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This was my favorite perfume in the whole world. It was the first grown-up perfum I fell in love with. I first smelled Jean Marc Sinan in a Cosmopolitan magizine fold out. The bottle was half encased in cream-colored plastic, and the cap was formed into a cream-colored crescent moon. My new husband splurged (in the poverty of our youth) to buy me a one-quarter ounce bottle of pure parfum in 1984. It was heaven in a bottle. The department store used to carry three versions: Jean Marc Sinan, and two named similarly, such as Sinan de Jean Marc and Jean Sinan. This one smelled the best of the three, but they were all excellent and similar.
I understand that he is a French architect and artist who restored La Fontaine Centre of Contemporary Art in Bahrain. The Arabic influences probably explain the crescent moon on the lid of the perfume. Also, his love of deep, resinous rose fragrance must have derived from Arabian perfumery, which uses prominant rose notes (even for men) coupled with woods such as sandlewood and oud.
I truly love and miss this perfume. It was rich -- it smelled like money! -- no doubt due to its reliance on expensive damascone/damascenone components. Unfortunately, it did not keep well, and any old bottles will most likely be terribly "off" smelling resembling nothing of their former, glorious selves.
Here is all I could dredge up for a formula (can't attest to its accuracy, but it sounds about right):
Top notes: Bergamot, green note, coriander, aldehydes, rosewood
Heart notes: Rose, geranium, lily of the valley, jasmine, orris, ylang-ylang, cardamom
Base notes: Patchouli, vetiver, amber, moss, musk, cistus
What was fabulous about it was that he did not scrimp on the cost of the ingredients. The orris smelled like orris butter. The rosewood was authentic, and it is rare and endangered today. You could smell the quality. There were no cheap substitutes. The rose was crafted skillfully from the best combination of synthetics and smelled like a bouquet of lush, red and orange roses. If there were lily and jasmine supporting notes, they were blended impeccably. The cardamom really enticed me. And the base was composed of my favorite woods: earthy patchouli, grassy vetiver, real oakmoss, and labdanum as sweet as honey. To all that were added diffusive musks.
By the time I finished that tiny bottle, sparingly used, alas, it was no longer available (only four years later, if I remember correctly). Estee Lauder came out with Knowing about that time, and it was the closet I could find to that elegant rose chypre that I loved, although Knowing smells like only a certain a fraction of Sinan, with its honeyed rose, cardamom, and multi-faceted, mossy florals. I also substituted with other woody, resinous, rose Chypres such as Aromatics Elixir and Montale Black Aoud.
* Sigh* I still miss Jean Marc Sinan. Sorry for the verbiage, but I couldn't make this a short review.
14 January, 2011