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I confess that the opening of En Avion is my absolute favorite in perfumery (that I have experienced so far)... it's ravishingly beautiful, daring, sexy and breathtaking.
En Avion in extrait (there is no point in getting the EdPs of a Caron urn fragrance IMO as they are fairly expensive and second class, although the En Avion EdP is rather nice.) is what I call a leather "illusion" as the orange blossom and spicy orange with the greenish rose and dark Caron carnation really create a perfect leather vision after cooking for a while on your skin. I am very picky about my leathers (with very few exceptions they are only real cuir-de-russies), but this is a very satisfying beige soft leather, if you get the idea. En Avion is on the sweeter side, produces initially a lot of sillage (diva-style!), which is also why I usually dab it as it renders the extrait slightly darker in mood and a bit closer to skin. The drydown is again heavenly beautiful as it really resembles soft and sweet skin out at the fresh air and sun and lingers on literally forever. This is both a very old-fashioned classy parfum (also in the way it takes time to develop and progress), but it is timelessly stylish... a highly underrated and maybe today misunderstood crown jewel! It's definitely in my top five!
EN AVION VINTAGE VS. NEW
1990s vs. 2011 extrait
Same rough, splendid opening, same main contributor after the initial burst, which is a green rose to my nose.
Three hours into my wearing I have to confess, my untrained nose does not smell any difference at all. There were short moments I felt the 1990s jus had a slightly more pronounced chypre (oakmoss) tone, then the other moment I felt it was not the case. I don't smell any difference with regard to sweetness in the drydown either. They both progress exactly the same way to me, same pace, same intensity. I could maybe be talked into a nuance more chypre touch of the 1990s extrait, but then, it would make me think about what the fifteen years meant for the sensitive notes that En Avion mainly consists of. Ageing would always bring the chypre undertone slightly more to the foreground IMO (from oils disintegrating...). An average 15 years age difference between the two extraits is not much, but still I'm talking only of nuances here anyway. Same situation for the deep base lingering on, same longevity, same sillage.
I smell turned notes in the opening.
I am very familiar with the 1930s Lanvin classics and as such, Rumeur is my reference chypre and smell of the era's style. This does remind me of Rumeur apart from the orange tree and spicy orange notes, which is probably what I am smelling. This is rather a different fragrance in feel and wear compared to the two newer extraits - a hardcore chypre very much in the style of its time. The orange accord reminds me quite a bit of an old bottle of orange bitters I have, which is the bartender's little helper apart from the Angostura bitters. There was a point I could smell a mentholated fresh note, which I last smelled in 1930s Djedi two weeks ago. It is a note that is not uncommon in these vintage fragrances. I too wonder whether this is an actual note or a sort of chemical reaction in the vintage jus? This does not last and the medicinal, bitter orangey accord remains, a rather linear development overall.
I was in for quite a surprise when after six hours the 1930s extrait, after the chypre predominance had died down, rather closely approximated the sweet intoxicating deep base of the new extrait. Same level of sweetness... so much for the claims that today's extrait was so much sweeter than the 'vintage'.
En Avion in the newer extrait forms is much more a floral oriental to my perception - has always been (I can recognize the chypre character more in its sister fragrance Tabac Blond), whereas the 1930s is very much a classic chypre of its time with the special orange theme.
I think Fraysse is doing an excellent job... if he cheapened the ingredients, as some claim, congratulations, I don't smell it.
However hard I try, I have yet to smell one of those dreaded Caron reformulations!
10th June, 2011 (Last Edited: 06th August, 2011)