No doubt the Quartz that Molyneaux sells today (for some of the cheapest prices known to humankind) is a shadow of its former self, whatever that might have been. I'm guessing, from its release date (1977) and its note pyramid (citrus/light fruit-green floral-patchouli), that it fell along the axis of Diorella (but cheaper), Cristalle (but friendlier) and Eau de Rochas (but fruitier)--tart on top, funky on bottom, refreshing and tres chic, the kind of juice that goes with a pair of Jackie O sunglasses and a pair of white trousers. Or maybe I've seen too many Diorella ads. Anyway--
Despite intervening years and changing tastes, it seems that Molyneaux have opted to keep the basic idea of Quartz more or less the same. I'm sure only the cheapest possible version of each aromamaterial goes into the mix, but at least it still exists. And once you lay it on (with a trowel, really, because between the skimpy formula and the lousy sprayer, you have to work on this a little), there really is reason to celebrate its existence. It's like someone pried the top off Diorella--that inimitable hit of 7UP, lime, honeydew, and black pepper--then wiped off the aquatics, and then punched up the crispness even more while somehow rounding out the fruit. This must have been really great back in the day . . . .
Still, it's so nice to have something in the collection that smells this good without a trace of sugar, vanilla, tonka, or benzoin. This is bracing, it's crisp, it's bitter, and it feels great when it's hot outside. Unfortunately, the advertised patchouli only whispers its presence: the structure of this fragrance, such as it is, feels like it comes from a little moss, maybe. Otherwise, it doesn't really go anywhere after those opening notes. But in serious heat, who cares? You just spray more on to add another level of refreshment. At under 30 bucks a bottle, you can do whatever you want with this stuff. I anchor it with a good vetiver to add structure. And I just keep on spraying.
Top: Lemon, Mandarin, Bergamot, Grapefruit. Middle: Iris, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Honeysuckle, and Rose. Base: Vetiver, Sandalwood, Patchouli, and Tyrolean Moss. Crush leaves
A vintage sample:
A mildly citrus-backed bergamot opening merges soon with the floral heart notes, of which I mainly get muguet, jasmine and a somewhat synthetic chevrefeuille. The sweetness is kept under control well and it is never too overwhelming or cloying.
This is a well-blended composition, and this is also my impression of the base notes, which have a woodsy impression combined with a light patchouli on a green background. I do not regards this base as that of a true chypre, but more that if a watered-down and softened-up pseudo-chypre, and the typical contrast is completely absent; all the stages run smoothly into each other. This is a soft scent.
The sillage is poor and the projection also very limited. The scent starts all right but it collapses on my skin after the first half hour; but nonetheless it remains present very close to my skin for a total of seven hours - a very respectable longevity.
All in all I am not convinced it deserves a positive score, but is comes close to it. Nice in spring. 2.25/5
From the descriptions of Quartz pour Femme in these reviews I would guess that there have been a few reformulations since 1977: the version I am testing is, I believe, the most current version and the notes listed on the package are:
Top: Lemon, Mandarin, Bergamot, Grapefruit. Middle: Iris, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Honeysuckle, and Rose. Base: Vetiver, Sandalwood, Patchouli, and Tyrolean Moss.
My nose is in agreement with the notes listed on my package. I get a light, refreshing citrus opening followed by a floral heart on a rather delicate chypre base. At all three levels of the pyramid, the feeling of the fragrance is 1) a simplicity unusual for a chypre IMO, 2) a freshness that, strangely, smells chypre-ish, and 3) a generic boredom that is very unusual for me to find in a chypre – (I usually love chypres).
Quartz is very nicely structured. It is pleasant. It has easily controlled sillage. It has decent longevity. It is not synthetic or plastic. But it could be much more interesting. It has, as Naed_Nitram says: “long, clean corridors.”
A fruity green chypre it is, but it is also common and undistinguished.
It has very poor silage and hardly any longevity. It's more like step one in creating a scent than a finished product.
It is close to the oceanic scents in that it has no solidity, no presence. There is a faint woody under note, which must be the "crush leaves," whatever that might be. There is very little sandalwood in here and only the slightest whiff of patchouli and oak moss. I get no florals at all and the citrus fruits are non distinct.
Very much a non-scent in my book.
Quartz is my least favourite Molyneux fragrance. It is a fleuri boisé fruité (fruity woodsy floral) not really a true-blue chypre. Of course, Quartz has some chypre elements amongst it's base notes but it is not as earthy and dark as a typical chypre. The French Dictionnaire des parfums (1982 edition) refers to Quartz as a green floral with fruity accords on a modern chypre base. According to this reference book, the main notes in Quartz are:
Italian green mandarin orange, grapefruit, jasmine, honeysuckle, hyacinth, Singapore patchouli, Mysore sandalwood, Tyrolean oakmoss absolute, North American crush leaves
Fragrances belonging to the fleuri boisé fruité family usually don't make a statement. They are chiefly floral but not as intense as floral bouquet fragrances. They are rather fresh but not as fresh as citrusy hespéridés. The wood notes make these fragrances somewhat drier but they rarely stand out on their own. To me, this olfactory category is nondescript not unlike the more recent "oceanic" family which I don't care for either. As a matter of fact, Quartz reminds me of these new blue "oceanic" juices (without the horrible synthetic components so characteristic of these fragrances). I don't give Quartz a thumbs down rating because it is not really awful and also because it is a quality product. I simply don't find it exciting.
My perfume bottle, simply labeled “Quartz”, is a juicy chypre, a variation in the genre of Chanel’s Cristalle which debuted 3 years earlier in 1974. Cristalle is a more angled citrus floral green chypre while Quartz is a more rounded floral melon citrus green chypre. I find the iris becomes stronger in the heart giving Quartz a soapy clean quality without becoming strident. Hillaire astutely points out the relationship to Le Parfum de Therese by Edmond Roudnitska for Malle. Testing them side by side I definitely agree they share many qualities and notes but Therese, a stunner, is much smoother, richer, rounder, and rosier than Quartz; a womanly siren versus an ingénue. If I lived in a warmer climate, I’d stock up on Quartz.