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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Laughter by Germaine Monteil c1940

Laughter by Germaine Monteil: launched in 1940. The creation of the perfume took eight year to complete.

It was reformulated in 1950 and was rechristened Rigolade (pronounced REE-GO-LAHD), you may find some labels marked with both names: Laughter (Rigolade).

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It is was originally a warm, heady floral fragrance for women also described as "cool, clean, pungent, spicy, vibrant". Made up of "fruit blossoms and summer flowers", the perfume had the color of golden honey.
  • Top notes: galbanum, peach, aldehydes, bergamot, lemon,, peach, plum
  • Middle notes: gardenia, lilac, jasmine, rose, carnation, ylang ylang, orris, orchid
  • Base notes:  amber, oakmoss, civet, sandalwood, musk

The perfume was reformulated in 1950 to make it  "make it brisker" and "brighter", when this happened, it was renamed Rigolade. It was then changed to a light, fruity floral fragrance for women.

It is classified as a fresh floral fragrance for women. It starts off with a fresh green top note, followed by a  light, green floral heart, layered over a powdery base.
  • Top notes: aldehyde, bergamot, hyacinth, mirabelle, peach, lemon, galbanum
  • Middle notes: jasmine, rose, carnation, ylang ylang, orris, orchid
  • Base notes: amber, oakmoss, civet, sandalwood, musk

The New Yorker, 1950:
"Germaine Monteil is now making and bottling her Laughter in France, and in doing so has made a new thing of it, infinitely brighter. A half-ounce bottle is $12."

Esquire, 1951:
"Laughter, made in Paris by Germaine Monteil is “Reminiscent of tropical night flowers . . . heady—but not heavy. It smells good too."

Harper's Bazaar - Page 276, 1956:
"Rigolade" — peaches, fruit blossoms and summer flowers, together in a kind of gay celebration. By Germaine Monteil. 1 ounce, $20."


Laughter/Rigolade was housed in several different bottles based on the concentrations, parfum, Eau Concentree , eau de cologne, etc. Also, pillow shaped scented drawer sachets made up of yellow rayon satin were also sold in two sizes: small and large.


Drug & Cosmetic Catalog, 1941:
"Laughter is Germain Monteil's first perfume. The bottle is streamlined, modern, with a beautifully cut stopper which is large in diameter as the bottle, giving it a column-like effect."

The parfum was housed in a tall, oval bottle of clear crystal manufactured by Verreries Brosse in France. The bottle was molded with horizontal banding and the bottle was decorated with a gold foil paper label (sometimes the gold finish on the label wears off leaving a silvery looking foiled label) along the upper top of the bottle, just below the base of the stopper. The base of the bottle is molded with "Germaine Monteil Made in France".

The bottle had an unusual stopper of clear and frosted glass, which looked more like an overcap. Instead of having a stopper plug, the stopper was hollowed in the center so that it could be placed over the entire mouth and neck of the bottle, forming a tight seal.

After the bottle was filled with perfume, the person at the factory in charge of sealing the bottle, would take the baudruchage cords and wrap them around the neck of the bottle several times, make a knot, then take the two loose ends of the cording and pass them onto over the center top of the stopper and then tie the cording just under the stopper to form the seal. She would then attach a small metallic foil paper label to the tail of the cords. The parfum bottle was then housed in a presentation box covered in golden yellow satin.

To open the classic Laughter crystal flacon, use the following tip provided by Parfums Germaine Monteil themselves in 1963:
Gently slide the gold cord from grooves in cap; tap the top gently on table (not marble or metal); twist off top.

You can see how the baudruchage cords are positioned in this advertisement below.

When the perfume was introduced, the half ounce bottle retailed for $10.00, the one ounce bottle was $17.50, the two and a half ounce bottle retailed for $37.50 and the four ounce bottle retailed for $55.
  • 1/2 oz = stands 2.75" tall    
  • 1 oz = 
  • 2 1/2 oz =  
  • 4 oz =  

Other parfum bottles were the 1/8 oz size black plastic "Perfume Flaconettes" perfect sizes to carry around in purses. Also, the "Weekender", was a sleek, streamlined spray container, introduced in 1961, perfect for use during traveling, this neat device had a removable atomizer.

Eau de Toilette:

The Eau de Toilette was introduced in 1942 and was available in four sizes in a cylindrical bottle. According to a 1942 newspaper ad, the smallest size (2 oz) retailed for $2.50, the 4 oz size for $4.50 and the 8 oz for $8.00 with the largest size at $15.00. By 1945, the price had gone up to $15 for the 8 oz bottle.
  • 2 oz
  • 4 oz
  • 8 oz
  • 0z

Eau de Cologne:

The Eau  Concentree (eau de cologne) bottles came in two different shapes, one that resembled the horizontally ribbed parfum bottle and the other was an interesting two handled jug design (introduced in 1948), both bottles had screw caps. Prices retailed from $1.75 to $9.00 in 1945.

  • 2 oz
  • 4 oz 
  • 8 oz

Bath & Body Products:

Laughter was also available in perfumed soap, shower glove, bath oils and dusting powder.

The shower glove was a type of washcloth filled with fragrant flakes of soap.

The 12 oz box of pink tinted dusting powder/bath powder was housed in the golden yellow box and retailed for $7.50 in 1944. Refills were also available at $5 a piece.

Fate of the Fragrance:

Discontinued, date unknown. In 1967, the British-American Tobacco Company, LTD acquired such names as Yardley of London,  Morny, Scandia, Germaine Monteil, and Tuvache for $60-million. These brands were lumped into a subsidiary British American Cosmetics (BAC), selling in more than one hundred and forty countries, with local manufacture in thirty-four countries.

In 1975, Laughter was being sold under the Tuvache name, and newspapers advertised this as a new scent, described as "free spirited blend of vibrant green notes, light florals and spices.". I believe that this was mainly for the American market, where Tuvache was a well known brand at the time. I also think that the one sold under the Yardley name was to be sold mainly to the United Kingdom and Australian markets, where Yardley was a respected name. The Laughter perfume sold under Tuvache brand was discontinued in 1978.

In 1979, Beecham Cosmetics purchased Jovan, Yardley of London, Vitabath and other, more obscure brands such as Lentheric and Tuvache. In 1984, the perfume Laughter was handled by the Beecham name, but still under the Yardley of London parent company.  

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