aldehydes: 22 posts

Jean Patou 1000 (Mille) : Fragrance Review

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So, you’ve worn fragrances in the days when the dangers of oakmoss didn’t occupy the bright minds in the EU’s governing bodies. Perfume to you means character and statement, not something that smelled blindly could be mistaken for shampoo or a flavor compound mistakenly rerouted from a candy factory. Or you simply love scents that have curves and glamour, just like the stars in your favorite black-and-white films. Well, I have three words for you–Jean Patou Mille. Or let’s just make it a number–1000.

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Although Jean Patou’s fame owes much to its 1930s bombshell Joy, 1000 is my favorite from the collection. It packs as much old-school glamour as a reasonable person could take, but that’s what makes it interesting. You can certainly find plenty of dramatic perfumes with a touch of vintage glamour, from Chanel to Frédéric Malle, from Guerlain to Parfums de Nicolaï, but 1000 holds its own next to No 5, Hermès Calèche and Madame Rochas.

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Estee Lauder White Linen : Fragrance Review

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In 1978, Estée Lauder launched White Linen as a part of a trio called “New Romantics.”  The New Romantics also included Celadon (a green floral) and Pavilion (a white floral).  The three New Romantics scents were pioneers in the concept of fragrance layering.  The ad copy promised “three incredibly pretty fragrances designed to interact with each other.  Wear one.  Wear two.  Wear all three together.”

Celadon and Pavilion have been mostly lost to time, but Sophia Grojsman’s White Linen was an immediate blockbuster that is still in the Lauder line-up three decades later.  To me White Linen smelled like nothing else out there while bearing a stylistic resemblance to Chanel No 22 (immense use of aldehydes over abstract white floral heart).  It smelled nothing like the big Orientals that had just taken hold, and if it were meant to be worn concurrently with Celadon and Pavilion the result would have been explosive (think about combining Pleasures and Beautiful). On its own, White Linen had a massive and imaginative signature.  To combine it with another scent of equal power would be unthinkable—in today’s terms.  In the late 1970s, perfume was still constructed and worn boldly.

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Houbigant Essence Rare : Vintage Perfume Review

Houbigant is a fragrance house with a remarkable legacy. Its Fougère Royal created in 1882 by talented Paul Parquet was the first fragrance that successfully fused the manmade ingredient coumarin with natural aromatics. The majority of fragrances trailed by men today are descended from this abstract and effervescent composition. By the time Robert Bienaimé took over the reins from Parquet as the chief Houbigant perfumer, the house had several beautiful fragrances to its name: Le Parfum Idéal, Violette Pourpre and Coeur de Jeannette. Bienaimé created several other distinctive blends, including Quelques Fleurs before opening his own house Bienaimé Parfums in 1935. Essence Rare was one of the last few fragrances he designed for Houbigant before his departure.

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Chanel No 5 : Perfume, EDT, EDP Review and Fragrance Poll

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

According to an oft repeated story, the iconic Chanel No 5 fails miserably in fragrance market tests, with the derived conclusion that the success of this great fragrance is based on the clever marketing strategy and carefully maintained brand image. Considering that today’s market tests have produced some of the worst excuses for perfumes, I do not find this to be the logical inference. Although an elegant brand image is an important part of the story, it is not enough to explain the mystery, the draw and the timeless beauty of Chanel No 5. I realize that trying to write a post of reasonable length on this topic is an ambitious task; after all, Tilar Mazzeo wrote a whole book on No 5 and yet many felt that she missed some important elements. Instead, I would like to describe Chanel No 5 in its different forms as it exists today and to hear your thoughts. I am convinced that the reason for its iconic status, is above all, the impeccable quality and allure of the fragrance itself.

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Aldehydes : Perfume Vocabulary & Fragrance Notes

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Aldehydes are organic compounds present in many natural materials (eg. orange rind, rose, cinnamon bark). Various aldehydes can also be synthesized artificially. There is hardly a fragrance without some type of aldehyde in it; however, it is the vividness of aliphatic aldehydes (a specific subgroup of the aldehydes family) that gives Chanel No 5, Lanvin Arpège, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and other floral-aldehydic fragrances their characteristic impressionist sparkle.

Their scent ranges from metallic, starchy and citrusy to green, fatty and waxy (for instance, aldehyde C-11 commonly found in rose and cilantro smells like metal and dirty hair to me, but in tiny quantities it adds an impressive lift and freshness to fragrances.) Aldehydes were used previously by Robert Bienaimé in Houbigant Quelques Fleurs (1912) and by Henri Alméras in Rosine Le Fruit Défendu (1914), Chanel No 5 became famous for its unprecedented overdose of several different aldehydes (a total of almost 1%.)

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