Bijan (women)

Opulent. To me, this classic 1980’s fragrance is the epitome of the opulence of that era. Today, vintage Bijan (Bijan Bijan 1986) smells niche. It’s rich, engaging, and nearly aromatic in its intensity. 🌿The opening is warm, with florals arranging themselves adorned in base notes that shimmer like expensive gold baubles. Then a fairly green narcissus, carnation and rose seem to stand out most. Sweet woods introduce themselves finally, after flirting indefinitely. And as it continues one becomes entranced. 🌿In the bitter cold of winter I imagine this is just loud enough to be heard. But I can only imagine how beautiful and lush Bijan must be on a mid-summer day. …I’ll find out next year!

Top notes: ylang-ylang, narcissus, orange blossom, bergamot, neroli and pimeto. Middle notes: Persian jasmine, Bulgarian rose, lily-of-the-valley, carnation, honey, orrisroot and tuberose. Base notes: Moroccan oakmoss, sandalwood, patchouli, amber, benzoin, cedar, heliotrope, musk, Tonka bean and vanilla.

Nose: Peter Bohm


This was one of my (paternal) Grandma Adeline’s favorite fragrances. Smelling the perfume from this late 1980’s or early 90’s bottle I am transported back to my grandparent’s house. Fendi (Fendi 1985) wafted around various spots and left a pleasing fragrance trail.

Fendi suited Adeline so well. She had dark brown, well coiffed hair and brown eyes with fair skin. And while she was sweet and somewhat demure she definitely had an elegant, but surprisingly feisty edge.

As a young woman Adeline planned to be an actress but then my grandfather spotted her and her bright smile and she found herself living a much quieter life. Although, they did spend quite a few years at the start of their marriage in San Francisco, with my grandfather managing a Naval shipyard during WWII. She absolutely loved it there…

Really, Fendi is just her. It’s spicy. And it’s warm but in a camphor-like, powdery and hauntingly resinous way. It reminds me of the lit stained glass, mahogany, sleek silk and pipe tobacco smoky corners of a fragrance from the 1930’s actually. But, it’s all of that with a 1980’s opulence.

The amber, oakmoss, sandalwood, nutmeg and musk mix with the beautiful, grand florals to perfection. And the drydown is pretty, poignant and gentle with its honeyed grace.

I couldn’t wear this as often as my Grandma Adeline did but I thoroughly enjoy it when I do. Oh, and for those of you who love Papillon Artisan Perfumes think: Salome (in my opinion).

Top notes: coriander, aldehydes, mandarin orange, bergamot, Brazilian Rosewood, lemon, and cardamom. Middle notes: lily-of-the-valley, rose, ylang ylang, geranium, jasmine, cypress and carnation. Base notes: amber, cedar, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka bean, musk, leather, patchouli and spices.

Nocturnes de Caron

Apple-like aldehydes lace a powdery rose at the start of Nocturnes de Caron (Caron 1981). Then sharp, vibrant citrus notes mix with a fruity jasmine. And all through the life of the fragrance the notes are drenched by sweet, slightly animatic but elegant musk. Really, the name fits it perfectly. It’s brooding, melancholy and lovely – Chopin in a bottle.

Top notes: tincture of rose, aldehydes, neroli, and orange. Middle notes: tuberose, ylang ylang and jasmine. Base notes: sandalwood, musk and vetiver.

Nose: Gerald Lefort

Giorgio Beverly Hills For Men 

While Giorgio Beverly Hills is a blast of tuberose that can almost be offensive (or just is offensive depending on who you ask and their experience with the scent) Giorgio Beverly Hills For Men (Giorgio Beverly Hills 1984) is a bit more regal and refined. Marbled orange and aldehydes start and then are flanked by smoky, sandalwood emboldened honey mixed with carnation. Orris and patchouli are nearly sublime as they meet with musk, sweet benzoin and just a perfect dash of oakmoss. I expected to be moderately pleased with this vintage sample but instead I’m a little taken. 
Top notes: aldehydes, orange, fruity notes and bergamot.  Middle notes: carnation, sandalwood, patchouli, cinnamon, orris root, cedar and rose.  Base notes: honey, tonka bean, amber, musk, benzoin, oakmoss and vanilla.


This fragrance is another exercise in whether or not vintage fragrance actually can hold up over time.  I remember Tiffany well.  Got some reason I wore it in the fifth grade…

I’m taught the same bitteersweet lessons: some bottles last better than others and in the bottles that don’t hold up well the notes become tangled.  I smell the black currant, violet leaf, orange flower and ylang ylang I recall.  And the sweetened sandalwood mixes with the opulent rose.  But I remember it being more supple and fluid.  The juicy notes flowed in a perfect swirl of floral charm.  I’ll have to find a better vintage bottle…

Top notes: black currant and mandarin orange.   Middle notes: ylang ylang, violet leaf, lily-of-the-valley, taif rose, African orange flower, iris, and jasmine.  Base notes: vanille, amber, sandalwood, and vetiver.  
Nose: Francois Demachy


Although Knowing is heralded for its sharp, but engaging beauty and Magie Noire for the figure eight created by the notes, Diva (Emanuel Ungaro 1983) instantly reminds me of these classics. I detect honey (a base note) and breathtaking rose right from the start. The green, ebullient spices then mix with citrus brightened civet and amber but always they return to the start: earthy, bold florals and aldehydes centered around rose. Of course, orris, narcissus and tuberose are also present but they don’t overpower the other notes for even a moment. Diva is a true gem.
Top notes: mandarin orange, aldehydes, Indian tuberose, coriander, and bergamot.  Middle notes: carnation, orris root, Turkish rose, Moroccan rose, ylang ylang, Egyptian jasmine and narcissus.  Base notes: honey, iris, amber, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, oakmoss, vanilla, civet and musk.  

Nose: Jacques Polge

Hardy Amies 

With grassy, herbal and sweet notes, Hardy Amies (Hardy Amies 1985) has a clean but slightly bold start. It almost smells like a vintage gourmet sugar coated candy… And it’s a little powdery. The petitgrain, rose and chamomile are airy but covered by sugary citrus. You almost want to eat it it smells so delectable… But that herbal quality freshens the entire thing to a point of wearability even on a hot summer day. 


Soapy clary sage, plum and tender, green carnation (Houbigant 1982) are rich and effusive.  And vintage orange blossom, jasmine, tuberose and mimosa sing from the heart of Raffinée.  Then orris root mixes with sandalwood and cypress to turn up the volume.  Certainly there’s musk, vanilla,  incense and vetiver but despite their presence the other notes are soboisterous (but not obnoxious) they become accompianments.  This is a true saucy, beautiful, sweet and spicy 80’s gem.  It’s definitely worth investigating.  

Top notes: carnation, orange blossom, plum, clary sage, jasmine, lemon, bergamot and rose.  Middle notes:  mimosa, tuberose, tonka bean, orchid, osmanthus, orris root, hiacynth and ylang-ylang.  Base notes: spices, cypress, sandalwood, cinnamon, musk, vanilla, vetiver and incense.


Plum combines with crimson and purple berries to make a syrupy juice that’s sweet and enveloping (Christian Dior 1985).   It sets a fairytale mood at the start. Soon you can smell honey and spices flanking a *very* red rose. Then there’s carnation, sandalwood and a perfectly musky, dark opoponax tinged and nearly foreboding vanilla. Vintage Poison tells of love gone wrong and then right. It’s an epic and exalting story of great beauty in one fragrance…

Top notes: plum, wild berries, Brazilian rosewood, and anise.  Middle notes: tuberose, opoponax, honey, African orange flower, incense, rose, jasmine, cinnamon and carnation.  Base notes: heliotrope, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, musk, Virginia cedar and amber. 

Nose: Edouard Flechier 


Spicy lily-of-the-valley and carnation are flanked by bright citrus notes (Alfred Sung 1986).  Into the drydown a musky, amber vanillic warmth becomes ever more opulent. Other florals are green, dense and yet watery… It’s a very 80’s scent, and a pretty one. 

My Grandma Adeline had a box of this and Giorgio Beverly Hills on her dresser in my early childhood. I remember always being curious and smelling it occasionally…

Top notes: lemon, bergamot, ylang ylang, hiacynth, galbanum, mandarin orange, and orange.  Middle notes: carnation, iris, rose, orchid, lily-of-the-valley, rose, and osmanthus.  Base notes: vanilla, amber, vetiver, oakmoss, musk, orange blossom and sandalwood.