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May 13, 2011

Fragrances That Influenced Perfume History : 100 Great Perfumes Series 4 / 10

Mimosa

Series 1 :: Series 2 :: Series 3 :: Series 4 :: Series 5 :: Series 6 :: Series 7 :: Series 8 :: Series 9 :: Series 10

I am continuing the 100 Great Perfumes series that originated from the perfumery training course I designed. The next ten fragrances display a trend that would peak in the 1980s—increasingly louder fragrances. This was an American phenomenon that first was explored by Estée Lauder in her Youth Dew fragrance and that subsequently received a new interpretation with fragrances like Lagerfeld Chloé, Giorgio Beverly Hills and Christian Dior Poison. The fragrances below also highlight a new trend that would mark the 1970s—green chypres, a vibrant combination of exhilarating green notes and the earthy darkness of moss and patchouli. Where would we be today without fragrances like Chanel No 19, Estée Lauder Alliage and Clinique Aromatics Elixir?

31. Rive Gauche (Yves Saint Laurent, perfumers Jacques Polge and Michel Hy, 1969)

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche illustrates the strong link between the present day perfumery and the past. Although overall this floral aldehydic blend continues the theme of Chanel No 5, it takes its main elements from Paco Rabanne Calandre (1969.) At one point in the development, it is difficult to distinguish the two perfumes, yet wearing them side by side, one can immediately see why Rive Gauche gained its iconic status. It weaves the same silvery floral tapestry of Calandre, but it wears like a silk slip. Calandre, in comparison, has an edgier beauty. Today, Rive Gauche does not resemble its original version (please see the linked review for more information.)

32. Ô de Lancôme (Lancôme, perfumer Robert Gonnon, 1969 )

A classical cologne that still retains its vibrancy and freshness—an elegant citrus-orange blossom accord suspended over a mossy, ambery base. It exists between the mossy neroli of Chanel Cristalle EDT and the fruity jasmine of Christian Dior Diorella. Remarkably successful and still very influential. Its bracing gin & tonic effect can be found in numerous citrus colognes on the market today from Eau de Rochas to Jo Malone Lime, Basil and Mandarine.

33. Chamade (Guerlain, perfumer Jean-Paul Guerlain, 1969)

Chamade is a love story of rose and hyacinth. Its creator Jean-Paul Guerlain was known for building his fragrances on a series of strong contrasts. To give the strong signature to Chamade, he relies on the juxtaposition of different strong sensations, from the plush richness of florals to the green bitterness of cassis. Chamade is embellished with a strong accord of green notes, while hedione infuses it with remarkable radiance. To this day, its beautiful evaporation curve and its perfect harmony fascinate perfumers. It is simply magical! Chamade subsequently influenced Jean-Paul Guerlain to create Nahéma, a fragrance in which he amplified the rose accord to the fullest. Moreover, elements of Chamade can be found in Gucci No 1, Caron Nocturnes, Rochas Byzance and Jean Patou Sublime.

34. Chanel No 19 (Chanel , perfumer Henri Robert, 1970)

The green floral genre originated with Balmain Vent Vert. Yet, despite the originality of Vent Vert, its rather aggressive, bold character did not much resonate with consumers. The next (more successful) contender was Chanel No 19, an exquisite marriage of green notes, galbanum, iris and vetiver. It was the trendsetter for fragrances like Hermès Amazone, Ivoire de Balmain, Estée Lauder Beautiful, and Cartier So Pretty.

A side note on galbanum, fragrance and politics. When Chanel No 19 was created in 1971, it was formulated with a superb grade of Iranian galbanum oil, which was sourced especially for this fragrance. However, when the Iranian Revolution broke out in 1979, the oil became unavailable. No 19 had to be reformulated, which was accomplished with much difficulty, because the original galbanum oil was of a particularly fine, rare caliber.

35. Diorella (Christian Dior, perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, 1971)

Although Diorella started out as an aromatic-citrus accord reminiscent of Eau Fraîche de Dior (1952) and Eau Sauvage (1966,) a strong peach note gives it an entirely different character. With the heady touch of jasmine absolute, Diorella gains a rich and warm facet. What made Diorella influential was its interesting watery accord, which has inspired the dewy fruity notes in fragrances like Prescriptives Calyx and the marine effects in Calvin Klein Escape. Bulgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert is very much influenced by the interplay between the watery and floral notes of Diorella. Amouage Jubilation 25 for Women and Frédéric Malle Le Parfum de Thérèse give a taste of Diorella in its pre-reformulation glory.

36. Alliage (Estée Lauder, perfumer Francis Camail, 1972)

Alliage (sometimes spelled as Aliage) is the queen of green chypre fragrances that include such gems as Estée Lauder Private Collection, Jean Louis Scherrer, and Clinique Wrappings. Dramatic, grand and elegant, it relies on a large dose of bitter-green galbanum. The rest of the composition—the rose-vetiver structure—revolves around this explosive accord. Today, Alliage’s bitterness is somewhat attenuated; however, I still find it to be a beautiful and original fragrance. It would be an interesting discovery for anyone who loves the green chypre genre since there are very few good examples remaining.

37. Aromatics Elixir (Clinique, perfumer Bernard Chant, 1972)

Few fragrances possess such a dramatic presence as Aromatics Elixir, an orchestration of rose and patchouli, bolstered by dark, balsamic notes and woody violets. Dusky and moody, it fills the space with an unforgettable aura. This masterpiece has influenced the creation of such excellent fragrances as Jean Couturier Coriandre, Ungaro Diva, Paloma Picasso, the original Fendi, and Estée Lauder Knowing. Still available in an excellent form.

38. Paco Rabanne Pour Homme (Paco Rabanne , perfumer Jean Martel, 1973) M

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme deserves legendary status for many reasons, not the least of which is its incredible offspring Yves Saint Laurent Kouros (1981). Among the aromatic fougère fragrances for men, it was the first to rely on the juxtaposition between the spicy woody and sweet ambery notes.

39. Gentleman (Givenchy, perfumer Paul Leger, 1974) M

The elegant leather and vetiver pairing of Givenchy Gentleman has deeply influenced the woody genre of masculine perfumery. Unfortunately, the Gentleman of today smells not at all like the original. Avoid the current wan woody incarnation and opt for Lalique Encre Noire, Frédéric Malle Vétiver Extraordinare and other dark vetiver fragrances.

40. Chloé (Lagerfeld, perfumer Betty Busse, 1975) discontinued

Chloé is the forerunner for loud florals like Giorgio Beverly Hills (1981) and Givenchy Amarige (1991.) It is essentially a voluptous tuberose, accented with heady white floral notes of ylang ylang and daffodil. Supported by the darkness of sandalwood and oakmoss, it is seductive, opulent and striking. Today, it is the type of fragrance that might appear dated, but one cannot help but admire Chloé for its boldness. I find traces of Chloé in Hermès 24, Faubourg and Versace Blonde.

Coming up next: the same year saw the launch of the first fruity-floral and the dark and controversial oriental.

Photo: mimosa, a classical perfume raw material, from wiki commons.

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