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June 25, 2005

Fragrance Review: Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps

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"And only dreamed imagination Had drowned in the empty dark Its flitting visions' pale reflections, The soul fancy's easy mark?" Aleksandr Sergeievich Pushkin

Carnation blossoms thickly overlaid with wintergreen and dusky bitter notes. It captures a moment before autumns falls into the winter and winter into the spring, a sense of something new and unsettling in the air. Its combination of earthy vetiver and nostalgic iris makes me think of fin de siècle parks filled with marble statues. A rich veil of chrysanthemum-like bitterness—a smell of leaves rubbed between fingers as one passes through the overgrown brambles absentmindedly caressing remaining flowers—folds over the composition. Created in 1948 by Francis Fabron, L'Air du Temps was one of my mother’s favourite fragrances.

Fast forward to the present. I lift the beautiful lid of intertwining doves off the bottle, spray the content on my arm and… Nothing happens, other than a whisper of something barely resembling the old beauty. It is faceless, utterly forgettable, filled with light and likable notes that together do not sing. If my grandmother’s bottle of L’Air du Temps is still preserved, I will wear it, otherwise I am not going near the reformulated version.

Poem: Aleksandr Sergeievich Pushkin (1799-1837), a greatest Russian poet of Romantic period. The excerpt is taken from "To the Fountain Of the Palace Of the Bakchisarai."

Photo: Pushkin's favourite statue in Tsarkoe Selo, a town near St. Petersburg, which was Russian tzars' summer residence. Pushkin studied in the town’s Lyceum from 1811 to 1817.

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