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Extra resources for A Little Book of Perfumes: The 100 Greatest Scents
Without that cover, the workings beneath are all visible. Still great: old and new converge to nearly the same thing after an hour or two. TS Boucheron (Boucheron) massive floral$$ Composed by Jean-Pierre Béthouart (he of Fendi Palazzo) in 1988, this is the Athena Nike of all floral orientals. The genre lends itself to sensory overload and thick orchestral scoring: imagine having at your disposal the combined forces of Joy and Shalimar to play with, and you will see how most perfumers end up with monsters intent on world domination.
Kindly ignore the bottle, which looks like a plug-in nightlight from the Dollar Store. TS 2007 sample. Chamade (Guerlain) powdery floral$$ I lived near the Champs-Elysées, two streets up from the Guerlain store, when Chamade came out in 1969, and I remember it wafting out of door number 68 as people came in and out. It was, as someone said of the Concorde, a new shape in the air. In those days I didn’t buy perfumes, and initially thought Chamade was two distinct fragrances: I would smell the drydown on passersby and find it wonderful, but it took me months to connect it to the nondescript floral green top note.
Perhaps the real precursor of 31 is that flawed masterpiece, Yves Saint Laurent’s Champagne. Champagne too was a soft, fruity chypre, but its brassy, plangent treatment of the theme suggested the decadence of a once-great lineage. By contrast, 31 shows that in the higher reaches of art, time is suspended. One of the ten greats of all time, and precious proof that perfumery is not yet dead. LT In the press pack for 31 Rue Cambon, Chanel boasts of having composed a chypre fragrance without the sine qua non: oakmoss, a resin extracted from a lacy lichen that looks something like frisée and grows mainly on oak trees in Eastern Europe.
A Little Book of Perfumes: The 100 Greatest Scents