GUERLAIN Samsara

GUERLAIN Samsara
Delicious!Samsara

3.9

225 reviews

64% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.9

Price: $$$

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on 11/11/2018 9:37:00 PM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Cool

Hair: Silver, Straight, Coarse

Eyes: Green

I am sniffing some 1980's-vintage SAMSARA EDT on my hand now. After not having experienced it for years. I had remembered I once liked it, but now might have to re-evaluate.

I know it had been initially released during the rise of the New Age/Yoga movement, intended to be a relaxing and meditative and "spiritual" fragrance-- the ad of the silhouetted nude lady sitting cross-legged before a dramatic sunset.

Yet that's not how I'm reading it now. I am very surprised to see just how powerful the aldehyde topnotes are... the "cosmetic" components of the scent, which make it seem very "perfume-y" indeed, almost hairspray-like, and not as "mellow" and woody as I thought I'd remembered it...

The scent on my hand here is tart, un-sweet floral and brilliantly aldehydic, with the aldehydic topnotes not evanescing quickly at all... They last for a long time, with an almost "coriander"-like sharpness... plenty of iris (almost cocoa-carrot-y), ylang in her "green banana skin" guise, a hint of aromatic menthol, and hints of something anisic-- tarragon?-- in keeping with the "Guerlinade" that haunts things like L'HEURE BLEUE (which used to be much more licorice-y than it is today).

And of course, I'm getting the signature heliotrope with its hint of vanilla and faux almondy/face powder, and what seems to be a synthetic fruit note, daubed with a balsam (peru? tolu?)

Oddly the sandalwood here seems very restrained... not especially "mystical" or "Indian" or "meditative". It has no chance to get milky/spicy/warm, what with the intense, sharp green-floral-aldehydes here. At the time of SAMSARA's release, the buzz was that it contained a decadent amount of real santal in it. I'm guessing the EDP and Extrait offer more of that quality than the EDT?

I'm pretty sure I detect ambergris, with its curious quality like a woman's lips, breath and skin. SAMSARA is much more "femme" than I had remembered it.

Guerlain always does a good job... even their lesser-scents have an undeniable quality and integrity. I even like the grapefruit tomcat-piss of PAMPLELUNE. (The only time Guerlain has ever alienated me... was with their ghastly, nasty new version of HABIT ROUGE in the parfum). And this is indeed a fine, quality perfume. Cosmetically pleasant enough, but not really my thing... No offense to those who are smitten by it. Maybe if the Croatian siren Oja Kodar stepped, nude, out of the frame of Orson Welles's THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, her brown skin smelling of it, might I change my mind.

I much prefer the in-your-face, animalic, smoky, oily, sweetness of SHALIMAR in the EDP. If I'm going to do sandalwood, I like her in a more dark, incense-y, nigh-headshoppy mood, the old hippie that I am. SHALIMAR is far less subtle and modern than SAMSARA, and I think I like that "more-is-more" quality of it...

As another has posted here, SAMSARA may be the least Oriental Oriental there is. Sorry, kids, I'm gonna have to scrub this from my hand...

2 of 3 people found this helpful.



Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Neutral

Hair: Other, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Green

This is a beautiful incense and woodsy scent. I love the beautiful red bottle which is classic Guerlain. I find this a little heavy at first but it dries nicely.

I think of this as a warmer, spicier scent that is better for evening than for day. It is one of my favorites from Guerlain.


Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

My first scent memory is of Samsara. My grandfather had a girlfriend named Jean when I was very young. She was the most glamorous woman I'd ever seen, with fiery red hair and hazel green eyes. She used this perfume exclusively and I can remember the red urn shaped bottle displayed on her dressing table. I loved it so much my mother bought me a bottle for my 5th birthday. I have been a devoted user of this scent ever since. I have the recent EDP and a '92 vintage extrait that I treasure and hoard. It's true that the modern iteration is not as beautiful as it's older counterpart. The ylang-ylang is louder and the sandalwood is not nearly as potent as the vintage. Yet I feel that the essence or soul of the perfume is preserved in the newer versions. I still go right back to that house in Joshua Tree Cali with the glamorous woman whenever I inhale it. This scent is for a bold woman, no shrinking violets or wallflowers allowed. I wear this scent all year long, but it wears best in winter where it really shines. I don't buy the EDT because the ylang-ylang and iris are overpowering and the sandalwood and jasmine are barely detectable to my nose. I truly hope Guerlain never discontinues making this gorgeous perfume cause I plan to be buried wearing this scent.

10 of 10 people found this helpful.


on 11/27/2017 9:24:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair, Cool

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Green

My mom purchased the 30ml 1989 Extrait Parfum of this for me and I treasure it. First let me say personally I own this and an edp that’s not “vintage” and this smells better and is more to my taste. What I like about this is it’s softer than the edp. In the edp the ylang ylang is very screechy and the sandalwood note is very strong on the dry down it’s fine and I love it. It wasn’t until I recieved the Extrait that I realized how absolutely beautiful this fragrance is. With the parfume the sandalwood note is so good mixed with the ylang ylang it comes off delicate. But what I love best is the Jasmine in this is so beautiful. When I read the story that this was created for a woman who liked sandalwood and Jasmine I wondered why the ylang ylang was so prominent.

But this it’s just perfect, balanced! The Jasmine smells so exotic and the vanilla, Orris, iris, bring it together so well. I do not smell peach at all not in this nor the edp. The vanilla and Tonka I smell and I’ve really grown to adore Tonka thanks to this fragrance and a few other Guerlains I own. This to me is a treasure that I wish I could wear on the daily, but I know for me this is for very special days. A little drop on my pulse points, neck, and chest are all that I need. Sillage is moderate and that’s just fine with me. Longevity is amazingly long over 8 hours without a doubt. I love this with the cool weather I think it really shines during the colder months. Though this is so good I would wear a dab or 2 on a nice summer evening.

I’m so grateful to own this as it’s one of my favorite Guerlains besides Shalimar and Shalimar Parfum Initial. For me I will also invest in a 90’s edp because you can tell that the sandalwood in this is just insanely gorgeous. I love that this has real Mysore in this you can tell the difference of synthetic verse the real thing at least I can and I by no means have a sophisticated nose.

This will last me my whole life I think and then I will pass this down to one of my nieces whichever loves and appreciates fragrance. I could go on and on about all the things I love about this fragrance but I will say this if you can get your hands on the Extrait it’s totally worth it especially if you love Samsara to begin with. I also adore the bottle to me it’s just so pretty. I’m so happy with this it’s my first “vintage” bottle of perfume and I will treasure it. It’s like having a little piece of history. Love!

3 of 3 people found this helpful.


on 8/21/2017 8:25:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Fine

Eyes: Green

This review is for the extrait, which I was lucky to score on eBay. I had avoided Samsara for years despite being a Guerlain collector (in a minor way, you understand). And I fully admit it: it was because I am a terrible snob. Anything post-1980 I regard with suspicion, especially if it's a big seller. I also turn my nose up at Guerlain's recent foray into high-end commercialism and overproduction, which I think is damaging their brand. In short, I'm snooty and hard-to-please.

But I was missing out all these years. This is a crowd-pleaser for a reason. It starts with a huge bang of jasmine and then comes that lengthy and delirious sandalwood dry-down with just the right amount of powderiness. The extrait stays close to the skin, as expected. Chanel's Bois des Iles is one of my all-time desert island fragrances, so I don't know why I never considered that I might enjoy Samsara, since it's very similar, minus the aldehydes. It's fantastic stuff: intimate and deeply comforting. Sometimes it's great to be wrong.

9 of 10 people found this helpful.


on 5/15/2017 2:53:00 PM

Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Dry, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I am giving this scent 5 lippies because it smells so wonderful for a lot of hours. I am not a big lemon fan in fragrance but this one is so well blended it is barely noticeable as a main ingredient. I almost left off one lippie because of the after scent on my clothes the next day, but it is not so bad as to reduce my rating. I have never tried the old version of this scent so I cannot remark as some have. This is not my favorite perfume from Guerlain but it a keeper and I am glad I have it. I have the EDP version and I am loving it.


on 11/8/2016 9:05:00 AM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Original version: One of the best oriental woody fragrances ever created, jasmin, bergamont, ylang-ylang, amber, sandalwood, unforgettable!
My last bottle, September 2013: vanilla, vanilla,vanilla, again and again vanilla! Cheapened, synthetic version of the original formula. I ended up using it as an air-freshener. 89 euros for 50ml of that thing????!!!! Never again!

6 of 7 people found this helpful.


on 9/15/2016 4:04:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Dry, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This review is for the vintage versions (circa 1989 to 1993) before the formula was adjusted to a point where it started smelling a bit "different". It is indescribably amazing. I have been wearing this in the fall for over 20 years and I never cease to get compliments every single time. No other fragrance has ever elicited such a positive response from both men and other women for that matter. As one former boyfriend described it "it leaves this essence on your pillow or anywhere you have been that is intoxicating, and I cannot stop being reminded of you". Bam, I will never cease in buying as many of the old versions of this fragrance as possible. The best.

in Sanskrit, Samsara means the eternal cycle of life. It is an imaginary place, sacred and mysterious, where Orient and Occident meet. Samsara is the symbol of harmony, of absolute osmosis between a woman and her perfume. It is a spiritual voyage leading to serenity and inner contemplation. The bottle, in the sacred red of the Orient, echoes the figure of a Khmer dancer in the Musée Guimet in Paris, her hands folded in a gesture of offering, expressing plenitude and femininity. The stopper evokes the eye of Buddha. A tantalizing floral-oriental perfume, Samsara is a harmonious blend of all-natural essences, including jasmine, ylang ylang, sandalwood and tonka bean.

Notes: bergamot, jasmine sambac, narcissus, rose, ylang-ylang, iris, sandalwood, tonka bean, vanilla.

6 of 6 people found this helpful.


on 8/23/2016 7:58:00 AM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Warm

Hair: Red, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Brown

there's....just.....nothing....like Samsara...
in edt or edp version....
nothing



10/10

5 of 6 people found this helpful.


Age: 56 & Over

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

Top Notes: Green Notes, Peach, Bergamot, Lemon.

Heart Notes: Iris, Violet, Orris Root, Jasmine, Rose, Narcissus.

Base Notes: Iris, Sandalwood, Tonka Bean, Amber, Musk, Vanilla.

This review is for the EDP formulation. As one would expect, Samsara is very sandalwoody, lightly sweet, lightly floral, and a bit powdery. It is so soft, so feminine...I really cannot think of words sufficient to describe how sexy is this parfum. I cannot imagine men wearing this because it is so very feminine, although I am sure some probably do. J-P Guerlain really outdid himself with this creation. The man is a genius.

Perhaps the most amazing thing about Samsara is that there is no Mysore sandalwood oil in it at all (some claim that it originally did contain real Mysore Sandalwood, but it seems highly unlikely to me), but the synthetics used completely fool one's sense of smell. J-P Guerlain created Samsara in 1989, post the collapse of Mysore sandalwood, i.e. after the tree had become very seriously endangered. I read that it took J-P Guelain five LONG years to perfect this parfum and that his reason for creating it allegedly was to seduce a certain English woman he knew. Well, all I can say is that she must have been seduced as intended! My goodness this smells heavenly....

Honestly, this smells so heavenly, so uber feminine that you just have to try it for yourself. I apply it liberally. The projection is not huge in my opinion as it wears somewhat close to one's skin, but the projection it does have says "come hither, my love...." :) Sillage is nice, and longevity is moderate+. If I apply it at night before going to bed, I can still smell it on myself in the morning six or so hours later, albeit faintly. It lingers on my clothes and on my desk top and smells divine.

It is no secret that Guerlain is my favourite house. I love Samsara and have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who is interested in sandalwood as a dominant note. If you want to seduce a man, try it whilst wearing Samsara as I think it would do the trick. So soft, so indescribably feminine...try it! This is classic perfumery at its finest. Everyone should have Samsara, L'Heure Bleue, and Mitsouko in his/her collection. No house makes fragrances like these any more. To put the proverbial cherry on the cake,, these Guerlains are accessibly priced, too. Remember these classic creations the next time you count your life's blessings. : )

Fragrance: 10/10

Projection: 7/10

Sillage: 7/10

Longevity: 8.5/10

3 of 3 people found this helpful.


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