Thursday, September 22, 2016

L'Origan by Coty c1905

L'Origan by Coty: launched in 1905. Some of you may remember L'Origan as the scent of Coty's famous Airspun Face Powder.




Fragrance Composition:


So what does it smell like? It is classified as an oriental fragrance for women. It begins with a fresh, spicy top, followed by a spicy floral heart, layered over a woody, powdery base.
  • Top notes: Bourbon ylang ylang, neroli, peach, pepper, coriander, mandarin orange, bergamot
  • Middle notes: clove buds, violet, orchid, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, nutmeg, cinnamon, spicy carnation, orris
  • Base notes: Bourbon vetiver, labdanum, opoponax, cedar, vanilla, sandalwood, tonka, civet, musk, musk ambrette, frankincense, Virginian cedar, Siamese benzoin, ambergris

L'Origan made use of the ambreine accord, which is formed between bergamot, vanillin (or ethyl vanillin), coumarin and civet, with woody (vetiver, patchouli 4% and sandalwood) and rose notes (Calkin and Jellinek 1994). This was also used in the following oriental ambery fragrances: Shalimar by Guerlain, Must de Cartier and Obsession by Calvin Klein.

Other aromachemicals also play their parts in the construction of L'Origan: eugenol, methyl ionone, vetiveryl acetate, musk ketones, heliotropin, cinnamic alcohol and nitromusks.

In addition to the ambreine accord, L'Origan features six other specially compounded bases: Dianthine (Naef/Firmenich), Iralia (Firmenich), Coralys (Samuelson/Naef/Firmenich), Foin Rigaud (De Laire), Flonol (De Laire), and Bouvardia (Schimmel).

Dianthine lends a spicy, carnation bouquet, while Iralia forms sweet, floral woody notes. The marriage of these two notes was used successfully in the Coty perfume L'Ambre Antique. The Foin Rigaud was a new mown hay synthetic, Flonol is an orange flower base, Eugenol intensifies the clove like facet of carnation while Bouvardia provided a jasmine effect in the heart of the fragrance. Coralys helped to give the perfume it's powerful Oriental vibe.

A 1931 chemistry book gives the following ingredients to create the L'Origan type perfume:
white carnation flower oil, Orrisin M (by Agfa), Heliotropine, Coumarin, Vanillin, Havannia Base, Ambra Grisea, Jasmine Base, Red Rose Synthetic, Oil Vetivert Bourbon Oil, Bergamot, Musk Ketone

The rich, sweet, floral oriental beauty of L'Origan paved the way for the fantastic 1912 Guerlain creation, L'Heure Bleue. However, this genre of perfumes lied dormant until 1976 when a revival of the style was used in the signature perfume of Oscar de la Renta. This was followed by other modern fragrances such as Vanderbilt by Gloria Vanderbilt, Saint Laurent's controversial Poison, and Cacharel's LouLou. 

All of these shared a characteristic accord between ylang ylang and eugenol (carnation), the Schiff bases of orange blossom or tuberose, methyl ionone (except Poison), and vanillin, with additional notes of heliotropin and coumarin.


Connie, a reader of my blog, 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.

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 ambergris 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 pungent cloves, another with piquant black pepper, while another is filled with coriander, and one is filled with sweet 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.

Bottles:




1926 ad












Fate of the Fragrance:


L'Origan was reformulated and relaunched in 2004 as a special limited edition only available in France.

Cheaper reformulations existed in some forms and this old stock was sold mostly by discount internet retailers. The reason for the reformulations was most likely due to the fact that some of the characteristic bases that made L'Origan such a beautiful scent are no longer available and that IFRA may have placed restrictions on some of the ingredients.

Unfortunately, by 2005, Coty discontinued L'Origan, but I suppose that is just as well because the modern incarnations of this classic paled in comparison to the glorious vintages. 


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