The Scented Hound

Abbreviated perfume & fragrance reviews from one man's perspective


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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.


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Vintage Chaldée by Jean Patou

Chaldee

WHAT I SMELL:  Vintage Chaldée opens with a deep warm full-bodied floral bouquet.  I’m not sure if the top notes are still there as the perfume sets very quickly into the resin based floral presentation.  The perfume is thick and rich with a deep lilac presenting itself as the floral star.  But the lilac isn’t soft and gentle, instead its thickened with the opoponox.  After a while, a dust covers the base of the perfume, giving it a vintage feel without making it feel like it belongs in another time.  The dust then turns to more of a cotton and for some reason it reminds me if the smell of brand new white tube socks.  After around 20 minutes, the vanilla brings an ever so slight sweetness to the warmed florals.  Funny, after around 1/2 hour, a little bit of civet seems to creep in giving the perfume an added depth and dimension.  Finally, the perfume ends it’s journey in this warmed and flattened bouquet that projects this beautiful and confident persona.

Top notes: orange blossom and hyacinth. Heart: jasmine, lilac and narcissus. Base: opoponax, amber and vanilla.

Large floral hatWHAT IT SMELLS LIKE TO ME: A grand hat from a bygone era.

THREE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE CHALDÉE:  warm, contained, deep

WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT CHALDÉE: Now Smell This, Perfume Shrine, I Smell Therefore I Am

BOTTOM LINE:  For an eau de toilette, vintage Chaldee has a large personality and is incredibly long-lasting.  I recently had a chance to test the newly reissued version in eau de parfum concentration and it opened up grand and glorious much like the original.  I was ecstatic.  However, surprisingly enough, it didn’t have the lasting power and it turned rather dark on me.  I do need to give it another chance though…but the vintage….oh my, beautiful.  Thanks to Holly for this beautiful gift!

  • Bone Rating:  4 out of possible 5 bones
  • Scent:  Oriental Floral
  • Nose: Henri Almeras in 1927
  • Classification: Leans feminine, but could be unisex
  • Expense: Prices vary on eBay.