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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Heaven Sent by Helena Rubinstein c1941

In 1924, a company named Julius Garfinkle & Co created a perfume named Heavenscent, however, this was in no way connected with the well known Heaven Sent perfume.

Helena Rubinstein's Version:

Heaven-Sent (also spelled as Heaven Scent) was originally sold by Helena Rubinstein in 1941, some say 1936, but 1936 was the year her perfume Apple Blossom was released. I cannot find any newspaper articles mentioning Heaven Sent by Helena Rubinstein any earlier than 1941. Heaven Sent was developed by Helena Rubinstein's chief chemist and technical director, Dr. Stephen A. Karas, who also created the Apple Blossom perfume, according to his obituary.

The promotion for the Heaven-Sent line began in January 1940, fifteen months before it appeared on the market. Since the last promotion had been for Apple Blossom, Helena Rubinstein decided to make this one “not a floral odor but a subtle blending.” In the next few months she sniffed and rejected over 800 odors, from oil houses to her own laboratory til she finally fixed on one. According to her admiring employees, it was Rubinstein who exclaimed “What a heavenly scent,” thus suggesting the name which finally came out Heaven-Sent.

The Heaven-Sent line included eau de parfum mist, eau de toilette, cologne, soap on a rope, bath oil, dusting powder, solid perfume compact and gift sets.

The next step was to get a general decorative motif. For the colors of the presentation, she chose pink, blue and white. Beginning with the cologne bottle, she called in a bottle manufacturer and asked him to design a bottle suggestive of the female figure, but “with a light feeling.” When the prototype came back, she made two changes, putting pleats in the skirt and adding a round stopper to suggest a head. For the scented soap, she chose a cake in the form of a puffy pink cloud, with white raised angels on the surface. She then directed an artist to work on the boxes, which were to feature figures of angels. The first design was rejected, because it had plain angels, it was too austere and finally settled on a pattern of angels and clouds.

Heaven-sent was then ready and she turned her attention to what she did best, marketing. The campaign was brilliantly launched on March 31, when 500 pink and blue balloons with the Heaven-Sent angel motif were dropped from the roof of Bonwit Teller’s store, each with a wicker basket containing a vial of cologne and the message “Out of the Blue to You.” This was very successful and as a result several hundred women filled Fifth Avenue to grab for the balloons as they made their airy descent.

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a floral fragrance for women.
  • Top notes: neroli, mandarin, bergamot, orange oil, lemon oil and spearmint
  • Middle notes: lily of the valley, carnation, ylang-ylang and rose
  • Base notes: vetiver, patchouli, amyris oil, benzoin, oakmoss, sandalwood and musk

In the 1980s, some bottles with labels marked Heaven Scent may have an additional label stating "Made in England by Liberty Cosmetics Ltd. Under licence from Helena Rubinstein. Sole UK Distributor, Liberty Cosmetics Ltd, SW4 7ET."

In 1990, Helena Rubinstein launched three celestial themed perfume flankers, Heaven Sent Angel, Heaven Sent Moon, and Heaven Sent Star.

MEM's Version:

In the 50's the company was purchased by Mem who released Heaven Sent as an eau de cologne. They eventually quit making it due to sales not meeting quotas. A New Dana predecessor company paid millions for the Heaven Sent trademark, which was originally registered by Helen Rubenstein Inc. in 1987.

Heaven Sent was one of the first products to use a pop song in their advertising campaigns. It featured Donovan's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven'" in 1968.

"Suddenly, there's a heavenly fragrance that clings
It's Heaven Sent
Suddenly, she's an imp wearing angel wings
In Heaven Sent
Suddenly, she is all of the things that you want to be
A little bit naughty, but heavenly
In Heaven Sent".

This song was created by Buddy Weed for Heaven Sent perfumes.

According to a 1990 article in Cosmetics International : "MEM Company has announced a major new repackaging and advertising support campaign for its Heaven Sent fragrance line...MEM manufactures and markets the Heaven Sent line of women's fragrance items in the USA and Canada and it owns the distribution rights in Puerto Rico and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere primarily in South America...Heaven Sent a brand it acquired a number of years ago but created in the early 1940s and thus in need of a major shift in packaging and advertising. This is being targeted to reach an older audience than the 18 to 24 year olds previously targeted. The brand's U.S. advertising budget is being doubled in 1990 with a romantic theme of' Heaven Sent moments' throughout the campaign with the tag line The day was Heaven Sent and so was her fragrance". MEM believes that the campaign will reach 60 per cent of all fragrance users with a major print ad promotion to support a July relaunch."

In a Cosmetics International article from July 10, 1994 the author talks about Coty's Vanilla fragrance and MEM's perfume, "Following the lawsuit brought by Coty against MEM (C.I. 413) which claimed that MEM's Vanilla Skies of Heaven Sent name infringed to Vanilla Fields trademark, the name has been changed. Launching this month, MEM's offering is now called Heaven Sent Vanilla. The US court issued a judgement last month barring MEM from using the mark"

Dana's Version:

In the 1980s, Dana reformulated it and put it back on the market again due to high demand. Today, you can find Dana's version in lotion, light cologne, eau de parfum, shower gel and dusting powder.

Dana's newest reformulated version came out in 2001. The nose behind this fragrance is Loc Dong. This lively scent is described as a refined, spicy, lavender, amber fragrance. Heaven Sent perfume is a feminine scent that contains top notes of Italian bergamot, apple blossom, mandarin on heart notes of lily of the valley,lavender, red rose, iris, jasmine and heliotrope, base notes of patchouli, opoponax, amber, oak moss, sandalwood and musk It is recommended for evening wear.

Dana also released Heaven Sent Vanilla in 1994. Heaven Sent Vanilla opens on a sweet spring breeze of orange blossom, after which an enticing blend of vanilla and woods forms a powdery, musky impression on the skin. Sweet, warm, and balsamic a heavenly combination. It is classified as feminine fragrance. This feminine scent possesses a blend of a green flower scent with high notes of natural vanilla.

Dana's Heaven Sent Musk is also popular, you can find this in a light cologne, eau de parfum and body spray. Dana also released Heaven Sent Gardenia which comes in a body spray, light cologne and eau de parfum. I don't have any actual note for these two perfumes, the notes provided on discount perfume websites list the notes for regular Heaven Sent. I believe that these came out around 1994 when the Vanilla version was released.

Irma Shorell's Version:

Irma Shorell, Inc produced their version of Heaven Sent which they called "Infinite Grace". However, many reviews I have read state that it really doesn't smell anything like the original Heaven Sent perfume by Helena Rubinstein.

"The Infinite Grace perfume has top notes of bergamot, mandarin, neroli, spearmint, orange oil and lemon oil. Middle notes of lily of the valley, carnation, geranium, rose and ylang-ylang. Dry down notes of sandalwood, vetiver, amyris oil, musk, patchouli, vanilla, benzoin, oakmoss and myrrh. Perfumery impressions...

"Rich,woody-floral and warm. Deep and sensual right from the top, with classical florals carrying you down to the full-bodied base with only the briefest of stops in the top notes. Beautiful and basey...the core of a woman who knows...not for the timid." Jeffrey Dame"

Final Verdict:

Helena Rubinstein's version was soft, fresh, and baby powdery with hints of jasmine, Dana's ends up being too fruity and less powdery. Mem's version does not the smell the same as Helena Rubinstein's.  Based on the many reviews I have read on Irma Shorell's "Infinite Grace" state that it really doesn't smell anything like the original Heaven Sent perfume by Helena Rubinstein.


  1. Hi, Cleopatra! Just wanted to make one correction to your great article on Heaven Sent. You state that the ad for Heaven Sent in 1968 featured Donovan's "Wear Your Love Like Heaven". Not so, This song was used by LOVE Cosmetics for the campaign of their signature fragrance. Catchy. The song you quote by Buddy Weed is what was actually used in the Heaven Sent campaign. I was there, in college at the time. A friend in the dorm wore Heaven Sent, and the advertising jingle was well-known. LOVE cosmetics were launched maybe a year or 2 later. Ali McGraw was an initial "face", following her appearance in "Love Story"...again, the LOVE motif seized upon by LOVE Cosmetics.


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