Shanghai (Lenthéric 1911 and 1936) is a sweet, beautifully powdery citrus at the opening. But there’s also a spicy, herbal quality. Neroli is glazed. Lavender and rose are very cheerful. And a gentle, amber tinged styrax plays very well with the aldehydes. Intriguingly it’s almost too sweet for a hot summer day but only almost as it’s reminiscent of Aqua Di Parma Colonia and it refuses to be saccharine. 

Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, cinnamon, clove, and citronella.  Middle notes: carnation, jasmine, Bulgarian rose, geranium, and lavender.   Base notes: frankincense, cedarwood, tonka, vetiver, oak moss, myrrh, benzoin, amber, musk, and sandalwood

Secret of Venus 

Peach and cassis dominate lemon with other citrus notes and lavender lingering in the mild distance (Weil 1933).  Then zany florals (freesia and jasmine in particular on my skin) lilt in with a spicy, saucy abandon. And yet, the warm, grounded base of patchouli, a lovely sandalwood and a vanilla (with a bit of an attitude) create a sort of smoothness and harmony. All together it’s beyond gorgeous… It has the sarsaparilla sweetness and fizz of many old beauties but there’s an added verve, possibly aided by the florals that become more and more vintage and nostalgic as the drydown continues. 

Top notes: Amalfi lemon, cassis, peach, grapefruit, bergamot and lavender.  Middle notes: freesia, gardenia and jasmine.  Base notes: patchouli, sandalwood, cedar and vanilla.  


Blue like a lake on a sunny summer day, lavender, clary sage and lemon create a cool, crispness in Canoe (Dana 1936). Then warm florals mix with musk and patchouli bringing a buttery, doughy, almond sugar-like charm.  And the drydown is refined and elegant.  

Top notes are lavender, clary sage and lemon.  Middle notes are carnation, patchouli, bourbon geranium, cedar and cloves.  Base notes are tonka bean, vanilla, oakmoss, heliotrope and musk.

Nose: Jean Carles 

Notte Romana 

Notte Romana (Bosari 1870 1939) is one of the prettiest Bosari fragrances I’ve sampled yet… The white lily is lush, blossoming and marshmallow sweet, as are the other accompanying florals. And while this is listed as acquatic and ozonic on Fragrantica it’s also very vintage and so frothy with its sandalwood, vanilla, tonka bean and musk that I can wear it.  And I love it. 

Top notes: white lily, galbanum and iris.  Middle notes: rose, lotus, and lily-of-the-valley.  Base notes: sandalwood, musk, vanilla and tonka bean.  

Il Mio Sogno

With a powdery and soapy vintage beginning a bit like Je Reviens, Il Mio Sogno (Bosari 1870 1939) is dreamy, fresh and almost romantic.  Rosewood, neroli and orange blossom blend very well and an old perfumery rose, gardenia and vetiver are hard to miss.  Oakmoss and frankincense add warmth and depth.  This is one of the scents you want to breath in, slowly.  It’s almost a little reminiscent of vintage Bourjois fragrances like Mais Oui and Soir de Paris…   

Top notes:  coriander, rosewood, neroli, mandarin and bergamot.   Middle notes: orange blossom, muguet, rose, gardenia, and ylang ylang.  Base notes: oakmoss, frankincense and vetiver.  


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 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…

Fleurs de Rocaille 

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 

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…