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?