Samsara (1989)Eau de Parfum

Samsara (Eau de Parfum) by Guerlain
Bottle Design Robert Granai
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Samsara (Eau de Parfum) is a popular perfume by Guerlain for women and was released in 1989. The scent is oriental-floral. Projection and longevity are above-average. It is being marketed by LVMH.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesBergamot, Green notes, Peach, Ylang-ylang, Lemon
Heart Notes Heart NotesOrris root, Jasmine, Narcissus, Carnation, Rose, Violet
Base Notes Base NotesAmber, Iris, Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka bean, Vanilla

Ratings

Scent

8.1 (483 Ratings)

Longevity

8.7 (327 Ratings)

Sillage

8.2 (315 Ratings)

Bottle

7.7 (324 Ratings)
Submitted by DonVanVliet, last update on 18.05.2020.

Interesting Facts

The original formula contained around 20% of natural sandalwood oil from Mysore - at the time a rather inexpensive ingredient. Today's scarcity of real sandalwood, an endangered wood species, has necessitated a reformulation of Samsara with a higher concentration of Polysantol, a synthetic sandalwood substitute.

The term Samsara is a Sanskrit word that has its roots in Hinduism. It refers to the cycle of birth and rebirth, the eternal wheel of life.
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Reviews

Frieda50
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Frieda50
Frieda50
Helpful Review    7  
What lasts long will finally be good or love at second sight?
At some point I imagined that I had to treat myself to something very special for my birthday - a Guerlin - Samsara.
Researched, ordered the red bottle from the Internet dealer, he delivers the modern version, a short sprayer, disappointment spreads, the goods go back.
My frustration ends up in the forum and I receive many helpful answers by return of post.
On Ebay someone finds a (vintage?) version eau de toilette for me. But I'm not too enthusiastic about it - it goes on wandering over the souk to a real lover (thanks for that!).
A very old miniature from Ebay is pretty, but contains rather coloured water, there is nothing to smell anymore.
I make one last attempt, order the eau de parfum of the modern version from the cheapest mail order company and start testing this time without great expectations.
The nice SabriNoir also sent me a bottle of her Extrait as a birthday present, which I am keeping and have tested quite timidly so far.
So: the way it looks like I can live with the modern "bee flacon".
My initial disappointment certainly stems from the fact that samsara is in an exclusive and high-priced circle and I had expected a "bomb" similar to my 80s sweetheart.
Oh, no, no, no, no Suddenly I realize that I want her like that and not otherwise. Blooming in secret, unobtrusive, classic, on many occasions (not only to the opera but even daily to the office depending on the dosage).
Nobody screams here, pushes themselves into the foreground. As a (deterrent) comparison I always have my sister-in-law, who throws herself at me in waves of Diva or Paloma Picasso at family parties.
With Samsara I suddenly have the scent for the many special occasions - the important job interview, where I want to strengthen my self-confidence - the company party in the circle of my predominantly male colleagues (if I want to go beyond the "freshly showered image").
And I read the previous comments and can absolutely agree with them - that's exactly how I feel about this fragrance. I found it late, but why should it not be forever?
5 Replies
9.5
Scent
8
Longevity
7
Sillage
8
Bottle
Senecca65
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Senecca65
Senecca65
Top Review    32  
Faded soft colors
Do you know that?
When you get older, the colors fade...

I do not only mean the dioptric adjustments, which have to be done almost every six months, but also the colours of the emotions.

You've got so much after 50 years: first the exhausting quest for independence, then finding out who you really are.

Then, if you are lucky, you meet someone with whom you can throw this self and its you into one pot. And then you might even dare the risk - incomprehensible in retrospect - to promise this guy that you will stay with him for the rest of his life. I did, I'm crazy! And I'm still at his side.

We have three children who are already big. Not in your head, of course (I'll just say that now), but as a mother you're standing next to it and have to and want to let her do it. Amazed and sometimes a little envious, I see how they live their radiant colours without a helmet. Life is so beautiful... without But!

And the mother is so afraid for them, wishes them love without suffering and yet knows that it almost never works so beautifully. Let him go. To be there when needed and wanted. Reset.

So many have gone by now: Parents, friends, companions. Final and sometimes painful and miserable. After each of these for me so stirring and painful deaths I had to sort myself again and find the strength to continue.

Wikipedia:
"Samsara (Sanskrit, n., संसार, saṃsāra; Pali: saṃsāra; literally: "constant wandering") is the term for the perpetual cycle of being, the cycle of becoming and passing away or the cycle of rebirths in the Indian religions Buddhism, Jainism and partial currents of Hinduism."

I'm no longer a believer, but I'm still moved by the "everything flows" feeling that this beautiful perfume gives me.

Guerlain's "Samsara" is - like me - an old ham, but THAT's what it is for me, because he could accompany me all these years like a second skin.

When I discovered this fragrance in the 90s, it appeared as if it underlined the new in and on me: it was clear, like a freshly painted deep dark red. a little oriental, radiant, pure, honest and big. He was like an orientation, had a fighting heart, was a guard rail for me and also underlined youthful attractiveness. He was uncompromising, straight. Sometimes it's biting. That's how I always wanted to be.

30 years later, he's no longer deep dark red on me, any more than I am. Today it smells a little stone washed, a faded brownish red-orange. The fabric has become much softer, in some places even a bit threadbare, but it still seems to withstand all loads.

He's still clear, still honest, but he's become so much milder. More cuddly, friendly and also more tolerant, devoted to the fact that things are as they are.

But that's not why it's any less beautiful!

I'm curious where Samsara and I are going to go...
13 Replies
8
Scent
8
Longevity
8
Bottle
16paws
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16paws
16paws
Top Review    22  
A wallflower?
Samsara doesn't have it easy. The footprints left by other Guerlains in front of her are far too big. She is not as seductive as Shalimar and not as mysterious as Mitsouko. She lacks the melancholy of L'Heure Bleue, the extraordinary of Jicky and Vega the Goddess, we don't even have to start. A heavy legacy therefore.

Samsara is not an ugly duckling. The fragrance is beautiful and versatile. Samsara doesn't ask for a ballroom or a box at the opera. She is much more modest and is also satisfied with the living room at home. Together with her you can lounge on the couch in jogging pants and a feel-good sweater - she doesn't resent that in any way. Samsara masters walks in the autumn forest just as brilliantly as pub crawls, restaurant visits or a working day in the office
The citric prelude is not pungent or sharp in any way. The sensitive olfactory cells are not animated to sneeze, since lemon and bergamot are used rather sparingly and are additionally steamed by the delicate peach note
The beautiful sandalwood note shows itself to me relatively early and forms an enchanting combination with the powdery iris, rose and violet. You have to wait a little for the carnation, because it gives way to the other flowers. Then, however, it nestles very close to the sandalwood and together they exude a pleasantly warm spice.

The vanilla that joins it is neither light nor clearly dark, but rather grey, if there is a "grey vanilla" at all. She is not bright and innocent, but also not as wicked and dark as I know her from Guerlain classics. Films would be age ratings from 16 - too daring for the children/youth program and too "harmless" for the adult program.

Samsara is not a femme fatale and doesn't want to be. She's a good friend from the neighborhood. One you can shop with and gossip with and if you have to cry out she's got a handkerchief guaranteed.

For me Samsara has something earthy, down-to-earth and I don't mean that in a negative way. Other scents from this house let me take off and take me to other places and times, let me float, fly away ... and with samsara I stay in the here and now, with both feet on the ground.

Samsara lives with me in the dark red bottle (30 ml), which lies wonderfully in the hand and which I also find very appealing due to its shape. I can enjoy the fragrance for about 8 to 10 hours. With such a companion even cloudy, unfriendly, cold autumn and winter days are easier to bear.
11 Replies
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
10
Bottle
Alex1984

43 Reviews
Alex1984
Alex1984
Helpful Review    4  
Mysore route
Other than a distant memory (or perhaps a dream, not sure) of my kindergarten teacher wearing Samsara, I was never really into it. I tried it once about 8 years ago from a pretty old tester, thought it was ok and never looked back. More recent testings made me think that it was way overrated but there was this thing bugging me; it's a classic Guerlain, how come I don't see the appeal?
When Santal Majuscule was launched, I loved it from the start. I could see the appeal of sandalwood, even though synthetic, and the pairing with rose and cocoa was delightful. I would have gotten a bottle, or 2, if it was stronger and more lasting on my skin. So, I live on decants of it to satisfy my craving.
But since Samsara is touted as the reference sandalwood, real Mysore no less, I sought after the vintage version, until a brand new bottle of the edp landed on my hands. The date? 1989! I paid the price, less than current version of the same 100ml size and waited patiently for my parcel to arrive, which it did last Friday.

And now I can finally see the appeal and what all the fuss is about!

Samsara feels perfumey. Not a word I use often, but it feels like a real perfume, distant and at the same time very familiar. Maybe my teacher did wear it after all, and it stayed in my memory like a childhood dream. I'm not sure, and I won't be able to ever ask her, but it feels like a comforting embrace.
Of the bat, there's a medley of notes on my skin. Spicy, creamy, floral, powdery; everything wants my attention but I'm giving it to the shadow that's lurking at the back, a big fat creamy coconutty vanillic sandalwood. Could it be the phantom of real Mysore? It should be, I mean I have the first version released. Is it 20%? 30%? 5%?
I don't care, it feels so rich and thick that it seems as if it's about to jump and eat me. It feels familiar, because...sandalwood (even if most perfumes use a synthetic rendition of it nowadays, no matter how perfected the accord is), without a hint of screech. It is just gloriously smooth, sweet, engulfing.
Samsara is touted as sandalwood + jasmine nirvana but I get more ylang ylang and a healthy serving of iris/orris root. That's fine, as I love ylang more than jasmine. And I think it contributes to that creamy feel. Apart from the opening medley, I mostly distinguish these 3/4 notes, but the backstage help from the other ingredients contributes to the overall sensation; it is calming and blissful, just like the add conjures. A state of serenity!

I'm not sure whether the current version does justice to the juice. My testings were never very thorough and I never gave in to the scent, but the absolute perfection of vintage Samsara as I feel it on my skin, with a perfectly defined sandalwood that smells like nothing I've smelt before, made me love it deeply. I understand why so many love it. It is a genderless nirvana, that speaks of inner calmness at a time when other hits spoke of decadence and excess. I love both ends of the spectrum, and Samsara is definitely jumping to the top of the blissful side!
As a side note; someone mentioned below that it feels like a child of Allure and Hypnotic Poison, or something like it. Yes, Allure reminds me at times of Samsara (a very avant garde/deconstructed version of it for the new millennium) but not so much of Hypnotic Poison. They both share that nutty powdery creaminess but Samsara defines it via Mysore sandalwood, having a depth that the other two don't. I love all 3 perfumes, but having to choose only one, I'd go for Samsara!

Lonjevity: 12 hours and counting!
Sillage: erm, massive!
1 Replies
10
Scent
10
Longevity
9
Sillage
9
Bottle
Lillie
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Lillie
Lillie
Top Review    9  
Shalimar or Samsara?
My first encounter with Samsara at Munich Airport in the early 2000s, that was when I actually wanted to buy Shalimar... and it made me skid. That was also an Oriental from Guerlain, aha... i couldn't resist and sprayed it on... oh God, this Sillage, this warmth and spiciness. I have to say that I am a sandalwood lover, until now my favorite was the now discontinued Santal de Mysore by Crabtree & Evelyn, actually marketed as men's fragrance, but absolutely unisex (these men's fragrance women's fragrance labels are another chapter...). So and so I stood there. I couldn't afford either of them. It became Shalimar. But Samsara never let me go again, only his force (in the old EdP) almost knocked me out and maybe I lacked a bit of courage (the maturity, the perfumistic self-confidence?) to wear it. A few years later it happened. And I have to admit that I like it even better since the reformulation, because the old version gave me some nausea, although I loved the scent itself so much - but my dad is allergic to real sandwood, he reacts with a skin rash, so it could have been something "physical". Since the reformulation now I wear it again and again (even as perfume - in winter absolutely incomparable!) and always with enthusiasm. I have now discovered the EdT for the summer for me and am all around happy!
4 Replies
Germanblonde

85 Reviews
Germanblonde
Germanblonde
   1  
I get tons of compliment from men when wearing Samsara
I love Samsara, it is just a tat too flowery for me. Even though it is not really a flowery scent, the bloomy aroma seems to come through really strong, which is unusual for me. Usually floral notes are the last thing I pick up in a fragrance, unless it is a predominant accord. It is not my favorite Guerlain frag, but it's still a nice balsamic scent and will always be a staple in my perfume drawer. That being said, I really do love Samsara, I am just not madly in love with her, yet I receive plenty of compliments when wearing her. I guess people around me appreciate her beauty on me more so than I even do myself, especially my boss mentions how great I smell whenever I wear Samsara. I discovered that men in particular love to smell this scent.
10
Scent
8
Longevity
7
Sillage
8
Bottle
Oriane

100 Reviews
Oriane
Oriane
   3  
A Classic Guerlain Masterpiece
Top Notes: Green Notes, Peach, Bergamot, Lemon.

Heart Notes: Iris, Violet, Orris Root, Jasmine, Rose, Narcissus.

Base Notes: Iris, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Amber, Musk, Vanilla.

This review is for the EDP formulation. As one would expect, Samsara is very sandalwoody, lightly sweet, lightly floral, and a bit powdery. It is so soft, so feminine...I really cannot think of words sufficient to describe how sexy is this parfum. I cannot imagine men wearing this because it is so very feminine, although I am sure some probably do. J-P Guerlain really outdid himself with this creation. The man is a genius.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Samsara is that there is no Mysore sandalwood oil in it at all (some claim that it originally did contain real Mysore Sandalwood, but it seems highly unlikely to me), but the synthetics used completely fool one's sense of smell. J-P Guerlain created Samsara in 1989, post the collapse of Mysore sandalwood, i.e. after the tree had become very seriously endangered. I read that it took J-P Guelain five LONG years to perfect this parfum and that his reason for creating it allegedly was to seduce a certain English woman he knew. Well, all I can say is that she must have been seduced as intended! My goodness this smells heavenly....

Honestly, this smells so heavenly, so uber feminine that you just have to try it for yourself. I apply it liberally. The projection is not huge in my opinion as it wears somewhat close to one's skin, but the projection it does have says "come hither, my love...." :) Sillage is nice, and longevity is moderate+. If I apply it at night before going to bed, I can still smell it on myself in the morning six or so hours later, albeit faintly. It lingers on my clothes and on my desk top and smells divine.

It is no secret that Guerlain is my favourite house. I love Samsara and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is interested in sandalwood as a dominant note. If you want to seduce a man, try it whilst wearing Samsara as I think it would do the trick. So soft, so indescribably feminine...try it! This is classic perfumery at its finest. Everyone should have Samsara, L'Heure Bleue, and Mitsouko in his/her collection. No house makes fragrances like these any more. To put the proverbial cherry on the cake,, these Guerlains are accessibly priced, too. Remember these classic creations the next time you count your life's blessings. : )

Fragrance: 10/10

Projection: 7/10

Sillage: 7/10

Longevity: 8.5/10
2 Replies
GothicHeart

87 Reviews
GothicHeart
GothicHeart
Helpful Review    4  
Siddhartha and Odysseus...
My heart lies now like tattered sails in windmills lorn.
Sky, vent your sighs and when the pulse departs the vein,
it will be you for whom I'll live dead and reborn.
Vapour and rain, river and sea...vapour again...

And I'll worship you every night. And I'll kiss your violet lips every morning. And I'll be a pilgrim in your body's temple. And I'll trace the contours of your amber skin with my fingertips. And I'll wash your face with my tears. And I'll treasure every moment of your sandalwood breath. And I'll cherish your image wearing nothing but a golden cincture and a golden anadem to give substance to your diaphanous form.

For you are my golden shackles.
For you are the blood of my dreams.
Can you see me Nausicaa?
Can you feel me Calypso?
Can you touch me Penelope?
Can you smell me Circe?
Can you hear me Cassandra?
I always believed in you...
1 Replies
8
Scent
7.5
Longevity
7.5
Sillage
10
Bottle
MasterLi

371 Reviews
MasterLi
MasterLi
Very helpful Review    5  
Review for the current Eau de Toilette
Wow... definitely quite something to behold!

Probably one of the most sensual fragrances I have ever come across. It's almost as if every single sensual and tropical aroma was combined together in a single bottle!

This one is almost intoxicating from the start. For me, it's kind of a very grown-up mixture of rich, creamy white floral and dry, sheer-like Sandalwood, the overall result striking me as unmistakably feminine. Guerlain's perfumes are not always easy ones to like upon initial spray, you really need to give them time to fully appreciate their significance, and for me Samsara was no exception. The story goes that Jean-Paul Guerlain came up with this inspiration partly due to a woman he admired who only liked the notes of Rose, Jasmine and Sandalwood, and he decided to create a fragrance around these three very sensual notes. The result is incredible...

What I get upon initial spray is a very tropical-like, almost overripe fruit smell with a heavy dose of Ylang-Ylang which very much reminds me of banana. This is coupled with heady, indolic, almost fecal-like opulent Jasmine (one of my favourite notes in perfume), joined by a very fresh rose note, and all resting on a huge base of sheer, silky, creamy Sandalwood. This isn't a dry Sandalwood, like Tam Dao by Diptyque. This is a very creamy Sandalwood supported by the heavy white floral Jasmine and the creamy, banana-like Ylang-Ylang, giving a hint of an almost coconut-like vibe. The overall impression could also be a little soapy at immediate impression, but once you spend time with it you really get the full experience of a rich, tropical garden in bloom.

Because of the Jasmine/Ylang-Ylang combination, Samsara really gives me the impression of being almost in a tropical forest on a hot night, with the warm, heady aroma of sweet creamy coconut, green banana, Rose, and dry Sandalwood incense burning at a nearby Buddhist shrine. It really gives me one of the most exotic impressions I've ever smelt coming out of a bottle.

Speaking of the bottle, the Chinese-style red & gold finish really give it the impression of a precious urn filled with something valuable, or maybe even spiritual. It really highlights Guerlain's obsession with Asia (similar to the way the Shalimar bottle represented a clear fountain of water in the gardens of an Indian Palace), this one looks like it came out of a Buddhist Temple. I find that the bottle certainly fits the marketing really well...

I would say that this is very grown up, but not so strong or overpowering a scent, just very evocative and incredibly sensual. Wear it when you want to smell unlike anything else, just very feminine, sensual and exotic. Close your eyes and you just may find it transporting you to a faraway place, and a whole different experience. Personally I would find this incredibly sensual on a woman (as long as applied lightly as it can be strong in the opening).

A recommended must try... A special, exotic one from Guerlain.
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
10
Bottle
Dulcemio

34 Reviews
Dulcemio
Dulcemio
Helpful Review    8  
Dance of the Seven Veils
If a perfume is as gorgeous as Samsara, shouldn't absolutely everyone and their dog be smitten with it?

The answer is, of course, a resounding "No!" While many of us are madly, madly in love (that sort of I'm-in-this-for-life kind of love), few fragrances have inspired more dramatic expressions of hate and disgust than Samsara.

And I get it. It's those extremely sharp top notes. Lots of people aren't willing to wait 5 minutes, let alone an hour, for their perfume to go from sharp to gorgeous. I think a good analogy is in the way people *used to* explore new music, by purchasing an album for the radio hit it contained, only to find out through repeated listening that some of the less accessible, less catchy songs on the album were actually more satisfying in the long run. Samsara's drydown is like that more complex, less accessible hidden gem deep into the album.

And, if I may mix my metaphors, she is like Salome, revealing herself one veil at a time, as each layer of notes entices, then slowly and partially burns off, revealing an increasingly more sensual and delicious gift that ends in complete satisfaction.

(I prefer the version in the clear bottle with gold top because the vanilla and tonka bean seem more promiment, making the mixture seem smoother and richer, but the red bottle with red top is fine.)
2 Replies
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Statements

Alex1984Alex1984 21 months ago
10
Scent
10
Longevity
10
Sillage
10
Bottle
1989 vintage edp; there’s no mistaking, this has the real deal. Mysore in spades, like you couldn’t even dream of today! Absolute beauty!

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