Friday, December 6, 2013

Coty's "Big Three" Perfumes

Connie, a wonderful friend graciously sent me some very old samples of Coty perfumes, which I call the "Big Three".  Emeraude, L'Aimant and L'Origan. These perfumes have stood the test of time and have remained popular for decades.

Emeraude was launched in 1921. Very delicious, this is pure orange creamsicle. We have the gorgeous early Emeraude from the 1920s, with a stunning orange-vanilla-benzoin--sandalwood note that is layered over sweet and powdery amber, sexy musk and civet, jasmine, incense, patchouli, rosewood, myrrh and lemons. I have fallen in love with this oldie, and simply cannot stop sniffing my arm--even my husband says this smells good enough to eat. This is nothing like the Emeraude of today! This perfume makes me think of the smoky, languorous hammams, filled with burning ambergris, patchouli and myrrh incense smoldering on gilded brass braziers, behind a carved rosewood screen, one can peer thru the preforations and see that a young, ebony skinned slave girl is liberally sprinkling orange flower water over  partially nude voluptuous bodies of the cinnamon hued harem concubines, who are being deeply massaged with expensive and exotic oils made up of civet, musk and sandalwood, a Circassian beauty, lying next to a pool of jasmine perfumed water,  deftly brings a sweet vanilla and lemon pastry to her succulent mouth and then licks off the honey dripping from her fingers.

L'Aimant was launched in 1927. This is a stunning vintage from the 1920s L'Aimant, definitely for a confident woman, with notes of bright aldehydes that tickled my nose, a shot of citrus with bergamot and neroli, pungent geranium and vetiver, a fruity middle with peaches and apricots, delicate florals of lily, orris, jasmine and heady roses, an animalic base of musk and civet, over powdery sandalwood and amber. An hour later, I can still smell geranium, jasmine, amber and the civet. This makes me think of an opium den, thick and smoky, an audacious Flapper dressed in heliotrope silk, lying on her side, bringing a dragon carved pipe stem to her crimson, bee stung lips, after taking a long drag, her eyelids flutter and her eyeballs roll back into her head, the smell of her rosy-jasmine-civet and vanilla perfume mixes with the bergamot and neroli based colognes of the gentlemen who are languorously reclining on embroidered and fringed cushions around her. There is a large basket of fruit nearby, its ripe contents of peaches and apricots bring a craving for the fruit. The heat in the room, brings forth the scent of the potted plants of geraniums and lilies and lend their exotic aroma to the room. Nearby a young Chinese woman, wearing a blue and gold robe is cooling down a swooning gentleman with a pierced sandalwood fan which has been dipped in water.

L'Origan was launched in 1905. L'Origan, this is old L'Origan, c1920-1930s era, gorgeous and definitely done right. I really enjoyed reviewing this one I detected notes of oranges, honeyed roses, a kick of pepper with coriander, orchids, sexy musk, sweet ylang ylang, powdery amber and labdanum, and woody cedar and sandalwood notes.An hour later I can still smell citrus, pepper and cedar notes. This one reminds me of a regal Renaissance era queen. This beautiful woman, with her ravishing good looks and blond upswept hair,  regularly lifts a chain suspended from her chatelaine, it has a small sterling silver pomander at the end which she brings to her face. It is made up segments, just like an orange and inside each segment is a tiny compartment filled with spices and scents. One is filled with dried orange peels, the other with a chunk of ambergris, one segment is filled with cloves, another with black pepper, while another is filled with coriander, and one is filled with sandalwood chips. She also likes to dab on a cologne made up of rare ingredients from far away places, including sensuous musk, Atlas cedar, heady rose, delicate orchid petals and ylang ylang blossoms. This beautiful blend was made for her by a talented French perfumer on her last visit to Paris.

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