1960s perfumes: 4 posts

Christian Dior Dioressence : Perfume Review (Vintage and Modern)

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Gilded, raunchy, glamorous, voluptuous… Any of these words describe Christian Dior Dioressence, a fragrance that has been marketed by Dior as le parfum barbare, a barbaric perfume. Dioressence is still sold today, but the reason why it ended up among my Long Lost Favorite Perfume series is because the original version is gone. Marika, who asked me to add Dioressence to my list of discussions, said, “I recall it being a deliciously rich chypre, very powerful and tenacious. I liked its balance of earthy depth and elegance. It was my first perfume.”

Fans may complain about Christian Dior causing confusion with their game of renaming and reformulating Miss Dior and Miss Dior Chérie, but Dioressence has suffered the same fate through the years. When I smell the original perfume created by Guy Robert in 1969, the relaunch from the 1970s and the current version, I feel as if I’m wearing three different perfumes—an ambery animalic chypre, a full-bodied spicy oriental and a pale green chypre.

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Estee Lauder Azuree (Vintage) : Perfume Review

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When you approach the Estée Lauder counter you will see the slender bottles of Pleasures, the heavy flacons of Knowing, the ribbed orbs of Sensuous. Occasionally, you spot an hourglass bottle filled with dark as molasses Youth Dew. But to smell Azurée you often have to ask the sales associate for the tester. At many Lauder counters I’ve visited it is kept under the counter, reminding me of Soviet-era shopping. “From under the counter” was the magical phrase that produced things rarely seen on the store shelves. Something as commonplace as a packet of sugar obtained in this way seemed even sweeter.

Its special “under the counter” status isn’t the reason I crave Azurée. It’s big and bold, with a distinctive presence. Since it has been around since 1969, it bears a whiff of the era—you will not mistake this moss festooned beauty for another pink fruity floral, but it’s stunning. Anyone who loves woods, earthy notes and leather would enjoy Azurée’s generous presence. Among great chypres (the mossy and earthy perfumes that are the scent equivalents of film noir), Azurée holds a special place.

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Guerlain Chant d’Aromes : Fragrance Review

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Guerlain marketed Chant d’Arômes in 1962 as a fragrance for a woman who wears perfume only for herself. In an interview with Elle Magazine, perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain described his muse Marie-Monique as “a proper, ladylike young woman. I chose spring flowers like honeysuckle and gardenia, embellished them with mandarin and bergamot and added a touch of jasmine and a hint of ylang-ylang.”

Chant daromes color ad

Chant d’Arômes is a delicately rendered floral chypre, with a strong accent of peach and sweet orange. The inky richness of oakmoss and the milky sweetness of sandalwood serve as interesting contrasts to the pastel hued heart of honeysuckle and jasmine. It is at once innocent and alluring.

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Guerlain Chamade : Perfume Review

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Created by perfumer  Jean Paul Guerlain in 1969, Chamade was a homage to Françoise Sagan’s novel La Chamade. Symbolizing a quick beating of the heart of those in love, “Chamade” is another enchanting name given to the Guerlain creation.

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It is a blend, dominated primarily by hyacinth and blackcurrant. As Moslih Saadi, Persian poet who lived in 13th c said,

If of thy mortal goods thou art bereft
And from thy slender store two loaves (of bread) alone to thee are left
Sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.”

Although hyacinth is one of my favorite flowers, I find that its lush exotic scent is often rendered as oily and heavy in perfumery. This is the case with Chamade, which starts out with a heavy green hyacinth note, however blackcurrant adds a tangy green layer, which cuts through the richness.

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