Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Original Ungaro Perfume
You're looking at one of my new perfume cabinets which figures into my Ungaro story.
The original Ungaro perfume came out in 1977. I'm not sure when it was discontinued but occasionally you can still find it from the usual on-line suspect (E***). The bottles are gem-like, deep sapphire blue glass with an elegant pattern, topped by brilliant emerald green glass stopper (for the EDP, like mine above). The EDP is dressed up with a ruby pink ribbon at its neck, the EDT has a green plastic cap and a gold metal band instead. Save the plastic cover over the neck of the glass stopper, the presentation is quite opulent. Suggestive of gemstones and finely hung fabrics, it is as rich as the scent it houses. Released in 1977, Ungaro is very much in the style of 1980s powerhouse scents- and like Ungaro's fashions of the same period, it was a few years ahead of its time. Also like his fashions, this first scent was a melange of all good things, marrying complex layers of ingredients like precious florals, spices and woods.
The scent opens with aldehydes, rose, coriander, orange blossom, jasmine, neroli, bergamot and lemon, followed by middle notes of iris, turkish rose and lily-of-the-valley. The composition rests on a base of sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, patchouli, musk, vanilla, cedar and cardamom. An oriental fragrance, the notes promise something decadent and festive and Ungaro does not disappoint. Indeed, it is a sumptuous treat for those who like their poisons thick and sweet. In fact before I checked the dates, I thought Ungaro Women might have been a nod to Doir's iconic Poison. But considering the Ungaro preceded Dior's creation by over 20 years, perhaps it was the other way around. And although my initial perception was that the two scents were nearly identical, in smelling them side by side, I found that Poison actually does have a rather bitter heart, and so it is quite well named; Ungaro on the other hand is pure confectionery bliss. The spiciness is tamped down (no patchouli here!) and tightly wrapped up in a rosy Turkish delight, powdered with Iris sugar crystals, swimming in a bowl of vanilla-flecked musk cream. Maybe the bowl is made of wood, because it is classified as a woody oriental. But it's really a gourmand's scent, a fantasy of floralized nougat.
Ungaro is very sweet and it's longevity is stunning as well. The bottle you see in the top photo toppled over and an ounce or so of the EDP soaked into our new home's carpet right under the new perfum cabinet, so the whole area is embued with it. The rose, vanilla, musk and sandalwood have lasted longest and I keep catching whiffs of it as I walk by.
The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.