A dominant aldehydic, bitter citrus accord, edging into subtle rose/jasmine florals, and finishing with a purring animalic base. So fascinating that this scent was originally intended for teenagers and young women, because today it just smells so incredibly old fashioned - a fragrance that is clearly of the pre-80s world - made before someone decided that all fragrances needed to be syrupy sweet and fruity-floral.
07th April, 2012 (last edited: 19th December, 2013)
a teen in the 60's is a senior citizen now, which is what caline reminds me of.
19th August, 2010 (last edited: 03rd February, 2011)
When Caline was introduced in 1964 it was marketed as a 'perfume for young women'. One can imagine that the heaviness and sophistication of Patou's legends like Joy and 1000 were a bit too much for teenage girls, even back in the 60s. Knowing the thinking behind the development and marketing of Caline provides an unintended commentary on the state of perfumery in 2009. Specifically, by today's standards Caline is a wonderfully fresh and enjoyable green fragrance, far more sophisticated, subtle and layered then the fragrance intended for adults today. The fragrances intended for 'young women' today are typically the dreaded bug-juice-sweet fruity florals promoted by the 'celebutard' of the month.
Caline feels a lot like a chypre and I wouldn't be surprised if the formal bergamot/oakmoss structure is lurking underneath. Unlike a typical chypre Caline adds a huge blast of aldehydes - more than in any other chypre fragrance I've experienced. The aldehydes are accompanied by light citrus and crisp green notes. As the initial burst of aldehydes settles down, leaving a bouquet of green notes, jasmine and other subtle white florals. Caline straddles the line perfectly between green-heavy scents that are a bit too bitter and chypres that feature lots of mossy/woody notes. There is definitely a green bitterness to Caline, but it is balanced well by the aldehydes and a subtle touch of rose (and iris, I suspect). At this point one would expect a movement towards a simple oakmoss base but you would be wrong - the green/floral heart gives way to a gorgeous carnation/labdanum accord that starts out with carnation's clove-like spiciness and slowly melds into a smooth labdanum base. The labdanum, with a hint of sandalwood, lingers for a good 2-3 hours before fading out.
Wow! To think that such a crisply and expertly constructed perfume should be intended for young women illustrates the artistry and pride of creation used by the perfume industry of yesteryear vs. the mindless, cheap drivel of today. I have to laugh when people complain that a fragrance "feels dated." I interpret this statement as saying "quality, rich compositions are too much to process." Generations of fragrance collectors think that bland, average compositions are acceptable and can't wrap their head around vintage quality. It's a shame that treasures like Caline are essentially lost, with the occasional bottle popping up now and then online.
Patou Caline is a treasure.
Notes (per theperfumedcourt.com): green citrus, aldehydes, spices, May rose, jasmine, orris, ylang ylang, cyclamen, cedarwood, santal, labdanum, moss and musk.
In very much the same family as other spicy-ish, mossy-ish, fresh greens Ma Griffe, Coriandre and Ivoire de Balmain, Caline is a great one to add to your collection if you're a fan of any one or all of those scents. Me, I don't love any of these, and Caline's no exception; the coming together of certain combinations of notes disagrees with me and that's the case here with the meeting of basil AND iris AND moss AND coriander. There's an odd sense of viscousness I get from this and I just don't care for it. That being said, I refuse to give this a negative review because I consider it a classic; just because it doesn't agree with me does not, in this case (or the case of any of its smell-alikes, for that matter) cause me to regard in any lesser way. Call me biased, but Patous, Carons and Guerlains can do no wrong in my eyes! Besides, I've only worn this a few times and think I could grow to at least like it, if not love it, once I got used to its particular nature.