Soft, powdery, sweet floral aldehydes are flanked by green florals, musk, amber and a pretty sandalwood. The bouquet of Dans La Nuit (Worth 1924 and 1985) is particularly noticeable… I can easily detect numerous individual notes: in particular spicy carnation, lily-of-the-valley, and rose. It’s a truly blooming scent… and the gummy, raucous base notes are boozy and juicy. Even though this vintage bottle is clearly from the 80’s formulation the original mindset and heart of the original version from the roaring 20’s remains. Pleasant for a night in, much more appropriate for a night out… but certainly *night*.
Of course I can’t help but be reminded of Chanel No 5 when I smell Ernest Beaux’s historic Le No 1. for Rallet (Rallet 1913 & 1923) but I am also reminded of Coty L’Aimant and Le Galion Sortilège. Le No. 1 in the formula I managed to procure is creamy and peppered with florals drenched in poignant aldehydes. A smokey, and very vanillic drydown creates an undoubtable warmth. It’s deep, lovely and perhaps more elegant and complex than most other fragrances reminiscent of Chanel No. 5.
Nose: Ernest Beaux
So yesterday I explained how I felt I had lost track of something... And after writing it all I realized I left out two things. First of all, I have been basically exhausted for many years… I started developing a thyroid disorder when I was probably in high school (or who knows when exactly) and it wasn’t officially diagnosed until after I gave birth to my son a few years ago. Thankfully, he doesn’t seem to have been negatively affected by my undiagnosed wackadoodle thyroid though… And secondly, I forgot to fully explain that along with politics I also love to write but ironically not necessarily about politics. Anyway…
My life has been a complicated but beautiful mess for many years. I’d like for it to someday have a bit more… boring? A good boring…
Enter fragrance… My first fragrance was Le Jardin by Max Factor when I was six. And I had several scents I used after that for fun but the one that eventually grabbed me in my teens was Shalimar eau de cologne, by Guerlain. And then a while ago I smelled a few drops from a very old bottle of Chanel No. 22 on my skin… and I felt like my soul had found a reflection of itself. And it was lovely…
I’m a very loyal person. I love the idea of being able to love people, things and places forever. People say that everything changes. I like change, but I love things that last forever… And in my life there have been precious few “forevers.” There’s my mother’s love and my love for her… My brown eyes. The mole above my lips… My faith. How much I love my son. My love for classical music (and music in general). And as trivial as it sounds, I highly suspect my love for Chanel No. 22 will also remain… Almost everything else has always been a bit of a roller coaster, well, except for my emotions (thankfully) – as deep as they are, as much of a romantic as I am, and as chaotic as my life has sometimes been I am actually a pretty steady person (with the caveat that I have had depression/anxiety).
I’ve never even liked roller coasters… Seriously. Figuratively or otherwise…
So for the next week at least, I’m not wearing any scent but Chanel No. 22 in attempt to refocus myself on my own soul and heart and figure a few things out at least a little. Or maybe I’ll wear it just to brace myself to deal with it all – the good, bad, hopes, extremely faint flickers of possibility, fear, happiness, and the potential lack of hope… All of it. Can a fragrance really make that much of a difference? Yes… As a friend on Instagram, Frannie, often mentions: the limbic system is an amazing thing…
(p.s. I added part one of a short story to my post yesterday.)
The current eau de parfum of Chanel No. 5 (Chanel 1921) is actually a bit different than the old edp (no surprise there I suppose). It’s lighter, sweeter and sadly maybe has a little less depth in my opinion. Frankly it reminds me more of the vintage eau de cologne than the vintage parfum. I also think there’s less of a shock of aldehydes than in any of the vintages… Yet, it’s still a masterpiece. There’s nothing quite like it (not even Liu).
Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli, and ylang ylang. Middle notes: jasmine, rose, lily-of-the-valley, and iris. Base notes: vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli.
Vintage Liu parfum (Guerlain 1929) reminds me a great deal of vintage Chanel No. 5 (as many have said)… I can also see the resemblance between vintage Liu and Bois des Îles and Chanel No. 22 (as a friend of mine has suggested). It’s sweeter and more citrusy than the other fragrances listed though (at least on my skin) and it has an almost spicy, leather like, boozy, yet fresh menthol edge… It’s warm and sensual although in much more coy and passive way than say, Chanel No. 5.
Liu is powdery aldehydes. It’s gorgeous really… And it’s tremendously elegant.
Top notes: aldehydes, neroli and bergamot. Middle notes: rosemary, jasmine, orris and rose. Base notes: iris, amber, vanilla and woody notes.
Bois Des Iles is luscious (Chanel 1926). It’s one of the most beautiful if not the most beautiful fragrances I’ve ever smelled. Bois Des Iles is perfection with classic florals wrapped in a gorgeous aldehydic embrace. It’s earthy yet totally elegant, and utterly alluring – as if wind and light are playing with sweetly scented flower petals.
Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, neroli and peach. Middle notes: jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, woody iris and ylang-ylang. Base notes: vetiver, sandalwood, benzoin and musk.
Sultry, sexy, yet airy (and eventually even a bit soapy), Matin Clair (Brajan 1925) smells like a fated romance in perfume form. My small bottle of it is from the 1920’s and it was discontinued in the 1930’s (click link above for more information), but I don’t have an exact list of notes… My best guess is that it would be classified as a white floral, aldehydic, balsamic, powdery, aromatic, very 1920’s scent with likely notes of: aldehydes, lily-of-the-valley, peach (??), ylang ylang, galbanum (?), jasmine, iris, rose, honeysuckle (maybe?), violet, bergamot, geranium (??), sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, benzion, styrax (??), opoponax, possibly incense, maybe civet and vanilla? There are very likely notes I missed and/or have wrong but that’s my estimation… It’s a sublime fragrance, and reminds me a great deal of fragrances from both Lanvin and later Balmain.
Soft and supple floral notes make the original Chanel Gardenia (Chanel 1925) a dreamy, romantic fragrance. I believe I smell jasmine, violet, tuberose (?), and something incedibly creamy and a bit powdery. I think there’s also a note of lily-of-the-valley. I can see the similarity between the current Gardenia from the Les Exclusifs line at Chanel and this version, but this is wilder, heady and subversive while paradoxically remaining a little aloof and demure. It reminds me a bit of vintage Joy by Jean Patou and a bit of a few current fragrances from the Hove Parfumeur of New Orleans, Louisiana. The floral notes are green, and authentic but there’s also something very mysterious about them… And again, this is a suberversive scent. For some reason, the person who comes to mind most is Grace Kelly… Now, this scent was released in 1925, but I can picture her wearing it very well… It’s sad it’s no longer made in the exact same way. It’s remarkable.
Crêpe de Chine (F. Millot 1925) was made with rare Grasse jasmine and would be much too expensive to make today. It’s vintage florals, delicate and lovely set in a warm, raucous background. Dominant notes in the drydown are perhaps patchouli and leather. Crêpe de Chine is a balance between wild charm and sweet restraint.
Top notes: lemon, bergamot, neroli, and orange. Middle notes: jasmine, rose, lilac, ylang ylang, and carnation. Base notes: oak moss vetiver, benzoin, labdanum, patchouli, musk, and leather.
Sorry this post was left in disrepair for so long. I had a serious emergency with my son and I left this blog to its own devices…
He’s doing well and I’m back. If you’re still reading despite my poorly edited work and shoddy posts, thank you!
Like a sparkling glass of root beer, Toujours Moi is soft, sweet and fizzy. With a mix of warm sandalwood, musk and a combination of somewhat heady florals it’s jovial and pretty.
Toujours Moi, a woody oriental, is sold in its reformulated state by Dana; the original was introduced by Corday in 1927 (Corday 1927). The current version has a great deal of sillage and longevity and while it is now a “drugstore perfume” it still retains enough of its original charm to be worth a gander and sniff.
Notes: orange blossom, vetiver, jasmine, lilac, incense, musk, lavender, and sandalwood.
Summer Memories: Part III of IV
For the next four hours Gracie, Pat, George and I play in the water, drink root beer sodas and then Pat gets the idea to start a fire and roast weenies. He and Gracie will walk into town and buy some and presumably George and I will stay here. They leave in good cheer.
When they’ve finally crossed the distance needed for George to start a private conversation he stops and looks into my eyes, then starts with, “I really am sorry Beth about the last two weeks. I did forget about the time.”
I’m silent, but look at him with an attempt at an understanding expression. He looks down and continues.
“I can imagine it’s hard to believe.” He looks off into the deep water. “I didn’t forget about you. Just what day it was.” He looks a bit sad now but smiles slightly to himself.
I’m still silent, but I smile at him. He grabs my hand and rises suddenly. “Let me show you what my life has been like. Come with me.” Grabbing my hand he starts walking off, pulling me behind him.
“Where are we going?” I ask confused and curious.
“To the current love of my life, I’m afraid.”
We reach the shipyard in a few minutes of rather brisk walking. When we’re there we walk inside a cool, shady, muddy smelling sort of room with a lot of open space and a cement floor. Then there’s a door leading to a hallway that leads to another door and then a staircase. We go up the steps.
“Here we be.” He turns around and looks at me with an oddly surprised expression, as if seeing me for the first time. Then we walk into a dusty room where particles are flying about lit by sunbeams pouring in the window above a big mahogany desk. The desk is filled with papers, books, blotters, ink and pens. “That’s my desk.”
“It’s a pretty desk,” I say as I approach it, touching the wood.
He comes up behind me, “Beth,” he whispers.
I turn around and our faces are inches apart before our mouths reach each other and we kiss – my first kiss, and it’s lovely. The kiss lasts for a moment or two longer before we part. His hands are still at my sides and we stand facing each other quietly smiling for a few seconds before we speak.
“I knew I would kiss you the next time I saw you.” He smiles and shakes his head. “That’s why I forgot I think. I was scared.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Oh it’s silly Beth, but not at the same time.” He rubs his eyes. Then he sits down in a chair next to the door and leans back and peers at me. “I wake up at 4:30 every morning, arrive here at that desk and stay until 8 or so every night.” He looks bemused and off into the distance. “Mr. Cook has us all working a lot right now, and me in particular.” He looks off, “He says I have a lot of potential and I don’t want to disappoint him.” He looks solemn. Then he looks at me quizzically. “I’m sorry Beth. I didn’t want to be dishonorable.”
“Oh. I understand.” I do too. “How do you feel now?”
“I don’t think I can stop seeing you. If I did I think it would hurt me in ways I’m not sure I can even put words to.” He looks a bit grave. He stands up and walks closer before grabbing my hand. “We should go back.”
We walk out the door and reach the steps. We’re two steps down when he stops, turns around and kisses me again. It melts me and we seem to float almost the entire way back to the shore, hand in hand.
Once we reach the beach, we find Gracie and Pat already starting a fire. “Where were you two?” Gracie asks, sounding confused.
“I showed her the shipyard, where I work,” answers George. I smile and agree brightly.
“Oh.” Gracie’s face lightens when she sees my smile.
“Say, how about helping me with these weenies,” says Pat to George.
The rest of the night goes by well. On the way home from the shore I hold hands with George until we reach the drugstore. Then he stops, lets go of my hand and walks a few feet ahead of us all. He lifts his arms and appears to be attempting to start a song that he wants us to join in singing with him, but instead a car pulls out of the Johnson house and roars down the path towards us. We all move out of the way, stand silent, wait and watch as the car passes us.
“That’s Mr and Mrs. Johnson’s I betcha,” announces Gracie.
“He rides in it to work every day.” George follows the car with his eyes. He looks down at the ground and rubs the dirt with his foot like he’s trying to rub something out of existence.
“I see him sitting in it too and I often wonder why he doesn’t just walk to work like everyone else.” Pat smirks and then continues. “You’d think he was royalty, but he isn’t. He’s just putting on a show.”
George explains, “Archie married for money. I can’t think he sees a better way to make it count than lording it over everyone.” George shrugs.
“He did?” Gracie sounds intrigued. Her pretty eyes focus on George intently.
Looking a bit surprised by her interest he continues with added emphasis on his words for dramatic effect, “Yes. He married her so he could buy his way into management. He aims to own the shipyard. I’ve talked with him about it.”
“Really? Golly, you don’t say.”
George nods with great seriousness. We all continue walking in a group. The conversation shifts about until we reach the start of my lawn. Suddenly, George grabs my hand and leads me near the rose bushes. “Say, I should tell you, it’s nothing really, but the other day Archie was talking.” He looks off a bit, “He said that I should meet his wife’s cousin from St. Paul. Her name is Violet. I told him no of course, but he was really stuck on the idea.”
“Oh. Well, I’m sure he meant well.”
George looks down. “I’m not so sure what he meant. He thinks it’s important in business to marry someone who’s your social superior. He often preaches to me about things a man should do to succeed and that’s one of them. He hardly sees his wife though, and I know he can’t stand her. You should hear the way he talks to her when she visits him.”
“Well, I suppose I could understand that, but it does seem one should marry for love. That’s so sad. We saw Rosamund the other night, the night we met you. Gracie and I. She looked unhappy.”
George falls silent before uttering, “Well, I’m a naive romantic but I certainly think love is important.”
I smile and give him a kiss on the cheek. He grins in his warm way and then places a kiss on my cheek before we part.
Of course, it’s days before I hear or see George again. I can’t say what it is exactly, but there seems to be a growing discontent that increases as the summer progresses and despite the many good times we have together, I’m always on edge. Then, one night, just after my mother serves her second helping of homemade ice cream on the front porch and leaves us alone for a few minutes, he begins, “I received a letter from home a while ago.” His face falls into a distant expression.
“My father is very ill. We’ve known he wasn’t doing well for some time, but recently his condition has deteriorated. They don’t think he will get better this time.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, my dear.” I look into his face and feel his sadness.
Mother comes out the front door with glasses of lemonade. There’s a silence and then, “I might have to go back to Minneapolis at the end of the Summer if I can’t get a raise from Mr. Cook. My family needs the money.”
My mother, who has apparently heard the entire convesation so far, chimes in with, “Well, I’m sure you’ll be able to coax Mr. Cook into giving you a higher wage. You’re such hard worker, George.”
“I sure hope so. They’re awfully hard up.” His sensitive features look hardened, as if he is losing a battle he badly wants to win. That’s the last George speaks of it to me until one dreary Saturday a week later. We were holding hands. A storm had come up and there we sat alone, huddled by a rock on the shore.
“I can’t stand it anymore, I have to tell you.” Then turning to me, “I don’t think we can see each other anymore.”
“I can barely stand myself, but I… ” He looks off. “I’ve been seeing Violet for a week and she’s keen on going steady and I think I should. I should go steady with her, that is.”
“I don’t understand. I thought we were going steady?”
“Well, I suppose we were.”
“Then, what is this?” I stand up. He looks so small and scared, curled into himself like a bird waiting out a bad wind. “George.” I’m practically yelling now. “I do not understand. Not one bit.”
He looks up at me. His magnetic blue eyes are watered with tears. His face is ruddy with emotion.
“Why didn’t you tell me you were going with her?” It seems pointless to ask, but I have to.
He looks at me and in a resigned, worn tone says, “I don’t think much of Violet. I don’t like her one bit, actually. But my choices are to either return home and work at the tire factory, and lose my chance, or stay here and see Violet. Mr. Cook refused to give me a raise, and I asked him three times.”
“But how does seeing Violet help you with Mr. Cook?”
“Her uncle owns a large share of the company. He owns a large share of many companies.”
“So that’s all? That’s the end? You would rather lose me than lose your chance?”
“No. You’re not. You’re not trapped at all, unless you decide to be.” I breathe heavily. Nothing.
“I do care. I really do.”
I feel the chill of the air and the rain falling on my head. I hadn’t noticed it was raining until just this moment. But it’s a quiet, soothing rain.
“I don’t think you do, and that’s fine. Just don’t ruin Violet’s life unless she wants you to. I’m sure she has feelings too.”
“I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s life.” His anger is evident.
“No, of course not. Of course not,” my voice trails off. I decide my two choices are to stand here and argue with him trying to convince him that he should keep seeing me, or to walk away. If I walk away I’ll surely lose him, but I won’t lose myself. I walk away.
That night I cry for hours alone in my bedroom. I try to be quiet, but I can’t help it. Then, I hear a knock at the door. “Come in,” I shout.
It was my little brother Matthew. His face is gentle, sweet and compassionate. “Why are you crying?’
“I’m ok, Matthew. I just heard some very sad news today.”
“Oh. Well, is there anything I can do?”
“No, thank you though. You’re very kind.” He is too. He nods his head in empathy and then closes the door.
I lay on my bed, close my eyes and try to fall asleep. Sleep comes, but it isn’t easy.
So, my son had a severe reaction to having low blood sugar Monday morning and we had to bring him to the emergency room. We called 911 because of how bad it was and the paramedics thought he had had a seizure. Thankfully he hadn’t. He’s very healthy but apparently when kids are really little low blood sugar can affect them severely. He eats a lot, but now we feed him a snack before bed too. And, my husband was supposed to have a final interview for a job on Monday morning too. And I was supposed to have a cavity filled….
It’s been an interesting week.
Oh, oh, and my mother’s friend decided to tell an estranged relative who none of us have seen in over ten years that we were at the hospital… And they just showed up in our er room while the nurse was trying to administer an ekg to our son.
So… Sorry I didn’t post anything on Monday. Haha.
Anyway. Thanks for reading. 🙂 🙂