Sunday, October 14, 2007

Caron: En Avion



for L.–

Autumn temperatures, finally. And, with them, the opportunity to reacquaint myself with some “Hall of Fame” scents. Yesterday and today, I have been luxuriating in Ernest Daltroff’s olfactory homage to the female aviators of the last century, En Avion (1929). Often labeled as a “leather chypre,” En Avion came ten years after Daltroff’s monumental Lost Generation masterpiece, Tabac Blond, and, while it shares some of that scent’s “woman of confidence” bearing, its personality is marked by a more overt, if darker, femininity. The tobacco of his earlier “oriental leather,” has here given sway to an eccentric, if somber, blend of orange tree (yes, the tree), rose centifolia, jasmine absolute and spicy, clove-laced carnation. Again, the spirit of leather is evoked, but not the supple kid gloves and suede of Tabac Blond; rather, here it is the leather of the cockpit: gear, upholstery, bonnet and goggles. The woman is still rich and independent, but wary of her husband’s overweening financial machismo. This is, after all, the spring before the Crash. She has been to a Freudian analyst and perhaps rankles at the sweet pipe tobacco of yesteryear. She’s ready to pick up the pen and begin writing her own story, to make her own road, even if it spells some brand of disaster. And when she’s not trailing vapor at ten thousand feet, she’s trailing sillage like Isak Dinesen at the Muthaiga Club, Nairobi. She’s re-found her feminine charm. She even professes a love for flowers after all that flapper-era genderfuck fol-de-rol. I love her.

6 Comments:

Anonymous Veronica said...

Oh, I love my En Avion so! It seriously makes me want to learn to fly a plane!!

October 14, 2007 at 7:18 PM  
Blogger helg said...

I love her too! (and Caron is usually difficult for me)

October 15, 2007 at 2:10 AM  
Anonymous dinazad said...

En Avion, sighhhh..... the very first scent I bought at a Caron boutique...

I get a slight tickle of gasoline from En Avion - makes me think of the adventurous, now slightly tired and maybe even a little grubby aviatrix arriving from some ground- or rather air-breaking flight to be greeted by a group of admirers with a big, elaborate bouquet which she accepts with a brilliant smile.

You have to love her, don't you? Or admire her, in any case.

October 16, 2007 at 12:29 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Thanks, D. It's the most feminine of the classic "leather" scents I know. As for petrol notes, don't all leathers give off some tanning chemical scent as well as oil-based polish notes?

October 16, 2007 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger Lucy said...

Now you have me intrigued, I will have to try this next chance I can get near a Caron counter, which thankfully will be very soon...I love the idea of a good leather scent for the coming winter months...

October 16, 2007 at 2:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I started wearing En Avion more than twenty years ago, maybe twenty-five and have always enjoyed tremendously everytime I wore it but sadly after Groupe Ales took over Caron in 1998, along with their own in-house perfumer Richard Fraysse, something started to change. By the 2001/2002 I realised En Avion changed radically, more something like Fraysse 's own version of En Avion and more recently En Avion (like most other Caron parfums) has changed again and for the worst. In the end what used to be a timeless, elegant spicy oriental has become a thick concoction in the style of Fraysse 'Lady Caron', a dowdy, old-ladyish and unrefined perfume. Now I understand in this age of classic perfumes reformulations it 's extremely difficult and challenging for perfumers to preserve a certain integrity to the original formulas but perfume houses such as Chanel and Guerlain are doing a rather good job at it. Something very wrong is going on at Caron.

Daltroffian Girl

July 4, 2008 at 7:50 PM  

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