A SCENT FOR CHRISTMAS DAY : : FOREVER KRYSTLE by CHARLES OF THE RITZ (1984)

Grazing the antiques shops yesterday evening before buying all the Christmas groceries and an excellent dinner at a Japanese burger restaurant – everything washoku style, fresh and delicious, with mounds of daikon radish and yuzu ponzu sauce over my tofu – wearing vintage Mitsouko edt and Amis De Paris – I chanced upon another Mitsouko.

Never having seen a bottle this shape before, I was wary and at first assumed it was a fake until I saw the ‘demonstration: tester – not to be resold’ writing on the side and realized it might actually be a viable. Having a shifty sneak spray just to make sure, I would swear as an expert at a trial in downtown Denver that this is solidly the real M; in fact, it is a truly excellent, bite-spicy cloves and cinnamon to the max pristine number, a very vividly preserved young Mitsouko, and at six quid (around $10) for 97ml, this was was coming home.


Having a final hasty rummage through the box of perfumes before leaving, the impassive old snoot at the helm of the shop sat there as lively as Brezhnev in a vat of formaldehyde, while deliberating over a Ricci Farouche in a marvellous box and debating whether to get a YSL Rive Gauche bath soap (I couldn’t resist, but will save the Nina for later), I then espied an unfamiliar bottle, hidden behind all the others, with an unceremoniously stuck on ‘from the US’ sticker on it, alerting any potential buyers to the fact was not a fancy European creation, like all the others, but an American one.



A very American one. And rare to boot (bottles now go at online auction for around $200 on ebay, for those aficionados yearning to recreate the drugstore glamour of their 80’s heyday, or else ironic kitsch enthusiasts who can’t get enough of the fur-coated bitchslapping of archrivals Krystle and Alexis from the seminal supersoap saga Dynasty, which I admit I also have a severe soft spot for — -and so almost gasped when I saw this untouched fragrance just sitting there, awaiting my triple Rolexed clutches)

What is intriguing about this fragrance and its genesis in the giant web of perfumes that are out there somewhere in the world is that not only was this one of the first celebrity scents – out before Cher’s, Elizabeth Taylor’s, Joan Collins, pipped only to the post by Zsa Zsa Gabor’s from 1947, it wasn’t even created for the star in question but the soap opera character that she represented. So rather than the aspirational lure of wearing the perfume ostensibly bottled by a celebrity, you were unselfconsciously plumping for pure fiction – a fake human being, drenched in diamonds and pearls: and there is something quite meta-fantastic about this somehow – the bottling of a TV studio made illusion. Both Blake, and Krystle, in fact, in the original advert from the time, profess to have ‘created’ their perfumes for each other (“BECAUSE I LOVE YOU”), intones Blake like a thundering brachiosaurus (D and I would often have to look away during their extended fireside snog sequences) : but theirs is a story of true love.

Yes yes yes yes yes yes you say.

But what does it smell like?


Alarmingly good.

To the extent I am even worried that I might have to wear it tomorrow, on Christmas Day.
Have I marinated the chicken long enough?
Will these herbs suffice?
Will the prosecco be adequate or should we have bought champagne?

— me, anxious and bedbound in salmon pink and eggshell white worrying about preparing Christmas dinner tomorrow morning before welcoming our Australian guest from Osaka

But seriously.

Walking out to pick rosemary and bayleaves late in the pm yesterday, and seeing a raccoon stood there perfectly still in the moonlight staring back at me, I mysteriously found that I was becoming more and more drawn to the smell pulsating smoothly on my wrist.

My god, this actually smells really good, I thought to myself.

Gorgeous. A ‘me’ scent.

My god.

Is there a possibility that I am going to wear this unironically?

My first loves were ambers. And Krystle Carrington is a proud wearer of Bal A Versailles. Thus, the makers at Charles Of The Ritz must have cannily thought to combine the rich amber musk feel of the Jean Desprez masterpiece with the blonde ivory satin nightgowns and benevolence of ‘poor Krystle’, who is always being blighted and slighted by the evil Alexis and her mewling, conniving British accent (even if she is tough enough to defend herself when push comes to shove)

— – embittered Australian dinner guest looks on blankly having failed to put a wedge between me and my beloved after Christmas pudding- the seamlessly soft vanilla mimosa I emanate from my buffed shoulders utterly irresistible; and, as recommended on Fragrantica, I will even have some dabbed on behind my titanium restructured knees – –

In reality the D couldn’t deny it, though – this does smell fantastic on me (and far better than Mitsouko, which despite its fascination is totally wrong). What this says about me precisely I don’t know. I just know what this thing smells like. A little sickly, initially, I don’t doubt, with its come lively veneer ,but when the rich amber and vanilla-musk (very white musk/ animalic civet musk – in a good way) and the unusual top note of mimosa, freshened with some dresser top pink roses and bergamot, start to blend caressingly into skin………all the classics of this delicious category – Obsession – which came out a year later than Forever Krystle- Cartier Must, Moschino Moschino! and yes, even Bal A Versailles, do come to mind but are not necessarily, any better: : this is creamy, dreamy and good, of fine construction: and most definitely worth, at the current exchange rate, an enchanting £5.22.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “A SCENT FOR CHRISTMAS DAY : : FOREVER KRYSTLE by CHARLES OF THE RITZ (1984)

  1. Patricia

    The pics are fabulous and the text! I never watched the show but what dressey girls.
    Wishing you Merry Merry Merry!
    Patricia

  2. This is so frustrating. Because where on earth am I going to get to smell this? Is Japan special for all these perfume bargains, or am I just not looking hard enough while trawling virtually all the flea markets in the UK? The most I ever see are tiny, very soured miniatures of blockbuster scents, or the occasional full size Opium or Yvresse for about 200 quid. I am very jealous. Regardless, wishing you a marvellous Christmas.

    • I know my mother has found quite a lot of perfumes in the local charity shops over the years and has accumulated quite a little collection, including Guerlain Acqua Allegorias etc and a perfect vintage Je Reviens which is stunning, but you are right: in general, antiques fairs etc often just have empty bottles (boring!) or overpriced miniatures. I know in America it is the estate sales that drive perfume nuts crazy, where you just go and dig around some dead person’s bedroom or bathroom and walk off with the stash, but there is something a little morbid about all of that for me.

      It’s such fun finding real scent bargains though. Forking out £250 or whatever for some niche creation at a department store or boutique has its own inherent pleasures of course, but it’s not quite the same.

      • Charity shops! That might be the missing link, thank you. I tend to make a beeline for the 60s glassware and ignore the rest. Still, I imagine it takes determination and some knowledge, and I probably wouldn’t have taken the chance on something that looked like Forever Krystle, or known its significance. This has inspired me to finally watch Dynasty, though, so, thank you for that.

      • Seriously? You have to have a real appetite for utter trash to watch such a thing (and the new version was beyond even my own parameters for such things). Ultimately, watching the old Dynasty episodes now is just an exercise in total, I was going to say nostalgia, but it isn’t even that really as I certainly don’t ‘miss’ that period as such. It is just fascinating to be immersed in the trimmings of the period and get absorbed in all the ridiculous melodrama (and to gasp at the wonderful malevolence of Dame Joan Collins).

        As for charity shops….YES. Always check those dusty corners.

        JUST IN CASE.

  3. All Fragrantica has listed for notes of Krystle is musk, mimosa, rose, and bergamot. That seems a bit of an understatement judging by what you have described.
    I was more of a Dallas fan and took Victoria Principal’s character (Pamela Ewing) as my style icon for a bit. I even sported an auburn pageboy ‘do like hers for a while in the 80s. She had a perfume that was absolutely love along with with her skincare line called Principal Secret. The fragrance was named White Violet and true to its name replicated the ephemeral scent of white violets. The powdery floral violet top was balanced by a realistic lotus note, green violet leaf, and underscored with delicate white musk. It was in a purple bottle with a clear lucite lid. Very pretty, feminine, light, reminiscent of freshly bathed skin. Kind of reminded me of my Baby Tender Love scented doll I had as a child. I wore it as a work fragrance throughout the 90s, received many compliments. Sadly, it was discontinued about 2010? I have a partial bottle I’d love to have replicated stashed away.

    • White Violet has been mentioned on here before: it sounds heavenly.

      Clearly, there is more to many of these celebrity fragrances than initially meets the eye.

      As a kid, I was also much more of a Dallas addict-loved Sue Ellen and the whole shebang.

      And I did wear Forever Krystle on Christmas Day!

  4. Robin

    Very entertaining. Didn’t watch the show, but its lowbrow cultural presence was pervasive here in Canada. I wonder how many baby girls born in that era were named Krystle? I admit to a slight shudder to think.

    It never fails to get to me how fabulously made those older mainstream fragrances were. Forever Krystle sounds like a prime example. It’s such a drag that it’s all been dragged down by the greedy impulse to decrease production costs and increase profit margins over the decades, coupled with the stupid restrictions we’ve rightly railed against this century. Grrrr.

    Which is why finding gems like this for cheap is so gratifying. It’s like a little F U to the industry that has whittled away so much of our pleasure. When you tell us about finding a new one, I think we all raise a figurative fist in solidarity.

    That’s so weird that estate sales in the US are actually in people’s homes. Here, everything is taken out, curated and displayed in a store-like setting. Which reminds me of the last time I attended an estate sale myself. I found a boxed one-ounce Organza. I thought it was vintage, which Ric likes on me. Got it home only to find it was the current formulation. Side by side comparison with my old bottle demonstrated with disappointing clarity that it was indeed vastly inferior. Ack. At least it was cheap.

    I do agree that buying a great new expensive niche bottle at a beautiful shop has its pleasures. But all things considered, most of the time I’d rather unearth a dusty vintage treasure like your Forever Krystle for peanuts.

    While Mitsouko might not do your skin any favours, I envy you any vintage bottles you find. I am hoarding mine and I’d much rather be able to be lavish!

  5. Wow!! I used to love Forever Krystal when I was youmger. My Mama boought me a bottle as a gift when I was around 14 or so, and I absolutely fell in love with it. It was so different than all of my “serious” fragrances I owned, but it was not like a cheap drug store smelling scent either. It was very well made, and the ingredients used were of excellent quality.
    I will have to hunt for a bottle, to add to my collection. I have not thought of this fragrance in almost 4 decades, so happy you found it!!

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