Friday, June 20, 2008

My Sin : Lanvin : Mme Zed

Yep, it's another post-fleabay-binge vintage perfume post. I scored a quarter ounce of My Sin in a sealed box and it appears to be in great shape. Wooo!

Lanvin's My Sin surprisingly starts with what smells like candied bergamot and violets suspended in an aldehydic shimmer. Hm, violets aren't in the listed notes, as far as I know, but maybe it's just a violet quality to the aldehydes? It's not as much like Chanel no. 5 parfum as I expected. It seems, oddly enough, like a combination of Arpege (you can smell that gorgeous sandalwood base immediately) and the smell of Smarties candy that I get from the new Chanel no. 5 flanker, Eau Premiere. Not unappealing at all. But thankfully, that impression doesn't last long, because prowling and purring just behind the aldehydes is a sandalwood and civet combination that is pretty damn stunning.

From a candy-necklace version of no. 5, My Sin transforms into an unrestrained and naughtier no. 5. Much better, that. The animalic basenotes are exceedingly creamy in combination with the ylang, jasmine, and vanilla, but the tiny hint of an edge (probably from the vetiver, cloves, and styrax, but I can't distinguish any of those notes individually) keeps it all from feeling too pillowy or gooey.

Sorry about the confused jumble of heart notes and basenotes, but my nose just doesn't seem to work in the pyramidal structure of topnote, then heartnote, then basenote. I probably haven't trained it enough, most likely. And since no. 5 parfum is such a huge reference point in this review, I should really link to some detailed reviews of that colossal icon. How about this one: Legerdenez has a wonderful and informative post on Chanel no. 5. Also, PerfumeQueen's review of no. 5 is very nicely done.

Read the tempting and thorough review of My Sin at Bois de Jasmin. According to that review, the notes are: aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, clary sage, neroli; heart notes of ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, clove, orris, lily of the valley, jonquil, lilac; base notes of vanilla, vetiver, musk, woods, tolu, styrax, civet.

Monday, June 16, 2008

La Fuite des Heures : Balenciaga : Cellier

**Public service announcement: If anyone is reading this who is in the least bit susceptible to vintage perfume lust, this review raves on about a discontinued, obscure, and frustratingly little-known vintage parfum. It's gotta be done, though, so I beg pardon in advance.**

On one of those dangerous fleabay whims in which I too often indulge (I can stop anytime, I swear. A-ny-time now...), I bid on and won an ounce of an almost-forgotten perfume created by the legendary Germaine Cellier for Balenciaga in the late forties (1949?). It's called La Fuite des Heures (Fleeting Moment), and from what little I could glean on the web, it was a subtle jasmine and thyme affair.

When I unsealed the bottle (so pretty! it rests inside the sweetest little oval cylinder box printed with Balenciaga in gold), I found out the scent was perfectly preserved, at least to my nose. I was surrounded by the most radiant herbal jasmine scent I've ever encountered.

I've never been a fan of jasmine, mainly I think because of its ubiquitous and synthetic use in department store perfumes, which to me smell a bit like ammonia. This perfume finally acquaints me with the wonder of jasmine. That doesn't mean it's purely sweet and light, however. I have often heard of Lutens' Tubereuse Criminelle described as having a gasoline-menthol edge to it on first whiff, and La Fuite des Heures has a similar, faintly petrol cast to the herbs in the beginning. Did Serge study his Cellier? I'd like to think I've found a missing referent, because that would give my obsession the justification of archival research. In any case, I can certainly say that petrol edge spotlights the shift from green leaves and herbs to a warm, sunlit jasmine such as I've never smelled in perfumery.

Now I have, and love, Fracas, also created by Germaine Cellier, but I've often suspected I'm missing something about it--a note beyond the frequencies I can hear. I've tried to love her Bandit, but I get only wet ashtray. But in this third example of her work I feel like I've made a huge discovery. Why is it such discoveries most often come with rarity, inaccessibility, and the anticipation of inevitable loss? 'Cause they're my discoveries (obscurity-lover that I am), that's why! And that's why the name of this perfume is so perfect from my perspective, as well--the literal translation is the flight of hours.

See Scented Salamander's more detailed review of La Fuite des Heures.