Monday, 21 January 2019

ENCENS MYTHIQUE by Guerlain

One of the challenges faced by companies when introducing a new fragrance is ensuring that it doesn’t conflict with an existing release. One way around this is to create “capsule collections” and one of the masters of this is undoubtedly Guerlain, but even they occasionally have to reposition their fragrances. This happened with their Les Déserts d’Orient and Les Absolus d’Orient collections because both exhibited similar styles. When Les Déserts d’Orient was retired it was also thought that its fragrances had also gone, but they have just been rereleased in the Absolus series. So, it’s time to rediscover Encens Mythique.

When Guerlain launched Les Déserts d’Orient in 2012 it was their attempt to tap into the demand for Middle Eastern inspired fragrances. Guerlain had never shied away from rich resins and exotic ingredients, but the depth that was being asked for couldn’t be accommodated in their existing collection. Rose Nacrée du Désert, Encens Mythique d’Orient, and Songe d’Un Bois d’Été were released as “a tribute to enchanting Arabia” and were said to represent “the Orient in all its original splendour.” Created by Thierry Wasser, the range never increased and was strictly limited in its distribution.

Jump forward to 2014 and Guerlain coincided the launch of Harrods’ Salon de Parfums with the release of Santal Royal. Originally a single launch, it was joined two years later by Ambre Eternel and the duo became Les Absolus d’Orient. They were described as “Born out of a quest to find the finest raw materials,” and signalled the end of the original trio. However, Encens Mythique and Songe d’Un Bois d’Été have now been rereleased in the new series and presented in beautifully lacquered 125ml bottles. Originally described as “an enigmatic opus,” it was always Encens that captivated me, and nothing has changed.

Encens Mythique opens with a wonderfully piercing brightness, thanks to an aldehyde that almost fizzes from the bottle, but the aroma of saffron adds a luxurious mystery to the first impression of the fragrance. Even though this perfume is all about the qualities that come in the later stages, Thierry Wasser still gives a glorious hit of rose on the way, adding to the opulence on the skin, but perfectly tempers it with a touch of heat from the pink pepper. This whole opening seems to be washed with orange blossom, but the best is definitely yet to come.

The star ingredient in Encens Mythique is the resinous frankincense and it’s this that is truly amplified by the remaining ingredients. The combined earthiness and woodiness that you get from the vetiver and patchouli is given a further “forest floor” quality from the evocative treemoss, but it’s the ambergris that really shines through. In this fragrance, Thierry blended a selection of samples at various strengths to get its full characteristics of animalic and marine, but still managed to retain the gloriously skin-soft delicacy so often associated with this ingredient. Encens Mythique feels identical to its first incarnation, and is a very welcome return.

Encens Mythique is available from selected Guerlain stockists worldwide and is priced at £139 for 125ml.

4 comments:

  1. I am a fan of the original Encens Mythique D'orient. I called it my signature scent and have been wearing it since its release. A couple of weeks ago, I asked a friend visiting Paris to buy me a new bottle. (I always bought this parfum from France, as the USA versions are always different, I think because of the alcohol used) I was very upset to learn that Guerlain is no longer making it. In its stead, my friend bought me the new version of Encens Mythique, as suggested by the store, and I think it is not anything like the original. I think it is missing the patchouli, frankincense and has less ambergris- and if they aren't 'missing', then the ratio is very different. It vanishes on the skin within a couple of hours, where as the original lasted all day and got sexier on the skin as time passed- sweeter, earthy. It never completely disappeared- even when put on at 6 in the morning. I also hate the new bottle. I want glass bottles that I can see through so I know when I am running low. (I also hate sprays as more goes in the air than on the skin, to the point of tasting it- but have been forced into using them. My first two bottles were without spray) It seems to me that companies these days do not care what their customers want or like- they have a 'take it or leave it' attitude. I am a bit surprised that you think they smell alike. If they were made from the exact same ingredients, why is the new one cheaper? ($200USD = new, versus $275USD original- or at last remembrance EU 155 versus EU 265) As a consumer, when I am looking for a new scent (and when I pick one, I wear it exclusively) I have tried to find one made by a real parfumerie (as opposed to a beauty company, or fashion designer related) because it stands the best chance to exist for a longer period of time. (my mom was a Mitsouko woman for decades!) Now, having fallen in love with the original Encens Mythique D'Orient, in less than 10 years, I can't get it, but Mitsouko (among others by Guerlain) are still available.

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    1. Hello, thank you for taking the time to read the article and also comment. When I tested the fragrance I sprayed the new release on one arm and then the original on the other, my impression was that they are not noticeably different. Regarding price, when it was originally released it was part of an exclusive collection, and the range was priced to reflect this, but the rerelease is now mainstream, which means that the price has been adjusted accordingly. I don't think that the quality of ingredients would have significantly dropped, more that the increase in production has brought it down slightly. Thank you for taking the time to visit stephanmatthews.com and I hope you find other articles that interest you. Best, Stephan

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  2. Thank you for the insights and very prompt reply. I found a bottle here in USA and ordered it. (reputable department store) Fingers crossed it isn't too different than the one I am used to. If it is lovely, I have a year to enjoy it and then the task of finding something new. (the hard work!)

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    1. Hello, I hope that you enjoyed the new release. Best, Stephan

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