Update: LVMH & Monsieur Guerlain

I have a few updates to share with you regarding LVMH’s shutdown of the Monsieur Guerlain website and his associated social media accounts. Monsieur Guerlain has clarified a few points about the matter, I was given some information on Guerlain, and I’ve done some digging into the law. To me, those new facts indicate a very different situation both legally and factually than what I had initially thought. In my opinion, they demonstrate that the issue is not the trademark/copyright issue of using the Guerlain brand name that everyone had thought. There is much more going on.

[ADDITIONAL UPDATES regarding developments on 2/10 and 2/11 are posted in new sections at the end.] 

First, though, I wanted to share something that I was told regarding Guerlain and its inner circle of perfumers. I’ve been informed by a reader that at least one prominent nose in the house had no idea that LVMH had targeted the Monsieur Guerlain sites for removal until the news broke on February 7th. It appears to have been as much of a shock to them as to everyone else.

This should underscore a point that I tried to make clear in my original post: it is LVMH that seems to have started this, not Guerlain, so it is LVMH that is to blame. It’s not a meaningless distinction, in my opinion. A lot of people are upset over the situation and quite understandably so; I share their frustration at the sheer idiocy and gracelessness on display. However, a few seem to have gone further in their outrage. Some people have written here that they have tossed (or completely smashed) their Guerlain bottles. Others have stated that they plan to put their fragrances up for sale.

I think that is such a pity. Those fragrances gave you joy and, I would venture to guess, many of them were originally created by the actual Guerlain family long before LVMH became a vampirical vulture that used 68 Champs Élysée as its personal golden cow to milk dry (and ruin). Any anger or disgust that you feel should be placed squarely on LVMH’s shoulders, but selling or smashing bottles isn’t going to impact them one whit. The sole reason I thought it was important to contact both companies was not because I blamed Guerlain but because I thought they were far more likely to be sympathetic and to convey the full scope of the situation to LVMH (which is not the easiest company to contact directly via a specific email address). Exert any pressure that you may think is necessary to get either company to understand the scope of your feelings and boycott LVMH and its subsidiaries if you wish, but don’t destroy what you once loved and found to be a source of beauty and pleasure.

THE LATEST FACTS & THE DMCA LAW:

Monsieur Guerlain has clarified several aspects of the situation. First, in a Basenotes discussion thread on the situation, he explained that he was never asked by anyone at Guerlain to change his website name or to remove any of the photos. Think about that for a minute: he’s had his site for something like ten years and not once did Guerlain or LVMH’s legal teams demand a name change or photo removal under trademark and copyright laws. However, they did express some concern that he was becoming too influential and that the large size of his following might lead others to think others to think that he was an official site. It turns out that was not the actual problem in this case but before I get to the actual trigger, let me say that I understand and sympathize with Guerlain’s concerns. Personally, though, I didn’t find Monsieur Guerlain’s sites to be confusing in terms of associations. His pages were always plainly captioned at the top with words that made the lack of affiliation clear. For example, his Facebook caption stated something like: “One man’s admiration for all things Guerlain. Calling all honey bees and Guerlainophiles.” It took me less than a minute the first time I saw it (and the posts below) to figure out that it was a fan site.

Still, the real issue seems to have been something else entirely: a mere link. The link from hell, the link that set the ball rolling until it went straight into authoritarian territory. What happen is that Guerlain asked him to remove a link that he posted to another site which discussed several upcoming 2016 new releases. And he did so.

I wrote to him to get confirmation of whether he complied with Guerlain’s request, and he said that he did so right away. He said that most of Guerlain’s issues or requests to him involved removing links, and that he was always happy to do so because he’d never want to hurt the company he loved so much.

But let me repeat the main point concerning the triggering incident in the case that started all this: he said he obeyed immediately and removed the offending link as they requested. In legal terms, he cured or remedied the problem. Yet, despite that, his sites were suddenly shut down a short time later. He stated on Basenotes: “a few days ago, after I simply posted a link to some other site revealing some of the Guerlain news 2016, I was shut down. Like that. No warning, no message from either Guerlain or Facebook.”

Cases like these are covered by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). What usually happens is that the online service provider receives a notice of an infringement claim under the DMCA or a part thereof called the “OCILLA.” This is not my area of law so I’ll quote what Wikipedia says in the article linked above:

OSPs [online service providers] must adhere to and qualify for certain prescribed safe harbor guidelines and promptly block access to alleged infringing material (or remove such material from their systems) when they receive notification of an infringement claim from a copyright holder or the copyright holder’s agent. OCILLA also includes a counternotification provision that offers OSPs a safe harbor from liability to their users when users claim that the material in question is not, in fact, infringing.

In a nutshell, the online service provider “must” remove the offending website but they can also give the alleged violator a “counter-notice” so that person has a chance either to defend themselves by showing the material is not an infringement or to remove it. The “counter-notice” doesn’t seem to be mandatory, but it is damn common because the law tends to prefer conciliatory, easy, fast dispute-resolution before one goes for the jugular with hardcore action. In this case, the “counter-notice” or C&D wasn’t passed along to Monsieur Guerlain by the social media sites for reasons that became clear to me later on, but at least now I understand why they acted unilaterally in pulling his sites as the first step.

Let’s go back to that offending link to the third-party site. Monsieur Guerlain obeyed Guerlain’s request immediately. But it seems someone must have gone ahead and filed the infringement notice anyway such that the online companies had to comply right away as well. So someone — I assume from LVMH — either didn’t care that he had fixed the problem or didn’t wait to give him the chance to fix it. They just went ahead and pulled the trigger on the notice.

What caught my attention on Wikipedia was something else entirely, the fact that mere links to another site might not be a copyright infringement in and of themselves. The law is apparently unsettled with regard to this issue, but Wikipedia lists two instances where courts found that using a mere link was a violation. Two very narrow instances, neither of which applies to Monsieur Guerlain’s situation:

Linking to infringing content [edit]
The law is currently unsettled with regard to websites that contain links to infringing material; however, there have been a few lower-court decisions which have ruled against linking in some narrowly prescribed circumstances. One is when the owner of a website has already been issued an injunction against posting infringing material on their website and then links to the same material in an attempt to circumvent the injunction. Another area involves linking to software or devices which are designed to circumvent (digital rights management) devices, or links from websites whose sole purpose is to circumvent copyright protection by linking to copyrighted material.[8]

Here, no-one had issued an injunction against Monsieur Guerlain to stop posting infringing material and, even if they had, he did not subsequently try to get around that injunction by removing the text and inserting a link to that same information elsewhere. None of that applies here. He had a link, he removed that link, end of story. The second situation — links to software and special devices to circumvent the law — obviously doesn’t apply here, either. In short, Monsieur Guerlain did not engage in either of the two, very narrow linking instances mentioned as being violations of copyright law. Yes, there may well be other narrow cases but, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, Monsieur Guerlain had already acted to remedy the problem. I’ll leave it to the intellectual property lawyers to decide whether his linkage was even a legal violation to begin with under the DMCA, but it seems to me that the question is not settled fully and clearly in LVMH’s favour.

Hard as it is to believe, it really does seem to have been a mere link issue that triggered the LVMH action after almost 10 years of ignoring his use of the brand name, of not demanding a change to the website, and not demanding removal of copyrighted photos. Honestly, I thought it was all ludicrous to begin with given the timeline and the totality of the circumstances, but the link issue seemed completely insane to me at first. They jeopardized a PR goldmine and a 10-year relationship with a fan site over a mere link? A link that was immediately removed by the ultimate super fan who would never want to do anything to upset his beloved Guerlain? And then LVMH still went ahead with a triggering infringement notice involving a grey area of the law that one can argue didn’t even apply to him anyway? Utter madness. Ruthless madness.

I have no idea what was mentioned on that third-party site because Monsieur Guerlain wouldn’t discuss it and avoided my questions on the subject. However, I suddenly remembered what I’d heard whispered elsewhere about Guerlain’s Aqua Allegoria releases. Allegedly, they were simply re-issuing old creations under a new name at a much higher price. In essence, an alleged sleight of hand involving new names, new bottles, new prices, but old juice. And my guess is that this must be the information that LVMH appears to have wanted squashed. A mere link to this — and solely the link as opposed to use of the “Guerlain” brand name — had to be the “copyright violation” at the heart of everything, because what else could possibly explain the course of events? For ten years, LVMH looked the other way and never once took action over the otherwise undisputed violations like the use of a brand name and photos, but a link to a 3rd party website suddenly leads to the complete shutdown of all MG sites even after remedial compliance?

I have no idea if the fragrance allegations are true. I don’t care. I barely tolerate modern, LVMH-era Guerlains as it is, but I intentionally avoid the seemingly never-ending army of insipid “Aqua A’s” with their fresh, watery, fruity-floral profiles. But even if the claims were true, so what? It’s not as though people wouldn’t find out anyway. The Guerlain lovers would notice and mention it. Perhaps LVMH was concerned about letting the cat out of the bag too soon, but that is irrelevant to the issues here: Monsieur Guerlain took down the offending link and they went after him anyway. Ten years of the most adoring publicity imaginable for free, and this is how they repaid him?

I have no doubt that some of you will think a mere link can’t possibly be the cause of all this kerfuffle, but Monsieur Guerlain’s brief comments on Basenotes point to it as being the likeliest scenario. When I wrote to him for confirmation on the removal issue, I asked him specifically what sorts of issues Guerlain had raised in the past as problems. He said they were typically linking issues, and he was happy to comply because he never wanted to jeopardize the Guerlain brand or its standing in any way. He gave me two examples of prior differences, both of which I thought were extremely trivial in nature:

A typical example of what they asked me to do: when L’Homme Idéal was released, there was a pre-release at airports. I managed to buy and smell it beforehand then. But Guerlain asked me to wait to write about it until the official press release date, and we agreed on that. That is a fairly typical example of how we got along. Another example: some journalist posting an image on Instagram before the official release, me linking to that image, Guerlain asking me to remove the link, and me afterwards obeying.

In both those instances, they asked, he complied, and everything was fine. Just like it should have been in this case. No wonder he didn’t receive a C&D “go fix it” letter; he already had fixed it. So why then did LVMH need to stomp their jackbooted foot against his neck and shut down all his sites? Who knows, but perhaps the real problem was the actual information itself and their wish to suppress it.

THE LARGER ISSUES:

To be completely frank, I now care far more about the larger implications regarding the dissemination of information than about Monsieur Guerlain’s plight. (My apologies to him). In particular, I’m troubled by the risk to information dissemination when it comes from mere peasants and peons like us as opposed to LVMH’s PR army. In the past, I’ve seen a few cases where Basenoters sniffed out upcoming launches and they posted all known information to start a discussion. In one instance, I remember someone came across a trademark name application for a Lutens fragrance and posted the information perhaps a full 7 or 8 months before its release. In another instance, someone was given news of Dior’s Feve Delicieuse and its notes prior to its debut. Dior is a company owned by LVMH. Are they going to try to clamp down on Basenotes members in discussing or linking to future LVMH releases? Or does this merely apply to alleged re-named oldies at a higher price?

How far will it go the next time around? Recently, LVMH sent Fragrantica a DMCA demand to take down one of their advertorial “upcoming new release”-type articles on Dior‘s Poison Girl. Fragrantica itself said nothing remotely critical because that is not their style, but I’ve been told by one member who read the thread that posters had plenty of scorn, mockery, and negativity for both the flanker and for Dior advertising campaign. (One image involved smoking.) In short, an upcoming new release was being criticized. Not in this case for possibly being an alleged old/new switcheroo, but for its very existence, essence, and promotion. Not long after LVMH sent a DMCA notice; Fragrantica took down its article; and all that criticism was wiped out. Opinions silenced.

[UPDATE added 2/13: There is a lot of information in the comment section below that demonstrates there was a third incident involving the suppression of information, this time at Parfumo, the German perfume website and forum, but this time it was self-censorship due to fear of reprisals and a shutdown by LVMH. I want to thank various readers for sharing the details, particularly the Parfumo posters who witnessed the situation first-hand and who either wrote to me privately or talked about the specifics here. I’ll summarize their conclusions here for those of you who lack the time to wade through 100 or so comments to find the information.

In a nutshell, the 3rd-party site to which Monsieur Guerlain linked and which started all the problems was Parfumo. Specifically, a thread in which various members concluded that one of the upcoming 2016 Guerlain releases was actually an old jasmine Aqua A. that was allegedly being issued under a new name in a much fancier bottle and at an astronomical new price. (Somewhere around €500, I’ve heard). It seems the Parfumo members made this deducation by comparing the note lists for the old Aqua A. to the one that Guerlain issued for the “new” fragrance. They didn’t base it on any purported “leaks” or proprietary, confidential, privileged information, therefore, but on their own conclusions and extensive knowledge of the Guerlain lines.

At some point in all this messy drama, I assume after Monsieur Guerlain’s website was removed, those critical Parfumo comments were removed by the site’s administrators and the thread was sanitized. One can only assume it was done out of fear of reprisals similar to what Monsieur Guerlain went through, though he didn’t “leak,” disclose, or do anything illegal under the law, either.

In American legal jargon, the outcome is evidence of what the courts call “a chilling effect.” (American law applies to this situation because the online service providers like Facebook, Google, and Twitter are all American companies.) The courts don’t like any action that would have a “chilling effect” on speech, whether it’s on the freedom of the press or otherwise. While the First Amendment only applies to government actions, the American Congress is so concerned about private companies abusing copyright and other laws to suppress consumer speech and negative criticism that they are trying to pass new protective legislation called The Consumer Review Freedom Act. (See, a January 2016 Washington Post article here, as well as further information here and here.) In the Parfumo case, it was the site administrators who removed the comments and opinions but the end effect is still the same: the suppression of information that was critical of LVMH/Guerlain and the silencing of consumer speech. It would never have occurred if there hadn’t been fear of what either company might do based on their actions elsewhere. — end update.]

It can be the start of a slippery slope when a $34-billion behemoth owned by the 13th richest man in the world uses its might to manipulate grey areas of the law in order to suppress information it wants hidden. I can understand a company’s desire to control its image and to limit less salubrious details, but the wholesale suppression of information or any discussion thereof is authoritarian, in my opinion. Unfortunately, LVMH has sunk so low in my estimation that I wouldn’t be surprised if this were the start of a new trend. Not against cheap knock-off bags in China or counterfeit Moët Chandon in Italy (all fully justified actions), but against online criticism of their products by mere mortals. After all, they just used their might to silence a super fan who had already knuckled under and compromised without a murmur, and to wipe out a whole Fragrantica article as well.

They might view their jackbooted extremism as “simply business” or justified as “brand protection” but I think it’s thuggish, not to mention pure censorship with implications that reach beyond Monsieur Guerlain. If you ask me, the storied house of Guerlain deserves far better. And so do all of its loyal admirers.

UPDATE 2/10/16 — LVMH’s RESPONSE:

LVMH has issued a response by way of a comment on its Facebook page to customer complaints in various posts. Less than an hour ago, they wrote:

LVMH  Dear All,

Following the disclosure by “Monsieur Guerlain” of strictly confidential information that is prejudicial to Guerlain, we have reported this contentious content. The social media involved have made the decision to close the accounts of “Monsieur Guerlain”, in application of their internal procedures.

Guerlain believes strongly in freedom of expression, in respect for the law and in protection of intellectual property.
Like · Reply ·

I think their response is a red herring and attempt to obfuscate. Monsieur Guerlain did not disclose anything but a link. It seems to be Parfumo which disclosed the allegedly “confidential” information or, more specifically, members of the public who talked about upcoming new releases. Furthermore, that allegedly “confidential” information was conjecture that the aforementioned “new” releases were, in actual fact, repackaged old releases in more expensive form. Granted, the conjecture seems to have some basis in fact as opposed to mere fantasies pulled out of the ether, but the bottom line remains the same:

  1. it was consumer discussion regarding upcoming new releases;
  2. it was made on Parfumo;
  3. Monsieur Guerlain merely linked to said discussion; and
  4. Monsieur Guerlain then removed the link immediately upon receiving notice from Guerlain.

Monsieur Guerlain did not disclose the allegedly strictly confidential information except by way of a link. In a Reddit thread, a corporate intellectual property lawyer who is well-versed in DMCA and this area of law said: “If this is about ‘hotlinking’ then that is pretty much bunk. There is no viable theory of infringement via linking, under copyright or trademark, of which I’m currently aware.”

So, now we have:

  1. no discussion by Monsieur Guerlain in terms of actual text discussing how the upcoming fragrance releases may or may not be old goods in new packaging;
  2. no legal violation for “hotlinking” to Parfumo’s discussion because DMCA does not make such links actionable copyright infringement;
  3. and Monsieur Guerlain immediately curing any link problem by removing it.

Bottom line, LVMH’s response is a red-herring, factually inopposite, and legally weak. It also makes clear more than ever than information suppression was the goal. Judging by the shutdown of a mere link to the Parfumo’s thread and also the Fragrantica Dior Girl situation, they want to silence any consumer criticism. That makes LVMH’s claim that they are strong believers in free speech utter hogwash as well.

[UPDATE — evening of 2/11/16: Monsieur Guerlain’s Facebook page has returned! I can’t see his Twitter page at this time and his website is still offline, but I’m sure that will change eventually.]

121 thoughts on “Update: LVMH & Monsieur Guerlain

  1. I have a fair amount of experience with DMCA requests (I file them AND I get them filed against me), and will just say a couple of things.

    One, DMCA requests are generally about material on your own site, whether text or images. They pertain to copyrights. Nothing under the DMCA provisions would allow a company to shut down your ENTIRE site because of a link you’d included to somebody else, and in general the courts have not been kind to any efforts, DMCA or otherwise, to control links that were not obviously designed to infringe on copyright. My guess is that whatever request(s) Monsieur Guerlain has received to remove links were informal requests. (And I’ll also mention that I’m 90% sure I know what site he was asked to remove a link to recently, and that site is still online and functioning.)

    Second, if his blog provider did in fact shut down his site because of a DMCA request, then the final blame, IMHO, resides with his blog provider and nobody else. They should have contacted him and allowed him to file a response, or allowed him to remove infringing material rather than the whole site. This is one of many reasons bloggers should consider the record of whatever company currently hosts their blog, and consider moving to a better, more responsive and protective host if they aren’t satisfied.

    Three, a DMCA notice cannot be used legally to remove an upcoming fragrance article (or any criticism contained in comments, etc) once the information in the article is widely available, unless you have in fact done something outside of fair use copyright laws. Companies can stop you from releasing information, in some cases, before their press date, and even that is iffy depending on the source of your original info. Most bloggers, myself included, will remove articles for a given time period on request — I do that all the time, and do not consider myself to have been “silenced”.

    Unless I’m missing something, we basically still don’t know a thing about exactly why / how the site was shut down.

    • I’ll reply by numbers to your points, my dear:

      #1 — Guerlain’s link requests were informal, as they should be given their relationship. There was no notice of a violation regarding the material texts on his site. There was no prior problem until the link request. The shut-down followed after that. Whatever the typical scenario may be, the facts of this one do not seem to have followed the normal regulations or procedures on a number of levels.

      #2- yes, I completely agree that the service provider for his website failed him, but so did Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Youtube. That’s not the instance of a single website host. It’s more massive and wide-reaching and, yet, he’s been given no DMCA notice by any of them. Perhaps or probably because he’d already alleviated the one issue that Guerlain had raised to him prior to the sites going down.

      #3- I don’t know if you’re referring to the Dior/Fragrantica case or one of the other messy situations here. Either way, the bottom line in the Dior case is that Fragrantica removed their article on an upcoming fragrance release based on LVMH’s DMCA notice. What companies may or may not do normally doesn’t change the fact that Fragrantica took down a whole article.

      Your comments would imply that there was no cause for it legally. Plus, Fragrantica, like you, gets enough DMCA notices not to write clearly violative posts in the first place so what was so objectionable about yet another one of their run-of-the-mill new perfume articles? Only LVMH could tell us for sure. But I would feel silenced if I were one of the many people who had voiced my criticisms in the comment section or if I had been a blogger against whom DMCA noticed were unfairly wielded over something like a link.

      And yes, I still think MG’s 3rd-party link is the only possible explanation when you look at the totality of the circumstances and the timeline here. But I’m happy to agree to disagree. 🙂

      • But that’s just it — if Facebook & Twitter & etc removed his accounts, it implies that the issue at hand is entirely different. The most likely way they would do that is based on the use of the name “Guerlain” in his account names, in which case all the rest of this is a series of red herrings. If Monsieur Guerlain has not received any legal notice, then if I were him, I’d get a blog at WordPress.com under a NOT Guerlain name, and put all my material right back up.

        • Okay, so let’s say you’re right and it was something else. Given the lengthy and extremely beneficial relationship for 10 years between the two, would it not have been better to speak to him privately about the Guerlain name issue and give him a short while for him to move his material all over to a new, differently named site? Did he not deserve that at the very least? For 10 years they looked the other way and now suddenly the “Guerlain” part of his account names is — JUST NOW — triggering legal notices to shut down everything without warning? Just saying that he could start a new site seems to be deliberately overlooking just how appalling LVMH’s behaviour has been EVEN IF its the bloody Guerlain name that suddenly made them act after all this time.

          Personally, I think it seems like implied-in-fact consent and waiver for which the estoppel doctrine could be asserted. Or one can just admit flat-out that they follow the Doctrine of Assholes Incorporated. Sorry, but I think this is a big deal regardless of which specific justification they used for their DMCA notice. It’s the principle of it all when you look at the totality of the circumstances. He was not the equivalent of some Chinese counterfeiter destroying their brand or diluting it with knock-offs, and he was not a troll website. But whatever he was, this behaviour is simply appalling and cannot be easily justified or dismissed, imo.

          You’re my friend, so I will stop now, simply say it’s an unpleasant and strange situation, and leave it at that.

          • And I agree on estoppel re the past in which LVMH did not take down Monsieur Guerlain’s site and invited him to events, etc. Sounds like LVMH is getting ready to sue someone on a legit copyright infringement and they are trying to shut down anything that could be used against them by the defendants as “allowed infringements” It will be interesting to see what transpires. I’ll bet LVMH does nothing at all. it would be typical of a Goliath company.

  2. Thank you for clarifying this matter and showing as the face of the law that many, including me find hard to understand. You’re the only one I know that has said something about this case, except PerseFume, and that to me speaks a lot about how you are, so thank you dear Kafka. I still believe, and it’s proven now, that the culprit is LVMH, not Guerlain, I plan on keep enjoying what I have from the house, and to LVMH; your pathetic attempts to shut people won’t work; leaks will keep following and you can’t silence everyone. Do you want me to leak your new Dior? Your new Colection Privée? Pathetic people. Sorry for ranting here Kafka!! Have a good week xx

    • I’m touched by your kind words. Thank you. That said, I rather have the feeling this post isn’t going to end well. LOL.

  3. Thanks Kafka and everyone else for such a detailed and interesting critique. Being as I don’t have any social media and only subscribe to this blog, I have minimal online presence. At the same time the Internet is knowledge is power is access for all. Learning some of these intricacies and abuses of power is both interesting and sobering.

    • It’s a very odd, strange situation all around. One that’s gone from being completely idiotic a few days ago to seeming rather insane today. At the end of the day, though, what I care about are really the larger issues of what all this represents, at least based on my perceptions of the totality of the circumstances. Monsieur Guerlain can always start another website with a different name, but LVMH’s actions are telling in other ways, imo. And yes, I see it as an abuse of their power under the guise of … well, who the hell knows at this point what the guise actually is. It’s nuts, just nuts.

  4. Social media has changed the way people receive their information and more importantly how they shop. LVMH has shot themselves in the proverbial foot/wallet. It is naive to belief that any company can control all information on their products and why would they want to? I will be suspending all purchases from LVMH affiliated brands until Monsier Guerlain is restored. Unfortunately this is the only language this conglomerate understands. Thank you for shedding much needed light on this troubling issue.

  5. Thanks for the ongoing analysis. Fair and thoughtful.

    FYI: I used to blog in the late 00’s. I had someone issue a DMCA complaint against me – details are beside the point here (maybe) – and unless I wanted to hire a lawyer, I could not remedy the situation. The “offending” posts were removed by Google/Blogger and I was unable to even see what and whom I’d supposedly infringed upon.

    This is egregious stuff. In the case of Monsieur Guerlain, it’s big, and especially bizarre and pointless. But, I fear this kind of censorship is more frequent than we realize.

  6. I certainly hope Monsieur Guerlain has an attorney, and I hope that, given the facts, he is compensated by LVMH for their really terrible behavior. They may think that this is a mere blip on the consumers’ radar, but in fact they have further alienated a customer who is important to the Guerlain core brand.

  7. Thank you for all of your research Beloved Kafka.
    I still enjoyed smashing my Acqua Alegoria Limon Verde, and both my Insolence’s (there were contributing factors other than the shut down of MG. in their case.) And the only one I really liked was the L’Instant EdP , and that one was almost gone. Sometimes, a controlled explosion within safety parameters is a very satisfying outlet for intense frustration. (But don’t try at home, kids…I’m a professional Army Veteran who is highly trained in munitions deployment.) 😉 Unfortunately I have to leave this whole debacle for a while, a medical emergency that requires my attention and effort far more. I wish everyone well, and I personally would like to thank everyone involved for allowing me to be a part of the Larger Frag Comm. I could not agree with you more Kafka about the larger issues at hand. The WORLD does NOT belong to the wealthy few. Just because every human being does not value the pursuit of monetary abundance, does not mean that those who do, are allowed to write the rules.
    I hope to catch up with everyone soon. Thank You Kafka.

    • I hope the health emergency does not involve you but I will keep you in my thoughts regardless. Most of all, I hope the situation is resolved in a positive fashion very soon and without huge stress or difficulty for you. Please take care of yourself, my dear, and come back when you are able to. I will miss you. And I send you a warm hug.

  8. Brava, Kafka. A courageous discussion of a destructive event that bodes very darkly for the future. Thank you for continuing to shine a light into these murky waters.

  9. It does seem to me that LVMH is exercising censorship under the guise of IP protection. Monsieur Guerlain had mentioned on the Basenotes thread that they had always been concerned about the content on his website, given his reach and influence, and I suspect the DMCA was a convenient vehicle.

    Like you, my anger is directed squarely at LMVH, and like many, I will not support any of their brands for the foreseeable future.

    Thanks for writing about this, Kafkaesque. I do think this is goes deeper than IP infringement, and that anyone who values free speech should be concerned.

  10. Murder, she wrote. Great sleuthing Kafka, but sitting here at the bottom of the world I’m not entirely sure that cyber links are the problem, although they are ostensibly. No, it is people, it is people. Polonium anyone?

  11. I, for one, will delight in bashing LVMH products whenever I get the chance.
    It won’t be difficult, as for example the new Poison Girl is so appallingly tacky, cheap-looking and probably smells so dull (haven’t sniffed it yet, not am I in a hurry to do so) that it doesn’t merit having “Poison” written on it.
    Aqua Allegorias? Those are plain shite if you ask me.

  12. Thanks for all the information . I have done my part. I did let the Guerlain boutique know that I was not happy regarding Monsieur Guerlain being treated in such bad form .
    I must say this all makes it v hard for me to wear any of my Guerlain fragrances. I know LVMH is the parent company but this whole thing has left a bad taste in my mouth
    I have huge respect for Monsieur Guerlain. God knows how he must feel.

  13. All very interesting, and thank you for your in depth analysis. I will be curious to see if keeping this discussion going loudly online will come to the attention of Guerlain. Perhaps a petition or email campaign from his fans on behalf of Monsieur Guerlain to get some information from them might be a good idea?

    ps- I am a giant fan of your blog.

  14. Thank you very much for your confirmation of my statement, as well as others stating that Guerlain was “not” behind this. As I said, my Guerlain buyers, (at Guerlain), here and abroad stated it was “not” Guerlain. I’ve had a 50+ year association with Guerlain. LVMH handles this kind of crap, not Guerlain.

    Also, thank you for also backing me up on my post, (there may have been others, I can’t keep up anymore), regarding the smashing, dumpster lobbing, etc. It horrified me. Quite frankly, if anyone else plans on a dumpster-or-otherwise-smash-fest, let me know. I may want to relieve you of the offending Guerlain you despise so much.

    You’re a real contribution to following my beloved (fragrance obsession). I rarely ever post online, but I read “everything”, and I appreciate you and your commitment.

  15. It’s sad, demotivating and frustrating that power is used to trample down everything, notwithstanding if it’s stinky turd or beautiful flowers…

  16. Your explanation only confirms my impression that this was just an excuse to silent him. He wasnt the only one, another person also list his facebook page due the Guerlain name. I dont plant to smash my Gyerlain bottles but since Guerlain is owned by LVMH it is also responsible for the acts. So i dont buy or talk anything from Guerlain from now until they change their posture.

  17. Thanks for the update. What you stated is my understanding of the law on this issue. I’m an attorney, too, but not a copyright atty. I checked Westlaw on copyright takedown laws and found same as you described. I agree that what is unsettling and rather frightening is that these big companies are using the copyright laws to crush free speech, often criticism as with Dior. I will have to check for cases on this exact issue, First Amendment rights vs. copyright laws. interesting… Of course LVMH is not a US company and I don’t know what the EU has to say on this subject. It’s frustrating and fascinating at the same time.

  18. Thanks for the update and information. This is a free speech issue for me and the power of big corporations to crush anyone who speaks against them. I am boycotting Chanel, LVMH and Bond No. 9 for their heavy-handed bully tactics.

  19. Just a few more words here. I work every day dealing with trials involving IP and I am not a lawyer, but am a consultant on these matters. I have had some friends lose their facebook/instagram accounts and other accounts with complaints done by others for infringement. If you ask facebook they have to give you the information and give you an opportunity to cure it. But the cure is to get permission from the complainant which is not a cure at all.

    What seems to be happening here that goes deeper than just a link is the possibility that because LMVH has allowed M.G. to use their name for so long and their image, that it puts them in a box for protecting their IP. In a court, very likely, people can point to his blog, etc. and say they did not protect themselves. So, in addition to anything which may really be more nefarious, it can also be a case of cleaning up their act. Sadly they did not give him a reason and unilaterally took draconian action. Who knows if this is the case? Regardless of the real reason, it reflects very badly on them to do something so despicable to such a loving fan who promoted and followed them and made them more wealthy. Even if the real reason is that they don’t want stuff leaked which could potentially show their underdrawers in public, their actions speak for themselves.

    Mr. G could take legal action, or file with FB/Instagram and all the others to have his blog restored, but this would be a horrificially pricey proposition and could ruin him financially. Even if he is right. It would also go on for YEARS in court. He could try a quick remedy to get restored and do some name changing, but even that is like pushing a rock up a hill.

    I won’t destroy any product I have, but I will not engage in any further purchases from the LMVH group of products. I will write the company. I can add my voice to others. But if this is done as a legal protective mechanism, then at the very least they owed him an explanation. If there were other reasons, shame on them.

    Thanks for your news – it was helpful

    • First, welcome to the blog and thank you for a comment that I’m sure other posters will appreciate greatly for its added details. I agree with you and another commentator, Ricky, up above, that the “allowed infringements” issue must be weighing on their mind. Just think how much simpler life would be all around if they’d just given him the chance to cure the brand name issue privately and eons ago.

      What would be interesting to me is to see if there is common consensus in the case law on whether assertion of a right years later can reset the clock vis à vis waiver, implied consent, estoppel, and allowed infringements. Is the mere assertion of the right after all this time legally effective at all in curing their waiver and retriggering IP protection against other litigants or violators? Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re on iffy ground there, too, given the facts here, but, as you said, what an expensive process this would be in practical terms. A company like LVMH would probably drag litigation out until the next millenium. Well, unless social pressure forces them to recognise the benefits of a more conciliatory approach…. So, thank you for writing to the company. At least they’ll learn that not everyone can be silenced. 🙂

    • Barbara, an awful situations with some very serious future implications!

      What really galls me, is all the time you and I spent at the Guerlain counter at Saks Rodeo Drive two weeks ago. to say nothing of the money we spent.

      I have been staring at my cello wrapped bee bottle of L’Heure Nuit, and honestly cannot bring myself to even open it. Also the samples of all the future G.’s I was planning on purchasing. I have a really bad taste in my mouth.

      oxo R.

      • HI Robert,
        I feel you. Open it. It will be about the SA and not the company. It is honoring our weekend together, which all happened prior to this mess. You know I feel the same way, but don’t let this situation destroy what was good for us.
        Meanwhile, no more LVMH products for me. NO SEPHORA, NO GUERLAIN, NO VEUVE CLICOT, AND NO NEW PERFUMES. I will stick with vintage – they already got their pound of flesh there. I’m done with these guys.
        I recommend Twitter – the news media pay attention to it.

          • Thank you – and your commenters – for such thorough and thoughtful discussions & info on this *infuriating* topic that has, as you mention, so many larger implications about the “chilling effect” of these takedowns on brand criticism, blogging, fandom, and freedom of speech. #WhoControlsTheInternet

            I’m boycotting LVMH/Guerlain & writing & posting everywhere I can, and Kafkaesque especially has been so useful in understanding the situation & the issues involved.

            I won’t be smashing my Guerlains – eeek at the thought – especially a new Chamade I *just* got (thanks, Robert), but I am feeling very ambivalent about them for the moment. Monsieur Guerlain was such a fixture, and an amazing resource for the community, and I feel horrible for him.

            Thanks for your research – and your passion – about this subject.

    • Well, if my site suddenly vanishes and jackbooted LVMH attorneys suddenly show up at your doorstep to toss you into a dark dungeon next to the withered remains of Monsieur Guerlain and me, then it will be on your head. Lol 😉 😛 For now, I’ll let the link stay. And thank you for doing some digging of your own, my dear. I’m sure the others will appreciate it, too. (But if we all end up sucked up into a black hole somewhere in the LVMH Matrix, I may say “I told you so.” 😀 )

      • Count/Countess Kafkaesque has a nice ring to it. Hahahaha. Dumas was a Frenchman. But Dickens gets the last word…’It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.’

      • no different than Chanel’s Exclusif line – except they kept the name and just jacked the price and changed the packaging. At least they were honest about keeping the name the same… FWIW

    • It appears that the questionable, problematic thread might have been another one entirely. I’m reluctant to post it here but it’s a forum topic whose number ends in: 53134. I don’t know if any comments in that thread have been deleted because, thus far, I see nothing problematic in it at all. Also, I was told:

      “It seems that now the link isn´t active more and I don´t know if you can locate it or had to be deleted. I remember partially the contet of the article about the releases of 2016: New l´art et la matiere: Neroli Outrenoir, new LPRN Intense, new flanker of L´Homme Idéale… etc.”

      So maybe it isn’t the thread which ends in the numbers listed above, because I could find that one. In all honesty, I don’t understand any of this Parfumo thread business beyond the unassailable, unquestionable fact that LVMH has major issues with consumer discussion of its upcoming new fragrances and criticism thereof.

      • I can confirm there was more information written in that thread. Part was removed by original posters and part by moderation. And at my first reading I had the impression that a certain user in that thread could be the same person as the one behind monsieurguerlain. Intention to be discussed. That impression was even before there was any shutting down, and to be honest until then I was not aware of that site’s relevance.

        • Thank you for clarifying there was more information in that thread originally and that it was subsequently removed. As for your impressions of a user in that thread, I don’t know but I would be highly surprised because, to my knowledge Monsieur Guerlain doesn’t post under other names or monikers unless he’s writing under his personal name on Facebook. But for forums, I think he only uses “Monsieur Guerlain” like he does on Basenotes, for example.

  20. Thank you for discussing this! I went to MG’s site and Blogger is basically saying on the error page that it is private and in order to see the content, you have to be invited. I wasn’t signed into Blogger. Any idea what this is about?

  21. I will also boycott LVMH. Guerlain will not be a problem and I can still buy and love my vintage. I have been looking up what they own. It’s a lot, but much of it is “luxury” which has never really impressed me, even less so when I read When Luxury Lost it’s Luster. I’m sure that LVMH doesn’t care what we do, but the world has become very small and all news spreads exponentially. That actually can hurt them. And Kafka – thank you! 🙂

  22. You know what The Dude would say on all of this… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWdd6_ZxX8c

    I do not like to see DMCA in our mail and when you get registered letter that you have to sign recipient then open 4 eyes and ask your legal council what to do… and that is very expensive and no guarantees.

    This new theory about linking article that LVMH does not want to be read is pretty weak theory but as I said ‘that’s just your opinion men’. Google should provide DMCA notice to Ulrik so we do not have to throw beans and bones and try to interpret what’s going on. It’s not a news that companies leverage every possibility including legal intervention to protect own interests. Tabac industry was funding scientific research, paid huge lobby money, manipulated public while selling highly poisonous product, cigarettes. Main motivation was profit. Well similarly for profit companies go great lengths to secure their position and armies of people are employed and managed to accomplish that goal.

    Stil we all have made big shift in perfume industry. We have made perfume companies more accountable for what they do. Also there is huge raise of independent perfumers, small brands and independent companies all thanks to the Internet.

    • How very kind enough to say, “that’s just your opinion man” since I hold you and your opinion in such incredibly high esteem….

      • Hey!

        No offense and by the way I really like The Big Lebowsky but use quotes only among friends. I very highly respect your opinion but you discovered hot water. For me it is reality where we try to mitigate risks on daily basis. You definitely made excellent coverage of the situation and so far the best resource on the topic. Yes in public arena and in social media world backlash chow an really hurt brand reputation. We will see how this thing will play in future. I do not believe they will be easier on us.

        We wanted to work with their PR teams with several brands. We introduced ourselves and presented what we do. They give us NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) to sign in order to talk with us. NDA is so restrictive and basically that kind of NDA you give to contractors that work for you so we cannot accept such an terms so we pass.

        Now we are employing new strategy. Now we email them and ask do you have anything to add about ‘product x’ that we plan to publish in news… then some of them come back with press materials and kindly ask to respect embargo date. We honor every embargo date that we get. If PR office is silent we just run story.

  23. Just a factual note for the record. That same pre-release image of L’Homme Idéal in the bottle, which caused. M. G. to have to do a link removal, got into a thread at Basenotes, and we were asked nicely by Guerlain to remove the picture. We cloaked the whole thread, because there were many comments on the image already. The thread sat in moderation limbo until the official release.

    My subjective feeling at the time was that there was very serious concern on Guerlain’s part. Generally speaking, there is not a lot of concern about images, other than being sure to use freely available company PR images for “official” site images. So that incident DID seem to me like it was a big deal to Guerlain, and my impression was that it was so because it potentially cut into the launch optics.

    • Adding here my personal opinion. Given that, no matter how we feel about it, perfumes are now much more costly in terms of marketing than in terms of actual components, I understand why companies are so sensitive about launches. There’s no such thing as bad press about an established product, or at least much less than there is about a new launch. Rumors of bad quality, redundancy, oddity, and all sorts of things can seriously cripple a new launch which does not have strong marketing around it – and, TBH, the Aqua Allegoria line has always been only weakly marketed, IMO – nothing like the established classics and the new mainstream men’s and women’s perfumes.

      In any case, I hope they can smooth this over with M. Guerlainophile, or whatever he now chooses to call himself. (Love to know if Guerlainophile escapes DCMA!)

      • From observation I know you to have true grit, but your comments hoist you with your own petard. The marketing is the real expense, not the product, and this is exactly what they don’t want us to know. I ran a poll and my friends, most of them,believe in quality perfumes from France! MG goes out and alerts to budget AA being transformed into ultra premium and component problems with Mitsy and classic. Kaboom!

      • And this is why I stick to niche, indie, artisinal, luxury niche, or vintage perfume whenever possible. LOL. It’s the major emphasis by the mainstream or designer brands on marketing over compositional originality/distinctiveness, overall quality, specific quality in terms of the raw ingredients, packaging, re-packaging sleights of hand, and endless flankers. Yes, niche brands can (and do) also have aromachemical soup cocktails in fancy packaging with hyperbolic marketing descriptions, but the chances of finding something that would appeal to someone with my tastes (and aromachemical sensitivities) is much higher than with the latest L’Homme Ideale or La Vie est Belle flanker.

        You make an interesting distinction between bad press for an established product vs. for a new one, and I think you’re right that there is a difference but the bit that caught my eye was your additional comment about new launches that have been weakly marketed. I find the situation involving Dior’s new Poison Girl flanker to be incredibly fascinating and revealing. I don’t think one can say that the fragrance is being weakly marketed judging by the fact that I saw a big post about it on LVMH’s own FB page (albeit without one of the controversial smoking images) and it appears a number of beauty blogs/sites that focus on mainstream products have covered the upcoming launch as well.

        In short, Poison Girl is not a new product that’s been weakly or lightly marketed, but it does not seem to have been received well. On Fragrantica, at least, in the early going. There were apparently 100 or more comments from readers ripping into the fragrance on numerous levels. New developments make it seem as though the specific, *technical,* DMCA basis for LVMH’s objections was the use of a bottle photo, but I don’t recall them ever objecting to prior articles that announced new releases in very excited or positive terms and used the same sort of basic company bottle photos that Fragrantica always uses for one of its articles.

        So why did LVMH object in THIS case to the mere use of a basic bottle image? Why not when Fragrantica ran early release announcements on something like Dior’s Feve Delicieuse or any number of other fragrances under the LVMH umbrella? Was the problem this time the 100+ negative, scathing comments by members?

        I find all of this to be incredibly bizarre and little of it is easy to explain or understand since LVMH’s thinking is so opaque, but there is SOMETHING that is rotten in the state of Denmark (or LVMH), if you ask me. Something is not right, and whatever it is has some ominous implications for product criticism, consumer criticism, and the consumer’s voice in general.

  24. Thanks for following up on this! I think you are right that there are two issues here: 1) comments pointing out that a limited edition, very expensive fragrance may be just a reissue of an earlier, less expensive one (consumer rights, anyone?); and 2) that some bright young thing in LVMH’s legal department raised an alarm about waiver of copyright enforcement.
    I saw some of the original comments on a third-party site, including one that pointed out the possibility of a repackaging sleight of hand, and they are now gone. All the comments I read said was that the listed notes of the two fragrances were the same (and they were — identical, in fact) and the commenter’s opinion was that it was a reissue of an earlier fragrance.
    If in fact that triggered this attack on a blogger and website, I wonder if there is any recourse under EU rules related to truth in advertising, free press or consumer rights. Consumers write and read online reviews all the time, usually to the great benefit of corporations and their sales. I know I’ve bought way more fragrance because of online commentary than I would have otherwise. Does LVMH plan to take on Amazon next?
    I hope MG relaunches all his original commentary and material under a new name and I hope you’ll point us to it when he does.

    • LVMH is presenting things this morning in the light of Monsieur Guerlain posting damaging confidential information which is total hogwash given that he removed the troublesome information (a link) and that the actual publisher of the allegedly damaging information was Parfumo. On its Facebook page this morning, LVMH has responded in comments to every complaint with the following:

      LVMH Dear All,

      Following the disclosure by “Monsieur Guerlain” of strictly confidential information that is prejudicial to Guerlain, we have reported this contentious content. The social media involved have made the decision to close the accounts of “Monsieur Guerlain”, in application of their internal procedures.

      Guerlain believes strongly in freedom of expression, in respect for the law and in protection of intellectual property.
      Like · Reply · 1 hr

      I have updated yesterday’s post to explain why I think it’s total BS under the law and the circumstances, circumstances that they don’t want you to look into or know, like MG’s prompt compliance and removal of the link, Parfumo’s main role, etc. But from their words, it seems to be the content that was the problem — not brand trademark violation or waiver of copyright enforcement that is the issue. And that makes your point about possible EU laws on consumer product criticism, truth in advertising, etc. etc. to be an interesting one. Bottom line, it’s how the situation is FRAMED that will be key, because how it’s framed will impact which set of laws are triggered or may apply. Given LVMH’s legal army and wealth, it’s not a battle that the average person will be able to wage easily or, perhaps, at all.

      • I came to Guerlain late in life. I was a Bal a Versailles girl (kept for special occasions only)
        As a teenager in the sixties (in New Zealand where you needed overseas funds to buy non standard imported product) I know the lure of luxury labels and High Street ones too. My love for Mary Quant cosmetics is legend with my old friends. The LVMH ilk are targeting lucrative markets ‘you know where’ These new consumers are my equivalent of the sixties, hungry for products associated with wealth. The BBC doco on Perfume dedicates an episode to it.
        To Monsieur Guerlain, The King is dead, long live the King. He will have to reinvent himself, LVMH have spoken. Is there any possibility that pillow talk is involved? I know that sounds tawdry, apologies in advance. The internet links were removed but if there was a physical one that would get right up LVMH’s nose.

  25. it’s my first comment here but I’ve been reading (and truly enjoying) your blog for some time.

    I wanted to thank you for both the first post and this follow-up. While earlier it was still possible to guess at different angles on this, today’s LVMH response is indeed a try at a good old obfuscating move, which, in reality, as you brilliantly explained, is very revealing 😉
    All this is genuinely unpleasant for me, as my grandmother used Jicky for years (and Mitsouko on ‘special’ occasions), so my earliest, and now most cherished, olfactory memories are about Guerlain.

    I wrote to Monsieur Guerlain – Ulrik – to express my support, as I had the pleasure of exchanging some mails with him earlier. I could do at least this.

    Some time ago I also exchanged some mails with Guerlain, when they decided to discontinue Sous le Vent and Vega – and this wasn’t a pleasure (LOL) so I don’t feel like writing to them on any subject anymore. It’s not hard to imagine that writing to LVMH would be even less pleasant…

    I haven’t given up on Guerlain completely, still hoping for some stellar new release but, as we know, the magic is lost. I will not smash my Guerlain bottles (as the majority of them are semi-vintages) but I will do the only thing that can actually have some impact, however small or big – I will boycott their products with bloody great pleasure and will encourage my nearest and dearest to do the same 🙂 YEAH! 🙂

    thank you again!

    • First, welcome to the blog, Orsetta, and thank you for the kind words on prior and recent posts. Second, I snorted out loud over my coffee at your wry description of why writing to LVMH would not be the most joyous of affairs. *grin*

      Lastly, while my earliest happy perfume memories never involved Guerlain, I empathize and relate to your feelings nonetheless. The company that was behind many of my impactful, powerful, and formative fragrance experiences has now changed due to similar mega-company ownership. (It’s YSL and L’Oreal.) Unlike you, though, I gave up with the new company releases completely. I just can’t do it. It upsets me too, too much. I will stick to new niche, niche luxury, indie or artisinal products and find new loves instead. At least those companies don’t bully their customers, and they also care about both quality and originality.

      Again, thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. I hope you will feel free to pop in again should you ever have the time. 🙂

      • many thanks for your reply!

        yes, it was a pleasure to read about your ‘formative years’ in perfume 🙂 and I know your love for Opium for example… so, what can I say about the current version – I can only sympathise with you as well…

        anyway, as you said in one of your comments, we still have niche, artisanal, vintage etc. I actually found out e.g. about Laurent Mazzone or Bogue from your brilliant posts so, again, it gives me a great pleasure to say ‘thank you’ again!

    • So no-one should share their thoughts or opinions on anything unless they are actual parties to a situation and involved therein?

      • lynpp is right.

        We don’t know the full details and, as sad as it is to see the Monsieur Guerlain website shut down, it’s premature to be taking sides so soon. Yes, thoughts can be expressed and shared, but anything more than that is the equivalent to mob mentality.

        As much as I hate to say it, this (and the last) post comes across as an attention-seeking exercise.

        • Any expression of one’s opinion or thoughts will inherently take a position or “take sides” unless one merely recites dates, places, names, and locations. If one were only to speak if one were an actual participant or witness, then very few journalists could write about anything and the main actors (who are typically power agents) would be able to keep control of the conversation in ways that only suited their agenda.

          But let’s say that one limited oneself merely to a recitation of the purely objective, non-opinion statements of who, what, where, and when. Under that proposition, no newspaper should ever post an editorial taking a stance on a situation, and no person on Basenotes, Fragrantica, or elsewhere should opine about anything until the main actors have presented “the full details.” The latter is unrealistic in this day and age, particularly when it comes to powerful entities. They rarely present any details, so your argument would have no-one opining on anything.

          Did you object to Basenoters discussing this situation for pages and pages over the last few days as being “attention-seeking” or is it merely because I’m a blogger writing on my own site? How is that different from what people did on Basenotes?

          Let’s say that, hypothetically, there is a difference between me and the tens of Basenoters posting their assessments, guesses, and opinions on the situation. Let’s say you find me writing solely for the purpose of attention and nothing more. Okay, that is your opinion. Thank you for sharing it. We shall have to agree to disagree on that, as well as any underlying principles or implications involved therein. But you know what? I still enjoyed hearing it and the discussion.

        • Yes, a lot of unwelcome attention is being focused on LVMH. Contributors have used on line references to substantiate their stance (until LVMH had them removed) Kafka the blogger is anonymous to the majority of those who follow and is only acting as a conduit, whilst expressing his/her own opinion, not sedition. Great, let’s shoot the messenger

        • “Premature”? When do we get to hear “the full details”? We have heard from Monsieur Guerlain and now LVMH. LVMH said nothing. They just threw out a few meaningless words, not even good spin. We are not discussing a battle of the titans. We are discussing a titan vs an ant. Personally, I am disgusted by it.

          I would also like to add that I have been reading and following Kafka for quite a while now. If Kafka is “attention-seeking”, it is so subtle that it is completely undetectable. I believe that Kafka has a strong sense of justice and fair-play.

      • The amount of attention being given to suppositions just seems a bit out of proportion to me.
        Of course everyone has opinions but to think that they are more?

        • You’re right, Lynpp, there is a lot of attention being given to this. Let me try to explain my feelings or reasons why. First, whether or not I ever knew Monsieur Guerlain, I would feel it is important to speak up on principle. Not only the censorship thing that matters to me a lot personally, but also because I do believe in solidarity with a colleague. Plus, there is the whole “there but for the grace of God go I.”

          Second, I hesitated enormously to write the follow-up update post. You might be surprised to learn that I don’t really like drama (really, LOL), I felt I had expressed my positions, and I wanted to go on with a previously scheduled review on the latest MDCI fragrance. Several friends said I needed to do the update. They said that a lot of people don’t actively follow things on various fragrance sites, would be unaware of the new details or facts, or would be wrongly blaming Guerlain. Others who aren’t friends urged me for different reasons. One person wrote to me privately to say that I needed to share the fact that the Guerlain perfumers had no knowledge of the situation, particularly given how some people were reacting in extreme ways. Another said that other bloggers were not speaking up in defense of either Monsieur Guerlain or the general situation, so it was important that I continue with the latest facts particularly since it seemed to undercut arguments regarding LVMH protecting their brand name.

          I only decided to go ahead and write the update when: 1) I confirmed that it was indeed the link issue that seemed to be the catalyst; 2) I was shocked to find out that the DMCA did not seem to make linking or “hotlinking” an illegal infringement or violation; and 3) I thought about the broader implications regarding consumer criticism or general speech after learning additional details about the Dior Poison Girl situation.

          I don’t assume that I’m anyone of any importance, but I do assume that I have a right to my opinions and the right to share them when I feel strongly about something. I don’t think I’m different than any Basenotes or Fragrantica poster in that regard. I merely write in a different location or venue.

      • So, basically, you’re saying that your blog posts are no better than tabloid newspaper articles. If not, for quality newspapers, surely the verification of the facts are indeed important? And whatever happened to fairness and impartiality?

        Besides, wouldn’t it be more productive to join in the discussion on Basenotes, rather than post about it on your blog? Any suspicions of ‘attention-seeking’ would certainly be quashed, wouldn’t you say?

        • LOL at the “tabloid” comment. I never said any such thing, but thank you for projecting your own opinions on me. And thank you for revealing your opinions of bloggers in general. So, it seems as though people should only express opinions if they’re journalists sharing editorials on quality newspapers or if they post in forums like Basenotes.

          Well, forgive me, I write on my own site. I don’t post on Basenotes. And before you twist that into something nefarious, illicit, or negative, let me say that I don’t post there because I’m a wordy bastard and I generally stick to writing 3,000+ word-long reviews of fragrances. I would never subject any poor sod to that unless it were on my own site and someone had actually signed up to read my treatises (or merely stumbled upon them by their own volition).

          Did you tell Alfarom off for writing an opinion post on his blog site regarding the situation in the hours after the story broke on February 7th? After all, his strongly worded, heated commentary was not on Basenotes and arguably didn’t demonstrate “fairness or impartiality.” Do you think Alfarom is an “attention-seeker” who is akin to tabloid trash?

          At the end of the day, none of that matters because you and whatever other handful of people who have the opinion that I’m motivated by “attention-seeking” are absolutely free to think what you like. All the more power to you! I do want to thank you for the civility with which you expressed your feelings. I appreciate it and, though you’re unlikely to believe it, I did appreciate you telling me because you said so here and to my face. Thank you for that.

          • Clearly the standard of tabloid journalism has improved beyond my expectations of it! The day I can get 3000+ words of intelligent, knowledgeable, beautiful prose on niche perfume from a tabloid, I might actually buy one.

  26. Thank you for taking the time and effort to report and update so succintly – many of us appreciate your work on this! Best regards, Morton.

  27. With respect to the information that LVMH was attempting to suppress, I would like to submit the following links (bearing in mind the discussion of hotlinking/commenting and DMCA above, which suggests this won’t get anyone here in dutch), which are hosted by an external website, the content of which was written by me (archivist), and by the other reviewers who made the same observations that were made on profumo.

    LVMH is welcome to come and have a word with me if they like. I doubt that will happen, but I’m always open to anything that will make me laugh while playing imaginary six-shooter with my middle digits. I have no objection to my content being linked, quoted, or duplicated in other places. It will likely be removed from the site of original publication very quickly, but once the information is free range, it won’t matter.

    The way to stop actions like this is to go full wikileaks on it: once it’s out, it’s out, and you can’t stop it by stopping one man. You have to stop the internet. And good luck with that.

    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Guerlain/Promenade-des-Anglais-34998.html
    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Guerlain/Mayotte-5399.html
    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Guerlain/Mademoiselle-Guerlain-25264.html
    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Guerlain/Cherry-Blossom-2218.html
    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Guerlain/L-Heure-de-Nuit-16990.html
    http://www.fragrantica.com/perfume/Guerlain/Cherry-Blossom-25263.html

      • The problematic thread actually seems to be another one entirely, one that ends with the number 53134. However, according to one Parfumo poster and his explanation here today, the thread has apparently been sanitized of the comments that LVMH had issues with and the opinions removed.

        • I should have clarified that this was the specific Allegoria-to-Bee juice that was under discussion, because that’s the perfume’s page (they left the Jasminora reference in it) and not the discussion page. I don’t think anyone can see the discussion unless they’re registered at Parfumo, but the bottle page is publicly linkable.

    • I see my comments on Fragrantica on L’Heure Nuit a couple of years ago were right on- before I knew of the subterfuge, my nose told me it was a big ole watered down mess o’ something… My review, which seems rather prescient now:

      “I really wanted to like this because it is a tiny bit reminiscent of my lovely L’Heure Bleue but it stops far short of being anywhere near as good as the original. I wore it on my skin for many hours today so I have given it a good trial.

      This is worse in my opinion than Chanel’s forgettable new 1932. And here’s why. Although there is a faint signature of L’heure Bleue discernable in this juice, there isn’t any of the gorgeous warm amber, spice and vanilla that warm the original and make it so beautiful. This is a watery medicinal smelling cologne like mixture.

      This scent is so unfulfilling and almost bitter- it feels empty. None of the notes listed above can really be discerned at all and I think I have a pretty good nose.

      Please don’t even think about spending all this money for L’heure Nuit without trying a sample first.”

  28. Thanks for all the info on this subject. I’ve been following it to see how mad I have to be and where to direct it. It’s a shitty thing to do when a nicely worded request, I am sure, would have fixed whatever they objected to – using the name Guerlain, or whatever they objected to.

    Now I’m thinking about all the reviews that I haven’t written about some utter crap LVMH companies have put out. Usually I avoid that because how many times can you say “utter crap” that should have never seen the light of a nose hair? I may need to rethink this.

    • Patty, lovely to see you. I’m a huge fan of STC, and always appreciate the speed with which you guys process and ship things. Please let me say a big “THANK YOU” to you in person for having such a phenomenal service and range of products. (And to Lisa and the others as well obviously. I know it’s very much a team effort.)

      With regard to this particular subject, thank you for following and I’m glad I could provide some information that you found to be interesting. BTW, your line — “how many times can you say “utter crap” that should have never seen the light of a nose hair?” — made me choke on my coffee. The “nose hair” part was the perfect final touch. Hilarious. 😀

      But humour or joking aside, I know exactly what you mean about having to think about the matter in terms of blog reviews. I can’t say that I’m inspired or feeling the urge to write about any LVMH products now, let alone an honest, critical assessment of them. And, yet, I do want to fight against the silencing pressure, even if it’s partially of my own making or in my own head. Tomorrow, I shall get back to reviewing things (other things and not owned by LVMH, lol) that I’d planned to write about on Sunday when all this news broke, but the bad taste in my mouth over any LVMH product is going to remain for a long, long time. I happen to really like the Dior Privee line but, even there, I’m going to really hesitate either in writing a review or possibly buying a new release. (Thank God I have a massive amount of Mitzah which is the only one I really, truly love.) With regard to far lesser output or the aforementioned “utter crap” (LOL), it’s going to be quite tricky and something to think about carefully. Which is — after all — precisely what LVMH wants. What a mess. I hope you’ll let me know what you end up deciding in terms of your own approach.

  29. Kafka, I have a new T-shirt for you besides Sandalwood Snob — LVMH in a circle with a slash through it :-). Thank you posting on the injustice of it all. At the end of the day, it’s censorship and the bully was caught with its putrid wet pants down.

    • I’m still waiting for my Sandalwood Snob t-shirt, dammit!! And wasn’t there also a promised one about ISO E Supercrappy, too? 😀 😛 I wish I could remember the wording of your comment on that one, the whole front/back thing, because it was incredibly funny. xoxo

  30. I have known the person behind MG for years, he has helped me often in a generous and swift way over matters Guerlain, and I look up to him no-end. I have also had a legal dispute with LVMH which they plucked out of the ether, so I know how they are working and it is real bad. I still was an admirer of Guerlain and its products and love Frederic Saucone and Sylvaine Delacourte dearly, since I had the pleasure of having contact with them, but have decided not to buy anything new until LVMH puts in some effort, and if they don’t…I have enough fragrance to last me a lifetime 🙂

  31. Paris 2025 On the eve of the launch of Cherry Sexy Baby Princess:

    A man fits a silencer to a pistol in the rear of a Citroen C10 AutoDrive he sighs heaviliy. This is his third job today, this time a report of a vintage user in the Pantheon Arrondissements. Don’t they understand we are just trying to protect them, without a coherent, centrally managed message its all just chaos.

  32. LVMH’s response via their Facebook page is deplorable. With so many emotional responses from Guerlain customers and readers of Monsieur Guerlain, their response should have been a human one. Instead they release this pointless and robotic statement that sees them bulldozing ahead without any empathy for those affected. It’s a stark contrast to the values they promote in their mission statement.

    I’ve noticed a lot of social media commentary shifting the blame to LVMH. I think it is important that Guerlain remains accountable. LVMH promotes a decentralised organisation. It promotes autonomy within the brands. Having 11 years of employment history with 2 LVMH brands I can speak from experience that LVMH works like an invisible guide behind the brands. A micro decision like taking down sites relating to a blogger that writes exclusively about Guerlain would have surely started with Guerlain HQ. It’s convenient that this bad press can be hung on LVMH (which can afford the bad PR because it doesn’t have products to sell) meanwhile Guerlain stands in the shadows avoiding as much of the fallout as it can.

    I hope what has happened continues to be mentioned in social media and not forgotten with next week’s Facebook feed. If it does, it sends the message that big multinational corporations can do as they please with no long term ramifications on their brands and sales.

  33. I’ve seen this on Instagram and did not understood what it’s about. I really didn’t know about Monsieur Guerlain website before…but now it’s all clear.
    Crazy what happened and I see a big reaction from parfumistas which seems reasonable after this forced shutdown.

  34. Jumping in again to this lively discussion, thanks for continuing this onto another thread. Its seems that more information is slowly coming out, and as Clayton_WMSSL says above, I do believe it’s hard to do more than speculate over who knows (knew) what / when, etc. I’m going to guess that it’d be hard to say that Guerlain was or wasn’t behind what occurred. it’d probably be very difficult to discern that, and any way that that could be verified would have to be – well, only on a one-person-or-department-at-a-time basis (i.e., “I didn’t know anything about it!”) I mean, trying to know who to boycott or not is going to be pretty complicated and ultimately very odd for M. Guerlain. He may end up in the odd position of loving a fragrance house that 1) his admirers have abandoned and 2) whose management have shown disfavor to him. It’d just be odd to see lots of people saying “Well we’re free to enjoy Guerlain again!” if this got resolved (as they pick up shards of the broken bottles…)

    It occurred to me this morning that this train has gone somewhat off the rails. The fact that LVHM actually addressed this on facebook and in emails to people, specifically stating that there was information leaked, shows a few things. First of all, a litigious giant like LVHM isn’t likely to toss around such accusations lightly, unless we really believe that they’re pure evil. If they were pure evil, I don’t think they’d be selling perfume (I think they’d be selling drugs or weapons instead.) My point being (and I could definitely be wrong on this, it’s just a speculation) I don’t think they would have done this for no reason. Why go through the effort, the bother, the backlash? The big unanswered question I have could be this: Were there possibly a series of “leaks” (and this word is pretty loose these internet days) over a number of years, that LVHM just let slide, because it found the mutual relationship to be mutually beneficial? And did it finally come to a point where one leak too many forced their hand? No one has mentioned this. Even Monsieur G himself has said that he’s been contacted a few times and asked to remove things. So, it’s happened habitually. Couldn’t it be that it became a headache to see postings that skirted what was allowable as a ‘leak’ and what wasn’t, and Guerlain/LVHM said one day “Wait a minute – why is he calling the shots on what to post? Why do we have to police this all the time?”

    The only reason I list the above as hypotheticals is because they did actually react to the backlash with a specific reason, and I’m inclined to believe that they are not lying about it. I can’t see any reason for them to do so. Is it kind, or overreaching or bully-ish? Possibly (again, I don’t know the scope of these leaks.) But let’s just say for a moment that they are telling the truth, and MG did post content that he was not legally supposed to publish. Again, based on MG’s own admission, this has happened before, so LVHM has had to ask him to take things down in the past. If they are not lying, then what exactly have they done wrong?

    I know the answer could be “It’s not what they’ve done wrong, but they way they’ve done it.” That would be a fair assessment. But I also know that many people in the perfume writing sphere love to fight to get the first stab at info on a release. There are so many people writing about perfume these days that in order to remain relevant, there is a lot of competition. It’s conceivable that M.G. wanted a scoop. So, even if he took down a link shortly after it was posted, and in internet terms, that’s forever; damage is already done.

    I’m stating the above very much in the spirit of devil’s advocate and not from any inside information that I know. I just think it’s important to imagine that this may not be as one sided, binary, or good vs. evil as people may think.

    Thank you again for the discussion.

    • Very well said. I am coming around to how much responsibility Monsieur Guerlain has to accept for the shut down and Guerlain’s role in it too. It is a story though of ‘The moving finger writes and having writ moves on’ …..Guerlain had the writ and we all move on

      • Well, I just posted a long response to Castorsynergy’s thoughtful discussion a few minutes ago so I shan’t repeat it again but I think one is giving too much credence to the company’s framing of the issues and that there were not, in actual fact, actionable “leaks.”

        • Very good points, particularly about things such as the early release of L’Homme Ideal. I would agree, if someone buys a bottle and writes about it, sure; they have every right to go ahead and write about it.

          I most definitely do not trust corporations at all, and I know that my argument implied a kind of naive “Why would they lie?” approach. I’d never put it beneath any corporation to do what it does in order to make money, that’s (again) rewarded in our culture, sadly. I think there could be pretty healthy back-and-forth about bottles and formulations and selling points, etc. What does get confusing (and I think you’d have to agree with me here) is that I honestly don’t know what we’re ideally being asked to believe with something like rebottled/upsold fragrances. There’s been an implication that MG may have been (unwittingly?) unmasking some of the same-fumes-different-bottle that Guerlain was doing. But, then when I did follow one of those links, the page did state that this was a different bottling of a previous fragrance (I don’t recall the exact wording now). So, no deception there. In fact, we all know that some people adore Guerlain because of the bottles, so I could easily see this happening. Anyway, it’s getting confusing; was Monsieur Guerlain trying to thwart Guerlain and show them as impostors (as some of the commenters on this page are suggesting), or.. was he just providing information.. and thereby… promoting the perfume or yell “Fraud!” about the perfume (?) You have to admit that it is very confusing. Was Guerlain also becoming confused as to his intentions? If Guerlain was being fraudulent in their pushing re-named fragrances, and MG was helping to push them as well, does that make him somewhat implicit in that fraud, too? The last case is not serious, but you get my point. One can’t really have it both ways, saying that he was a loving ambassador for a storied perfume house, and then at the same time imply that the perfume house is/was corrupt – what does that make him – party to the same fraud? Blind, clueless brand-loyalist? MG if you are reading these posts, please understand this is all being said in the spirit of healthy conversation and I mean no harm here, seriously.

          The one point where we probably digress though is in issues of trust. You have mentioned 2 cases that Monsieur Guerlain was asked to remove links. I have no way of knowing if this is the extent of Monsieur Guerlain’s dealings with the brand. I’m not suggesting that he’s fibbing, but I guess I’m confused as to why you’d assume LVMH is lying and MG is not. How could any of us, who do not know MG at all, honestly know who is right here? I never assume. It is just as likely that an independent writer could push limits as a corporation could, there are just as many incentives to do it, or disincentives to not do it.

          It makes me think that you probably know Monsieur personally and can verify ro your satisfaction that there indeed was ill-doing on the part of Guerlain, otherwise, we only have the ‘word’ of two entities to judge. I really can’t be asked to become enraged about overreach of a company that people are, in the same breath, accusing of being corporate villains. If they are corporate villains, aren’t villains exactly the type who WOULD shut down fan sites? Why should anyone be shocked if an entity does what we actually expect them to do anyway? I’ll rest by saying I’m genuinely confused at this point as to what point anyone wants to make finally about this case. Who SHOULD we trust?

          • I agree that a number of things regarding this situation are bewildering and/or confusing. For me, though, few of them involve Monsieur Guerlain. I don’t think he was trying to unmask anything nor implicitly engaging in fraud. I think his motivations in posting the links were entirely different and part of a long-standing tradition. Let me explain. I’ve written a number of highly critical (and a few completely scathing) reviews for Guerlain fragrances, all of them being modern LVMH-era crap. Monsieur Guerlain typically linked to them on his Facebook page. I didn’t understand this at all initially. I had no contact with him, didn’t know him from Adam, and couldn’t understand why he’d want such critical information on his otherwise gushing pages. Plus, in all honesty, I got a LOT of flack and heat from outraged Guerlainophiles at my scathing comments regarding their precious company products since Guerlain fragrances seemed to be off-limits when it came to a critical point of view.

            I don’t recall when, how, or why but I ended up corresponding with Monsieur Guerlain a long time later about one of those links to one of my posts that he’d shared. I think I asked him outright why he shared it since I’m hardly a Guerlain fanatic who blindly worships all they put out. His response was something to the words of: “I post everything about ANYTHING to do with Guerlain.” In essence, he wanted to be like a clearing-house for all information on the web related to his beloved company, good or bad. He wanted EVERYTHING about Guerlain covered all in one place.

            I think this is why he passed along the link in this case. That was his motivation — and only that. Guerlain didn’t seem to have problems with him linking to things like my negative reviews in the past. Those weren’t removed from his Facebook page. I don’t know why there was a difference except perhaps that the reviews were typically for fragrances that had been out for several years and that there was plenty of counterbalancing, loving opinions about them online. (I tend to be in the minority in my LVMH-era Guerlain feelings.) The difference with the current drama seems to be the issue of “new” (ahem) launches, probably for the reasons discussed by Redneck Parfumisto way up above in one of the comments from yesterday.

            With regard to the Parfumo links that you followed, please know that at least one of them has been completely sanitized and that a number of posters’ comments have been removed.

            In your last paragraph, you raise a point regarding why we should be shocked if alleged corporate villains act in a dastardly way. My response (in the spirit of discussion and debate that you and I have established over the last few days) is this: there is a difference between being shocked and having issues with something when it goes too far. I’m not shocked that LVMH, Guerlain, or another megacorp might act like a corporate villain. I don’t really trust any of them and I certainly don’t expect my little, completely irrelevant, utterly unimportant voice to mean ANYTHING. To anyone actually. Not them, not readers, not perfume people. No-one. We’re all “little people” and largely irrelevant in this modern world of corporate oligarchies. I’m no different than anyone else in that regard.

            Yet, from time to time, one can and should still speak up about issues that one feels strongly about — for oneself more than anyone else. For me, it’s a matter of principles and speaking up about what I see as unfairness, in addition to the ominous potential for a “chilling effect” (in legal jargon), not to mention bullying and the rest. (There was also an element of “There but for the grace of God go I.”) I spoke up for me so I could sleep better at night knowing I hadn’t looked the other way and that I had stood up for something that I believe in strongly. What anyone does with that is up to them. I plan to move on to a previously scheduled review for the latest MDCI fragrance that had originally been planned for Sunday. But at no time do I expect or demand that anyone feel the way I do about anything. Nor do I think that this situation is an easy one. 🙂

            As I hope you know by now, I love discussing and debating with you regardless of whether we ever reach any unassailable conclusions or mutual agreement. If you ever criticized the Holy German Shepherd, that would be a different matter entirely 😉 😛 , but everything else is fun.

          • I have known him for years ( I live in Germany) and I have had a big tiff with LMVH too several years ago, so I would vouch for everything he says. German trademark laws are as harsh as French ones, and LVMH is one of the big players who are verrrry attentive.

    • Nice to see you again, Castorsynergy. In the spirit of devil’s advocate, let’s look at those “leaks.” Someone or someones on Parfumo seem to have put 2+2 together regarding identical note lists for old AA and new releases. They all talk about it, Monsieur Guerlain links to it, and boom! “Disclosure of confidential copyrighted information.”

      You’re taking LVMH’s spin on the “disclosure” at face value in all these cases, particularly when you said that “based on MG’s own admission, this has happened before.” Look at the incidents he cited for what exactly and precisely had happened before. 1) He got his own bottle of a new release, L’Homme Ideale, from the airport (presumably Heinemmann Duty Free which always gets things super early), and he was going to write about it with photos, etc. His OWN bottle, his OWN review. (A review that ended up being nothing but a rave for a godawful fragrance. Ulrik and I will never see eye to eye on the abomination that is L’Homme Ideale. He is quite sincere in his adoration for it. Ugh.) Anyway, Guerlain asked him to hold off until closer to the full, worldwide launch. He did so. That is one of the previous situations. Can you call writing about a fragrance you got earlier than anyone else a proper “leak”? No, but it would be a personal scoop and there is nothing wrong with that. Still, he did as requested and held off.

      The second “leak” he mentions: someone on Instagram posted photos of their own bottle of a Guerlain fragrance. Monsieur Guerlain linked to it, Guerlain asked him to remove the link, and he did so.

      None of these things are “leaks” of confidential, privileged information. At most, they’re hotlinking which is also not a legal violation. Finally, almost all these things (minus his L’Homme Ideal bottle situation) involve Monsieur Guerlain sharing links to THIRD PARTY ACTORS who are the ones revealing information. And most of the time, that information is not confidential to begin with! It was Guerlain who released the note lists for the upcoming fragrances that Parfumo members pieced together with the note lists for old fragrances. They didn’t violate any law, privilege, or copyright by sharing their opinions. Guerlain has done the old/new switcheroo several times before. (Vetiver pour Elle repackaged at the astonishingly high-priced Bolshoi, for example.) People are not idiots and Guerlain addicts know their fragrances inside and out.

      If Guerlain didn’t want people to reach the conclusions that they inevitably did, they shouldn’t have released the note lists and other information that made it so easy for people to reach the conclusions that they did.

      But those conclusions are NOT “leaks.” They are simply conclusions that Guerlain did not want people to make.

      Monsieur Guerlain did not “leak” or violate anything by posting to a 3rd party site where those conclusions could be found. The law does not make that illegal. And his prior actions do not constitute “leaks” or illegal violations either. How is it an illegal violation to write a scoop early about your L’Homme Ideal fragrance that you bought yourself and you loved (to ridiculous excess in the face of all logic)? It’s not. How is it a leak to post to other people’s content on Instagram or anywhere else for that matter? It’s not.

      It seems unlikely that there was any prior instance of a proper, true “leak” of any actual and properly confidential, privileged, protected information because, if there had been, this situation would have happened before. It didn’t. It’s never happened before. Because he’s never revealed any truly proprietary information. This man loves Guerlain far too much for that.

      To me, and speaking solely for myself, accepting a corporate behemoth’s words at face value and thinking that companies aren’t “likely to toss around such accusations lightly” is identical to assuming that a politician never lies and that they aren’t likely to toss false claims or spinned falsities around lightly. Do you accept everything that politicians tell you at face value? Do you think they never twist words around when they’re caught with their pants down? They have power, they have might, and they want to frame the discussion in the best way possible to make themselves look good and the other person guilty of malfeasance.

      Why does a corporation have to be pure evil, selling arms, or selling drugs in order to act illegally and to twist things around? Volkswagon acted brazenly and illegally, lying, and obfuscating until they got caught (and they’re still trying to twist things around). They’re not selling drugs or arms. Corporations twist facts and lie all the time to keep on engaging in profitable activity without public scrutiny or outcry. And it’s particularly easy for them to try to sweep things under the carpet when it involves the little people. I’ll take a mega-corp’s boilerplate word for things the same day that I believe politicians and certain media companies always tell the truth.

      • I was referring to Monsieur Guerlain’s own words on Basenotes, which I don’t want to paraphrase. Repeated attacks, worrying, should have changed name years ago.
        It would be mischievous to drag this out Kafka, but almost worth it to see your rebuttals. (hehe) Not at all entertaining were the accusations pointed at you by a few Basenoters.

        • I haven’t seen any accusations pointed at me personally there, more at the general issues being discussed in terms of the facts, source of fault, the brand name change thing you mentioned, or people breaking bottles, but it’s all good either way. In all honesty, I receive so much criticism on so many sites or groups, and have done so for so long that, at this point, I’m more surprised when someone says something positive. LOL. It’s par for the course really; I’m outspoken, blunt, and I write negative reviews often. A lot of people aren’t used to that because so many bloggers take a different approach. Either way, my dear, a hug to you for the kindness of your last sentence.

  35. “Yet, from time to time, one can and should still speak up about issues that one feels strongly about — for oneself more than anyone else. For me, it’s a matter of principles and speaking up about what I see as unfairness, in addition to the ominous potential for a “chilling effect” ” I’m posting a bit out of turn here (threadwise), but this was gold! Fully agree, and thanks for these thoughts; however small the voice, being able to speak is often more important than how loudly we can do it. The idea of Monsieur Guerlain as the clearinghouse of All Things Guerlain puts a lot of context in place, cheers.

        • I’m sure MG will issue a highly diplomatic, utterly vague statement that doesn’t renew tensions or hostilities and which essentially will amount to: “we worked everything out. It’s all fine. I really appreciate your support.” I doubt there will be anything more than that because it wouldn’t benefit either party but particularly not MG.

          BTW, I didn’t see or couldn’t find his Twitter account, so I think that may be down for now along with his website, but I’m sure it’s merely a question of time and the online servers’ bureaucratic red tape process taking a while.

        • It’s definitely a wonderful outcome, and one which occurred much sooner than I had ever dreamed of or hoped. More importantly, it shows that people’s unified voices can, in some instances, impact even a behemoth like LVMH, particularly when those voices cry out on social media. Not always, but sometimes. It’s a happy thought nonetheless.

  36. Yay!! I can breathe a sigh of relief and wear my Guerlains again!! I was beginning to feel a kind of irrational hostility towards them!

    So much of this happy outcome is due to you Kafka. You had the courage to speak out and alert people, and that got the ball rolling. Thank you so much for all your work and for your unflinching belief in justice and integrity.

    • I second your comment about Kafka’s involvement being instrumental in raising awareness of the situation. I admit to being somewhat disappointed in the deafening silence from most other bloggers. BUT! The result is excellent nonetheless.

      • Thank you, my dear. I was only one of many who spoke out. I’m just glad that so many people made their feelings known. Whether or not that actually effected this particular result, we don’t know but it doesn’t change the important fact that we didn’t just shut up as LVMH/Guerlain would have liked.

    • Very kind, Lilly, and I’m very touched. Truly. Your words mean more than you can know. I honestly don’t think the outcome had ANYTHING to do with me, but I do think that you all took a stand and made LVMH squirm at least a little at the reaction. (Judging by some of the comments on their FB page, probably grimace quite a lot. lol.)

  37. Pingback: Taking Down Monsieur Guerlain – what were they thinking? | Bigslyfragrance's Blog

  38. I hope that MG reinvents himself anyway. All the best to Perfume lovers everywhere!
    Kafka can continue to review niche and indie releases that send me into Rumpelstiltskin frenzies (living in New Zealand means I will never see them) and my little stash of Mitsouko can keep its cellophane.

    • Hugs to you, my dear. Hopefully I will review a few things where samples won’t be so expensive or onerous to ship to New Zealand. I *WANT* you to have some fun stuff to try! xoxo

  39. Thank you for staying on top of this newsworthy item. You’ve provided a great public service to the community by staying on top of this story as it unfolded. Bravo!

    • Ha, that very kind of you. 😀 But no, I never liked the law and actually never wanted to be a lawyer at all. I didn’t mind the thrill, adrenaline and challenges of litigation (trial work) at first but, only at first. The thrill faded fast and I didn’t enjoy the life of a lawyer as a whole. The problem is that law was never an interest of mine. It was always history (and gastronomy) that were my passions above all else. And I think one must really love the law immensely in order to put up with the pressures, schedule, tensions, and difficulties that are such a core part of the life.

  40. As I’ve been under the wind for the last months, I have only today read about LVMH’s having providers close down Monsieur Guerlain’s blog.

    Actually I was pondering on buying Mayotte, as my Mahora’s last mls have gone off.

    Oh hell, right now I am even adverse to buying some vintage Mahora on ebay, as this is one of the scents already created under LVMH’s reign.

    I have bought samples from Monsieur Guerlain, a fact that apart from selling them, would have you suffer maximum penalty, if everything went to LVMH’s whims. The sample selling link has long disappeared from his blog page, by the way.

    Now I wonder what this unconditional fealty (Vasallentreue, another one like Vorauseilender Gehorsam, which in this case applies to the providers) has done for Monsieur Guerlain: he nearly became erased.

    He’s a decent chap and an unperturbable admirer and thankfully back online. I think he should have kissed Guerlain’s ass goodbye and indulged in some other great perfumers’ work, if he can find any who have not yet been devoured by some conglomerate.

    He’d do an excellent job, and maybe for someone more deserving.

    As I’ve just found out on wikipedia: the Teutons stem from Jütland in Denmark, so this Teutonic fidelity thing, which is also very much attributed to German shepherds, seems to have been proved right.

    To which end?

    As the press in Germany has not been very independet recently, I wonder: is this some new development, cutting off free speech, or are we only more aware of it due to really independent bloggers and users of not so long established media?

    I wish I was not so appalled, but your commitment gives hope.

    Best regards

    Petra

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