Saturday, April 2, 2011

Verve Mist of Spring by Prince Matchabelli

Chesebrough-Ponds, now known as Unilever, acquired Prince Matchabelli in 1958. Following this change of hands, one of the first products debuted under the Prince Matchabelli name was their new line of VERVE colognes. Those familiar with Prince Matchabelli will recall the old PM Crown bottles- identical in shape and form, except for differently colored enamel or glass insets. The colors were used to distinguish between the various PM scents. The 1960 Verve scents came packaged similarly- plain glass columns with various pastel-colored plastic dispenser tops corresponding to the various scents.

Confetti: deep periwinkle blue
Misty Lace: true pink
Mist of Musk: clay pink
Mist of Spring: pale lavender blue
Softly Oriental: pale mauve pink
Twilight Mist: turquoise

I'm not sure how much effort Chesebrough-Ponds ever put into advertising the Verve line- it seems as if I can recall seeing some magazine ads for Verve Mist of Musk but I sure couldn't pull anything up online as of today. In any case, the line slipped away and was discontinued only a few years later.  Despite the lack of fan-fare, these scents were very well done for the casual cologne genre and many perfumistas have fond memories of the scents. I missed Verve by a few years and so I only knew of it by its reputation.

Recently I was delighted to spot the pale lavender top of PM's Verve: Mist of Spring during a vintage rummage. Luckily the Verve colognes have such generic, nondescript packaging that you can often find them lurking around thrift store shelves and the like, past by, forgotten or ignored. If you like the convenience and purchase protection of buying from an online source like Ebay, bottles of Verve scents sell for very moderate prices (around $35 dollars). 

I wasn't sure how good this scent would be given that the look of it is on the cheap, no-frills side but my fears were unfounded. While Mist of Spring is one of the less common Verve fragrances, it turns out to be is a perfectly lovely spring scent which opens up as a delicate but delectable hyacinth-iris scented cloud. Gentle touches of something like a diluted jasmine incense underline the misty quality of the scent. Everything settles down relatively early as it resolves into a gentle, clean herbal musk. At this stage it smells very similar to the old dark green Clairol herbal essence shampoo. If you recall the scent of this shampoo, it has become something of a Holy Grail, scent-fetish of mine. I'm always looking for a perfume dupe for it. But the finish of Verve Mist of Spring is super light. Overall, its not nearly as intense as I want it to be and for a hard-core perfume junkie, it's something of a frustrating tease. I love the notes but would probably need to huff a pure concrete of this scent in order to get much satisfaction from it. However, there are many fans of light scents who might find Verve to be a nearly perfect form of vintage perfume nirvana.

Note: Prince Matchabelli released a 1930s perfume called Verve but only the name was borrowed for the 1960s, not the scent.

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

image: Iris by Caroll Thayer Berry


Suzanne said...

Amelia, Mist of Spring...I love the name and by your description it sounds so pretty. Another fragrance that smells similar to the original Clairol Herbal Essence Shampoo is Chanel Bel Respiro -- have you tried it? Although it too is very light and fleeting (but comes in one of those large bottles that would seem to facilitate spraying it to heart's content). :)

Anonymous said...

About being obsessed with the scent of a shampoo/conditioner...I have always been in love with the smell of Flex Shampoo/Conditioner. Unfortunately Flex was recently discontinued. Out of desperation, I decided I wanted to convert the smell into a handy EDT format. What I did was I squirted a blob of conditioner into a container. Then I poured some Everclear alcohol, which is just super strong grain alcohol, over the blob of conditioner, and put the lid on the container, and let it marinate in there for a week or so. When I opened it up, the scent of the conditioner had infused the alcohol beautifully, while leaving the blob of conditioner itself fully intact - so the conditioner didn't actually blend with or thicken the alcohol, the alcohol just absorbed the scent. I poured the gloriously scented alcohol into a spray container and now I have Flex-scented EDT to spritz with abandon. Yay, smells wonderful and so handy to be able to spritz it. It's nice and strong too. Hope this idea helps someone!

Amelia said...

Suzanne: I haven't tried BR yet- by the sound of descriptions, it would be well worth my seeking out- Light is perfect for this type of thing; thanks for the suggestion!

Amelia said...

Very inventive technique! I'm sure it's something someone will want to try for themselves. Thank you very much for sharing... You've got me thinking- I may have to do a post on all the great functional scents that were foundational to setting my frame of mind toward smells. I think we're all strongly influenced by our early smell associations, don't you?