Category Archives: Classics







I picked up a bottle of Guerlain’s classic Mouchoir De Monsieur the other day for thirty dollars: I could not resist. Although I remember smelling this Belle Époque ‘gentleman’s cologne’ at least three decades ago, probably down in Harrods on one of my always exciting Perfume Day Trips to London – when to a much younger person still in his tender teens its louche lemon and civet just smelled like a lascivious adult’s bad breath.   I don’t know if have experienced it much – if at all –  in all the years that have intervened.



One of the ‘secret’ Guerlains : those that are still in production for the faithful but are not usually put on display, the version I remember was silkier, more lemony, musky and even more deadeningly animalic,  like a bristling and unwanted  moustachioed kiss: strange  to think that the purpose of the dandy’s liquid accoutrement was to gently douse one’s embroidered mouchoir – one’s handkerchief, as a gesture of love or a declaration of flirtation to a finely dressed lady who was probably dressed in Guerlain’s contemporaneous Violette De Madame – a kind of twirly moustached his ‘n hers, fashionable and of the moment  – and a symbol of cleanliness and hygiene when the almost filthy animalic contents in the flacon were anything but.









On me, this newer, attenuated  version of Mouchoir smells like a vintage Shalimar drained of its vanilla and iris crossed with the cooler DNA of its cousin Jicky, a legend that has never quite worked on me. I like this perfume better – more citrically fresh minus the prettier Jickyian herbs and lavender and the less candid civet base, Mouchoir De Monsieur comes across more suave; understatedly erotic. Funny to think now of my horrified youthful self recoiling in ingenue dismay; openly grimacing at all this semi-bawdy Parisian suggestivity (cloaked in what I could tell was its secretly elegant nonchalance) in the imposing perfume halls of that department store in Knightsbridge on a bustling Saturday afternoon many years ago and me here now : lying back this evening, reclining like a lounge lizard, inhaling the back of my hand quite contentedly.






Any thoughts on this perfume very welcome.












Filed under Citrus, Civet, Classics, Lemon




On Monday morning at Strawberry Fields in Kamakura I had a naughtyish splurge on a cache : for sixty pounds sterling, a vintage 30ml Opium parfum, a No 19, a Caron Fleurs De Rocaille extrait, but these were kind of thrown in, really, because the real purchase, and prize, was this vintage edition of Amouage Cristal for men ( or possibly Gold? Experts please weigh in ) that was roaring to me silently from the top of the glass shelf.









The bottom of the bottle says Cristal, apparently a rare perfume on eBay that sells for around 1,000 dollars  – the Japanese internet has one for half that









but the notes do seem to match those of Gold, an intense ( though this word doesn’t do it justice, not remotely ; I have never known anything like it ), aldehydically animalic, musky soapy floral that smells just like a pristine extract of Madame Rochas parfum on United Arab Emirates steroids and cristillated to spectacularly nuclear strength.









The second I sprayed this oily, golden slick of perfume on the back of my hand I experienced a delirium tremens of being enveloped, head to toe, in regal downiness and flowers; rose, jasmine, but most specifically a powdery sandalwood and overall smell that reminded me very specifically of Imperial Leather soap – which I have always loved, and can use up a whole bar of in one long sitting…………….despite the swirl of richness gradually coalescing into one skin smell, the overall feeling is definitely that familiar scent; I use the talc and the deodorant spray, and having this too as the main event after all that initial background pampering will be orgiastically pleasurable for me. I was practically WRITHING on the train back home in olfactory arousal: tending and loosening like a cat in heat ……  perhaps the sublimated civet, that I experience without consciously sensing it: some secret code of sensuality immersed in the blend that makes it just so horny yet so MAJESTIQUE.




















To me, anyway.





D was having none of it.






“it smells……. pissy, or something” he said when we met in Ofuna : “I don’t like it”.













And on Basenotes :





“Musky, soapy floral, like taking a bath in the clawfoot tub of my gtandmother’s house in the seventies “




says one reviewer.




“I got through the initial blast of granny’s partially soiled bloomers, tiptoeing around the house trying to avoid my wife”,





says another.





Most other reviewers spin variations on this ‘old lady’ incontinence theme ( WHICH I DON’T GET AT ALL ::: I JUST SMELL SWOONWORTHY ARAB PRINCES IN WHITE ROBES )




– an (ageist, sexist ?), scaredy-cat reaction to a man’s scent that veers from the usual, ‘masculine’ brutality? Or maybe Duncan is right after all and I am just blind : though he does like the beginning, which is glorious: derailingly erotic for me personally, there is something in the base he can’t abide. A grimacing recoil.  It almost makes me fearful, like some dreaded halitosis I am unaware of, that my olfactory apparatus has gone awry. Why does it smell like that to him ??????





As another reviewer of the perfume says,    (as I mentioned I think this perfume must be Gold, (though please correct me if I am wrong) / could the ‘cristal’ on the glass be just referring to the material of which the bottle is made? It does feel ludicrously expensive]]










Yes. That was what I was wanting to say.





Wow is precisely the word I would use to describe this extravagant creation.




Which obviously I am only going to be able to wear indulgently alone, doors locked and bolted ,at home.














Filed under amber floral musks, Antidotes to the banality of modern times, Civet, Classics, Floral Aldehydes, FUCK EVERYTHING, Hairy Masculines, LUXURIANCE, Masculines, Musk, New Beginnings, occasionally sickening scents, PERFUME AND PERFORMANCE, pigs, postcards from the edge, Powder, Psychodrama, Urine





The perennially elegant, if no longer fashionable, classical aldehydic floral chypres are all crafted along quite similar lines: citrus and/or green notes suffused with the sculptural abstraction of aldehydes; a multitude of flowers with a heart of rose and jasmine; optional strokes and touches of herbs, fruit or spice; oak moss; and a warmer, more sensual finish of sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli; resins, balsams, musks, and other delicately handled animalics.


The symphonic complexity of these perfumes, the inherent contradiction between a closed-off, impenetrable chic (the primness of green floral accords and citrics doused in crystallic aldehydes) and the simultaneously, subliminally acknowledged animality of the warmer skin tones, is what makes this genre of perfume so deeply appealing to me, a genius of suggestion.


Yet while superficially similar and ‘perfumey’, registering to the person experiencing the fragrance as grown up, Parisian, refined, untouchable; the proportions of the ingredients used by the perfumer; the accent on particular, unexpected essences and on peculiar tensions deliberately fashioned within the scent make the most successful and enduring examples of this fragrance family also shine through with their own poise and individuality.


Thus, we have Calèche (cypress; lemon: arch, unrivalled) contrasting with Arpège (mellower, deeper, mossier, more motherly); Ma Griffe (leaf fresh, young Edenic gardenia overdose) quite different from Guerlain’s life-loving Chant D’Arômes and its spiced orchard notes of pear and plum, or else the tighter, patchouli -deepened honeysuckle that is Yves Saint Laurent’s first perfume, Y; the jasmine hysteria of Van Cleef & Arpel’s First, or the uncompromisingly soft green rose of Paco Rabanne’s exquisite Calandre.


Antilope, a similarly themed antique perfume by fourrier Weil, is also its very own, inimitable creature. Placed somewhere in the pantheon between Calèche and Ma Griffe, I find Antilope to be a perfectly named creation that, while certainly animalic enough to stress the rapidly beating heart of a graceful gazelle roaming single mindedly across the savannah, is also dry and grassy enough to evoke that very terrain. A sweet, bright, sun-dried hay-like facet formed of neroli and bergamot, clary sage and galbanum is made more nuzzling and textured with a persistent note of a coumarinic tonka bean and oak moss: gentle, affectionate.



Unlike other more garmented and city-fed floral aldehyde chypres – the crisp, green no nonsense bite of the original, tweed-suited Miss Dior; the silkily aldehydic flower sheen of Tamango by Leonard, Antilope, as its name might suggest, does indeed feel slightly less hidebound, more open. On this cooler, more thoughtful September day, I find it quite beautiful.



Filed under Classics, Floral Aldehydic Chypres, Flowers, Weil Antilope Vintage Parfum Review