Perfume Directory

Le Dandy (1925)
by D'Orsay


Le Dandy information

Year of Launch1925
AvailabilityIn Production
Average Rating
(based on 120 votes)

People and companies

PackagingLouis Sue

About Le Dandy

Reintroduced in 1998

Le Dandy fragrance notes

Reviews of Le Dandy

Le Dandy d'Orsay (1925) is something of a lost fragrance, as the original composition was completely replaced for reasons unknown, although a lost formula or a pre-made base from a long-dead supplier like with many discontinued Carons is likely to blame for Le Dandy's disappearance. Whatever the case may be, the fragrance known as Le Dandy until the company's initial demise in 1983 was created by Henri Robert before he joined Chanel to replace Ernest Beaux as house perfumer, and itself released during a tumultuously competitive time in Western perfume where florals and chypres like Chanel No. 5 (1921) and Guerlain Mitsouko (1919) had respectively just set new standards for the genre. In comparison to those, Le Dandy must have felt more like "le dowdy" as it was an exercise in traditional floral scent craft even by the conventions of the 1920's, but somehow garnered a fan base that kept it in existence unchanged for almost 60 years. Many of the D'Orsay fragrances released during their golden period would feel like exercises in 19th century style anyway, but I guess most of them were themed after the fashion predilections of Alfred Guillaume Gabriel Grimod d'Orsay, which meant delicate floral bouquets with powdery or woody bases. In this way Le Dandy is really no different, and being somewhat directly named after the count himself (often considered the first dandy), I can see why Henri Robert chose not to paint outside the lines. Another thing of interest here is the particular composition of Le Dandy's soapy rose core almost feels like a presage to Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (1971), which is spooky considering that the Rive Gauche perfumer Jacques Polge would later replace Henri Robert behind the wheel of Chanel shortly after making it.

The opening of Le Dandy is aldehydes, cold spice, carnation, and fruity lactones. No surprise there, as borrowing a bit from Chanel and Guerlain to keep things contemporary for the time was good for a budding luxury perfumer like D'Orsay to stay "in the game", since it competed for counter space at the same stores abroad. The aldehydes here are duller than No. 5, which may be a good thing for those who don't like the "grande dame" treatment, and we get an expected round of familiar floral notes from there. Rose, jasmine, soapy neroli, and powdery orris all move as one into the base, feeling both prim and pretty, with a touch of indole but not on the same level as something like the later Lanvin Arpège (1927). Base notes also appear really conventional given the period, with oakmoss, sandalwood, coumarin (feigning tobacco), balsam fir, and something a bit sharp and leathery, giving a "Mousse de Saxe" vibe of many fragrance from the time. The effect of Le Dandy is "properly dandy" and most likely to be worn by a mature woman with a sense of propriety and transcontinental spech, although it was worn by fancy guys with the same "lockjaw" and sold as-is without gender in most cases, with ads stating things like "blends well with furs but goes equally well with tailored suits", showing a total ambivalence about sex. Wear time and strength vary by concentration, but what I have went over 12 hours and stayed very present for most of it, trailing off into sandalwood savon and moss only at the end, so I guess they don't make'em like this anymore. Where you'd use Le Dandy now is open to debate, as such a filigreed and old-fashioned floral built on your once-common "stamp'em out" oakmoss and sandalwood naturals from that time is going to communicate to the world that at very least you're a postmodernist with deep pockets, even if not an outright artisanal coffee-swilling hipster elite.

Weather wise, I feel this one works better in spring or fall, but is too powdery for summer and not warm enough for winter, but find your path on that. Plus, you factor in the growing scarcity of something that's already been out of production for decades, and can't really be produced again thanks to oakmoss being the bogeyman and sandalwood being worth more than the blood of Christ, and you end up with something better savored as a collector's piece than functional perfume anyway. Being the walking version of The Osmothèque as you leave a precious trail of century-old scent as you go, rife with either the aforementioned Mousse de Saxe or gobs upon gobs of real sandalwood and oakmoss does have it's appeal, but you're likely going to be the only person who knows the value of what you're wearing, unless you walk into a niche perfume store and intimidate the help. As for what happened to Le Dandy, Group Marignan couldn't save it like they did Etiquette Bleue (1908) or Chevalier d'Orsay (1911), so they created two new scents instead. The "pour Homme" and "pour Femme" pair of the new Le Dandy were noteworthy for being made by Dominique Preyssas and Francis Kurkdjian respectively, but were not well-received and are both discontinued too. The person who likely wore Le Dandy in its prime valued the reserved poise of a perfume with both an aristocratic pedigree and bent on interpreting beauty as a form of moral superiority in the face of daring or scandalous fashion. As for today, the nearly-lost nature of Le Dandy just reminds us that playing it safe, regardless of the era, perfumer, or quality of materials being used, can sometimes also mean being forgotten; so forgotten that you are replaced, then forgotten again. Thumbs up
14th February, 2021
Oviatt Show all reviews
United States
The whiskey/fruit accord reminds me of the Scotch and cherry brandy mix some hunters take out to the field in a flask (one of Prince Charles' favorite drinks as a boy....) but in this case, the fruit is plum. I do not get any of the spices listed in the middle notes and the base is all about pipe tobacco and incense (benzoin) to me. If you were out shooting pheasant and you dashed into an old church to share a tot from the flask with the gamekeeper while smoking a pipe... well, that sounds pretty dandified to me. Less of a dandy than, say Oscar Wilde, and more like one of the denizens of Downton Abbey. A little too boozy and fruity for me to want to wear very often but Le Dandy is a great reference scent and actually quite subtle. If you want to drink like a dandy, too, this might help:

28th January, 2019
Boozy. More specifically, fruit boozy... plum boozy.

I much prefer over similars Nicole Miller & Carlos Santana (apple boozy), Michael (tobac boozy) all 'for men'. It edges out Frank #2 too, with its ambery as opposed to frank's woody drydown -- otherwise, these two share a whole lotta overlap in the open and heart.

Top hat & tails? The old stuff perhaps, but my re-intro'd silver-capped 100ml bottle doesn't come off as outdated, in contrast with that style of dress and the term 'dandy'.

Nevertheless it's a lark fragrance I'm glad to have found.
18th October, 2017
A bit over the top for me with its sweet peach/plum accord and its spicy clove, cinnamon, bay leaf concentration. Very much a barbershop splash in its heyday (1925), it has that explosive quality of an Old Spice or a Bay Rhum.

You have to enter the period of time it emerged and recognize it for something that would be splashed on, invigorate you, and then have faded in half an hour. Most "toilet waters" and "colognes" of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were just that, refreshers, not hours long scent applications.

An interesting period piece, and to be worn as a splash, not a personality-defining scent. Nice, but not great.
10th June, 2015
Dandy is possibly the least dandy scent I've ever tried – a dull woody-floral fresh generic fragrance, with several artificial and synthetic nuances, if not all of them (including also a load of calone – the refreshment – and something like melonal creating a cheap "fruity" feel), rounded by some vanillin and tonka, and finally supported by an unsubstantial note of suede. Metallic, plastic, quality-wise close to the lower range of mainstream masculine scents.

04th August, 2014
Genre: Leather

Sampling it blind, I'd have guessed Le Dandy to be a designer scent from the 1990s - which is, I suppose, exactly what the reformulation is. The top notes are fruit punch, with a few extra tablespoons of sugar thrown in just for good measure. It's way too sweet for my poor nose, and blatantly synthetic to boot. The whole Juicyfruit accord eventually fades a bit to reveal a scrawny base of woods. The merest hint of leather drifts by an hour or more into the development, and that's about it.

Given its reputation, Le Dandy is one of the most disappointing scents that I've encountered. The opening smells cheap and commonplace, the base is anemic, and what development there is is painfully clumsy. I find it hard to believe that Le Dandy of 1923 smelled anything like this travesty. If you want tropical fruits and woods, try either Creed's Virgin Island Water or Maître Parfumeur et Gantier's Bahiana. Both play this hand with far greater panache.
19th June, 2014

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