Pineapple meets Bandit!
One of the first fruity chypres ever created, Colony balances the sweetness of pineapple against a dark, leathery chypre base. This is subtly and very well done. Too bad it is out of production as it is certainly a classy 1930s scent.
From Barbara Herman the notes are:
Top: Pineapple, Ylang Ylang
Middle: Carnation, Iris, Vetiver, Opopanax
Base: Leather, Musk, Oakmoss
I find it to be fairly close to vintage Mitsouko in feel - a bit musty and a soapiness that seemed to be typical for the Ma Collection of Jean Patou. I'm not terribly crazy about this one, but I find it easier to enjoy than vintage Mitsouko. Review for the EdT!
Bergamot & pineapple give this fragrance an initial lift which rivals (but does not surpass) Mitsouko. The pineapple accord overpowers the woodsy oakmoss, thus making this fragrance more fruit than chypre. The longevity is mediocre. In spite of all this, Colony is a fragrance worth trying while there are still a few bottles left on the internet. It must have been a triumph in its heyday, as I am certain that this reintroduction lacks some of the more sinister aspects of a chypre. I find myself splashing it on when I want to think happy thoughts.
I can definitely pick out the pineapple (maybe because I know it's supposed to be there) - canned pineapple in syrup but not syrupy-sweet, it still has the tartness of the fruit although not quite as much as fresh pineapple. Apart from pineapple I get an odd jumble of notes - citrus, nougat, a sort of muted plasticky/powdery accord (aldehydes?), a touch of compost (just a touch, while Joy is all compost on my skin), a soft leathery chypre base... I must say that to my nose, Colony smells dated in the wrong way (as opposed to the retro glamour way). Its fruit note doesn't smell synthetic in the blatant, sugary way that most contemporary fruit scents do, but it still smells synthetic, in a musty, old-fashioned sort of way instead. As far as fruity chypres go, I much prefer Mitsouko - in Colony, the fruit note is both too thin and too dominant and not balanced by enough green chypre notes. I think the oakmoss in Mitsouko works better with fruit than the leather in Colony, "opening up" the scent. In Colony it's like the fruit and the chypre are on the exact same frequency, if that makes any sense, making the entire scent feel dense and dull. I can sort of see the appeal of this fragrance, especially when it was first released and its fruit note was quite unique, but I personally don't enjoy wearing it and my girlfriend detested it and couldn't even pick out the pineapple.
There are some fabulous scents in Jean Patou's, now defunct and rightly mourned, Ma Collection. However, I think that Colony may still be in production, but don't hold me to that. I saw on an American etailer that the parfum (new) is available, and the EdT is still easily found. Regardless, this is one sophisticated fragrance. The opening is pineapple and summery. But hang onto your hat. The next stage is Bandit meets Pineapple. If you're not a leather fan, this stage will be especially challenging. It's green and leathery, yet the pineapple is still there, keeping it all together. As this stage develops into the drydown, the spices emerge. Sillage is stunning, and as far as I'm concerned, the sillage could be bigger. The drydown reveals a spicy, chypre base. This is like an Agatha Christie novel set in French governed tropics. On the surface it seems to be all sunshine and light, but you quickly discover that there are some decidedly dark and dangerous undercurrents here, and they will not be ignored. Colony is not for the faint hearted. Some recommend it for autumn wear only, but I frankly think it's just fine all year long.