vincent roubert: 2 posts

Perfumers on Perfume : Vincent Roubert

My fascination with vintage perfumes owes a lot to Coty L’Aimant and Jacques Fath Iris Gris, fragrances created by Vincent Roubert. I stumbled across L’Aimant at a second-hand clothing store, where its red box sat among the bins of faux pearls from the ’60s and “genuine nylon” shirts from the ’70s. I had no idea that this perfume was launched in 1927 or that it was Coty’s answer to the smashing success of Chanel No. 5. I simply enjoyed its powdery, sweet scent that was completely unlike any of the fragrances I smelled at department stores. It gave me an escape from my routine on par with favorite books and The Classic Movie Channel.

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Iris Gris, on the other hand, was a special quest. By then, I already knew that Roubert was a talented but not a prolific perfumer and that he crafted a legend by blending the cool, earthy iris essence with the luscious sweetness of peach skin. I searched high and low, and when I finally found a bottle of Iris Gris, the remaining perfume smelled of tobacco and sour wine. It was too old. My encounter with Iris Gris–pristine, stunning–took place years later, and I still have a blotter perfumed with iris and peaches.

So who was Roubert? What inspired him? In partnership with the Osmothèque, I offer you an excerpt from The Perfume of Memories, a 1947 magazine article by Vincent Roubert. The Osmothèque has all of the perfumes he mentions in his piece: Caron Fleurs de Rocaille, Chanel No. 5, Coty À Suma, Coty L’Aimant, Coty Muse, Guerlain JickyGuerlain L’Heure Bleue, Houbigant Cœur de Jeannette, Houbigant Demi-Jour, Houbigant Quelques Fleurs, and Lanvin Arpège. Iris Gris is still awaiting its hour.

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Knize Ten : Perfume Review

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Smoky leather and green jasmine… The first time I smelled Coty Chypre I was startled by its wistful aura. For months before Chypre and I finally met I had fantasized about how dramatic and roughhewn it must have been to simultaneously set a new trend and to shock its contemporaries. But as I discovered, Chypre is alluring and harmonious, if not exactly well-behaved. I fell hard for its dark leather accord, which I subsequently spotted in Chanel Cuir de Russie, enjoyed in Robert Piguet Bandit and mourned in the reformulated Parfums Gres Cabochard. Finding Knize Ten is a flashback to the first time I dabbed a few dark drops of Chypre on my wrist and discovered that leather can be devastatingly seductive.

Knize Ten was created in 1924—just seven years after Chypre—by François Coty and Vincent Roubert, and it isn’t surprising that someone who loves the early 20th century perfumes would be taken by it as well. (A perfume lab rumor is that Ernest Beaux also was involved, which makes Knize Ten one of the best collaborative efforts.) More unexpected is how well this gem has weathered the past century. Today the fragrances are reformulated on what seems to be a daily basis, and anything older than a year is likely to be altered. Knize Ten, however, has managed to survive more or less intact. As I’m writing this review, I have the current Eau de Toilette on one wrist and the 1950s formulation on another. The new version is wonderful.

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