Monthly Archives: July 2013

It’s no sacrifice at all… Parfum Sacre Intense by Caron The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

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When they first turned up, a little before dawn three weeks after summer solstice at Wiltshire’s other set of standing stones, everyone assumed that they were out-of-their-minds hippies, a month late and a score or more miles off track for Stonehenge.

As quickly became apparent, everyone couldn’t have been more wrong.

The avant garde of beautiful boys in Afghan coats and not much else and sleek haired Misses is maxi dresses fitted the bill perfectly.

Spiral eyed and barefoot they ambled along in ecstatic absent mindedness, flowers in their long hair, beads trailing down to their bare or almost bare chests.

The big guns came behind and betrayed this as another sort of gathering altogether.

Three Rolls Royces, a brace of Bentleys, a Citroen limousine all followed by a compact convoy of auxiliary autos.

As the sun snuck its head over the horizon, washing the land sodium street lamp orange, a waft of the same citrus fruit’s scent carried across the air, heavy with clove and smoky from car fumes.

It certainly smelt festive, but what call Christmas in July?

So wondered the dairy farmer who, having grazed his cattle informally hereabouts for years came forward to enquire ‘what the hell’ they thought they were doing on ‘his land’?

At this attack a slight and slightly embarrassed looking man – the only one who might have passed for being ‘normally’ dressed, if that is a business suit at four AM in a West Country field can ever be ‘ordinary’ – stepped forward.

He took the herdsman’s hand and shook it vigorously saying at the same time in an assured tone that belied his manner…

“Your land? Oh no. I can assure you it’s theirs, they’ve bought it… lock stock and stones you might say… I have the deeds.”

Wishing he had never laid claim to the monument and its mound the other man was about to blurt out an apology when a great yelp, that reminded him and him alone of a goat he’d once alarmed, went up.

It was followed by a wail and then an emergence.

Out they came, as if called by the amber sunlight, out from the Royces, the Bentleys, the Citroen and all the other little cars: a crowd of confirmed occultists.

Draped in fantastical costumes that seemed to have been left behind from the last tour the Ballet Russes, these modernist expressionist fashion high priests and priestesses made their way towards the rocky circle.

There, the young disciples set out an orbit of foot high cow pat coloured cones, then lit each one in turn to release an odour not of manure but pure myrrh.

Our local in the midst of the madness is handed a steaming cup of liquid by a man in an oversized yellow and red jester’s hat, “Drink this” he says and then in answer to an unasked question “hot, spiced, mulled, Buck’s Fizz, it’s good”.

The younger, prettier adherents are dancing now, throwing improbable moves, their bodies undulating to music of their making, their voices ululating a strange but vaguely familiar tune: it is the last refrain of ‘Hey Jude’ sung over and over again with ‘la’ replacing ‘na’.

The older members of the group weighed down by their pseudo-clerical gowns are seated for the most part, forming a circle beyond the ring of myrrh.

They applaud and cajole the zealots, sometimes calling them over to caress their glistening bodies or present them a rose. Now and again with a whoop, an elder will create an ark of coloured dust, throwing a handful of spice into the air.

Cinnamon, cardamon, cumin, nutmeg, clove.

The disciples run into the clouds, bursting them, rubbing the pungent powders into their skin, making human camouflage of themselves.

And so a rhythm is established, a Tantric ritual of elongated self-expression and object-less worship.

Deliriously devoted the youths undoubtedly are, but to what remains ultimately clear.

Our small-holder remains transfixed, watching as gradually over three perhaps four hours, despite their jubilant elasticity, the youngsters exhaust themselves, collapsing one by one into the arms and laps of their benefactors who have lain in wait.

Like children now, they lie murmuring and allow their elders and betters to smooth their hair and uncrease their brows.

Assistants, under the direction of the be-suited secretary, bring forth oils to ease their limbs, fresh clothes to replace sweat stained chemises and skirts and sweet smelling vanilla liquids to nourish hungers.

The man of the land can see that they are all made up, powder prettifying their pallors and kohl extending their eyes in exquisite orientalism.

He feels he knows some of them.

From the papers perhaps?

But they have always been black and white before, photographed arriving at airports or readying to go on stage at stadiums.

Here they are in full imperfect colour, real, breathing, perspiring flesh.

The sun has passed through the thinnest colours of the morning and now rising in the sky assumes a power that threatens to fracture this fragile scene.

Gradually from reclines and embraces, intertwines and kisses the congregation disentangles.

Their various scents separate and hang as individual chords in the air: orange, myrrh, spices, vanilla, smoke, make up, musk.

And so they reclaim their carriages, each one seeming to know their place be it Rolls Royce, Bentley, Citroen or some other smaller vehicle.

The adults relinquish their costumes and assume the roles of executives and organisers chattering with the three-piece clerk, who remains unquestionably in charge.

Eventually, the caravan completely packed up, the administrator comes over to the farmer.

“That’s it for this year. You can graze your cattle here. They won’t be back again until this time next summer.”

His soft fingers slip a card bearing a London telephone number into the argiculturalist’s rugged hands.

“Any time.”

He smiles and turns and walks towards the rising wall of exhaust fumes and marijuana smoke that has just started moving towards the main road.

Lifting the card to his nose, nature’s man breathes in its smell.

It is the scent of that morning.

He wonders if they really will return and whether he should call the number.

Caron is too old and august a house to be described as niche.

Its history and astonishing array of perfumes set it apart from the sheer commercialism of the designer world.

For some people it is something like a religion.

Perhaps Caron has become, in the truest sense of the word, a cult.

If it has, it is the most luxuriuos, resplendent, decadent and decorous of denominations and Parfum Sacre Intense is its holy oil.

It invades the senses first with a viscous orange and clove smell that sings of celebration.

Then an enormous bank of clouds of myrrh arrives in a potent enticingly overpowering fragrant front. Mixed in it are precipitants of pepper and many spices.

There are a few florals, mainly a musk laden rose that lends the heart a romantic stage make up feel.

The dry down is long, gradual and languid: musk moving further to the foreground with a vanillic sweetness that tempers but does not overtake the smoke and spice accord that is the perfume’s reason for being.

For all its holy allusions though, there is a sensuous, sexual element to this scent.

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Erotic and Edwardian exotic in equal measure it truly is sacred and profane, a Byzantine church made brothel.

A near religious object worthy of veneration.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

 

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The Perfumed Dandy’s Bastille Day Scent… French Cancan by Caron

Just slipping under the wire on this continent with a scent to celebrate the storming of that most iconic place of incarceration.

However, this 14th July will not herald the unleashing of a new terror, but instead after a few weeks of Americana, things are about to take a decidedly French twist…

A mini celebration, as voted for by you my dear friends, of all toutes les choses Caron: the grandmaman of fine Gallic fragrance.

And if anyone asks why I’m devoting so much time and love to one house well…

If the French can, The Dandy certainly can too and two “cans” can make only one thing….

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s Coronation Festival Scent… 1953 Eau de Toilette by Pell Wall Perfumes

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This weekend in London, The Queen, or to use her official title…

Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith

… yes, that’s why we call her ‘The Queen’…

…celebrates the Diamond Jubilee of her Coronation in Westminster Abbey in 1953. Having marked the same milestone for her ascension to the throne in somewhat less glorious weather last year..

The streets of the most Royal parts of the capital are bedecked in imperial purple.

Huge Union Flags are flying along The Mall and a festival featuring displays from over 200 companies holding the ‘Royal Warrant’, the ultimate celebrity endorsement, and a series of all star concerts are taking place in the grounds of Buckingham Palace.

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Pell Wall Perfumes may not be recipients of a Royal Warrant just yet, but their fragrances are of a suitably majestic quality.

I have particularly enjoyed their Green Carnation before, an ostensibly male-oriented emerald floral with a spectacular and austere beauty that renders it a splendid addition to the wardrobe of anyone with a penchant for fragrances of a grass-coloured hue.

However, for the present occasion only the specially released 1953 Eau de Toilette will do.

It seeks and succeeds in offering an olfactory imagining of not only the scent but also the sensation of the anointing oil applied privately to Elizabeth a near lifetime ago.

The perfume opens with a sharp, almost heart-stopping, even shocking neroli: a metaphor in aroma for the moment the young woman received the sacrament that confirmed her position in a line stretching over 800 years.

Slowly, just as realisation of her part in destiny and her acceptance of it grew within her, so the fragrance opens up into an expansive heart rich in cinnamon and orange flower but with a certain meaty animalic undertone that borders on the mediaeval.

There is rose here too of a very particular sort: a high note blossom in possession of an alluring astringent quality with elements of the neroli of the opening and a sugared lemon that can be found in older English varieties of the flower.

Development is appropriately stately: a gradual and satisfying drydown to a luxurious, sweetly resinous, spiced, yet still partly animal odour that encompasses the breadth and depth associated with the finest scented oils.

I can only imagine how encompassing the extremely limited edition parfum must be.

This is a fragrance of an uncommon near archaic grandeur of a type seen rarely today.

In that sense it is a cypher not only for the Coronation but for the institution of the Sovereign as a whole.

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Sincerest thanks to Pell Wall Perfumes for allowing me to sample their celebratory scent by sending The Dandy a sample.

Many happy Diamond Jubilee greetings to you all from London

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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

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…

The Perfumed Dandy.

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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…

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Big girls need big… White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

She remembered reading once, in Time Magazine so she thought, about an Indian film that ran for five years straight in cinemas on its first release.

The same picture, so the article had said, was still playing somewhere on the vast sub-continent to this very day almost forty years later.

Looking across the Hudson at the mirrored towers of Manhattan not quite gleaming in the summer morning sunshine, she wondered why no picture house in New Jersey was playing National Velvet.

If they could run to regular screenings of The Sound of Music over in Brooklyn, surely there would be a demand for Liz’s first big flick in Newark?

Okay so it didn’t have the songs of The Sound of Music ergo no chance of a sing-a-long with giant foam hands and hoards of drunken hipsters hanging out to poke fun.

Plus she had to admit, there were only the two cute kids at the film’s heart not a beautiful Austrian tribe in made-from-curtains clothes.

And yes, yes sadly there was a distinct shortage of both nuns and Nazis in National Velvet.

But people would come wouldn’t they?

Perhaps.

She turns and starts inland weaving her way through the new skyscrapers of the new streets of Jersey City.

In 1944 when the story of a young girl trying to win The Grand National on a horse she had won in a raffle captured the hearts of a world gripped by war, this peninsular was a booming point of intersection.

Here ships assembled to harbour in relative safety from German u-boats before embarking in fragile convoys of floating steel across the Atlantic.

They took supplies to our allies and armies on the other side of the water, including, as she then believed, Velvet and her family.

In return they brought sailors and refugees to flood the streets.

Among the multitudes that made their way here were the women with a ready smile and a willing nature who eased the merchant marines time on shore.

They had a smell unlike anything she had ever smelt before.

Not the sophisticated French scents of the women in Boss Hague’s circle whose apartment s her mother and she sometimes cleaned.

Not the pretty Italian colognes that the Genovese wives of the gang masters who ruled her dad’s world wore, though no one could explain where they got them from in a war.

No this was an altogether different aroma, artificial, but in an exciting, modern, grown up way.

In a manner she felt must be alluring to men according to the fashion in which they fell on these women like bees at the mouths of open flowers.

Ascending the floors through her apartment building, one of the few not to be cast aside in the building of “West Wall Street”, she recalls a trip across the river some time after the war was over.

She had a little money from friends ahead of her impending marriage and determined to spend it on a perfume that would make her as irresistible to her betrothed as those women who worked the docks were to the sailors.

She asked one of the girls for the name of the fragrance she wore.

The answer came back all unpronounceable and French save for the words ‘jasmine’ and ‘lily’.

So she headed to the Flower District first to breathe in the aroma of the real blooms.

But the place she went to didn’t have jasmine, no call for it they said. And the lilies in stock were on the turn and being readied for a funeral cortege.

Without a point of reference in reality she headed up to Fifth Avenue, where even in her finest she felt an absolute scruff, and strode into the heavy doors of a department store before struggling to open them and squeeze her way in.

At the fragrance counter she whispered to herself, ‘jasmine’, ‘lily’ and ‘all grown up’.

The assistant, as beautiful and distant and made up as Miss Taylor in ‘A Place in The Sun’ heard her and smiled

‘We have just what madam’s looking for.’

And so they did: that same chemical composition of the imagined flowers with the names spoken in French accents and that indefinable attractiveness that she felt, no, she knew, she lacked.

“And how much is it?”

She didn’t even hear the woman behind the counter finish, for the first two digits out of her mouth put the prize way beyond the paltry purse she was carrying with her.

She flushed and turned and left and never went back.

Now, many years removed, sat at the small table in her kitchenette she still feels a little hope inside herself fold in on itself, some spark of innocent aspiration extinguish.

She wonders whether had she had the perfume things would have been different between the two of them.

Whether he might have found it in himself to love her, to stay.

Looking through her fan’s scrap book she reflects that she had all the clothes and jewels and fame and fragrances that money could buy but she still couldn’t or didn’t want to keep a man.

Staring into Liz’s violet eyes, a studio shot from the 60s, she smiles back at her and says aloud

‘But you never let me down’

Through Butterfield8 and both their health scares, through the bad tv movies and battles with weight, they were there for one and other.

And long after she’d stopped dreaming of owning that sailor-magnet scent, MissTaylor had even provided that for her and at a price she could almost afford.

Her only wish: that it would have come sooner, like a cure, and that she could have worn it out to the movies with her son and not to his funeral.

She closes the book with sadness and then a growing smile covers her face as the thought comes into her mind…

“Cleopatra, now that must be playing someplace”.

On its release in 1991 Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds already seemed like an antique aroma.

An aldehyde driven olfactory relic many wrote it off as a desperate attempt to cash in on the diminishing fame of a falling fading star.

Critics were proved wrong on both counts.

This is a robustly made scent that knows how to make the best of its slender means and the legend of Elizabeth Taylor has proved bright and enduring enough to see it through to two decades of healthy sales.

To be sure this is no premier perfume even amongst its peers.

However, it is an economically and elegantly composed pastiche of the great perfumes of the middle part of the twentieth century.

Though its sparkling chemical overture is a little rough around the edges in more recent reformulations, like a melody from a golden age musical played on an out of tune piano it still has the ability to conjure up the magic of the original.

The heart is much better with a lily that manages not to cloy for all its intensity and a jasmine that is sheer without being purely synthetic.

As spices and a speppery carnation yield to a base that is quite prettily musky with a slight oakmoss bite, the perfume enters a dry down which, though not as extended as it might once have been, is genuinely sophisticated, shimmering even.

It is here that the most effective allusion to the heyday glamour of the Dame whose name the perfume borrows is to be found.

This is a third act to be enjoyed with maturity and life-earned perspective.

There are better aldehydic, white florals with rose and spice and we all know what they are.

But in the celestial heavens of the celebuscents, the constellation of Elizabeth Taylor is among the most impressive and White Diamonds is its brightest star.

Can a man wear diamonds?

Well of course he can, if he finds the cut to his liking!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Never mind the six feet… Let’s talk about the seven inches… Youth Dew by Estee Lauder The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

Some said it was the largest trailer ever seen on location in the first six decades of the movies.

Some said it stipulated in her contract that it had to be the biggest, the best, the most extravagant and admired motor home in the history of American cinema.

No, in the history of America.

No one though could argue that right now it was rocking back and forth rhythmically and that the sounds emanating from within sounded a whole lot like on set love making.

Then. Nothing. Silence.

Suddenly the door of the Winnebago swings open and a spent twenty-something extra, shirtless and dishevelled stumbles on the metal steps before crashing to the floor.

The weary crew turn and watch and wait. Cups of going cold coffee in their hands, eye brows almost raised, bags weighing heavy underneath.

From the inner sanctum a sound like the rumble of distant Prairie thunder indicates a throat being cleared.

Then for a few consecutive seconds a huge hiss, a cross between a wet kiss and a punctured zeppelin, echoes across the set.

A moment later the same strange sound slithers all around again.

“She’s spraying” stage whispers the make up girl.

And all the assembled imagine in unison a dry ice cloud of perfume appearing from the doorway of the most elaborate caravan in creation.

What comes instead is at first one, then another, then a flourish of ostrich feathers.

A four letter word is the next thing to emerge from the palace on wheels, accompanying a very audible crash and the disappearance from sight of what must have been a spectacular headdress.

The vehicle lists dramatically as though a very heavy object has come to rest at an awkward angle, then it rights itself and footsteps can be heard.

The headdress it turns out is in fact a hat, and one of the most spectacular hats that Hollywood has ever seen at that.

Underneath this marvel of millinery is revealed the industrially beautiful demi goddess who has deigned to make ‘their movie’ magic with her mere presence.

As the cumulonimbus of her fragrant concoction forms a very warm front, enveloping fellow cast and crew alike, she, a no less impressive force of nature herself, processes into position.

The air is alight at first with an aldehyde brightness, then a thick viscous almost impenetrable jungle of smell, that near suffocates and yet at once seduces, saturates the atmosphere until it could almost be cut through with a spoon and eaten like syrup.
En masse they swoon.

The star meanwhile is gargling warm Coca Cola to relax her vocal chords.

“What the hell is that smell?” the director yells as after being summoned from his slumber he finally makes it to set.

“Why, mister ‘whatever-your-name-is-I’m-so-sorry-I-forgot’, that smell is me!”

He shrinks and she grows to fill the set as she will fill the screen.

She’s ready for her close up now.

Some say Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew used to be big.

Let me assure you Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew is big.

It’s other perfumes that got small.

This is a monster, but by no means a monstrous, scent.

The biggest perfume in American olfactory history in so many ways, it can still at the age of sixty plus not so much fill a room as engulf The Metropolitan Opera.

So what does the uber-scent smell like?

Without being facetious it smells like Youth Dew!

There are a handful of perfumes, No. 5 chief among them, that have a scent more of themselves than anything else.

They have become the points of comparison: other things smell like them, they do not smell like other things.

People dance like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, we do not talk about those whose technique Fred and Ginger aped.

For the record though this opens all bracing aldehydes and then becomes an explosion in a spice factory, or maybe that should be on the production line of a well known syrupy soft drink.

But there’s more, an accord of oakmoss and patchouli lies underneath giving a slightly darker edge, while a powerful powdery musk introduces a maiden aunt propriety into the proceedings.

All in all it’s a bare knuckle battle between a prom queen, a spinster and the local tramp!

Or perhaps they are just the parts that Youth Dew plays, because being the true star of every scene it never really ever stops being itself.

Perhaps indeed it is that instant recognition factor combined with the towering personality that almost overshadows the wearer, the way stars outshine their characters, that leads some people to dismiss or even detest this perfume.

Is it possible that we just don’t want scent stars to be as big as Youth Dew undeniably is?

For I can find little to fault in the fragrance itself: an intense, engrossing, delicious self-contradiction of an aroma all wrapped up in bow.

And I, for one, am happy to bow before it!

Indeed, I would be scared witless but deliriously excited to take it out on a date.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the nineteen50s… Youth Dew by Estee Lauder Ain’t there anyone here for love? 

Jaynes Russell and Mansfield, Diana Dors and Doris Day, Joan Collins to Marylin Monroe and even the young Brigitte Bardot..

“Sex” as Mae West once exploded “Sells!!”

Mrs Estee Lauder new this only too well too…

From the hourglass figure flacon, tied tight at the waist with a bow, to the dirty bourbon colour of the liquid within Youth Dew is silver screen sex appeal made scent 1950s style.

Now in its sixties, some today sniff that this smells like a retirement home, if so those folks are the residents of what must be the happiest sunshine establishment on Earth.

This is not so much a fragrance as a full frontal attack on the olfactory faculties.

‘Oriental’ seems the only appropriate term for a perfume that has a hemisphere’s worth of notes in its all conquering harmony.

Oh yes it’s spicy, but search deeper into its endless depths of draped velvet, damask silks and satin petitcoats and you will find a crinoline like structure of oakmoss, aldehyde, patchouli and gunpowdery powerful musk keeping the whole pavlova like creation on the road.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that this is some bright falling star, this is one heavenly body that has the staying power to remain a celestial fixture for generations to come.

Quite apart from all aromatic pyrotechnics on show and the oh-so-not-so-subtle double entendre of the name, this immaculate liquor would earn its place at the top of the perfume tree for another reason alone.

Before Youth Dew, American women did not, as a rule, buy perfume.

A lucky few had fragrance bought for them and the rest did without.

Mrs Estee Lauder was not satisfied with this state of affairs and so set about to change it.

Releasing her 1953 fragrance, she executed a coup de parfum that would change the way that scent was sold forever.

By launching Youth Dew both as a perfume and an eminently affordable perfumed bath oil she liberated women by allowing them buy scent by stealth for themselves en masse for the first time.

Once the American woman was hooked on the intoxicating juice there could be, as Estee foretold, no turning back and the the rest as they say is the perfumed past.

So phenomenally important is this famous and infamous fragrance that The Dandy feels a full scented letter is needed to do justice to its incredible life…

A missive has, therefore, been penned and is in the post with a view to being with you shortly.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the nineteen60s… Norell by Norell The fragrance of freedom

IMG_20130708_213507 1968.

Revolution is in the air, just about everywhere.

France is on the brink, there are riots in the streets across Europe, while student sit ins, civil rights marches and assassinations rock a United States still at war in Vietnam.

Meanwhile in the East End of London, at an outpost of the vast empire that is the Ford Motor Company a group of women decide that they have had enough of doing same work as the men who stand alongside them on the production line day in day out and taking home a fraction of their pay at the end of every week.

These women are neither powerful nor wealthy nor well-known, they simply have an inate sense of fairness, and the courage to stand up for themselves.

British though they may be, these are the kind of women I imagine wearing ‘The First Great Perfume Born in America’.

‘Norell by Norell’ is a distintive, clear and confident new voice in fragrance.

In industrious though never industrial shades of green, here is a scent that is seductive in the way that self-assertion and self-posession always are.

It is a woman enjoying the freedom and independence that a career rather than a ‘pin money job’ or ‘playing at work’ can bring.

It is a sense of satisfaction at having fought the good fight for justice and having won.

Norell attracts the mind and the soul in equal measure.

A bold bouquet of hyacinths, carnations sequestered from bosses’ buttonholes and daffofils plucked playfully from factory forecourt flowerbeds it gains its greatest strength from a backbone of galbanum and oakmoss and an irreverent aromatic come herbaceous uncurrent cribbed wittily from genleman’s cologne.

It is equal opportunites civil rights olfactory tour de force.

And just like the women at the Ford plant in Dagenham England whose strike forced the global giant to deign to pay them the same as their menfolk… it’s a winner.

Only one great American perfume remains… what could it possible be?

While you’re pondering, why not take a look at the full review of Norell by Norell.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy. The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s Nemesis: A Bug

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A bug, a virus, hackers…. who know’s what or who, but The Dandy has been under attack from person or persons unknown.

Happily, hostilities have come to an end and I have been proved victorious… well at least the blighters seem to have disappeared.

Lest they return I shall keep a flacon of one most fantastically fierce of perfumes to hand…

Dior’s Miss Dior, the actual perfume not the current sickly sweet impersonator, is a determined blast of oakmoss and citrus that positively screams (or should that be stage whispers) sophistication and sang froid in almost equal measure.

It is a delicious aroma that cannot fail to make the wearer empowered and those who smell it ever so slightly in awe.

So, if any metaphorical beasties (not like the charming gentle caterpillar above, who is, I think, actually quite adorable) come crawling out of the woodwork I shall have some impressive repellent to hand.

Oh that reminds one… I did once write a full review of Miss Dior. Have a peek if it takes your fancy!!

I shall now be getting all things back in order so expect a minor flurry of correspondence from your dear friend over then next few days!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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The Perfumed Dandy’s American Scents: the nineteen70s… Alliage by Estee Lauder Game, set and match

It’s nearly the end of the second week of Wimbledon here in London and for once the weather is sunny and unbelievably warm…

So far so good, but what has it to do with women’s perfume, the 1970s or for that matter America?

Well quite a lot as it would happen.

For this year the Women’s Tennis Association, the body that runs the female professional game, celebrates 40 years since its inception at a meeting in a London hotel just before the All England Club‘s championships in June 1973.

The WTA was more than just an exercise in sports management power politics, it was an important stepping off point in female emancipation.

The organisation was founded by women players, led by the iconic Billy Jean King, for women players.

It saw as its purpose nothing less than achieving something that had never been done in any other sporting arena: gaining equal pay and equal status for female athletes.

Their battle would be hard in a world where newly commercial competions were dropping ‘the girls’ game altogether, and in those tournaments that remained open to all men could earn twelve time what women did.

But these were women as determined to win their battles off the court as their matches on it.

No perfume captures the independence of spirit and sense of purpose embodied by the stars who formed the WTA better than Esteee Lauder’s Alliage.

Marketed as the first ‘Sport Spray’ this is a verdent green and grassy, vigouros, coniferous, vibrant and unappologeticaly mossy affair.

What’s more Alliage acts as an immensely effective olfactory air conditioning unit for the athletic human form in motion.

It is tennis played by Amazons on sweltering Summer days without a bead of sweat arising from foreheads creased in sporting concentration.

It is sport as scent and the scent of sport.

Just as the WTA was a touchstone for the struggle of women across America, acoss the world indeed to gain better conditions in and in some cases even access to the workplace; so Alliage, launched just one year before it in 1972 was the poster woman of a dynamic new begining in fragrance.

Scents that made sense for women on the move, ‘girls who were going places’ suddenly became the new vogue.

Fresh, feminine yet assertive, sexual but intellectual, at once playful and serious these new greens led by Chanel 19 and followed, by Silences and Scherrer and ultimely by unisex Eau de Campagne reflected a decade in which the first steps toward female empowerment became a march.

The Dandy could have chosen any of these sprays to represent the era, but it is Wimbledon fortnight, the weather is sunny and even warm and Alliage makes me think of tennis and America in almost equal measure.

The great news is this ‘bottled summer sport’ is available and appropriate all year round as I concluded in my full review.

And by the way it took until 2007, but now, at Roland Garros and Wimbledon at least, men and women do enjoy the same status and cash rewards.

Game, Set and Match Ms Billy Jean King and Mrs Estee Lauder.

Until we play again…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy The Perfumed Dandy.

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