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
The day in question would be one of those puddle jumpers of late spring, you know, umbrella and Wellington boot weather. This has been our lot for weeks on the eastern coast of the US, where the spring has been tardy and cold.
This unexpected weather has played hob with my usual perfume choices for this time of year. Normally, I would have cracked my Carons, and it would have been a Bellodgia fest with a bit of En Avion and Narcisse Blanc to break up the rose/carnation cabal. That is what it might have been like. However it’s been too raw for all those scents, and frequently too wet. I kept Coty’s l’Aimant in rotation, as the sole floral, because that smells dry and slightly peachy, a comforting perfume for cold, raw days. Continue reading
There is something to be said for homogeneity. Most of us never achieve it. You can’t tell, when you enter our houses, or see our gardens, or our perfume collections or for that matter our clothes, that a single, organized taste supervised the process of decorating, planting, collecting, or selecting. Generally speaking what you get is a hodge-podge, and in a minority of cases, an expression of whatever the prevailing fashion is, in homes or gardens or perfumes or clothes.
But two English ladies tend to buck this trend, and I might as well mention them here. Continue reading
If you’ve never encountered Vent Vert, you are in for a bracing experience.
It’s said to be the first of the green perfumes, composed by Germaine Cellier in 1947. Personally, I think the first green note was Alpona from 1939, but a lot happened in France during the mid-forties and it’s not surprising that the perfume dialogue was interrupted for a while. The green innovation, which may well have been Ernest Daltroff’s originally, was taken up again after the war by Ms. Cellier, with very successful results. Continue reading
Sometimes I think that the first perfumer anyone who is interested in perfume learns about is Germaine Cellier (1909-1976?). This figures, because she was such a glamorous entity. There she is, in black and white photos, wearing her well-fitted tailleurs like armor, usually with a cigarette clamped between her first two fingers. The story goes, that she was lesbian, witty, the friend of Jean Cocteau, and very talented. Then there’s the fact that she’s credited with the most memorable Robert Piguet perfumes – Bandit (1944) and Fracas (1945) and some Balmains: Vent Vert (1947) , Jolie Madame (1953), Monsieur Balmain (1964) as well as Coeur Joie for Nina Ricci in (1946). That’s a lot of hits for a single career.
The one that people struggle with these days is Bandit. I’ve read the reviews. Everyone thinks that Bandit’s dark, difficult, a bad girl scent, even a scrubber. Old lady comments seem to drop off, since I guess that even contemporary sniffers suspect this perfume saw more action than World War Two, and indeed, Bandit was worn by Marlene Dietrich, so probably did. Continue reading