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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sortilege by Le Galion c1937

Sortilege by Le Galion: launched in 1937 by perfumer and Le Galion owner, Paul Vacher. The name means "spell" in French. It's magical blend was composed of over 80 ingredients. It was suggested to be worn for blondes and brunettes, and described it as sumptuous, warm, luxurious, and suitable for evening wear.

The fragrance was available in parfum, parfum de toilette, eau de toilette, bath oil and bath powder.

Drug and Cosmetic Industry, 1937:
"Parfums Le Galion are being announced for the first time in America. Sortilege Le Galion is a delightful fragrance which captures the dash and sophistication of Paris. Gardenia Le Galion, and Jasmin Le Galion are living and luxurious odors of these flowers. Sole distributor for the United States: John J. Tracey."

Motion Picture, 1947:
"Well known (and manufactured) in France, Le Galion Perfumes now available here: Sortilege, Brumes, Bourrasque, Gardenia and Tubereuse."

Cue, 1954:
"And the bouquet from the real brandy-inhaler comes not from Courvoisier but from the dram flacon of the Stork Club's Sortilege perfume and the fluted 2-ounce bottle of Essence of Sortilege which nestle inside. $7.50."

Woman's guide to Europe, 1954;
" Le Galion, 50 Roulevard Victor-Hugo, Neuilly. "Sortilege"— popular at the Stork; "Le Jasmin" and "La Rose"— flowery, for a balmy evening; "Snob"— warm and heavy."

L'Art et La Mode, 1959:
"Très féminin, très élégant, « Sortilège » de Le Galion est le dernier et fidèle amour de Paris. Cette définition lui convient à merveille. Il réunit et combine, dans son délicat arôme, l'odeur chaude des roses d'Orient, l'odeur verte du muguet.."

Vogue, 1965:
"Sortilege by Le Galion, in its straight perfume form and in its lighter-veined "Parfum de Toilette" to fortify the fragrant life, to go on with more splashy abandon."

Harper's Bazaar, 1965;
"Jasmine blossoms, the full concentration of fragrance is said to occur in the first three days of blooming. These are the flowers Parfums Le Galion blends with white hyacinths, wild lilies and other esoteric elements to make Sortilege perfume. Magnetic and full of sorcery. Sortilege magnifies the artifices of the woman who is a born witch."

Fodor's Guide to Europe, 1970:
"Le Galion, "Sortilege" (for blondes and brunettes, sumptuous, warm, luxurious, for evening wear) — "Snob" (refined, rare, aristocratic) — "Brumes" (for blondes, flowery, sweet) — "Bourrasque" (young, for sportswear) —  "Jasmin" (the richest and most precious) — "Eau Le Galion'' (for men)."

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like?  Sortilège is classified as a floral aldehydic fragrance for women. Powdery aldehydic top, floral with a rose-jasmine heart, and a sweetened balsamic, woodsy chypre base. Similar to vintage Chanel No.5 and L'Aimant by Coty.

  • Top notes: bergamot, aldehydes, hyacinth, neroli, strawberry, peach
  • Middle notes: Bulgarian rose, jasmine, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, Florentine iris, lilac, violet
  • Base notes: vetiver, sandalwood, cedar, vanilla, tonka bean, civet, musk, oakmoss, opoponax, ambergris
The fragrance was discontinued in the late 1980s. In 1985, IGFD named U.S. distributor International Cosmetic & Fragrance Distributors (ICFD) acquired distribution rights for Paris-based Parfums Le Galion fragrances which includes Sortilege for Women, touted as the "fragrance of the Stork Club" and "Special for Gentlemen". Both scents were in limited distribution since 1956. However, the company planned heavy promotion and marketing to reintroduce the fragrances.

First Reformulation and Relaunch:

In 1999, Long Lost Perfumes, owned by Irma Shorell, purchased the trademark name of Sortilege and created their own version of the fragrance, which was available only in an eau de toilette concentration.

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a floral oriental fragrance for women with bright top notes and powdery florals.

  • Top notes: bergamot, peach, aldehydes, orange blossom
  • Middle notes: lily of the valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, violet, lilac, and orris root
  • Base notes: musk, oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka, vanilla, opoponax, styrax and amber

Second Reformulation and Relaunch:

Inspired by the beloved original scent, perfumer Thomas Fontaine reformulated the composition with modern ingredients. Today's version of Sortilege had to conform with the regulations of IFRA, so oakmoss was excluded and many of the raw materials that were originally used are no longer available. Sortilege was relaunched in 2014, following the successful resurrection of the house of Le Galion with Nicolas Chabot in collaboration with Paul Vacher's granddaughter Dominique Vacher.

You may visit their website at http://www.legalionparfums.com

From Parfums Le Galion:
"The iconic fragrance of the House Le Galion and signature perfume of the famous Stork Jazz Club in New York in the 1930s, Sortilège returns today in a composition faithful to its origins. A floral aldehyde composition, a totally seductive fragrance full of history. 
Sortilège, displays an intense and mesmerising vapour trail of floral aldehyde, beginning with a soft blend of white flowers and ylang-ylang from Madagascar. The explosion of its floral bouquet reveals Egyptian jasmine and delicate notes of mimosa, sustained by narcissus. Turkish rose is the beating heart, partnered with iris and leading into Indonesian sandalwood and vetiver on a background of animal and amber - an intense, mythical fragrance. 
Sortilège has a balanced bouquet of perfect elegance: feminine, refined and distinguished - the scent of a mysterious and confident woman. Intense, elegant and sensual, it exhibits the perfect alchemy between perfume and skin."

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a floral aldehydic fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: aldehydes, lily of the valley, lilac and ylang ylang
  • Middle notes: Turkish rose, Egyptian jasmine, mimosa, narcissus, iris and mimosa
  • Base notes: vetiver, Indonesian sandalwood, musk, labdanum and amber

Today you can purchase this from Jovoy in France and some other select perfumeries in Europe like First In Fragrance. The fragrance is available as 100ml Eau de Parfum for around $178 USD (140€).

Review and Inspirational Passage:

Today I received a box of samples directly from Le Galion for the purposes of reviewing. I opened up the box and found a beautiful booklet illustrating the various fragrances and giving the histories of the brand as well as the perfumes themselves. Underneath the booklet was a set of nine mini bottles arranged inside a nest of crinkly black paper. I was elated! This was akin to the feeling I get when I open a Christmas gift. This was a wonderful presentation, and the perfumes themselves were worthy of it. The sample of Sortilege came in a little 7.5ml clear glass cylindrical flacon with a black screw cap and a cloth-like label. There was certainly enough perfume to use several times before giving a proper review, but since I was so excited, I decided to do a review on Sortilege tonight.

I must begin this by saying that I was pleasantly surprised. I was half expecting a modern, aldehydic, sugary sweet stink bomb, as is the popular genre nowadays even with the return of old houses....but no, this actually smells like a vintage perfume plucked from someone's hidden stash, one that hasn't turned sour. This scent was NOT made for the 14 year old teeny bopper at the mall. This was created for the sophisticated, elegant lady. A lady who appreciates traditional French perfumery.

At first dab, it has a wonderful powdery aldehydic top note that is seamlessly blended with delicate florals. Here I find a bridal bouquet of roses, lily of the valley, lilac, and jasmine with a spike of narcissus and ylang. This smells like a very expensive French soap. I adore the soapiness here. There is no sharpness that I thought I would encounter, just velvety soft florals mixed with dusty iris. The mimosa gives it a fuzzy effect that I love. Wrapped up in this kitteny-soft cashmere like dry down is sandalwood and musk. Ambergris and labdanum round out the composition in a soothing marriage upon the skin.

The chypre accord is very subtle here, not the pungent green that you normally associate with the chypres. I notice that very well-done chypres have an accord which I like to call the scent of old money. The distinct smell of dollar bills taken from an old leather wallet. The fragrance Balenciaga Paris, has this divine accord.

After about two hours, I can still smell traces of the florals and the musk, it is very comfortable and would be ideal for romantic evenings or to spritz on before bed. I also feel that it would be a nice fragrance for a bride to wear.

Now I have had the original vintage Sortilege and it just didn't agree with my skin, but this newer one does and I actually prefer it.

I will be reviewing more fragrances from Le Galion in the coming months.

So what did this fragrance inspire in my mind? Read on for more...

A late night phone call from her lover awakens her from a dream. He will be stopping by for a visit in a few hours. She excitedly hurries into the bathroom to take a bath before he arrives. Drawing a very warm bath, she pours in a bath oil scented with mimosa, lily of the valley and narcissus. Dipping her foot into the sudsy tub, she tests the water and decides that it is the perfect temperature and slides in. Dozens of pearlescent bubbles cover her soft skin as she grabs her sea sponge to soap up her milky white shoulders. She closes her eyes and inhales the delicate floral scent of her bath oil.

After some time, she steps out of the tub and dries off with an Egyptian cotton towel, admiring herself in the long mirror. She begins to rub her smooth skin with a sensual body moisturizer scented with lilac and iris. She then opens a drawer and picks out a mauve silk charmeuse and gossamer lace chemise and slips it over her head and over her toned body. Her antique diamond necklace twinkles playfully in the light of her amber candles, casting a warm glow in her boudoir. Satisfied with her reflection in the mirror, she goes into her sitting room and grabs the bouquet of red and pink roses from the cut crystal vase on her accent table. Impulsively, she plucks the velvety petals from each thorny stem and sprinkles them over her ivory satin sheets.

At the same time, her lover returns home from his job working as the head of a prestigious company. He removes his clothes for a well deserved hot shower, washing with a vetiver shower gel. Finished with his bathing ritual, he steps out of the shower and dries off with a thick Turkish towel. Swirling his badger brush into a bowl of Yardley's sandalwood shaving soap, he paints his handsome face with the creamy soap. Then skims the old fashioned straight razor across his chiseled jaw line. Rinsing off his face with splashes of cold water, he then shakes some musky after shave onto his hands and rubs them over his face and broad chest. He opens a drawer to grab a pair of boxer briefs and sits on the bed to slip his muscular legs into his trousers. He then heads into his closet and throws on a comfortable sweater and finishes getting dressed. A quick glance in the mirror, he walks out the door and to his car.

She sits at her vanity and gracefully applies just a touch of powder to her beautiful face and a swipe of pink lipstick on her full pouty lips. Her cerulean eyes scan the gilded vanity at the collection of perfume bottles lined up like little soldiers. Picking up a vintage crystal atomizer, she sprays an ethereal cloud of the aldehydic Sortilege by Le Galion onto her body, a souvenir from her lover's last business trip to Paris. Her skin is so sensitive, that the cool mist creates a pleasant rush of goosebumps which spreads over her chest. A knock at the door makes her sprint to her lover's waiting arms.

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