The Scented Hound

Perfume blog with abbreviated perfume reviews & fragrance reviews.


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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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Vintage Ma Griffe by Carven

WHAT I SMELL:  Ma Griffe opens with bright aldehydes followed by a mix of florals that turn surprisingly green.   There’s an undercurrent of rapturous warmth that sits below the florals that makes the perfume heady and full-bodied in a rather provocative manner.  Ma Griffe is not shy in the least and as it goes on she tells you exactly who she is right from the beginning.  As the perfume continues to develop, there’s a note or combination of notes that reminds me of slightly worn silk undergarments.  It’s a mix of perfume, powder and just a hint of light sweat gained from normal daily activity.  As such, this makes Ma Griffe a veritible seductress.  As the perfume continues to morph, the florals begin to deepen with tonka bean taking root along side a drying oak moss.  Here, Ma Griffe is fully in charge and makes it known that she is all woman and doesn’t mind if you call her a dame.

Top notes: Aldehydes, clary sage, galbanum, bergamot
Heart notes: Gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose
Base notes: Cinnamon, tonka bean, vetiver

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  The unapologetic user of men; Barbara Stanwyck in the pre-code classic movie “Babyface.”

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE MA GRIFFEbold, seductive, empowered

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT MA GRIFFE:  Yesterday’s Perfume, Smelly Blog, Perfume Shrine

BOTTOM LINE:  I acquired the bottle pictured above years ago from a woman who was cleaning out her aunt’s estate.  I believe it’s from the 1970’s or ’80s and is the EDT “mis-s-s-ster” version.  The “mister” no longer works so it comes out of the bottle dribbling from under the sprayer.  I imagine that the mister would provide a bit of a softer experience, but I can’t say for sure.  For me, Ma Griffe is interestingly bold and beautiful, but I find that it’s not something I gravitate to or wear very often.  I think’s it’s because I like my vintage perfumes to have a bit of a soft side and Ma Griffe is anything but soft from start to finish.  Still, it’s a pretty darn amazing perfume.

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Chypre Floral
  • Classification:  Feminine
  • Expense:  Prices for vintage vary considerably on concentration, etc.


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November Surprise – Vintage Guerlain Chant d’Arômes Eau de Cologne

I think most of us would agree that 2020 has been a challenging year at best.  The year for me thus far seems to have come to a crescendo in October.  October ended with the 3rd Tropical Storm/Hurricane of the season, thankfully none of which caused too much damage besides record setting amounts of rain.  Some friends found their houses leaking with water damage and/or flooding.  Ours managed to maintain.  But at the same time, and during storm 3, we had to move out of our house because we sold it.  Yes, people do buy homes in foreign lands during a pandemic.  And yes, we too were surprised.  Add to the stress of moving, our movers decided at the last minute they could not store our belongings as they said they could.  That’s a challenge because there is not any climate controlled storage here in Merida and the heat combined with antiques is not a good combination.  So, at the last minute we were able to find a rental that worked out perfectly.   But as 2020 keeps giving; two weeks prior to our move on a quiet Sunday afternoon someone decided to run a stop sign and broadside our car.  Thankfully we weren’t hurt, but the car is still on the shop.  So needless to say, this is why I haven’t posted in a month.  It has been stressful to say the least.

But now it’s November, we’re settled into our beautiful rental.  We’re starting the process for building our new house which is to be completed in a year.  We’re happy and healthy and we have a new President-elect which will hopefully bring promise for a better 2021.   So no complaints because we have plenty to be thankful for.  And add just a bit of a cherry on top to it all, I managed to find an unopened vintage bottle of Guerlain Chant d’Arômes.  I love the vintage Guerlain colognes and this is no exception and a great way to slide into November and a promise of a new beginning.

WHAT I SMELL:  Chant d’Arômes opens with soft and lightly sweetened florals which are greeted with bright aldehydes.  There’s a light powder and a slight metallic edge that seems to drift off rather quickly as the soft, light and bright florals take center stage.  The perfume is more of a collection of flowers than of compartmentalized notes.  The florals meld together to make for a spring bouquet of warm and enticing beauty.  Never harsh, nor too strong, the perfume is softness personified.

From Fragrantica:

Guerlain Chant d’Aromes was created by Jean-Paul Guerlain in 1962. This is a fragrance for a woman which wears perfume for the sake of her pleasures only. It is a floral bouquet that talks a language of flowers. This perfume contains natural essences and belongs to the ‘chypre’ olfactory group. The main notes are aldehydes, gardenia, mirabelle, jasmine, cloves, honeysuckle, ylang-ylang, heliotrope, benzoin, oliban and vetiver.

WHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME:  Contentment.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CHANT D’ARÔMES:  light, happy, innocent

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CHANT D’ARÔMES:  The Black Narcissus, The Non-Blonde, Perfume Shrine

BOTTOM LINE: Chant d’Arômes is a soft and pretty perfume that is infinitely easy to wear.  In reading other reviews of the perfume, it seems like the EDT and extrait have essences of peach, which I don’t find with the EDC version.  Instead, I just get a delightfully calming spread of innocent florals.

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