Just for the fun of it, I thought it would be nice to take a look at some perfumes that never quite caught on, despite being good or original, whether recently or not. This week I thought I’d go back to Weil’s strange old green floral Weil de Weil.
Weil used to sell furs, and back in the day in the late twenties, their perfumes all had animal names, like Zibeline (sable) 1928, and Antilope, also 1928. Both were floral aldehydes, but Zibeline was the darker end of floral aldehyde alley while Antilope stayed on the sunny side of that street, near neighbor to chypres like Ma Griffe. (If you can find old bottles of Zibeline btw, they are well worth buying in order to enjoy the luxurious ambergris dry down.)
The Weil family had to escape Paris in WWII, and it was in the States that they had their monster success Secret of Venus in 1945. By all accounts Secret is a heavy oriental, and I’ve only smelled it once, but in the seventies the house of Weil produced other perfumes including Weil de Weil (1971). Continue reading
Tulips are impossible to resist. Certainly it was beyond me when I found a large escaped clump of bright scarlet tulips blooming in an out of the way corner of the lot, obviously former garden bed detainees who had decided on a prison break. Out came the secateurs, and now I have a bouquet sitting on my breakfast table, drooping ever so slightly – well, okay, quite a bit – as tulips do after a first day in water.
The revelation is their smell. They are large late tulips, which we used to call May tulips, with a correspondingly big scent: their smell is initially green with the freshness of ozone in it, then floral, a daffodil like scent with something powdery about it, presumably the pollen on those black pistils, and the base is honey, very warm and very golden, with a very faint component of dirty musk drowned in its sticky depths. It is a perfume complete in itself, and most unfortunately, I cannot think of any fragrance on the market that really tries to replicate it. Continue reading
Periodically perfume people mourn the death of the chypre. It’s supposed to be down to the restrictions on oakmoss which was the constituent that gave the chypres so much salty depth and dryness. Now you cannot use oakmoss in amounts large enough to produce the chypre effect, or you have to use low atranol oakmoss which is, from the chypre’s perspective, rather like trying to pass off a gelding as a stallion. You just know something is missing.
Among those who comment about perfumes these days the positions on chypres are mixed. Perfumistas sorrow over their absence but in practically the same sentence they also accuse them of formality, of masculinity, or of being difficult to wear. Still there are many good ones to be found on the internet. Continue reading