To my nose and on my skin this is a fresh green floral scent with a warm, resinous base. It is quite light and attractive - very much of 1935 when it premiered.
Barbara Herman jots its notes as carnation, bergamot, mandarin on top with a heart of rose and jasmine, lying on an amber, vanilla base. It is described as a spicy animalic oriental, but none of those words capture my experience of light spring green on warm forest floor.
Lauren Bacall's signature scent - quite subtle and quite classy all the way.
This is a scent I sampled blind, so I want to write up my impressions before I see the notes or read much more on it. My sample is from the late 60s.
I thought this was a citrus floral with an anemic base. No oakmoss, sandalwood, or amber to weight it down. Maybe a hint of a dry wood, but for the most part it is a soft white, springtime fresh, kelly green fragrance. Bergamot is present immediately, and I suspected a jasmine or lily influence. Since I had nothing else to go by, the rest of my impression was meditative:
This is a something I would reach for if I were anxious about something and needed to step back and view it in a more detached manner. At first I thought this was a happy scent, but then I changed my mind. This is a wise scent, and with wisdom comes serenity. The 'white' aspect I picked up on didn't feel right here, it brought a purity aspect that was out of touch. This is fresh scent that carries the promise of a new beginning, as long as you can accept that your ending was something to embrace and not to run from.
But certainly a spring time scent carrying the hope of rebirth. I would say this is a 'warm weather' scent or a 'cold weather', but a scent for a coastal climate (something in between)
A little beauty, a treasure, a darling. A self-possessed floral with a soft hint of spice. Opening with a sharp-to-soft welcome of jasmine and orange flower, opening up to a warm, but ultimately sheer, golden bath of neroli and ylang-ylang. A strongly held middle yields eventually to a pretty violetty, powdery base. Resolutely of its era, but giving force to the notion that 'what is old is now new'. I found this a satisfyingly 'vintage' scent, while also somehow surprisingly modern.
For years, I have only smelled this in a vintage bottle. It's notes are Mandarin, orange flower, bergamot, orchid, neroli, iris, mostly becoming orange flower and bergamot on dry down. The vintage version is a somewhat resinous mixture, but is very warm and pleasant, like lying in the sun near rock rose in spring. Not that it smells of rock rose, but the resin is in there somewhere.
Recently, I got ahold of some of those little ampules from the 1950s and sampled Indiscret again, this time with less aging. It's still lovely, but the fresher sample lacked the resinous edge, coming out as a light, crisp summer scent softened by the Neroli. If there's Iris in there, it's buttery, not green, and any Orchid is simply another layer in the build. Not entirely orange blossom, but something more like a bouquet of fresh golden-toned flowers on a clear day.
I recommend this one in any form, so long as the vintage hasn't turned off. (Huge bottles are still available on ebay) Also of note; if Shalimar goes too powdery on your skin, this will too. All my notes on this experiment are based on my sister's chemistry, as I have never been able to wear Shalimar or Indiscret. She can wear both and Indiscret has been a favorite of hers for years.