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My 1991 copy of the Haarmann & Reimer 'Fragrance Guide to Feminine and Masculine Notes' really has a lot to answer for. I frequently ponder its many photos of bottles (from the timelessly elegant to the quaintly dated), arranged alphabetically within key style categories. This book is serious fuel for my inner hoarder (which also loves the adventure of an unsniffed vintage purchase). What joy it is to put a little tick next to each pic as I acquire an example of the juice!
Which is why I just bought a bottle of Darling 2 (sic). Darling II by Fabergé is pictured in my H&R guide right next to its sister fragrance Darling. They are both in the Floral/Fruity category and share some notes. In addition to the notes listed in the above pyramid, H&R lists for Darling II: 'green note' and cassie in the top, cyclamen and jasmine in the middle and amber in the base. While H&R doesn't give precise launch dates, but both D and DII appear on their genealogy chart between 1980 and 1985.
OK, so what about this bottle I just bought? It has very similar physical features to the Darling II bottles I've seen pictured in the H&R guide and also on the Perfume Intelligence website. However, my bottle's typeface is all wrong, there's a 2 instead of a II, and there's no sign of the Fabergé logo. Instead, the maker appears to be 'FSP - 22 rue de Marignan, Paris' (I visited that address virtually and it looks like an apartment building). Bah!
The Fabergé cosmetics company changed hands several times in the 1980s, so it's possible that the rights to produce the Darling fragrances were purchased by an obscure company. Or perhaps this is an unauthorised 'smellalike' (copy)? I'm inclined to think the latter.
So what does it smell like? It's no fruity floral in the modern sense - there's something sharp and vegetal in there like some unpleasant herb, almost drowning out the sweeter floral notes. (I have smelled a few other frags with a similar kind of vibe, and those are usually green chypres from the 1970s). I thought the juice might simply have 'turned', so I asked a friend for her opinion. She said it smelled like a shampoo or body product.
Summary: my version of this fragrance smells like a bad shampoo from the 70s. But it's probably not the real deal, so don't base your purchase on this review (and make sure you get a bottle which actually says 'Fabergé'!).
30th April, 2012 (Last Edited: 07th September, 2012)