21 Felanilla (2008)

21 Felanilla by Pierre Guillaume
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21 Felanilla is a popular perfume by Pierre Guillaume for women and men and was released in 2008. The scent is powdery-spicy. It is still in production.

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Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesSaffron, Vanilla
Heart Notes Heart NotesHay absolute, Florentine iris
Base Notes Base NotesBanana wood, Amber

Ratings

Scent

7.9 (208 Ratings)

Longevity

7.8 (141 Ratings)

Sillage

6.6 (131 Ratings)

Bottle

7.2 (120 Ratings)
Submitted by Seglein, last update on 11.05.2019
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Reviews

jtd

484 Reviews
jtd
jtd
Very helpful Review    5
felanilla
Felanilla is an iris-heavy oriental perfume from 2008. It came on the heels of two other irises in the Parfumerie Generale Line: Iris Oriental (née Iris Taizo) in 2006 and Cuir d’Iris in 2007. The three were part of the ‘new iris’ trend of the mid-’00s that blurred the line between mainstream and niche. The Parfumerie Generale perfumes and other independent perfumes like Frederic Malle Iris Poudre, Acqua di Parma Iris Nobile and Ormonde Jayne Orris Noir were matched head-to-head by Dior Homme, Prada Infusion d’Iris and Gianfranco Ferre Ferre EDP.

Felanilla hit the scene at a very particular moment for iris. Niche perfumery was exploding and designer brands were keen to steal niche’s fire (and revenue). Guerlain, Cartier, Hermès, Dior, Chanel and the like were investing heavily in new ‘exclusive’ luxury sub-lines to lure niche customers out of LuckyScent, Osswald and Les Senteurs and into their own boutiques. Niche brands had always viewed themselves outside the mainstream. They were better than ‘ordinary’ perfumes because more inventive and more daring. The new high-end designer lines reversed the logic of the indies focusing on exclusivity rather than inventiveness. These new premier lines didn’t phrase themselves as outrageous or even as much different than their department store counterparts. They were simply more select and therefore more desirable. They were just better.

Iris was the perfect note to bridge the divide. (This was a heartbeat before oud.) Historically, orris denoted luxury and prestige. On a practical level, iris had an affinity with berry and chocolate notes on one side, sheer woody notes on another and powdery floral notes on still another. The versatility of the note created an effortless range from the sweet tooth of Guerlain Iris Ganache to the restraint of Chanel 28 La Pausa. The flexibility allowed for new sophisticated styles of gourmand perfumes at a time when a large cohort of young women were outgrowing the syrupy fruity-florals and cupcake gourmands they had worn for the past 5-10 years.

Felanilla veered away from the sweet end of the spectrum, but with a focus on vanilla it did comment on gourmandism, if obliquely. From a certain angle it smells like a dessert recipe that forgot the sugar. Like cough-syrup flavored buttercream icing. But the lack of sweetness had a point. It seems to say, ‘if you’re looking for sexy, the curves are in the vanilla, not in the sugar.’ From start to finish vanilla sits unadorned at the center of the perfume. It is fairly austere at the outset but gradually loosens its posture and settles into a more relaxed stance. A potent saffron note marks Felanilla as ‘of its era’ as much as the iris does, but the slight metallic touch it creates suits the overall firmness of the composition.

The iris and vanilla pairing might be a nod to Shalimar, but Felanilla skips the citrus lead-in and the sweet, smoky, powdery circus of the Guerlain classic. It freeze-dries the bulky classic oriental structure and shakes off the ornamentation, pairing down to essentials without a hint of nostalgia. Seen as an oriental, Felanilla doesn’t seem to fit any particular trends of the time. It does, though, compare interestingly to the ‘new irises’ that independent perfumers were devising at the time: Histoires de Parfums 1889, Serge Lutens Bas de Soie, le Labo Iris 39, l’Artisan Parfumeur Dzongkha, Parfum d’Empire Equistris. Guillaume had previously placed iris in a woody, savory-gourmand setting in Iris Oriental and against a sweet-leather backdrop in Cuir d’Iris. Felanilla continued the investigation of iris, focusing on the woody-balsamic range that Guillaume and the Parfumerie Generale line would become well-known for.

The state of the perfume market in the mid-late ’00s left me on the fence. I disliked the cynical trend of price-jacking that the exclusive lines fostered, but I loved the innovation that lead to exciting new approaches and styles. The trend of ‘new-irises’ might have been co-opted by the luxury houses, but it also gave us a broad range of imaginative and gorgeous perfumes. Guillaume’s irises capture the up-side of the time and have survived the test of time extremely well. 10 years later they compare favorably to any iris perfumes that have come along since.
10.0 5.0 7.5 9.0/10
Fanny

63 Reviews
Fanny
Fanny
1
To buy or not to buy...
Let's be clear: I adore it.
Very comfortable and luxurious.
Where some have described Felanilla as "kinda incomplete or inconsistent", I kinda like it for its openness (if that makes any sense).

Lovely amber and hay, warm vanilla, beautiful iris and bananaleaf!!...
Absolutely irresistible.
Unfortunately I have to drown myself in Felanilla to keep the vibe going.

Worth its money?
The smell: Undoubtedly
Sillage: Only if you love close-to-skin sents
Longevity: Medium

Result: Not yet sure if I will buy a bottle.
ColinM

516 Reviews
ColinM
ColinM
Helpful Review    2
Beautiful iris in a disappointing context
Felanilla is basically a sort of balsamic-powdery gourmand, if that category ever existed; it opens with a resinous-leafy green note on vanilla, spices, a bold balsamic-balmy accord which reminds me of eucalyptus that creates a general and slightly haunting feel of Vicks Vaporub, and that sort of invigorating, balsamic-woody yet kind of sweet type of medicines. Initially I do not smell any iris at all, which starts to emerge and “blossom” soon after the opening. The iris note is, sadly, without any praise or blame; it’s a clean, plain, conventional, artificial, trendy iris note without any depth or interesting substance - synthetic does not mean unpleasant, though: it’s nice, just dull. That’s it, no particular transaction occurs and Felanilla remains this sort of linear, resinous-powdery-balsamic iris-vanilla scent with a heavy medicinal feel. Honestly, the only thing I appreciate is how the iris note is elaborated here (or well, the idea at least), as it’s well conceived and blended behind the resinous-balsamic notes, so “now you see it, now you don’t”, like in a hall of mirrors. I think it’s a clever idea which I wished was developed a bit better. Sadly all the rest is fairly disappointing to me: the substance smells plastic and plain, the notes smell to me quite generic and synthetically thin, the persistence is short and the drydown, occurring quite soon, is pale, faint and in my opinion, terribly boring (why so many niche scents are so ridicoulously short-lived?).

5,5/10
5.0 5.0 7.5 6.0/10
WRoth

153 Reviews
WRoth
WRoth
2
Felanilla No.21
This fragrance opens with a blast of raw, dark orange saffron which is thankfully sweetened and softened by a creamy vanilla note. Smelled from a distance the two notes seem more balanced and less struggling with each other than what I smell up close. As the fragrance settles on my skin, the two head notes resolve their struggle for domination and blend into a vanilla accord with spicy accents and a woody, vegetal base. Iris adds its dry, powdery quality to the composition. Smelled up close the fragrance slightly reminds me of Cuir d’Iris, whereas smelled from further away slightly of Ambre Gris. As the fragrance progresses the harsh aspects of the base mellow, but I would not classify this as a gourmand fragrance, but a perfect (oriental-ish) comfort scent to wrap oneself in. Towards the dry down salty amber appears and mixes beautifully with the remainder of the vanilla accord. It is a perfect ending for this fragrance.
7.5 10.0 7.0/10
Njdeb

63 Reviews
Njdeb
Njdeb
3
An oriental vanilla in the classic style
At first spray, Felanilla brings up a distinct memory of the way Shalimar smelled on my mother when I was growing up - a warm, radiant vanilla that just makes you want to get closer to the wearer. Having recently tested Shalimar, I find it to actually be a good deal smokier than my memory of it. This perfume has no smoke and is perhaps a bit quieter and less sparkling than the grande dame Shalimar, but the general elegant and seductive feel is still there.

I find this to be a very alluring, sensual scent. Staying fairly close to the skin, this is the kind of scent that would draw people closer to get a whiff of you. Vanilla (and amber to a lesser extent)is dominant, but not in a sweet foody way at all. Hay and bananawood lend an aromatic woodiness and green character to the dominant vanilla/amber notes (serving a role similar to the citruses in Shalimar).

As the perfume enters the drydown phase, it becomes less aromatic, more powdery and I think a bit less distinctive compared with the fantastic opening and middle. Not being a huge fan of powder, I'll admit to a bias there. I found myself wanting to spray the perfume again to experience that opening even though the scent was still going strong. Still, this perfume settles into something both sophisticated and cozy.

Anyone looking for a modern oriental with a classic feel, should definitely give Felanilla a try.
2 Replies

Statements

MrFumejunkie 11 months ago
For those long winter nights. Like a furry kitten wearing a warm fluffy cozy cashmere sweater but also secretly owns a BDSM basement dungeon+3
10.0
9.0

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