Twelve Smells of Christmas, Day Ten: The Trajectory of Fizz

I only recently learned how to open bottles of Champagne without spritzing an entire kitchen in the process.  It’s a useful skill.  You don’t have to bellow for your husband when the ladies want to make mimosas, you just do the opening and mixing on your own.

By the way, I know that I am not supposed to refer to any sparkling wine as Champagne unless it was grown in the region so denominated – my brother-in-law is French, you see, and so I know that it is really Vin Petillante and not Champagne. Whether or not it came from France, I have just noticed that you can get bubbles in your wine much more cheaply these days and that the Spanish are dab hands at this kind of doubly fermented drink.

Being extremely fond of champagne, I wish that perfume had the effervescent note far more often than it seems to.  The lovely nose tingling sharpness of champagne which is also soft in an odd way, like the watery sparkle of diamonds, is so cheerful and festive, that it pains me that the note is largely missing in today’s sweet Feminines.  You need something to cut sugar, and aldehydes do a very good job of this without becoming heavy or smoky or in some other way objectionable. They give a composition something sophisticated, airy, and nose tickling, well, in a word: fizz.

Of the famous options out there, namely Yvresse and Royal Bain de Caron, I choose neither. I think they leave something to be desired.  You smell a high pitched component in the Caron but it is not necessarily reminiscent of champagne. Yvresse also, is deteriorated since it came out, and now if someone asked me about champagne scents I’d recommend something else.

Better, if you really like the scent of champagne, is Ambre Russe. It contains an absolutely brilliant champagne note about half way through the evaporation. To tell the  truth, if I wore this perfume it would be for that champagne note because I can’t smell the amber at all.  All I can smell is zakuski, champagne and cigarettes, but this is fine with me. Other people are not anosmic to the amber here, and they can enjoy the whole fragrance.

I also love Sonoma Scent Studios Champagne de Bois.  Now, a brief digression here, if you don’t know that Champagne de Bois = Bois des Isles (Chanel) you might as well know now. This is not an original scent, but it does what the Chanel intends to do with more delicacy and more…fizz than the original.  If what you are after is sandalwood, stick with the Chanel. But if like me, you like bubbles, then go with Sonoma Scent Studio; you won’t be disappointed.

Then I have to break ranks here, and say that I have always thought there was a distinct champagne tonality to Chanel No 22.  A beautiful double process incense of a scent, with a bubbly personality, 22’s performance is strictly interpretive, so you’re not getting a literal version of Champagne the way that you would with Demeter, but the sparkle is definitely there, and it is also extremely elegant.  People love this perfume, but more often, I notice non perfume people love it, and 22 is something for perfumistas to adore as well, perfectly balanced, unfailingly stylish, and happy.  What else could you want in a bottle of bubbly?

Finally a plug for an obscure fragrance if you can find it, but Germaine Monteil really did have a perfume also called Champagne. I smelled it too many years ago to want to count but, the effect was of a fruity glass of champagne with a raspberry or two bobbing about in it.  There was quite a lot of cyclamen in the heart under the fruity top and the aldehydes, and the whole thing was very fizzy indeed.

(A quick search on ebay has not heartened me.  You can find it, but evidently if you loved Champagne back in the day, you must be prepared to fight for it now.  Big bottles are going for more than a hundred, only the minis are affordable and this may be the only way to try this perfume with the Carol Channing personality.)

All of these are perfect at Christmas, so much lighter than most of the perfumes that everyone will insist on trailing after them at parties and very good on cold winter air.  Come to think of it, I wish I had some of this stuff, how many things can you think of that make the air around you burst into spontaneous laughter? I can’t think of too many outside Champagne and these scents.

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6 Responses to Twelve Smells of Christmas, Day Ten: The Trajectory of Fizz

  1. fleurdelys says:

    I have a vintage bottle of Yvresse, and still count it as a good Champagne fragrance. Guerlain’s Champs-Elysees is also fizzy and sparkly. The former is my winter Champagne fragrance, and the latter is for summer. And I do love me some Chanel No. 22!

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      Poor old Champs Elysees didn’t get much love, did it? I haven’t smelled it in years, but I like mimosas and it was a kind of mimosas and sparkles fragrance, so a good choice here.

      Yvresse is controversial. I smell a change from the long ago time when it was called Champagne, and now that L’Oreal owns the brand, who knows? I’d hang onto that bottle.

      And yay for Chanel No22! One of the most pretty and cheerful Chanels. It smells like something Carole Lombard would have worn.

      • fleurdelys says:

        Oops, correction: My bottle actually IS the original Champagne, before it ever became Yvresse. Maybe that’s why it still has its “vintage” (ha!) character. Yes, it was a lucky find!

        • Blacknall Allen says:

          Have you insured that bottle? Should you insure that bottle? You do not want to know what Champagne goes for on Ebay!

  2. mals86 says:

    Aldehydes and bubbly: I’m your gal!

    … except that I continue to dislike Chanel No. 22 because it’s so sugar-crystally. Can’t come any closer to explaining it than that, though I did get on slightly better with the Les Exclusifs version. I once bought, unsniffed, a mini bottle of YSL Champagne off ebay and then was shocked (shocked, I say!) to find that I did not like it at all. I mean, it was hideous. This was before I realized that anything even vaguely fitting the “fruity chypre” description is going to make me queasy, which happens just about every time. I don’t know why.

    Also had a sample of vintage Lubin Gin Fizz in which the aldehydes had gone off, which rather defeated the point, I must say. Wonder if the new is good?

    I do love Champagne de Bois (ooh, think I’ll wear that today!), all that fizz on top of sandalwood and spice. My CdB-in-the-wild story: wore it on my usual Monday jaunt to Wal-Mart for groceries, and the cashier said, “Are you buying potpourri?” while sorting through my items. Me: “No, just groceries. And dog food.” Cashier: “Well, SOMETHING smells wonderful. I thought if it was potpourri I’d go get some of the same kind for mys — oh, it’s your perfume! I like that so much! what is it?” I tried to tell her about it, but I think I just confused her. I should probably just go over there with a little decant and give it to her; I think she’s Assistant Manager now.

    Iris Poudre is all champagne, cool satin and feather boa to me, very sparkly drying down to very cozy, and great in cold weather. Love love love it.

    The fragrance that smells most like Champagne to me, though, is something I think I’ve mentioned before – the first Ines de la Fressange, a not-stupid fruity floral topped off by some fizz. In fact, it always makes me think of the annual University Singers Brunch on the Lawn party, comprised of a pitcher or three of mimosas, cheese straws, and hot gossip. Given that IdlF has a prominent peach note, perhaps it should be mimosas with a splash of peach nectar, or Fuzzy Navels made with champagne instead of vodka, but still. Champagne-peach-orange cocktail for sure. However, it’s very summery to me and not much of a Christmas scent.

    • Blacknall Allen says:

      Chanel No22 seems to divide people. Once thought that I hated it and now like the les Exclusifs version. As to Champagne de Bois, haven’t bought a bottle. Like Bois des Isles, it’s wonderful, but it is one of those, “Yes this is a fine perfume but it is another woman’s.” situations. Do not seem to be able to wear things that are out of the scope of my personality (not an actress evidently). For me, perfume is honesty on some level.
      Lubin’s Gin Fizz-the new one-I have smelled. Thought it was good at replicating the drink, a trifle synthetic and probably because it was so synthetic extremely long lasting. Twelve hours it stayed on my wrist, so long I thought it had taken out squatter’s rights. However, if you live in Charleston or Savannah or NYC in August-perfect.
      Ines de la Fressange that is a name that comes up repeatedly with the caveat that you want the 1st, NOT the second one. Love the idea of it, sounds just like a Bellini. That is something I could wear!
      Congrats on Bookworm’s fabulous admission by the way! So exciting!

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