Perfume Reviews

Positive Reviews of Émeraude by Coty

Total Reviews: 28
Post-modern choreographer David Gordon gave a lecture at my university in the early 1980s. His advice to young choreographers was to steal. Steal anything, steal often. Acknowledge the source material or don’t. Take what you steal and do whatever you care to with it. His point was that there is no such thing as a new idea, and if there were, so what? Citation of sources, intellectual property rights and plagiarism are irrelevant—-ideas are shared. Granted, Gordon was a founding member of the Judson Dance Theater, whose dissection of traditional forms had a strong element of sabotage to it. Still, the notion is interesting.

So, did Jacques Guerlain steal from François Coty’s Emeraude when he created Shalimar?

Emeraude preceded Shalimar by 4 years. There are strong similarities in their olfactory profiles. Bergamot topnotes and floral heartnotes enveloped in vanillic-amber bases would come to define the historical “oriental” genre. Sweet, resinous, nearly-gourmand qualities made both perfumes rich and heady but the durable musky, powdery base kept them from becoming desserts. Due to the preponderance of durable, resinous materials (benzoin, labdanum, vanilla, tonka, oppopanax, sandalwood) the perfumes of this era and genre have a long arc that plays out over hours and days. I think of these perfumes as speaking with a drawl.

If these two perfumes were competitors over the years, Shalimar is the clear winner. It has been kept in excellent trim by Guerlain and is a mainstay of the brand. Guerlain have quoted (and flanked) Shalimar many times over the years, but the references have been thoughtful, if not always well-received (see: Shalimar Parfum Initial). Emeraude, poor dear, left the building sometime during the Coty brand’s slow fall from grace after the company was bought by Pfizer in1963. Emeraude, along with l’Origan, l’Aimant, la Rose Jacqueminot and the other seminal early perfumes composed by Fançois Coty were notoriously gutted by cheap reformulation. They became the ‘old and in the way’ models you had to pick past to get to Coty Wild Musk, Stetson and Aspen at the local drug store.

I’ve smelled a few vintage versions and concentrations of Emeraude over the years and while there are differences, they are largely the same perfume. I’m currently sniffing a bottle of the Eau de Toilette Concentrée from the ‘60s. The materials that define the ‘oriental’ genre have distinctive, recognizable scent profiles. Bergamot’s tartness counterbalances a warm, ambery vanilla base, creating a particular dynamic. The unfolding of the topnotes into the heart is quite similar in both but over time the perfumes diverge. Shalimar becomes both sweeter and more animalic. Emeraude veers away from its initial sweetness and leans into the rubbery aspect of amber materials to provide a more leathery drydown The nitro musks that were in use at the time gave amber perfumes a strolling pace. They added endurance to perfumes, but more importantly they added depth and dimensionality. They kept olfactory tones distinct and allowed perfumes made from hundreds of materials to resist becoming porridge. Emeraude smells tart, powdery and leathery at the same time. Smoothness is balanced by angularity, making the perfume interesting from top to bottom.

So who robbed whom? I understand linking Shalimar to the Coty perfume, not only for their olfactory similarities, but for the cliché orientalism that both brands perpetuated. (* Again, Shalimar wins.) Primarily, though, Shalimar is a riff on Guerlain’s benchmark citrus-over-coumarin/musk perfume from 1889, Jicky. Jacques Guerlain simply stole from his younger self. Shalimar has unmistakable similarities to Emeraude, which came first, but it’s likely that Emeraude cribbed from perfumes that preceded it.

The abundance of fairly similar oriental perfumes doesn’t point to mass larceny. It’s a valuable demonstration of how olfactory vocabularies develop and are shared. And even if it were stealing, David Gordon says it’s OK.
23rd February, 2016
Green baize : the motif of Émeraude is clear from the start. This woolen fabric used to cover card tables would have been familiar to François Coty as he was a player of the card game Piquet. Analysing the baize effect reveals an opposition of citronella and rose, a woody background with a hint of civet and a sweet note strongly contrasted with a bitter edge.

Very soon a powdery iris note rises. This seems to combine with a floral bouquet to give a bizarre yet delightful accord of soft pink sweet rubber, backed up by a hard and dry citrus note. A dark animalic undertone appears at times to be part of the citrus - floral accord, and at other times to form a base beneath it. Herbs also contribute to the picture, lending an additional piquancy and greenness. I think sage as well as the tarragon mentioned by Barbara Herman are candidates. There is more than a passing resemblance to Shalimar and the Guerlain style, in particular the use of herbs.

In a profile as complex as this it's possible to pick out several themes running side by side. At one moment it could display a pink rubbery floral, the next bright lemon and later toffee. Other combinations may pop up at any time giving the perfume an unpredictable character and lots of interest; and green baize shows up of course.

Although the feel is old fashioned it doesn't appear dated; its not of the moment but then its not a relic either.
Émeraude makes a quite acceptable masculine. The hardness of the citrus, its dark undertone and odd rubbery note all mitigate against an out and out feminine interpretation. In fact it doesn't feel like a feminine at all in todays terms, except maybe in the dry down.

The rubber also bears reference to Bulgari Black, but a passing glance, Coty wisely kept it toned down. The citrus is notable for its piquancy and impressive longevity; obviously there are more than citrus oils involved here, possibly aldehydes and elemi.

Although not short lived, by one hour all the elements are in place with a sweet toffee like amber already on display. Coty managed to push most of the profile's development into the opening phase, allowing it to merely unwind thereafter. This allows for the greatest complexity over the longest time, and he achieves this without sacrificing clarity. The structure is by no means linear however, and it may surprise you!

The green baize theme remains intact deep into the profile. How the baize is constructed and how it can last so long are not clear, but a galbanum resinoid seems to be a possibility.
Coty may have also used clary sage - judging by a tobacco note in the dry down. There seems to be a lot more going on here than the note pyramid would suggest.

The soupy aroma of opopanax forms one key to the base; its spicy side linking up with the herbs, and its resins combining with the balsam found in the other key - a vanillic amber which spreads a sweet powdery texture over the base.

A sweet and spicy jasmin bouquet, toffee like amber and civet lie on the card table at four hours. At seven hours what's left are amber, tobacco and pale dried flowers.

This is a fabulous ride, full of plot twists to keep the nose and brain engaged. The technical aspects are quite brilliant. The manner in which Coty could manipulate his materials is really accomplished, and all the more astonishing in someone who was largely self taught. Émeraude is built around his brilliant citronella and rose formula first used in Une Rose Jacqueminot - which was a huge success - taking a million francs in four months at the start of the twentieth century.

It's no wonder that there is a certain antique quality to Émeraude, it comes from another era and will soon be 100 years old, but no matter, this pictorial masterpiece in green is still just as beautiful today.


This review is of the Perfume in a squat glass bauble labelled Coty Div. Pfizer and coded to year 04 in a ten year cycle. Which decade? I don't know.
11th June, 2015
I have a mini of vintage juice, probably from the 1960's.
The liquid is aged, a golden colour. I suspect that the top notes are largely absent now.
Deep florals, especially jasmine and ylang-ylang.
The base persists. Certainly vanilla and opoponax, along with sandalwood and amber. A dark, earthy quality here.
Rich and powerful. This is a scent of a bygone era.

Top - orange, bergamot, lemon
Mid - jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, rosewood
Base - amber, patchouli, sandalwood, opoponax, benzoin, vanilla.
21st February, 2015
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Have to rate this as neutral, since I'm reviewing it years and years later. We all wore this during High School... it was my mom's, my sister and I received it for Christmas presents, and it seems like all of my friends and their moms wore it as well!

Definitely takes me back; just thinking about the name nearly brings the scent. I remember it as being fairly sharp, but not cloying or overpowering. Just crisp and elegant. Would love to smell it again.

Edit: Just received a sample of vintage from STC and wow. It literally brought me to tears, in a good way! Memories of where I was, even what I wore back when I used this came flooding back. Amazing. What a provocative scent. Warm, spicy and elegant, would be perfect for a chilly evening.
18th October, 2014 (last edited: 24th January, 2015)
to my nose at this time it just plain stinks! but that can change when my allergies change to!

(Updated on 9/1/2014)

I apparently was just not giving this one a proper chance. Tried it again without bathing in it and it really does appear to be very near like Shalimar in the dry down but without that extra note that Shalimar appears to have, (leather? civit?). I get it now! Think that this one is a very good cheaper version of Shalimar but i had to just get hot and sweaty enough for it to "bloom" properly.
22nd July, 2014 (last edited: 01st September, 2014)
I've just written a review for L'Aimant, telling about my youth when there were Woolies scents and 'posh' scents which we bought at Boot's. Emeraude was the other 'posh' scent if you preferred chypre to flowery, although we didn't think like that at the time.

I have a vintage bottle of this which I like very much but don't use very often because I do find it a bit heavy - a bit like the vintage L'Aimant it is a rich scent and I reckon best to use sparingly - not least because I want it to last. Such a shame that Coty disappeared as they made very good 'posh' scents for moderate prices.
07th December, 2013
To me this seems like a more powdery, "safer" version of Shalimar, certainly not as loud and definitely more settled than its rebellious counterpart. I find it quite powdery, mature, pleasant enough and quite inoffensive. This is a review for the vintage version only, which has gold, yellow-like liquid.
21st November, 2013
I loved this SO much as a teenager, and I miss it. Sad to hear it's been wrecked, like so many others. I wore mainly Woodhue during the week--sometimes Wind Song to school--and Emeraude to church, a concert or the opera. Yep, it was clearly conceived as an inexpensive alternative to Shalimar, and it was a good one. Previous reviewers have done a great job of parsing the similarities and differences, so I won't get into that. Suffice it to say it smelled great on skin and even better_en sillage_.
27th October, 2011
i have some emeraude from the 30s; absolutely love the green stuff. if i were to visualize what its scent evokes in me i would have to say silk velvet opera coat lined in ermine with a russian egg with imperial osetra caviar in one pocket, a dacquoise in the other.
17th May, 2011
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
I've got vintage Shalimar EdC, Shalimar Light, and the Parfum de Toilette version of this (Imperial Decanter bottle), I'd guess from the 1960s. This is lighter than Shalimar Light and not as abrasive as Shalimar EdC. There is a sharp greenish note kicking around that I'm not sure I like, but it's not something that ruins it. In fact, I may grow to like it (only wore it once). There is also an animalic note that is a bit different from any other I've smelled, but the closest thing I can think of is Habit Rouge. Perhaps it is the combination of orange blossom and "dirty" jasmine. Otherwise, it's quite nice and lasts well, with good projection/"sillage" once you get to the drydown. Instead of spice and old/worn leather, like Habit Rouge, this goes in a vanillic/powdery, dry incense direction. I like this better than HR, not just because I like the notes better but also because it is more consistent throughout, whereas HR is very strong up top and considerably weaker in the drydown (I've only tried the new EdC of HR).
28th March, 2011
I am finally ready to write the strangest review of all...

Emeraude is delicious. I happened upon what is probably a mid--nineties or older mini, Chernobyl green liquid (like the absinthe I'm drinking. That's actually funny.), cylindrical white cap, cologne formula. The smell?
Sweet, whipcrack tangy, lightly powdery. If English Leather and Envy for Men married and used a time machine to adopt a little girl fragrance of their own (since they can't procreate) and raised her to be just like them she would grow up to be Emeraude.
She would then be older than the both of them and possibly contribute to their own existence, thus creating a time paradox. Thanks for the migraine, Coty. And this wonderful fragrance.
27th March, 2011
Until I read the reviews today, I'd quite forgotten the role that Emeraude played in the evolution of my current tastes in fragrances.

Somehow, sweet innocent "girly-girl" scents never had a significant place in my perfume repertory. Florientals have always been my favourites, not surprising perhaps, considering that Emeraude (along with Yardley Oh! de London) were the mainstays among the earliest scents I ever wore. (Odd, but both were also vivid green liquids.) My mother wore (and loved) Emeraude, as did one of my older sisters and some of my mother's friends who would come to visit. (Unfortunately, none of them knew French--except my mother, who knew a little but spoke it with a gruff Dutch accent--and they called it something that sounded a bit like "hemorrhoid.") When I was in my late teens, some of the more "worldly" women I knew (i.e., in their early twenties), talked about it as an accessory to their romantic adventures. (One of them even taught me the correct pronunciation!) It seemed to me that it must be one of the sexiest fragrances on earth....

Now that I'm writing a book on the literature and culture of the 60s, memories of my perceptions during that stunning moment in time often emerge in my mind. I was very, very naive back then, but Emeraude opened a door to a more sophisticated world that I desperately wanted to be a part of. As soon as I had a little income of my own, I started wearing Shalimar, Crepe de Chine, Antilope, Madame Rochas, Chanel No. 5 and No. 22, Arpege, My Sin, Quelques Fleurs, Je Reviens, and even L'Heure Bleue--odd choices, perhaps, for a girl not yet twenty.

I still have clear memories of Emeraude: jasmine, orange, sandalwood--all notes that I still love in the fragrances I wear now, more than four decades later. Still, I've never smelled the current formulation and haveno desire to try the version I see in K-Mart these days--nor am I going to seek out a vintage bottle. I'd like to keep the memories just as they are.

After all, to paraphrase Simone Signoret, nostalgia isn't what it used to be.
21st August, 2010
I loved Emeraude when I was a kid... and wore it as a teen, probably in its least expensive form. When I received a bottle of vintage Emeraude PDT (which is the parfum version I understand) recently, and a good-sized bottle at that, I suddenly remembered why I loved the scent. (not that I ever really forgot.) The warm lushness of the scent, the way it lasts and lasts and lasts... this is nostalgic comfort for me.

I do see the similarities with Shalimar, and find this smoothly warm in similar ways as well... I agree it isn't as deep as Shalimar, but then again, if I have a day when I need the Emeraude magic, what I'm going to be recalling is my formative years as a young woman, a little lightness and innocence where with Shalimar it's a bit more... mature and sexual. (to me, anyway.)
09th May, 2010
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People have loved Emeraude since it was introduced, and many still do. It has been one of my favorites since I was a kid, and that was awhile ago!

Over the years, I've bought a dozen vintage bottles, and can affirm that the older versions really are better. For those who want to explore, the perfume version of Emeraude (sometimes labeled 'perfume de toilette') is the one to look for since it is noticeably deeper and longer lasting than the colognes of any era. And what a beautiful and evolving sillage.... magnificent!

Comparisons between Shalimar and Emeraude are interesting and appropriate, and their similarity has been noted by many. Both are deep ‘oriental’ fragrances that project a lush warmth, rather than spiciness in their basenotes. One big difference, is that Emeraude begins with a bright citric note not present in Shalimar (though the modern Emeraude skips to the base pretty quickly).

A more significant difference between Shalimar and Emeraude is the oft-noted ‘rubbery’ element of Shalimar. I like Shalimar, but the persistent rubbery note does stick in my nose sometimes. Although Shalimar never strikes me as 'poopy' in the way of civet or castoreum, the rubbery note is always there... and for that reason alone I feel that Emeraude is better for daytime wear.

To sum up: Emeraude (particularly in vintage form) is a bit more complex than Shalimar from beginning to end, and lacks that 'twang' that seems to be the hallmark of Shalimar. Maybe someday Coty will release a 'restored and remastered' Emeraude, and return this treasure to the glory it deserves.

In the meanwhile, the modern Emeraude is still a beautiful and enjoyable scent, and a great alternative to the usual fruity florals. Thumbs up for Emeraude!
08th November, 2009
tanto Show all reviews
United States
I remember my grandmother wearing this when I was a boy and teenager. It "suited" her so very well. Emeraude, Intimate, Arpege, and Chanel No5 were her "top 4" but Emeraude really graced her warm, kind character. To this very day (I'm 61 yrs old) I can still smell Emeraude when I think of my gradmother. Lovely!!
03rd September, 2009
I may never have smelled Emeraude vintage in the past, so this is Emeraude 2009. All that comment about how horrible this is for a drugstore scent is undeserved.

As for this vs Shalimar:

I have on my left wrist Emeraude 2009, and Shalimar EDT on my right. It's an hour after spraying. While Shalimar's more rich and concentrated the way you expect a Guerlain should be, I actually prefer to wear Emeraude 2009 as it would be more suited to more variable weather. I can't imagine wearing Shalimar on a warm spring day, but could probably just skate by with Emeraude. Plus keep in mind Emeraude is the same price as Old Spice, so of course my expectations are going to be lower.

PS I don't notice the "poop" angle in Emeraude that I notice in Shalimar, which to me is one fact in Emeraude's favor.
24th July, 2009
This review is for a vintage (1930's?) bottle of Emeraude. if you had blindefolded me, put this on my wrists, then asked me what I was wearing I would have said vintage Shalimar. No need to describe notes as Vintage Emeraude and Shalimar are that similar. It's a beautiful, spicy Oriental. I haven't smelled the recent drugstore version and judging from some of the reviews I've read, I could do without smelling it. Thumbs up for the old version!
13th May, 2009
Poor Emeraude, now known only as a cheap drugstore perfume. But for those of you ready to dismiss it, PLEASE try to get your hands on the vintage version. I dug out my old bottle of cologne and even in this concentration, it's gorgeous. Comparing the old and the new is like comparing 2 completely different fragrances. The new version is sharp & chemical, but the vintage is orange blossom, vanilla, amber & musk. To me it's a little more like Bal a Versailles then Shalimar. So sad that although Emeraude & Shalimar were released around the same time that Guerlain has managed to keep their high-end reputation where Coty just keeps spitting out the cheap, super sweet, celebrity fragrances at the local drugstore. If only they had kept their respect for the old staples. Not only would Emeraude still have its well deserved reputation, but we might still be able to get our hands on Coty Chypre. Oh, to dream a little dream.
29th October, 2008 (last edited: 30th October, 2008)
Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Orange
Middle: Jasmine, Rose, Rosewood, Ylang-ylang
Base: Opoponax, Benzene, patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla

Opens sharp with an orange / rosewood dominating. It smells a little off, but I like it anyway. Since I don’t remember ever smelling this one, I was first surprised by its sharpness and strength, and then by its quick movement to a gentle softness. I find the rosewood quite prominent in the first half of the fragrance’s life, and I really enjoy the way it performs. On my skin I get no strong floral notes except for the rose. The rosewood continues to stand out until the opoponax, patchouli, and sandalwood show up with the basenotes. Even with the liberal amounts of woodnotes, it does not seem at all masculine. Emeraude is a very nice fragrance – a drug store classic, probably reformulated many times and likely not as good as it used to be, but still much better than its drugstore price would indicate.
22nd August, 2008
Emeraude is a sentimental favorite of mine. My favorite aunt wore this and it was gorgeous on her. I don't wear it personally, but it always brings a smile to my face when I smell it and think of my wonderful aunt...
15th July, 2007
I just emptied another bottle of Emeraude. I use it as a room spray sometimes, but I still like to wear it -- My grandmother always wore it she began wearing it in the 1940's--it has stayed in her top 10 and is also in mine. It is pretty obvious that the formula has not changed at all over the years, she (or I) would certainly notice any slight shift. There are so many memories....
I used to wonder why they didn't tone down the color, it was always so lime-green! But now it is a treasure. You can find a decent sixed bottle for under $25.00 at many drugstores.
05th June, 2007
rickie Show all reviews
United States
Ilove reading the reviews more than writing them. I think I am going to go out and buy a bottle of Emeraude. I too, can smell a fragrance and it will remind me of a place or event that happened. That is the most wonderful thing about colognes, etc. I cant imagine myself never wearing a scent! There are people out there that dont were smell. How boring is that!
10th April, 2007
Well, this confirms it; cheap thrills are just fine with me! I've loved Emeraude for half a century, and though it's undeniably changed a bit, it's still Emeraude & I still love it . . . especially in late fall & winter. I associate it with Christmas and early loves. It once came in a bath oil that was s-o-o-o-o wonderful. I'd dab a bit of the bath oil on my pulse points, then sprinkle the eau de toilette over. It would last all day and stay as true as I wanted my lovers to be. Sigh.
09th March, 2007
tmgp24 Show all reviews
United States
i was suprised but i like it.tried it on and got a citrus lime smell and then a nice powdery smell.
19th February, 2007
Purchased this in the past few months. Nothing has changed. I tried to sniff out some change, but it still hits all of the same notes. My best friend in Jr. High wore this, and I often borrowed some. For me, Emeraude will always be associated with her-- a little blonde haired blue-eyed innocent. (Well, somewhat innocent.) It is still as green as a Granny Smith apple with that high almost lime note that makes it fresh and clean. Emeraude also lingers on skin and clothing pleasantly. I tried it on bed linens with great results. I found this for less than $8. A small bottle in new packaging.

13th October, 2006
As I was shopping the Super Walmart this morning, I happened by their fragrance isle...couldn't help myself you know?! I was amazed at their full stock. Looks like they carry all of the Coty and Dana products still in production, as well as some current suprises! My eyes browsed through their grocery display of scents, discovering a sample of Emeraude. I readied my wrist and pushed the pump ~ deeply inhaled ~ and was instantly back in my early childhood, sniffing mother's scarf and gloves I was playing dress-up with! To me, the formula still smells virtually the same, although it has been reworked. It's tenderly warm, sweet and a little spicy. Slightly powdery; timeless!
29th April, 2006 (last edited: 17th June, 2009)
I also, have the same 'neon-green' formulation of Emeraude as calchic mentioned below. Also, I've always had a bottle of this in my collection from junior high to the present day. Today, I hardly reach for it, but I just cannot get rid of it. There are so many good memories there.

Amazone EDP by Hermes is very similiar in my opinion to Emeraude. They both have that sharp opening. Tho, Amazone is deeper and a little less synthetic. Both remind me of the 1920's and the 1940's. Very nice.
11th April, 2006
Improbably, after all this time and all the stuff that's come and gone from my life since, I've managed to hang on to a bottle of this that I purchased in the mid 80s. From what I gather, Emeraude's been through many incarnations, bottle styles, strengths and possibly even reformulations, so I don't know where my particualr rendition falls into the spectrum. The bottle I have has that trademark crown-style top on and the juice itself is almost neon green, very similar to the color of Prescriptives Calyx. In terms of scent, this one starts out sharp - sharp! Whip-you-in-the-nose, somewhat old-school sharp in the manner of old Prince Matchabellis and such. Sharp and sweet; I think it's the orange-vanilla-sandalwood triple punch doing this, as I have other orange-vanilla scents that have a similar sharpness and know that some of them are also underscored with that spiciness of sandalwood. Back in the day, I used to avoid wearing this fragrance much for that very reason; I just didn't get it and my sense of smell was a little too untrained for that type of thing, I suppose. I'd just think, "this smells like grandma's perfumes" and put it back in the shoebox where I kept it. Today, I'm much more well rounded and can appreciate this type of opening for what it is! In addition to those three notes, Emeraude contains jasmine - which is quite sweet though not totally obnoxious - and some other spices and perhaps a touch of patchouli. It's a pretty good one; I don't know what the newer versions in the newer bottles are like, but this version is not bad at all.
29th September, 2005