I silently acquired a vintage bottle of this recently, and I have been wearing it here and there for the past few weeks. It was clear, from the first spray, that the top notes had turned a bit because it had that signature sour/acidic smell...not too bad but definitely noticeable and I have to struggle for a few minutes when I first apply it before it burns away and the middle/base notes arrive. The lavender accord is dry, scratchy, slightly medicinal, sharp and very crisp. It has a starchy texture to it, that reminds me a tiny bit of the Parfum de Nicolai lavenders (with their odd can-of-spray-starch accord that I remember Kevin Guyer mentioning and it rung so true to me).
There is a whiff of something pungent, like ground white pepper, but it's very fleeting is most likely just an element of the lavender asserting itself with my skin chemistry. It is not 'aromatherapeutic' in the least, it is not trying to make itself 'relaxing' or 'pleasant' and it harkens back to a time in perfumery and masculine fragrances where a scent was admired for its strength and bracing qualities. For this reason, as a lavender fan and also someone who admires fragrances from time past, I am completely enjoying it - it's like watching an old movie on cable TV at two in the morning: nostalgic, full of haunting soundtracks and grainy, shaded camera angles. It is also NOTHING like the Yardley Lavender on the shelves at my local Walmart.
I'd love to hear from more Basenoters (besides those above) who wore this vintage stuff back-in-the-day. Did Yardley sell ancillary products like soap, talc, brilliantine scented with the fragrance also? I'd LOVE to just pour this stuff on and douse myself with the fragrance, just to see what the effect would be (I assume it would be fantastic) but I don't want to waste it, because once this stuff is gone it might be hard to find it again.
If I had to compare it to any lavender on the market now, I would say it hints at the bone-dry stiffness of the disco'd Lavanda Tonica by Acqua di Parma that is surprisingly easy to find online.