Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.
Provocatively named, Lanvin Mon Péché (My Sin for the American market) is a mystery novel full of unusual twists and complex subplots. From the chilly elegance of its top notes crowned with the crisp aldehydes to the languorous darkness of its floral heart and the animalic base, heavy like a sigh of yearning, it never ceases to maintain attention. Why a mystery and not a simple story of seduction? Like most classical fragrances, My Sin does not flaunt its sensuality, but treats it in a tantalizing and unpredictable manner, resulting in a composition that, like a good mystery novel, keeps one guessing until the last page.
Between 1923 and 1924, the Russian perfumer Mme Zed created a range of perfumes for Jeanne Lanvin’s fashion house, which were intended more as the scented souvenirs for travel obsessed Lanvin than the fragrances with the wide appeal. Thus, La Dogaresse captured the beauty of ochre colored Venetian palazzos reflecting in the murky waters of the canals. Geranium d’Espagne spoke of hot stone paved streets in Seville. Le Sillon reminded of the wake of a ship. A collaboration between Mme Zed and Firmenich in 1924 resulted in My Sin. It broke with the holiday postcard tradition of Lanvin perfumes, instead presenting a composition that told its irresistible story in a sexy whisper. Its success was to be rivaled only by Arpège. …
A child of the 1920s, My Sin is based on the classical aldehydic-floral accord, the starched crispness of which is softened by the luxurious jasmine and ylang ylang—an olfactory sensation of soft lips touching the warm skin. The indolic whiteness of flowers contrasts with the incense ash quality of sandalwood forming the base, on which My Sin rests her voluptuous form. Recall two of the greatest perfumes, one by Chanel and one by Caron, and there you have a reference point for My Sin. The aldehydic overture against the woody backdrop is reminiscent of Chanel Bois des Iles, while the civet marred flowers recall the seductive intensity of Caron Narcisse Noir. It is a story filled with passionate whispers, dark secrets and sinister intrigues. My Sin continues unfolding even as the embers of its warm base lose their vibrancy and begin to fade, thus proving that mysteries do not have to solved.
My Sin includes the top notes of aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, clary sage, neroli; heart notes of ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, clove, orris, lily of the valley, jonquil, lilac; base notes of vanilla, vetiver, musk, woods, tolu, styrax, civet. It has been discontinued, however the Long Lost Perfumes has a rather decent version of the vintage formula. I am not enchanted with its sharp top and heart notes, however the drydown is close to the original.
Verushka in Lanvin My Sin ad.