Saturday, April 24, 2010

L.T. Piver Reve d'or

As promised, I'm back to report on one of L.T. Piver's modern offerings. For a perfume house with such an lengthy history- the name has been associated with fragrant perfumes, powders and lotions since 1774 after all. It is sad to see that Piver has not been in the same hands continuously but today some of the "classic" or historically popular Piver scents are being put back in current production. Reve d'or (Golden Dream) is the one I chose. Originally Reve d'or was composed in 1886. In 1926 it was re-orchestrated by Louis Armingeat, although I'm sure that is not the version we find today. Some UK men's shops carry portions of the L.T. Piver line that includes several masculine fragrances. But I went with Reve d'or, classified as a feminine floral bouquet,  because I loved the notes- a refreshingly simplistic blend of orange blossom, tea rose, geranium, vetiver, heliotrope and sandalwood (from memory- so double check it for yourself or read back a few entires).  I've been (back) on a heliotrope kick for the past month or so, and wearing quite a few vintage heliotrope-laden scents this spring and a floral bouquet featuring orange blossom with oriental leanings is always appropriate.

The Reve d'or of today comes in appealingly vintage-ish packaging, still looking very similar to what is shown in this 1920s advertisement (even the lid of the new product appears vintage, an ivory plastic resembling an old bakelite cap). I rather liked that the bottle is sealed with a metal (brass) inner cap, just like a vial of medicine or something. Once you peel it off, there is a little styrofoam plug underneath, and then you get to the juice. I wish other companies would take such pains to seal their perfume; it prevents leaks in shipping and you know you are getting what you're supposed to get. But as soon as I sniffed the bottle, even before unsealing it, I could smell the essence of Reve d'or. It's fairly strong especially for a "lotion" strength, which is 70% (or degree). It is a warm, bewitching floral with a rich, royal character. It reminds me of something a king or queen would use as a part of their daily toilet. But it has a certain quality, an intimate ability to improve and amplify the natural scent of the wearer. It becomes a part of you in a way many scents do not, forming a subtle vail emparting an aura of gentle mystery. You might think it is just a case of super-natural skin chemistry with me, but it isn't. This L.T. Piver creation is actually an international best seller and something of a "cult favorite" because most of its popularity is due to its ubiquity in the middle east as a men's barbershop cologne [even so, to L.T. Piver it is classified as a feminine scent]. In some areas of Arabia, it has been considered one of the most very traditional (and especially popular) scent worn by men. So I am not the only one under its spell. For something so light, it is incredibly rich and tenacious. It is not so strong, or so obnoxious as to suck the air from the room but I can see it might benefit from a restrained hand in hot, humid weather. It's golden efffect seems to be in the harmony of sandalwood and a perhaps a powdery facet of heliotrope enriched with the rose, which seems to form in its own hybrid, a unique sweet spicy musk that isn't an actual musk, and which imbues the natural skin. There are herbal and grassy facets thanks to a fresh green vs rooty vetiver and citrus-floral geranium. A green-apple lemony freshness hovers above the musky base, captured within a creamy carnation cloud, promoting sort of a clean and divine baby-skin effect.  For me, that effect is the cause for repeated sniffing of my shirt, prompting me to ask, "Is that me [a trace of some exquisit old perfume,] or is it the new laundry detergent??... No, no-... it's Reve d'or!" The ingredients of Reve d'or are: alcohol, water, parfum, benzyl alcohol, cinnamal, cinnamyl alcohol, citral, cintronellol, eugenol, geraniol, hydroxycitronellal, isoeugenol, linalool and some coloring ingredients. Unlike many other vintage vault scents, this one can  still be found and purchased online for a song, so why not give it a try? I'll be trying their Cuir de Russie next!

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

image credits:
colorized image of Gloria Swanson by Talkie_King.blogspot
vintage LT Piver ad from

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pardon by Royal Luxury Perfumes

Today I'm wearing an old favorite of mine, PARDON by ROYAL LUXURY. This perfume (parfum) is nearly always found in little micro-mini or miniature size bottles. It's made by a company called Royal Luxury Perfumes, a common-but-obscure name from USA in the 1950s. If you've ever seen one of the popular and fairly common vintage box sets called Les Grands Parfums De France, then you've probably seen micro minis or miniatures of Royal Luxury perfume before since they're often featured in these presentations along with perfumes made by Charles V Parfumeur. Some Royal Luxury perfume labels indicate they were made in Paris, others only that they were distributed in New York. The Charles V perfume lables I've seen, as well as text on the box sets states specifically that the Charles V perfumes were created and bottled in France... One supposes some of the Royal Luxury perfumes could have been made in USA, but who really knows? My own 1/4 ounce bottle of Pardon is marked as a "Parfum" on the label- but again it only indicates that it was "Dist in N.Y.". The cap is bakelite and the bottle was made in USA, but you can draw your own conclusions about the origin of the juice inside.

The perfumes of Royal Luxury Perfumes includes:






...All were released probably around 1950 or shortly thereafter. The bottles come in a variety of shapes with different color foil paper labels. I believe they were produced for a few years only, in several different combinations in box sets, sometimes in larger sets along with the perfumes attributed to Charles V (aka Charles the Fifth) and sometimes smaller sets featuring only Royal Luxury perfumes. As a side note, I've found a few little gems among the Charles V perfumes. The dates for Charles V perfumes spans the late 1940s to the mid-1960s.

Nannette by Royal Luxury
Pardon by Royal Luxury
Entude by Royal Luxury

But when I smell Pardon, that's why I love it. There is a tangy musky quality in the base that makes it almost mouth-watering and as it dries down, the musk softens and radiates to a buttery like richness that suites me to a tee. There is an almost watery quality to it as well, something similar to some lotus oil scents. It has a cassis, berry vibe to it as well, similar to tart fresh cherries. There are some sweet floral touches that create almost sugary vanilla and spice notes as well, giving what could be callled a cherry pie effect (maybe one of the best examples of that type I've smelled). Of course it is a vintage scent so the fruit is not neon-brite nor literally edible; it is done in a rather perfumey style if that makes sense.

The print on the label of my bottle of Pardon is badly deteriorated and in a twist of perfume misfate, I'd always assumed "Garden" for Pardon and "Real" for Royal until recently, when I saw a better example. I still considered it a gem of my collection for smell alone- which is saying a lot since I do not attach nearly as much value to perfumes without names/houses, histories or stories behind them. But in this case the juice is a thing of beauty, a clear olive-amber color and the scent is rich and persistent, creating a gentle, feminine sillage that wears and wears. This is not a house that advertised at all, so I think the sets were made for travel, holiday displays in lower tier department stores and sold probably thousands and thousands of units at each location.

The happy news for you is that unlike some of the ultra-rare stuff, you can actually find small affordable bottles of Royal Luxury perfumes at many on-line auction sites (Bing, EBay or Google it). Many vintage perfume dealers tend to split the sets up (which can be irritating if you want an entire set), but which also keeps the cost-per-try affordable. If you're willing to spend $10-$20 you should be able to find a single, 3 to 5 ml or 1/8, 1/6 fl oz bottle. The "Les Grands" sets typically run $50-$150 range in as new, complete or mostly complete condition.

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

(image of Les Grands Parfums De France, 1finetreasure at ecrater)
(images of Royal Luxury perfumes from the miniature perfume shoppe)
(image of Vie from shopvintage4u at ebay)
(image of the Heliotrope fairy by Cicley Mary Barker)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Spell...

This charming illustration is Gladys Peto's "The Spell" is circa 1925. It features a young girl who spilled her mother's perfume bottle, only to fall under the enchantment of its scent.... 

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

(image of The Spell uploaded via finsbry's flckr photostream)

A few of my favorite things...

Apple and lemon blossoms, lilac, roses, lilies, lavendar, azalea and geraniums are all bursting forth in the garden right now.  Next week, the orange trees, who just shed the last of  last season's fruits, will be blooming again as well, adding to the profusion of delights. Despite this glorious springtime showing it is enuui-time for me, as we approach the end of an academic year and tax season wraps up. Vintage perfume projects will be taking a side-seat for a time, as I plunge towards an exciting new year in which I'll be involved in designing and planning a new project.  But of course I will not be giving up my vintage perfume fascination so you will continue to see new posts but with what regularity I can't say as of yet.

Since I'm in a mini-rut and still waiting to receive some newly acquired perfume goodies, today I'm just posting some of what's been catching my eye lately.

If you don't already own one, consider gifiting yourself with a vintgae perfume lamp. They are quite easy to find on line and even at little antique, thrift shops- you've just got to know what to look for, since many people mistake them for regular bed-side, nightlight lamps. The distinguishing feature of the lamp is a small well or bowl in which you are meant to pour some perfume into. As the lamp heats up, the perfume is warmed gently, so it vaporizes and wafts through the air. Small, low watt bulbs prevent the perfume from scorching- a problem I've encountered when using modern metal perfume rings that fit over larger watt bulbs.

Check out the gorgeous 1930s German example above. It's much fancier than the one I currently use, which is a plain white porcelain owl. It still looks good and works very well. If you love dogs, there are many darling vintage 1920s-1930s doggy themed perfume lamps on the market (most are German, a few are newer Japanese made).

I love to use the perfume lamp for strongly resinous or oriental scents. On the other hand, there are scents that seem too dilute. If I can't get the oompf factor I want- the lamp often allows some of the excess alcohol to burn off, leaving behind an almost extrait oil residue of the perfume in the well, which often retains beautiful, sometimes mellow facets of the original scent (after thoroughly perfuming the air). Youth Dew was introduced to me in this way and within that perfume were some marvellous 'hidden' accords that really opened up under the magic of the lamp.

I'm also admiring the gorgeous vintage perfume and powder boxes of L.T. Piver. This venerable perfume house has been around snce it's inception in 1774, and so there is a long line of many, many releases but today, only a few remain in production. I'll be trying their classic scent Reve D'Or soon; it's notes of orange blossom, tea roses, geraniums, vetiver, heliotrope and sandalwood sounds like a perfect spring day spent in a dreamy garden. However, it will be the current formulation I'll be trying- and moreover, it's a cologne. So we'll see whether it can deliever on its promise.  Don't you find the artwork on the old Piver products amazing?

image of girls in appletrees,
image of perfume lamp from vilhelmshaven,
image of Floramye powder box latintiendaloka,
image of Mascarade powder box kytsos,
image latriefelincarnat by mauri22,
image of pompeia by arete-antiques,
image of azurea by babajol,
image of piver magazine ad at pa82co,
The Vintage Perfume Vault, where the scent of yesterday's vogue lives.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Working, working...

(image 1979 ad from hprints) always but more so from now through the end of May...  I do have a new post brewing but the trail on the story turned and so now we must wait while I gather more evidence and evaluate; in the meantime you are not forgotten, dear friends.

Today I'm wearing Shalimar spray (parfum de cologne or edt). The bottle is dressed in a white and blue floral design canister, probably a late 1960s vintage. Although it can be considered fickle and tricky to wear  by some, I can hardly go wrong with Shalimar- any version, from any year.

You may recall the tragically discontinued 2003 version Shalimar Eau Legere composed by the talented Mathilde Laurent. I completely adore it but am saving mine to wear at the height of summer. It's lemony and airy with pillowish facets are a perfect antidote and compliment to the heat.

(image 2003 ad from hprints)

Sometimes animalic- full of smoke and leather, sometimes tender and child-like thanks to a vanilla and iris-rose heart, and at other times, nearly gustatory-gourmand with a citric kiss; no matter the woman, Shalimar always fascinates.

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

Friday, April 2, 2010

I'll be wearing vintage Diorissimo for Easter, how about you?

("Best Easter Wishes" 1908 Rotograph Co., NY from Shorpys)

(image: mes-parfums)

Oh, I'll be switching to Dior's breathtaking vintage Diorissimo parfum for later today and tomorrow as the Church begins to observe Easter with the Crucifixion of Christ. Diorissimo is Dior's iconic ode to lily of the valley (LOV), composed in 1956 by Edmond Roudnitska. My version of Diorissimo is a vintage 1970 parfum. It represents the pure scent of lilies combining lily of the valley and amaryllis lily with supporting notes that don't compliment but rather support the lilies. Lily of the valley scents, especially exemplified by Diorissimo, have become my scents of choice for observing Easter. After all, lilies are symbolic of death and ressurection; Lily of the valley is sometimes called Mary's Tears after the tears cried by Mary at seeing Jesus on the cross. There is also a tradition of lily of the valley only being allowed to grow on gravesites (although it can be very invasive and spread like a weed in its native areas). Perhaps this tradition is related to the story that lilies of the valley sprung up from the ground where the monk St. Leonard's blood was shed during his great battles with a terrible dragon  in 559 A.D. while that of the dragon's yieled only poisonous weeds. But most importantly, lily of the valley is associated with renewal; it is often called by the name Ladder to Heaven or Jacob's Tears. Lilies are mentioned in the verse from the Song of Solomon referring to the Lilies of the Field. And lily, particularly the sharper and greener lily of the valley, ushers in the true spirit of spring; it is especially exhilarating to wear at this time of year. So enjoy any and all preparations and plans you have for the holiday. I hope you enjoy celebrating it as much as I plan to...

(image of young girl with lily of the valley: the french factrice)

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

Plassard Tabac vintage perfume & new blog discovery...

What: Tabac parfum
Who: Plassard Parfums
When: 1815 to late 1940s ??
Where: Paris, France
Cost: $50-200 plus
Rarity: 6/10 (10 = rarest)

(image: parisapartment)

(image: hprints)

Today, I'm wearing vintage Tabac parfum by Plassard. According to Cleopatra's Boutique online Ebay guide to obscure French houses, Plassard is an old French perfume company born 1815. It was reportedly re-named L. Plassard in 1894 and continued producing fragrances through the 1930s-1940s before finally fading away. She gives us a short perfumography:

1911 Une Femme Passa
1927 De Fleur En Fleur
1928 Dyne

There are many more compositions attributed to L. Plassard; my reasons for highlighting these few below is that they all existed up through 1948 and so they are some of the best to search for (if you want to look)...

Bouquet de Paris (?- 1948?)
Matsi (?- 1948?)
Tabac (1900- post 1948?)
Oeillet Noir (? - 1948?, and so a new lemming is born...)
Conclusion (?- 1948?)

Above you can see the colorful magazine advertisements for Bouquet de Paris and Matsi; both date from late 1940s publications. Imagery for Tabac is more elusive (of course!). I find a 1900 date for it's release from one source but no print ads.

(Plassard Tabac image copywrite

Tabac is held within a moulded glass bottle, embossed PLASSARD FRANCE on the bottom and closed with a brass washed screw top lid. The label is gold foil, marked Plassard/ Paris/ France. My bottle is identical to the one you see pictured above. As for contents, the juice is a rich orange honey and mine has a trace of honey tone crystals (precipitated amber?). As advertised in a 1948 column emtitled Esquire's What to Give Your Leading Lady, "Maybe Plassard knows why his Tabac can bring in a woman's breath in little tight gasps..." Sounds promising! The article also recommends another "exclusive" Plassard scent, Bouquet de Paris. For those of you wondering about it, Tabac features tobacco flowers over amber rather than smelling of the smoked product (at least to my nose), as Caron's Tabac blond does.  Plassard's Tabac is indeed a pleasurable scent and one my husband noticed and commented on immediately. It starts off rich and thick but turns from big/sweet to resinous/dry fairly quickly. It's a good thing or it could almost become too, too much. The tobacco flower as rendered here is opaque and powdery and is fairly true to a tobacco flower oil that I have. The amber is quite sweet. Tabac is an oriental with notes of vanilla, rum, incense and hay which dries down very soft and very, well, ambery. Ah well, off to google Oeillet Noir:)

And while we're not on the subject, I also want to pay compliments to my fellow bloggers.... There are some really outstanding blogs I've discovered out there and many mavericks who create awesome, mind expanding visual/verbal content. To these folks, I'd like to give a hearty thanks (and I mean to include all of the bloggers on my blogroll list). And since you, dear reader, are here already... You might as well check some of the blogs on my blogroll, too.

I won't go back over any of those already included up to this point (btw, they're all spectacular). But yesterday (and maybe I'm slow, b/c his blog has been up for several years), I stumbled upon Ed Schepp's Scent Spectacular... and it's another great blog to seek out, particularly if you are interested in discovering more about raw perfume materials and how they smell, but he also keeps an eye towards commercial perfume releases. It's become a fast new fav of mine!

And for no reason other than general interest, please enjoy these tourist photos of the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella monestary and perfume/pharmacy museum in Florence Italy. Mind-blowingly, this pharmacy was founded in the 13th century and has compounded scented elixirs for many, many luminaries throughout the ages.

(flickr: images of herbs and antique scent bottles from  the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella )

 (image: flickr; antique poster for the Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella)

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