digging (into) vintage: Paco Rabanne Metal, 1979

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Perfumer Robert Gonnon

For all the specific floral notes I can make out in Metal (lily of the valley, hyacinth, narcissus?) it doesn’t read as floral. Even with the connections to other green florals (Guerlain Chamade, de Nicolai le Temps d’une Fete) and aldehydic florals (its sibling Paco Rabanne Calandre), Metal stands in its own category. The only other scents truly akin to it are alike in their abstract construction, not in the similarity of their notes or categorization. Guerlain Nahema, also released in 1979, comes to mind for the fact that it is only tangentially a rose. Or Bvlgari Black for the way it suggests leather through rubber and baby powder.

Metal is considered a green floral because perfumery doesn’t offer much to categorize it. I’ve had to make my own genres to account for Metal: Flinty Green Metallics? Oily Bittersweets? My favorite is the Venomous Gourmand Antagonist.

Metal is the successor to Chanel 19, not because they both occupy the green floral genre, but for the fact that they are two of the stone-coldest perfumes you’ll ever smell. Metal’s aloofness makes me think of the expression, ‘just as soon kill you as go fishing.’


(image source unknown)

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