Perfume Reviews

Reviews by JackTwist

Total Reviews: 1337

Honeysuckle by Floris

Floris – Honeysuckle (1929)

This long-discontinued Floris scent is far from a soliflore. Not the sweet, sweet notes of honeysuckle here, but a blend of that flower with dry, tart green notes that bring it to a place where it becomes unisex by today’s standards.

I’m going to guess that galbanum, a very green rose, muguet, and perhaps sweet pea, are interwoven around the honeysuckle to counteract and balance that flower’s overtly feminine aroma. There may also be some lavender, as this dry tartness reminds me very much of the effect of, but not the scent of, Guerlain’s Jicky.

It’s one of those vintage gems that one comes across every so often that challenges one’s conception of what the perfumer’s art is capable of producing. It dries down to a pungent and strong aroma, something fitting for a mature woman or man to sport.

If you can find it, go for it. Rather unique and a surprising little gem.

01st February, 2019

Mon Amie Elizabeth by Babani

BABANI’s MON AMIE ELIZABETH was created in 1926, and marketed by Elizabeth Arden in 1935, an attempt to familiarize American audiences with half a dozen of Babani’s perfumes. Sadly, this marketing attempt did not meet with success, so Babani’s 40 or so perfumes are little known in the American market.

Babani is best known for his exotic ingredients from the Far East and a number of his scents are named for oriental countries. This tribute to “My Friend Elizabeth” is one of his most extraordinary creations. It is very dry (Orris and Coumarin) with a tart, apricot-like undercurrent (Sweet Pea?) and an unctuous, sweet and round support (Ylang Ylang). It has a warm and sensual base, provided by the animalic musk and civet. The dry down gives the impression of a very dry suede leather. It is quite extraordinary and definitely unisex by today’s standards.

Such adjectives as bright, rich, warm, sensual and complex come to mind. It would be a great masculine scent, to be worn by a sophisticated and erudite gent, a Roger Moore or a Matt Bomer. It is amazing, one of the greatest suede leathers ever created. Unique and masterful.
Sadly, rarer than hen’s teeth these days. For me it’s right up there with the iconic Bouqet de Faunes.

01st February, 2019

Secret Princesse Nefertiti by Babani

Maurice Babani (1894 – 1940) was a Parisian couturier, noted for his stylish dresses, draping the body as a kimono or second skin, that proliferated during the Roaring Twenties and Thirties. He was the second couturier in history, after Paul Poiret, to introduce a scent line. In the course of his life, he released 40 scents, beginning with the 1919 Ambre de Delhi (a Hindu perfume) and ending with his 1943 Echo of the Desert.

His perfumes were given exotic names, referencing the far East, and containing rare and precious oils and resins. Japan, China, Manila, and Egypt leant their names to his creations. His fourth from last creation was his Secret Princesse Nefertiti, released in 1937.

This is a rich, deep, mysterious, rose-centered floral bouquet, bolstered by a solid base of Patchouli, Sandalwood, Ambergris, Vanilla and Musk. It is a linear scent without much development, but the notes are expertly blended and weave beautifully in and out.

Despite Elizabeth Arden’s devotion to Babani, her attempt to market six of his scents to American audiences in the 1920s did not meet with success. His bottles are noted for their black and gold design, which Jeanne Lanvin borrowed for her iconic presentations.

A lovely floral bouquet and a treat to discover.

25th January, 2019
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Belle de Rauch by Rauch

Belle de Rauch (1966):

This, the fourth of Madeleine de Rauch’s eight scents, is an extremely light and slightly sweet scent. Despite the predominance of orangey notes (neroli, mandarin, orange blossom), I cannot detect any orange at all. What does come through loud and clear is the Honeysuckle and Jasmine, making this a sweet floral.

There is enough depth in the orris and labdanum to anchor it, but not overwhelm it. It has a whisper of green (muguet, galbanum), again just enough to balance the jasmine and honeysuckle, not bury it. The effect is that provided by baby’s breath in a small bouquet from the local florist.

This is more suited to a young woman, late teens through early twenties, than the misnamed “Miss de Rauch,” which had a far more mature outlook than its name suggested.

Here are the notes:

Top Notes: Bergamot, Neroli, Mandarin, Galbanum;
Heart Notes: Jasmine, Orange Blossom, Muguet, Honeysuckle;
Base Notes: Oak Moss, Orris, Sandalwood, Labdanum

This would be best worn in early spring and would be quite a decent scent for the work place or school. It is decidedly feminine, quite unlike the other two de Rauch scents I’ve experienced (Miss de Rauch, Vacarme), which I consider unisex by today’s standards.

A nice, sweet little thing, soft and powdery, happily still available on the Internet.
20th January, 2019

Miss de Rauch by Rauch

Miss de Rauch (1960):

Miss de Rauch was the third of Madeleine de Rauch’s scents. It is a distinctly floral mélange, but with an intriguing undercurrent that is both buttery and voluptuous, turning it into what would be considered a unisex scent by modern standards. It seems far too sophisticated to be worn by a young woman, even back in 1960.

This has a mature, experienced vibe. There is nothing girlish about it. A Jackie Kennedy or a Sophia Loren of the day would seem a more appropriate wearer than a teen-ager or lady in her early twenties.

Most prominent to my nose are the honeysuckle, ylang and reseda, which give it a calm sweetness. The weight of rose de mai, muguet and mimosa support this sweetness and give it gravitas. Detectable in the base are the musk, tonka, amber and benzoin.

It is quite well blended and projects a feeling of a self-assured and beautiful personality in its wearer. Like Vacarme, which would follow it six years later, it is an old-fashioned floral, harkening back to the 1920s and 1930s. This is possibly why it failed to find a niche in the 1960s.

Top: Citrus, Lotus, Melon, Orange Blossom, Peach;
Heart: Rose de Mai, Muguet, Magnolia, Mimosa, Honeysuckle, Ylang, Orris, Reseda, Black Currant, Jasmine;
Base: Musk, Sandalwood, Tonka, Amber, Patchouli, Benzoin, Cedar, Vetiver, Oak Moss

I find it to be a lovely creation and highly recommend it. Luckily, it is still available on the internet.
19th January, 2019

Vacarme de Rauch by Rauch

Vacarme (1966)

Madeleine de Rauch’s Vacarme was the fifth of the eight scents bearing her name which were released in her lifetime (1896-1985). A ninth, released as recently as 1998, could not have come under her influence or approval. Her first scent was released in 1947, her last in 1974.

Vacarme (1966) is translated as meaning “din, noise, racket” and as such is an odd name for a perfume. Perhaps it is meant to convey “attention getter.” It can be classified as a light, sweet, feminine floral.

It is a rich, mellow, rose-centered perfume, sweetened by honeysuckle and rounded by musk, amber and tonka. Although this may sound rather feminine (and it would be ideally suited to a young woman), its richness and balance makes it eminently wearable by modern men. Vacarme has a buttery roundedness that is greatly appealing.

Like all fine perfumes, the blending is exceptional and the result is impressive. The closest olfactory comparison in my experience would be Madame Rochas. Vacarme is a much-subdued version of that classic.

The note tree is as follows: Top - Bergamot, Hyacinth, Galbanum; Heart - Jasmine, Honeysuckle, Rose, Muguet, Labdanum; Base - Musk, Sandalwood, Cedar, Tonka, Vanilla, Patchouli, Oak Moss, Amber.

Although long discontinued, Vacarme is still available on the internet. Recommended.

18th January, 2019

Tabaco d'Egizia by La Ducale

La Ducale - Tabaco d'Egizia (1930)

This little-known scent seems to have come and gone without much fanfare. It is however a very pleasant, warm, powdery and inviting scent, combining a number of comforting notes, which I make out as the following:

Tobacco Leaf, Tobacco Flower, Vetiver, Vanilla,
Amber, Jasmine, Coumarin, Tonka

The closest thing in my memory bank to it is D’Albret’s Princesse (1964).

Vanilla, Amber and Tonka combine with the hay note of Coumarin to support the warm and intoxicating scent of Tobacco Leaf and Flower. This is not a harsh tobacco note, but a rounded and soft Virginia tobacco, reminiscent of the type known as cherry tobacco. As such, it is certainly unisex by today’s standards. Would that it was back among us.

For reference, Egizia is a town in Tuscany, but also translates from the Italian as “Egyptian,” so since the house La Ducale is French, the reference to “Egyptian Tobacco” may have no direct reference to the Italian locale.

07th December, 2018

Concentré de Rose by Godet

Godet – Concentree de Rose (1928)

A most unusual rose soliflore, which begins with a combination of orange notes, giving the impression not of orange, but of apricot – that contrast of sweet and sour.

The top is gone within two minutes and the luscious notes of Rose de Mai and Bulgarian Rose dominate the heart, with the slightly sweet support of Jasmine and Honeysuckle. The earlier citrus/apricot notes seem to sink into and be absorbed by the rose.

The base notes of sandalwood, cedar and benzoin never dominate the dry down. They just provide unobtrusive gravitas. I am surprised that the two animalics, castoreum and civet, do not intrude on the central rose notes, but just deepen the heavy rose impression. There is an underlying “green rose” note that emerges (the lilac?), but does not take over the central old world rose center, implying merely the greenness of the rose leaf.

Interestingly enough, my spouse has a different take entirely. To his nose the mandarin is central, supported by the rose. We both think it serves both men and women equally well and is a “find” for the man seeking a rose that is not overly feminine.

This is an amazingly well thought out scent, a true example of how myriad “other” notes are blended to support and enhance the central note theme. This is a great rose, one that has remained true and strong for ninety years. Sadly long discontinued, but well worth seeking out from private collectors.

Top notes: Bergamot, Orange Blossom, Neroli, and Mandarin
Heart notes: Rose de Mai, Bulgarian Rose, Lilac, Honeysuckle, Jasmine
Base notes: Sandalwood, Cedar, Castoreum, Civet, Benzoin

First Edit: The more I wear this the more I am aware of a prominent ingredient not listed in the note tree: ambergris. In fact the dry down is a helix-like weaving in and around each other of the roses and the ambergris, each re-inforcing and supporting the other. Truly stunning ending.
29th November, 2018 (last edited: 24th December, 2018)

Pois de Senteur by Corday

This is a very sweet, feminine perfume, with great sillage and longetivity. The sweet pea note, one that has been lost to the modern world of scent, is center stage and never loses its freshness and beauty. It is most reminiscent of honeysuckle and may share a botanical ancestor with that bloom.

As the scent begins to dry down, the other light supporting notes slowly emerge (the hyacinth, cyclamen and jasmine). Finally, the warm base notes of rose, linden, coumarin, vanilla and cedar arrive, accompanied by sobering muguet and lilac to maintain the floral base. Sandalwood and musk round out the olfactory experience.

This is a scent for a girl or very young woman. It radiates youth, innocence, beauty and freshness. Very old-fashioned in a most positive sense. Corday uses very high quality oils in its perfumes and this is certainly a prime example of their commitment to this high standard.

Sadly, long discontinued, but available from internet sellers to this day.
28th November, 2018

Pr*a*rie by Dr. Albersheim

PR*A*RIE is a warm, dry concoction that gives the impression of open fields, hence its name. An amber/vanilla tobacco aroma with good projection, it seems a scent aimed at men. Serious, sober, mature and sophisticated, it is a scent that evokes quiet confidence. I am reminded of Countess Mara Copper.

As it settles down, PR*A*RIE gives a slightly bitter undercurrent of tobacco leaf that reminds me of the bitterness present in such iconic scents as Habanita and Peau d'Espagne. Never unpleasant, but strikingly masculine and reminiscent of cigar smoke.


Top: Bergamot, Neroli, Orange Blossom
Heart: Rose, Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, and Lilac
Base: Sandalwood, Tobacco, Musk, Vanilla, and Ambergris

It is a product of the Dr. Albersheim German perfumery, which began in Frankfurt in 1892 and experienced its heydays in the 1920s and 1930s. It is thought that Dr. Albersheim was a victim of Naziism, as his Jewish heritage worked against the Aryanization plans of Hitler’s Germany. Albersheim’s niece married Ludwig Scherk, another German perfumer, who also suffered the same fate.

The 1920s were the heyday of the Scherk and Dr. Albersheim firms. Albersheim conquered the market with Germany’s first line of perfume and cosmetics with the same fragrance ("Khasana"). The success stories of many Jewish firms came to an end with the Nazi rise to power. Ludwig Scherk was forced to sell his company to the Schering AG for a price substantially below its actual value in 1938. The Dr. Albersheim company was taken over by Dr. Korthaus, a former senior manager at the "IG Farben" concern. The change of logo and label on the exhibited products are evidence of the ruin of the Jewish family companies. Their relations emigrated to England, France, and the USA.

Launched in 1922, Pr*a*rie was one of Dr. Albersheim's leading and most popular perfumes. The Perfume Encyclopedia lists 9 scents by the company, stretching from 1906 to 1936: Khasana (1906); Amber (1920); J Sola Bella (1922); Pr’a’rie (1922); Salugen (1924); Li (1925); Maiglockchen (1925); Peri (1926); Pacific (1936).

02nd November, 2018 (last edited: 15th November, 2018)

Vétiver / Vetiver by Provence Santé

A wonderful vetiver!

While shopping on vacation my spouse and I tried sprays of the Provence Sante Vetiver and Jasmine and each bought one. My Jasmine is not a soliflore but a white floral melange, not bad, but not significant.

The Vetiver on the other hand is a real find. This is an herbal/floral/citrus blend with vetiver securely at the heart. The cloud of sillage that envelops the wearer is captivatingly masculine and sophisticated. Getting up close reveals that vetiver center, but as soon as one pulls away, it is blended back into that overall potpourri.

Nowhere on line, not even on Provence Sante's own website, can I find the notes listed. I am going to guess at bergamot, vetiver, cedar, basil, jasmine, oak moss.

It is soft, powdery, but not sweet, assuredly and gently masculine, and utterly winning. Tres inexpensive as well. Recommended for all vetiver lovers.
27th October, 2018

Jasmin / Jasmine by Provence Santé

Provence Sante – JASMIN

Recently while on vacation my partner and I purchased bottles of Provence Sante – the Vetiver and the Jasmin, based on sampling while in the shop.

The Vetiver is the most successful of the two. Up close it is very green and true to the scent of vetiver. At a distance a cloud of floral and herbal notes walk with the wearer, the vetiver still at the center. One of the nicest vetivers out there.

The Jasmin is a different matter. This is a white floral mélange with no particular distinction. Though jasmine may be in it, it is not detectable as a soliflore or as a dominant central note. Perfectly acceptable as a summer splash, and quite inexpensive, but if you are looking for a jasmin-centric scent, it is best to look elsewhere.
18th October, 2018

Mimosa by D'Orsay


Top notes: Mimosa, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, and Iris
Heart notes: Heliotrope, Violet, Violet Leaf, and Rose
Base notes: Sandalwood, Honey, Vanilla, and Musk

It seems Count D’Orsay never owned the house of scent that bears his name, which was established in 1905. In an unusual move for the time, many of the scents created by the house during the first half of the 20th century were designed for men.

Mimosa is a difficult scent to find today in an unsullied form. One really has to look at vintage sources for this enigmatic soliflore. Two of the best I have found are those by Tuvache and the original Molinard formula – the latter’s current offering bears no resemblance to the original or to the flower’s scent itself.

The aroma is sweet, woody, and vegetative with intensely tenacious leafy violet heart notes. The scent is honey soft, violet sweet, a floral with delicate green undertones. It is one of the most animalic of florals with its warm, honeyed center reminiscent of body warmth and intimate moments.

D’Orsay’s offering is extremely true to the flower’s scent. Amazing to see all the notes that are included as they support and never intrude. Mimosa is always center stage. Along with the Tuvache and Molinard original, this is one to seek out for all lovers of vintage soliflores.

18th October, 2018
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Desir du Coeur by Ybry


Ybry, a company based in both Paris and New York City, existed from 1925 to 1944. They produced 22 scents, according to the Perfume Encyclopedia. They boasted being the world’s most expensive perfumes, due to the quality of their ingredients.

They are most noted for their stunning Baccarat designed Art Deco bottles, squares in colored crystal with canteen like openings on a top corner. These are highly collectible, with or without contents intact. Lalique also created bottle designs for Ybry.

Perfumista Alexandra Star tells us that: “Each different color, was related to a particular perfume, and to a different gem. The colors range from a red to a pink, slag green to a darker green, jet black, orange to butterscotch, deep purple to lavender. Most of the time, the bottles had matching enameled and gilded metal covers. These covers were placed over the inner stoppers at an angle on one corner of the bottle.”

Desir Du Coeur is described as a feminine floral similar to Chanel #5.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Neroli, Lemon

Heart Notes: Jasmine, Lily of the Valley, Orris, May Rose

Base notes: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Amber, Patchouli, Vetiver

The blending of these simple ingredients, present in so many perfumes of the 1920s, is masterly. No one note stands out. All blend seamlessly into a beautiful whole. It does strike me as being somewhat similar to Chanel No. 5, but there seem to be no animalics in the base, which sets it apart from the Chanel. Without these elements, Desir becomes primarily a floral mélange, lighter than the Chanel, but just as beautiful.

My partner describes it as a warm, slightly spicy floral, based in his nose on a jasmine/rose/ orris accord, rounded and pushed forward by the subtle citruses, grounded by the patchouli, which gives it a sensual and mysterious undercurrent.

Desir du Coeur’s subtlety is one of its most charming qualities. Understated, elegant and sophisticated, it is thankfully still available from private sellers on the Internet. Very worth seeking out.

29th September, 2018

Quand Vient L'Été / Voile d'Été by Guerlain

Quand Vient L’Ete (1910)

This is a very fresh and uplifting floral with a most appropriate name (When Summer Comes). Clove, citrus and mint are at the center, providing an immediate rush of warm and spicy notes. The jasmine, rose and honey give it a solid and voluptuous heart, while the heliotrope, vanilla and civet provide a warm and comforting animalic base line.

I am reminded of my favorite Guerlain, Sous Le Vent, which did not arrive until the early 1930s. This spicy scent was created for Josephine Baker, but it seems it had its inspiration with Quand back in 1910.

Interesting to note that this had a further re-appearance in our own century as Terracotta Voile d’Ete.

Top notes: Honey, Jasmine, Mint, Lemon, Bergamot,
Heart notes: Rose, Heliotrope, Ylang, Clove, Orchid,
Base notes: Leather, Hay, Orris, Civet, Vanilla

Quand is a very appealing fragrance and a perfect choice for almost any time of the year, as I find for most carnation/clove centered parfums. Bright and sparking, while at the same time solid and alluring. Highly recommended and fortunately still available online from private sellers.

14th September, 2018

Agent Provocateur Eau Emotionnelle by Agent Provocateur

Well, it's not awful. Just not very good.

Extremely light with the tea, jasmine and osmanthus notes, supported by cedar, at the center. (Can someone tell me why such florals as gardenia and magnolia are mentioned when their oils are scent-less?)

The musk, vetiver and amber notes are very synthetic, as is probably every note in this concoction. They do not intrude, even though one wishes they might to give this some weight, some gravitas.

As such, it is a harmless, almost scentless, drug store fragrance. If you paid over $5 for it, you got ripped off.

If this is supposed to be provocative, I'd say the makers are still in kindergarten.
09th September, 2018

Guerlilas by Guerlain


Since lilac oil does not reproduce the flower’s scent, I am always wary about approaching a soliflore, whose raison d’etre must be synthetically reproduced.

Guerlilas is a masterful blend of the lilac impression and the vanilla aspects of heliotrope, plus a bright, sharp, mint-like burst of muguet to balance. The jasmine and violet round out and soften the experience. The base notes of deer musk and civet do not intrude, but simply anchor the lilac/muguet blend.

The over all impression is very spring-like, given the gravitas of an aroma that classically conveys remembrance. The best known is of course the remembrance of Abraham Lincoln’s funeral cortege in Walt Whitman’s masterful “When Lilacs Last In the Door Yard Bloomed.”

Top notes: Lilac, Bergamot;
Heart notes: Jasmine, Heliotrope, Muguet, Violet;
Base notes: Deer Musk, Civet

This is a scent for a refined woman, a woman of substance and of experience. It is gentle, soft and warm, as it also denotes strength of character and maturity.

Guerlilas is a successful reproduction of the scent of lilac, lacking only the ephemeral sweetness of fresh blooms, something I have never known a lilac oil to reproduce. Long discontinued, but still available from private sellers on the internet.
08th September, 2018

Eau Hégémonienne by Guerlain

Eau Hegemonienne (1880)

Guerlain’s homage to the royal court of Spain and its international alliances (hegemonic means ruling or dominant), Eau Hegemonienne is an eau de cologne that relies more on the herb family than the citrus. The use of thyme, lavender and other Herbes de Provence gives it a serene dryness. The rosewood and sandalwood – and I would swear there is a bit of cedarwood in there as well – intensify the dryness. The bergamot and lemon would not be strong enough in and of themselves to continue the citrus top through the experience, so I believe there is also a strong neroli note as well. At least my nose tells me so. It is crisp and bold and bright.

The vanilla makes its appearance towards the end of the dry down. As an eau de cologne it is not long lasting, but impresses with that wonderful and fragrant herbal dryness mixing with the refreshing citrus notes.

This was created for Isabella II, mother of King Alfonso XII of Spain in 1880. It was quite popular among other members of the Spanish royal family and was finally made available to the public in 1890. It was still in production in 1941, but did not survive the war years.

It is surprising that Guerlain would name it such. Hegemonienne is difficult to spell, pronounce, and most importantly, remember – a handicap from a marketing standpoint.

A real rarity, but thankfully still available now and then from private sellers. Worth seeking out for all lovers of citrus splashes.
01st September, 2018

Fleur de Feu by Guerlain

Fleur de Feu (Flower of Fire) (1949)
Fleur de Feu was Guerlain’s first release after WWII, during which his youngest son was killed. The name perhaps relates to the flower of youth going down in flames or flowers rising like a phoenix from the flames of war.

Reviews on line mention a spicy carnation, but this is not among the notes listed by Guerlain. The scent is for me another masterful blend of individual notes with no one note standing apart from the others. It is a rich, deep floral. The honey, jasmine and sweet acacia join the tonka and vanilla in giving the overall effect of a warm, powdery softness. The buttery quality of ylang seems to float most successfully over the other notes, never standing apart but mingling and entwining itself among the strands of scent.

Since fire is associated with the color red, one would think that a red rose or red carnation would be the star here, especially since the name is singular, fleur rather than fleurs. This is not the case, so the title continues to baffle, while the warm and re-assuring scent delights.

This is a personal scent, a scent of loss remembered, of sweet memories recalled. A scent for the mature man or woman, gentle and evocative of a time gone by, an under-statement of the power of scent to evoke the past within the present. A great rarity, but thankfully still available on line from private sellers.

31st August, 2018

Fol Arôme by Guerlain

Fol Arome

Originally released in 1912, the same year as the iconic L’Heure Bleue, this is a variant take on that classic, emphasizing herbal rather than floral notes.

I had to look up what the scent of bouvardia was, since I have never come across its use in perfumery before. According to the internet it has the fragrance of a light gardenia, not surprising as its small tubular white flowers resemble both jasmine and tuberose.

Guerlain named this Fol Arome, which translates to “Crazy Scent.” It may have been an odd re-working of the L’Heure Bleue notes for him, but its scent is hardly crazy by today’s standards.

This is a very rich, yet quiet, herbal bouquet, subdued, fresh and minty at first, then calming down to a combination of lavender, sage and marjoram, the scent one gets by brushing one’s open palm across the upright stems of an herb garden. The guerlinade with its rose and vanilla softness is present in support.

This is masterful blending at its very best. One gets whiffs of all the notes, in different combinations, as it dries down.

Jasmine, Anise, Lavender, Bergamot;
Daffodil, Rose, Bouvardia, Mint, Clary Sage, Marjoram, Orris
Musk, Carnation, Acacia, Vanilla

Certainly unisex by today’s standards and very much ahead of its time. So many simplistic scents on the market today go for an herbal vibe – marjoram, basil, mint, fig, thyme, etc., but they don’t possess Fol Arome’s beautiful underpinnings of the freshly baked pastry vibe one gets from L’Heure Bleue. One can almost imagine pastries sprinkled with fresh herbs as a variant to the usual fruit fillings and almond creams.

This is a delicious scent, one to be sought out by all fans of L’Heure Bleue. Though re-released in 1947, it did not catch on and was quickly discontinued. Only a handful of sellers on the internet possess bottles of this rarity, but they are out there.
30th August, 2018

Jasmin by Guerlain

Guerlain - Jasmin (1924)

This presentation is far from a soliflore. It is quite a blend of notes, many in addition to the ones listed on the Basenotes page, sourced from the Monsieur Guerlain blogspot. It has been suggested that in addition there are: two more top notes (Apricot, Honey), three more heart notes (Rose, Tobacco, Muguet); and four more base notes (Leather, Lavender, Oak Moss, Amber).

I can certainly attest to these, as they float around and support the jasmine note, almost masking it with additional nuances. The effect is that of a sweet anisey jasmine with honeyed undertones. One would think that with those somber base notes, the dry down would be warm and herbal, and that’s exactly what happens. The sweetness, however, never leaves the stage.

It is quite feminine and light, definitely not unisex. Sweet jasmine with an herbal twist. Very much of its time and a most delightful find. Too bad it is out of production, but vintage bottles are still available on the Internet. Definitely recommended for the jasmine lover.

29th August, 2018

Muguet by Guerlain

Muguet (1840, 1906)

Bergamot, Muguet, Lilac, Jasmine, Rose

Muguet is one of those odd flowers, like Gardenia, whose scent in nature is extremely and powerfully strong, yet whose essential oil is practically scentless. What is put out in nature is not held in the floral oils. Consequently, these two must be re-created in the perfume laboratory by mixing oils and chemicals to approximate the natural experience.

I have come across dozens of soliflore muguets in my day, opting either to recreate the sharp, strong scent found in nature or a soft, powdery, tame version (Coty’s Muguet des Bois (1936), Caswell Massey’s Lily of the Valley). Both are acceptable, both are intensely feminine, and although both are wearable, the former true scent must be applied ever so sparingly or it can become sharp and metallic, and a bit overwhelming to the unsuspecting stranger who wanders into Milady’s boudoir.

Guerlain’s version is true to the original flower. Combining bergamot, muguet, lilac, jasmine and rose in an amazingly balanced fashion, we get a true approximation of the original nose to flower experience. (Whoever knew that molecules resembling the rose were present in the muguet experience?)

One must remember that the lack of personal hygiene in both 1840 and 1906, the release dates of the Guerlain Muguet formulas, called out for strong parfums and toilet waters, primarily to be sponged over Milady’s body to mask and/or blot out sweat and animalic odors. As such, the Guerlain Muguet is almost an anomaly today, far too strong to be acceptable by today’s standards and a prime candidate for the negative “old lady” appellation.

However, this does not mean the Guerlain is unwearable. It simply means it must be applied in very small doses and judiciously. Hence coming across a vintage bottle simply means you are going to get incredible mileage out of it. This is almost a parfum made more for self-indulgence in private moments than to be worn in public. It is incredibly true to the original nose to flower experience as have been all the Guerlain soliflores I have experienced.

For those who love muguet, this is a must have. Thankfully, there are bottles of the original 1906 formulation still available from private sellers on the internet. Another true Guerlain gem from the past.

28th August, 2018

Aqua Allegoria Nerolia Bianca by Guerlain

A very light take on the ubiquitous generic combo of orange, neroli and petitgrain, this does not have the depth and richness of other exponents of the genre.

The best neroli petitgrain combos are the classics, Castile from Penhalignon and No. 126 from Floris. The petitgrain in the latter is quite sublime.

This modern Guerlain smells more like an air freshener than a serious scent. It is too light weight to compare favorably with either of the above-mentioned classics.

Decent, but in no way remarkable.
25th August, 2018

Ode by Guerlain

Guerlain – ODE (1955)

Distinctly feminine to the nth degree, Ode does bring to mind Patou’s Joy in its depth and richness, but the bright peach note makes a decided difference in its rounded sweetness. There is in addition the distinct green note of hyacinth and the vanillic heliotrope supports the peach beautifully.

The jasmine and rose combo at the center is quite strong and darkly luminous with the dry notes of orris and violet grounding this seemingly baseless composition, with only a faint musk note claiming that honor.

Ode has the feel of an old-fashioned floral parfum from the 1930s. A little of this will go a long way, since projection and sillage are quite powerful and long-lasting. This is definitely a scent for the mature woman and most effectively worn in the cold winter months.

Sadly discontinued for some time now, the vintage is still available from private sellers on the internet. Ode was re-orchestrated in 2005 and I have not as yet sampled that version, but do try to locate the original vintage. Seemingly it was one of the last of the great Guerlains.

A stunning fruity floral with a rich rose and jasmine heart.
24th August, 2018

Dawamesk by Guerlain

Dawamesk (1942/1945 – original name Kriss)

Lavender, Violet, Orange Blossom, Bergamot;
Jasmine, Muguet, Rose, Ylang;
Clary Sage, Cinnamon, Leather, Tonka, Moss, Musk

Dawamesk is a green food paste, or preserve, comprised of pistachio, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, sugar, orange juice, butter, and surprise, surprise, Hashish.

It seems it was consumed by a number of Parisian artists in the mid nineteenth century, washed down no doubt with absinthe, to induce hallucination and inspiration. Hugo, Dumas, Balzac and Baudelaire were among those who reportedly enjoyed this treat.

Jacques Guerlain reportedly used hashish to soothe his depression, when his youngest son was killed in WWII. It is intriguing to think that this forgotten scent may have been inspired by the scent of the Dawamesk paste, reportedly a mix of anise and orange liqueur. In any case it is the most singular parfum creation story I have yet to come across.

Guerlain released the scent in 1942 under the name of Kriss (reportedly a type of dagger). Perhaps this was too grim for his clientele, besieged by Hitler. It was renamed Dawamesk and re-released in 1945.

The vintage decant I am experiencing has the initial effect of a fragrantly sweet leather with a dark base, most probably the combination of clary sage and lavender. If one imagines Chanel’s original Cuir with a jasmine and cinnamon thread, one would come closest to describing the effect. There is certainly no anise or orange liqueur impression. As the dry down continues, the leather effect is reigned in and the floral bouquet of rose, jasmine, ylang and muguet takes over. Because of its sweetness it would seem most appropriate for women, but a young man could certainly wear this successfully as well.

Knowing its provenance, this has the feeling of being a very personal scent, one worn only for oneself and to evoke a fond memory. It is an absolute delight, bringing broad smiles to myself and my partner. One could say it is the embodiment of youth in a bottle, ever hopeful, ever positive, ever joyful. A treasure!
22nd August, 2018

Rue De La Paix by Guerlain


Perfumista Alexandra Star tells us that Rue de la Paix was launched in 1908, and then possibly again only in the USA in 1922. It was created by Pierre Guerlain, though others claim that it was created by Jacques Guerlain.

Rue De La Paix opens with a honeyed amber, supported by lavender and a citrus bergamot/verbena accord. At its heart is a very dry trio of orris, violet and violet leaves, with a dry down of a very dark rose (think Lalique’s Perles), balanced within this mix.

As such it is quite subdued and somber, the sort of scent one associates with a rainy day. The amber creates a cloud of warm and comforting menthol. I am not a fan of amber, but it is skillfully blended here, always at the heart but never overpowering. Although the note tree lists ambrette, I am experiencing ambergris. Perhaps my decant is the original 1908 version and perhaps the 1922 reformulation substituted ambrette for ambergris, with the note tree representing the reformulation.

It is certainly an excellent amber-centered creation for those who are fans of this note. Hard to find but still available in decants from a number of on line sellers.

Top notes; Honey, Lavender, Verbena, Bergamot
Heart notes: Jasmine, Violet, Rose, Ylang Ylang, Leather, Ambrette
Base notes: Musk, Violet Leaves, Orris
13th August, 2018

Cordoba by Berdoues

Berdoues – Cordoba (1953)

Cordoba is a spicy leather perfume, equally wearable by both men and women.

It starts out very reminiscent of three similar classics, Dana’s Tabu, Tuvache’s Tuvara, and Lauder’s Youth Dew. That same warm vanillic base, rich, dark and creamy. Cordoba however veers off in a different direction. By adding carnation, clove and cinnamon to the mix, with a leather undertone, it achieves that spicy leather accord, which sets it apart from these others.

Although not in the note tree, the effects of amber, vanilla and musk are most prominent to my nose. This is a rich and voluptuous perfume, one that might have been worn with furs. In the vein of the Weil scents, it might even be at home sprinkled on the furs themselves.

It is interesting to me that it premeried the same year (1953) as Youth Dew. If one did not know that two different houses presented these to the world, a modern nose might even see one as a flanker to the other.

This is a marvelous leather, rich, warm and spicy. Highly recommended to lovers of the Tabu/Youth Dew musky amber genre.

11th August, 2018

Violet by Tuvache


This is a soft, yet strong, concentrated “skin perfume,” combining the usual soliflore elements of violet flower, violet leaf and orris.

It is not powdery, nor is it sharp, as can sometimes occur with an abundance of pure violet oil. This falls somewhere in the middle. It is quite lovely and since it is so concentrated, tiny dabs will provide many hours of wafting.

Violet is a scent best used in cold, winter months. There is something about its comfortable warmth that reacts well with a chilly day. An excellent violet, right up there with Berdoues, Shimy and Ducale.

Since this is so concentrated, it becomes economical in that its strength requires minimum application for a fully rounded effect.

Highly recommended and luckily still available from private sellers on the internet.
10th August, 2018

Midnight by Dorothy Gray

It is extremely rare that I consider using profanity in a scent review. I have given myself time to cool down after experiencing this Midnight scent, originally by Dorothy Gray and now being marketed by Tussy.

It is one of the vilest things I have ever put to my nose. Menthol and oak moss clash in a way that staggers the olfactory imagination, achieving depths of nastiness previously undreamed of in my experience.

The best thing I can say for it is that it is not as bad as Secretions Magnifique. I was not at all surprised to find a number of bottles of this insult to the human nose on sale at a local discount store. I hoped that the original buyer was presently enjoying a sabatical in Siberia in appreciation of a keen sense of irony.

Avoid this one at all costs. Have strongly scented handiwipes at the ready if you are so courageos as to disregard my warnings.
09th August, 2018

Celui by Jean Dessès

Jean Desses:

Jean Desses was a Parisian couturier, who established a fashion house in 1937. He produced six scents through 1964, the most popular being Celui in 1938 and Gymkana in 1964.

Celui opens with a very dry rose, made even drier by the orris and hawthorne notes. The musk and sandalwood provide a woody, reedy effect, equally dry. The gardenia, heliotrope and hyacinth notes are not detectable to my nose. Ambergris and civet provide an animalic sweetness, an effect which could be cloying if not balanced, as they are here.

Oddly the overwhelming impression is that of immortelle, which provides a gourmand effect of the Indian powdered spice, garum masala. At the same time there is a further dry pungent impression of celery seed. Millot’s Insolent from the 1940s comes closest in resembling Celui, as a reference point.

It all boils down to whether you wish to anoint yourself to suggest working in an herbal spice shop.
As a dry, fragrant scent, this could work well for summer wear. You are certain to make an impression, fleeting but fresh and dry. The edp I sampled did not have great longetivity. Probably best in its pure parfum concentration.

This is a pleasant scent and recommended for both sexes as dry, woody, slightly gourmand summer splash.

09th August, 2018