Saturday, March 12, 2011

Spring Break: Vintage Hermes Caleche

Guy Robert created Caleche in 1961 for Hermes. Hermes originally made fine quality leather fittings for horse-driven carriages or 'caleches'. The carriage logo eventually came to symbolize Hermes and reminds us forever of the heritage for this house.  Naturally the first perfume for Hermes was given the name of Caleche.

"It's all a woman needs to wear..."

Caleche perfume notes from Fragrantica, include: 

Top Notes: aldehyde, cypress, orange blossom, mandarin, neroli, bergamot, lemon
Middle Notes: orris, gardenia, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, rose
Base Notes: sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, oakmoss, vetiver, cedar

A modern perfume created for the age of horseless carriages, Calache is a complex medley of hesperide, aldehyde, flower, wood and chypre. By turns Caleche has qualities of a sunny citrus-imbued fine french soap, a rich and heady bouquet of white blossoms studded with creamy carnations, and of a forest festooned with woods and oakmoss. These classic, dignified, refined accords mingle with something very different and very intimate- a whisper coming from underneath the silk stockings, cashmere, velvet, fur and mohair-- a woman's true scent. Caleche is a perfume for grown-ups. If you are looking for an easily accessible, superficially pretty perfume, keep right on looking. This one probably won't do for you at all. But if you've acquired a well-developed sense of taste and enjoy occasionally being challenged, then you should be able to appreciate the subtle charm and depth of this quiet masterpiece.

There is something supremely self assured about Caleche. Yes, it is a sexy perfume- not because it makes self conscious efforts at seduction but because it offers up an uninhibited and honest portrait of a woman. As the 1969 ad says: "Women who think of perfume as a weapon would undoubtedly prefer something else"... Caleche is a celebration of what it is to be a woman without any apologies or excess sentiment.  It is one of my go-to scents for early spring; it's perfectly suited to a cool, foggy morning but positively comes alive in the warm, sunny afternoons. Caleche reminds me of happy lost weekends spent exploring the quaint coastal areas of Northern California. I don't believe it is any mistake that Caleche makes such a magnificent driving scent...

I am reviewing the vintage version of Caleche. I have the vintage pure parfum and the vintage 'hulie parfumee'. The perfume oil is my favorite version; the lemon and aldehyde is especially warm and it gives off a glorious sillage.

Perfumes by Guy Robert:
  • Hermés, Doblis (1955)
  • Rochas, Madame Rochas (1960)
  • Hermés, Calèche (1961)
  • Christian Dior, Dioressence (1969)
  • Rochas, Monsieur Rochas (1969)
  • Hermés, Èquipage (1970)
  • Gucci, Gucci No. 1 (1974)
    Mary Quant Havoc (1974)
  • Amouage, Amouage Gold (1983)
  • Amouage, Amouage Gold Men (1983)
    La Prairie One Perfect Rose (1990)
    Pink Room Perfume No1 (1999)

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

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