Lanvin Arpege ~ vintage fragrance review

Lanvin Arpege bottle

Vintage Lanvin Arpège has broken my heart more than once. From its inception in 1927 to its major reformulation in 1993, Arpège was well loved, which means that plenty of bottles lurk in thrift stores and antiques malls. The problem is that unlike her sister, My Sin, Arpège doesn’t age well. At last, after bearing the grief of one small Extrait turned to sour Madeira, one evaporated Extrait purse spray, and two fusty Arpège Eau de Toilettes, I found a bottle of Eau de Toilette that opens my eyes to what made Arpège so beloved. I’m hooked.

In 1927 to celebrate her daughter’s thirtieth birthday, Jeanne Lanvin asked André Fraysse — Lanvin’s house chemist — to create Arpège…

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Floral Aldehydes: Twenty More

Worth Je ReviensMaybe you’ve already tried the classic floral aldehydes reviewed this week and you’re ready to dig into this genre of perfume more deeply. If so, this article is for you.

Caron Fleurs de Rocailles is an innocent, gentle aldehydic floral loaded with clover, lily of the valley, and lilac. I think it would be a perfect first perfume for a girl, and it’s a good napping scent. If you plan on looking it up on Osmoz, beware: the description of Fleurs de Rocailles is mixed up with “Fleur” de Rocailles, a different fragrance altogether.

Worth Je Reviens is another classic of the genre that you just might find at your local TJ Maxx, although I wonder if its formula has suffered over the years (if you’ve compared the old and the new, please tell me what you think). Rochas Mystère is an aldehydic floral chypre that smells to me like soapy plums. Chanel No. 22 is a dream of white flowers and incense glowing with aldehydes. Because it’s just so plain beautiful, No. 22 might be a good one to try if you’re wary of aldehydes. Jean-Charles Brosseau Ombre Rose is another aldehydic floral that is popular.

For aldehydic time travel, Halston is a good way to go (cue the disco music, please). Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and Paco Rabanne Calandre remind me of the 1970s with their metallic edges. I know Hermes Calèche is timeless, but it reminds me of the 1970s, too…

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Balenciaga Le Dix ~ perfume review

Balenciaga Le Dix fragranceIf Chanel No. 5 is Marilyn Monroe and Lanvin Arpège is Norma Shearer, then Balenciaga Le Dix is Gene Tierney: fresh, crisp, beautiful, and down-to-earth. Le Dix is the aldehydic floral that goes out to lunch on a weekday for lots of clever conversation but not an inappropriate amount of intrigue or cleavage.

Le Dix was created in 1947 and is named after the street address of Balenciaga’s fashion house in Paris. Le Dix came out the same year as Christian Dior Miss Dior

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Lanvin Arpege ~ perfume review

Lanvin Arpege fragrance

In 1927, Jeanne Lanvin asked André Fraysse to create a perfume for her daughter’s 30th birthday. Fraysse was only 27 years old, but with Paul Vacher’s help he created what is often recognized as the second great aldehydic floral fragrance, and one of the five most esteemed in the world: Arpège.

Hubert Fraysse reformulated Arpège in 1993. I haven’t smelled the original Arpège, but the consensus seems to be that the reformulation is a respectful play on the original. Combining Osmoz and Basenotes’s information for the newest version of Arpège yields topnotes of aldehydes, bergamot, neroli, and peach; a heart of jasmine, rose, lily of the valley, ylang ylang, coriander, and tuberose; and a base of sandalwood, vanilla, tuberose, vetiver, patchouli, and styrax.

Where Chanel No. 5 is languid, Arpège is full-bodied. If No. 5 is a vase of summer flowers, then Arpège is that same vase three days later, flowers ripe and spicy, with a dirtier base…

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Chanel No. 5 ~ perfume review

Chanel no. 5 perfume advert

Nothing says Grand Perfume like a classic aldehydic floral, and nothing says classic aldehydic floral like Chanel No. 5. But I’ll be the first to admit that I often have trouble with aldehydic fragrances. In the name of personal olfactory growth, I’ll be reviewing a week’s worth of classic aldehydic fragrances in the order in which they were created. At the top of the list, by birth date and by reputation, is Chanel No. 5.

Ernest Beaux created Chanel No. 5 in 1921 as part of a suite of nine fragrances he presented to Coco Chanel. Depending on which story you believe, No. 5 was an accident when too much of a particular aldehyde was added to a scent or was a deliberate attempt to replicate Coco’s modern and blatant use of synthetic materials — think of her ropes of faux pearls.

As is true of many perfumes, No. 5 contains more than one type of aldehyde. Aldehydes provide sparkle and can boost the dispersion of some notes. When you get a strong hit of aldehydes right away from a fragrance, chances are that you’re smelling an “aliphatic” aldehyde. Although some people think of a dose of aliphatic aldehydes as “perfume-y” and old fashioned, when Beaux made it the signature of No. 5 (and No. 22), it was revolutionary…

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