Saturday, November 29, 2008

Le Galion quickie reviews

The set of Le Galion parfums de sac that I found at an antique mall was probably made between 1968 and 1978, because it does not look that old, and it includes Snob. I read in perfume intelligence that Paul Vacher's original Snob was relaunched in 1952 and discontinued in 1978. Also, the original Galion d'Or was reformulated and relaunched in 1968. I don't know how much to trust that source, since I don't know anything about them except that I found it by googling Le Galion.

Don't you love the galion/galleon brand illustration on the box? I took a close-up because I love ship images. There's a fabulous exploration and treasure theme in many of the names of the perfumes. The term galion, or galleon in English, was a particular type of ship sturdy enough, and well-armed enough, to transport gold and other precious cargo.

So anyway, some quickie reviews of the fragrances in this set:

Le Galion d'Or: (The gold galleon) Very sharp aldehydes, like Chanel #5 on steroids, plus a smidge of the violets as in Le Dix.

Bourrasque: This name means a gust of wind, and is a feminine noun. A resinous oriental that smells like the red-headed stepchild of Femme and Tabu.

Brumes: This name means a fog or haze. Smells like sticking your nose in a tin of herbes de provence, including lavender and tarragon, perhaps, then catching a whiff of the seashore at lowtide, which smells like ambergris, but is probably more likely the nutmeg, heliotrope, and benzoin merging. It does dry down to something like L'Origan, as Octavian Coifer mentions. Kinda loving this.

Snob: A lot like Joy, with a lovely, slightly indolic jasmine, turning slightly soapier than Joy, with a more old-fashioned sweet rose that gets more prominent in the drydown. Really lovely.

Lily of the Valley: Nothing like Diorrissimo, much more sweet and less sunny than vintage Muguet de Bois, and barely recognizable as LotV. It's a cloying LotV and orange blossom syrup.

Rose: Very sweet posy of roses settled on embroidered doilies.

Jasmine: Niiiice jasmine, not too indolic, reminds me of the banana quality in Montale's Jasmin Full.

A much more knowledgeable resource on the history and make-up of Le Galion fragrances is Octavian Coifan, and he has a couple posts about them in 1000 fragrances. This fragrance maker has a great look and history--wouldn't it be great if they were resurrected like Lubin has been attempting?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Le Galion parfums de sac, and decision-making time

Today I discovered another treasure at the local antique mall: a boxed set of Le Galion parfums de sac, almost complete, and in great shape. The set includes: Snob, Bourrasque, Brumes, Galion d'Or, Lily of the Valley, Jasmin, La Rose, La Violette. Sadly, there are two perfumes missing from the original set of ten. Tubereuse was probably one of the missing, and I would have loved to have smelled that one. Perhaps Sortilège was the other, since misplaced or emptied, bottle. Except for La Violette and La Rose, all the bottles are full or nearly full, and the bottle size is 1/5th oz.

I'd nearly given up on finding anything new at the antique mall when I walked over to one last stall for a quick glance, and saw some perfumes bottles in the corner. When I saw this set for $10, I smelled the Jasmin, and it smelled great, so I grabbed it and went straight to the cashier.

So far, my first impressions are: Jasmin is a yummy jasmine along the lines of Montale's Jasmin Full, Galion D'Or smells a bit like Le Dix--aldehydic violets, Snob smells like something along the lines of Baghari--fruity aldehydic, and Brumes smells very interesting indeed--herbes de Provence and jasmine, perhaps.

Those are just first impressions, and I could be totally off, so in the next few posts I'll probably go through them with more thorough reviews of my favorites, when I get a chance to test them properly and do some research.

I haven't been posting much due to work--our production cycle is in full madness right now, so posts will be thin for a while. I've also had no Internet connection at home for the last week. Although the Time Warner customer service representative would have happily set up a service call earlier, had I only been willing to sit at home from 8am-8pm on a weekday. Um, seriously? What is wrong with these people? Have they no concept of customer service for people who, shockingly enough, work 40 hours a week?

Speaking of working, I think I've been working hard enough to deserve a holidays perfume gift for myself. I've been so good! Really! So the very, very difficult choice I have to make is which perfume to get. I've narrowed it down to three options for which full retail price is nearly unavoidable, and therefore any of them would be a very rare treat for me:

Dzing! (the big bottle, which is the only one available)
Bois des Iles parfum (I hope I can get it if I call around the major Chanel stores)
Une Fleur de Cassie (probably the small bottle is all I need)

So hm, I'm leaning toward Dzing!, since Artisan Parfumeur is so slutty about tossing their treasures into the discontinued bin, and I've been craving it so this winter, that I've gone through my decant. So share your special holiday treats. C'mon, I know you're already plotting what to buy yourself, or what you'll ask for as a present...

Happy Thanksgiving week to one and all! Happy perfume hunting, too!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Annick Goutal : Encens Flamboyant and Comme des Garcons : Kyoto

Of the new "Les Orientalistes" trio of Annick Goutal fragrances, Encens Flamboyant is far and away my favorite. It is the least sweetened of the trio, and has that smoky evergreen quality that for some reason I suddenly crave this fall. As usual, my perfume cravings are tied to sensory experiences I can't have. With my recent balsam cravings, I know what I really want is a walk through a Wisconsin evergreen forest, pine needles scenting the air and silencing any sound of my steps, with snow and woodsmoke in the air.

According to the Annick Goutal website, the notes in EF are: three different types of frankincense, balsam fir, roseberry,
cardamom, sage, nutmeg, and mastic.

But as I sat with my nose pressed against my hand, whimpering with happiness, I thought suddenly about the mostly neglected sample vial of Comme des Garcons Kyoto I have in my perfume closet. Of the CdG incense series, I own and love Avignon, but I thought this turnaround on fir scents might mean I'd finally understand the love out there for Kyoto as well. And this was, in fact a revelation for me!

According to LuckyScent, Kyoto's notes are: incense, cypress oil, coffee, teak wood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, everlasting flower, Virginian cedar. The incense is unmistakeably frankincense, but this is a drier and woodier fragrance than EF. Nonetheless, the two fragrances were much more similar than many other pairs I've imagined might be twins.

Now many others have already covered the seemingly magically ethereal yet sustained incense of the CdG fragrances, so I will try not to go on and on, but I wanted to share a comparison of Kyoto with EF (each dabbed on, with K on the left and EF on the right). The remarkable, dry, delicate frankincense smokiness of Kyoto just goes on and on, perfectly balanced with and weaving in and out of the woods. That may sound linear, but the CdG scents achieve that amazing shifting, swirling quality of incense wisps in the air, and it is anything but boring. In EF, which is extraordinarily similar, there is a juicier quality with the balsam, and it turns into more of a fir-tree sap with a hint of spice in the drydown.

Looking at the notes for Kyoto, I think the drier quality is probably due in part to the woods, which are not balsam, but cypress and cedar. In the drydown, EF smells more and more like laying under the Christmas tree when I was kid, or the fir sap that I got it on my hands after climbing evergreens in the woods, but Kyoto gets drier and woodier.

Both have much to love, and as I alternately sniff hands, my preference changes throughout the drydown. Kyoto demands my appreciation with its ascetic beauty, but Encens Flamboyant captures me with nostalgia.

(Image is my own, all rights reserved.)