Jean Patou Chaldee : Fragrance Review



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

Recognizing women’s newfound love for sun and summer sports, Jean Patou was one of the first fashion and fragrance houses to introduce suntan oil which was named Chaldée, after an ancient Sumerian city. In 1927, Henri Alméras reinterpreted Chaldée in a fragrance form with notes of orange flower, hyacinth, jasmine; narcissus, lilac; vanilla, opoponax, amber.

Composed in a classical 1920s manner, Chaldée is a blend of white flowers on an ambery base. The initial accords are dark and heavy with the oily richness of hyacinth dominating, however the composition lightens as soon as the sunny mist of orange blossom and jasmine weaves in. Powdery warmth of amber made deliciously sweet by a haze of vanilla constitutes a base upon which delicate white blossoms fall. It has an appealing richness that could translate as powderiness, however smooth greenness of hyacinth provides a beautiful counterpoint, which balances out the dark warmth.

While the EDT is well-done, I would love to try the parfum version, which I would imagine to be even more stunning. Chaldée was available as a part of the Ma Collection, a set of classical Jean Patou fragrances released between 1925-1964. It can still be found fairly easily at various online discount stores.

Update on the 2014 reissue: a warm, sweet white floral that takes on a musty, pungent twist. It’s a pleasant blend overall, but the drydown is a let down.



  • Laura: I adore the boxes of this collection. The Sonia Delauneyesque designs bowl me over (though this looks less SD than Vacances.) I would gladly have the entire collection just so I could look at the lovely bottles and boxes. That said, however, this particular one seems Not Me from your (albeit lovely) description of it. What about Normandie? I wonder if that is Me?
    Wrestling with the Existential Questions August 20, 2005 at 5:59am Reply

  • Campaspe: I have a bottle of this that Amandampc sent as a RAOK. I like it very much but it’s so rich and heavy that I will probably save it for cool weather. Very odd, considering it’s a white floral based on a suntan oil. Hard to think of another white floral that doesn’t cry out for warm weather! August 20, 2005 at 8:34am Reply

  • Tania: Agree w/L—the boxes are oh so chic. The juice sounds like not my speed, but I’ll take a box! August 20, 2005 at 4:42pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Dear Laura, you are right in that I do not see this particular fragrance as something you would like, however the boxes are wonderful. I do not remember Normadie that well. In my copy of Ma Collection booklet, it says:
    “1935 Normandie
    The grandiose crossing of the Atlantic. An amber perfume with a pronounced oriental note. A fragrance full of character, mingling jasmine, rose and moss. Topnote: Carnation. Midnote:
    jasmine, rose & moss. Basenote: vanilla, benzoin. ”
    It strikes me as rather rich. If I were you, I would try either Colony (with a hint of pineapple) and Cocktail (dry and crisp). August 20, 2005 at 7:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: F, I agree. It is hardly a warm weather fragrance for me either. Yet, in the spirit of it being made for the summer, I decided to review it anyway. I will take it out again in the fall. August 20, 2005 at 7:32pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Tania, I would recommend you to try the same fragrances I mentioned to Laura–Cocktail and Colony. Moment Suprême is another unique fragrance. August 20, 2005 at 7:33pm Reply

  • JulienFromDijon: Only 3 stars?
    Maybe you had a bad batch, even with 2 tries.

    As far as I know, my tiny 6ml vials from different “ma collection” sets are better than the old 75ml bottle I snatched.
    The flowers are better (ylang-ylang jasmin carnation…) and then the amber is never dull, maybe thanks a hint of ambergris.

    The big bottle verges on play-doh, and the lactonic part is less subtle.

    I smelled the new rendition in a hurry. Seemed good to me.
    It’s Mitzah I would put my money on, in the same league : its roasted pine needle, its chestnut honey, its masculine cinnamon, are shifting with the alluring amber and rosy tones. December 5, 2014 at 12:22pm Reply

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