If you've read my Top 5 Autumn/Fall Perfumes of 2015 blog post, then you'll know the special place in my heart that Guerlain's La Petite Robe Noire holds. If not, that's ok; go read quick...I can wait...yay you're back, now let's get started!!! About a month ago, it was my birthday...I know I'm older (still waiting on the wiser), sighs in resignation...why does this happen every year?!
I kid, we all know a birthday means PRESENTS (makes grabby hands) and this year I got this special La Petite Robe Noire mini set from my Mum. She came across it at the airport and I have not seen a similar set anywhere else, but since I know most of you are probably going on your summer hols or coming back from them, I'm sure you can get your hands on one too!
This mini set came in a cubed box meant to look like a house...very cute! Guerlain definitely knows what they're doing when it comes to packaging, I mean look at the bottle of these perfumes; vintage looking and elegant (thanks to the bottle shape) yet modern at the same time (pink colour and LBD little black dress designs). Brilliant!!!
Interestingly enough, the vintage bottle shape is in fact a replica of Guerlain's long standing perfume L'Heure Bleue, invented back in 1912, and the lid which is shaped like a hollow heart (albeit upside down) alludes to those romantic pre-war years...fascinating! But it doesn't stop there, Guerlain have recently launched a La Petite Robe Noire beauty range (lipsticks and nail polish) with similar heart shaped packaging to match...must resist! Sooo much history in one design.
My only qualm with the mini perfume version (which are 5ml) is that the bottles are not sprays, and unfortunately the stoppers are prone to breakage (I've already cracked one of the stoppers) and if you're heavy handed like me, you risk spillage too. But I'm getting ahead of myself: this set includes Ma Première Robe, Ma Robe Cocktail, Couture and last but not least Ma Robe Pétales.
Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Première Robe" (Eau de Parfum)
Don't let the name deceive you, this wasn't the first perfume from the La Petite Robe Noire range. Guerlain first launched an exclusive limited edition for Paris back in 2009 and again in 2011, it finally came back, slightly modified, and for a worldwide market, in early 2012. I first heard of it and bought it in Paris back in 2012 during my University exchange year at the Sorbonne (I'm halfway through my second 50ml bottle already...shhhh). So as you've probably guessed, this perfume brings back a lot of wonderful memories of Paris and my later Uni years back in Edinburgh. Especially during the colder months, as this is quite a "heavy" perfume that I reserve for autumn/winter. It is a rich fruity sweet scent which from the moment I first smelt it, I knew would be my signature scent. Four years later, and I'm still not tired of it!!! Furthermore, thanks to this mini set, I've now expanded...muahahaha!!!
- TOP NOTES: Black cherry, bergamot, red berries and almond
- MIDDLE NOTES: Bulgarian & Turkish roses, liquorice and smoked black tea
- BASE NOTES: Aniseed, tonka bean, vanilla, iris and patchouli
Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Robe Cocktail" (Eau de Toilette)
If you know your perfumes then you'll know an eau de toilette is a lighter version of an eau de parfum (see this perfume scale as reference). However, this "Cocktail" version is in no way just a watered down version of the original. The rose, jasmine and orange blossom top notes give this perfume a much more floral quality, you only really get the sense of similarity with the original when the middle notes come in (similar to the top notes of the original) but even then it's just a fleeting recognition. Still very sweet, the lack of vanilla (which along with patchouli and sandalwood are my favourite notes) makes this version less of a sweet caramel-y melt in your mouth candy-like perfume and more of a sharp sweetness like a rhubarb and custard sweet (probably due to the sharpness of the cherry and crispness of the apple middle notes).
- TOP NOTES: Rose, jasmine, orange blossom
- MIDDLE NOTES: Cherry, apple, blackcurrant, green accords
- BASE NOTES: White amber, white musk, patchouli
Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Couture" (Eau de Parfum)
This is the evening gown version of La Petite Robe Noire, it's not richer or heavier than the original, which is something you would be forgiven for assuming given the "Couture" name. On the contrary, the rose notes which are much more prominent here than in the original gives this perfume a more vintage/powdery smell, a softness that complements the sweetness and fruitiness of this perfume charmingly. However, don't be confused, none of these perfumes smell like variations of the original; despite all being in La Petite Robe Noire range they are very much individual smells in their own right. Don't make the mistake that because you like one of them you'll like all of them, you really do have to test all of these out before buying. Now sadly this "Couture" version is being discontinued in favour of the "Intense" version which released this summer (not featured in this mini set). I haven't smelt the latter so I can't tell you how they compare or just how intense the new version is. But let's be honest, the original is quite a strong perfume to begin with, so how Guerlain can make it any stronger is beyond me.
- TOP NOTES: Bergamot, raspberry
- MIDDLE NOTES: Rose essence, rose absolute
- BASE NOTES: Patchouli, vetiver, tonka bean, moss
Guerlain - La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Robe Pétales" (Eau Fraîche)
The freshest of the bunch (and the most short-lived because it's an eau fraîche), I personally think this is the one that smells the least like the original (again they are all very different), which seeing as it lacks cherries or any kind of red fruit in its notes is not a surprise. Very similar to the more floral "Cocktail" version with its orange blossom and jasmine notes, this one however stays fresh and citrusy, unlike the former which becomes sweeter and more like the original as the middle notes come in (as previously mentioned above). Whereas the original La Petite Robe Noire is more of an autumn/winter scent, the freshness of this one makes it very spring/summer appropriate, which looking at the petalled LBD design was most probably Guerlain's intention. :P
- TOP NOTES: Mandarin, lemon, bergamot, orange blossom from Sicily, grass
- MIDDLE NOTES: Bulgarian and Turkish rose, almond blossom, freesia, jasmine Sambac
- BASE NOTES: Pistachio, almond, tonka bean, patchouli, white musk
So there you have it, a quick overview of La Petite Robe Noire perfume range (minus the "Intense" one obviously). For a more detailed history of the perfume I would highly recommend you read this web page (of course Fragrantica is also always a great source of perfume information). Personally, my favourite is still the original La Petite Robe Noire "Ma Première Robe" (2012), followed by "Couture", "Ma Robe Cocktail" and lastly (because it's the most different) "Ma Robe Pétales"...what can I say, I'm predictable!
Have you tried any of the La Petite Robe Noire range, which one is your favourite?
When it comes to mini perfume bottles do you prefer just a stopper or a spray? Rollerballs are one step better than a stopper but like the latter you can only dispense the perfume so far i.e. on the pulse points (neck, wrists and if you're legs are on display/you're feeling fancy, back of the knees).
What perfume, if any, have you come to associate with a specific place? I also wore YSL's Parisienne in the beginning of my exchange year back in 2011 (before La Petite Robe Noire launched worldwide) so when I think of Paris, I think of those two perfumes. :)