Category: powdery

digging (into) vintage: Jean Patou Sublime, 1992

Perfumer Jean Kerléo. Somewhere in the ’90s the chypre fell off the radar. Blame the IFRA, blame Angel (also 1992), blame whoever you like. It went quietly from the pinnacle of chic to over-the-hill faster than you can say ‘mousse de chêne.’ Why and how to restrict perfume materials is a popular if confusing debate today, but in the 70s-90s the…

Stéphane Humbert Lucas 777 Khol de Bahrein, 2013

Photo of John Todd by Markus Lambert. A gourmand-cosmetic perfume might not sound like the ideal hybrid fragrance, but Khol de Bahrein is convincing. It is a candied floriental of middle-eastern extraction with iris, violet and heliotropin dipped in amber and incense. The range of resins and flowers is calibrated to create an image of sweets ranging from dragées to…

Crown Perfumery Crown Heliotrope, 1939

Perfumer unknown. New materials create spikes in the market. Witness the glut of Cool-Watery perfumes using dihydromyrcenol, ‘radiant woods’ of the iso-E super school and the ongoing norlimbanol-heavy ‘dry woods’ craze. Better still, look at the explosion of violet, lilac, heliotrope perfumes from the turn of the 20th century. These early soliflors were hugely popular and traces of their style…

Bruno Fazzolari Au Delà and Seyrig

Image Philip-Lorca diCorcia. Perfumer Bruno Fazzolari. It’s a fine point, but Bruno Fazzolari’s perfumes Au Delà (2013) and Seyrig (2015) don’t imitate perfumes from the past. Instead, they take their genres apart and discover what makes them tick. Even though Fazzolari refers Seyrig as “inspired by the aldehydic motifs of the late ’60s and early ’70s perfume” it steers clear…

digging (into) vintage: Oscar by Oscar de la Renta, 1977

  (Left: Oscar de la Renta  early 1970s. Right: Yves Saint Laurent 1974) Perfumer Jean-Louis Sieuzac made some of the most memorable and influential perfumes of the 1970s-1990s. Yves Saint Laurent’s era-defining Opium (1977) smothered the oriental genre in spice, making the previous big-girls like Shalimar and Youth Dew seem quaint.  In the 1980s Sieuzac skipped the match, but piled…

Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle Musc Ravageur, 2000

(image source unknown) Perfumer Maurice Roucel. Wearing L de Lolita could well be a Catholic-school lesson on the sin of gluttony and the threats of eternal hell. The anticipation draws you close, the titilation makes you give in, the satisfaction is the pleasure you’ve been denied. Then you continue to eat, unable to control yourself, long past the point of nausea…

digging (into) vintage: Guerlain Chamade, 1969

Image, Gregory Crewdson. Perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain. Chamade captures the olfactory gestalt of Springtime like no other perfume. It smells like fresh stems, flowers, moisture, soil and rot. Succulence and indolence. More than a summary of notes, though, it smells like the sensations of Spring. It combines the acceleration of exploding growth and the leisurely pace of a world thawing over…

Chanel Coromandel, 2007

  Perfumer Jacques Polges. A house like Chanel has to play a few different angles at once if they want to sell their products. With Cormandel they tie together a few different narratives that target a number of key demographics simultaneously. It’s an odd dance that Coromandel performs seamlessly.  Coromandel is a Hippy Patchouli and it’s an Old Lady Perfume. It’s for…

le Labo Patchouli 24, 2006

Perfumer Annick Ménardo A review of le Labo Patchouli 24, a salute to Bvlgari Black and, I suppose, a fan letter to Anick Ménardo. If I find a genre of perfume that I like, I embrace it. I stock up. With Patchouli 24, I’ve cornered the market on the smokey-leather-tea-patchouli-resinous-vanilla genre. I already own two others in the category:  Bvlgari…