Nina Ricci – Farouche

Nina Ricci – Farouche


The Nina Ricci fragrance line is one that I did not traditionally have much exposure to growing up, as none of the women in my family wore it. I did have a distant aunt who sometimes wore L’Air du Temps, but we’ll save that for another post. No wonder then that the house’s 1973 release Farouche failed to catch my attention until now (there were after all plenty of other fragrances to keep me busy).

I recently purchased an assortment of vintage perfume minis, and one fragrance included in the assortment was Nina Ricci’s Farouche in the Eau de Toilette concentration. While I have a decent knowledge of French, I will admit that I was not familiar with the word “Farouche”. Interestingly, I did not look it up until after I had tested the fragrance several times, fearing it might skew my impression. In that vein, I will keep its meaning silent until the end of the post.

Farouche opens with some fizzy aldehydes adding lift to a soft orange and galbanum melange. While galbanum fragrances generally make weak in the knees, Farouche comes on like a whisper. The heart unfolds to a gentle floral bouquet of jasmine, lily-of-the-valley and geranium, to which iris lends a hint of powder, While carnation and clary sage add a bit of a twist, Farouche’s overall character remains moderate. The fragrance wafts up again after a about an hour or so, revealing a mossy, vetiver base, reminiscent of classics such as Ma Griffe, but executed with a subtle hand.

In fact, my main issue with Farouche was its faint presence, which made an otherwise lovely fragrance with all of the hallmarks of a classic, slightly forgettable in the face of other mossy, green giants. That being said, this lightness of character would make it a perfect scent for someone just starting to explore the genre, as it touches on all of the aspects of a mossy green floral. I can only imagine how lovely the parfum concentration must be, though I have heard that is subtle as well. The Eau de Toilette bottle is lovely, with its slender neck is reminiscent of a swan, while the flacon for the parfum (reportedly made by Lalique) resembles a heart.

And in case you are still wondering (and have not searched for it yourself), Farouche translates as shy. Perfect.

Floral Aldehyde

Notes: Aldehydes, Mandarin, Bergamot, Galbanum, Peach, Honeysuckle, Carnation, Iris, Lily, Clary Sage, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-Valley, Rose, Geranium, Cardamom, Sandalwood, Amber, Musk, Oakmoss, Vetiver.


Guerlain – Chant D’Aromes

Guerlain – Chant D’Aromes

chant-daromes21Chant D’Aromes was the first solo creation of Jean-Paul Guerlain after the retirement of his grandfather Jacques. Chant D’Aromes was released in 1962, before much of the social and political upheaval which would come to define the era. The name, roughly translated as “Song of Scents” is especially revealing for me, because within Chant D’Aromes, I detect the seedlings of all of the magnificent creations Jean-Paul would cultivate throughout his illustrious career. If Aime Guerlain was innovation, and Jacques contemplation, Jean-Paul would soon prove to be flirtation.

While overall, Chant D’Aromes gives the impression of a light-hearted floral bouquet with rich peachy undertones, within the opening notes, I detect the slightest sharpness that would be the unforgettable introduction to Chamade. As the seedlings begin to unfurl out of their sharp green hyacinth cases, the radiant fruity warmth of what would become Nahema is apparent. Chant D’Aromes also has a slight animalic note that would re-appear in many of Jean-Paul’s creations, subtle enough not to cloud the overall innocent impression of the composition, yet an unmistakable nod to the scent of the woman whom these flowers adorn.

While Chant is a lovely fragrance in its own right, it conveys all of the exuberance of youth not yet tempered by long years of experience. Chant is jubilant and smells of a celebration, as though Jean-Paul was able to distill a thousand disparate thoughts about love and perfume and harmonize them into a glorious nectar. While his later fragrances would achieve a level of sophistication comparable to that of his predecessors, Chant is a beautiful creation that captures the excitement and passion of a young man in love. This by no means is meant to imply that Chant is an amateurish creation – on the contrary, Chant D’Aromes reflects a level of craftsmanship that surpasses many of the perfumes available today.

chant_daromes_color_ad I am fortunate enough to have vintage versions of the extrait and eau de cologne which are similar in character, with the eau de cologne being slightly more powdery. I have not sampled the most recent reformulation, but understand that it bears a closer resemblance to Chant D’Aromes than prior attempts.

Floral Chypre

Notes: bergamot, mandarin, peach, tuberose, ylang ylang, , gardenia, honeysuckle, jasmine, helichrysum, iris, cedar and sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, frankincense, vetiver, and tonka bean.

Christian Dior – Diorella

Christian Dior – Diorella

If Diorella had a face, it would be the exquisite beauty of Jane Fonda in Roger Vadim’s 1968 sci-fi, B-movie masterpiece Barbarella. Both reflect a beauty which is disarming, innocent, sensual and yet somewhat strange. Dior released Diorella in 1972, yet another masterpiece created by Edmond Roudnitska.


Diorella first tempts you with the freshness of lemony greens rounded out with a touch of melon and floral notes, giving the opening a hint of ripeness. Were it to end there, Diorella would have been an attractive, linear warm-weather fragrance, perfect for after a shower. But as is often the case with great beauty, Diorella has an underlying complexity which must be experienced if its beauty is to be fully appreciated.

Regardless of how many times I smell the opening, I am always surprised by a sense of underlying strangeness just beneath the surface, not unlike smelling an approaching storm before one feels the first drop.  As the top dissipates, a savory note of basil begins pushing toward the surface, which seems both out of place and brilliant, hinting at the richness of soil which lies underneath. Diorella is not unlike a flower blooming in reverse, its petals collapsing onto themselves and rolling up into the stem, which then plunges below the surface back into its damp, musky bulb. Diorella takes its time unfolding, each layer becoming increasingly sensual as the earthiness of oakmoss and vetiver settle down into the warmth of patchouli and musk.

If Diorella had sisters (or daughters perhaps), for me they would be Calyx Prescriptives and Cristalle for their green ripeness and Ma Griffe for its mossy magnificence.diorella


Notes: Lemon, Peach, Basil, Bergamot, Melon, Green Notes, Honeysuckle, Jasmine, Violet, Rose Bud, Carnation, Cyclamen, Oakmoss, Vanilla, Clove, Sandalwood, Vetiver, Musk, and Patchouli.