Perfume Directory

Émeraude (1921)
by Coty


Émeraude information

Year of Launch1921
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 154 votes)

People and companies

PerfumerFrançois Coty
Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc > Coty Beauty
Parent Company at launchCoty Inc

About Émeraude

Photograph courtesy of Alexandra Star of Parfums de Paris.

Émeraude fragrance notes

Reviews of Émeraude

This was my mom’s signature scent through the 60’s and the 70’s, right up to the moment she received her first bottle of Opium. I’m sure this was better back in its heyday, but I don’t judge a scent based on my (possibly faulty) memory. I judge the scent under my nose. I still love It, even today’s drugstore cheap-o. Rather than disrespect it for what it’s lost, I love it for what it still has - a nice drydown and nice memories.
08th January, 2020 (last edited: 12th January, 2020)
rbaker Show all reviews
United Kingdom
Citrus and herbs: the opening of bergamot, mandarin and tarragon is quite unique and quite pleasant indeed - well done!

The drydown soon adds quite a dark jasmine, which blends in well with the rose impression that emerges slowly. It is a darker rose on me, not velvety or rich; this more an elegant and lighter rose. Further into the drydown a smooth ylang-ylang is added that is neither very creamy nor very rich, but very pleasant nonetheless.

The base is characterised by woodsy undertones, but particularly by a benzoin characteristic in the foreground, which is combined with a darker and mellow patchouli. A good skillfully placed opoponax impression emerges gradually, which is counterbalanced by the restrained sweetness of the tonka that developed further towards the end.

I get moderate sillage, good projection and seven hours of longevity on my skin.

A lovely spring citrus-herb-floral scent for spring evenings that lacks a bit of vividness and intensity, but that is blended well if good-quality ingredients. 3.75/5.
15th August, 2019
A strange, citrus-green opening. It reminds me of some sort of cleaning product - in a good way. It's clean; interesting mix of herb and citrus. I went through about a dozen bottles of Emeraude back in the 80's. To be honest, I'd forgotten how this smelled. Guess what? I still love this inexpensive juice. I paid three dollars for my current bottle, that I acquired at a flea market...

Wood begins to blend in, with the top notes. Wood, takes the edge off, rounds out the citrus-green accord. Florals move in, turning this into a more recognizable perfume. The amber-like, oriental notes quickly begin to appear.

I whole-heartedly concur with N.Cal's comparison, to this being a combo of L'Heure Blue and Shalimar, or a halfway similarity thereof. A poor man's Guerlain - that is probably why I wore so much of it in my youth. Still, there are some differences here. There is a bit of dirtiness here - some slight animalic tendencies underneath.

Benzoin, patchouli, and opoponax are the stars of the base notes, IMO. This becomes earthy, like soil. Vanilla shines here as well. More woodiness comes in to play, with the sandalwood.

Emeraude is the sort of perfume most purists decry. Not me. I like its history, cheap simplicity, and the fact that it is still around (for now). It may be a tad weaker than it was 30 years ago - I can't clarify.

Vanilla and amber-like notes last and last.
08th April, 2019
Halfway between L'Heure Bleue and Shalimar. I get the powdery iris, heliotrope florals from L'Heure Bleue and the powdery vanillin from Shalimar.

If I had samples of both scents from the 1950s or somewhere around that era, I would've done a layering experiment and then do a side to side comparison between L'Heure and Shalimar on one wrist and Emeraude on the other.

It's very beautiful and elegant. One would definitely enjoy if s/he enjoys the powdery iris/vanilla accord. Two examples comes to mind: the silver collar formulation of Dior Homme Intense and Carner Barcelona D600. D600 had the inclusion of the cardamon note that over powered the vanilla/iris accord which I ended up not enjoying at all. Dior Homme Intense is my preference for the vanilla/iris accord. Not sure if I would reach for Emeraude personally since I already have Dior Homme Intense as my vanilla/iris choice. It's definitely a nice comfort scent.
17th March, 2019
Well, this takes me right back to high school and to Joanie Fulmer, the girl I sat next to in history class each day. And because I simply cannot bear orientals and especially sweet, powdery ones, I can only handle sniffing this from the bottle. Soooo heavy and sooo powdery and sooo thickly sweet. Whew! I can only appreciate this in the same way I appreciate Shalimar...i.e., theoretically.
27th January, 2019
Émeraude (1921) is to François Coty what Shalimar is to Jacques Guerlain, and perfectly shows where Coty as a house sat in relation to most other perfume brands. Coty can be seen as something of a pioneer, forging new genres with his Chypre de Coty (1917) in the same manner Paul Parquet forged the fougère in the makings of Houbigant Fougère Royale (1882), while houses such a Guerlain - and later Chanel - would be focused on expanding and perfecting those genres. Coty wanted to put more perfume into the hands of more people, and that "downmarket" mindset would pay off handsomely in the end, but at the cost of reputation as Coty joined the ranks of Arden, Revlon, Avon, Matchabelli, and Charles of the Ritz as the perfume people who couldn't afford Guerlain or Chanel bought. The same would be said of Émeraude in time: it was the perfume Suzy Homemaker bought at Sears because her husband Blue Collar Bob wasn't shelling out the big bucks for a trip to Bloomingdale's. In truth, Émeraude presents a neater, drier, and greener precursor to Shalimar, plus was unlikely a source of inspiration to Jacques Guerlain after that fateful day of spilling vanillin into a batch of his uncle Aimé's Jicky (1889). Émeraude is the safer of the two to wear to work, and far more aromatic, being perfect for a smoker. Shalimar feels more at home on the bedsheets before whoopie is made due to all the animalics and sweet oriental tones in it, and just feels more romantic overall. Émeraude is the older, more serious sister from a working-class upbringing; she wants to be presentable but not taken for face-value, and has no time for flirting. My grandmother loved this scent, and I am beginning to see why.

Coty Émeraude has come in a huge variety of concentrations and subtle tweaks over the years, from parfum (which this review is based on), to eau de colognes, parfum de toilettes, oils, you name it. All of these permutations rest green florals and sweet citrus on a bed of woods, patchouli, amber, oakmoss, and benzoin. Only the orange opening and subtle hint of vanilla in the base really gives much link to the later Shalimar, but it's enough to spark a generations-old debate. The opening of Émeraude parfum starts with a huge green rounded citrus mix that almost smells of tobacco and vetiver despite not officially containing either note in the published pyramid. I chalk this up to the way orange and bergamot plays with the meaty tarragon in the top, with elements of the rosewood coming on early from the heart to give a tarry ochre presence. I get a bit of clean orris root surrounded by rose, jasmine, ylang-ylang, and a bit of powdery heliotrope to let you know this was pitched to a proper woman, but that "smoker's ambiance" can't be shaken and follows through the floriental heart. The base is amber, patchouli, opoponax, and sandalwood first, continuing the green aromatic tones of the fragrance. The orange, orris, heliotrope, and amber fight a losing battle to really make this feel more womanly, and although it's no Bandit (1944), Émeraude is fairly butch for a woman's perfume a century after its introduction. Oakmoss and vanilla smooth and pat down the final glow of Émeraude, but it still isn't enough to remove the butch feeling thanks to the benzoin, and something like this wouldn't feel out of place in a man's wardrobe if he enjoys things like Guerlain Vetiver (1961) or Givenchy Gentleman (1974), especially if he occasionally enjoys dandy smells. Wear time varies on concentration, but I imagine no version lasts under 6 hours nor projects less than anything modern.

My grandmother likely enjoyed Émeraude because she was blue collar too and not blue blood, with accesible drugstore fragrances, like Émeraude alongside Tabu (1932), Heaven Sent (1941), and various Avons rounding out her small boudoir of perfumes loud enough to cut through her smoking of True cigarettes (with the funny triangle filter inserts), while Chanel No 5 (1921) would be too gauche for her (even though my mom loved it), and Youth Dew (1953) too trashy. I feel Émeraude gained most of its fans throughout history by being a Goldilocks of sorts for a lot of women, as it was the right amount of performance (during an era of heavy smoking), versatility, and almost neutral attitude that was an easy-reach generalist to the early through mid 20th century woman in the same way something like Brut (1962) would be to the mid through late 20th century man, and Émeraude isn't far removed from Brut in composition outside its lack of coumarin, which is the missing keystone keeping it from otherwise being a fougère. As it stands, this unique green aromatic oriental is a masterpiece of elegance through efficiency, and François Coty embued Émeraude with just what it needed to be fashion-forward in its day, enough so that it still gets called the inspiration for Shalimar whether it really is or not. I'll definitely keep some around to enjoy its garden tones over oriental warmth, as its a rare green aromatic floral that holds up in cold thanks to the oriental base. I also don't see it as rendundant alongside Shalimar either, nor inferior due to market standing, as both have distinct characters and qualities all their own. One place I would wear Émeraude where I wouldn't wear Shalimar is on a casual outing, so there's that. Seek vintage if you can, as Coty barely cares for its own portfolio these days since it owns half the perfume industry. Thumbs up for good old Émeraude!
21st December, 2018

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