I did a search and find more or less favorites threads. Sorry if this doesn't belong.
I am curious about which scents you would consider the greatest masterpieces of fragrances and fragrance history. Not necessarily ones you wear or own or would call your favorite. Scents that you recognize great quality and composition in. Scents that hold widely, well-established praise for their greatness.
So what scents would you nominate if you were making a sort of Hall of Fame / Gallery with significant great fragrances?
So you would nominate them... to see them get shot down for being overrated? Is that what you mean?
Well, I was thinking along the lines of ones that deserve to be recognized.
Things I like the most: YSL - Y, ... real East Indian sandalwood, Shiseido - Tactics, and some others for which I don't like to push the prices on ebay ... for obvious reasons ;-)
Brands like Adidas, Cuba, and Axe/Lynx are generally thought to be masterpieces by everyone who tries their lines.
The problem with this concept in the world of fragrances, IMO, is that the original frag (of a genre or type) is not necessarily the most wearable. This was true of Coty's Chypre (which was "improved" into Mitsouko). I've come across a few examples of this that, TMK, nobody else has mentioned, so I have a feeling it's quite common. For example, I think Habit Rouge was an attempt to "masculinize" Emeraude. However, the Emeraude selling today is something I would not want to smell under any circumstances. It's complicated !
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Boucheron Jaïpur Homme EDP...there will be many niche mentioned I'm sure
Reformulation and the secrecy of formulation itself makes this a difficult prospect.
I'm not a hierarchy builder, but even if I was, imagine this...
Take a famous work of art. I'll use Beethoven's Fifth. Now imagine that, due to budget cuts, it had to have it reduced to a group of six players. The later down the line, it had to be changed again, from six to two. Then, it needed to made shorter, first to fit fifteen minutes, then, only three. Then it was put on a very tightly compressed audio so it could be easily downloaded.
Now, add on to this, in this world, only a few dozen people at most know the original Beethoven work. For most of the world, when they think of Beethoven's Fifth, they think of a tinny trumpet and piano recording that comes in at 2:59 and seems very unremarkable, yet is still somewhat popular due to its historical provenance. To them, this is Beethoven's most famous symphony, and the forces at work marketing don't want them to know any better.
This is the reality of all of the ''classics" for decades ago, even the ones that are still nice fragrances now. As the fragrance world is built now, it's very hard for any form of fragrant artistry to span generations in any meaningful sense.
A couple years ago, I took a friend of my mother's for some perfume sniffing. I put a tester strip under her nose and asked "What is this fragrance?" She didn't know; she'd never smelled it. When I told her it was Chanel No. 5, a fragrance she'd worn from the early '60s until the end of the '80s, she was aghast - "That's not Chanel No. 5!", she insisted.
The sad thing is, she was right.
Love lists....here are a (very) few fragrances that come to mind
Muscs Koublai Khan
Une Fleur De Cassie
CDG Original EDP
Sous Le Vent
Vol De Nuit
Bois Des Iles
31 Rue Cambon
Bel Ami (Vintage)
....too many to mention....
Thank you Sugandaraja. That really brings the reformulation issue to the bone for me. The successive iterations of the Fifth made me shudder at the thought. It's the same for perfume aficionados.
vintage L'Heure Bleue
vintage Vol de Nuit
vintage Apres L'Ondee extrait
vintage Bois des Iles
vintage Cuir de Russie
some probably less thought of as masterpiece's, but are so imho..
Dunhill Blend 30
Patou Pour Homme
vintage Jil Sander Man Pure
Vol De Nuit
Bois des Iles
The list goes on...
Vol De Nuit
Bois des Iles
The list goes on...
I wish I were educated enough to respond to this, but I am not. Fun reading everyone else's answers though.
I'm a little surprised at this. Luca Turin, at least as of 2009, seemed to think that Chanel No. 5 was the one thing that, against all odds, had held its ground. Are you sure she wasn't getting the EDP when she was accustomed to the EDT (or v.v.)? And there is a tyranny to those paper strips; Santal 33 had to exit my cab through the window before I tested it on my skin.
Totally agree with you on the general point. I'm just surprised to find Chanel No. 5 the example.
Joop! - Homme
My top 16:
1. Joop! - Homme 2. Puredistance - M
3. Tom Ford - Tobacco vanille 4. Tom Ford - Neroli portofino
5. Tauer - L'air de desert marocaine 6. Armani Privé - Ambre orient
7. Bond - Harrod's oud 8. Amouage - Jubilation XXV
9. Parf. Brückner - Aoud 1 10. Clive Christian - X
11.Xerjoff - Regio 12. Lush - Breath of God
13. M.Micaleff - Art collec. 102 14. Armani Privé - Figuier eden
15. Nasomatto - Pardon 16. Heeley - Oranges and lemons ...
Last edited by WildThingy; 25th February 2012 at 08:56 AM.
Just because one person says the current Chanel No. 5 is a masterpiece and another might specify 'Original Formulation' or 'Vintage', doesn't mean that it should be left out due to the complication that some might be considering it as it stands now and some might have a specific rendition they believe deserves the title.
Basically, if you have in mind a fragrance that you believe is worthy of such recognition, regardless of its production status, post it here.
I sort of want to know which greats people have in common on their lists so I can see that maybe a certain bunch appear in here several times or that someone feels a certain formulation from long ago was known to be one of the legends of fragrance.
I wonder when Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa, did he ever thought of it as the masterpiece it has become today?? Can 'hype' somehow turn a competent piece of work into a much revered 'masterpiece'? It seems (hidden or hitherto unknown) gems acquire the masterpiece status only after they are discovered, marketed widely to much (critical?) acclaim, and satisfy some important opinionmakers. Even after reformulations, the star power (of say Chanel No.5) stays undiminished and the name endures. A triumph of marketing over substance? In the beverage industry, is Coke a masterpiece?
Back to topic, I think one of the greats that require little introduction would be Guerlain's Mitsouko.
Last edited by Diamondflame; 25th February 2012 at 08:38 AM.
Mona Lisa would perhaps just be another painting if it were stored in a cellar and never found, never acclaimed. I think such status requires people to make it big or lasting as a legend or masterpiece. We are, after all, the ones titling the works as such.
Perfume is made to be multiplied millions of times. It is an industrial product. It is spread out to be used in arbitrary, unpredictable situations. Its more like a pop song than a symphony. Boiled down to this perspective, I would suggest to measure a perfumes merits against just the main theme, or if You will the refrain. Chanel #5 is - reformulated or not - still unique in that it is unprecedented. Same with Jicky. Or - a forgotten masterpiece(!) L.T.Piver - Floramaye. And the most condemned of all times: Secretions Magnifique.
Knize Ten, No. 5, Mouchoir de Monsieur, Caron pour un Homme, EdC by Farina Gegenuber, Floris No. 89 would definitely belong to my Hall of Fame
Nicely put, Sugandaraja.
Masterpieces? Jicky, L'Heure Bleue, Mitsouko, Shalimar et al, and Chanel No.5, of course. I'll add Sous le Vent to the line-up with all the usual suspects. It's so much easier with the benefit of hindsight, particularly if we allow 'Masterpiece' to encompass iconic stature + both critical and commercial acclaim. There seem to have been plenty of threads pointing out the obvious. Personally, I get my fun by trying to identify the more recent works that are 'potential masterpieces'. And then buying an extra bottle or two if I happen to like it because, well . . . see above by Suga.
Some fairly recent ones that I think are contenders:
Une Fleur de Cassie
Attrape Coeur / Guet Appens
Homage (First Edition)
L'Abeille (First Edition)
Balsamo della Mecca
Tiffany for Men
31 Rue Cambon
Granville (yes, the new Dior one that seems so 'obvious' but just nails it).
There's lots more out there
Last edited by mr. reasonable; 25th February 2012 at 05:37 PM.
Last edited by alfarom; 25th February 2012 at 02:53 PM.
Very interesting thoughts man. But personally I think the only problem is that when the remix or the reorchestration is motivated by a desire to save production cost, it literally cheapens the value (not just in cost and money, but artisinal value, quality, craftsmanship) of the fragrance.
To some extent, even very famous works of art are ''reformulated" in some sense, too. In classical music, there has been a huge growth in playing authentically these past fifty years ( i.e. trying to emulate the instruments playing styles of the time the music was written in ), but playing a Mozart symphony or a Vivaldi concerto on a sea of high-tension, steel-wound strings; Boehm-system keyed woodwinds; and modern valved brass instruments - all children of the industrial revolution, is very much akin to reformulation. Nothing makes me laugh like seeing a period drama done with great attention to detail then then seeing a flub like a valved trumpet appearing.
There seems to be a growing interest in a similar "period practice" in perfumery, though it's still pretty nascent at this time.
"2011: Let it be said that the Chanel crew must have worked shifts to keep No. 5 constant in the face of restrictions or supply difficulties affecting just about everything that goes into it: jasmine, rose, sandalwood, citrus. The fact that 2011 is even close to what it was is a testament to their skill. Only a weird ketonic note up top, less rich nuttiness in the heart, and less strength in the drydown serve to remind us that IFRA are a bunch of traitors". LT
I have said it elsewhere but my bet is that those in the industry who were hoping this would be a nicey nicey Little Black Book of the Best 100 Perfumes sales aid will have choked on their coffee when they saw how LT & TS have relentlessly drummed home the major hit that so many of these masterpieces have taken at the hands of the very same industry that makes 'em and sells 'em.
Yes, alfarom, Vero Kern. Beautiful work, esp. Onda - masterpiece-worthy.
Last edited by mr. reasonable; 2nd March 2012 at 09:26 AM.
c h a n e l - e g o i s t e
To many to name from different houses, you got: