Tag Archives: Caron

Deep purple haze… Aimez Moi by Caron The Perfumed Dandy’s Scented Letter

“Strangely”

She said it sternly, with that single-mindedness that only brides to be seem to be able to bring to bear.

“Strangely, I haven’t forgotten that I have elected to get married in August and on the Algarve.”

She looked around at her assembled brides maids, her mother, her mother in law to be, her wedding organiser and assorted bridal wear suppliers, then straight ahead at the middle distance.

“But I still chose to wear a purple velvet dress and will happily accept the consequences whatever they may be.”

There was a general hush, a collective sidewise exchange of glances. Her look remained resolute, unflinching, implacable.

Too scared to even whisper a word of contradiction, gradually party’s pursued lips relaxed and melted into smiles, nervous laughter filled the air and the tension ebbed way as they accepted the simple fact.

The lady was not for turning.

When she insisted the outfit be cut in the shape of a Balenciaga ball gown, even though it was to be a beach-based ceremony, no one spoke up.

The bouquets of heavily scented violets and irises complete with roots revealed beneath the gathering bow, were allowed to pass too without by nor leave.

That the page boys be dressed in multi-coloured suits that had them resembling the liquorice sweets she adored was agreed by all to be a brilliant idea, a way of persuading small boys to dress smartly without squirming protest.

A toast of Pernod and blackcurrant cordial was met with silent resignation.

Only when it came to the vows was any dissent heard.

The celebrant, she had no truck with religion, swallowed hard when she ‘suggested’ that rather than the usual ‘Will you take this woman…’ tediousness, she address the groom directly, commanding him to swear unending fidelity to her.

The former curate faltered that perhaps this was a little ‘unconventional’, that it might be seen as a touch ‘pressurising’, that some people might even find the tone somewhat ‘domineering’

She looked him up and town then fixed her eyes once again into no man’s land. Saying only one word:

“Precisely”.

When the day arrived the weather was not as hot as it should have been.

A brisk wind came in persistently from the sea playing havoc with the bride before in a fly away dress.

Not for her the same fate.

Her silhouette in near starched, stroke-me satin velvet remained perfect.

Against the overcast sky her female attendants in lilacs and fuscias formed a human flower arrangement.

Alongside the little boys in rainbow raw silk suits and bow ties were gem stones scattered across the sand.

The profound purple of her dress sequestered what little sunshine there was, seeming to shimmer: a radiant darkness at the shoreline.

Then the moment.

In a voice of perfect nerveless clarity she elocuted:

“Do you agree from this day forth to take this woman to have and to hold, to cherish and adore, to honour and obey… to love me?”

All those brought together on the bay in unison mouthed…

“Yes”

As he alone and petrified spoke the word.

Aimez Moi by Caron is a supremely single minded scent almost to the point of being downright scary.

It is a profound, heavy, unerring perfume that takes a core accord and extends it into a peerless operatic piece of work.

At the opening it is a tale of two lovers: anise and violet.

Yet any of the usual sweet, sentimentally romantic notions one might have of either note are instantly nullified.

The violet is dark, as tangible as cloth, as otherworldy as the Gothic.

The anise meanwhile is savoury, earthy, dirty almost, bringing forth the root of the iris, the third member of this love triangle, who appears in the second act.

Our protagonists’ brooding passions are played out with an accompaniment of spicy cardamom, a peppery mint and an amber that seems to be the near unsmelt structure holding the whole thing together.

Somewhere in the maelstrom, as so often in such affairs, there is a suggestion of alcohol.

The whole effect is indeed intoxicating, not least for its strength and gasp-inducing sense of bravado.

This is a hard liquor Liz Taylor, Richard Burton and Debbie Reynolds sort of a scent.

Not to be taken lightly. Certainly not for minors.

Beware, for this could prove to be addictive.

A life long love affair.

The Dandy adores violets and savoury liquorice too, so in languid and lustful mood he’d be more than happy to wear this.

Whether all men are up to such emotional endurance sports is another matter altogether…

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Pour une femme ou… Pour Un Homme de Caron The Perfumed Dandy’s Weekend Scent

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Continuing my celebration of all things Caron…

This might appear at first sight to be something of an odd selection, for The Dandy normally picks perfumes that are equally suitable for all sexes.

Well, I think Caron’s Pour Un Homme is just so for just about everybody and, remarkably, most so in the diluted, airy almost-not-there-after-an-hour-or-so “After Shave” formulation.

Here the picturesque impressionist landscape of lavender which the lotion paints so perfectly, is softened and blurred beautifully around the edges by a delicate, near diaphanous almond-edged vanilla.

Exquisite, but ephemeral… it is gone all too quickly, though to my mind this makes a fine fragrance for the morning, refreshing reapplications in the heat, or even when heading off to sleep.

Delicious almond creme brulee, devoured in the sunshine of a lavender field.

Don’t forget, you can still vote for what The Dandy will be wearing Monday over at The Hit Parade, and there’s more to come from Caron this weekend.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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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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Of farewells and not forgotten… Scenes from The Perfumed Dandy’s American Adventure Part Five : Washington DC

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Our final day in DC coincides with the great return to work.

Memorial Weekend over, we decide to see the memorials themselves, hoping that they will have been shorn the attendant crowds that have flowed all holiday from them like curls from  the head of abundantly haired child.

Yet at the mouth of the narrow entrance to the  Vietnam War Memorial a line has formed even at this early hour of the day.

People wait in relative quiet to file past the shining polished stone with the names of the nearly sixty thousand men, all the dead recorded are men save eight women added after the wall was originally built, inscribed carefully in a sans serif font.

Saddest perhaps are those leafing through the books of names, great telephone directory like lists, looking up the location of inscriptions of people known to them, if not personally then through memory or family connection.

I feel this place deserves a scent, as The Great War Cemeteries of Northern France and Flanders smell of perpetually fresh cut grass and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier carries a feint hint of the gas that keeps the undimmed flame forever alight.

But there is nothing.

Nothing except a sort of anti-smell composed of the cellophane that wraps commemorative flowers too tightly to allow anything of their aroma to escape and the neutral void of over-washed and too neat children dressed in what would in an earlier age be termed their Sunday best.

My memory reshapes around funerals, the interments that many of the deceased remembered here would be denied, and of the flowers that accompany them.

Chrysanthemums.

Chrysanthemums coming flooding into my mind.

Like the great wave of these greenest of flowers that is Estee Lauder’s Private Collection.

Originally intended as a perfume solely for the great lady’s own use, like grief it was initially regarded as too personal for mass consumption.

But over time fallen soldiers and fragrances, it would appear, become everybody’s property.

As I am disgorged at the memorial’s end, I begin to walk away when a young woman, an enthusiastic intern in turns out, grasps my arm. She is working for CBS Radio and would like to know my thoughts, no ‘my feelings’ about what I have just seen.

I mumble a few words about being deeply moved and as I am speaking realise how many men and women there are in uniform all around and how America can sometimes feel like a nation still in arms.

As this realisation dawns, I find myself truly moved, understanding the connection that a country with almost one and a half million military personnel must feel towards its lost and missing in action and the many that face the same fate every day.

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One thing I have wondered at throughout my time in Washington DC is how few churches there are.

The National Cathedral I learn from a map is set apart in parkland someway off from Downtown.

Instead the city is dominated by great pagan temples, dedicated not to gods but men and in a style borrowed from Imperial not Papal Rome.

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The Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials are the greatest of these neo-classical conundrums.

One to remember the man who’s ideas formed the constitution, the other the President who waged a war and lost his life so that the privileges of that constitution could be made available to all men.

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These are places meant to inspire awe and assert America’s importance, in this they succeed in the way one imagines The Forum did when it was complete and functioning and not the ramshackle tourist highway it is today.

The sacred elements of both shrines are the words on the walls, the constitutional pronouncements on the ones the great address on the others.

The profanity is the subtle air of idolatry that lingers in the presence of such massively produced statues of men who were merely Presidents.

These are settings fit only for human not holy sacrements, and so Caron’s Parfum Sacre Intense, a mix of mountains of spice and myrrh, seems a suitable scent to accompany whatever theatricals need to be enacted here to keep the myth alive.

Right up next to the Potomac River, across from Arlington Cemetery, the massive marble slab of The Kennedy Centre, is like an enormous and immovable tombstone resting on its side.

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Its blank modernity is simply too much, too impersonal to remember a far too personable President by.

This block, an audition piece for an interplanetary parliament if ever one is to be built, says nothing of the man who lived in the White House with his young family, his back pain, his mistresses or of the tragedy of that dark day in Dallas.

As a monument it fails for it can never depose from our minds the images of Kennedy’s assassination or especially his funeral.

Jackie veiled, gloved, immaculate in black.

John John in powder blue, saluting the coffin.

The jasmine and animal smell of his mother’s Joy by Patou floating on the air.

The perfume that was once the most expensive in the world worn by the woman who would find solace in the arms of the one of the world’s richest men.

How distant they seem now, as far away as Guinevere and Arthur and the knights of the first Camelot.

How much closer, if not in time then in temperament, the touchingly low key memorial to FDR seems to today’s world.

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Here he is, with his frailty and four legged friend, amongst his words that speak so practically of justice and of real enemies abroad and poverty at home.

Here too is Eleanor, recognised in her own right for her own achievements.

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The first First Lady, but not the last, to hold high office of her own.

I can hear her words being spoken so distinctively:

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”

And I dream a carpet of lilies of valley, beautiful on the banks of the tidal basin and the sweet, innocent smell of muguet to mind me on my way. Caron’s soap supreme Mugueut to Bonheur to be precise. The perfume that was her favourite.

It is time to go.

A taxi ride across town to a railway station based on the Baths of Diolcetian conflated with the Arch of Constantine into an epic and enduring gesture.

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Here between incredible columns and beneath vast vaults, I contemplate….

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Why are arrivals always in outrageous technicolor , whilst departing is in invariably merely monochrome?

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Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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Our Agent Returns… le 3e Homme de Caron The Perfumed Dandy’s Selected Sunday Scent

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Well My Dears

Your temporary man in America has returned home and to his writing desk.

I did miss you all terribly you know.

After a couple of days to clear the head and get my bearings, I am ready, just about, to go once more into the breach and recommence my adventures in the world of “women’s” perfume.

But before I do, I thought I would indulge myself with a little choice of my own and what better than…

le 3e Homme de Caron by Caron?

After all, what perfume could possibly be more appropriate for a traveler returned than this French masterpiece, inspired by a classic British film, directed by the illegitimate son of a Knight of the Realm and photographed by an Australian in ‘Dutch Angles, about an American writer in post war Austria all set to the unforgettable tune of an Hungarian zither player!

As if all of that were not enough, I read, after years of wearing this chypre-like delight, that some perfume writers consider it too ‘pretty’ for men… and wonder if any wear it!?!

Well to that there is an emphatic answer…. I am The Third Man!!!

Oh, gosh, all this voyage voyage has gone to my head… I am The Perfumed Dandy.

One last reason why I chose this Carol Reed-influenced Caron today is that The Dandy bought his latest stash a sensational little store on off Lexington Avenue, NYC whilst on his travels.

More about that anon… Indeed, this week will be full of American snaps, scents and reminiscences… and perhaps the odd review here and there to boot.

And London Town?

The skies may be grey, but the people and the place remain glorious.

The weather is humdrum, the life anything but and most importantly, it’s home.

It’s good to be back.

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Just one final thing… as all the best sleuths and spies are known to say…

In keeping with the mood of mystery that this magical fragrance and the classic piece of cinema that inspired it conjure…

I wonder if you might be able to solve The Dandy‘s own little perfumed puzzle and identify which London landmark ‘the third man’ was snapped outside this morning in my own humble photograph at the top of the page?

Your missing person returned.

Your very own Third Man.

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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