The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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Vintage Guerlain Chamade Eau de Cologne

I love living in my adopted country of Mexico, but will wholeheartedly admit that one of the downsides of living in this beautiful country is the access to perfume.  Mexicans love their perfume; when you walk down the street everyone leaves behind a trail of perfumed bliss.  That said, you can find the standard department store fragrances without issue, but anything out of the ordinary (niche or high end) is impossible to get, at least here in the Yucatan.  And forget shipping from overseas, Mexico, like many countries, does not allow for the shipment of “flammable liquids.”  So yes, getting the latest and greatest new releases in a timely manner is something that I have had to learn to live without.

Another thing I miss is the ability shop on eBay.  Instead, here they have a similar site called MercadoLibre.  But perfume shopping is pretty much limited to the same perfumes found in the stores.  Of course, that doesn’t keep me from scanning the site every now and then just as I did the other day.  To my surprise, someone was selling an unopened bottle vintage bottle of Guerlain Chamade Eau de Cologne.  They said the bottle was 200 ml and in researching pricing, I found it to be a pretty good deal.  So I thought what the heck, this doesn’t happen every day and I have never ordered anything from MercadoLibre, so I went for it.  The shipper said they would ship “next day,” but I have to admit I was skeptical.  Two days after placing my order, a heavy box arrived from Mexico City.  I opened the box which was packed perfectly and found the largest bottle of perfume I had ever seen.  My first thought is that it was a factice, but once I put my nose up to the stopper I could clearly smell that it was indeed perfume.  The perfume didn’t come with a box, and the size was not labeled on the bottle.  After some research it was determined that the bottle is a 16 oz. or 500 ml bottle….for the size, the purchase turned out to be an incredible deal.

For size comparison, the Vol de Nuit on the left is 3 oz. and the Mitsouko on the right is 1.7 oz.

I love my Guerlains with Vol de Nuit being one of my all time favorite perfumes, but I never really paid much attention to Chamade.  A light green floral is perfect for the hot weather here, but that doesn’t mean I would like the perfume.  So did I make a good purchase?

WHAT I SMELL: 

The beauty of Chamade is instantaneously revealed with it’s opening of bright sparkling aldehydes which quickly meld with a green stem-ladened hyacinth.  This is spring in a bottle…I picture bouncing lambs running on hills of green.  The opening of this perfume is utterly delightful and so incredibly pretty.  For being a vintage bottle that is most likely from the 1970s, the top notes are surprisingly intact.  The perfume stays in this greenish floral bliss for quite some time, but after some time its met with a layer of powder that smells like makeup.  After more time, the galbanum takes front and center as the perfume dries out and continues to powder.  The perfume is green without being too sharp and to me this makes this easier to wear.  And just when I thought the perfume couldn’t get any prettier, out comes a floral heart with rose at the center topped with a comforting smooth vanilla and sandalwood combination, which helps to cut the powdery green.  Here, the perfume moves from the spring to the more serious…or should I say more seriously beautifully refined and mature.

From the Guerlain website:

For the first time in perfumery, Guerlain introduced to a formula the green and fruity accent of blackcurrant bud, freshened with a green harmony of hyacinth. Lastly, this symphony is embellished with Guerlinade, which majestically showcases jasmine, vanilla and sandalwood.

One of these Easter lovelies is probably wearing Chamade…which one is it?

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Although launched in 1969, Chamade to me is quintessentially early to mid-1960s as it’s rooted in the past and not so much in the modern era of the time.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CHAMADE:  springtime, happiness, contentment

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CHAMADE:  Yesterday’s Perfume, Perfume Posse

BOTTOM LINE: Chamade, where have you been all of my life?  This perfume is so pretty and easy to wear that it might be one of those perfumes that just doesn’t get the love that it deserves.  As for me, I’ll continue to search on MercadoLibre for the parfum extrait version.  Chamade is truly a love.

  • Bone Rating: 4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Fruity Floral Oriental
  • Nose:  Jean-Paul Guerlain
  • Classification: Leans feminine
  • Expense:  Varies for vintage


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Vintage Guerlain Vol de Nuit

When we were over to a friend’s house for dinner a couple of weeks ago, the conversation turned to perfume as their neighbor was talking about how she missed the old Opium from the 1980s.  My friend had mentioned before that she loved perfume, but since developing allergies related to fragrance years ago she had to give up wearing it…along with now having to use fragrance free detergents, soaps, etc.  She walked me up to her bedroom and said that her signature perfume was Guerlain’s Vol de Nuit.  She pulled out an old bottle that was 1/2 full, a bottle that looked to be from the 1980s.  I put a little on my wrist and it was heaven.  She took a sniff and loved it as much as I did, but immediately she could feel it overtake her throat.  I was thinking how horribly sad it was that she would never again be able to enjoy this perfume she loved so much.  She saw how much I loved the perfume so she reached to the back of her dresser and pulled out a box that contained an unopened new bottle that she has been hanging on to since the 1990s and she proceeded to give it to me.  I balked at first, but then she said that she would rather the perfume go to someone who would truly love and appreciate it as much as she did.  An incredibly lovely gesture, I was humbled and still am by this generous and thoughtful gift.  I have many perfumes, and a few vintage perfumes as well…but this perfume will always occupy a special place in my heart.

WHAT I SMELL:  Vol de Nuit opens with a warm, encompassing dried galbanum and a subdued bergamot.  The perfume is light, but it has a strange depth to it as it’s slightly spicy and lightly earthy.  The perfume tingles my skin as it begins to powder and dry with a wonderful layer of oakmoss and dried flowers.  After some time, the perfume begins to lighten to reveal a soft and tender, but earthy and lightly leathered iris.  The whole composition is extremely subdued and it wears very close to the skin, but unlike the other early 20th Century nod to aviation, Caron’s En Avion that is thickened with the dirt spattered first flights, Vol de Nuit is ultimately more romantic and dreamy.  The drydown is a slow and soft ride, but it’s the wait that’s worthwhile as the perfume glides in a hazy state of pure, but restrained bliss.

The top notes are bergamot, galbanum and petit grain; the heart reveals jasmine, daffodil and spices; the base combines earthy woods, iris, vanilla, amber and woodsy notes.

Night FlightWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  A romantic night flight above the clouds.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE VOL DE NUIT:  positive, subdued, dreamy

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT VOL DE NUIT: Bois de Jasmin, The Non-Blonde, The Black Narcissus

BOTTOM LINE:  Vol de Nuit isn’t about the grandeur of other Guerlain classics like Shalimar and Mitsouko.  Instead, it has a quiet heart that sings softly.  If the eau de toillette is this beautiful, I can only imagine what the extrait is like.  Let the hunt begin.  Thank you Paula for letting me fly above the clouds!

  • Bone Rating:  4.5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Woody
  • Nose:  Jacques Guerlain
  • Classification: Feminine, but easily worn by a man
  • Expense: Varied.  Review based on the EdT version.


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Vintage Habanita by Molinard

habanita1WHAT I SMELL:  Habanita has a dramatic opening that is glowingly sweetened, with a blast of fruit followed quickly by a warming floral mix that is highlighted by lilac and rose.  The perfume is so deliciously inviting as it seems to envelops the wearer.  Habanita has a sweet edge to it, but it’s not a perfume that I would categorize as sweet.  Maybe because as it develops the dryness of the oakmoss, the fresh tobacco and sheen of leather tone down the higher pitched notes.  As the perfume settles down, the various notes even out creating this incredible balance between the spice, florals and woody notes.  Habanita is sexy without being dangerous, but it draws you in making you want more.

From the Molinard website:

1921 – Habanita was born in the exuberance of the Roaring Twenties. With trailblazing spirit, Molinard revolutionized perfume codes, creating the first women’s Oriental fragrance featuring vetiver, an essence hitherto reserved for men. From perfume extract to the essence of the femme fatale, Habanita’s innovative style was eagerly embraced by the garçonnes-  France’s flappers – and soon became Molinard’s runaway success and an icon in the history of French perfume.

Top notes are orange blossom, raspberry, peach and bergamot; middle notes are lilac, orris root, jasmine, heliotrope, ylang-ylang and rose; base notes are leather, amber, musk, benzoin, vanilla, oakmoss and cedar.

cyd168WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Cyd Charisse

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE HABANITA:  whirling, energetic, dynamic

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT HABANITA:  Fragrance Daily, Yesterday’s Perfume, Grain de Musc

BOTTOM LINE:  Habanita is one of a kind.  It’s the kind of perfume that I crave.  Unique, beautiful, radiant…I can’t imagine not owning a bottle.

  • Bone Rating:  5 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent: Oriental
  • Classification: To me this is perfectly unisex
  • Expense: Review based on the vintage parfum extrait version.  Prices vary on eBay, etc.