First off, a quick report of NYC sniffage. While I sniffed scads of perfumes on my trip to NYC, and even fell in love with some of them (Guerlain's Sous le Vent, Miller Harris's Jasmine Vert), I brought home NONE of them. Mainly that's because there are few bottles of perfume I would spend $200 on, and a subtle jasmine and hay affair like Jasmin Vert certainly does not fall into that category. Why can't companies start selling smaller bottles???!!! And Sous le Vent was gorgeous but surprisingly short-lived on my skin, so that was out. I think the most I've spent on one bottle of perfume was either a new .5 oz. of Cuir de Russie parfum or a fleabayed 2 oz. bottle of vintage L'Heure Bleue. I'll let you know when I find a non-extrait perfume that is FBW at $200. It might just be one of the new bottles of Bois des Iles edt, but I'm trying to hold off on that until I'm looking for a Christmas present for myself. Oh, and re-focusing on my sniffage: I also liked Muschio d'Oro and Calycanthus from Santa Maria Novella, but like all their perfumes, these two turned into powdery indistinct meh after a half an hour. Another favorite was L'Artisan's L'Été en Douce. And I tried the new Mitsouko edt formulation (I haunted the Guerlain counter at Bergdorf's shamelessly) and actually really liked it. I choke on the Mitsouko edp, and the current parfum even leaves me cold, so this was a breakthrough.
But in any case, I will celebrate my unlikely forbearance by reviewing two cheapo aldehydes this lazy Sunday afternoon; they are my favorites for the office and the interminable Austin summers. Well, not cheapo quality, mind you, but you can get both of these old-fashioned beauties at various perfume discounters for next to nothing. I highly recommend both if you like aldehydes.
Balenciaga's Le Dix (1947) is a lovely violet powder fragrance at first, but it has a tinge of citrusy bergamot and lemon that keeps it from turning into the saccharine violet of Guerlain's Les Meteorites. If you, like I, can't stand strong citruses, don't worry. Everything is so well-blended that you there is no sharp eau-de-fruit-peel. The notes as listed on Osmoz also include coriander, which I can only detect as adding some musky-green complexity to the top notes. As the fragrance dries down the powder dissipates and the violet gets deeper, given structure with sandalwood smudged with perhaps a bit of vetiver.
If you'd like to read more, see this great review of Le Dix by Angela at NowSmellThis.
Je Reviens Couture (2004) is a recent eau de parfum version of Worth's oldie-but-goodie Je Reviens. Now, I haven't smelled the old Je Reviens in any form but the bath oil, but I can tell you from that experience that it is uh-maaay-zing. From what I've read, the more recent Je Reviens that you could find in drugstores is dreck, but I haven't sniffed it. However, the Couture edp version is strikingly similar to the old Je Reviens, if a smidge dryer and paler due to those missing nitro musks that Luca Turin mentions in Perfumes: The Guide. So what's so great about the old Je Reviens and the new Je Reviens Couture, and what ties them together so recognizably? For me, it's the absolutely addictive, smoky, ashy overtone to the flowers. I don't really know for sure, but I believe this effect is created by a type of aldehyde that to some smells like nail polish remover. But to me, it is an almost pyrocaustic scent, like getting a teensy whiff of petroleum fumes mixed with your Chanel No. 5. It's not at all ashy like cigarettes or ashtrays; on the contrary, it has a metallic shimmer like a sparkler lighting up the fragrance's cool floral bouquet heart.
With all this talk of ashes and petroleum, you wouldn't think this is an office perfume at all, but really this is a ladylike scent with unusual aldehydes, I think. What little sillage there is registers as a bit on the metallic-vetiver-floral side, not freakish or fumey. It's only when you huff your skin directly while sitting at your computer in an office cubicle that you realize it's a cyborg impersonating one of the Upper West Side's ladies who lunch. It's my subversive office scent.