 2.5 6.0/10
Sherapop

1239 Reviews
Sherapop
Sherapop
2
Keep on spritzin'!
One nice thing about super hot days like today (pushing 100F) is that it is possible to wear lots of different colognes, especially when they have longevity like that of Guerlain EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE. This may be the record holder in my collection for shortest perceivable life. I have a fair number of colognes, so there is some real competition in the category. My distinct impression is that this particular citrus cologne lacks any substantial base whatsoever. There is nothing for the citrus notes to cling to, so everything just evaporates away nearly as fast as I can spray.

I am supposed to forgive the shortcomings of this fragrance, it seems, as it was composed more than a century and a half ago. Its ultimate Creedoid claim to fame is that the recipe of this "made for royalty" fragrance was never changed. I'm afraid that I must beg to differ, as my box lists BHT as an ingredient, which did not exist (had not been discovered) in the time of Napoléon and his lovely (I presume) bride, for whom this composition is said to have been composed. Hmmm... my understanding is that Napoléon was a civet kind of guy--someone who would have really dug Jean Patou JOY--but maybe I got the story wrong somewhere along the way.

To me, EAU DE COLOGNE IMPERIALE is a limey citrus cologne, so I am surprised that lime is not listed among the notes. There is not a strong floral presence whatsoever, so I wouldn't call this a full-fledged linden blossom scent or anything of the sort. No, this hits me more as fresh lime rind twisted to release some oil and then mixed with some juice. There is a bit of light wood here, which seems a bit vetiverish to me--while it lasts--but is identified in the notes as cedar.

All in all, I'm not that thrilled with this Guerlain creation. It's a romantic idea to think that I am wearing the fragrance of an Emperor's wife, but I don't really believe it. In the end, this is just another light citrus cologne to my nose, exceptional only in its evanescence.

Statements

Carlitos01 10 months ago
Bergamot+Neroli+Orange+Lemon+Lemon verbena, blended to perfection, the king of the fresh EDCs reigning since 1853. God save the king!+4
8.0
4.0
4.0
8.5
Apicius 4 years ago
Beautiful classic Eau de Cologne. It has only top notes and is gone after 30 minutes.+2
2.5
8.0

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