Sisley : Eau du Soir

Claude Monet

The Water Lily Pond (1900) by Claude Monet

Created by : Jeannine Mongin, Hubert d’Ornano, Isabelle d’Ornano

Date : 1990

Genre : Old school green floral chypre

Concentration : eau de parfum

It was serendipity that recently brought me to Eau du Soir when I opened up my magic closet and went hunting for something different. I’d been wearing a lot of the same perfumes recently (Chanel, Hermès and Jean Couturier) and I was in the mood for something big like Paloma Picasso.  And so when I saw the very colourful box of Eau du Soir, I thought… yesss! … perfect for the dead of winter with the grey skies, the mountains of white snow and the arctic-cold air.

Eau du Soir was a gift from a friend with impeccable taste in perfume but the first person to introduce me to Eau du Soir was Clarisse Monereau.  Clarisse is a French-trained perfume expert who came to Montréal and opened a perfume school but has since returned to France.  (I stand corrected.  A reader tells me that although the school has closed, Clarisse is still in Montréal.)  I had invited Clarisse to accompany me to Tosca at L’Opéra de Montréal and I loved her perfume,  “What are you wearing?”  She answered, “Patchouli oil with Eau du Soir on top”.  Wow!  What a powerhouse and perfect for Puccini.

My regular readers know that I don’t list notes because they rarely tell you what the finished product smells like but I’ll make an exception today.  It’s decidedly a chypre so I’m getting a solid base of oakmoss and patchouli.  The top and middle notes are truly symphonic… a big, loud, complex mixture of rich smells and colours… jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, iris and a flower native to Spain, syringa, which I believe is from the lilac family. Just imagine Aromatics Elixir and Paloma Picasso combined… with maybe some Sisley Soir de Lune thrown in.  Big and beautiful!

Eau du Soir has got great throw and sillage.  It will announce your arrival and hang around long after you’ve left the building.  And, it’s extremely long-lasting.  I went to bed with it Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights!  I absolutely love this one.

Jean Couturier : Coriandre (vintage)

Created by : Jacqueline Couturier

Date : 1973

Genre : Rose chypre

Concentration : eau de toilette

When I started this blog I decided that I wouldn’t write about vintage perfumes nor would I write about obscure, difficult-to-test ones.  I wanted to write about fragrances that most people could purchase in a major department store or even a drugstore.  There is nothing more frustrating that reading about what sounds like the absolutely perfect scent and not being able to go out and test it IMMEDIATELY (or almost).  But when a good friend handed me a 120 ml bottle of vintage Coriandre (circa late 80s) and I fell in love with it, I thought, what the heck.  Maybe I’ll write about just this one.

I’ve been wanting to write about Coriandre for many years because I’ve owned a bottle of the current formulation for quite awhile now.  I’ve often worn it and I love it but, to be honest, it’s nothing to write home about.  The current Coriandre is a classic rose chypre with all the notes, except one… oakmoss!  Oh, how I miss oakmoss!  And, I have several rose chypres in my collection, Knowing and Soir de Lune, to name just two.  I wear rose chypres when I want that operatic effect.  The bigger, the better.

So what does vintage Coriandre smell like?  You take the most pungent, dark red roses you can find and you put them on a bed of bitter, delicious oakmoss… add floral notes, woods, patchouli and vetiver.  It’s a marvel!  It’s such a wonderful old school fragrance, you’ll spend half the day walking backwards so you can smell your own perfume!  That’s how beautiful it is.

So, thanks so much to my friend who decided to part with Coriandre and send it my way.  It’s gorgeous.

Let’s end this post with the greatest surprise ending of all the operas… Tosca!  For those who don’t remember, Tosca and Cavaradossi are lovers.  She has arranged for a fake execution but it doesn’t work out as planned and Tosca’s lover is shot dead before her eyes.  When the body of Scarpia is discovered, whom Tosca has murdered, and the soldiers return to condemn her, she escapes by jumping to her death.

Sisley : Soir de Lune

Created by : Dominique Ropion

Date : 2006

Genre : Rose chypre

Concentration : eau de parfum

Funny how you can wear a perfume for years and not recognize a certain note until you compare it with another perfume.  Such was the case when I compared Sisley’s Soir de Lune with Estée Lauder’s Knowing.  I had never noticed that Knowing had a camphorous note!  But, there it was when I put it up against Soir de Lune!  I guess I’ll never think of (and wear) Knowing in the same way again.

As for Soir de Lune, I knew I had a winner on my hands when a colleague walked into a meeting room and asked me what I was wearing.   Such is Soir de Lune… an in-your-face rose chypre that one wears like my mother wore a rhinestone skin brooch which she glued directly on the skin in the 50s… for drama!  That brooch with a strapless gown must have been spectacular… as is Dominique Ropion’s Soir de Lune.

To say the SdL is a rose chypre is really an understatement.  It is THE rose chypre of rose chypres, no doubt about it!  All the elements are there in chypre-glory… oakmoss, patchouli, labdanum and what smells like one of the best rose absolutes on the market.  It’s got some powder but it is not overpowering and as for longevity, my eau de parfum lasted longer than I did.

The day after wearing Soir de Lune, I wore Paloma Picasso and although they share DNA, they don’t deliver the same punch.  Soir de Lune is almost in a class by itself… rich, dark, mossy, forbidding and worldly!  My only concern is… who is woman enough (or man enough) to wear it!  All the Cates and Gwyneths rolled into one actress couldn’t wear it, I don’t care what fancy dress they’ve got on.  Penelope Cruz might be able to get away with it in a few years but I’m not sure.

No… I’m going to go out on a limb and say that to wear Soir de Lune, you had better know who you are and I think that Sean Connery in full Scottish regalia could wear this magnificent Scottish rose chypre magnificently.

If you have the bucks, buy this one for special evenings when you wear your best dress and all the fancy jewelry you own.  If you want a rose chypre that is more wearable for daytime, check out David Yurman.

Enjoy!

Sean Connery dressed like this could easily wear Soir de Lune.

Sean Connery dressed like this could easily wear Soir de Lune.

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