Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hello out there, hello out there.... Le Couvent Des Minimes Orange Blossom

Just funnin'. Actually, though I'm finally getting around to posting a bunch of backlogged comments so if you're one of those whose commented here and found it appears to have been ignored...  I apologize that you'll have to go back to the original post if you want to read my replies.

Today I'm wearing the divine, discontinued gem ORANGE BLOSSOM Floral Water by Le Couvent des Minimes. A gem for both its price and it's scent. Not only is it refreshing and soothing in the heat of summer but it is uplifting as well. And uplifting is exactly what I need today.

I apologize for tiny photo- I cribbed it from Victoria of Victoria's Own because where else could I find it?! I suppose I could've photographed it myself but call me lazy- I went for the easy option. The bottle looks small but is actually quite large- 5.1 fluid ounces. Le Couvent des Minimes (LCdM) is a L'Occitane brand but it is, or was, sold exclusively through Bath & Body Works. Orange Blossom Floral Water (Formula No704) debuted in 2006 and was discontinued that same year (ouch!) although it was very well liked... The very similar themed Fleur d'Oranger was released by LCdM in 2009.

The scent of Orange Blossom Floral Water is pure orange blossom... and by that, I mean we have an orange tree in our yard and this is it. Or smells just like it, in that really hyper-real way that only some perfumes achieve. It's always funny when some relatively cheap scent comes along and positively blows other, more costly versions of the same thing away. Not to get too personal, but I find this Orange Blossom stands up very favorably to, for example, Serge Lutens Fleur d'Oranger.

I love orange blossom. I could wax for hours about the smell of an orange tree when it's in bloom- we have quite a few throughout our neighborhood and they perfume the streets around here like crazy in early Spring.

My only complaint about the scent is that the spray nozzle has gone missing and nothing else fits it just right. So I'm left fumbling around with all of my nozzles trying to keep myself adequately saturated and sedated. Well, that and the fact it's discontinued.

What discontinued perfume (bargain) are you bemoaning today?

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Max Factor Green Apple Cologne

Go take a look at OKADI.com for another view of this 1973 magazine advert.

So do you remember this one?? I've been thinking about it for years. We used to wear MF Green Apple so much back when I was a pre-teen! The apple shaped decanter- in frosted or clear glass, depending on the size you bought- is so iconic and the grass tinted juice inside it was- fantastic. Back in the 1970s, that Green Apple bottle sat on so many American girl's vanities. You may be thinking that one of Donna Karan's very very similar (and I'd have to say, nearly outright copy-cat) Delicious scents would be an acceptable substitute.

But believe me, they don't come within a country mile of the original Green Apple by Max Factor. For a cologne, MFGA was very strong and clear with a tart bright and sweet mouthwatering opening. The greenness and appleness were spot on to a Granny Smith apple- which can be almost too sour and crunchy to eat as a raw fruit but it translates beautifully as a scent. And as lovely and long lasting as the opening was- there were sly flower notes, Lily of the Valley and lemony rose, and a stunning but light sweet musk base that fleshed the scent out and married perfectly to the opening tartness. I don't smell smell such simplicity in the DKNY apple scents- they have too much wood, too much perfume, and way too much production about them.

Max Factor's Green Apple owed more to Boone's Farm than to Primitif or Electrique, so it should not be surprising that I would reject LVMH's attempt to stylize and modernize the original concept.

You might ask yourself why you hardly ever find mention of this scent today- really, it's vanished so completely that to some of us, it had seemed like a fantasy scent; as if perhaps we'd all shared the same young-girl's fever dream... But no, it was a real scent and it was a Max Factor creation. It was so easy to wear, so natural- it was exactly right for a young girl. So where did it go? This stupid little cologne actually accomplished a pretty rare thing for a perfume back then- more like a modern day body spray with a good 3 to 4 hour sillage- it was light and tenacious- and wearable for so many. And you could reapply and reapply without ever overdosing on it. I believe unlike so many perfumes that languish, most of the bottles that were produced were sold and quickly consumed.

Max Factor did not choose to pursue Green Apple. It was made for maybe 1970s-1980s and by the mid-1980s, I believe it was gone in the USA entirely. It seems likely that perhaps some back stock was shipped off to other countries, as we hear some people who recall it in being sold in other markets through the 1980s.

Why didn't Max Factor like Green Apple? It seemed to fit in with their attempt to update their image in the 1970s, as with their Organics Line... But in the end and at the time it was just marketed too young, I believe.  After all, I was able to buy bottle after bottle just on my allowance and meager babysitting earnings; it's price-point was much lower than Max Factor's other perfume offerings of the same time. So that's one thing.

And Max Factor was changing rapidly in the 1970s. The third and final generation of original Factors had gotten out of the business to pursue their own interests, and the company was now being run more and more by and like a machine. At the time, Green Apple was almost a novelty. It had a limited appeal (only because of the marketing!) and in the end the almost hippie, natural vibe did not fit well with the rest of Max Factor and their Make-Up for Movie-Stars image. While Max Factor never really got a toe-hold in the youth market other players, Love's Baby Soft line of colognes, as well as Avon and Bonnie Bell, would dominate the growing scene of cosmetics aimed at young American girls.
But as for Green Apple- I always wonder, did someone connected to DKNY or LVMH fancy the original enough to seek out and snap up whatever back stock was around back in the early 2000s, when Be Delicious was on the drawing board?? And where has all the old advertisement copy gone- it was ubiquitous for a short time in American history but believe me, you won't find many images of Green Apple around now.

In any case Green Apple has become incredibly rare at this point- and it surely deserves a special mention here at the Vintage Perfume Vault for its well deserved cult status. I sure do wish I would have saved that last bottle of mine that I lugged around in my purse back in junior high... It's the time of year, I suppose- still summer but with fall drawing nigh- that's gotten me in the mood for this spectacular scent from yesterday!

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

note: I'm not posting image references here anymore. If you look at my html text you will see that I tag the reference site source to the image in the photo title, which I've been doing for quite awhile. Let me know if you want a specific reference.  

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Best Drugstore Musk Ever: Love's Deep Earthy Musk

Since I came out of the closet and declared my love of Love's Baby Soft... I thought I might share another one of Love's secrets. If you're ever combing through vintage shops and happen to find a bottle of Love's Deep Earthy Musk, grab it! This is the best drugstore musk ever. I think Jovan copied it for their classic musk scent. What makes it special is the Ylang-Ylang and a light touch of patchouli. Warm and lush yet clean, a perfectly rounded musk. 

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

What to do with all that old perfume?

image: unknown source

Today is laundry day and the house smells like heaven- thanks to an old bottle of Habanita eau de cologne. It smelled alright but I just never wear it. Perhaps the top notes have burned off too much or perhaps it's just not my scent. In any case, I hate to throw perfume away- but I accumulate so much of the stuff! So what to do?
                                    image: a Source Parfumee in the village of Gourdon in Provence

Well, there was an unfortunate late night run in with a skunk this week... and quite a few of our old towels picked up the odor after we used them to blot our dogs (after washing them with the prescribed odor-eating mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.)

                                                                image: hprints.com
I washed the towels in Tide with Febreze to no avail- they came out of the machine as stinky as they went in. Then I got the idea to try something a little different. So I mixed the Habanita cologne with some water (about 1/2 the volume of the perfume) and it turned an even, milky white. I then added several tablespoons of this liquid to liquid Woolite and rewashed. The towles smelled good out of the wash but I was really impressed  when they came out of the drier as clean as ever but with a divine sweet smelling scent and no trace of skunk (or the heaviness you usually associate with Habanita).

Next week I think I'll try scenting something else via the wash... maybe a load of bedsheets.

The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.