caron: 23 posts

Caron Third Man (Le 3eme Homme) : Perfume Review

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Troisiemehomme

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

Few fragrances tend to fall as much into the masculine domain as fougère. Based on the interplay of lavender, coumarin and oakmoss, the genre takes its name from the first abstract composition, Fougère Royale by Houbigant (1882). The combination of fresh and dry lavender with powdery sweet coumarin and oakmoss results in the juxtaposition of unexpected elements. If a term fougère signals an overplayed variation on the successful Cool Water by Davidoff, Caron Le 3ème Homme (Third Man) would be a pleasant surprise. It takes the concept of fougère and embellishes it with floral and spicy accords, as if orange blossom and jasmine were scattered among the blue of lavender and the darkness of woods.

Created in 1985, Le 3ème Homme derives its name from the 1949 film, The Third Man, starring Orson Welles. Lavender and tart citrus sparkle like champagne on the skin, before their effervescence subsides under the dominance of sweetness that comprises the main accord. …

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Caron French Cancan : Fragrance Review

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French_cancan_1937

Original:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Reformulation:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

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

Playing up the stereotypes of Paris, in 1936 Caron’s perfumer Ernest Daltroff created a fragrance specifically for the American market. The fragrance was christened French Cancan in a slightly naughty allusion to the infamous cabaret dancers of Moulin Rouge, the shadowy image of which appears in the 1937 ad accompanying this review. Only in the postwar period did French Cancan returned home to Paris.

Whenever one describes a fragrance as sensual, visions of rose petals strewn across vanilla, amber haze and opulent night-blooming flowers come to mind. However, Daltroff manages to create a sensual fragrance by exploring the unique juxtaposition and slow development. French Cancan peels off one layer after another, first exposing a froth of jasmine and violet, touched by an almost gourmand almondy sweetness. Next comes a dark earthy rose, which sheds its petals slowly to reveal an arrestingly innocent touch of orange blossom. Like layers of transparent fabric change colors when arranged together, jasmine manages to darken the radiant sweetness of orange blossom.

As the fragrance dries down, cold iris dust melds the elements of the composition together. The final drydown notes take about two and a half hours to reach, although the dark Caron undercurrent is already manifesting its presence in the heart of the composition. French Cancan leaves one with silky richness of amber, sandalwood and oakmoss trio, and by endowing a composition with a degree of coolness, the effect is  alluring.

Notes: jasmine, lilac, violet, lily of the valley, rose, orange blossom, patchouli, iris, sandalwood, amber, oakmoss.

Note on reformulation May 2011: The original was a heady blend of various floral notes (jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, lilac) on a warm musky base. The new version is a cheaper variation on the theme. The Eau de Parfum is even less interesting.

Caron Bellodgia : Perfume Review

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Look closely at the Lady with the Unicorn tapestries. Among flowers intertwining around the woman, unicorn and lion, and creating an enchanted atmosphere, tiny dianthus, clove pink, is the most prominent. Likewise, Caron Bellodgia is a fragrance of dreams. It bridges the light and the dark and creates a masterful olfactory chiaroscuro. Bellodgia is a memory of a traveler, capturing the vision of an Italian town on Lake Como, Belladgio. Created in 1927 by Ernest Daltroff, genius perfumer and the founder of Caron, the composition features carnation, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, violet, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.

Lady with unicorn

The top notes are of the powdery carnation which gains a slight peppery bite as the fragrance settles. The jasmine, lily of the valley and rose undulate out of carnation accord one after another creating an interesting composition that changes over time, from one note to another and back, like piano bars being hit by an impatient finger. The dry down is an interplay of warm and musky against cool and mossy. The dark Caron undercurrent whispers of dusky cloisters of medieval churches and throws into relief the gentle sweetness flowers, still hot from the midday sun. Bellodgia may seem soft and simple at first, but over time it reveals its sensuality.

I forgot to add that my preferred concentration is the extrait de parfum; the Eau de Parfum is bland in comparison. As Octavian noted in the comments, it was introduced in 1996, after being reformulated and augmented with the green tea notes.

Note on reformulation May 2011: A carnation gold standard, Bellodgia has been made less spicy and dark over time, but it still preserves its petal rainstorm impression. While I miss the original’s smoldering spicy darkness, I still enjoy the bright rose-carnation accord in the current version. The parfum is richer and warmer, while the Eau de Toilette has a pleasant green note adorning the spicy floral heart.

Image: The Lady and the Unicorn, “Sight” silk tapestry on wood, end of the 15th century, Musée Moyenage, Paris. Discovered by Prosper Mérimée in 1841 in Boussac castle, the tapestries became famous due to the works by George Sand. The amount of detail on the tapestries, as well as hidden allegory, is breathtaking. I must have spent more than an hour at the tapestry gallery, amazed by the vibrant colors and the delicate expressions on the faces of the lady and the mysterious animals. Interestingly enough, the bottom end of the tapestries, which currently appears dark pink underwent restoration. However, synthetic colors could not match the vibrancy of the vegetal dye used by the Flemish weavers. Over time, the restored part faded, while the original remained vivid.

Caron Poivre and Coup de Fouet : Perfume Review

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Caron_poivre

Original:

Rated 4.5 out of 5.0

Reformulation:

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

“Crack of the Whip” is a name befitting this outstanding Caron creation. After the sharp burst of pepper, the chill of floral notes ornamented by spicy iridescence begins to unravel. Carnation blossoms out of the spicy tulle and grows more and more voluptuous and sweet, before suddenly bursting into a layers and layers of sweet and translucent petals. As quickly as carnation appears, the next wave brings an additional layer of spicy warmth. It fuses the elements of the composition together, adding sweetness where it was lacking and smoothing the spicy edges before they start to burn. After the carnation petals are swept away by the warm breath, the sweet smoky notes of incense start to swirl in delicate patterns. Opoponax (sweet myrrh) is what lends a subtly sweet, balsamic quality to the dry down, forcing flowers to lose their demure quality and peppers to freeze into an intricate spicy balance.

Those who are afraid of Caron’s darkness and now-unfashionable mossiness should explore Coup de Fouet, which is a wonderful example of why classical compositions can withstand the ever changeable fashion. It is refined without being aloof and timeless without being dated. A true Caron gem! However, please give the top notes a chance to perform their transformations before making a verdict.

Poivre is the extrait de parfum version of Coup De Fouet, and as expected, it is richer and more cerebral. It takes longer to make its acquaintance, with the sweet incense notes I liked being darker and more vibrant contrast with the rest of the composition. Both were created by Michel Morsetti in 1954.

Notes: red pepper, black pepper, giroflore, carnation, ylang ylang, opoponax, sandalwood, vetiver, oakmoss.

On Reformulation (March 2011):

Wearing the original Poivre is an exhilarating experience that can only be compared to biting into a black peppercorn crust atop steak au poivre. The spicy rose underscoring the fiery pepper and woods lent the composition a certain dark vision of glamor. The current version is more pink than crimson, and as such, its beauty has been lost. The cinnamon, clove and pepper notes are quite attenuated, with the final result verging on bland. Coup de Fouet is the Eau de Toilette version of Poivre and it is even thinner.

Caron Tubereuse : Fragrance Review

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Anna pavlova costume giselle

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

Caron Tubereuse is a fragrance I often think in terms of dance. Reading perfume reviews I am always struck by a variety of references to capture scent. Music language of chord, tremolo, crescendo and modulation; gustatory of bitter, sweet, sour; visual of matte, transparent, iridescent… The list is endless, and is contingent upon a reviewer’s way of identifying sensations and connecting with the world. At the same time, it also underscores the inadequacy of our language to capture scent.

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