Perfume Directory

First (1976)
by Van Cleef & Arpels

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First information

Year of Launch1976
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 183 votes)

People and companies

HouseVan Cleef & Arpels
PerfumerJean-Claude Ellena
PackagingJacques Llorente
Parent CompanyInter Parfums
Parent Company at launchElf Aquitaine > Sanofi Beauté

About First

First is a feminine perfume by Van Cleef & Arpels. The scent was launched in 1976 and the fragrance was created by perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena. The bottle was designed by Jacques Llorente

Reviews of First

Stardate 20180913:

When I was a newbie, I got a bunch of these from Target to give as gifts. I liked the shape of bottle,its name and it smelled decent though a bit old school.

With time, as I tried more fragrances, I thought this is a knock off of other aldehydic florals. Stopped caring for.

A month or two ago I came across vintage version on eBay for cheap and snapped it up. And I am glad I did cause this version is simply amazing.
You can smell the whole floral symphony with 3D effect. But that is not even the best part. The drydown is where you see its beauty in full. Soft, powdery sanadalwood.

It is hard to describe how good this is. I have Arpege and Joy in vintage formulation and I find First to be superior. Arpege is too indolic, First goes low on indoles and uses civet to add the funk. Arpege blinds with aldehydes while First uses it for a shimmering glow.
Joy is a great white floral but it is simple. Lacks the evolution First has.
I have not tried vintage No 5 but the current No 5 is nowhere near any of these 3 vintage florals.
All I can say is that this is Ellena's best work and he should have stuck to this style.

Vintage Version is 5 stars. Current is 3 stars.
13th September, 2018
I'm wearing vintage First. Ah, memories! I never owned a full-sized bottle of this. I burned through 3 or more miniature-sized bottles, decades ago. I considered this an "old lady" scent back then. For me, this was a term of endearment, not an insult. I liked the similarity to Chanel No. 5. I enjoyed its sophistication.

What stands out for me are the aldehydes, carnation, tuberose, hyacinth, rose, jasmine. Later, a touch of honey, and amber. Lastly musk, civet, and mossy accords.

I don't know how First smells today; if it has changed drastically. If you can get your mitts on a vintage mini or sample, I highly recommend giving this a sniff.

29th January, 2018
Roja Dove tells us that "Van Cleef & Arpels was the first jewelry company to launch a fragrance."

He also tells us that Guerlain's dark rose Chamade was used as a springboard for the creation of First.

Turin called it an "aldehydic animalic" and gave it four stars. He dubs it "a full-figured French floral in the most baroque high style,"…"a dark variation on Joy." "It smells rich and humorless."

Barbara Herman tell us "First just smells expensive…a big, elegant floral in the vein of Arpege."

Top notes: Mandarin, Black Currant, Peach, Raspberry, Hyacinth
Heart notes: Turkish Rose, Narcissus, Jasmine, Muguet, Carnation, Orchid, Tuberose, Orris
Base notes: Amber, Tonka, Oakmoss, Sandalwod, Vetiver, Musk, Honey, Civet, Castoreum, Patchouli

My reaction was simply that it was a sweet, very feminine floral and not at all to my liking - I can't abide Arpege either.

A neutral review because although not bad, it is not good either. For those into overdrive, this anticipated the powerhouse scents of the 1980s.
01st November, 2014
I was sitting behind a woman at an outdoor baseball game years and years ago, and her pretty fragrance wafted back to me. I overcame my shyness to ask her what scent she was wearing. It turned out to be First, and I asked for a bottle for Christmas.

Unfortunately, this scent didn't work for me, as it did for her! The light prettiness disappeared on me and turned into something chemical. I wore it for 6 months or so but ended up giving it away. But I still remember that baseball game as one of my first experiences of an "expensive" fragrance... expensive to me, anyway!
18th October, 2014 (last edited: 26th October, 2014)
Kabloom! First launches right in to a huge aldehydic white flower accord the second you spray it on, then proceeds to fill the room with an unseen cloud of jasmine, green muguet, hyacinth, and rose. It’s the same kind of gargantuan bouquet you get with Joy or even Amouage Gold, though it is crisper in texture and greener in hue than either. That this grand, old-fashioned, and unapologetically “perfumey” scent was composed by Jean-Claude Elléna confirms that he’s composing all those bony, gutless scents for Hermès not because he can’t do otherwise, but rather because he wants to, or because the Hermès art directors demand it of him. At any rate, First makes it clear that Elléna is no less capable of building bold, lush, and substantial accords than is Bertrand Duchaufour (who does so more often) or even Dominique Ropion, whose style First closely approaches. First could easily have been part of the Estée Lauder line, right next to Beautiful, Pleasures, and Private Collection.

First grows subtly sweeter as it develops, with soft vanilla and a generous sweet amber accord deep in its foundation. Potency and sillage remain impressive for hours before First drifts off into its warm ambery drydown. A grand scent if you like this sort of thing.
14th June, 2014
it opens up with that characteristic aldehydic hair-spray kind of smell, it ruins it completely for me :) smells terribly synthetic...BUT....

in the drydwon it turns into lovely honeyed fruity floral bouquet, where i do recognize the seeds for Dia , Amouage.

Still i somehow like this one better, becasue it doesnt smell so clean, so fresh, jasmine is warming it up!...its very gentle, longlasting, and feminine scent!

Its very old school type of scent by complexity (reminds me a bit of Chamade too), suitable for the theater.
01st April, 2013

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FIRST BY VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS EAU DE PARFUM SPRAY 60 ML / 2 FL.OZ. (T)

$49.50
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Van Cleef and Arpels First EDT .16 fl oz Glass Bottle Never Opened Eau de Toile

$9.95
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AUTHENTIC FIRST Eau De Toilette Van Cleef and Arpels Paris 2 oz. 60 ml

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Van Cleef and Arpels First Eau de Toilette 2 oz Spray Unboxed 90% Full

$19.99
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So First For Women By Van Cleef and Arpels 3.3 oz Eau De Parfum Spray

$35.88
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VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS FIRST EAU DE TOILETTE SPRAY 60 ML / 2 OZ. NEW (T)

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VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS FIRST EAU DE TOILETTE SPRAY 30 ML / 1 OZ PARIS FRANCE

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So First For Women By Van Cleef and Arpels 3.3 oz Eau De Parfum Spray

$39.19
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FIRST DE VAN CLEEF AND ARPELS PARIS 60 ML

$54.50
End Date: Saturday Nov-24-2018 14:19:09 PST
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First eau de parfum Van Cleef and Arpels 2 oz Tester edp 60ml

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Van Cleef & Arpels FIRST - CHOOSE YOUR SIZE AND TYPE

$36.90
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Van Cleef & Arpels FIRST - CHOOSE YOUR SIZE AND TYPE

$44.95
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Van Cleef & Arpels FIRST - CHOOSE YOUR SIZE AND TYPE

$38.00
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Van Cleef & Arpels FIRST - CHOOSE YOUR SIZE AND TYPE

$36.90
End Date: Monday Nov-26-2018 15:29:13 PST
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Van Cleef & Arpels FIRST - CHOOSE YOUR SIZE AND TYPE

$49.99
End Date: Monday Nov-26-2018 15:29:13 PST
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