Monday, October 1, 2007

Just Dandy: Floris Malmaison Carnation


The scent the divine Oscar himself wore? And which on application one could imagine an Anglicized Henry James adopting for his morning toilette. Such was my relative elation on opening a bottle of Floris Malmaison Carnation and almost instinctively spraying it into the air of my study. This, at last, was the ultimate gentleman's scent. If you can get beyond the seals of the Royal Warrant adorning box and bottle, the very apex of English fustiness, this is not an Edwardian museum-fragrance. Actually, it dates from 1830, making it early Victorian. It reeks of prosperity, of money in the bank, and the comfort that comes in the form of a man wearing a double-breasted suit with weskit and boutonnière – in short, the man who's taking you to lunch in a closed car and hearing no objections. According the botanists, the Malmaison carnation takes its name from the multifoliate Bourbon rose which it resembles. It is exceedingly spicy-sweet by nature (i.e., cinnamon and cloves). Floris reinforces this in their blend with sandalwood, black pepper and a range of florals. If it were a wine, it would be a Beaune 1er Cru Bressandes or Clos des Chênes with some of the complexities that come of medium-term cellaring. Unlike Prada's Oeillet, a masterpiece of understatement, and LV's Garofano with its Florentine "fullness," Malmaison Carnation has breed. It would make a marvelous starter scent for the man who wishes to stray from the dull phalanx of formal scents that populate the top of his dressing bureau ... or for the woman who wears his shirts on weekends.

10 Comments:

Blogger Marie Fatime of Damascus said...

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October 2, 2007 at 12:21 PM  
Blogger Marie Fatime of Damascus said...

Ah Vetivresse, another delightful foray into gentler places and times. Oscar diuinus, indeed! I also suspect that his scents were masculine, not at all like those fussy eaux that Waugh's Brideshead clique certainly wore at Oxford a generation later. Oscar was a man, for all that.

October 2, 2007 at 12:25 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Merci, M., Would love to know where else his scent preferences led him. I imagine a small perfume bottle of mercury blue glass labeled "Bosie," hidden among the suitcases in the Hôtel de Paris.

October 2, 2007 at 6:43 PM  
Anonymous Veronica said...

I like my carnation hot spicy,lush and full. i like Garofano and even Bellogia well enough, but would like to smell something just a bit drier, not so sweet. Do you know of anything like that?

October 3, 2007 at 8:51 AM  
Blogger helg said...

It is often referenced in relation to oscar, yet we trully aren't sure he wore it. (he did wear Trumper cologne). It would suit though...
And I agree: different that E.Waugh.

I do love Garofano as well. They are trully gorgeous carnations each in its own capacity.

October 3, 2007 at 10:08 AM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

Veronica, have you tried the Prada No 2 Oeillet? I don't know if it's as full as the Garofano but it is dry with very elegant powder and spice.

Helg, Zut! I hope Oscar did his morning "Asperges Me" with it. What would Waugh have worn? He did like his pipe and cigar/ettes. Now, Anthony Blanche: Shalimar? Black Narcissus?

October 3, 2007 at 11:49 AM  
Blogger helg said...

I think Anthony would pick up a Lutens on his trip to Morocco ;-)

October 3, 2007 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Vetivresse said...

E., I love it! Yes, he'd pick up some Sarrasins with a darling little Cuir Mauresque to idle away the hours with.

October 3, 2007 at 1:53 PM  
Anonymous Veronica said...

Thanks for a suggestion, I'll put it on my list!

October 3, 2007 at 8:29 PM  
Blogger carmencanada said...

I find Malmaison to be a puff of pure delight, all powdery-peppery with the tinge of bitterness of cloves. I first tried it in the dead of winter at the Old England department store in Paris, where all the chic, bourgeois, anglophile Parisians shop -- and there's nothing quite so Anglophile as the old Parisian bourgeoisie, except the French aristocracy. It is indeed a scent for male and female dandies, not overly complex but with quite a lot of panache.

October 4, 2007 at 8:45 AM  

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