With an opening that’s intensely spicy, warm and sweet, Potpourri (Prince Matchabelli 1940) is beautifully vintage. To my nose this is mostly a polite but not at all boring violet, ylang ylang, hyacinth, cloves and rich musk scent… Although a woody benzoin is one of those sort of notes that is dominant, but so very quietly in the background that it’s easy to underestimate its significance. At least it’s easy to miss the benzoin at the start. Into the drydown it emerges in a way reminiscent of someone smoking a pipe with the vanillic tobacco of a bygone era. This is one of those fragrances that informs us of the era it came from.
Top notes: lemon, citruses, hyacinth. Middle notes: ylang ylang, lilac, rose, violet, cloves and spicy notes. Base notes: musk, benzoin, vanilla, and woody notes.
Lemon. Fresh, uplifting pine embraces lemon opens this classic gem (Visconti di Modrone 1949). Then lavender and bergamot arrive in a gentlemanly flourish. This extraordinarily pristine and airy scent is the sort of fragrance one wants to smell wafting from a man with perfectly starched and impeccably tailored shirts. It’s so crystal clear and pine tree cool that it reads as minty despite there being no mint notes listed… But the musk and peat base comes through at just the right moment to bring grounded depth. Slightly reminiscent of Blenheim Bouquet this is the sort of fragrance a well dressed man should own.
🎶And on a related note, this bottle was procured at an estate sale of an individual with great taste indeed – the retired director of the Minnesota Orchestra. I like to imagine detecting this scent during a discussion about the violin section playing Sibelius.
Top notes: lavender, bergamot, lemon, rosemary and basil. Middle notes: thyme, pine tree, cloves, clary sage and geranium. Base notes: peat, cedar, musk and vetiver.
Super musky citrus starts Woodhue (Fabergé 1944). Then green jasmine, a rich sandalwood and classic mix of vanilla and cedar warm on the skin to create a spicy grace. It’s a manly scent with pipe tobacco-like sweetness and earthy, woody depth. And the drydown is rather epic…
Top notes: orange, bergamot and citrus. Middle note: jasmine. Base notes: sandalwood, vanilla, cedar and musk.
Vintage Diorama (Dior 1948) opens with a peach sweet, slightly spiced green violet. Carnation, clove and tuberose mix beautifully. While civetta, castoreum and musk are present they’re surprisingly demure. The leather is also relatively subtle. And although geranium isn’t listed, I keep interpreting some combination of notes as that particular floral… Diorama is woody with cedar but it’s really mainly floral – almost a chypre… But I can’t get over how sugar-laced violet this one is with my skin chemistry…
Top notes: bergamot, peach, melon, and plum. Middle notes: violet, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, gardenia, tuberose, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, rose, carraway and pepper. Base notes: sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, Virginia cedar, musk, castoreum, civetta, and leather.
Nose: Edmond Roudnitska
I was overwhelmed when I first tested Fracas (Robert Piguet 1948)… The gardenia note is wild. It reminds me slightly of the gardenia in Tuvaché, Jungle Gardenia, which is by far the most bold gardenia note I’ve ever encountered. However, I also noted a luscious lilac, quiet bergamot, direct tuberose, quiet (by comparison) jasmine, noteable orange blossom and spicy sandalwood that felt like the period at the end of a sentence. The musk is also rather intense at first… However, after this scent has had a chance to breathe a warmth and pretty floral balance emerges. It’s almost like a sort of fresh carnation and lily salad… It’s perfect for a summer day or night.
Top notes: hyacinth, peach, orange blossom, green leaves, mandarin, and bergamot. Middle notes: rose geranium, rose, carnation, violet root, tuberose, white iris, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, osmsnthus, narcissus and gardenia. Base notes: cedar, oakmoss, vetiver, musk, amber and sandalwood.
Nose: Germaine Cellier
Antilope (Weil 1946) opens with Neroli and aldehydes. And then there’s this intoxicating, soft, lush herbal rose. It’s a rose accompanied by gentle florals like violet, and a misty jasmine, and carnation. There’s spicy patchouli, a sandalwood warmth, airy oakmoss and a tender clary sage. Sweet, almost sugary musk, tonka bean and amber are reminiscent of the olfactory delight from a savory dish right out of the oven in the American Deep South. But, all these sensuous, powdery and rather rambunctious notes are kept respectable by the iris, rose and vetiver.
Top notes: neroli, bergamot and aldehydes. Middle notes: clary sage, rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, carnation, iris and violet. Base notes: sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, tonka, amber, oak moss and musk.
Bright, beautiful tea-like green notes and gorgeous florals are flanked by truly smoky aldehydes and spice at the beginning of Symbole (Dana 1946). It’s a robust chypre with definite styrax, rose, musk, and vetiver. The unique thing about Symbole however, is that it’s not particularly weighed down despite its depth. It’s an almost fun scent in a vintage lavender meets glitter sort of way…
Woody and damp aldehydes gradually lace a crisp lemon and pristine clary sage. Green florals mix with warm orris root in Ma Griffe (Carven 1946). Lily-of-the-valley and lemon seem to be great friends into earliest moments of the drydown. And, given the supple, ever so slightly spicy and gracious base notes, which include styrax, cinnamon, oak moss and vetiver, the drydown is embracing and yet sharp as only true vintage fragrances can be.
Top notes: aldehydes, gardenia, green notes, asafoetida, clary sage and lemon. Middle notes: iris, orange blossom, orris root, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily-of-the-valley and rose. Base notes: labdanum, sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, benzoin, oakmoss, vetiver and styrax.
Nose: Jean Carles
A deep green, woody chypre with a wild amount of warm leafy loveliness, Chanel No. 46 (Chanel 1946) is rich and potent. A prominent bergamot, heady jasmine, charmingly complex orris root and a very vintage rose (almost reminiscent of Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose) create a multilayered and truly bewitching scent. And, there’s a dash of cumin into the smoky, powdery and Chanelesque drydown. It’s an endearing fragrance with its robust and yet uniquely elegant earthiness, but it’s also quite haunting.
Top notes: bergamot, orange and neroli. Middle notes: rose, lily-of-the-valley, ylang-ylang and jasmine. Base notes: vetiver, orris root, sandalwood, cumin, vanilla and musk
I was very excited to receive this rather rare bottle for my birthday… It’s better than I even imagined. 🙂
As is the case so often with fragrances of the past that are still produced today Chantilly (Houbigant 1941) is an entirely different experience in its vintage formulation. The vintage is almost reminiscent of Miss Dior in its citrusy, gorgeous, peppery floral beauty. Chantilly is sexy and lively but certainly not over the top… And there’s a perfect leather note that just eases into the picture delicately enough not to upset the flawless harmony but is present enough to make an impact. I’ll never look at Chantilly the same again…
Top notes: lemon, neroli, fruity notes, and bergamot. Middle notes: rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, carnation, spices, and orange blossom. Base notes: oakmoss, benzoin, musk, tonka bean, sandalwood, vanilla, and leather.