Mais Oui

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Mais Ouis (Bourjois 1938) translated from French to “but yes” is a very 1930’s scent.  At first it’s an aldehydic shock of great depth and richness, a bit like a vintage Chanel (especially Chanel No. 5) and as it wears on it reminds me a bit of My Sin, by Lanvin.  But this perfume is uniquely unfettered and zesty.  It’s the most gleefully racuous vintage perfume I think I’ve ever smelled actually…  It’s provocative, fun and slightly sweet with notes of amber (?), musk, benzoin, castoreum and perhaps a few florals too…

It reminds me of a black and white photo taken of my (now deceased) grandparents by their car in the early 40’s, when they were first married.  My grandmother had a coy grin as she clutched her fur lined coat close to her face, and my grandfather wore a leather bomber jacket and a fedora casually leaning back against the car in his usual nonchalant but no-nonsense manner.  He always reminded me a bit of Humphrey Bogart. They were hardly wild people, although they were a bit dapper, but I think my grandmother would have happily worn Mais Oui.  It’s such a truly fun fragrance. It evokes a feeling of energetic youthfulness, regardless of how totally of its time it is.

Until Friday.

Evening in Paris

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Created by the legendary Ernest Beaux in 1928 for Bourjois, Evening in Paris, or Soir de Paris, is a tremendously unique fragrance.  To me it smells like vintage L’Aimant mixed with cigarettes.  I imagine it truly smells like Paris in the evenings of yesteryear – the cigarette note smells retro too…

The notes for this musky, floral masterpiece (Bourjois 1928) are listed as:

Top notes: apricot, bergamot, peach, and violet.

Middle notes: jasmine, rose, heliotrope, iris, lily-of-the-valley, and ylang ylang.

Base notes: vanilla, sandalwood, amber and musk.

I wonder if perhaps the “cigarette note” I’m smelling is a combination of ylang ylang, vanilla, amber, musk and sandalwood.  Whatever it is, it’s brilliant to be able to so perfectly create that aroma and, of course, very charateristic of Ernest Beaux.  He was a Russian perfumer who created Chanel no. 5 and Chanel no. 22, Chanel Cuir de Russie, Chanel Gardénia, and Chanel Bois des Iles – all fragrances befitting his genius.

(This scent was discontinued in 1969, but relaunched in 1992.  The version in this post is from the original vintage.)

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The smell of cigarettes and flowers was perfect for reading Put Out More Flags (Chapman and Hall 1942), by the English author Evelyn Waugh (Brideshead Revisted, Handful of Dust).  I’m afraid that at the time of this posting, I haven’t finished the novel but so far I’m enjoying it a lot. Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) is one of my favorite authors (I love Brideshead Revisted and The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold), and the characters in Put Out More Flags, are the same as some of his previous works, such as Vile Bodies (i.e. Basil Seal).  It was dedicated to Randolph Churchill, (son of Sir Winston S. Churchill) because he found a service commission for Evelyn Waugh during World War II.

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The novel starts at the beginning of World War II and follows the doings of upper-class British characters – Basil Seal, and Basil’s sister, mistress  (Angela Lyne – I find her character very entertaining/intriguing) and mother.  It’s a comedic piece and deals, in part, with the failures of the British elite in dealing with the rise of Hilter in the 1930’s…

But I’m not doing this book any justice in this post (sitting and reading a book is a luxury for me) and so it will be my book of the week next week too.  By then I’ll have had time to read it.  (Hopefully)  🙂

Until Friday.