Years ago (2008), Guerlain made a limited edition perfume to celebrate their anniversary AND to celebrate their customers that spent like a bazillion dollars with them. OK, maybe not a bazallion dollars but their loyal customers that probably do spend a lot. It was a non-commercial perfume that was a gift to loyal customers and industry insiders. One of my friends was one of these folks (actually a few were, but she’s the one that shared a small sample with me).
These days 180 Ans is on sites like eBay for like a bazillion dollars (OK, like $900 or so). You guys know how it is. If you want to immediately increase the demand and the price of a perfume, discontinue it. This one was already a limited run and didn’t have a retail price, it has like so much going on that makes it really, really desirable to collectors and people that are all about exclusivity. People always want what they “can’t” have.
180 Ans smells like all the Guerlains. Well, maybe not all but a lot of them. It opens like pink grapefruit and black licorice.There is this dry, fruity pink pepper. If you didn’t know who made it, you’d already know it was a Guerlain. This opening is gourmand but not really edible which is so Guerlain-y. It’s sweet with vanilla, tonka beans and almond-y heliotrope. The heart is a sugary jasmine white floral with a smooth, boozy tonka. There’s a benzoin, which I always think Guerlain does very well. The base has something green but not really mossy over this sweet vanilla and powdery iris with a smoky incense. It’s that classic Guerlinade, the DNA of the brand (and this perfume was based on the long discontinued La Guerlinade which was like the Guerlain base in a bottle). This base really is the “perfect” amber and what has kept Guerlain in business for all these years.
180 Ans is a wonderful perfume, but I still can’t say that the dollar value slapped on this non-commercial limited edition perfume is a fair price. It’s absolutely stunning in that it does capture what makes a Guerlain perfume “a Guerlain perfume”. What I can’t understand is why Guerlain is not launching perfumes like this for their permanent line! None of their recent launches have been this exceptional. And look at what people are willing to spend on this! People want Guerlain. We don’t want fifteen flankers of La Petite Rose Noire. We’re sick of seeing Shalimar in new limited edition bottles. When we want something “new” from Guerlain, we want something like 180 Ans. But, what we really want is for them to stop discontinuing epic classics like Nahéma etrait, which in my opinion is the most beautiful rose perfume in existence. Guerlain used to be my favorite perfume house but these days, I can’t say that they are. They keep taking away what I love from them. And they won’t stop reformulating perfumes from the lines like L’Art et la Matière and Les Élixirs Charnels. I know this turned into a rant, but I think Guerlain and I have grown apart…or at least for now. And when I see them making stuff like 180 Ans but then releasing stuff that isn’t as good, well, I get a little bitter and a lot frustrated with the industry.
Back to 180 Ans…it’s a lovely perfume. It really is a beautiful interpretation of the long history of the house. It’s a prime example of how Guerlain does amber/gourmand so well. Now, should you feel an emptiness deep inside you because you don’t own this? No. Wear Shalimar. Wear Attrape-Coeur. Be wild. Wear them together. Wear all the Guerlains because, hell, they may discontinue them tomorrow.¹
Sometimes you can find it on eBay for under $1000. And The Perfume Court sells 5mls for $200 (half an ounce is $559). Crazy. This is starting to make spending a lot with Guerlain just to get the exclusives seem like a profitable investment, no?
¹That’s me being really dramatic. But, really with these big brands, who even knows? They have no loyalty. They cut what doesn’t sell and search for a new trophy spouse that still won’t make them happy…that’s how we always end up with boring flankers in this industry.
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10 thoughts on “Guerlain 180 Ans EDP – What a Really Expensive Exclusive Perfume Smells Like”
It sounds gorgeous but yeh ouch at that price tag!
It really is gorgeous! And that’s painful for me to say! Wearing it, I was reminded of why I ever fell for Guerlain to begin with.
It’s so weird but not really weird at all, that this is a perfume with no price tag but then it now has this crazy high price tag.
It sounds delicious but yeah, I can’t hack that price. Oh well. I totally agree with you that we don’t need anymore flankers to Le petite robe noire, or shalimar. I bought the Mexican shalimar and I feel like it’s not all that different from my regular edp. I’ve heard the Madagascar one is more interesting but of course, is rarer and more expensive. I was curious about shalimar soufflé but I have a feeling I will be unimpressed. Side note, everyone raves about Nahema, so much so that I’ve been considering a blind buy. I didn’t even know it was a rose-based scent!
Those flankers may be good but I admit that I don’t go out of my way to sample them. I’m “over” them! It’s like just make a new perfume already with a new name or just offer a “cologne” version.
I have Madagascar and Mexique. I like them both but they are close to the original. The deal is that you never really know what you’ll get with Guerlain. About 10 years ago, Shalimar was terrible. Then somewhere in the middle, it was OK (better). And now it’s pretty darn good. I hate this inconsistency.
The Nahema EDP is very nice but I much prefer the “density” of the extrait (which costs more than I like to pay). It’s the least Guerlain of the Guerlains but I love it – aldehydes, rose and honey. Don’t know if you are familiar with the Mona di Orio perfumes but it does get compared to the Rose one from that line a lot. It’s just decadent. That’s the best way I can describe it.
Aah Guerlain! (no! to the unofficial price tag, though). But don’t talk to me about Guerlain. I’m trying to forget that I lost my vintage Shalimar extrait (while moving).
“Suggested Unofficial Price of A Bazillion Dollars” 😉
That’s terrible! Now I’m trying to forget!
This blog entry was absolutely delightful for a 180 reasons. I kept thinking of the little match girl, except she was looking in at a beautiful woman applying perfume. . . (and errr… let’s go for a Disneyfied version…where she lives and someone bequeaths her a giant satchel of samples). Thank you for the afternoon smile. I am resolved NOT to wish I could try 180 Ans.
Maybe Guerlain will learn something from the Little Perfume Girls and make us something we want to wear that isn’t going up on eBay for a lot of money!
It actually pains me that I like this because I’d rather just not know!
I’m so glad you wrote this. My mom was a Guerlain perfume wearing lady and it reminds me of growing up. It is frustrating how they constantly reformulate or discontinue. I think of myself as a Guerlain girl, but I’m wearing Chanel now because Guerlain isn’t consistent. I’m glad you tried this.
They won’t leave things alone! It drives me mad because the past 15 years of Shalimar have been so turbulent. It went from good to bad to better to bad to great. You never know what you’re going to get! And it’s terrible because the memories of these perfumes are glorious and they’re sort of ruining it over the past decade.
I used to consider myself a Guerlain girl too but now it’s only the memories of Guerlain. I wear and buy more Chanel because they are more consistent.
Anyway, I haven’t tried much of the new stuff (like the Petite Noire flankers). It’s possible they are good but I wish they weren’t flankers but something completely new and not just riding off of a name.
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