Flowers and sandalwood. Dark, rich and feminine.
This was my mother-in-law's signature. I took home her last bottle, but I couldn't wear it, too evocative. Just taking the cap off the bottle made the tears come. Time has passed, and I'm enjoying it more than I thought possible.
This begins with a burst of mint, then within five minutes calms down to its powdery tobacco, vanilla, honey chypre essence.
Lovely, warm light tobacco, vanilla scent - but do be sure you buy a guaranteed Germaine Monteil, not the RS-named reformulation.
First Edit - It seems Krizia copied this in the 1980s, calling it Teatro All Scala. Very close, especially in the spicey, slightly menthol dry down. If you can't afford or find the one, try the other.
03rd December, 2013 (last edited: 14th April, 2017)
Going by other people's reviews, I should love Royal Secret. I really like Tabu and like the animalic notes with Tabu, but Royal Secret smells like it's gone mouldy to me. It's got a sharp tang to it that smells like the mould from blue cheese and unfortunately I can't stand blue cheese.
Fabulous sillage, which is unfortunate with a scent that doesn't respond to being scrubbed off in the shower.
For the record, I'm wearing vintage Royal Secret, under the Monteil name.
I'm with Hester, in that this does have an awful lot in common with L'Artisan's amber, specifically a powdery medicinal amber that's quite old-fashioned and almost gross. Royal Secret ups the gross factor with a big dollop of openly poopy civet, a shot of that old-fashioned bergamot that can smell fusty bordering on moldy, and a large amount of something that smells like a moldy, decaying abandoned hospital. In true old-world French fashion, these disparate elements somehow come together into something unexpectedly pleasant and rich, namely a poopier version of L'Artisan's amber.
I've smelled the current version of Royal Secret at a perfume shop and found it shockingly civet-heavy, so I would guess that the formula hasn't been dumbed down much. That being said, it's perfumes like this that make me wonder, from a purely economic perspective, who in the world is buying this? How is enough of this sold that anyone can make any money off of it? It's inexpensive, hard to find, and borderline unpleasant by today's standards. While I'm glad for the opportunity to have tried it, Royal Secret just goes to show that there's a legitimate reason many perfumes are eventually discontinued or reformulated, though I suppose that lesson in itself is reason enough to give Royal Secret a sniff...
This excerpt taken from 'To Kill A Mockingbird' came to my mind the second I inhaled this scent, "Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum. . . . There was no hurry, for there was nowhere to go, nothing to buy and no money to buy it with, nothing to see outside the boundaries of Maycomb County."
Royal Secret is a simple, pungent,and powdery oriental; it's easy to like and suits anyone who has a soft spot for this type of fragrance, little money, and little patience for fruity-floral horrors on the market today. However, I'd still love to try the original.
**edit** I now own the original scent in the body powder. I will enjoy wearing this on sultry summer evenings, while sipping iced tea on my front porch.
19th February, 2012 (last edited: 26th February, 2012)