Genre: Floral Oriental
As I see it, Vanderbilt lies at the juncture of two paths Sophia Grojsman pursued for decades: the antiseptic green soapy florals of White Linen, and the sweet fruity chypre style of Yvresse, Trésor, and Calyx. After a brief flash of sweet bergamot, Vanderbilt fires off a barrage of bitter green notes, crisp white flowers and intense aldehydes, which together smell a bit like Ivory soap – only much, much louder. Alongside these arise an array of spices and sweet resins, plus some vanilla and a hint of Grojsman’s signature fruity lactones. Though the aldehydes subside somewhat after fifteen or twenty minutes of wear, the green floral accord retains a starched, soapy quality that stands in stark contrast to the sweetness of cinnamon, opoponax and vanilla.
The construct is floral oriental, but in this case the “floral” and the “oriental” are not so much melded together as set side-by-side. The internal tension between its two unreconciled and contrasting olfactory masses invests Vanderbilt with an enlivening interest, but I can’t help feeling that the clever idea is let down in the execution. The floral accord grows disturbingly chemical over time, eventually approaching solid air freshener in quality, while the sterile white musk, vanilla, and soapy rose drydown offers none of the warmth promised by the civet in the pyramid. The composition winds up smelling cheap, threadbare and more unfriendly than elegant.
Easy to wear for work, lasts all day not overbearing, smells like an expensive deodorant
Wore this in the 1980s when I first joined the work force and didn't have any money, but didn't want to smell like it. I loved it then, love it still, and keep a small bottle among my more expensive fragrances. Still get plenty of compliments on it, too. Clean, slightly soapy, good for year-round wear.
The iconic swan-fronted bottle of 80's vintage Vanderbilt found its way into my life through a bundle deal of old perfumes I bought at an antique store last week. They gave it to me for free among my little bottles of vintage Youth Dew, L'Aimant by Coty from the 30's?, a tiny old Chamade and a very retro Chantilly by Houbigant.
I almost threw this one away. Then, I scrunched up my face and tried a tiny bit in the air. My husband, a room away, and knowing I was writing about my latest perfume finds, came to the door and said, "Yum, that cinnamon smells so good." He hates most perfumes. But he loves a few. He liked this one. He even got the slightly green astrigent smell when he came in the room. No idea how this dries down, but there seems to be a solid structure here, and given its maker, it is no wonder. That will teach me to be all snobby about my odd perfume finds!
No doubts this is a very romantic, dreamy and a bit old-school juice. We are talking about a floral-oriental with a sort of gummy soul and the capacity to evoke enchanting silvan worlds of animated cartoons lost in the time of childhood, fables and fairies. The fragrance opening is citrusy, a bit wet and rough with a blast of green notes, bitter fruits and lavender that hold on their crisp temperament throughout the evolution. In a while a wonderful link of aldehydes, orange blossom and intense floral notes starts working its romantic role with an airy strong projection ready to dive in a sink of resins, edible spicy (cinnamon) creams, musk and mild woods while a note of vetiver links itself with the permanent starting roughness. A note of civet enhances the edible trait of resins and creams in a blend that remains a bit too synthetic and rubbery under my nose. The rough and indented sort of wet role played till the end by citrus, green note, crisp flowers and bitter fruits, despite being those blended with the following creamy-edible notes, is the prelude to some upcoming future modern creations.
29th June, 2011 (last edited: 30th June, 2011)
I was not expecting to like this one, but I do. There have been many like it, but small details poke out of the structure in a forget-me-not gesture of brilliant subtlety. The pineapple in the opening is among these, and the base is deliciously attractive and a little smoky-leathery. I'll bet if you removed the floral heart notes this would be a killer masculine.
I'm wary of trying the current formulation, though...