1940s perfumes: 2 posts

Robert Piguet Fracas : Fragrance Review



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

Tuberose is a sensual perfume note, redolent of dusk and warm skin. Its extreme and often shocking sensuality is likely to evoke diametrically opposed responses in people. While some recoil in horror at the thought of being smothered in its heady embrace, others lose themselves in its sensual layers. Robert Piguet Fracas, as its name indicates, is nothing short of stirring powerful emotions. Created by a perfumer genius Germaine Cellier in 1948, the fragrance is dominated by an arrestingly sinister tuberose.

After the initial overture by citrus and orange blossom—an olfactory calm before the storm, the darkness begins to gather forces. Tuberose undulates slowly and sensually, emerging under the veil of sweet delicate notes. It overshadows the radiance of orange blossom, which nevertheless remains in the background, glowing like traveling lights in the marshes. The sweet creamy note of tuberose is ornamented beautifully by jasmine, violet and iris, which lend a somber introspective quality to the composition. Lily of the valley is a surprising touch of spring-like freshness, teasing and evanescent as if carried by the wind–one moment it is distinct, the next it has vanished. The composition is ornamented by woods and oakmoss, which provide a dark counterpoint to the lush floral orchestration.

Germaine Cellier (1909-1976) was also responsible for Robert Piguet BanditBalmain Vent VertBalmain Jolie Madame, Monsieur Balmain by Pierre Balmain and Coeur-Joie by Nina Ricci. She was born in 1909 in Bordeaux and subsequently came to Paris to study chemistry. Her unique talent and utterly original vision place Cellier among the most avant-garde perfumers. Fracas was discontinued and then eventually reintroduced in 1996. The original is more aggressive and animalic, but the current version is very close. The notes are bergamot, orange blossom, greens, peach, tuberose, jasmine, violet, iris, lily of the valley, carnation, sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, and cedar.

Caron Or et Noir : Perfume Review


Caron Or et Noir, “Gold and Black” was created by Michel Morsetti in 1949 in homage to Ernest Daltroff and the tradition of Parfums Caron. Ernest Daltroff was fascinated with roses and incorporated rose absolutes in nearly all compositions he has created for Caron.


A fragrance that served as an inspiration for Parfum Sacré, Or et Noir is a dark rose on a rich base of spices and woods. The opening notes are of honeyed red rose blended with the astringent bite of geranium and bergamot. The sandalwood and black pepper provide a wonderful foil for the rich rose accord. Unlike most rose fragrances that start out bright and crisp and then proceed to warm up on the skin, Or et Noir reveals its sensual facets instantaneously. The darkness of Caron accord is like a breath of cool air that renders the sweet and spicy composition light and airy. I always think of Or et Noir as a rose before sundown, petals closing slowly to hide the unabashedly sultry opening.

One of the Urn Parfums, Or et Noir is available at the Caron boutiques as extrait de parfum. Its notes include Bulgarian rose, centifolia rose and geranium; Anatolian rose, lilac and carnation, oakmoss and woody amber.

On Reformulation 3/31/2011:

The femme fatale roses of Or et Noir are still dark and smoldering, with a wonderful mossy-patchouli undertone. The main difference is that I smell less natural rose and more rose alcohols, which lend Or et Noir an unexpected lemony and zesty quality. Still, it is a good dark rose for those who like this fragrance genre.

Picture: 1949 advertisement for Caron.

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