This beauty (Jean Patou 1935) opens with an exquisite orange blossom and neroli. They’re slightly green and very creamy, gentle and pleasant. But then, as it continues, all the warm, richly hued carnation, jasmine and musk emerge. Actually, it’s one of the most noticeable progressions I’ve encountered and it’s lovely. Also, Normandie has one of my favorite notes: styrax.
It would be easy to draw a comparison between this and Arpège, but intriguingly this feels much more dated and distinctly early Twentieth Century than Arpège in my opinion. But that is not necessarily a bad thing at all.
It reminds me of when I used to go on explorations at my grandmother’s in her weave loom room, or in rooms with forgotten closets. Sometimes you’d find very old things that seemed familiar none-the-less, like an iconic pillbox hat or a classic pair of white gloves. But then occasionally you’d unearth something that required an open mind and a historical decoder. And when you held those pieces of the past in your hand you felt an enormous connection to a time long ago. Normandie is that sort of talisman.
Top notes: neroli and ylang-ylang. Middle notes: orange blossom, rose, orris root, jasmine, vetiver, styrax and carnation. Base notes: moss, vanilla and musk.
Nose: Henri Almeras