Swim/SX by Pierre Guillaume

Hands up who wishes they were sat by a hotel swimming pool, or lounging on a beach after a dip in the sea? Now you can smell like that all day, all week and all year long.

Listed notes

Rosewood, Indian hemp, okoume (a type of hardwood similar to mahogany), musk, ylang-ylang, Pacific algae.

Top notes

Pierre Guillaume does easy to wear, sun-drenched scents really well, so it won’t be a surprise that this little gem from the White Collection adds to that repertoire with another fragrance which will happily take you through the summer with its suave charm.

Swim/SX opens with a bright floral, sunny, tone. It’s warm and relaxing. As you smell it feel the knotted muscles relax and cares melt away. It feels like you have sprayed a cloud of bottled sunshine on your skin and it manages to transport you away to the most relaxing holiday ever, even if you are currently in a very miserable Yorkshire enduring a downpour.

As the fragrance settles, this really interesting chlorine vibe comes through. Admittedly, that reads like vaguely coded references to it being awful and chemical-smelling, but it isn’t at all. Pierre has hit this just right so what comes through is the sense of a swimming costume peeled off and discarded. This is the scent of that fabric right before you put it in the washer, when it’s dried off a bit and you can smell the fibres and the memory of the chlorine mingling. It’s a brave thing to do, and lesser perfumers might not have pulled it off, but Pierre manages it with aplomb. The chlorine has a sharpness, almost a tang which cuts through the softer, creamier notes and gives a little frisson of excitement. It almost feels slightly metallic, but not in a threatening way, instead it’s like a little shiver of electricity, chills running up your spine.

Heart notes

After the chlorinated swimming costume fades, we get to an easier to understand place of relaxing on a sun lounger again. You can practically feel the heat rising from this fragrance (both in terms of the sunny vibes, and the musky skin-scent it conjures) and it rather beautifully conveys a sensual vibe without being tawdry or challenging. The musky skin is joined by what feels like the scent of hair drying in the sunshine after a dip in the water.

To smell this fragrance is to smell your lover after they’ve had a dip in the pool; that’s the real crux of this scent. It’s happy, it’s relaxed and it has an intimacy that makes the wearer feel like they are part of something special. That said, whilst there is this skin-musk to the fragrance, it isn’t a scent that you would feel embarrassed to wear to the office or to lunch with your family. It has a really easy going character about it, like many of Pierre’s more recent compositions.

Base notes

The fragrance doesn’t change a lot towards the end of the wear, it’s more of the relaxed, sunny, holiday vibes. There’s a salty tone in the mix, rather like a little perspiration from the heat, and the hemp gives a little animalic flick to the composition, but it makes the fragrance seem real as well, solid, and anchored in the physical world.

Swim/SX isn’t a million miles away from Sunsuality, a sister fragrance also from the White Collection, and it also felt like it was from the same vein of thought as the magnificent Bois Naufrage, just a little more skin and a little less woody. Is Swim/SX groundbreaking as a fragrance? Probably not. But it’s a really pleasurable scent to wear, it lifts the mood, it’s relaxing, it’s got this charming easy-going vibe. Definitely something you can chuck in your suitcase and spend all holiday drenched in, or wear in the middle of winter to remind you of sunnier days. We can see this being a crowd-pleaser for sure.

The other stuff

The longevity of Swim/SX exceeded our expectations. It lasted for the majority of the day – a good ten hours from application. We really weren’t expecting that sort of longevity from it at all so this was really pleasing.

Projection of the scent was not excessive, we’d estimate to handshake distance or less, but given the character of the scent, this seemed to fit really appropriately with the overall package.

To us, this felt more like a very unisex fragrance, possibly slightly more on the feminine side. Many of Pierre’s compositions work equally well on all genders though, so don’t hold that too hard and fast, and there are definitely men we know who could pull off this fragrance for sure.

The brand

The Pierre Guillaume brand are like a gateway drug for niche fragrances. They’re very accessible yet high quality and gently lead you to places you may not have thought possible if your experience of fragrance was centred around the designer end of the market thus far. We’d highly recommend them to someone wanting to dip a toe in the water and start to branch out a little.

We’ve previously reviewed Sunsuality, also from the White Collection, PG 9.1 KomorebiPG 03 Cuir VenenumPG 04 Musc MaoriPG 5.1 Suede OsmanthePG 16 Jardins de Kerylos and the exceptional Bois Naufrage. Also by Pierre Guillaume we’ve looked at SuperladySucre d’Ebene, ShermineAqaysosJangala and Tonkamande.

Buy it

Swim/SX is available from Bloom Perfumery London where it is priced at £132 for 100ml, and £88 for 50ml of EdP.

You can also buy the whole range of Pierre Guillaume fragrances from their web boutique.

We were kindly gifted a no-strings attached sample of Swim/SX by Bloom Perfumery. Thank you to them for their kindness.

Photo by Efe Kurnaz on Unsplash.


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