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.

Ex Idolo : Thirty Three

40s photo of the dance floor at the Cocoanut Grove.

40s photo of the dance floor at the Cocoanut Grove.

Created by : Unknown perfumer

Date : 2013

Genre : Rose patchouli

Concentration : eau de parfum (at least)

One of my favourite courses in library school was Collection Development, i.e. what to buy! With all that is being published and evermore shrinking budgets, libraries are becoming more and more choosy. The Acquisitions Librarian of a large library in Québec City gave us a presentation of their purchasing policy. It was detailed and complex and fascinating. And the presentor ended it with, “And, of course, we NEVER buy first novels!” I said, “Excuse me, did you say never?” He answered, “NEVER!” (Unless of course the novel becomes a best-seller or a subsequent novel becomes a best-seller or the first novel wins a literary prize… but I digress.)

So… here we are with a first perfume launched by Ex Idolo from an unknown perfumer. Should I review?  Well… the creative force behind Ex Idolo, Matthew Zhuk, sent me a lovely email and a sniffing expedition was in the works so I decided to give it a try.

Both Matthew and the SA at Etiket talked about Thirty Three as being an oud… “thirty three” being the age of the oud which was used… but actually, it’s not really an oud perfume, not on my skin anyway. Yes… the oud is front and centre for the first 20 minutes, but it quickly takes a backseat to a beautiful, quality rose-patchouli accord which is the heart of Thirty Three. Yes, there is musk and some powder and maybe the oud is in there somewhere but for the most part it’s an exquisite red rose-patchouli… not yellow roses, not pink, RED! Over time, the patchouli disappears, the powder lingers as does the rose, and a soapy note emerges (perhaps the musk) making me smell cleaner at the end of the day than when I stepped out of the shower that morning!

So… what impressed me most? I would say the quality of the materials. That rose note is exquisite.  In addition, the composition is good… no rough edges, no overly chemical smells. It has a few twists and turns but I like that in a perfume. The longevity is similar to extract strength. And, Thirty Three is totally legible which I think is a plus in these days of “just feel the perfume.” There are others in the same genre but this composition straddles deftly between a rose soliflore and one of the many big rose chypres on the market making it quite unique. I would say its closest competitors are David Yurman and Jo Malone’s Velvet Rose and Oud. Evidently, Matthew Zhuk has been able to steer Thirty Three through a narrow opening on a crowded dance floor.

Now people who read me regularly know that I never discuss bottles or names but I love the bottle and I particularly like the art deco-inspired font. There is some marketing savvy behind the packaging.

Overall… it’s very beautiful and if you’ve been thinking of adding a quality rose fragrance to your collection, check this one out.

Enjoy!

Ex Idolo's Thirty Three - beautiful presentation!

Ex Idolo’s Thirty Three – beautiful presentation!

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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