Private Collection extrait is a striking, elegant green chypre that in perfume reminds me quite a bit of vintage Vent Vert, but with a hint of pine trees and moss instead of that purely peppery snappiness of galbanum. So I thought I would compare them.
I just scored some PV extrait minis at an antique store, and I've had the VV edt for a while. I went through a phase last summer in which I felt the need to huff on that VV every morning, although I find it a bit difficult to wear until it dries down quite a bit. I love galbanum and dislike evergreen scents, generally speaking, and had tested PV in stores before and didn't like it, so I was surprised at the antique store to find the PV so compelling in extrait.
Sniffed side by side, I'm struck again by how effervescent the Vent Vert (Germaine Cellier, 1947) is. I've got a vintage eau de toilette, and I've never smelled Vent Vert extrait, but the edt has such charming I-don't-give-a-damn quality (I love that galbanum!) that I can't but imagine the extrait would be extraordinary indeed. After the green peppers subside a bit, it smells like the most delicate and wild meadow grass and a smidge of pampered lily of the valley. There's no aldehydic sparkliness; instead, it's as if these elements become a straightforward, refreshing ether to take in, like you'd take the waters at Bath. Wholesome but not boring. How does it do that? The floral quality gets more intense in the heart notes, and I think I can discern the hyacinth and jasmine, as the murmur of oakmoss and musk gets louder. The notes (for the original, which I think is what I've got) are sometimes listed as galbanum, citrus, gardenia, peach, lily of the valley, rose, hyacinth, jasmine, iris, oakmoss, vetiver, styrax, and musk. Sniffed at the same time as the PV, they aren't as similar as I thought they'd be. VV seems suddenly a bit more floral in comparison with the slight astringency of PV.
As is to be expected with a high-quality extrait, Private Collection (Vincente Marcello, 1973) is much deeper, with an initial fresh-air and mossy-pines vibe that mellows and becomes more floral (the jasmine and chrysanthemum?) over the next half hour or so. It is the smell of distances and horizons, and has almost the same peaceful, analgesic effect as looking out over a vista of pine woods in the White Mountains from a luxurious mountain-top cabin's balcony. But this is not a sporty scent, in the least. What is so surprising about the extrait is that there is a velvety quality to the bottom notes. I smell the sandalwood, certainly, and perhaps the sweet heliotrope is what makes the base so velvety. Although all the sources I've read disagree, Osmoz says that the top notes are green notes, orange blossom, linden; heart notes are jasmine, reseda, chrysanthemum, rose; base notes are sandalwood, heliotrope, musks. No galbanum? How can this not have galbanum?? The more research I do on this perfume, the more I think it must be the chrysanthemum that is the unique element here, adding a raspy quality to the greens that is slightly smoother, less juicily vegetal than galbanum. Gosh, I'm liking this. Isn't Niki de Saint Phalle supposed to have chrysanthemum in it too? Drat, this is where you can see my OCD coming out to play. Now I've got to try other chrysanthemum perfumes.
Vintage Vent Vert is of course available mainly on fleabay. I'm afraid to find out if Private Collection is available anymore in extrait. Anyone know?