Caron Nuit de Noel ~ fragrance review

Caron Nuit de Noel

This past weekend on impulse I bought a Christmas tree. I thought I might skip it this year, but as I wheeled my cart of groceries home I remembered the German couple down the block who alway sell crisp Noble firs from their driveway. If the couple isn’t home, you take the tree you want and slip your money through their mail slot. I chose a small, sparsely limbed fir (why do people always call them “Charlie Brown” trees? I prefer to think of them as “Napoleons”) and spent the evening decorating it with ornaments while Nat King Cole serenaded from the stereo. I wore Caron Nuit de Noël Extrait, of course.

Ernest Daltroff, founder of Caron and its nose for 37 years, created Nuit de Noël in 1922. The Caron website lists its notes simply as “jasmine, saxon moss, and amber.” I don’t doubt Nuit de Noël has jasmine and amber, though neither note shines. What I mostly smell is the saxon moss, more commonly known by its French name “mousse de saxe.”

Mousse de saxe is a base Daltroff used in a number of his fragrances, but it commands front and center in Nuit de Noël…

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Caron Pour un Homme ~ fragrance review

Caron Pour un Homme advert

The last few months have not been easy. I’ve had unexpected news from the doctor; scary appraisals from the plumber and house painter; and my spirit-reviving winter vacation will be delayed. Oh, and a new operating system at work is making my hair stand on end for eight hours a day. If I ever needed a comfort scent, it’s now.

Many of my perfume-loving friends turn to “food-y” perfumes in times of woe, but I usually don’t enjoy gourmand fragrances. I’d rather eat cake and caramels, and drink hot chocolate for comfort than smell them on my skin. I opt for perfume simplicity in turbulent times — fragrances that play with, and display, just a few notes. A comfort scent shouldn’t be too powerful either; it must not “intrude” on calamity but buffer it.

For my current tempestuous cycle, I’ve opted for an oldie perfume: Caron Pour un Homme, a fragrance that debuted in the 1930s when lots of people around the world needed comforting…

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Carnations from Caron: Bellodgia fragrance review

Bellodgia perfume by Caron

Bellodgia, which according to Caron has long been “a particular favorite of American customers”, was inspired by the Italian town of Bellagio on Lake Como and is intended to evoke “fields of carnations smothered in sunlight”. It was created by perfumer Ernest Daltroff and introduced in 1927; additional notes include rose, jasmine, violet, lily of the valley, sandalwood, vanilla and musk.

Bellodgia in Parfum opens heady and sweet, and calms to a rich, dense fragrance, peppery-spicy and warm, with the floral notes layered over the traditional dark Caron base…

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Caron Tabac Blond perfume review

Caron Tabac Blond, vintage ad

A lot has been made of Luca Turin’s statement, as quoted by Chandler Burr in The Emperor of Scent, that Caron Tabac Blond is “dykey and angular and dark and totally unpresentable”, and that a man who takes a woman wearing Tabac Blond to meet his mother is set for trouble. For sure, if the mother is looking for a gently floral daughter-in-law with a cashmere sweater set and a subscription to Good Housekeeping, she will be disappointed. But Turin’s larger discussion is often overlooked, that Tabac Blond embodies the wit and intelligence of chic. Turin ends his rant about the sorry state of chic these days by saying that a savvy mother will admire the style of her son’s Tabac Blond-wearing lover…

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He says/she says: Caron Narcisse Blanc perfume

Caron Narcisse Blanc urn

Narcisse Blanc was created by perfumer Ernest Daltroff specifically for the American market and released in 1923. Caron described the fragrance as Narcisse Noir “reinterpreted in a far more sober register”. The notes are orange blossom, neroli, petitgrain, orange, jasmine, rose, linden, iris, amber and musk.

He says: You’ve just emerged from a relaxing shower and a faint echo of orange blossom soap emanates from your slightly damp skin…

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