A spicy, floral, dry and fragrant chypre with a subtle leather accord.
One of the great scents created in the 20th century.
The name translates to "My Mark" or "My Stamp." It is young, crisp and fresh.
Turin gave it 3 stars, named it a "green chypre," and saluted its "Miss Moneypenny spinsterish loveliness."
Barbara Herman found it "more wearable than either Cabochard or Bandit."
It was once dubbed "the prostitute's perfume." The combination of cinnamon and galbanum gives it a bright, crisp green note.
Top notes: Galbanum, Clary Sage, Bergamot, Citronnel
Heart notes: Gardenia, Jasmine, Ylang, Rose, Orris, Muguet
Base notes: Cinnamon, Tonka, Vetiver, Sandalwood, Styrax, Oakmoss, Musk, Benzoin, Labdanum
Wonderful for women of any age, who are young at heart.
Pursuing vintage perfume has its difficulties. Date? Formulation? Provenance? Concentration? At the heart of the matter is a question that can be asked of every perfume, whether vintage or current. It's a variation on the 'does one ever swim in the same river twice' chestnut: does one ever smell the same perfume twice? Is my new bottle of Mitsouko the same perfume as my last bottle? Is Mitsouko Mitsouko? It's a high-school philosophy survey course sort of dilemma.
The problem with vintage perfume has to do with expectation. What do you expect from your ebay perfume purchase? If it is a greater authenticity than a contemporary bottle offers you, be prepared to smell the disappointment.
Ma Griffe is my instructor on the topic. I've smelled 3 vintage versions made in the 1970s to 1990s and they all smell largely the same to me. Powdery and buttery, green but vague. Weak, indistinct, uninteresting.
This is the powerhouse green locomotive from 1947? The legend that paved the way for the commanding green chypres of the mid-late 20th century? Of course it isn't. I'll never really know what the old girl smelled like in her heyday. I wasn't there in 1947, and to smell a bottle of Ma Griffe in 2014 that might have been produced in the 1970s can't compare. If you're chasing the authentic experience, like a junkie chasing that first high, it’ll feel like a hint of a memory. Like a dream at the tip of your mind's tongue.
So what to do? Consensus is that the current Ma Griffe is rubbish and vintage is unreliable at best. Buying vintage doesn't usually give you the option of sampling or testing a perfume in advance of purchase. It's a stab in the dark.
So Ma Griffe is dead to me. It is the plight of perfumery and the perfume lover that over the course of time even iconic, seminal fragrances will go away. We blame IFRA compliance for reformulation, but forget to consider that the loss of past perfumes is inherent in the form. I enjoy the discussion of perfumery and the language that it prompts us to create. As for Ma Griffe, I'll have to be content with viewing from the sidelines of the debate. I'll never smell the perfume.
Still, it's worth it to have the discussion, don't you think?
This is for the vintage perfume
It opens up a bitter, dry aldehydic green, that unfortunately resembles the smell of the inside of my dad's Volvo Amazon in the sixties, a smell that always made me a little nauseous (is it the asafoetida that produces this effect?). It stays that way for a long time, and then dries down into a warm, spicy base that is rather pleasant. Lastly comes the woody base that lingers forever.
Launched (from airplanes over Paris) in 1946, Ma Griffe was the "it" scent for young people back in the fifties - rebellious and ground breaking. In our own fruity/floral times it might be considered too sharp and dry. Still, it is a classic and well worth a thumbs up for the quality of the ingredients and the originality of the composition (by perfumer Jean Carles, himself anosmic by the time he made it).
I'm a guy and I'm wearing Ma Griffe right now and I love it. It is a GREEN green floral with one of the strangest notes in it that I've ever smelled. I can only describe it as "garlic-ey" and it must be the unusual asafoetida infusion. It is a "foul smelling" resin from a plant in the parsley family and much like civet and other types of binders that smell horrid by themselves--it combines with the other elements to heighten and enrich them.
Ma Griffe is a stand alone concoction. At once familiar and at twice; strange. A weird, exotic beauty that speaks of Old World European sophistication; but remains wild and woody. To paraphrase the old commercial: Made for a Woman, but strong enough for a Man.
I admit I inherited my grandmother's spray EDT...but she was NOT the stereotypical grandmother.
She was "high style", as much as she could accomplish in Indiana, a woman who looked snappy in the late 50's in stadium pumps, black & white jewelry & checkered jackets. Ma Griffe was the perfect fresh, powdery, but not sentimental scent for her...so when I wore it later I could hear her laugh & see her shrug her shoulders....
I tend to wear somewhat more oriental or smoky scents in fall & winter, somewhat less "powder" in summer..more citrus & watery..
but I enjoyed wearing her scent, especially dressed up for daytime!