Insolence (Eau de Toilette) by Guerlain

Insolence 2006 Eau de Toilette

27.05.2022 - 09:34 PM

Something I Was No Longer Used To

Even knowing how vast the world of Guerlain perfumes was, I never crossed over into the sphere of feminine ones, except for Shalimar Eau de Parfum, which I have always loved. I have always used the classic Vetiver Eau de Toilette, and the lesser-known Héritage Eau de Toilette. However, I ignored this masterpiece created in 2006. Although I fell in love with the first sniff, halfway between amazement and perplexity, I can understand that it is not a perfume that can please everyone. Everything revolves around the violet, the violet flower, which many consider a dated perfume or the perfume of our grandmothers. The perfumers made the violet very modern thanks to the addition of wild berries and other captivating, seductive and almost carnal notes. I’ve got the most recent “bee” bottle, and I don’t know about what the predecessors smell like, but in this one, powdery and fruity flowers act as a flashback to your childhood when you are caught sniffing Parma violet from grandma’s closet.

Insolence is very dark, with a slightly retro air. It is difficult to describe this perfume so full of contradictions, also because the wearer does not perceive the same notes and chords as those around him or perceive their wake. It’s a transfiguration, a discovery, a totally new and yet familiar flower that bursts forth from the start. Insolence is a spark in the eyes, an intrepid smile, a careless grace, an ironic elegance, an amused silence. There are scents, so sweet in the memory, that they awaken childhood memories. Colours are so special that they fill our souls with sweet thoughts. Flavours are so intense that they pass through the years unchanged and pass on to us incredible stories of a past time. The scent of violets used for Insolence is very reminiscent of that of Leone drops, something I was no longer used to. Candied violets with cosmetic and powdery nuances through and through.

This fruity-floral fragrance highlights an impertinent creation with an unprecedented powdery duo of violet and iris, given a modern edge by a dash of berries. Insolence also starts Guerlain’s first use of berries in a composition. On my skin, it announces itself with a powerful fresh note of dewy violet. It leaves no doubts about featuring the violet flower, accompanied by the sweeter and more fruity notes of wild berries. Besides an overdose of violet, I perceive the iris adding extra soapiness and dustiness to the perfume. Here I can smell the opening red berries, especially those of raspberry, in my perception, as well as the fresh scent of orange blossom. I'm surprised how strong the berry note is. For me, it is a bomb in the pulp of fresh and ripe raspberries. It is obnoxiously powdery but in a rewarding and lively way. The iris also stands out a little more as the scent grows, and this time it gives the accord a slight hint of lipstick-like vibes.

Among the heart notes, there is a discordant note, almost out of time, reminiscent of hair spray, but even more the smell of dolls. Perhaps this jarring nuance makes a violet scent insolent that would otherwise fall into a classic old-fashioned style. Yes, violet is still the indisputable star, and it’s still very sweet and powdery, but there’s more to the scent too, and the result is very, very pretty. A triumphant violet that registers at the opposite end of the spectrum from the shy whisper usually used to treat this flower in half-shades and shadows. This dazzling violet rubs shoulders with a timeless, chic and gentle iris. Insolence takes the classic anisic gourmand iris and gives it a modern twist. Orange blossoms contribute a heavy, soothing and creamy sweetness that briefly comes to the fore. But they can’t compete with the wild, original power of violets. Fortunately, I find it because I find the violets more interesting.

The base is a lovely, rather dusky blend of tonka and sandalwood, and once the top notes calm, Insolence is not overly sweet. After a short time, the tonka helps to move the perfume to the sweetened side, which is a combination of candied and floral sweetness. The addition of a sandalwood note helps to bring the sweetness down to earth while creating a wrap of warmth around the florals. The more the scent approaches the end, the more it settles with a lightly sweet powdered vanilla violet resting on a subtle base of sandalwood. And then there is a whisper of resins, perhaps the same used in Shalimar as I catch the same vibe. Towards the end, the fragrance becomes warmer due to the resin and wood notes. But a hint of violets remains until the very end - very delicate and gracefully sweet.

This perfume is gorgeous! It is of high quality and clean. On my clothes, it smells like violet candy, and on my skin, it turns into a cream with vanilla syrup and a sprinkle of violet. Sillage, projection, and longevity are outstanding. I would suggest applying this perfume with a delicate hand, to prevent the whole thing from becoming a stuffy and syrupy cloud to the point of annoying you and those who pass by. Lovely and cold scent. It has a dusty quality that feels luxurious. This is something you will want to wear to impress. For me, it is a typical spring fragrance: simple and adorable, but also lively, sometimes almost shrill. The violets here are not inconspicuous and modest, but unusually loud and wild, urban and cheeky. It’s hard to believe what you can get from a floral scent you thought you already knew everything about.

I base the review on a 30ml bottle I have owned since May 2022 (batch code 9G01, 2019-07)

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