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.


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

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

Badgley Mischka : Badgley Mischka

Created by : Richard Herpin

Date : 2006

Genre : Fruity chypre

Concentration : eau de parfum

My dad’s favourite Hollywood star was Rita Hayworth.  He thought that she was incredibly beautiful and sexy and I hadn’t thought of her in a very long time… until this evening when I got a whiff of Badgley Mischka.  Subconsciously, my brain was searching for an image to go with this classy perfume made with “trashy”, fruity notes and Rita with her dyed-red hair came to mind.  You see, I don’t think of classy when I smell fruity topnotes but this one… well, it’s different.

Badgley Mischka is correctly classified as a fruity chypre with its fruit cocktail heart made up of classy mango and trashy raspberry (and other fruits undoubtedly) layered over a subtle chypre base… so very different than Paco Rabanne’s fizzy, hotel brunch mimosa concoction, Lady Million.  But Badgley Mischka is more complex, more “evening” with a slightly powdery note which is more like a matte finish on paint (or makeup) than an all-out, in-your-face powdery facet.  It’s beautiful and fun to wear.

My only problem with this one is that it has no moving parts.  Being so heavily fruity, it’s undoubtedly mostly synthetic and so… it doesn’t evolve over time.  It pretty well ends where it starts.  So…  it’s both topless and bottomless.  Unless you are a nose, it’s hard to smell any movement but the fruit accord is so gorgeous well… I’m recommending it anyway.

To resume, Badgley Mischka is an intense, fruity chypre with a matte finish.  I wore it many times when I bought it two years ago.  When I put it on skin this week to review it, I fell in love all over again.

If you want to wear something in this genre that won’t remind you of your daughter’s Hawaiian Punch-inspired fragrance, try this one.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Addendum March 4th – After a comment by Meg over at parfümieren about wearing Badgley Mischka with a hibiscus “tucked behind the ear”, it brought back memories of Dorothy Lamour.  By the way, I’m at the library supposedly working on my tell-all book when I started reading Meg’s blog and 2 hours later, I’m still reading.  Meg is a wonderful writer and she lives in the most divine parallel universe where she picks up vintage bottles of Paris by Coty and Givenchy’s L’Interdit for a song… not even… a refrain!  It’s a great blog to read.

And, here is the sarong lady herself… Dorothy Lamour.

Top image : Glamour shot of Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

Bottom image : Dorothy Lamour

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