The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Vintage Shopping: Hermès Calèche and the Guerlain Mystery Perfume

I love shopping for vintage perfumes.  I mean, physically going to antique stores and estate sales to find those hidden gems.  One of the down sides of living in Mexico is that there are neither.  Yes, once in a while I can find a vintage perfume online, but it’s not quite the same of the rush of finding a treasure hidden in some dark cabinet in the back of a store.

We recently went back to the US to the outskirts of Seattle, Washington.  We love Mexico, but getting away from the heat every once in a while is essential and that part of the country is incredibly beautiful and the weather this time of the year is perfect.  But one of the best things about going back to the US, even in this time of COVID, is the ability to go shopping for vintage perfume.  What a treat!

Of course, these days, not all of the antique stores were open.  And in the ones that were, the the pickings were rather slim , unless you were looking for the random celebrity perfume.  But I did manage to find a bottle of 1980’s Hermès Calèche Eau de Toilette.  The perfume was used, came in a weathered box and was not the greatest bargain.  Even with given all of that, of course I had to purchase the perfume!

WHAT I SMELL:  Calèche opens with bright aldehydes, mixed with the lightest of soap tinged soft and tender florals.  Quickly, a light oakmoss begins to appear from below and the perfume becomes a bit more muted with a cottony finish.  In short time, the florals, now warmer, come forward with a richness and radiance that is pure luxury.  And as the perfume continues to settle, a light leather pins itself under the dusty florals.  Calèche is never heavy, nor sweet, but is an understated confident beauty that radiates a elegant aura.

From the Hermes website:

Written in 1961 by Guy Robert, Calèche was Hermès’ first fragrance for women. A highly feminine, woody, chypre floral, its name refers to the horse-drawn carriages that are emblematic of the house. Calèche is a novel that dazzles with the beauty of its raw materials, from the joyfulness of citrus fruit to the modernity of aldehyde notes; from the floral heart embellished with ylang-ylang, rose and jasmine to the woody, chypre sillage underscored by the nobility of the iris.

Jane Fonda

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  1970’s sophistication.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CALÈCHE:  dusty, easy, tailored

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CALÈCHEThe Black Narcissus, Yesterday’s Perfume, The Vintage Perfume Vault

BOTTOM LINE:  I have no regrets with my purchase and surprisingly it seems that the top notes have held up better than I had anticipated.  Calèche is a beauty that is easy to wear and thankfully perfect for the hot Mexican weather as the sun and heat make it bloom without being too heavy.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Aldehyde
  • Nose: Guy Robert
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense: Prices for vintage vary.  Review based on the eau de toilette version.

EPILOGUE:  When I transport vintage and used perfumes in my luggage, I typically use Parafilm to ensure that the perfumes don’t leak.  If you haven’t heard of Parafilm, I suggest you read the wise words of Undina who has helped me save many a perfume throughout the years.  However, this time, even though I carried Parafilm with me, I failed to use it and the bottle leaked.  I didn’t lose a great amount of perfume, but just enough to ruin the already tattered box as well as to rub the finish off the perfume’s cap.  Of course, this does nothing to take away the beauty of the perfume…but I, like most other perfumistas, would rather have a pristine bottle sitting on my shelf.  Lesson learned!

The damaged Calèche and the Guerlain Mystery Perfume.

VINTAGE GUERLAIN MYSTERY PERFUME

When I travel to the US to visit friends, I typically will purchase a few items on eBay before I go, just because I can’t do it here in Mexico.  Prior to going to the US this time, I noted that there was a 100 ml vintage Guerlain cologne bottle for sale at a very low cost.  The bottle had no label on the front and no label on the bottom.  On the plus side the perfume was sealed.  And I should say that I love Guerlain colognes as they’re perfect for the Mexican heat.  So, for a mere $35, I purchased the perfume.  So what was in the mystery bottle?  Or was it just a factice?

The mystery perfume turned out to be Shalimar.  The really wasn’t a surprise as it seems to be the most widely available vintage Guerlain cologne on eBay.  I have no complaints as the bottle is in great shape and the perfume smells fabulous.   For $35 would you have purchased the perfume even without a label?  As for me, I would do it again in a heartbeat.


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Hermès 24, Faubourg

24,FaubourgIf you like to shop around and explore estate sales, you know that every once in a blue moon you’ll run across one that is truly special.  Recently, I found a sale that mentioned a large collection of perfumes, but didn’t have pictures or brand names listed.  I took a chance.  As it turns out, the woman of the house was a former sales representative for Escada and Annick Goutal so there was quite the collection.  No one at the sale was interested in the perfumes, so I snatched up a collection of 3 100 ml perfumes, a couple of fragrance brand candles and 12 mini perfumes for $90.  One of those perfumes was a full 100 ml bottle of Hermes 24, Faubourg eau de toilette.  Whereas some of the perfumes there were multiple in stock, the Hermès was the only one.  I had to snatch it up.  By the way, the next week, I noted that they moved the remaining bottles of perfumes that didn’t sell to another sale that was in walking distance from my house.  Of course I had to go back!  I managed to pick up two 125 ml tester bottles of Annick Goutal EdTs, Passion and Heure Exquise for $5 each!  How could I say no to such bargains?!

Now before I get into my review, I should note that I did purchase a bottle of 24, Faubourg EDP a couple of years ago. As much of a fan as I am of white floral perfumes, I found the eau de parfum version much to cloying and heavy for my tastes.  So buying the EdT was a gamble.  Let’s see if it payed off…

WHAT I SMELL:  24, Faubourg opens with a vibrant, bright, a rather sugared ylang ylang which quickly moves to a warmer pulsating rapturous collection of florals which are seamless in their blending.  After a short time, an ambered warmth sets base for a rounded bouquet dusted with oak moss and a spiced jasmine begins to dominate.  There’s not much progression in 24, Faubourg, but in the end, the perfume resides in a pared down “big” floral heaven.  24 Faubourg is a striking beauty that falls into the big floral category like Ysatis and 1000.  But 24 Faubourg is one of those perfumes that doesn’t play second fiddle to anyone.

From the Hermès website:

A novel composed by Maurice Roucel in 1995, 24, Faubourg is an invitation to travel, with the sun as its destination. A sparkle of white flowers in the top notes, the radiance of a floral heart enveloped in irises, woods and mystery, while vanilla and ambergris set the tone for the sillage.

PrincessGraceat50WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A woman of refinement; Princess Grace in her later years.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE 24, FAUBOURG: radiant, warm, in-control

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT 24, FAUBOURG: Now Smell This, I Smell Therefore I Am, Olfactoria’s Travels

BOTTOM LINE:  Whereas the eau de parfum version of 24, Faubourg was just too heavy for me, the eau de toilette version fits just right.  I absolutely am in love with this floral beauty.  This will be a mainstay in my collection for years to come!

  • Bone Rating:  5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Chypre Floral
  • Nose: Maurice Roucel
  • Classification: Feminine
  • Expense: $150 for 3.3 oz. Eau de Toilette


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New Release: Terre d’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche by Hermes

Terre-d-Hermes-eau-tres-fraiche-HD-@quentinbertoux-2_copy

WHAT I SMELL:  Terre d’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche opens with a very refreshing citrus and juicy grapefruit which sits atop the unmistakenly Terre d’Hermes cedar like wood.   But given a couple of minutes, the cool citrus dominates. It’s refreshing, bright and rather happy.  Soon enough the cedar makes a return along with the geranium giving it a bit of spice, but the citrus comes in and out rotating its place on the top with the woody components.  Finally, Eau Tres Fraiche maintains this hue of wooded lightly bitter citrus that’s not too sweet, not too dry and is overall just an ease to wear.

summer camp

Terre d’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche notes:

Top notes are orange, citruses and water notes; middle note is geranium; base notes are woody notes, patchouli and cedar.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Summer camp.  It’s fresh, it’s woody and feels like the morning dew with the sun hitting the surrounding lake and woods.

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE TERRE d’HERMES EAU TRES FRAICHE:  comfortable, easy, fresh

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT TERRE d’HERMES EAU TRES FRAICHE: Sorcery of Scent, Now Smell This, Grain de Musc

BOTTOM LINE:  Terre d’Hermes Eau Tres Fraiche is a nicely done flanker and is perfect for the summer.  Terre d’Hermes is one of my all time favorites and this makes for a nice addition to the line.

  • Bone Rating: 3.5 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent: Woody Aromatic
  • Classification: Masculine, but leans unisex
  • Expense: $115 for 125ml EdT