Prétexte (Lanvin 1937) starts off bright and truly pretty with romantic and sublime florals. A delicate iris is dramatic and yet balanced by the castoreum and ladylike patchouli. Rose, sweet civet and elegant oakmoss are spacious and rather grand… staring off into a lush green and light expanse. And then comes a vanillic sandalwood with its soft, almond-like gentility. Matter of fact, vintage Pretexte is reminiscent of L’Heure Bleue in that regard… Of course, through it all vetiver and leather are crisp and refreshingly calm. And in the late drydown it becomes a smoky, musky, burning incense… This is a masterpiece…
Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot and narcissus. Middle notes: hay, rose, carnation, hawthorn, opoponax and iris. Base notes: leather, castoreum, patchouli, rosewood, ambergris, sandalwood, tonka, vetiver, civet, oakmoss
Caron Pour Un Homme Les Plus Belles Lavandes (Caron unknown) is a gorgeous, manly vintage of sweet, authentic lavender at the start. Then it’s leathery, musty musk and smoky elegance. It envelopes like old, vanillic pipe tobacco mixed with chilled fresh air. This is one of those exquisite classics I wish more men would seek out and wear… It might seem that a tobacco laden vanilla and lavender wouldn’t be “manly enough” but it’s quite the opposite…
In vintage Fleurs de Rocaille (Caron (1934) the spicy and earthy lily-of-the-valley is certainly unusual… but Fleur de Rocaille manages it brilliantly. And in fact while most people smell a wild and lovely jasmine as the main floral note I detect a strong lily. Carnation, rose and ylang ylang are also notable. There are aldehydes, of course, and the other soapy, sweet florals and base notes with a particularly pretty sandalwood and amber. This fizzy, sexy, and unique fragrance is defiantly memorable.
Nose: Ernest Daltroff
Top notes: palisander, bergamot, gardenia and violet. Middle notes: orris root, jasmine, narcissus, rose, carnation, lily-of-the-valley, ylang-ylang, lilac, mimosa and iris. Base notes: amber, sandalwood, musk and cedar.
Vintage Canoé (Dana 1936) is one of those classic “men’s fragrances” that is actually quite genderless. The original scent is sublime with a brilliantly unique freshness. Musky, and perhaps a slight bit louder than not on the lemon it’s really a very blended concoction so it’s a little difficult to pick each note apart… I’ll have to look for the larger vintage bottle.
Bon Voyage (Dana 1960) is one of those rare vintages that catch you by surprise. It’s extremely spicy… If a hot pepper found its way into a bottle of a labdanum and oakmoss drenched green chypre it might resemble Bon Voyage. Although, it’s important to note that this scent, while very vibrant, is also well composed. The notes are rich, warm and pretty…
20 Carats (Dana 1933), another spicy scent by Dana, this carnation beauty is heavy on the amber with dash of nutmeg. 20 Carats is rich and sensual. It’s a very grownup fragrance indeed.
Tyran (Dana possibly 1930’s – unknown) is spicy, fruity notes careen elegantly about eventually creating a powdery chypre. The few florals are lovely but dark and dense. This is a very intelligent and subversive scent perhaps best worn, as many of the scents in this vintage sampler, at night…
Bolero (Dana 1932) is a musky, sweet and powdery chypre. The rich round notes have tremendous character and punch. Into the drydown Bolero is proudly smoky and wispy like willows of pipe tobacco. Quite nice for evening.
Platine (Dana 1939) is extraordinarily earthy aldehydes. Intriguingly, the base notes of ambergris, patchouli, orris and eventually oak moss are bold, sensual and totally present from start to finish. The lily of the valley, vetiver and cypress emerge next, followed by ylang ylang, jasmine, and orange blossom. Truly, Platine is like an elegant vintage mink. It’s difficult to wear easily, especially for day, but certainly possible.
Into the drydown the wet earth patchouli meets a hint of narcissus, citrus and other florals in a springlike background. But it’s the heady base and rocky aldehydes that are bravest.
Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, jonquil and narcissus. Middle notes: orange blossom, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, jasmine, iris, tuberose and Bulgarian rose. Base notes: ambergris, musk, patchouli, juniper, cypress, orris, vetiver, sandalwood, oak moss and styrax
Strikingly similar to the original No. 4711, Kölnisch Wasser Doppelt (Klosterfrau Köln 1939) is very crisp, refreshing and herbal but at the opening it has an exceptionally fresh and lovely lemon note. And into the drydown it’s also reminiscent of Guerlain Cologne Imperiale. Beside a vibrant lemon I detect definite notes of bergamot, lemon verbena, cedar, citrus, vetiver, basil, oakmoss and possibly florals like jasmine and rose. It’s a truly lovely scent even on a chilly February day.
Nose: Marie Clementine Martin