Perfume Directory

Primitif (1956)
by Max Factor

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Primitif information

Year of Launch1956
GenderFeminine
AvailabilityDiscontinued
Average Rating
Not enough ratings.

People and companies

HouseMax Factor
Parent CompanyBenckiser > Coty Inc

About Primitif

Primitif is a feminine perfume by Max Factor. The scent was launched in 1956

Primitif fragrance notes

Reviews of Primitif

Scored a vial of the pure parfum on eBay. The vial is full, the flacon original, and the jus within smells marvelous.

It is definitely an oldschool floral woody chypre, rich with animalics, in the vein of Avon OCCUR! and Revlon INTIMATE... and all three, I'd say, were affordable riffs on Lanvin ARPÈGE.

Of these three drugstore-tier fragrances, PRIMITIF is my favorite, mainly because it is blended better than the Revlon or Avon, the composition is more "suave", seamless, has more "gravitas", somehow, and I'd say the ingredients are better.

I cannot fault PRIMITIF: for a drugstore price, one could get a truly high-quality va-va-voom aura of Midcentury nocturnal sexuality. It is no slouch.

It's definitely a Midcentury perfume, and chances are good most of today's cheerleaders and sorority sisters wouldn't *dream* of smelling like this, even for "retro irony".

This parfum has a buttery, fatty quality that smells lush, no doubt due to the marriage of ylang-ylang, civet and vintage nitromusks. Its unfoldment on the skin is sophisticated and rich. Amazingly the sweet citrus, with a fleck of stewed peach, is still intact, and forms a delectable accord with the patchouly, urinaceous civet and orris. All the floralcy here is of the dark, musty kind, and all flowers are subordinate to the main idea of the musky chypre. Something, I know not what, is bestowing a subtle aromatic quality to leaven the whole dusky brew... it may simply be menthol. Though the ad, featuring a smoldering Jean Patchett, assures us that this scent is made for the woman who is "every inch a female", it does not scream "femme" necessarily, and a man could easily wear this. This is another one of those humble vintage numbers that, if released as pricey niche today, would be hailed as the second coming. Papillon Artisan SALOME is basically PRIMITIF, dialed to 400 megawatts.

I highly recommend, if you are a student of perfume history, to try PRIMITIF.
16th August, 2020
An interesting iris-dominated floral melange that is well balanced, soon giving over to a chypre-like dry down, wherein the iris remains dominant, floating over muguet

Barbara Herman mentions peach, civet and patchouli being involved.

This green chypre contrasts with Factor's warm chypre, Hypnotique, released a few years later.

Quite nice.
01st April, 2014
Bigsly Show all reviews
United States
After a few wearings, I'd say this is a powdery floral with a bit of a "soapy" quality (not lavender/soapy, but rather iris/ soapy). There seems to be a slightly "dirty" quality too, which reminded me of the smell of some of the soap I rember from years ago in public restrooms (I think it was the liquid kind from back then, 20 or so years ago). At first, I think there is a soft fruit aspect but can't pinpoint it, so perhaps it's a blend, but keep in mind that I don't pay much attention to top notes and actually try to avoid them. The drydown seems to feature patchouli, vetiver, and oakmoss, but the soapy iris is still quite present, along with the "dirty" quality. I don't detect any wood, leather, or spice notes, and I don't think there is vanilla, though a little amber is possible if not likely (I'd guess oppoppanax, to be precise). I'm quite impressed by it, and don't see why it can't be "unisex" for guys who want this kind of "clean" fragrance, since it's not as "heavy" as the "old school granny" fragrances, yet it's not "chemical/sythetic" like so many recent ones.

My old review of March, 2011: I don't get sharp aldehydes here but that may be due to the top notes having dissipated over the years (really old splash bottle). Yes, there is patchouli in this one, but it's very pleasant (I don't like strong patchouli). I also detect rose and what I think is a powdery iris/orris, giving it a bit of a soapy quality. I don't detect any strong spice note. There may be some geranium. Clearly, it's a little sweet, but there's no noticeable vanilla note. It's not musky, and if it's animalic, it is very mildly so. Overall, it's soft, but there's also something earthy about this that keeps it interesting to me. Can this be a rather simple composition of rose, iris, amber, and patchouli, without a little geranium and a few other supporting notes? That's what I would say right now, after having sampled it a couple of times. It's an EdC and that seems right, but again, it's old so who knows what it smelled like originally? Nicely done and natural smelling. As a guy, I'd rather wear this than the typical "fresh" fragrances marketed to men these days, though I'd wait for the drydown before I went out in public wearing it.
10th March, 2011 (last edited: 26th June, 2011)
Aldehyes and patchouli. Reminds me somewhat of Chanel #5, but with a touch of patchouli. Could also be compared to Arpege (vintage).
23rd January, 2009

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