Category: perfumer

Estée Lauder Cinnabar, 1978

Perfumer Bernard Chant? Spicy, resinous amber perfumes are a feel-good genre in perfumery. The individual components (vanilla, benzoin, labdanum…) are like prefab bases and can single-handedly provide the blueprint for an Oriental perfume. The risk is the kitchen-sink syndrome. Cinnabar’s topnotes juxtapose a bright, aldehyde/bergamot accord against a boozy amber mix, a trick learned from Youth Dew. The segue from citrus to…

Guerlain Mon Guerlain, 2017

Perfumer Thierry Wasser. So, what is the recipe for a big-budget, got-to-be-successful, no-room-for-error, if-you-build-it-they-will-come perfume? To judge by Guerlain’s approach: Mix equal parts imitation, predictability and risk aversion in a large bowl. Bake in a lukewarm focus-group until stale. Sprinkle with olfactory least common denominators. Serve in a bottle replete with historical Awethenticity™. Buon appetitio. Am I cynical? Clearly, but…

Bruno Fazzolari Feu Secret, 2017

Feu Secret is an exploration of orris, a tricky material to describe in notes. Combined with other components in a composition it has an olfactory range of that lands it squarely in the woody-floral category. Of course orris butter can also make a perfume powdery, metallic, papery, chocolatey or yeasty depending on the angle of approach so to speak. It…

digging (into) vintage: Geoffrey Beene Grey Flannel, 1975

Perfumer André Fomentin. Forthright, stark accords have a broad legibility that I find appealing. Fundamental accords keep some degree of some degree of virtuosity even when the notes harmonize. The best potential for synergy is when different elements are connected by a couple of associative links, as in the seemingly Kevin Baconish degrees between bergamot, oakmoss and labdanum in a…

digging (into) vintage: Caron Bellodgia, 1927

Perfumer Ernest Daltroff When a classic perfume falls from grace reformulation is typically the first target of rage. The story of how chypres and fougères were vandalized by IFRA has been repeated to often it’s become a moral fable. Replace IFRA and the consumer with the tortoise and the hare or the grasshopper and the ass and you have a…

digging (into) vintage: Guy Robert’s woody florals.

Perfumer and one-time President of La Société Française des Parfumeurs, Guy Robert was known for his rich, layered woody florals. Early in his career, Robert hit on an effective formula of aldehydes, flowers, musks and woods. With this framework he created perfumes that have come to define the terms ‘orchestral’ and ‘symphonic’ in perfumery. Robert’s style of woody floral-aldehydes has…

digging(into) vintage: bandit

(Image source unknown) Bandit might have been butch in its day, but that dynamic has changed a lot since 1944. It’s a potent leather with a come-hither lush animalism, the perfect femme-top perfume. I find it easier to read the dynamics of Bandit than many modern dry leathers. It’s calibrated to give the hard and the soft together. When modern…