Caron – Parfum Sacré

Caron – Parfum Sacré

caron Perfumes Parfum Sacre There are those loves which we know will endure forever. Such is the beauty of this peppery rose-inspired fragrance by Caron. But where Caron’s Rose is simple and Marni is sheer and evanescent, Parfum Sacré positively smolders, bringing new depths to the pepper-rose combination.

As the vintage advertisement for Caron perfumes at left attests “What is seduction if not a man, a woman and a Caron perfume?” While the fragrance’s name references the sacred, Parfum Sacré is nothing if not sensual.

Though Parfum Sacré opens with a burst of lively, citrusy pepper and spices, like many Caron fragrances, it is perfectly blended to create an more of an overall impression. Despite its spicy opening, Parfum Sacré is as warm and enveloping as a lover’s embrace. The presence of rose lends a velvety texture to the underlying woods and spices, elements which on their own can often be perceived as dry.

Though vanilla and floral notes make an appearance, it is only to support the romance between rose and spices. While the distinct Caron drydown is recognizable, it remains enrobed in the warm, dark rose, adding a hint a smoky drama.

While both the extrait and Eau de Parfum have impressive lasting power, they wear fairly close to the skin, making for an intimate yet luxurious fragrance experience. While the vintage versions have more complexity and depth (especially the extrait which is truly magical) the reformulated version available today is a reasonably close facsimile and worth seeking out for those seeking an elegant and unusual rose-tinged oriental.

Notes: Vanilla, Myrrh, Civet, Cedarwood, Lemon, Pepper, Mace, Cardamom, Orange Blossom, Rose, Jasmine, Rosewood

Etat Libre d’Orange – The Afternoon of a Faun

The Afternoon of a Faun by Etat Libre d’Orange


L’Aprés Midi D’un Faun or The Afternoon of a Faun was composed by the French poet Stéphane Mallarmé in 1865. The poem recounts the erotic imaginings of a Faun which comes upon two nymphs in the forest. Mallarmé was one of France’s four major poets of the second half of the 19th century, along with Charles Baudelaire, Paul Verlaine, and Arthur Rimbaud. He is noted as one of the pioneers of symbolism in poetry, and while critics argue that he often used obscure imagery to express emotional experience, The Afternoon of a Faun is very much to the point as illustrated below. Given the sexual content of the poem, one can only imagine what the “less sorrowful vapors” represent.

I adore it, the wrath of virgins, the wild

Delight of the sacred nude burden which slips

To escape from my hot lips drinking, as lightning

Flashes! the secret terror of the flesh:

From the feet of the cruel one to the heart of the timid

Who together lose an innocence, humid

With wild tears or less sorrowful vapours.

Mallarmé’s poems inspired Debussy’s tone poem (1894) of the same name, which was later interpreted into a ballet by Vaslav Nijinsky for the Ballet Russes. The 1912 ballet proved exceptionally scandalous for its unconventional choreography and graphic sexual depictions. Obviously, the use of this name for a perfume is meant to convey an entire catalog of associations and points to a highly animalic and sensual creation, and yet I cannot help but find that the perfume, while lovely, does not live up to the connotations.

The fragrance opens with a sharp and distinctly woody, herbaceous character, which is made somewhat opulent by the introduction of immortelle. Immortelle can manifest itself quite differently in different compositions, and here it takes on a sweet, tobacco-like character. At first application, I imagine myself to be in the woods with the Faun as he awakes from his slumber, but this is where the similarity to the tale ends.


As the fragrance progresses, it is punctuated by rose and the woody notes take on a more floral character, with a spicy, leathery aspect. While The Afternoon of a Faun does contain moss and leather notes suggestive of an animalic perfume, it does not reach the same depths as the vintage fragrances previously reviewed. Justin Vivian Bond and Ralf Schwieger’s creation for Etat Libre d’Orange is a decidedly modern interpretation on the Faun/Fur theme, one which touches on the lighter aspects of the forest, as opposed to the deeply sensual activities of the Faun. The perfume has an incredible sillage and potent lasting power, so a light application is suggested.

Spicy Woods

Notes: Bergamot, Pepper, Cinnamon, Incense, Rose, Immortal Flower, Orris, Jasmine, Myrrh of Namibia, Moss, Leather, Benzoin.


Bond No. 9 – I Love NY for All

Bond No. 9 – I Love NY for All217565

Given my predilection for vintage perfumes, it is not unusual for me to sometimes miss new releases and on occasion entire perfume houses. One such house which had escaped my attention, in part due to the fact that it was not available in my geographic area for sampling, was Bond No. 9. Imagine my joy (as only a fellow perfumista can) of walking into my local Nordstrom one Saturday morning and finding a counter-full of their line-up.

While somewhat daunting to find myself face-to-face with such a comprehensive display of bottle after bottle bearing the iconic Bond No. 9 design, (where to begin??) I decided to start with the obvious. Housed in a black bottle, emblazoned with the well-known I Heart NY symbol, I Love NY For All is to date my favorite of the lot.

Bond No. 9 – I Love NY for All is definitely compelling, a fragrance built around a coffee accord, and what could be more NYC than a rich cup of your favorite brew. I Love NY for All starts off with a spicy floral mix highlighted by citrus which quickly gives way to warm notes of coffee and hazelnut. The juxtaposition is decidedly odd and yet it works somehow, like the woman in your office that can pull off plaid with lace and high heels. As the fragrance unfolds into a velvety base of patchouli and woods, the coffee is sweetened with a hint of vanilla.

Despite the potency of these individual notes, aside from an initial sour sensation, the fragrance overall feels smooth and is extremely wearable. The sillage and lasting power are decent, which is a relief given the fragrance’s price-tag. While this would not be a signature scent for me, I love having it in my collection when I want something really different.


Notes: Bergamot, Lily of the Valley, Pepper, Coffee, Patchouli, Leather, Sandalwood and Vanilla.