Friday, February 6, 2009

Dante Original Cologne


This is an oil on canvas of Dante at the time of the death of Beatrice, by Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1871). Note the canopy strewn with flowers to sweeten the death bed; Dante holds a small posy in his hand as well to sweeten the aire of this last kiss.
I'm always delighted to make a new discovery of some vintage gem of a scent and this week it is a cult favorite, a men's cologne that although discontinued many years ago continues to have very ardent fans.

This novelty bottle of Dante Original Cologne has a loving cup trophy cap and a gold label proclaiming WORLD'S GREATEST DAD on the back. Dante Original Cologne is a fairly obscure vintage scent about which little is known. It was distributed through a company of the same name, based in New York as recently as the 1960s. It is a very lovely cologne which I recently reviewed (very briefly) on Basenotes, mostly because there weren't any reviews and that seems a shame, but I'm featuring it here because it is also a prime example of what I love, unusual and American-made vintage scents. I've been wearing a dab or two of it all day and I think of all my vintage collection, it most resembles Houbigant's Quelques Fleurs (a decidedly feminine scent), but with less rose and more iris, which makes it a surprisingly floral men's scent. But somehow, its also a perfectly appropriate smelling scent for a 'man's man'. It has just enough coumarin to let you smell an impossibly blonde tobacco. The balsams remain extremely transparent, hovering about and throwing out a gentle sillage that encourages nuzzling.

To keep the comparison going, HQF dries down soapy-rosey and pollen-y powdery while the Dante remains brighter, with bergamot, the aforementioned iris and fluffy sweet hay-tobacco forming an almost holy trilogy accord. At first, I compared Dante to Tabu because of the cola/rootbeer note that they share (which is an iris note I think, that is always very sweet and honeyed and almost watery in the living flowers I've smelled but comes across more fizz and soda like in these perfumes). Tabu doesn't share Dante's mellow smoothness, and it is sharper, stronger and almost minty compared side by side. Dante is very gentle and soft yet it is also very strong making it a very compelling masculine scent. What a shame more Daddys won't be wearing it! When will someone start making this fabulous scent again?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have what might be the very last gift set of Dante Cologne. A set of both the after shave and the men's Cologne. My son bougth me a small bottle on ebay, but the sent was not the same. He also tried to buy a bottle on ebay but was left out of the bid at closing when the bottle went over 380 usd.
I then found a complete gift set that had been given to a worker in Ga. for partial payment for his work and I bought the set. I am currently thinking of putting the set on Ebay for sale. Any one intrested in the set pryor to me placing the complete set on ebay please write me at froboy7214@yahoo.com thanks Steve

Anonymous said...

i am looking for DANTE AFTER SHAVE in the BLUE bottle for the love of my life. Please contact me if you have a bottle that you would like to sell or know of someone who does.

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froboy7214 said...

The Dante cologne must have lost it's luster or the proud men that wore it, knowing they would loose articles of clothing every time they wore it are growing older than i thought.I turned 58 today and wore it first in 1970 while a freshman at marhsall university the fall they lost the football team in a crash two miles from my home in West virginia. I have a complete gift set with a 4 oz bottle of cologne and 4 oz bottle of after shave. and it is for sure the real thing. not like a fake bottle of a little sample with a trophy this is what came in the beautiful glass bottle both blue and red. Hope someone writes me at froboy7214@yahoo.com and makes an offer for the gift set ps this is an older set from the sixties because the bottles are round not like the red and blue glass bottles it came in Huntington, WV in 1970 purchassed at J. c. pennys in the early seventies

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cletsey said...

Amazing perfume! The perfumes have been used even in the past centuries and have been highly valued in every cultured even though I am not good for a fragrance descriptions but I wanted to have a perfume collections.

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Joshua7 said...

Where can you buy a bottle of Dante original Cologne?

Amelia said...

Ebay, Ebay, Ebay. Since Dante is long discontinued you've got to go to second market and there's no bigger single market place. Just look at seller feedback and good luck- be persistent if you don't see it at first, keep looking. It will pop up.