Gucci Guilty Absolute: Playing Niche

Gucci Guilty Absolute Bottle and box

Gucci has released its Guilty Absolute, which may sound like another flanker in the yawn-producing line of the same name. Even the cliché designation “absolute” is such a tired meaningless thing, which is behold and admire! Forget the last years of senseless flankers and non-creative juices flooding the brand in sameness. Gucci Guilty Absolute is really a niche fragrance trying to make its way into the mainstream market in a recognizable bottle from a once-upon-a-time stunning brand. So, what made my nose dream? Woods, leather and patchouli in massive doses and unashamed sexuality, that’s what.

Gucci Guilty Absolute Bottle and box

Gucci Guilty Absolute is born from a close collaboration between Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele and master perfumer Alberto Morillas, which is an ode to leather and this was done in a very realistic way, going also much further in evoking smoke and cognac, with an animalic undertone that brings up the beast within. In fact, leather is one of the most important elements in Gucci’s fashion collections and this is like leather liquefied and put inside a bottle.

Leather Texture

Recently, we’ve seen a mainstream brand like Baldessarini playing with niche concepts for the fragrance Ultimate with great results. But the attempts to raise the bar in the mainstream market are scarce. Gucci did it in a pioneer way during the Tom Ford reign with Rush and Gucci Pour Homme, for example. But it stopped. Now, many years later, the Italian brand brings a rather deep and sultry composition to the shelves, with that same spirit of luxury plus substance and some innovation. And yes, I wouldn’t be surprised if I would smell this fragrance in any niche brand during a show like Esxence or Pitti.

Alberto Morillas created here a fusion between two main raw materials in a composition that is not traditionally top-middle-base like in a pyramid structure. The scent is linear and reveals its character from the first moments, changing only a few elements during its development. The two main notes here are Woodleather, an aroma-chemical that smells like a leather accord and Goldenwood, a molecule with a woody accord. To these, he added a natural extract of Nootka cypress. The result is a very dry woody fragrance that has a suggestion of violet leaves in the first moments. This first impression is not the best part and it may lead you to think you’ve smelled it many times before. But it soon goes away and reveals the core of the fragrance which in fact is very close to a real oud perfume. To add depth, three different kinds of patchouli oil were added, bringing a sweet, earthy and deep base to it. Vetiver elongates the woody and earthy tones.

Gucci Guilty Absolute is a shy cousin of some great oud fragrances we’ve seen in the niche segment, recalling a watered version of Tiziana Terenzi’s Ursa, more wearable and adapted to a wider audience. It manages to evoke the oud tones without in fact having oud in its composition, but even that is not a new thing. Let’s remember Baruti’s NOOUD, another scent that smells like oud without having a drop of it inside.

Jared Leto ad

The bottle of this new edition is basically the same as in all editions of the Guilty line. This time the bottle is made from clear glass, accentuating the design lines of the original in a truly beautiful object filled with a transparent brown liquid that seems like cognac. The box comes in a brown tobacco hue. Jared Leto is the face of the fragrance, in a campaign shot by Glen Luchford.

Gucci Guilty Absolute is available from March 2017 and it comes in 50, 90 and 150ml bottles in eau de parfum concentration.