Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 2 / 10

Jasmine

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

I am continuing my 100 Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History Series with a look at the next 10 great trendsetting perfumes. In this series I would also like to focus on the creators. In some cases, I want to highlight perfumers who were fascinating and flamboyant; in others, I wish to pay homage to those who not only influenced perfume trends with their work, but also broke set stereotypes, mentored a new generation of stellar perfumers or introduced new ways to think about fragrance creation. In many ways, their fragrances were also a fascinating reflection of their personalities and their predilections.

The list is in a chronological order. M indicates a fragrance intended for the masculine market.

11. Joy (Jean Patou, perfumer Henri Alméras, 1930)

Sometimes more than the perfumes themselves, it is the perfumers who are fascinating. This is definitely the case with Henri Alméras, the creator of Joy, who by all accounts was quite a character: very creative, brilliant and dashingly handsome to top it all off! Another great perfumer, Guy Robert, tells that one day he went into Alméras’ lab and found him in some distress. He showed Robert a new perfume he had made which was quite interesting. “I made a perfume to impress a beautiful blonde, and now she is gone, but I do not know how to recreate it. I did not take any notes!” exclaimed Alméras.

While Joy is not likely to be that fragrance, it certainly speaks of Alméras’ joie de vivre and his panache. Its strong accents of the best rose and jasmine oils, its exhilarating character and a bold signature make Joy live up to its name to the fullest extent. While Joy may not be an ingenious composition from a technical standpoint (Edmond Roudnitska was famously quite dismissive of it), it was an important historical launch and it firmly established the link between fragrance and fashion which had been forged by Paul Poiret and Coco Chanel. Created just as the financial markets were crashing in the wake of the Great Depression, it was Jean Patou’s gift to his American clients who could not afford his expensive gowns and sportswear. Today, this line of thought is continued by every luxury brand that launches a fragrance line. Echoes of Joy can be found in Caron Fleurs de Rocaille (1934), Evyan White Shoulders (1945) and Nina Ricci Capricci (1961). More modern fragrances that explored the lush classical floral bouquet genre of Joy include Bulgari Pour Femme, Givenchy L’Interdit (new 2002 version) and many fragrances from Les Parfums de Rosine line, such as Rosa Flamenca and Rose de Feu. The parfum is still excellent, with its beautiful rose and jasmine from Grasse, while the more modern Eau de Toilette with its rich green jasmine notes has a more delicate loveliness.

12. Pour Un Homme (Caron, perfumer Ernest Daltroff, 1930) M

The beautiful aspect of Pour Un Homme de Caron is its strong accord of lavender and vanilla. While they may seem like such disparate notes—one is aromatic and cool, another is creamy and warm, putting them together creates a perfectly balanced accord. Vanilla brings out the natural almond sweetness of lavender, while lavender in turn gives the warm, gourmand note a lift. The striking effect of this contrast is similar to what Guerlain Shalimar accomplishes with its accord of bergamot and vanilla. Yet, Ernest Daltroff ingeniously avoided any allusions to either Guerlain Shalimar or Jicky. Pour Un Homme stands on its own. Of all the Caron fragrances, it is one of the most timeless, not at all out of date with the current trend exploring floral notes in masculine fragrance. Pour Un Homme uses lavender absolute rather than the more common lavender oil because of its richer, sweet floral character. While it does not have a vibrant family of fragrance offspring, the idea that it explored still finds much currency. Even the strong vanilla notes in rich aromatic fougeres like Yves Saint Kouros, Hermès Equipage, Dior Jules and Serge Lutens Encens et Lavande suggest to me the contrasted effect in Pour Un Homme. Niche fragrances like Christian Dior Eau Noire or Nicolaï Pour Homme are among the more direct descendants of Pour Un Homme. It is still available in an excellent form.

13. Old Spice (Shulton, perfumer Albert Hauck, 1938) M

What can be more ubiquitous than Old Spice? Often, it is assumed that Old Spice smells cheap because it is quite inexpensive, but in several blind fragrance tests I have seen, it is often picked out by women and described as luxurious. Old Spice has the distinction of being the first spicy oriental fragrance for men, predating Guerlain Habit Rouge by almost 30 years. The first Old Spice product was actually a feminine fragrance called Early American Old Spice, while Old Spice for men was introduced a year later in 1938. It is built on a strong accord of spicy notes and woods, with the bright citrusy-basil top giving the fragrance lift and sparkle. The effect is similar to what would be explored decades later in Yves Saint Laurent Opium. Old Spice’s masculine offspring includes fragrances like Hermès Equipage, Balenciaga Ho Hang, Yves Saint Laurent Opium Pour Homme, and Chanel Égoïste. Among modern fragrances, a similar juxtaposition of accords has been explored by Thierry Mugler A*Men and Yves Saint Laurent M7. Le Labo Vanille 44 and Cartier L’Heure Mystérieuse are the modern niche heirs to the lush oriental softness of Old Spice. The formula of Old Spice has been updated a number of times; it is still a good fragrance, but consists mostly of the aromatic and citrusy notes with the oriental and spicy accords having been significantly attenuated.

14. Femme (Rochas, perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, 1944)

“Let me tell you, I created Femme in 1943 in Paris during the worst days of the war in a building that had a rubbish dump on one side and paint factory on the other,” said Edmond Roudnitska about one of his most decadent and alluring fragrances. Femme is quite ravishing, a voluptuous combination of a sweet plum note set against an intricate accord of amber, oakmoss and patchouli. In order to create a bridge between the different elements of the composition, Roudnitska used methyl ionone, an aroma-material that has facets of violet and dark woods. Although Mitsouko was the first true fruity chypre, Femme took the idea further, and its reflection can be found in Carven Miss Carven, Nina Ricci Deci Delà, and Christian Dior Dolce Vita. Sophia Grojsman says that she was inspired by both Mitsouko and Femme when she created her sparkling peachy chypre, Yves Saint Laurent Champagne/Yvresse. Today I find the idea of Femme in Serge Lutens Chypre Rouge, Tom Ford Japon Noir and Chanel 31 Rue Cambon. Femme was completely reorchestrated in 1989. It is lighter and more gourmand than the classical version, with a cumin note lending it a seductive warmth. It is a beautiful fragrance, but it just cannot be compared to Roudnitska’s original creation.

15. Vent Vert (Balmain, perfumer Germaine Cellier, 1945)

“Only a few people have the supersense of smell necessary to become a Nose—for reasons known only to Noses themselves, no woman has ever had it,” writes Donald William Dresden in his 1947 article for the New York Times, The Twenty “Noses” of France. While Mr. Dresden is wrong on several counts (not the least of which is the fact that a woman’s sense of smell is generally sharper), his article presents the very common, stereotypical attitude of his time. One of the first celebrated female perfumers, Germaine Cellier, certainly faced plenty of resistance within the male-dominated and also quite conservative industry of her time. She worked at Roure Bertrand Dupont (now Givaudan), and she was known for her short fragrance formulas exploring dramatic contrasts. She had plenty of conflicts with Roure’s chief perfumer Jean Carles, but she was so brilliant that Roure set her up with her own lab to keep her and Carles separate. Her fragrance for Balmain Vent Vert is one of the greatest trendsetters in the green floral genre. Cellier used intensely green notes and a startling 8% of galbanum to lend Balmain Vent Vert a fierce verdancy that made it seem like a gust of spring wind. Vent Vert inspired fragrances like Chanel No 19, Estée Lauder Aliage, and Grès Cabotine. Hermès Un Jardin en Méditerranée, Chanel Bel Respiro and Diptyque Eau de Lierre are among the modern green fragrances occupying the same realm as Vent Vert. The current Vent Vert does not have the intense verdancy of the original (you can read about different versions and how to find the vintage one in my review.)

16. Ma Griffe (Carven, perfumer Jean Carles, 1946)

When I hear of fragrances marketed towards the younger market today, I immediately assume that they will be safe and commercially sound ventures. However, with Ma Griffe, the first fragrance marketed toward younger women, the house of Carven decided to launch a memorable, original composition. They were attracted to a submission by Jean Carles that contrasted an intense freshness with a warm oriental-woody backdrop. Carles created a beautiful structure in a classical fragrance pyramid: the verdancy of gardenia in the top notes, the softness of the pastel tinted rose and jasmine in the heart and the voluptuous richness of the base. Ma Griffe used an overdose of styrallyl acetate, an aroma-material naturally found in gardenia that smells like fresh gardenia buds and crisp rhubarb. Jean-Paul Guerlain paid a compliment to Ma Griffe by saying that he wish he were its creator. Smelling Guerlain’s Chant d’Arômes, one can see that he indeed paid homage to Ma Griffe. Moreover, Ma Griffe placed styrallyl acetate in the perfumer’s palette, demonstrating the versatility of this great material which was not used until Carles started to experiment with it. Among modern fragrances, Parfums de Nicolaï Weekend à Deauville, Tom Ford Italian Cypress and Eau d’Italie Sienne L’Hiver have a similar character of contrasted green freshness and balsamic warmth. The current Ma Griffe is differently accented due to limitations on the use of oakmoss, but overall, it is quite a good fragrance. The vintage Ma Griffe in a splash bottle is still possible to find.

Jean Carles deserves special mention because his contributions to perfumery extend beyond his beautiful and innovative fragrances. Ever a researcher and a thinker, Carles devised a method for perfumery training that is still used to train perfumers today. The Carles Method, which relies on learning materials in a contrasted series, allows for excellent odor memorization before a student is ready to try creating fragrance accords. Through his careful empirical work, Carles devised a pyramid style of fragrance construction, where each stage—top, middle and base—had a very different character, yet with the final result having a beautiful harmony. Sometimes Carles is called the Beethoven of perfumery, because just like Beethoven lost his hearing towards the end of his life, so was Carles robbed of his sense of smell by a protracted illness. Nevertheless, he continued to create relying both on his memory and his incredibly profound understanding of the relationship between different materials. Both Ma Griffe and Miss Dior were created when Carles was almost anosmic.

17. Miss Dior (Christian Dior, perfumers Jean Carles and Paul Vacher, 1947)

Although Germaine Cellier and Jean Carles had a contentious relationship, Carles was sufficiently impressed with Cellier’s bold compositions to use Vent Vert’s emphasis on galbanum in Miss Dior. The main structure of Miss Dior is derived from the famous Chypre de Coty, which Carles admired and admitted to wearing. Yet, Miss Dior is even more than that. The spicy accord of coriander and pepper is contrasted with opulent floral notes with the emphasis on tuberose. The drydown, with its richness of patchouli and ambers, provides a beautiful warm backdrop. Experiencing this fragrance is like admiring a perfectly cut diamond where each facet has a striking brilliance. Miss Dior has such an intricate harmony that it is still a benchmark reference for a great chypre. It has inspired many fragrances, but above all, its influence is felt in Revlon Intimate, Givenchy III, Lancôme Magie Noire, and Balmain de Balmain. Contemporary chypres like Tom Ford Arabian Wood, Balenciaga Paris, and The Different Company Bois d’Iris likewise explore a similar fresh green effect contrasted with the warm notes. Writing about Miss Dior saddens me because it is one of the worst victims of modern reformulations. It is now a dry woody chypre, with an incongruously rough aldehydic note.

18. L’Air du Temps (Nina Ricci, perfumer Francis Fabron, 1948)

Ask many older perfumers what fragrance they find beautiful and L’Air du Temps is very likely to be the answer. It has the most exquisite balance of accords, which cascade from the spicy bergamot and rosewood top note through the soft heart of jasmine and rose absolute and on to the elegant backdrop of iris, sandalwood and musk. The accents of spicy carnation, dark wintergreen and vetiver add beautiful embellishments to the main structure. L’Air du Temps has an exhilarating quality: bright, luminous, yet irresistibly seductive. One can study this fragrance for hours, if not days, because it is built in a classical multifaceted style with many surprising twists of the plot. The spicy floral bouquet of Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps has inspired many great fragrances such as Givenchy Le De, Guy Laroche Fidji, Revlon Norell and Revlon Charlie. Green floral benzyl salicylate is an important ingredient in L’Air du Temps which gives its floral structure a polished, luminous quality. However, since the use of this material has been restricted, L’Air du Temps is no longer the same. Add to this the overall plunge in the quality of the composition, and you find a hollow replica of a great perfume legend. Although its olfactory profile is not quite the same, Cacharel Anaïs Anaïs conveys the same spirit as L’Air du Temps once did—a disarming combination of innocence and sensuality.

19. Youth Dew (Estée Lauder, perfumer Josephine Catapano, 1952)

Everyone has heard of Youth Dew, the first great American perfume, but its creator Josephine Catapano by and large remains unknown. Yet, she was the first American female perfumer and she mentored another woman who would change the face of American perfumery, Sophia Grojsman. Catapano was from a family of Italian immigrants; she is invariable described as kind, selfless and humble. Her work with Estée Lauder led to the introduction of Youth Dew, a fragrance that also altered the buying patterns among women. Until then, it was not common for a woman to purchase her own perfume, but Youth Dew which launched as a bath oil, changed this habit. The fragrance itself is a bold, rich oriental composition that relies on the combination of oriental balsamic notes (styrax, peru, tolu balsam and benzoin), patchouli and animalic materials to create a seductive aura. The sheer floral notes of lily of the valley, rose and jasmine give Youth Dew a softer quality, while the accord of chamomile and geranium lends an aromatic facet. While Youth Dew is not particularly nuanced or refined, it has a tremendous presence and a strong character. It inspired a whole genre of dark, baroque orientals fragrances, which includes Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, Christian Dior Dioressence and Chanel Coco. In reference to the famous dark oriental Yves Saint Laurent Opium, Estée Lauder said that it is “Youth Dew with a tassel.” Today I smell the heavy, spicy richness of Youth Dew in Donna Karan Black Cashmere, Yves Saint Laurent Nu and Fendi Theorema. Youth Dew itself is available in a wonderful form, and while  some elements of the composition have been altered to be IFRA-compliant, it is still an excellent fragrance that preserves the striking character of the original.

20. Silvestre (Victor or G. Visconti di Modrone, 1946) M discontinued

In the realm of aromatic fougère fragrances, there are many different categories: marine, fresh, spicy and ambery. The early masculine fougères mainly occupied the ambery realm, with Houbigant Fougère Royal and Rochas Moustache setting the trend. On the fresh side of spectrum, there were the lavender dominated compositions like Yardley English Lavender, Mennen Skin Bracer and Caron Pour Un Homme. Silvestre, named after the genus of Pinus Silvestris (the common Christmas tree), created a new fashion in fresh woody fougères. The fragrances in this category place a strong accent on the aromatic component, which is accented with a variety of herbal and citrusy notes as well as the rich woody accord. Silvestre, with its polished pine wood impression, is crisp, bright and effervescent. Victor was taken over by another company and Silvestre has been discontinued. However, it deeply influenced masculine trends, and many famous classical woody fragrances for men like Vidal Pino Silvestre, Puig Agua Brava, and Rochas Monsieur Rochas share the same bloodline as Silvestre. Lorenzo Villoresi Uomo and Victor Acqua di Selva bear the most likeness to the original Silvestre.

Coming next: the ethereal world of Edmond Roudnitska. I will also discuss another victim of its own success. Anyone cares to guess what it is? (a hint: a famous alcoholic beverage bears the same name.)

Photography: jasmine from Grasse, France © Bois de Jasmin. With each Series I also highlight an important perfumery raw material.

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73 Comments

  • Olfactoria: Very interesting and informative, thank you for putting this together.
    Do you know why the comtemporary Vent Vert is so much “less” than the original? Is there a restriction on Galbanum? March 3, 2011 at 5:00am Reply

  • rosarita: Thank you so much for another fascinating chapter. It is esp interesting to me that Anais Anais bears a resemblance to L’Air du Temps, as my mother has loved both fragrances in her life. March 3, 2011 at 5:02am Reply

  • FragrantJourney: This is fascinating reading and the breadth of your knowledge is impressive! March 3, 2011 at 5:41am Reply

  • Ann C: This is an such interested series! I have been eagerly awaiting series 2 since I read the first installation. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. I look forward to reading about the next ten great perfumes next week. March 3, 2011 at 6:36am Reply

  • Ines: I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I never tried Youth Dew. I had some bad EL perfume experiences and now I avoid all of them except Bronze Goddess.
    I feel very lucky to have half a bottle of vintage Vent Vert (which I hid from myself so it would last), it is one of my all time favorites and will probably be there forever.
    Btw, this list of yours is very clearly showing me how much I still need to smell and learn, so many things on it that I have no idea what they smell like… March 3, 2011 at 7:29am Reply

  • Olfacta: Wonderfully informative, especially as regards the perfumers! I’ve never been lucky enough to smell the original L’Air du Temps, but it is heartening to know that Anais Anais, which is one I wear a lot in summer, resembles it at least conceptually. March 3, 2011 at 7:57am Reply

  • Victoria: You are welcome!
    The main issue is that most of the materials in the original Vent Vert are not available anymore. Many of them were commercial bases (basically, ready-to-use combinations of various materials) that are no longer made, or certain ingredients that are no longer available. Plus, I believe that Balmain wanted to update the fragrance to fit today’s fashions. Even in its own time, it was a rather polarizing fragrance. March 3, 2011 at 9:36am Reply

  • Victoria: My mother did too! She wore both, but I think that L’Air du Temps was her favorite. March 3, 2011 at 9:37am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for your kind words, I am glad that you enjoyed it! March 3, 2011 at 9:37am Reply

  • Victoria: I am happy that you liked it. Perfume history is a fascinating subject, esp since many of these fragrance influence directly what we smell today. March 3, 2011 at 9:39am Reply

  • Victoria: Youth Dew is one of those fragrances that I think would do well as a niche launch today, if it were marketed under a different name. It has that dark, heavy quality that many people like about Luten’s orientals (not that they smell the same, but the character is similar.)
    Lucky you to have a bottle of vintage Vent Vert. There is nothing I treasure as much as my vintage Balmain fragrances. March 3, 2011 at 9:42am Reply

  • Victoria: Perfumers are fascinating, especially the perfumers of the past who worked in a very different manner from what is more common today.

    Anais Anais is more like a granddaughter to L’Air du Temps, because it was closely related to Fidji, L’Air du Temps’ direct offspring. :) March 3, 2011 at 9:44am Reply

  • sweetlife: Honestly, V., I feel almost guilty reading these for free on my computer. I want them compiled in a neat little book, to page through at my leisure. March 3, 2011 at 10:09am Reply

  • Victoria: I feel that as I keep working on this topic, it expands and expands! I have cut out so much to keep the length manageable! Really, one can write a book on a single one of these topics: perfumes or perfumers. March 3, 2011 at 10:17am Reply

  • karin: This is a great thread, V. Thanks for the list and the education!

    My mom, who’s in her late 70′s and NOT a perfumista in the least, and knows nothing about reformulations and such, wore Miss Dior in the 50′s (before I was born – she eventually switched to YSL’s Y). She and my dad were in Macy’s a few months ago, and she had a desire for Miss Dior. My dad promptly bought her Miss Dior Chérie, thinking it was the same thing (I know, I know, where was I when they needed me, and we all know what was wrong with the SA…). Needless to say, she was greatly disappointed. I brought her up to date on the whole sadness of long lost perfumes. I would love to find her a vintage Miss Dior, though who knows if a vintage will even smell the same as she remembers? Ah sad… March 3, 2011 at 10:18am Reply

    • roger: i have a brand new sealed vintage chistian dior miss dior from paris also has words flacon pour le sac on box. its a small 1/8 oz. interested? September 28, 2012 at 7:12pm Reply

  • kjanicki: Are you thinking of publishing? Because I would buy this book. March 3, 2011 at 10:19am Reply

  • sweetlife: Hey, Karin. I recently picked up one of those 1/4 oz. “flacon pour le sac” bottles of vintage Miss Dior on ebay and don’t wear it. No idea, really, if it will smell like what your mom remembers, but if you’d like it just shoot me an email: alyssa at nst perfume dot com. (No spaces in the real email.) March 3, 2011 at 10:35am Reply

  • sweetlife: P.S. Wearing it right now and wow! There’s the tuberose… I love sniffing along with your descriptions, V. March 3, 2011 at 10:54am Reply

  • LostArgonaut: A well-awaited article!! Let me guess, is Habit Rouge included in any of the next series? March 3, 2011 at 11:07am Reply

  • Irina: Thanks for the posting!
    BTW, I’ve never seen Youth Dew in my life, not in single EL corner. I’d like to try it, sounds promising. March 3, 2011 at 11:09am Reply

  • Victoria: Miss Dior Chérie! Yes, where were you indeed? :)
    The vintage should definitely smell better. I even have a bottle from the 1990s, and it is quite good. The version sold now is missing a whole piece of the original structure. March 3, 2011 at 11:12am Reply

  • Victoria: Isn’t that facet marvelous? I just love how Carles embellished the composition with the most luxurious floral notes, and yet it never loses its cool, polished aura (and tuberose more than any other flower can make a perfume feel overly languorous and seductive.) March 3, 2011 at 11:13am Reply

  • Victoria: To be honest, originally when I drew up the list a few months ago, I did not think about it at all. It was just a list for a training course. Now, as I work in more detail on these installments, I find that I have so much information left over that I am thinking that it should find some other outlet. How and when I do not know and have no specific plans. Time will tell… March 3, 2011 at 11:15am Reply

  • Victoria: You are right! Habit Rouge is coming in series 3. Cannot discuss the history of perfumery without discussing Habit Rouge! March 3, 2011 at 11:16am Reply

  • Victoria: That confounds me too, but then I learned that if I ask at the counter, they invariably produce a tester. For some reason, Lauder counters near me keep their classics “under the table.” Incomprehensible! March 3, 2011 at 11:17am Reply

  • Dionne: I’m joining the crowd in my praise for these posts. Wonderful! I love to see the interelations between fragrances I know and the classics. (Still haven’t sniffed Old Spice. I obviously need to rectify that…..) March 3, 2011 at 11:24am Reply

  • Marina: Cannot wait for the next installment, trying to guess which scent would make it onto the list! March 3, 2011 at 12:06pm Reply

  • Alice C: Thanks for sharing your work in this very interesting series! I’m looking forward to the remaining installments! March 3, 2011 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: I see, thank you! :) March 3, 2011 at 12:24pm Reply

  • dleep: Wonderful post! Can’t wait to read the rest. March 3, 2011 at 12:33pm Reply

  • Carla: This was such a good read, thank you. I love the idea that Black Cashmere and Theorema are modern Youth Dews. March 3, 2011 at 1:19pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Dionne!
    Old Spice is much better than what it seems. Of course, the original Old Spice is just so recognizable, but it is a well-made fragrance. March 3, 2011 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: It was so hard to even limit myself to 100! :) March 3, 2011 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am so happy to hear it! I hope that you will enjoy the subsequent ones too. March 3, 2011 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you! :) March 3, 2011 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I love those two fragrances. Very sad that Fendi Theorema got discontinued, but at least, it can still be found online. Perhaps, as Fendi gets revived, some of its classics might be reintroduced again. March 3, 2011 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: Do you wear Joy parfum, EDT or EDP? I know many people who have very strong preferences for either one or another version. March 3, 2011 at 3:07pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: Sorry, wrongly placed comment, thank you iPhone! :) March 3, 2011 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Victoria: I got it! My Blackberry is much to blame for things like this. March 3, 2011 at 3:24pm Reply

  • angie Cox: Fascinating , thank-you. There are not many I like except Joy !! March 3, 2011 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Gitcheegumee: Wow!

    I didn’t know that the fragrances I wear year round had such historical significance.

    I started wearing Miss Dior and Vent Vert,along with Miss Balmain when I first started in the workplace ,more years ago than I care to admit. I am sad to say that today’s formulations are but mere imitations of the real thing-especially Miss Dior,as you state in your piece.(BTW,I read that Intimate was originally created as a knockoff of Miss Dior.)

    Joy and Youth Dew hold a special place in my heart . Youth Dew was a high school graduation gift…and the scent in the blue boutique bottle still smells just the same to me. However, the bath oil seems thinner and more watery.Ergo, I quit buying it. I do not notice a discernible difference in the Joy..and I’m pretty joyous about that!

    LOVE this series..thank you again.

    Jo March 3, 2011 at 8:17pm Reply

  • behemot: Great series, I said it before. I am also very happy you mentioned Anais Anais (in relation to L’Air Du Temps). Anais Anais was my first fragrance ever.
    Old Spice i always liked in secret. I was afraid to tell about it, knowing it is so CHEAP. (ha ha)
    My mom wore L”Air du Temps too.
    I tried to like Joy, but … March 3, 2011 at 8:54pm Reply

  • LostArgonaut: What a relief!!! Habit Rouge must be a spoiled child of Guerlain – it takes me to a long up-and-down journey to get to its heavenly drydown. :P March 4, 2011 at 1:20am Reply

  • Victoria: It is one of the reasons I love it–it never loses my interest, given its many twists and turns! March 4, 2011 at 11:05am Reply

  • Jen: I love this series and agree with an earlier poster that you should consider a book. I have a question regarding Joy. I have never sniffed it outside of a body creme that may have turned. All I keep reading is that the parfum is really the only way to go with Joy. However, the price, even for a sample, is off-putting to me. Your description makes it sound as if the current EDT is also really nice and might be more my style with it’s emphasis on jasmine, but I’m afraid to start with it and be put off the idea of Joy forever. I would love to get your thoughts on this. March 4, 2011 at 12:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: I loved discovering that my beloved Diorissimo (one of my first perfume loves) was an important fragrance that was one of the legends in perfumery. So, I feel the same way you do.

    You are right about Intimate, it is essentially Miss Dior for a mass market (back then, Miss Dior was a truly luxurious, expensive fragrance.) March 4, 2011 at 12:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have such wonderful memories of Anais Anais. It reminds me of being wrapped in a blanket with my favorite aunt, as she was reading to me before we would go to bed. :) March 4, 2011 at 12:18pm Reply

  • Victoria: Jen, thank you so much!
    The current EDT is great, and it has a beautiful jasmine note on a softer, lighter backdrop than the original Joy. The EDP is good too, with its stronger rose accent. The EDT is my favorite version after the parfum.
    The body products of Joy are fine, but they just cannot capture the beautiful quality of the actual perfume.
    Hope that this helps! March 4, 2011 at 12:20pm Reply

  • Gitcheegumee: I remember wearing Diorissimo ,too, but I recall it had a strong lily of the valley note that didn’t work for me as well as the chypre and galbanum fragrances did…and still do.

    (Recently I treated myself to Goutal’s Grand Amour…overpoweringly lily of the valley for my taste,sad to say.)

    May I ask if you could suggest a carnation heavy fragrance? I tried some vintage Floris Malmaison and loved it. Anything close?

    Merci. March 4, 2011 at 4:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: I would suggest Lorenzo Villoresi Garofano, Caron Bellodgia, perhaps. Although that vintage Floris is pretty much unbeatable!! March 4, 2011 at 4:55pm Reply

  • Gitcheegumee: I am absolutely speechless,may I explain?

    I just clicked on to your review of Bellodgia from a few years back. It begins by saying that it is a memory of Lake Como,Italy.

    Well…I have been for years talking about going to Lake Como,(I have never gone there)yet I have been collecting vintage prints and tapestries of that locale for a while .

    And now this …well..isn’t that more than mere coincidence? Perhaps in another life…LOL!

    Thank you so much. March 4, 2011 at 8:44pm Reply

  • k-amber: L’Air du Temps was one of very difficult to wear and like fragrances for me, probably its carnation accent. Do you think carnation note is not easy to wear? The list of #14 defines “me” :)

    Kaori March 4, 2011 at 8:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: What an amazing coincidence! I just love how these things fall into place sometimes.
    Please let me know what you think of Bellodgia when you try it!  I wonder if it may not click with you too. March 5, 2011 at 5:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Carnation can be difficult for many people. It is now considered an old-fashioned note, so it is not that common. I have no negative associations with it at all, but I notice that on my skin, carnation (clove, eugenol, iso-eugenol, any of those notes) can take on a rough quality. March 5, 2011 at 5:14pm Reply

  • Mimi: Thank you for this series; it is wonderful. I hate beyond words what has been done to Miss Dior. It is criminal. I miss it so much. Also, Femme. I just can not wear the reformulation.

    I may try Miss Dior Cherie after reading this as I love tuberose. March 5, 2011 at 6:30pm Reply

  • k-amber: Thank you for your comment and knowledge. I wrote down them for future reference. My skin may amplify that note.

    Kaori March 5, 2011 at 10:55pm Reply

  • JuliaF: If these series was to be published as a book I would buy it in an instance! So informative yet easy to understand. Thanks for sharing your extensive knowledge! March 6, 2011 at 5:53am Reply

  • Victoria: I think that Miss Dior Cherie is pretty, but quite bland. If you like tuberose and want something fun and easy to wear, try Juicy Couture. It is quite a nice tuberose. March 6, 2011 at 8:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: Then we are definitely similar in this. I like to smell this note though! March 6, 2011 at 8:33pm Reply

  • Victoria: Julia, thank you so much for your nice comment. I am glad that you like the series! March 6, 2011 at 8:35pm Reply

  • Robin: Why do you think Dior has done such a lousy job keeping their older fragrances in good shape? It puzzles me. March 6, 2011 at 9:39pm Reply

  • Victoria: I feel that it is a general tendency in the business–looking for the next thing that makes a profit, rather than building the collection of classics. Miss Dior was not a huge seller after the fashion for these green chypres passed, so its quality has been declining over the years.
    I understand that with Demachy in charge, he is trying to update the classical formulas and to bring them back into a good form. It is possible to do. After all, I look at Lauder and how well they have treated their classics, as compared to many other brands. March 7, 2011 at 10:30am Reply

  • Mimi: How exciting! I hope that Demachy will update the Dior classics and I hope it is a wildly successful venture–maybe other companies will be inspired to do the same. (Thanks for the tip on Juicy Couture and tuberose.) March 7, 2011 at 11:48am Reply

  • Victoria: I read that he is now working on Dioressence, which was the worst reformulation of all Diors for me (basically, totally changed the character of the fragrance!) I am very much looking forward to exploring the new version, which I hope would be closer to the original. March 7, 2011 at 12:21pm Reply

  • Jen: Thanks! It does. I will order a sample of the much more affordable Joy EDT. March 7, 2011 at 2:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: Great! I hope that you will enjoy it. March 7, 2011 at 2:29pm Reply

  • Saintpaulia: I’ve enjoyed this series of essays. I hope to see #3 soon. Any idea when it might appear? May 7, 2011 at 1:08am Reply

  • Saintpaulia: Should say now #4. May 8, 2011 at 3:37pm Reply

  • Anne: A wonderful description/analysis/history!

    I found it in the course of trying to find the name of a perfume my mother used to use, and wonder if you might recognize what I remember of it. The name was French, though I’m not completely sure it was produced in France–I think it was. The name was supposed to refer to an article of clothing, I believe a shirt that would be worn under medieval armor–an odd choice of name, if that’s true.

    It was neither rare nor very common. I didn’t know anyone else who wore it, but it could be found in every department store in New Orleans, where we lived. It wasn’t inexpensive, but wasn’t especially pricey, either.

    It was a floral fragrance with tuberose. Very nice. I’m fairly sure it’s not made anymore.

    If you could even direct me to some place I might look it up, I’d appreciate it very much. For once, the Internet is not helping me much. May 29, 2011 at 1:07pm Reply

  • Anne: I should have mentioned that she bought this perfume during the 1960s. Sorry for the omission! May 29, 2011 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Anne: I remembered–it’s Casaque (Jean d”Albret) June 5, 2011 at 12:02am Reply

  • Sita: It really is too bad Silvestre (Victor or G. Visconti di Modrone, 1946) M, has been discontinued. I consider it one of the sexiest scents for men, especially during summer; it wears well and long even going in and out of the sea or pool. August 5, 2012 at 4:16pm Reply

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