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.