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  1. #1

    Default Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Today I have the pleasure to test side by side a vintage HR and a reformulated version. Unfortunately, I had to finger-dab apply the vintage, which may have had some influence on its performance. Initially, after application, I could smell the similarities but the vintage had a spicier (?) touch to it, a little attitude and personality, although a little "sour" perhaps. In my head, the vintage had a vertical aspect to it while the reform had a horizontal aspect - sounds odd, I know, but it's like the difference between climbing and walking. I don't know why or how to explain that imagery but it's what popped into my head when I smelled them. I conducted a blind test today on a few colleagues in the office and they unanimously chose the vintage over the reform. Oddly, I rather prefer the reformulated version. However, I think the application differences might have something to do with it. Now, after five hours, the vintage is imperceptible while the reform is still very good, still producing sillage even.

    Has anyone else had similar experiences or comments regarding these versions of HR? What changed in the formulation to make that edgy note in the vintage go soft and horizontal?
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    It's really a fantastic fragrance this one, no? Regarding the longevity, I take it you're sure you tested vintage EDT and not EDC? I'm rather fond of current formulation EDT but it tends to turn sour on me for a while. Once the powdery leathery drydown kicks in everything's okay again. I don't really understand what you mean by vertical vs horizontal, unless you mean that the current formulation is linear, i.e. no changes in the fragrance other than it becoming weaker?

    I'm trying to source a nice bottle of vintage EDT though I also almost pulled the trigger on a vintage bee bottle of EDC.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    I've worn both of them. I like the newer version a lot better - it's drier, more austere, and lighter, while still very elegant. The vintage is OK, but a bit too powdery for me.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Merlino View Post
    I don't really understand what you mean by vertical vs horizontal, unless you mean that the current formulation is linear, i.e. no changes in the fragrance other than it becoming weaker?
    Sorry, I don't mean to be confusing, it's just imagery in my head. For some reason, the vintage brings a feeling of height while the reformulation conjures expanse. I can't explain it, they just do. I can smell the similarities in them, but there is a definite something that differentiates them. Although they smell similar, I think they are also quite different. I think I can smell more of the rose and vanilla in the reformulation but more of something else, perhaps lemon or bergamot, in the vintage.

    Quote Originally Posted by shamu1 View Post
    I've worn both of them. I like the newer version a lot better - it's drier, more austere, and lighter, while still very elegant. The vintage is OK, but a bit too powdery for me.
    I agree, the newer formulation is drier, lighter, but loses nothing from the reformulation in my opinion, perhaps even benefits.
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  5. #5
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    I STRONGLY suspect your vintage formula is EDC! Which would account for its shorter longevity. The vintage edcs and edts were different from each other, too. I only know the vintage edc, which I prefer to the new stuff.

    I understand your allusion to verticality to imply "depth"...perhaps? I tried a similar test on my father, who preferred the vintage formula in general, but pointed out that he would probably wear the new one more often because it was pleasant, simple, and innocuous. I took his point; I couldn't blame anyone for preferring the newer formulation.

    Interesting observations.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Yes, I strongly suspect the vintage is an EDC too...

    I think you said it best, or rather your father did: "pleasant, simple, and innocuous." I think that gets back to my comment that the vintage HR has more attitude and personality. I like that I can recognize the similarities (tell you what they are? no, but I recognize them) between them, it's like Timbuktu and 2Man to me. They both take you to the same place but they are different experiences along the way.

    As such, you can climb Mt. Whitney via the East Face or hike to the top via footpath. Either way...

    I will continue to compare them and see if I don't change my mind.
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    I'm confused cbstarker - was the Habit Rouge you tested Eau de Cologne or Eau de Toilette?

    This is important, to interpret your comments about vintage and non-vintage.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 4th June 2009 at 04:33 AM.
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform


    The vintage EDC version of Habit Rouge is, we should not forget, the originally conceived idea of Habit Rouge. It's edgy, cerebral, complex, aloof, understated, and anything but trite, anything but saccharine; in fact, for an oriental
    the first men’s oriental if I am not mistakenit has a decided, compelling sour profile to it that won't let it settle into a cliché of its genre. It not only has depth (horizontal layering)--rich but understated citrus, spice, wisps of floral refinement, woody, animalic, and balsamic notes--it has amplitude (bold vertical layering) as the accords peak and dip as they integrate the horizontal layers. It's a fragrance born of absolute bourgeois refinement of the best kind at the very moment when refinement was about to lose out to pure financial considerations and marketing, to the cash nexus, to the era of “the third rate accountants” to borrow Luca Turin’s phrase, an era of the eventual triumph and domination of agglomerated monied interests as represented by LVMH as opposed to a company run on a hereditary family model whose modus operandi was based on talent first and lineage second and whose sole raison d’être was to produce quality fragrances of the highest order and artistic merit. Profit was important, but it was a natural by product of quality and artistic merit. This is the allure of vintage Guerlain.

    The reformulation is excellent, but its more expansive appeal is at the cost of the unquiet, difficult, staggering complexity, understatement, and originality of the vintage EDC. The amplitude has been flattened out, the horizontal layers waft by with a barely discernible ripple; they trouble one less; they are more ruly, more knowable, more familiar, and, hence, will find general acceptance by the majority. There is less of the edgy synergy one gets from the original vintage Habit Rouge EDC. The reformulation is only a loss if you’re a classicist.

    scentemental

    P.S. Guerlain is unique, in that up until Jean-Paul Guerlain's recent semi-retirement and
    the change in direction under LVMH, all reformulations were done by the original perfumers themselves or by their immediate relatives trained by those very perfumers. This explains in large part the high quality, artistic merit, and continuity of many Guerlain reformulations.



    Last edited by scentemental; 4th June 2009 at 02:25 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    I am starting to get the idea that "vintage" versus "new" is like painting. Even if the subject matter is exactly the same, if rendered in oil paints in the traditional style, the painting will have a different "feel" than a contemporary painting done in acrylics. Even if the only change is linen primed with rabbit skin glue and lead white shifting to cotton duck primed with acrylic gesso, there are subtle differences which change the overall viewing experience.

    It seems that modern reformulations are about making a classic composition work in a modern manufacturing style as much as they are about shifting ingredients.

  10. #10
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    I am starting to get the idea that "vintage" versus "new" is like painting. Even if the subject matter is exactly the same, if rendered in oil paints in the traditional style, the painting will have a different "feel" than a contemporary painting done in acrylics. Even if the only change is linen primed with rabbit skin glue and lead white shifting to cotton duck primed with acrylic gesso, there are subtle differences which change the overall viewing experience.

    It seems that modern reformulations are about making a classic composition work in a modern manufacturing style as much as they are about shifting ingredients.
    I thought modern reformulations were about the bottom line. Period...
    I guess I have some thinking to do.
    Last edited by Hillaire; 4th June 2009 at 05:48 AM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Scentemental,

    You just laid down one hell of an interpretation....wow. Why do I get the feeling like you wrote that in under a minuet, without looking it over?

  12. #12

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by Asha View Post
    I am starting to get the idea that "vintage" versus "new" is like painting. Even if the subject matter is exactly the same, if rendered in oil paints in the traditional style, the painting will have a different "feel" than a contemporary painting done in acrylics. Even if the only change is linen primed with rabbit skin glue and lead white shifting to cotton duck primed with acrylic gesso, there are subtle differences which change the overall viewing experience.

    It seems that modern reformulations are about making a classic composition work in a modern manufacturing style as much as they are about shifting ingredients.
    Yes Asha, you picked up on my classicist versus modernist dichotomy, but I tend to view it more along the lines of Hillaire's "bottom line." The best formulations are always a reworking in a different medium, to a certain extent, but I don't think most reformulations, except in a very few instances, are about using the most modern, cutting edge, and quality odorants available. In most cases, a cynical bottom line drives the choice with regard to quality. In many cases, modern equivalents that maintain any sense of true equivalence with classic odorants aren't available. Also, sometimes, putting cynicism aside, reformulations when not driving by motive of pure profit , might very well be driving by a more modernist sensibility, by the idea of "updating" a fragrance. If one is not a classicist, modernization hardly matters as many people are perfectly happy with reformulations over originals, more so if they don't know the original, and particularly if the original is an older fragrance, but if one is a classicist, acrylic is not oil, and never will be no matter what it can do as a medium.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hillaire View Post
    I thought modern reformulations were about the bottom line. Period...
    I guess I have some thinking to do.
    I think they are in most cases, HIllaire, and in cases where the intent is good, they usually fail because there are no true replacements for citrus oils, animalics, and oakmoss.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsugarman View Post
    Scentemental,

    You just laid down one hell of an interpretation....wow. Why do I get the feeling like you wrote that in under a minuet, without looking it over?
    Thanks for the kind words Bigsugarman and welcome to Basenotes. It took a little more than a minute but not a lot more. My response pretty much wrote itself quite automatically as I have been living and loving Habit Rouge EDC for over 30 years now, and I have been giving vintage formulations and reformulations a lot of thought and testing over these last few years.

    scentemental
    Last edited by scentemental; 4th June 2009 at 06:40 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post
    [COLOR=Blue]
    The vintage EDC version of Habit Rouge is ... edgy, cerebral, complex, aloof, understated, and anything but trite, anything but saccharine; in fact, for an oriental it has a decided, compelling sour profile to it that won't let it settle into a cliché of its genre. It not only has depth (horizontal layering)--rich but understated citrus, spice, wisps of floral refinement, woody, animalic, and balsamic notes--it has amplitude (bold vertical layering) as the accords peak and dip as they integrate the horizontal layers... The reformulation is excellent, but ... The amplitude has been flattened out, the horizontal layers waft by with a barely discernible ripple; they trouble one less; they are more ruly, more knowable, more familiar, and, hence, will find general acceptance by the majority. There is less of the edgy synergy one gets from the original vintage Habit Rouge EDC. The reformulation is only a loss if you’re a classicist.

    [COLOR=Blue]

    YES! Exactly! Thank You! One of these days I hope to have the capacity to articulate that well.
    Last edited by cbstarker; 4th June 2009 at 07:00 PM.
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Quote Originally Posted by cbstarker View Post
    YES! Exactly! Thank You! One of these days I hope to have the capacity to articulate that well.

    Thank you cbstarker. It was your perceptive idea about horizontal and vertical differences that helped everything cohere so I could articulate my ideas.

    scentemental


    Last edited by scentemental; 4th June 2009 at 07:51 PM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Habit Rouge: Vintage vs. Reform

    Very well articulated, scentemental -

    Wonderful and thoughtful encapsulation that allows one to grasp a "sense of time & place" with respect to Vintage Habit Rouge EDC. It, to me, is the essence of what Guerlain (as a house) wanted to compose in this fragrance.

    Personally, I get your perspective and the follow-up post in this thread about classicism versus modernism in art. We are discussing, after all...olfactory art.

    I cannot add much - except that people who are trying to understand Habit Rouge should really have perspective from the Vintage EDC, as everything else that followed was interpretations and concentrations of what the original "sculptured" scent was...it was crafted with sheer beauty and elegance.

    For me - no other bottling is better.

    Cheers,

    ericrico

    Quote Originally Posted by scentemental View Post

    The vintage EDC version of Habit Rouge is, we should not forget, the originally conceived idea of Habit Rouge. It's edgy, cerebral, complex, aloof, understated, and anything but trite, anything but saccharine; in fact, for an oriental
    the first men’s oriental if I am not mistakenit has a decided, compelling sour profile to it that won't let it settle into a cliché of its genre. It not only has depth (horizontal layering)--rich but understated citrus, spice, wisps of floral refinement, woody, animalic, and balsamic notes--it has amplitude (bold vertical layering) as the accords peak and dip as they integrate the horizontal layers. It's a fragrance born of absolute bourgeois refinement of the best kind at the very moment when refinement was about to lose out to pure financial considerations and marketing, to the cash nexus, to the era of “the third rate accountants” to borrow Luca Turin’s phrase, an era of the eventual triumph and domination of agglomerated monied interests as represented by LVMH as opposed to a company run on a hereditary family model whose modus operandi was based on talent first and lineage second and whose sole raison d’être was to produce quality fragrances of the highest order and artistic merit. Profit was important, but it was a natural by product of quality and artistic merit. This is the allure of vintage Guerlain.

    The reformulation is excellent, but its more expansive appeal is at the cost of the unquiet, difficult, staggering complexity, understatement, and originality of the vintage EDC. The amplitude has been flattened out, the horizontal layers waft by with a barely discernible ripple; they trouble one less; they are more ruly, more knowable, more familiar, and, hence, will find general acceptance by the majority. There is less of the edgy synergy one gets from the original vintage Habit Rouge EDC. The reformulation is only a loss if you’re a classicist.

    scentemental

    P.S. Guerlain is unique, in that up until Jean-Paul Guerlain's recent semi-retirement and
    the change in direction under LVMH, all reformulations were done by the original perfumers themselves or by their immediate relatives trained by those very perfumers. This explains in large part the high quality, artistic merit, and continuity of many Guerlain reformulations.



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