Terracotta Le Parfum by Guerlain

guerlain terracotta le parfumNotes: bergamot, coconut, tiare flower, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang-ylang, musk, and vanilla.

Last spring I was slow on the uptake and missed the chance to snag a bottle of Terracotta Le Parfum. The release was such a wild success for Guerlain that it sold out in the US, and I was unable to track down a bottle. This year I made sure to order my bottle from Nordstrom as soon as it became available. But, does this coveted fragrance live up to the hype?

Terracotta Le Parfum opens with the lush white floral tiare flower, enhanced by a touch of fruitiness from coconut and bergamot to keep this opening light and fresh. It gives off the scent of sunscreen without the tacky, sticky feeling some sunscreen formulas have. I find the sunscreen effect here appealing, it’s pleasantly beachy without being too much.

As Terracotta Le Parfum develops, it becomes more lush as the white florals really bloom. Jasmine and ylang-ylang are buttery and rich, while the orange blossom gives a hint of soapiness that lends the whole thing a luxury spa vibe. It all feels very expensive and very French. The slightly spicy vanilla of the dry down gives the impression of warmth without being a heavier winter-time vanilla. It’s more like sand being warmed in the sun.

The nice thing is that, for a Guerlain release, Terracotta Le Parfum isn’t outrageously expensive. It’s $76 for a hefty 100 ml bottle that will definitely last all summer and then some. However, the price reflects the complexity of the fragrance. This is not a masterpiece of perfumery like Mitsouko or Jicky. It’s not on the level of thoughtful compositions like in L’Art et la Matière line. So, in that sense, it’s not worth the hype for a Guerlain release.

But I feel like it’s important to manage expectations with this one. My bottle of Terracotta Le Parfum was a blind buy, which is always risky. Luckily, I’m really happy with my bottle, and I knew not to expect the next Shalimar out of it. Terracotta Le Parfum is a lovely and effortlessly wearable summer perfume. Thierry Wasser accomplishes what he set out to do with this release, which was to translate the essence of the Terracotta beauty line into a fragrance. Guerlain advertises this as “the allure of the sun in a bottle” and that’s really true to what this fragrance is.

Terracotta Le Parfum is a limited edition release. It may sell out again this year, so my advice is to act quickly if you’re interested. Full bottles are available from Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. As stated above, I ordered mine from Nordstrom.

Info on notes and the image are both from Fragrantica.

2 thoughts on “Terracotta Le Parfum by Guerlain

  1. Last year I read some very excited reviews about this perfume and then got a sample from a friend. Since I had an outstanding offer for a bigger decant, I hurried to test it – just to confirm that I’m still not a Guerlain fan. I liked the perfume in the opening but it got too sweet for me in drydown. I still think it’s nice but I don’t think I’ll be wearing even the sample I have.
    Congratulations on your successful blind buy! (but it’s wise not to do that too often 😉 )

    1. Even if Terracotta Le Parfum didn’t turn out to be your thing, at least you sampled it. (instead of recklessly blind buying it!) I usually am a Guerlain fan so I figured this would be a safe blind buy, if there can be such a thing. I thought I’d at least like it better than La Petite Robe Noire and its many flankers, which is mostly what Guerlain seems to be concentrating on these days, sigh.

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