aldehydic perfumes: 21 posts

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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No5ad1920s

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%.)

Chanel Beige Les Exclusifs : Perfume Review

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Camelia Chanel

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

A few years ago I had a revelation about Coco Chanel. Sure, I had read several books about her and her fashion contributions, but it was only at the Chanel exhibit at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art that I began to understand her ability to reinterpret shapes and structures, to appreciate her novel construction techniques and spectacular use of seemingly muted colors like white, black, ivory, grey… And of course, beige! …

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From the Archives

Latest Comments

  • Austenfan in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: Not exactly like Azurée but at least as daring is Rien by Etat Libre d’Orange. One of the most distinctive and uncompromising scents I own. June 27, 2017 at 6:31pm

  • Ann in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: Ooooh, great list! Thank you for all the recommendations SSB! June 27, 2017 at 6:15pm

  • Ann in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: That’s interesting, the more i smell perfume the more I appreciate it – I was repulsed by Angel at first spray, but have become a believer June 27, 2017 at 6:13pm

  • Karen A in Recommend Me a Perfume June 2017: Arpege was all I wore for a while, so I can relate! My suggestion is to just start trying whatever you can, either from the reviews here on BdJ or… June 27, 2017 at 5:40pm

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