I know there are a lot of fans of Caron vintage perfumes for women, and they always lament the watered-down or disfigured modern reformulations. I have read enough negative comments to avoid, blindly, all reformulations for women from Caron (updated Caron’s perfumes for men don’t seem to have suffered much at all), and also partly due to the relatively reasonable prices of the vintage versions you can still find on eBay.
One particularly Caron fragrance that caught my attention was “Fleurs de Rocaille” (1934). Note the plural, “Fleurs”. People always say, don’t buy “Fleur de Rocaille”, buy “FleurS de Rocaille”, just like the movies “Alien” and “Aliens” are two different things. Well, “Fleurs de Rocaille” had me at the packaging. I absolutely adore the colourful, almost folksy bouquet illustration on the box and perfume stopper. I wish I can find a poster of that illustration and hang it on my wall.
Only one aspect of the scent of Fleurs de Rocaille is surprising to me, which is its “dirtiness”, otherwise, it smells perfectly of the similar vintage perfumes from that era, such as Arpege. According to Fragrantica, Fluers de Rocaille has a lot of flower notes, such as jasmine, rose, lilac, ylang, but I guess it’s the carnation/violet/musks combo that makes it super spicy and funky. May be aging has something to do with it too.
Imagine, you are sitting by the sea, the golden shimmering reflections of the waves illuminating your face. Slightly startled by a beautiful, fragrant bouquet of flowers brought to you quietly from behind, you involuntarily have a big smile on your face; you turn around to find out who the thoughtful one is, and it’s a smelly baboon showing his love to you.
[After wearing a few more times: The dirtiness is a bit exaggerated, but it’s still a rich, dark, ambery and heavy floral perfume.]