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

Mystery Lanvin

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When I purchased these two unmarked bottles of vintage Lanvin fragrances at an antique store (the bottle is a Lanvin bottle) they came in a set of three.  Not realizing what I was looking at I only took home two of them.  Now I know that Lanvin seems to have sold their most popular fragrances (Rumeur, My Sin, Scandal, Arpége, Prétexte) in sets during the 1950’s.  I shouldn’t have separated them…

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I’m quite sure that the flacon on the right in the photo above is Scandal.  It has the same juicy, warm drydown that heats up versus the drydown for My Sin, which can resemble Scandal a bit.  In the drydown for My Sin a smoky quality emerges that is very strong and certainly not sweet in the same almost fruity way as Scandal’s drydown.

I don’t know what the contents of the flacon on the left are because I can’t get it open (despite all the tricks I’ve tried that usually work).  My guess is that it’s either Prétexte or Rumeur though because it doesn’t smell anything like Arpège, My Sin or Scandal from the bit that is stuck on the bottle between the grooves.  I wish I could get it open.  And, I’ll have to try again because smelling Rumeur or Prètexte would be a treat…

A lot of things are in limbo right now but we’re doing well…  Hopefully we’ll finally make it to the Farmer’s Market today.

I look around me and I see so many things to be thankful for…  And I see so much pain in the world too.  Lots of prayers…

Thanks for reading this blog.  🙂


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Vintage Lanvin, Scandal Extrait

The well-regarded perfume blog, Perfume Shrine, notes that Scandal by Lanvin (Lanvin 1931), is widely held as one of the most, if not the most, exquisite leather fragrances ever created.  Frankly, I can see why

What a perfume. Good grief.

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It’s beautiful, sweet, sensuous, feminine leather with a razor sharp edge.  In my estimation, Scandal is almost a wilder, more saucy version of My Sin with leather and incense.   There’s something in Scandal that reminds me of wood burning in a fireplace, similar to My Sin, but I can’t find any notes listed that account for it…  Scandal also manages to be a great floral fragrance with notes listed of rose, ylang ylang and iris.

And, really it’s just amazing in the drydown.  Scandal becomes especially fruity (again nothing other than citrus listed), vanilla soft, powdery, aldehydic and if finely chiseled marble had a scent it would be best captured in the drydown of this Lanvin masterpiece.

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I think Scandal, at least in name (it’s a 1930’s scent and Downton is only in 1924), also suits the mood created by the first episode of Downton Abbey this season. Lots of drama is brewing…

I still say that I miss the character of Matthew, as played by Dan Stevens (I wish he would have decided to stay)…  I just don’t feel like the show has been the same since he died.   I think his death was like if they had decided to kill Roger Sterling or Joan on Mad Men during the third season, or if Gilbert in Anne of Green Gables had suddenly, and horrifically died too early – it doesn’t seem like the best fit for the series.  Thankfully though, it appears that this season is going to be better than the last.

However, I do have a few requests… Can the “Thomas does evil” storyline end now please, and can we just put this business with Bates to a close?  Also, can Mary and Tom please, please fall secretly in love?  I think that would be kind of exciting.  I don’t really like any of her suitors (do you?) and watching the dynamics of a developing romance between those two would be fascinating. Even if the writers would have to squish the characters around a bit and mold them to make it work, I would love to watch (would you?).   I think they would make a handsome couple…  Or can we just say goodbye to Ms. Bunting and Mary’s current group of men and get some fresh faces? 🙂

Just a few thoughts…

My Sin

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Today I’m wearing my vintage bottle of My Sin by Lanvin (Lanvin 1924).  It has all the pop and fizz of most classic 1920’s fragrances with a hint of something that smells like luscious ripe fruit.   Actually, it smells like a piece of fruit so ripe that if consumed would be quite intoxicating.  Given that this Lanvin classic is a perfume from The Prohibition Era, “Roaring Twenties,” the smell of fermented fruit befits the name beautifully.

During the drydown My Sin becomes a bit soapy with a strong hint of smoke that reminds me of a wood-burning fireplace.  It tells a story.  There’s a long evening into night of wine and refined, raucous merriment ending in a demure domestic scene of soap, burning wood and perhaps even sleep.  Yes, even though the name may hint at something else, this scent ends in a very tranquil, albeit still delightfully fizzy, softness.


Top notes are listed as: neroli, bergamot, amalfi lemon, clary sage and aldehydes. Middle notes: jasmine, narcissus, ylang ylang, clove, orris root, lilac, lily-of-the-valley and rose.   Base notes are listed as: vetyver, musk, styrax, civetta, tolu balsam, vanille, and woodsy notes.

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(All non-perfume photos were taken by the author at the Olcott House, in Duluth, Minnesota during a road trip with her husband.)


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After a long week, I brought out the epsom salts and Bayer and then doused myself in vintage Arpège by Lanvin (Lanvin 1927). It might seem odd to use perfume when you already have a headache, and perhaps it was foolish, but I figured if I could just find the right scent it might actually help my headache (caused by stress and lack of sleep).  And, I guess it wasn’t so silly after all, because vintage Extrait de Arpège was the perfect soothing elixir I needed.

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According to Arpège has top notes of:

Honeysuckle, Peach, Neroli, Lily-of-the-Valley, Aldehydes and Bergamot

middle notes of:

Camellia, Coriander, Iris, Lily, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose and Geranium

and base notes of:

Amber, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Musk, Benzoin, Vetiver and Vanilla

It’s powdery, floral, and refined ease.  It has a personality reminiscent of pure French Lavender oil, although there isn’t a Lavender note in the perfume listed.  Like Lavender oil, it fits in marvelously in a myriad of circumstances.  You can’t really go wrong wearing this scent.  It’s dignified and honorable but there’s that Aldehydic friendly sparkle and Benzoin surge that make it more than a bit alluring in an old-world, fantastic sort of way.  In the late dry down it retains it’s virtues but also becomes a slightly intoxicating skin scent.

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I’ve been wearing it all weekend actually.  It’s calming and that’s exactly what I need.  🙂

Have a lovely rest of your weekend… Until Wednesday.

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