Guy Robert’s Selection of Perfume Masterpieces

Coty_chypre_1

In his book, Les Sens du Parfum, the perfumer Guy Robert lists some of the perfumers whose work he considers to be especially outstanding, alongside with some of their most notable masterpieces. Robert is the author of such fragrances as Amouage Gold, Christian Dior Dioressence, Hermès Calèche, Hermès Equipage and my own favorite Hermès Doblis. I always considered this list as including the classics one definitely must try. Unfortunately, some of them are no longer available, or not available in their original form. If you have a particular interest in seeing a review of any of them, please let me know. Cordon Vert is the only one I have not tried from this list.

François Coty — Chypre, L’Origan, L’Ambre Antique, L’Emeraude, La Cologne Cordon Vert.
Jacques Guerlain — Mitsouko, Shalimar, L’Heure Bleue. …

Ernest Daltroff — Caron Narcisse Noir, Tabac Blond, Nuit de Noël.
Henri Alméras — Jean Patou Joy, Jean Patou Moment Suprême, Rosine Fruit Défendu.
Jean Carles — Dana Tabu, Dana Canoë, Carven Ma Griffe.
Ernest Beaux — Chanel No 5, Chanel Gardénia, Bourjois Soir de Paris.
Paul Parquet — Houbigant Fougère Royale, Houbigant Quelques Fleurs.
Henri Robert — Coty Muguet des Bois, Chanel No 19, Chanel Pour Monsieur.
Vincent Roubert — Coty L’Aimant, Jacques Fath Iris Gris.
Edmond Roudnitska — Rochas Femme, Dior Eau Sauvage, Diorissimo.
Paul Vacher — Lanvin Arpège, Lanvin Scandal, Dior Miss Dior.
Andre Frayssé — Lanvin Arpège, Lanvin Scandal.
Germaine Cellier — Robert Piguet Bandit, Balmain Vent Vert.

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39 Comments

  • portlandia: I will have to read this book – if the man who created Amouage Gold does not know what he is talking about, then no one does! If that were his only masterpiece it would be enough for me.

    That is quite a list. I am afraid that some of these are not going to be seen ever again in their original form, however, so even though I have tried many of them, I doubt that they were the real thing. Somehow I can’t believe that the “drugstore” Muguet de Bois is what the perfumer intended. November 2, 2006 at 12:47am Reply

  • chayaruchama: You and I are on the same wavelength, Vika…
    A lovely list.
    And I wish, dearly, that I could afford Doblis-
    It’s a materpiece of perfumery- makes Clive Christian pale at the price. November 2, 2006 at 6:33am Reply

  • carmencanada: I own 19 out of the 26 he lists… Of course, some are, like you wrote, inaccessible (Iris Gris, Fougère Royale, Fruit défendu… and I’ve seen Cordon Rouge once on eBay but never Cordon Vert).
    I’m surprised Jicky isn’t on the Guerlain list. Now that is one scent of amazing, enduring modernity. And I’ve never even allowed myself to sniff Doblis (don’t know if testers are available chez Hermès) for fear of falling too much in love. November 2, 2006 at 6:43am Reply

  • carmencanada: I meant of the 36 he lists, my math is lousy… November 2, 2006 at 6:44am Reply

  • Judith: What a wonderful list! I am pleased that I have at least tried most of them! I still need to sniff the elusive Cordon Vert, plus Fruit Defendu, Houbigant Fougere Royale, and Fath Iris Gris. Back to Ebay for me. . . .!! November 2, 2006 at 7:54am Reply

  • Dmitri: Thank you very much! Yes, I am interested in seeing a review of some fragrances chosen by G.Robert:
    Coty – L’Ambre Antique, Muguet
    Houbigant – Fougère Royale, Quelques Fleurs
    One more question: Is there an English issue of the book by GR already available? November 2, 2006 at 8:39am Reply

  • patchamour: Thank you for the lists. Some of my favorites are there. I’d love to hear more about Doblis and also Bourgois’s Soir de Paris, for a personal reason. When I was a young child (late ’40’s — early ’50’s), my best friend and I liked to go to the dimestore in our very, very small southern town, where we once bought a tiny dark blue bottle of something called “Evening in Paris” fragrance. What we liked was the bottle, but we managed to spill the fragrance — which our parents then declared “stinky” — all over our toys. (At the time my mother wore L’Aimant by Coty.) I think this same juice is available from The Vermont Country Store, but I’m reluctant to buy it unsniffed at that price, though I’m longing for a memory trip. Could this possibly be the same “Soir de Paris”? If you’ve ever sniffed it, I’d appreciate hearing what you think of it, what the notes are, etc. Thank you. November 2, 2006 at 9:19am Reply

  • AnnE: This is a wonderful list! I’ve tried many of them, but not in original or vintage form. I remember wearing L’Aimant and L’Origan (bought at the drugstore) when I was young – could these possibly bear any resemblance to the originals? November 2, 2006 at 9:49am Reply

  • Robin: I would love to see reviews of all of them! But especially the Iris Gris — I just love that name, and it appears on so many lists that I’d love to know what it smells like. November 2, 2006 at 10:46am Reply

  • violetnoir: What, no Fracas?? ((((Gasp))))

    Anyway, I have had the pleasure of wearing or smelling a few of these. Of course my favorite one, Shalimar, is on the list. 🙂 You are very lucky to have smelled most of them, darling.

    I agree with Robin;I would love to test Fath’s Iris Gris. What a beautiful name! Also, the Rosine sounds intriguing. I would like to smell the “fruit” in it. I assume that it is done so much better than most of these modern fruity fragrances. 🙂

    Hugs! November 2, 2006 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Elle: Hmmm…I suppose “all” is out of the question? 🙂 I’ve tried most of them, but I’d love to read your reviews of Rosine’s Fruit Defendu, Ma Griffe, Dana Canoe, Doblis, the original Vent Vert and Soir de Paris. November 2, 2006 at 12:43pm Reply

  • March: Soir de Paris and Quelques Fleurs, please. I can never decide about the latter — now I’ll have a nice biased sniff next time! (It seems very sweet and heady to me, almost too much.) November 2, 2006 at 3:06pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Portlandia, it is a great book! I read it in French first and now I am reading it in Italian. Unfortunately, it is not available in English. What happened to Coty fragrances is just sad–Roudnitska, the creator of Diorissimo, praised Muguet des Bois, L’Origan introduced a whole new perfume genre. Yet, I hear that Coty vintages will be reissued soon (and those who have tried them said that they are great), so that is good news. November 2, 2006 at 4:15pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Chaya, I saw a bottle of Doblis for something in the range of $200, but I think that it got sold out very quickly. It is an amazing fragrance. November 2, 2006 at 4:16pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, Jicky is beautiful! However, I cannot wear the version sold right now–the synthetic wood note is driving me crazy, and I always end up washing it off. Fortunately, vintage Jicky (or even the version from the 1980s) is easy to find. November 2, 2006 at 4:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: D, I have hardly been sleeping lately, so I can relate! November 2, 2006 at 4:19pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Judith, out of those, I would say that Iris Gris is the most difficult one to find. However, it is not impossible to do so. November 2, 2006 at 4:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dmitri, I have only seen the French and Italian versions. It seems to be out of print on Amazon.fr. The reason I love this book as much as I do is because it is wonderfully accessible–Mr. Robert has a wonderful sense of humour too.

    I will add those onto my “to review” list. November 2, 2006 at 4:27pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Patchamour, you can find Soir de Paris (or Evening in Paris) on Ebay for almost nothing. It is a very lovely aldehydic fragrance. Thank you for sharing your memory. It made me smile, and I could just imagine the smell of your teddy bears. Such a sweet story! Thank you again. November 2, 2006 at 4:28pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Ann, at one point, they were not bad, but then I had a chance to try these fragrances and I was shocked by their transformation. I am not sure whether it would have been better if they were discontinued outright. November 2, 2006 at 4:29pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, thank you, I will see what I can do. 🙂 Iris Gris is definitely fascinating–milky iris folded over orange blossom. November 2, 2006 at 4:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R (violetnoir), I am tireless in my pursuit, but that is just my personality–if I get an idea in my head that I must find/do something, I do everything I can to make it happen. Vintage fragrances have opened up a whole new world for me, and to this day, I find nothing more moving than smelling the vintage fragrance for the first time. And sometimes for nth time–it does not make much difference. That is what beauty is all about. November 2, 2006 at 4:33pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Elle, nothing is out of the question! Maybe, I should give my beloved Doblis a spotlight at last. And others will follow as well. November 2, 2006 at 4:34pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: March, Quelques Fleurs has been reformulated to death, but if you have a chance to sniff the vintage, you can see what it was like–warm, slightly almondy and airy. Still, give a biased sniff to whatever version you can find and please share your thoughts. November 2, 2006 at 4:36pm Reply

  • marchlion: “Slightly almondy and airy”?!?!? Wow. It HAS been reformulated… I find it dense, almost cloying. But now I’ll have to hunt down some vintage, because almond + air sounds like scent heaven. November 2, 2006 at 5:41pm Reply

  • k-amber: Victoria, glad to hear news about Coty. Thank you for the information 🙂

    Kaori November 3, 2006 at 3:26am Reply

  • Katie: I’m rather keen on hearing (reading) your thoughts on Fougere Royale… the way it turns herbal-cleanliness is something almost like a forgotten language now, given the cheapness in smell of far too many modern fougere-themed fragrances… I’d love to read your take on that. Well, that and Iris Gris, but then, I adore Fath, and I should not be taken seriously when it comes to anything that emerged from his fashion house 😛 November 3, 2006 at 4:43am Reply

  • Lisa Carol: Oh, this list makes me kind of sad – there are soo many perfumes on it I will never be able to smell, at least not in their original splendour…

    About reviews, I for one would love to hear more about Doblis (the leather lover’s wet dream)! November 6, 2006 at 6:22am Reply

  • fs: I know this isn’t the right place, but have you ever tried Floret by Antonia’s Flower’s- I’m dying to know your opinion… November 6, 2006 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: March, it is not at all difficult to find. I had two bottles, although I recently parted with one of them to make room for something else equally interesting. November 7, 2006 at 12:46am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Kaori, I am glad to share the news! I cannot wait to try the fragrances. November 7, 2006 at 12:47am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Katie, it is a fragrance that I cannot but admire as a trendsetter. One can definitely glimpse the outlines of the entire fougere family. It is incredibly distinctive. I have only tried Fath’s Iris Gris and Canasta. I am searching for others. November 7, 2006 at 12:49am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Lisa Carol, I agree, it makes me feel this way too. How great would it be to have the Osmotheque States-side. For now, I do what I can given my own means.

    Thank you, I will try to write about Doblis in the coming weeks. It is an extraordinary fragrance. November 7, 2006 at 12:50am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Fs, I have tried a couple of years ago, and I remember thinking that it was a radiant, fresh floral. Very lovely and delicate. November 7, 2006 at 12:51am Reply

  • Laura: Wonderful news about the Coty vintage scents! Do you remember that Lee now works for them? I’ll have to ask him what he knows! Where DO you find Doblis? Is it not carried at Hermes boutiques in Paris or elsewhere? (It is Hermes, right? It’s 5:24 am, so I may be misremembering!) November 7, 2006 at 5:25am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Laura, oh, yes, you are right! Ask him please. Doblis was carried at certain Hermes boutiques, and you can still find it at some. For instance, Northbrook Court Neiman Marcus (IL) and Chicago Oak Street Hermes boutique carry it. November 7, 2006 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Tigs: Hi V, sorry to post on this one so late, but I remembered Moment Supreme coming up here. Can you do a review of this one? There is very little info on it on the usual sites (MUA, Basenotes, etc.). November 22, 2006 at 2:42am Reply

  • Bois de Jasmin: Tigs, that would be my pleasure! I will add it to my list of perfumes to review, and since I have not written about a classic for a while, I shall write about Moment Supreme next. November 22, 2006 at 5:28pm Reply

  • Tigs: Yay! Thanks, V, I shall look forward to it. (Yikes, the prices online for this one!) November 22, 2006 at 6:00pm Reply

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