Monday, July 2, 2007

Big Blondes

My predilection for dry humor and dry, smoky voices extends even to a taste for dry fragrances. Ernest Daltroff's Tabac Blond (1919) for Parfums Caron is the loveliest and most sinister scent of its time, melding undried tobacco with leather, vanilla, vetiver, linden blossom, ylang-ylang, amber and cedar notes in a veritable sinfonie concertante of dark seduction. Designed for the modern woman, its success clearly lies in its empassioned flouting of gender assignments. It is masculine one moment and feminine the next, leaving its prey unclear as to which sort of pursuit is under way. The extrait de parfum has excellent sillage and longevity. It is available exclusively from the perfume fountains (known as the "urns") at Caron in New York, London and Paris. Diane Haska, who lovingly runs the New York boutique, has a wealth of knowledge pertaining to this and the other hard-to-find Caron classics.

My other blond(e) would have to be the Lutens-Sheldrake creation, Daim Blond (2005), inspired by white suede. That is, white suede as left in an orchard of ripe apricots. Peeking their not-so-demure heads in and out, from time to time, we can detect iris and heliotrope. The drydown is a warm, sexy musk, which lingers on for nine or ten hours. If Tabac Blond is a true blonde, Daim Blond is like a blonde caught on black-and-white, fading to grey ... but the most divine grey ... like the inside of pair of sueded kidskin gantes, redolent of a very expensive smoky cigarette or caressed (merely) cigar.

Did dry ever seem so intoxicating?


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