The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


8 Comments

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.


15 Comments

Russkaya Kozha by Berdoues

WHAT I SMELL:  Russkaya Kozha has a discordant and biting opening that quickly moves to a flattened wood tinged with leather and oud.  There’s a sour edge and a pungent aspect, like worn leather pants that have absorbed the dirt and sweat from the wearer.  The perfume is beefy without being weighted, but it does have presence.  After a few minutes, the funky opening starts to sweeten and a wonderful radiating amber and benzoin ride above the now rough hewed sueded leather.  There’s a slight booziness that meets the mix and what was a bit rough and tumble at the beginning is now confidently sophisticated.  It also seems like there may be a light rose note buried under the leather, but I’m not seeing that listed as one of the notes.  The perfume settles down into a warmed smoky leather that is masculine without being overt but is still clearly in charge.  Instead, it projects confidence in a wonderful grandeur that is born from the majestic heart of Mother Russia.

From the Berdoues website:

An elegant leather perfume.

All the sophistication of Russia captured in a glass bottle. A blend of the noblest raw materials, Russkaya Kozha develops into an intense, mysterious perfume through the combination of Cade wood from Spain, Siam Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.

Russkaya Kozha is a leathery, amber perfume that bares eternal Russia’s soul through the blend of Cade wood and an elegant accord of Benzoin from Malaysia and Cardamom from Guatemala.  An elegant and sophisticated Grand Cru.

Prince Alexander Konstantinovich Gorchakov

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A perfume fit for a Russian Prince.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  secure, cultivated, resolute

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT RUSSKAYA KOZHA:  Colognoisseur, The Perfume Expert

BOTTOM LINE:  Russkaya Kozha is a lovely leather perfume that feels refined, yet still embodies the rough edges that come with the harsh environments of the Russian landscape.  This is a really nice leather perfume that doesn’t overwhelm the wearer and as a cologne, this has incredible lasting power.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Leather
  • Nose: Flavien Laurandeau
  • Classification: Leans masculine, but easily unisex
  • Expense: $80 for 100 ml eau de cologne


6 Comments

La Manufacture Cologne Rare

La_manufacture_Cologne_rare

WHAT I SMELL:  Cologne Rare initially shines with a fresh citrus and bright bergamot opening.  But there’s a little surprise with the addition of a lightly herbal and sharpened green note. In all it’s like a sun filled herbal garden surrounded by several lemon and lime trees.  The freshness and sparkle from the opening starts to warm on the skin and there’s a light sugared tartness that adds just the modern uniqueness to this rather traditional scent.  As the cologne continues to develop, a sweetened patchouli that feels topped with lavender, pulsates off the skin.  In a short while, the patchouli becomes the centerpiece, but the woodiness of the note seems to be wrapped around a citrus tinged vetiver.  And just when you thought the perfume had found its resting place, it instead continues to deepen like a golden elixir.  This is one nice cologne.

From the La Manufacture website:

A breath of bergamot and basil

Under the intense sun, one seeks out the scarce shade beneath the dungeon’s stone vault. You can sprinkle yourself with a spirited freshness.

Bergamot collides with basil, peel meets leaf. Notes full of character cross steel in an exchange of green… The green tartness of rhubarb yields to the somber green of patchouli and vetiver, giving rise to full-bodied base notes. A breath of coolness lingers, weaving among heightened wood notes.

“I chose bergamot from Italy for its lavender and pepper undertones. The basil from Egypt, with its singular anise note, makes the transition from citrus to green heart. The green is darkened by a smoky-leather note specific to vetiver from Haiti.

Carla Chabert, perfumer

Italy - Berengo Gardin (7)WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A stroll through the sun warmed Italian countryside.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE COLOGNE RARE:  comforting, easy, delightful

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT COLOGNE RARE:  No additional reviews were found.

BOTTOM LINE: Cologne Rare is the perfect antidote for the heat of the summer.  It’s an uncomplicated, yet modern, version of a classic citrus cologne with a tangy herbal edge.  It’s bright, sunny, easy to wear and it can’t help but put you in a good mood.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Citrus Aromatic
  • Nose: Carla Chabert
  • Classification: Unisex
  • Expense: $125 for 100 ml cologne