Most of us at Now Smell This have ‘suffered’ a Perfume Chain Reaction. Here’s my most recent:
1. I was looking at a glossy book about perfume advertisements and came across some ads for Marcel Rochas Moustache (introduced in 1948-1949);
2. I read that Moustache was formulated by one of my favorite perfumers, Edmond Roudnitska, who worked on the fragrance with his wife, Thérèse;
3. I went to the Rochas website to read about the current formulation and discovered that Moustache has been removed from Rochas’ fragrance line-up; so
4. I researched the fragrance notes online, liked what I read; and
5. I went to eBay to look for a bottle of Moustache;
6. I purchased a 100 ml tester of Moustache without ever sniffing it.
Today, in part 8 of the chain reaction (part 7 was wearing the fragrance for a week) I’m reviewing Moustache.
As one might expect, Moustache has changed since 1948-49. Today’s list of ingredients (bergamot, lime, pine, moss, vetiver, rare fruits) pales beside the older list (lime, lavender, basil, lemon verbena, petit grain, bergamot, lemon, honey, carnation, jasmine, rose, geranium, tonka bean, amber, musk, oak moss, vanilla and cedar.) Yet, in the version of Moustache I purchased (I bought a vintage sample to compare it with…more on that later), I can smell notes from both these lists.
“Recent” Moustache (in the bottle pictured below, left) opens with a delightful, tart/dry lime aroma. As this note slowly evaporates (this is one long-lasting citrus note) it morphs into a grass-y note (think golden, dry grass, not “green” grass). At this stage, things become even more interesting: I smell a very original accord that veers between floral (maybe jasmine) and ‘fruit’ (certainly an engineered aroma with ripe citrus, candy citrus, talc-y citrus facets). I also detect some piquant honey mixing with sheer ‘leather’ in the background. Next up: the Kouros-lite stage — a combo of some smooth musk and sweet (animalic, yet somehow still “patrician”) sweat.
In this version of Moustache, the fragrance I’ve described simply becomes fainter in the extreme dry-down (but lasts all day on my skin). Vintage Moustache (from the bottle pictured at the top of this post, right) still has the great lime note, but has much stronger leather and musk notes. (Of course, this accentuation of leather and musk may be a result of the “aging-in-the-bottle” syndrome where lighter notes fade or ‘disappear’ — leaving more stable base notes dominant.)
Moustache, old and new, has great lasting power and good sillage; on the days I wear it I can’t help reapplying it mid-day to re-experience the great opening and heart of the perfume. Don’t be shy when applying the fragrance; a generous dousing will bring out all the charms of Moustache. (I think women will enjoy this fragrance too.)
Rochas’ perfume division is now owned by Procter & Gamble and today’s Rochas fragrances have a “discount” vibe. I have not tried Moustache in its most recent bottle, shown above right. Thankfully, Moustache is still readily available online in the “column” bottle; try it before it disappears! (If anyone has tried Moustache in the “newer,” square bottle, please comment.)
WARNING: If ever our eyes lock over a bottle of vintage Moustache at an estate sale or shop, I hope you’re wearing football shoulder pads and a protective helmet for I’ll surely do all I can to wrest that bottle from your grip.