Category: 1989

Van Cleef & Arpels Tsar, 1989

  (image source unknown) Perfumer Philippe Bousseton I tend to talk about the fougère as a stern, towering perfume and it often is. But Tsar reminds me of how gentle the genre can be. Despite its ridiculous name, and blocky pseudo-Deco bottle, it’s one of the cozier fougères. Lavender and coumarin don’t crash against each other quite so much as in…

digging (into) vintage: Guerlain Samsara, 1989

Perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain (caveat: I never liked Samsara. Not when it was made with sandalwood, not now.) Perfumery lore has it that Samsara contained 30% sandalwood oil when launched. Sadly, sandalwood has effectively been removed from the perfumer’s palette, and in Samsara’s case, it’s been replaced ear-splittingly loud synthetics. Perhaps a lush, botanically derived jasmine might have been overmatched by…

Etro Palais Jamais, 1989

Perfumer unknown Palais Jamais should be a mess. Citrus, floral, smoky, herbal, vetiver. Was that rubber? Was it supposed to be leather? Palais Jamais somehow keeps its parts distinct and well behaved. From top to base, Palais Jamais maintains an ungainly balance. The elements don’t come together—that would be the mess—they just follow their courses. The lighter elements recede, the…

Etro Vetiver, 1989

Perfumer unknown Etro Vetiver has a wonderfully burnt yet wet quality that makes this seem not so much like a fragrance to be worn in autumn, but a fragrance that smells of autumn. It smells like dried, fallen tree leaves that have been rained on, plus burnt cedar logs doused by the same rain. Etro’s Vetiver has a very strong…

digging (into) vintage: Ralph Lauren Safari, 1989

(image source, 1970s Yves Saint Laurent Safari Collection featuring Veruschka) Perfumer Dominique Ropion. I hadn’t known that Safari was discontinued until I started to write this reflection. I’m of a couple of minds about Safari, but I’m sorry it’s d/c’d. It’s an interesting alternative to other widely-available, mainstream florals. It starts crisp and grassy. It’s heavy on galbanum, but the high-pitched…

Parfums de Nicolai New York, 1989

Perfumer Patricia de Nicolai When I’m uncertain what I want to wear and put on New York, it’s like an olfactory moment of kensho. It’s the moment that reminds me why I wear perfume at all. New York’s secret weapon, besides its flawless evolution, is its powder. Powder is often mentioned in the context of the old-lady perfumes, tedious dandy…

Etro Gomma, 1989

Perfumer Édouard Fléchier Leather perfumes are often defined by the ‘leather plus’ principle. Leather + citrus (Azurée), leather + green (Bandit), leather + tar (Lonestar Memories), Leather + cumin (Rien.) Gomma’s leather is defined by florals and amber. But its plus-one is really rubber. I find that the sweet, powdery, slightly burnt rubber that is prominent from the start lasts…