caron: 22 posts

Caron En Avion : Perfume Review

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I’m not sure why exactly I decided to revisit Caron En Avion after so many years, but it might have been inspired by my reading of Miklós Bánffy’s The Transylvanian Trilogy. An epic novel set in the Austro-Hungarian Empire just before the First World War, it paints the vanished world of the Hungarian aristocracy, the era that was quickly coming to a close. There is something equally poignant and nostalgic about En Avion, a perfume created by Caron’s owner Ernest Daltroff in 1932, just a year before Count Bánffy started writing his masterpiece.

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En Avion, as the name suggests, was inspired by the first pilot women such as Helen Boucher and Amelia Earhart. It was a luminous but dark orange, dipped in the sweetness of jasmine and the incense-like warmth of opoponax. It was spicy but also cool and mossy. The kind of fragrance that could only have been the product of Daltroff’s eccentric pairings and the era’s penchant for perfumes thick as fur coats.

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Caron Piu Bellodgia : Perfume Review

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After reformulating its 1927 classic Bellodgia to death, Caron added a new version called Più Bellodgia. Più in Italian means more, but Caron fibs when promising more of anything with this take on Bellodgia. It’s a pale floral that I imagine more as a shampoo than a fine fragrance.

piu bellodgia

Now that I’ve told you how I feel about it, I’m tempted just to move onto something else. But I don’t like to write grumpy reviews without offering further details, and it’s far too easy to be cross about Caron these days. Their classical collection has been dramatically reformulated (to be fair, it’s not entirely their fault), and in the search for a new consumer, they keep releasing perfumes that don’t fit their aesthetic. We all need to move with the times, and it’s a tricky compromise to keep the loyal customers happy while attracting a generation of fragrance wearers who recoil at moss and leather.

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Mimosa, Cassie, and Honeyed Almonds : Perfume Note

In the depths of winter, when I begin to lose faith that spring will ever come again, the yellow pompoms of mimosa lift my spirits. No matter how rushed I am, the slender branches arranged in the florist’s windows tempt me to slow down, and I walk out of the store burying my face in a large bouquet. The fluffy flowers caress my cheeks and dust them with lemon-yellow powder, and the scent is vivid and joyful to match the explosive color–a mixture of green violet and honey soaked almonds. It’s delicate, but remarkably persistent, filling the room with the aroma of Provence within minutes.

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Even if you haven’t smelled real mimosa*, chances  are you’ve encountered it in perfume. This material is one of the most intriguing and complex. The mimosa used in perfumery belongs to a related family, Acacia, with two varieties processed commercially for their fragrant oil–Acacia decurrens var. dealbata (called simply mimosa in the perfumery trade) and Acacia farnesiana (cassie). The former is the pompom like yellow mimosa in my photo, the latter is simpler and more austere but equally fragrant.

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Caron Delire de Roses : Fragrance Review

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Delir

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

Caron continues to regale us with conventional fragrances, stubbornly clinging to the idea that this is what modern consumers want. While Caron promises that “Délire de Roses presents the Queen of Flowers in an infinite variety of moods – audacious, tender, teasing, dreamy, provocative,” I only find that it captured rose in a conventional manner. The bland fruity top, the generic musky drydown and the nonexistent character… I think I have just described the majority of today’s launches. Why does Caron think that theirs might stand out in this crowd?

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Caron Fragrances : Vintage and Reformulated Perfume Comparisons

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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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