The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Vintage Houbigant Essence Rare Parfum Extrait

WHAT I SMELL:  Essence Rare opens with what seems to be fading aldehydes that are quickly met by a spiced geranium.  The perfume deepens quickly as the perfume moves to a civet and amber making it very mature almost from the start as there’s nothing light nor fluffy about it.  As it continues to develop, the oakmoss pushes itself to the forefront and it’s here the perfume puts out a strong forcefield as it’s all powdered and dry oakmoss, spice and civet.  After quite some time, the perfume begins to retreat a bit and thankfully a beautiful sandalwood laced with warm florals begins to take the perfume from the overt to the almost sublime.  In the end, Essence Rare is still mature, but it’s much more approachable, albeit with a strong personality.

Essence Rare Notes:

Top:  aldehydes, bergamot, lily of the valley
Heart:  geranium, rose, iris
Base:  sandalwood, ambergris, vanilla, oakmoss, musk, tonka bean, vetiver, civet

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Forgive me, but the image of Dana Carvey’s “Church Lady” popped in my head.  The perfume seems stuck in the 70s, is a bit unforgiving and begs to be noticed.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE ESSENCE RARE:  solid, stocky, bold

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT ESSENCE RARE:  Bois de Jasmin, Fragrantica

BOTTOM LINE:  I found the iceberg bottle pictured above at an antique store for $15, so I thought, why not.  As many of you know, I love vintage perfumes, but Essence Rare is a rarity where it’s anything but a love.  What I typically like about these small extrait bottles is that they generally stay fresher than some of their larger counterparts.  I’m sure that there has been degradation with this, but I believe that Essence Rare was pretty much a powerhouse from day one and it does feel very dated.  So my 2 bones rating is based solely on this bottle…but maybe it’s just that bottle and some day I’ll run into one that makes me reconsider.

It should be noted that Essence Rare was reformulated in 2018 and the perfume was once again created by Jean-Claude Ellena.  But everything that I have read about it states that this new version is much lighter and rather pretty and no doubt more approachable to today’s market.

  • Bone Rating: 2 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Floral Aldehyde
  • Note:  Jean-Claude Ellena
  • Classification: To me, very unisex
  • Expense:  Prices vary.  Review based on the 1976 reissued version parfum extrait.

 


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Orangers en Fleurs by Houbigant

Orangers en FleursWHAT I SMELL: Orangers en Fleurs opens with the most beautiful warm orange blossom and rose.  It’s rich and thick and deep in its construct.  Much too quickly for my taste however, the tuberose comes into play.  Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t dominate, but it makes its present known and as many of you know, I’m not a big fan of tuberose.  Thankfully, my fears subside as after about five minutes, Orangers en Fleurs begins to brighten.  There is a tinge of wood and spice that seemed to be layered below the floral aspects giving the fragrance some dimension.  I like the fact that it seems that every time I bring my wrist to my nose I smell a different floral; one time jasmine, the other rose… tuberose, etc. all mixed with orange blossom.  Continuing on, I find that there is almost a brown sugar (maybe the nutmeg) note that emerges that gives it a slightly gourmand trait that makes this seem slightly crystalized.   In the end, the surprisingly projectable drydown wraps the floral in a warm and cozy musk.  Absolutely beautiful.

Orangers en Fleurs notes from the Houbigant website:

Head notes: Orange Blossom Absolute, Rose Absolute, Egyptian Jasmine Absolute

Heart Notes: Tuberose, Eau de Brouts, Ylang Comores, Nutmeg

Base Notes: Cedar wood, Musk

FLORADORAWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The Floradora Girls

THREE ADJECTIVES THAT DESCRIBE ORANGERS EN FLEURS: comforting, pretty, classic

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT ORANGERS EN FLEURS: Pink Sith, The Women’s Room, EauMG

BOTTOM LINE:  Orangers en Fleurs was a big surprise which thankfully wasn’t taken over by the tuberose which I cite in my description above, nor did it get sweet or soapy.  This may go on my wish list for a FB.   I just wish Houbigant would have offered this in a smaller than 100ml bottle.  Overall, good job Houbigant!

  • Bone Rating: 4 out of 5 possible bones
  • Scent:  Floral
  • Classification: Feminine
  • Expense:  $180 for 100ml EdP