In a real jam… Tresor by Lancome The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter


A spell of unseasonally warm weather has caused confusion for plants and flowers.

Looking from her lawyer’s window at the Inn of Court, she can see the The Walks with formal borders and faux fruit trees in full blossom.

Yet, on the lawns and in the beds, narcissi still hang on, not willing yet to yield their Spring to this silly three day Summer. In between, impatient tulips are already ready to take their neatly sculpted turn in the newly warm sun.

A few lilies of the valley, made to look accidental despite the care taken by the head gardener over their cultivation, lurk in an otherwise gloomy corner: all delicate and dainty in their counterfeit innocence.

The sun catches a slight fracture in the glass and concentrates in an unbearably bright line on the blank white page before her.

She turns wincing from it and finds herself unable to think. She wants to be somewhere, more precisely sometime else.

Exactly, she wants to be in last Summer.

A headline on a page towards the back of her discarded newspaper tells how a similar heat wave in the Eastern Mediterranean is adding to financial woes with cultivatory chaos.

Trees are maturing early and there are fears of a premature crop, of a glut of soft fruit: figs, nectarines, peaches and apricots. Just like last year, when through lack of demand prices plummeted and plums and gages remained on trees to rot.

She remembers how plentiful and cheap everything was, and how they shopped the markets together, struggling home with heavy bags to share their plunder with sash windows wide open and Sarah Vaughn on the stereo.

But even they, in their lovers’ hunger, could not eat everything.

She remembers that with what was left over they had made sugar free jam, and then recalls that one jar remains.

A gift for colleagues it has been shunted to the back of a cupboard in the communal staff kitchen. It takes only a moment to hunt it down.

It s in her hands now, and with the care an archaeologist reserves for the opening of an ancient cask, she prepares to open it.

The metal lid loosens and swivels and the vessel gives up a sigh.

Instantly she knows that the scent is no longer of Summer.

There is a strange note, almost like a melon or pear above the peach she had expected.

It is the pineapple that she added to give the thing some ping. It has matured into a solid autumnal tone.

She takes a teaspoon and carves herself out a mouthful of the dense matter.

Only when she places it in her mouth, when the sugary stuff touches her spit, can the apricots, which in their abundance made up the majority of the supply, be tasted. They are honeyed with age now, round and fat and confident on the tongue.

Then: the rosewater.

They had taken pounds of petals from the old bushes in Field Court and macerated them in vodka to make what the book told them was a tincture.

They had drunk some, and worn some as scent and put the rest in the jam.

One spoonful was quite enough to bring it all back.

Enough to remind her that since then a winter had passed and that, following one sharp shock, she too had passed from the May to the September of her life.

Tresor by Lancome may not be quite precious enough to live up to the promise of its name, but it is an elegant and adult scent that rewards the attention afforded it.

It is a perfume that puts pay to the notion that all fruits notes must be sugary sweet nothings: this is a complex composition imbued with a strong sense of recollection.

It is often said that this is a Summer smell, I would contend that it has much more of Autumn about it, of a drawing in of the harvest and taking stock.

Everything starts with a large fruit note that succeeds in neither being too cloying nor sweet nor, indeed, fresh.

This is a preserved fruit fragrance and for all that is undeniably peachy, there is element, perhaps in the interplay with a muguet that is definitely discernible, that creates the impression of cantaloupe melon or very ripe conference pear.

Beyond this is copious apricot, though created once again in a confit form. Indeed there is alcoholic element to this central section that makes one think of fruits floating in formidably strong Mittel-Eurpoean liqueurs, like specimens in formaldehyde.

Even the rose which forms the fragrance’s other main theme seems suspended in a very fine fruit jelly.

Gradually first the rose and then the apricot dissipate and, the floral scented jam all consumed we are left with a dry down that is a little disappointing in its vanilla and sandalwood predictability.

In the final account, Tresor is an excellent confiture.

An olfactory aide memoire for soft fruit and velvet roses.

Yet as with all preserves, it calls to mind the past and leaves one longing for the real thing that it can never quite be.

A gentleman is as likely to take jam on his bread as a lady.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy


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27 responses to “In a real jam… Tresor by Lancome The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

  1. Mr. Dandy,
    This was an absolutely delicious review (I am craving apricot jam at this very moment!). I wore Tresor when it first debuted…adored it. Has it been reformulated? I am almost in fear of sampling again if it has indeed been altered.

    • Dearest Brie
      I’m afraid to say I’m pretty certain it has.
      In fact The Dandy has just been chatting to some pals on Twitter and we are all of the same mind… it’s been ‘done’.
      It is still a complex and intriguing scent, but some of the richness and much of the power has gone, even in the EdP.
      Hey ho, what we have is good, just not as good as it could be.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  2. A treasure with a twist… Mm hm. That’s the way I like it, in story telling and scent. I will have to try this. Thank you, Dandy!

  3. Lilybelle

    I have an older edp. I never wear it anymore but I hang on to it because I love it. You’re right – it’s autumn jam, a bright season passed preserved in a jar. Spot on, Mr. Dandy.

  4. Another lovely review, sir! It’s now summer here in my neck of the woods (and an unbearably hot, humid one at that!), not to mention, mango season. I’ll find me a nice jar of mango jam, spread it on crackers and savor this well-written piece again …

  5. Dear Mr Dandy

    I am very familiar with Tresor as an old friend used to wear it all the time. I do like it, but maybe not enough to buy, but I enjoy it on others.

    It is an interesting example of how fruit and flora can be combined to make a beautifully balanced scent. At the moment the trend for cheap and fast fruity florals has given a bad name to some of the original trailblazers. Tresor is a classy example of how peaches and roses can get along nicely, without shouting. Today’s fragrance manufacturers could take a leaf out of Tresor’s book.

    Your friend

    • Dearest Iscent
      I feel, on balance, that I am with you… I will not be rushing to buy a full bottle of Tresor, but were an old friend to decide to wear it regularly I would be far from heartbroken.
      Equally, there are innumerable perfumes today that could take a lesson in the responsible and safe handling of fruit from this scent.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. Dear Marvel,

    I believe this ambitious project of yours not only highlights the gender aspects that we have exchanged thoughts about, but also serves another beautiful purpose. What in a romantic aesthetic mind is referred to as “the perfume world” etc, in practice has a reflection in the mirror that turns it into a Picassoesque and bulimic monster called The Market. Distorted to fit into excel sheets and marketing plans and budget prognosis. This favors novelty for novelty’s sake and is an insult to a number of significant creations that either sell to well to be analysed like they deserve to – or to little to win a spot on the shelves.

    What I intend to say, is that I really appreciate your way of directing the spotlight at olfactory work that has been forgotten, neglected and taken for granted – perfume by perfume, note by note. Your writing is exquisite of course, but more than that, you are a curator and director of The His/Herstory of Perfumes and you do your job in a way that makes me people like me enjoy reading your writing even more than sharing plunder with sash windows wide open and Sarah Vaughn on the stereo!

    So happy that our paths have crossed.


    • Dearest Sylvia
      The Dandy really does not know what to say in response to such beautiful and generous compliments. Therefore, he will let his blushes speak for him.
      On the issue of the market, it is so true that the current trend towards endless novelty (surely that very concept is oxymoronic, as continuous new becomes nothing but the new ‘old’) seems to be robbing us of the appreciation of perfumes as individual acts of creation.
      In particular I find the notion of the flanker somewhat distressing. Not because some of these scents are not good, they are, especially some by Guerlain, but their sheer number is surely unnecessary.
      How many ‘Angel’ and ‘A*Men’ derivatives does the world really need? And are some of these not actually independent fragrances seeking to capitalise on a known brand?
      The impression I am left with is that flankers and series, which make up such a large portion of new releases, are excuses to deliver to the market second rate ideas, under-cooked scents that in the past would have simply been left in the laboratory.
      Some people may have time to scour them all in search of the ‘hidden gems’ and I am grateful to them for their endeavours, but whilst there is still a remaining back catalogue of worthwhile perfumes from the past, I will happily dedicate much of my time to working my way through them with the trusted guidance of all of those who lay their hats at The Dandy’s and call this place, for a little while, home.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. I love Tresor, at least the original. I’m disheartened to hear that they have tampered with that formulation. Why can’t ‘they’ leave well enough alone? It seems that many of my favorite fragrances are being replaced with ‘new and improved’ scents. Ach! It’s upsetting. ;(

    • Dear Gripping
      Why indeed can good not be left well alone. The Dandy understands why regulation has hampered certain fragrances in their search for longevity.
      But Tresor, I can’t imagine there was much in the original that could have fallen foul of rules… perhaps it was not the molecules composition, but their cost that lead to the changes.
      Hey ho.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  8. It’s a very nicely told story, I enjoyed it on its own. As to the perfume in question… It was too mature for me to appreciate it when it just had been released and now, when I tried it from a mini bottle I have, I toldto myself that it was a pleasant perfume but I wished it didn’t smell so artificial and cheap. As much as I hate when perfumes are being discontinued I’d rather hunt for the rare vintage bottle of my beloved scent than be disappointed by how it has been neutered.

    • Dear Undina
      It is strange isn’t it that our personal journeys don’t always synchronise with those of certain perfumes and perfumery in general.
      Adoring oakmoss, I wonder why I had not been born just a few years earlier so that my collection could be in possession of a richer seam of this soon to be so scarce ingredient.
      Ah well, we are where we are and there is undoubted pleasure to be had in an antique hunt!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  9. Inns of Court …oh you took me back to my encounter with “Maggie Smith”. Lovely review. I have always wanted to buy Tressor…but fruit is not my forte…but this one sounds not sweet but rather nice. So I may yet try it.

    • Dearest Mr Lanier
      So good to see you here once more.
      The Dandy is not normally one for fruit, and though this scent may not be one to change that fact forever, for its depth and lack of saccharine sweetness, its complexity and maturity, this is a fragrance that deserves attention.
      I would advise a try, but only of the EdP or a much earlier edition.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  10. rosestrang

    You’ve really captured it Sir Dandy! I wore Tresor very briefly years ago though I can’t remember exactly when, it must have been a time when I felt a bit nostalgic because I remember it felt somehow fragile and dusty in an intriguing way, which I enjoyed at the time. I’m really curious to try it again to see what memories it conjures up – maybe I’ll remember what year I wore it and what was going on at the time! (smell being one of the most evocative senses). This review has lovely poignancy

    • Dearest Rose
      I do hope you try Tresor and it unlocks a cache of memories for you… be careful though, as I have the distinct feeling that all is not what it once was.
      A vintage spray may be in order if you can lay your hands on it.
      Very best of luck.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  11. Reblogged this on The Perfumed Dandy. and commented:

    The first flush of roses are coming to their end, but soft fruits abound.
    Time for making some jam.
    A chance to read this tribute to another of Sophia (White Diamonds) Gojsman’s classics…

  12. Lilybelle

    Yes, I was just thinking the same thing Mr. D: now is the time to inhale the full blown roses and make the fruit jam of next season’s memories. I like your review even better the second time around.

    • Dearest Lily
      I was about to post a rather horrid review of a perfume I can’t bear, which would have made more sense given the scents we’ve been discussing this week. But… the weather was too fine and my mood to good, so I thought I’d rather send something wistful and fairly seasonal out to you all instead.
      So glad you all enjoyed it, and that brute of a write up will have to wait for another day!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  13. Alice

    Thank you crediting this perfume with a little dignity, it’s too often dismissed as a superficial fruity floral – in fact although I liked it, I rather dismissed it myself when I was younger, thinking I should be aiming for something much more original and cutting edge. Time to re-visit with a more open mind!

    • Dearest Alice
      Yes, it is rather slighted, though I can’t help but think that’s at least in part because it’s been played around with. Nothing major, but the ‘rose preserve’ quality doesn’t seem to be what it was.
      I’m so glad I went back though… I’m sure you would be too.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

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