Ciro Danger ~ fragrance review

Two vintage adverts for Ciro Danger

Perfume lovers seem to fall into one of two camps about vintage fragrances. Either they seek them out, eager to try many iterations of their favorites; or they avoid them, fearing that they’ll fall in love with a perfume they’ll never smell again. I fall into the “better to have loved and lost than never loved at all” camp. Usually, that’s fine. I mean, there’s always another good perfume coming along, right? But when my 1.25 dram bottle of Parfums Ciro Danger extrait runs out, my heart will break.

Danger, released in 1938, is a rich, dark rose with an animalic edge. I have to wonder if it was inspired by Schiaparelli Shocking, released the year before. The big difference is that Danger’s rose is balanced by helpings of cinnamon and lavender. The result is seductive and romantic, but intriguingly odd…

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Faberge Straw Hat ~ vintage fragrance review

Fabergé Straw Hat, vintage advert 1

I seem to be in the mood for vintage fragrances this summer, whether they date to the 1980s or much earlier. This week, I spent some time with Fabergé Straw Hat, a scent that was originally released in 1938 and discontinued in 1976, after being offered every spring and summer as a limited edition. I only became acquainted with Fabergé’s other fragrances a few years ago. Aphrodisia is still my favorite, but Straw Hat feels is more seasonally appropriate this week!

Fabergé (the cosmetics brand, that is — not the jewelers to the Russian imperial family!) was founded in 1937 by the Russian-born businessman and philanthropist Samuel Rubin, who sold the company to a competitor in 1963. Fabergé continued to release new perfumes and toiletries, was subject to further mergers over the years, and had most of its products discontinued under Unilever’s ownership in the 1990s. I remember the magazine ads for Babe (1977) from my youth, and the Brut men’s collection is still available…

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Must de Cartier Pour Homme ~ fragrance review

Must de Cartier Pour Homme

Why was the Must de Cartier men’s line so unsuccessful? Must de Cartier Pour Homme1 was launched in 2000 and is already discontinued. Ditto with Must de Cartier Essence (2000), Must de Cartier Vert Anis (2001) and Must de Cartier Eau Genereuse (2003).

Must de Cartier Pour Homme is a sleek, appealing fragrance; it begins with a delicious-smelling and opaque anise-tangerine accord; the citrus is not icy, fresh or “clear,” but warm, cozy and generously spiced with anise, ginger and “olive leaf” (which may provide the momentary camphor-like aroma produced in Must de Cartier Pour Homme’s early mid-development). Coriander, which has a citrus character itself, floats in the background and is a perfect lead-in to Must de Cartier Pour Homme’s sweet tonka bean/vanilla base…

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Krizia Moods Uomo ~ fragrance review

Portrait of the Artist's Wife with a Hat by August Macke

Last week I wrote about a newly released fragrance (Acqua di Parma Colonia Club) that fits (for me) into the “old man cologne” category. Today, I’m writing about another men’s perfume that’s been around the block — 1989’s Moods Uomo1 by Krizia. But unlike Colonia Club, Moods Uomo still has legs. As Bruce Jenner transitioned into Caitlyn Jenner, so Moods Uomo can easily make the transition from a mature-dude perfume into a modern-dame fragrance; the dame can be 25, 35 or older, but she must have retro perfume tastes and wear men’s perfumes with aplomb, not doubt or fear. (I bet many young men wouldn’t like, let alone appreciate, Moods Uomo, unless they’re perfume fanatics who’ve sampled pre-IFRA offerings stretching way back in time.)

Moods Uomo opens with heavy-duty aldehydes, sour greens (there’s a wormwood-like note), and citrus peels. Moods’ opening notes keep percolating as others join in…

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A Celebrity’s Scent: Frida Kahlo & Dana Emir


When I visited Mexico City for the first time, the place I wanted to see more than any other was Frida Kahlo’s house in Coyoacán — the Casa Azul. Since that trip, Casa Azul (Museo Frida Kahlo) has been spruced up, and hidden wonders within its walls discovered: many of Kahlo’s fantastic clothes and other personal belongings — hairbrushes, decorated (and bloodied) orthopedic corsets she used after her many spinal surgeries, Kahlo’s prosthetic leg, sunglasses, lipstick, nail polish (Revlon’s vibrant red “Orchids to You”)…and perfume.

Over the years, I’ve noticed friends sometimes keep empty perfume bottles for years. Often, the perfume was an overseas purchase and couldn’t be easily replaced. Sometimes, the fragrance was extinct or a particular bottle rekindled memories of a certain someone or some place that gave happiness. I was intrigued when I found out Kahlo kept an empty bottle of Dana Emir…

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