Guerlain Attrape Coeur

My best friend has a favorite candy:
C. Howard’s Violet. They’re hard candy—think Certs.

C. Howard has been manufacturing candy in New York since 1930, and as far as I’m concerned, the Violet candies taste and smell like 1930. In this instance, not a good thing. On a recent trip into Portland, I discovered a shop that carries them, and stocked up as a gift for my lovely friend (they’re rare to find locally).

The sillage on these innocuous looking “mints” is astounding. Not only did my purse smell (for days afterwards) but wearing the purse on my shoulder in a crowded bar tipsy on tequila (me) I could smell those candies wafting up at me in all their potent purple-ness, totally drowning out L’Ombre Fauve (an event itself).

Whenever I think of violet, specifically as a fragrance note, I think of those annoyingly hard to find candies (Best friend, remember?). Fresh arrived from a generous swapper in Denmark, today I wear Attrape Coeur (“heart-catcher”). This Guerlain fragrance, created by Mathilde Laurent and first released in 1999 as Guet-Apens (“Ambush”), was re-released in 2005 under the current moniker. The fragrance notes, according to The Perfumed Court, are rose, violet, iris, amber, vanilla, and woody notes. Laurent, now officially off the market as Cartier’s in-house bespoke perfumer, has left a nice legacy for the rest of us having created four Guerlain’s and six Cartier’s.

Rose, iris, amber, vanilla, and “woody” notes are all favorites of mine, and together should guarantee fragrant bliss. The amber, vanilla, woody note combo prevails; no C. Howard candy here! What the violet seems to do is gently lift the composition out of purely oriental territory. While not included on the list, I smell a strong saffron note—the same heady saffron/rose found in Safran Troublant.

Final verdict: Full bottle worthy


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