Pure Lily-of-the-Valley, first released in 1920.
The first notes are clean lemony florals, then the tune centers on delicate sweet white flowers with a creme fraiche texture.
Settles into gentle soap aldehydes at the end.
This might be a soliflore, but I get a tiny hit of orange blossom that curbs the usual green edge under the lily bells.
Lasts a pretty two hours close to the skin.
Have you ever opened a box of old vintage sewing patterns at a rummage sale, and gotten transported back in time–before you were born, even–just from the smell?
Sortilège whispers vintage lily-of-the-valley out of the bottle, then powdery peachy aldehydes a la Chanel No. 5 trample the flowers to dust.
More try to bloom, some feeble jasmine, whimpering mimosa–the rose survives, bolstered by iris, but then they are bowled over by great gobs of amber with vetiver musk in the wake.
This makes me want a wasp-waisted dress with piping and a built-in crinoline, and wrist gloves with matching bows.
Le Galion released Sortilège in 1937, when Fred Astaire was hanging out at The Stork Club, famous for singing Gershwin. I prefer Lady Day’s cover.
This mini is the eighties edition of the seventies formula, which was a remake of Caron’s 1913 original. (The 2018 version is a complete revamp into a pear and vanilla gourmand.)
A big gust of retro aldehydes out of the bottle, carrying a mess of flowers–jasmine, lily-of-the-valley, rose and tuberose–that settle down fairly quickly a few inches above the skin, anchored by sandalwood and amber.
It’s pleasant, and nice to find a vintage scent of that era that isn’t a tangle of oakmoss and civet, but not one to keep for nostalgia or reference.
In 1970, the top female pop song in France was Venus, by the Dutch band Shocking Blue–it was also re-released in the eighties by Bananarama.
(There was actually a “Venus Waltz” by the American Standard Orchestra recorded in 1913, on cylinder.)
Opens sharp and sweet, like peaches, then settles into soft green forest floor leaves with a cinnamon/curry melange–calycanthus is also called “spice-bush” and “sweet-shrub” in the US–and ends with ferns with cardamom spoor.
Interesting and unusual.
Released in 1970 as part of Bosari’s Library of Fragrance, but I don’t know if it was sold apart from the reference set.
It’s a spicy scent–reminds me of the curry-plants the herb guy at the farmer’s market sells.
Le Orme is a prog-rock band out of Italy, formed in 1966. They’re still around today.
Vintage rose solifleur from an antique reference set.
(Perfumeintelligence suggests this one was first formulated in Parma, Italy, in 1880.)
So how do you define what a rose smells like? This one does a pretty good job of it–
Opens with airy pastel buds, lemony with sugar in the tea, then ripens with earthy green leaves and bright fruity rosehip wine. The dry down is exactly that, dried petals–dusty, musky and spicy sweet with a hint of powdery cloves.
So top notes to bottom, a good illustration of rose that would hold its own against Perfume Workshop’s Tea Rose and Annick Goutal’s Rose Absolue–though it doesn’t quite have the luxe of Fort and Manle’s Harem Rose.
Everyone’s favorite pizza delivery tune, Funiculì, Funiculà, came out in Italy at the same time. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, so here’s some Sting.
Starts out sugar sweet, the dust on marshmallows, then turns jasmine-like, with a touch of honey.
Finishes fruity-juicy, more gourmand than neroli’s greener woody-spice edge.
It’s the floral note easily found in the opening of Coco Mademoiselle, and tastes delicious in Italian Cream Cakes.
This one was bottled for a mini collection for tourists from the Borsari 1970 Museum in Parma, in the seventies–the caps are hideous plastic, but they’re effective–it’s quite well preserved for being so old.
Honey sweet erotic tune from Princess Nokia–
This is a forgotten gem of a scent–
Opens with sharp green herbs and a squeeze of citrus, then immediately blooms with lilac and honey. Projection for miles, yet the flowers change closer and closer to the skin: lily of the valley, then rose, then violet.
Lasts forever, ending with the softest civet-y oakmoss and more honey.
A new favorite.
I’d never heard of it until I blind bid on a auction lot of vintage minis–then fell in love and did the research–it’s been around since 1913.
The tango was taking France by storm then, brought from Argentina. This is a modern one from the Parisian group Gotan Project.