Véritable Eau de Cologne Impériale 

An extremely herbal but ultimately elegant Guerlinade is Véritable Eau de Cologne Impériale Extra Dry (Guerlain 1904).  It’s green but demure and detached in a cool, breezy sort of way. The lemon verbena is especially noteworthy. It meets other very verdant notes to create an olfactory sensation akin to taking a drink of cold mountain fresh water. The neroli is lovely too. And while I can’t find a complete list of notes is it possible the bergamot is mixing with vetiver, a delicate rosemary and cedar? Of course, all these sharp notes are held to earth by the perfect choice of warm base notes. 

Eau de Cologne Quintessence 

Eau de Cologne Quintessence by Agnel of Paris (Agnel 1900’s or so?) is very rare so I’m truly guessing at the notes in this vintage bottle. To my nose, punchy lemon, orange, rosemary, geranium, and eucalyptus at the start are refreshing. Then soft florals and fizzy orris root are combined with woody amber and later a rich styrax and musk. It’s very slightly and perfectly spicy, decadent and beautifully structured. Like a dense sort of breeze blowing from a much more romantic past wafts of this scent are nearly transformative and uplifting… 

Ben Hur

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Sweet, creamy, dreamy florals make this very soft fragrance a vintage beauty. Warm and powdery tonka bean adds extra grace to a pretty rose note. Created by  Jergens in 1904  and named after the popular 1880 novel by Lew Wallace and later silent film, Ben Hur is a must smell vintage 1900’s scent that was very well liked in its day.

Notes: ylang ylang, rose, and tonka bean. 


Carnation Pink

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This supremely carnation, floral fragrance is musky, balsamic and reminds me a lot of Coty L’Origan and a wee bit of L’Heure Bleue (L’Heure Bleue especially in the drydown).  It’s a very early 1900’s scent (based on my research and nose) with likely notes of bergamot, rose, ylang ylang, violet, iris, carnation, nutmeg, coriander, cloves, pepper, benzoin, musk, vanilla, incense and sandalwood.

In the drydown it shimmies into a powdery, feminine, spicy fragrance still dominated by carnation.  And, as someone who has had a somewhat bad impression of carnation based on 1980’s perfumes (no offense to those who enjoy them) I am again delighted by a very vintage carnation gem.  I love L’Heure Bleue too.

Carnation Pink Perfume is dreamy.  Images of ladies in long, flowing dresses and gentlemen with walking sticks out for a warm summer evening stroll come to mind.  It is innocent but not unknowing, and cheerful but staid.  Ragtime tunes and ice cream parlors with giant vintage lollipops should accompany this scent.  Carnation Pink is the epitome of old-fashioned winsome charm.

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The manufacturer of Mellier’s, Carnation Pink Perfume among other scents (over 60 other varieties), Mellier Drug Co. was incorporated at some point during the 1870’s or 80’s (dates vary) and based out of St. Louis, Missouri.   Kennedy Duncan Mellier, who founded Mellier Drug Co. with his brother, Albin Mellier (Albin was the President), was a graduate of Princeton, an Episcopalian and a member of the Missouri Historical Society whose favorite recreation was supposedly golf.   K. Duncan Mellier (as it appears he was known) lived, for a time, at 3801 West Pine Boulevard in St. Louis, Missouri which is now a part of the campus of St Louis University.  One abadoned, boarded up mansion remains from Mr. Mellier’s old neighborhood, and that’s how most of Mellier Drug Co. is to be found as well – completely lost to history.

2015-03-03 09.48.24 (2)Matter of fact, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Carnation Pink is almost one of a kind.  I can’t even find a specific date for this particular Mellier perfume.  And, as a person who appreciates history and perfume I feel both lucky and somewhat unnerved by that possiblity.  It might not be a world renowned perfume by any stretch of the imagination (it’s “just” an old drugstore brand perfume), but it is very lovely and I’m sure that in the past there were memories attached to this scent.  I’ll have to take good care of it.

So, on that note, have a happy Easter and a pleasant rest of your weekend or a nice start to your week. 🙂

Until Wednesday.

Cordon Rouge

2015-03-03 09.46.12 (2) Cordon Rouge (or Red Cord in English) was introduced by Coty in the early 1900’s (possibly 1909 specifically) and, when I first smelled a bit of it, from my vintage (probably 1930’s?) unopened bottle, I was gobsmacked.  It was like time traveling or seeing a ghost.  I’ve never (other than perhaps a very vintage bottle of nearly unused L’Origan) smelled anything so of the past and yet totally alive and intact.  I almost feel a bit guilty for breaking that seal after all these years…

I’m not sure what the notes of this fragrance are because it’s incredibly hard to find much of anything about it (it may have been discontinued in the late 1930’s), but it reminds me of a lot of L’Origan and No. 4711 and that’s far from surprising considering that Coty debuted L’Origan in 1905.  It’s spicy, powdery, balsamic and deeply romantic in a leisurely yet refined sort of way, with notes of perhaps vetiver, musk (?) and sandalwood.  I’m kind of in love this scent, and while I have a nice sized bottle, I doubt another one will be even remotely easy to find (hopefully I’m wrong).

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A vintage ad written in French, describes Cordon Rouge as a “…source of freshness…”  and a “…”high class product.”  And, after smelling it frequently enough to write this post, I suddenly feel a need to watch Jacque Tati’s, Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot, (Mr. Hulot’s Holiday) – a wonderful film from 1953 with a gorgeous score written by Alain Romans.  That movie, about a man who decides to take a holiday by the sea in Brittany, fits the mood of Cordon Rouge very well…

Cordon Rouge has a warm, sweet spicy opening and an airy but strong masculine drydown (it almost smells contemporary – a little like a fragance by Tom Ford).  Basically, it’s just fantastic.  Sigh.  🙂

Blenheim Bouquet

My husband and I first encountered Penhaligon’s, Blenheim Bouquet while we were staying at The Milestone Hotel in London. We were fortunate enough that the hotel used Blenheim Bouquet as the fragrance for all of their complimentary products (except for a tube of lip balm 🙂 ).  I remember thinking that it was a lovely fragrance that was incomparable to anything I had smelled before.  I thought it was very British and quiet modern.  I was surprised to later learn that it was actually an old fragrance dating back to 1902…

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The Milestone Hotel

On our first couple of days at The Milestone in London it was raining…  And I didn’t mind it one bit.

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UK2 (2)During the day we ate, talked and occasionally took walks in the rain. Then at night we had their special honey ice cream and pampered ourselves with Blenheim Bouquet in the orchid laced bathtub.  It was marvelous.

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delicious honey ice cream

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And now, the scent of Blenheim Bouquet is a short-cut to those wonderful memories…  I find that fascinating because it’s such an old, popular scent and I’m sure there are masses and masses of other people spanning the decades with equally sharp memories attached to that fragrance…

In any case, since watching Downton Abbey I’ve become a bit lonesome for England.  So, since my husband uses Blenheim Bouquet shaving soap and aftershave balm I’ve decided to feature that in today’s post.

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Blenheim Bouquet is herbal, floral and citrus with a slight hint of something oceanic.  It’s manly, on a man, but I’ve worn it myself many times and enjoyed it.  It’s a very rainy day, gentleman in a rose garden “antique” fragrance, but like I said, it could easily pass as modern too – it’s not dated or irrelevant.

My husband loves using his shaving set (the Penhaligon’s brush and razor), the soap and the balm.  He says that the soap is terrific – it works better than regular shaving cream.  It’s moisturizing and actually treats his skin.  The balm makes his skin feel very smooth and silky (I totally agree) and it leaves him perfectly fragranced – lots of longevity too.

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I used Agraria Cedar Rose bar soap.

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2015-01-07 21.11.28 (2)It’s a great fragrance line.  The rose is vintage but luscious and the cedarwood is a very clear note. I was amazed by how little I had to use for it to linger on my skin and create a pleasant but discreet sillage.  Sadly though, it’s not a particularly moisturizing soap, so lotion is a must after use.

I still miss England dearly, but I suppose that that’s the true point of this blog – someday I intend to cure my sadness at least semi-permanently.  🙂

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Me in our cozy room…


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In 1905, Francois Coty debuted L’Origan.  It was considered very advanced at that time (this is before the sinking of the Titanic and World War I of course) due to it’s use of synthetic materials.

I’m blessed to have found a very old vintage bottle of L’Origan (Coty 1905).  Using it is a treat…

It’s a particularly warm and spicy fragrance.  L’Origan is heavy yet delicate and reminds me of cinnamon sticks mixed with flowers, and the scent of burning wood.

Smelling it is like taking a small trip back in time because it’s extraordinarily vintage – it is nothing like anything one could easily purchase at present. During the drydown it becomes bright and effusive, but still maintains it’s heavy sensibility.  Again, I can’t think of any scent that so brings to mind an era when quality, romance and elegant ornamentation reigned supreme, as a very vintage bottle of L’Origan.

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My bottle came in a box with L’Aimant.

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Top notes: bergamot, coriander, orange, pepper and peach. Middle notes: nutmeg, spices, jasmine, violet, rose, ylang ylang, and African orange flower. Base notes: benzoin, Virginia cedar, incense, musk, sandalwood, vanilla, civetta, and coumarin.

I also am trying a few samples I recently acquired from Guerlain.  So far, I’m very happy with almost everything.

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However, my favorite item has been the Super Aqua-Serum.  It’s an anti-ageing, skin plumping intensive moisturizer meant for everyday use.  While it is heavily scented, the scent is far from offensive (it’s Guerlain after all) – it smells light and airy, and it lives up to it’s promises.  My skin is definitely softer and more refined when I use it.  It really does seem to “plump up” the skin.  My only complaints are that it’s a bit greasy at first, and of course, the ingredients aren’t exactly natural.  But, overall, I quite like it.

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Two of the other samples were Guerlain, Exceptional Complete Mascara and Guerlain, Secret De Pureté, Crystal Lotus Flower, Eye and Lip Make-up Remover.  The mascara was also very fragranced, but again, it was a nice scent – it smelled like lovely roses.  I think I detected a slight blue tint to the black shade I was using, but it was flattering.  I was slightly miffed that the mascara seemed to clump a little bit, but it was lengthening in a way that I’ve simply never seen before, and it created brilliant definition.  I was pleased, and apparently the actual mascara comes with it’s own mirror, as depicted in the ad attached to the tester box.  Of course, be aware, it’s not a mascara made from “natural” ingredients.

The Eye and Lip Make-up Remover was less satisfactory, but it worked. That’s the thing though, it just worked. It didn’t do anything remarkable, and actually it only worked once I used it over and over again.  Perhaps with time I would notice more of a difference, but sadly this product might not be worth the price since there are less expensive options that work just as well if not better.

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black cashmere sweater – Hayden, jeans -old, vintage earrings found on Etsy

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I love these earrings – they’re made from 1930’s camphor glass. I found them on Etsy.

So, I hope your week is starting off well.  It’s the last Monday of 2014, and then it will be the last Tuesday of 2014, and then the last Wednesday of 2014…  And then it will be Thursday of 2015.  And then Friday and the day after that will be Saturday.  Then comes Sunday again, just like yesterday was Sunday and then Monday is the day after that.  😉