The Perfumed Dandy’s Surprise Scent Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca by Guerlain


Aren’t surprises the very best thing?

Today The Dandy was about his affairs, readying some scenes from the Americas for your delectation, when there came a ring at the door.

And who should it be but a gentleman bearing flowers… it was a delivery man not an admirer I should add… but nevertheless this unbidden bouquet has quite made my day.

The arrangements of pinks and greens has assumed a pride of place in my sitting room, and I thought I should accompany it with the last gift I received…

An hefty spray from a generous flacon of Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca.

Indeed, all this seems quite appropriate as the Aqua Allegorias are proving to be something of a summertime surprise, nay revelation, to The Dandy.

Much that one reads about Guerlain‘s fragrant waters declares them simple and fleeting and natural as though all of these were self evidently self defeating qualities.

Yet, to The Dandy‘s way of thinking there’s a time and place for perfumes that are all three of these things.

Quite besides, not all of the allegories are all or any of these things, at least not at once.

Take the latest, my Nerolia Bianca, it is a wonderful rendition of the bitter orange tree entire, not just the fruit, but the flowers, the leaves, the trunk, the wood and the soil surrounding it too.

It is a complete and precisely painted portrait of a complex plant.

Opening as tart juice, it passes through a mildy astringent but very green heart to a warm and floral arboreal conclusion.

The perfume’s quiet progression goes unnoticed by some and the scent is mistakenly thought to be linear. Simplistic. It isn’t.

As I am increasingly discovering Thierry Wasser’s work at Guerlain, Aquas Allegoria included, demands more attention than it seems currently to receive.

Beyond flat as glass surfaces of apparently straightforward ideas lie depths of subtlety and fractions of intelligent tenderness.

I think I may be hooked.

Perhaps dear readers one day you will recommend a preferred Aqua Allegoria for my full consideration, only Laurier Reglisse so far features among the five hundred fragrances you have put forward for my perusal.

Until that time they must remain a private pleasure for high days and holidays.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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20 responses to “The Perfumed Dandy’s Surprise Scent Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca by Guerlain

  1. rosestrang

    Lovely to see you back from the US Sir Dandy! I hope you had a marvelous time.
    I love receiving perfume deliveries, it’s so exciting! I’ve only ever tested Herba Fresca in the Aqua Allegoria range, and liked it, but Nerolia Bianca sounds divine. I notice Luca Turin was very scathing about the series, but to me it seems a good idea – creative, simple, see what people respond to and develop it.
    I must enthuse wholeheartedly about my recent discovery and purchase of L’Artisan’s Seville A L’aube, also Drole de Rose – both sublimely uplifting. I discovered them at a recent poetry and perfume event at Edinburgh’s Botanic Gardens (I was in heaven!).
    Here’s a link to the blog entry about it, which you might enjoy..

  2. Dearest Rose
    I had a wonderful time in America and can’t wait to tell more about my adventures…fragrant, but not always perfumed.
    Though I now find myself to be palm frond green with envy at your own adventures! The event at the Botanical Gardens sounds simply heavenly.
    I recommend anyone who can stomach the feelings of jealousy in induces to read your lovely piece.
    As to the Aqua Aleegoria. You are quite right, the concept is a very sound one: keep it simple and develop ideas over time.
    True, some of the scents have a definite feeling of a ‘work in progress’ about them, but I rather like that unfinished quality, relish the imperfection in a world far to full of over produced perfume.
    It seems to me that Thierry Wasser is doing much what Jean Claude Ellena is playing with in his new colognes at Hermes, but the Guerlain offerings being so much more accessibly priced and available (at airports at least) in ‘selection packs’ seem like a slightly more light hearted offering.
    These are undoubtedly not for everyone or all the time, but in the humidity of Miami Mandarin Basilic felt like a godsend II can assure you.
    Thank you for the warm welcome home.
    Yours ever.
    The Perfumed Dandy

    • rosestrang

      I look forward to further instalments about your journey, complete with photos I hope! Yes, I was amazed by the perfume and poetry event, these things don’t happen often (if at all, in Edinburgh!).

      I’m interested to try the Aqua Allegoria Lys, as I’ve just discovered I quite like Cartier’s recent release – Baiser Vole (lily soliflore idea). Elena is certainly a huge influence, and kind of a welcome contrast to Lutens/Duchaufour who can err on the side of HUGE with their perfume ideas. Mind you, that works for me with Seville a L’aube

      Congrats on your flowers delivery too! – I got it mixed up somehow with the perfume in the photo!

      • Dearest Rose
        I have tried Lys Soleia and rather liked it, though it is most certainly not a soliflore… quite the opposite, there’s a little bit of a cocktail party going on (albeit quietly) in that one. And certainly something of the summer – the beach even – about it!!
        Pamplelune is not so much an allegory as an olfactory photocopy of the big fruit, Laurier Reglisse a bay tree with oranges… I could do on, but I think my message is clear…there’s much fun to be had playing with these little scented riddles.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  3. Lilybelle

    Flowers for you! How nice! Welcome back, Mr. Dandy, again! It’s nice to see you back at home. I have not tried Nerolia Bianca, but based on your description I will when I see it. I quite like the Aqua Allegoria line. I love the concept. I haven’t tried them all, but I’ve owned a few. At the moment, I have Mentafollia and Figue-Iris. I don’t think either of those are Wasser creations. Those are both nice on hot summer days. I need to try some of the more recent ones.

    • rosestrang

      Hi Lilybelle , have you tried Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia yet? (Thinks it came out last year) I’m interested to compare it to Baiser Vole, which I’m quite fond of, surprisingly as I usually like oriental/woody perfumes..

      • Lilybelle

        I don’t know either of those! Here, the AA line is sold at Sephora, which means a mall trip, and I have only so many mall visits in me, lol! :-p I do need to go check out some new stuff, though. I really loved Lys Carmin by VC&A when I sampled it.

      • Dearest Lily
        I managed not to go into a mall my whole time in the US. I get the impression I didn’t miss much!!
        I checked and there have now been more than thirty Aqua Allegorias.
        I little bit of me can’t help but feel that it’s quite fun that they come and go and occasionally reappear to, sometimes tweaked, occasionally with a new name and take.
        It’s almost as though Guerlain is having a conversation with its most loyal followers, in the way it does, one supposes, with its Muguet each May.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

    • Dearest Lily
      The thing that I like most particularly about Neroli Bianca is that it is, quite frankly, rather bitter. It captures the true earthy quality of a citrus tree, a scent that is more complicated and, to me interesting, than a simple juicy freshness.
      I see others have commented that it is too similar to Mandarin Basilic, but to my nose the too are quite unlike. Mandarin is almost like opening a tin of the fruit in their own juice, that magical rush of soft fleshy orange transformed into a sustained fragrance.
      It is sweet and yet sharp at once, whereas the darker, more intriguing Nerolia has depth.
      Definitely one to try I feel.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Lilybelle

        The sharpness in Mandarin Basilic turned me off a little when I first tried it, though I don’t mind it as much now. Tastes change. The earthiness you describe in NB sounds intriguing. The idea of the come and go tweaking and reappearing conversation with loyal Guerlain customers makes me smile. 🙂

      • Dearest Lily
        I can Imagine the bitterness of Nerolia doing much the same…. perhaps these slightly off-putting openings are part of Guerlain’s little game!?!
        Your ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Funnyboy

    Hello and welcome home.
    I would definitlely add Pampalune to yourto try list from the above range.Also if I am
    on the correct page for adding new ones to your list .How about Blvgari Jasmin Noir Eau Exquise which I Have just sampled in the Canary Isles and a rather classic Spanish fragrance which is Aire Loewe, quite beautiful,in my opinion.
    Regards from your N East friend.

  5. I’ve just returned myself to the US (from Europe but not the U.K. this time) – so welcome back to both of us:)

    Nice flowers! Was it a special occasion bouquet or “just because”?

    I’ve smelled this perfume at a Duty Free store but wasn’t compelled to buy it.But I’m glad you’re enjoying it. As to the recommendations – I want to joine Funnyboy in recommending Pamplelune.

    • Dearest Undina
      Welcome home to both of us indeed!!
      I do hope you spent your time in The Old World as pleasantly as I passed mine in The New.
      The Allegorias do seem to be all over Duty Frees don’t they?
      I’m not surprised that Nerolia didn’t grab, its not a shining star, there’s an odd bitterness that I love, but can imagine is far from for everyone.
      Pamplelune is just perfect, no perfume smells so heavenly of the pulp of a fruit and it may indeed be appearing here sometime soon!
      Oh, and the flowers… they were a thank you from a house guest from a little while ago!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. I love the idea of the Aqua line – something light and linear when you don’t want the all day commitment of an evolving scent?

    • Dearest V
      This is absolutely the concept, but having some of the older and newer editions in the range, it does seem to me that they are gaining both in longevity and complexity so are neither as linear nor as ephemeral as they once were.
      The guiding light now seems to be the ‘allegoria’, that these are scents that hark back to age before Jicky when perfumes ‘painted from life’ rather than ‘from the heart’.
      Such a tasty irony that it should be Guerlain, the house that more or less gave us abstract perfume that should be returning us to the art’s roots.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. Lilybelle

    I found a decant of Mandarin Basilic when I was sorting through some things. I’m wearing it right now. It really is refreshing and orangey, and the sharpness doesn’t bother me this time. I’m enjoying it today.

    • Dearest Lily
      Isn’t it fresh and refreshing!?!
      I’ve found it to be the perfect way to start the day with a zing… and it as it peters out after two or three hours it leaves the rest of the day for more complex pleasure.
      In fact that gives me an idea….
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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