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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Monday, September 23, 2013

Un Air Embaume by Rigaud c1914

In 1914, Henri Rigaud became sole proprietor of the French perfumerie Veuve Rigaud, whose name then became simply “Rigaud.” For the occasion, he launched the famous perfume “Un Air Embaumé.” (Perfumed Breezes). Created by Marius Reboul, it was a remarkable success; 30 years after its creation, its users were still faithful to it.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is classified as a floral woody oriental fragrance for women with a dry woody amber chypre base. It was created by Marius Reboul of Givaudan who used a base known as "Sophora", a Givaudan base of vetiver acetate, coumarin and bergamot.

The perfume has a bitter green beginning with galbanum and pungent bergamot, which reveals a floral heart of heliotrope which is reminiscent of powdered almonds. A fiery entrance of piquant carnation and balsamic notes of benzoin and creamy facets of vanilla help round out the persistent sweet note. The rich, animalic fusion of warm ambergris and musk is accented with dusty orris layered over an earthy, dry, wooded base of vetiver, patchouli, sandalwood and cedar.
  • Top notes: almond, bergamot and galbanum
  • Heart notes: iris, heliotrope and carnation
  • Base notes: "Sophora" base by Givaudan, benzoin, vanilla, patchouli, sandalwood, musk, tonka bean, ambergris, cedar, orris, vetiver

Un Air Embaume was solely distributed by George Borgfeldt & Co, an importer out of New York. Products available were: rouge, sachet, parfum extract, face powder, toilet water, talcum powder, solid face powder, and a vanity case.

To illustrate the advertisements, the photographer Mady’s portrayed Mlle Fabrice, kneeling respectfully before a perfume bottle, in an image that was particularly evocative of the voluptuous sensation awakened by the fragrance of this exquisite perfume. Other ads relied on an Egyptian beauty or groups of harem girls to lend a bit of the exotic to their 1920s advertisements.


The sumptuous flacon for Un Air Embaume is very distinct and made up of clear and frosted glass, the sides are molded with nudes rising in smoke from perfume burners, the bottle was then decorated with applied sienna colored patina. The bottle was advertised as being manufactured by Lalique, but there is no existing reference to this being made by Lalique in any of the Lalique literature. The bottle was actually produced in the Bresle valley in France by the Darras Glassworks.

Bottle produced by Verrerie Lefebure et Cie.

Photos by Perfume Bottles Auction.

Exportation halted to the USA by WWII, then resumed exportation in 1947. In 1956, a spray mechanism was added to bottles of Un Air Embaume. The perfume continued to be sold until around 1967 then it was discontinued.

A 1926 advertisement reads:
“To the woman of genuine social distinction, only a very few of perfumes are acceptable. Among them is Rigaud’s Un Air Embaume, a truly continental fragrance of most intriguing personality…Parfum Un Air Embaume and the various other aids, to loveliness bearing this same scent are all created in Paris, Doubtless you know them. Of course you know from the newspapers that this was the perfume selected to scent the Vanderbilt house at the time of the recent Consuelo Vanderbilt -Earl ET Smith wedding.”

Un Air Embaumé even inspired poets; Elie Brachet wrote:

“(…Dans Un Air Embaumé qui grise, Les jours coulent si tendrement Qu’on croit entendre dans la brise L’amour chanter pieusement.” 
“(…With the heady redolence of Un Air Embaumé Days pass with such tenderness That in the soft breeze one imagines one hears The voice of Amor devoutly singing.”

c1910s-1920s, 8 oz size Un Air Embaume perfume bottle used by druggists to decant into customer's own bottles. Photo by ebay seller junkola.

1920s Rigaud Un Air Embaume powder box, printed paper, sealed. 2 5/8 in. Photo by Perfume Bottles Auction.

Fate of the Fragrance:

Discontinued, sometime in the 1950s-1960s.

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