I first encountered Gourmand Coquin in person at the Guerlain counter at Saks. Still reeling from a blast of Flowerbomb earlier, I asked the Guerlain rep to recommend me anything as long as it wasn’t overtly floral, and that’s when she handed me a test strip of Gourmand Coquin. When I passed it to my sister for her opinion, she laughed and declared simply: “It’s dessert!”
Dessert is certainly the main talking point of this delicious confection of a fragrance. Gourmand Coquin will be too sweet for some people. However, Guerlain lists black pepper as a top note here, and for good reason. I detect, not necessarily a spiciness, but a stinging quality to this opening (it reads more gingery than peppery to me, but that’s only my perception). This dessert has a bite to it, and it means business.
My initial thought was that this is a linear composition. After the drama of the stinging opening, it settles into a dark chocolate laced with vanilla liqueur that is very enticing, but didn’t seem to evolve on my skin. After more sampling and testing while out and about, I think I was a little short-sighted. Gourmand Coquin has fantastic staying power. I’ve worn it during the day, at night, out to dinner (where, by the way, the foodie smell did not compete in a negative way with the food), and it has lasted enough so that I still detect it faintly on my sheets the next morning.
But I have to revise my opinion that it doesn’t develop or evolve. I’ve found that sometimes, I’ll smell my wrist and get deep, dark chocolate. Other times, it’s iced gingerbread. Then it’s crème brulée. It’s sensual, sometimes deeply sexy, and other times simply delightfully smooth. The coquin of the name is apt, as this fragrance flirts relentlessly with your skin chemistry, and your perceptions and desires. It’s haunting, conjuring phantom ideas in the most real way.
The artistry of Gourmand Coquin is that it gives the impression of sweetness and richness, but in perfectly controlled proportion. In wearing this, you don’t smell like a literal slice of chocolate cake. Rather, it gives the impression of sitting in a bakery, sipping un café au lait, while that chocolate cake and all the other delicious treats you can imagine are cooling from the oven. It is amazing that such a carefully controlled composition can produce something that evokes such imagination.
I know that Guerlain’s Elixir Charnel line, with its youthful cotton candy pink and purple juices, has been met with extremely mixed reviews. And the steep price of this line can be difficult to justify, especially if you’d prefer to add more classic Guerlains to your collection instead. But, Gourmand Coquin is uniquely intoxicating and imaginative. It is the ultimate gourmand for me at the moment. If you find it works for you, there is nothing else quite like it.
Gourmand Coquin is part of the exclusive Les Elixirs Charnels collection. It is available at select Guerlain counters, and online from Saks. I obtained my sample from The Posh Peasant.
The image is from fragrantica, while info on fragrance notes is from Guerlain’s official site.