Amouage Gold, you said? There was a thread a few weeks ago where I wrote that I definitely find it similar to Madame Rochas, which is quirkier and better overall. Now that I smell your vintage Arpege and Gold, I definitely see some notes overlapping, although with very little sameness, whereas both Guy Robert's fragrances -- for Amouage and Rochas -- are surely related.
Nettie Rosenstein Odalisque (1946). I kept putting off and off reviewing it, I wanted to get my homework done first. Once on our SotD thread I described it as "big, no huge". Odalisque (having nothing to do with the fragrance of the same name by Patricia de Nicolai) is endlessly various and fascinating in its forms, complex, and uses eminent quality igredients. It feels good to feel so good again in a nice smelling, American produced, superbly preserved fragrance that you do not have to finally adapt to and make do with. Odalisque is flamboyant and radiantly beautiful. It loves my skin and my chemistry, I would like to hope.
Several indepth thoughts:
1) Nettie Rosenstein herself -- there is an article on Wikipedia and a few other links to other articles (one being from The New Yorker magazine) at the footnote of that Wikipedia article. Everything is new to me, every piece of information. Who was she? An Austrian immigrant who tried to poplularize M'lle Coco's idea of la petite robe noire with the American upper crust -- mind you, not your working masses. She succeeded too until the year 1961 when she withdrew herself from dress making and concentrated on making jewelry and purses. "Miss Rosie" was never a woman to miss a trend, they pointed out.
2) My next step was to find out about Nettie's fragrances in general. There is a nice lady and a BN member who writes perfume guides for eBay under the name of Cleopatra's Boudoir, and on her page there are four fragrances listed:
-- 1946 After Hours,
-- 1946 Odalisque,
-- 1948 Tianne (still available online "for men and women", although heavily reformulated I suspect),
-- 1961 Fleurs d'Elle.
There are no notes or noses listed.
3) What can't one buy on eBay these days? The real Odalisque prices vary, but there is always NellButtler with $135 per 1oz. and higher for larger amounts. What shook my world was the quantities of Odalisque magazine advertisements with the photograph of a nude model (right after the end of WW2, gasp!) basking in the sun on the seashore. How could that be possible? There is another print ad -- more modest this time where the model is dressed in a bathing suit, and this one is from 1948.
4) There is a nice writeup about Odalisque in general on ParfumeSmellingThings, by Donna, dated Dec.03, 2008 -- she goes on and on how rich this fragrance is and how it made her smell like a million dollars. Together with another favorite fragrance of hers -- care to guess? (or go to PST and check it yourself)
4) Among other Basenoters, only three or four people tested it -- 30R., Q., Brielle and that's about it. In Q.'s Tested section of the Wardrobe I found a list of notes (same as on the fragranceshop.com site). My know-it-all Estonian source did not have it in their database: Lavender, jasmine, rose, carnation, lily of the valley, cedar, tonka, musk, sandal.
You guys got any questions thus far? I have!
With a set of notes like this (fougere? floral? semi-oriental?) Odalisque can fall into each or several of categories. Lavender, however, on this skin, had a very brief but prominent duration -- together with the dirty scank of civet, underlayer of softest vetiver and almost unfathomable caress of incense (notice how these three do not appear in the semi-official pyramid?) -- and it is done in a lower octave and warmer manner, not your high-pitched and soapy lavender of, say Jicky. I wore Odalisque twice -- one spray for one day and two sprays for another day -- so are the rules, correct? -- and both wears lead me to believe that it belongs to Floral Category, green floral with chypresque tendencies (no rockrose or oakmoss to be a chypre). It is smooth and solid with hyacinth stems, green leaves, raspiness of wood and, moreover, lacking that bell-like clarity that many florals manifest. There is an undeniable rose-jasmine-lily of the valley trio here, but -- once again -- done warmly and in the lower register which gives incredible soul to the whole composition (deep, dark, soulful florals of Clinique Aromatics Elixir came decades later). Musk -- and many of you know I do not "do" most musks -- is easy here, as muffled by sandalwood, vetiver and incense.
If I were to compare Odalisque to any fragrances I know, it would be early Diors (remember, Nettie did not miss a trend -- florals of Miss Dior, opoponax of L'Heure Attendue or vetiver of Ma Griffe?). But it is a solid and overlooked fragrance in its own gorgeous self.
If I were to find a musical background to it, it would be Lisa Gerrard's Sanvean (idioglossia, anyone? in contralto dramatico? ), it is on YouTube, very available and very free.
Odalisque -- historically and culturally trapped in the myth of her lustrous beauty -- beguiles. She remains elusive. As always.