March 2011: 35 posts

Caron Fragrances : Vintage and Reformulated Perfume Comparisons

Caron

When I recently compared Guerlain classics to their reformulated versions, I decided to do a similar exercise with Caron next. I already knew that some fragrances were reformulated beyond recognition, but I did not anticipate how different they were going to be. Yet in some cases I was pleasantly surprised to find beautiful perfumes, similar to their original versions. Below are my notes that I hope might be helpful to other fans of this remarkable fragrance house which seems to be losing its identity lately.

To make the comparisons I used the same guidelines as I did recently with the Guerlain classics. With some exceptions, which I will note, I have only compared the extrait de parfum concentrations. I relied on testers at Bergdorf Goodman and at the Caron boutique. While Caron fragrances have been reformulated a number of times over the past few years, I looked only at the fragrances sold today. I have included all fragrances sold today, except for Eau de Reglisse, Eau Fraîche and Eau Pure (Violette Préciuese, Miss Rocaille, Eau de Caron and Eau Forte have been discontinued).

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Yves Saint Laurent Nu : Fragrance Review

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Nu

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

Is the fragrance market the best arbiter of what is good? In the case of Nu, my answer is an emphatic no! This Yves Saint Laurent fragrance created in 2001 by Jacques Cavallier under the creative direction of Tom Ford explores such dusky and moody territory that it could never have been a commercial success. Yet, for those of us who love to stray over to the dark side, Nu offers a fascinating experience—a combination of opulent incense notes, spicy carnation, creamy sandalwood and the fiery flourish of dark spices. Although the name and the imagery suggest a sensual, femme fatale fragrance, I find Nu polished and elegant, with just enough smoldering allure to keep things interesting.

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Bond No 9 Madison Square Park : Perfume Review

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Madisonsquare

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The Bond No. 9 concept of celebrating New York has always appealed to me, as did a number of fragrances from this house — fragrances that beautifully explored the spirit of the city’s many distinctive neighborhoods through their olfactory profiles. The peaches and incense of Chinatown, the dramatic musky roses of Broadway Nite and the bitter patchouli coffee of New Haarlem remain among my favorite fragrances to this day. Madison Square Park, a tribute to one of Manhattan’s most vibrant and trendy locales, is the most recent addition to the Bond No. 9 collection.

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Guerlain Rouge Automatique Lipstick Named After Classical Fragrances

RougeNatalia

In April, Guerlain will unveil the new lipstick collection Rouge Automatique, inspired by the classical heritage. 25 shades of the new lipstick are named after the perfumes from Guerlain archives.

Unforgettable Beiges Passionate Reds Flamboyant Oranges Loving Pinks
100 APRÈS L’ONDÉE

101 VOILETTE DE MADAME

102 NE M’OUBLIEZ PAS

103 CHANT D’ARÔMES

104 JICKY

105 VOL DE NUIT

120 COQUE D’OR

121 ROUGE D’ENFER

122 LIU

123 HABIT ROUGE

124 SAMSARA

125 VEGA

140 MITSOUKO

141 QUAND VIENT L’ÉTÉ

142 FLEUR DE FEU

143 NAHEMA

160 BAL DE MAI

161 CHERRY BLOSSOM

162 BLOOM OF ROSE

163 ROSE BENGALE

164 CHAMADE

165 CHAMPS-ÉLYSÉES

166 SHALIMAR

167 GUET-APENS

168 L’HEURE BLEUE

 

Availability/Pricing: The new Spring shades of Rouge Automatique are available in April 2011 for $35 at select locations of Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and at Bergdorf Goodman.

See color swatches below (click on the photo to make it larger)

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Marc Jacobs Curacao, Ginger and Cranberry Splash Cocktail : Perfume Review

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Mj

Star rating: 5 stars–outstanding/potential classic, 4 stars–very good, 3 stars–adequate, 2 stars–disappointing, 1 star–poor.

The newest splash trio from Marc Jacobs caught my attention for its interpretation of the classical cologne genre as inspired by fruity summer cocktails. Of course, light and fresh launches flood the summer market, yet it is always interesting to see how modern fresh and sheer ideas can give a new twist to a conventional theme. In the past, I have enjoyed Violet (2006,) Ivy (2006,) and Gardenia (2008) for their clean, transparent renditions with unusual twists, and while there was nothing particularly complex about these splashes, they had a cheerful, uplifting quality. Yet, as I was testing Curacao, Ginger and Cranberry, I found myself disappointed, because their fruity interpretations do not deviate from the norm. This kind of fresh, citrusy fruity-floral abounds in every area of the fragrance market today, and with some effort, one can even find something similar and less expensive in the Bath & Body Works range. While I understand that Marc Jacobs Splashes are not meant to be perfume art, I still long for at least a suggestion of originality. Moreover, while $68 is not an excessive price tag for a prestige brand, given the quality of these fragrances, I still find them overpriced.

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