A More Affordable Olfactionary
Amouage Interlude Man
Amouage Opus III
Amouage Opus VAmouage Opus VI
Amouage TributeAnnick Goutal Encens Flamboyant
Annick Goutal Heure ExquiseAnnick Goutal Petite Cherie
Annick Goutal Sables
April Aromatics Calling All Angels
April Aromatics Bohemian SpiceApril Aromatics Jasmina
At the Moment (Chanel 22 & Marshall Crenshaw)
At the Moment (Secret de Suzanne /D'Orsay L'Intrigante) At the Moment (Vera Wang & Fireman's Fair novel)
Ava Luxe Café Noir
Carner Barcelona D600
Caron Aimez-MoiChantilly Dusting Powder
Clive Christian C for WomenComme des Garcons Daphne
Comme des Garcons LUXE ChampacaCostes by Costes
Creed Virgin Island WaterDeneuve
Gucci Eau de Parfum Gucci L'Arte di Gucci Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Lys Soleia
Guerlain Samsara Parfum
How I Store Decants
Il Profumo Cannabis
Kenzo Jungle l’Elephant
Kenzo SummerLa Via del Profumo Hindu Kush
La Via del Profumo Milano Caffe
La Via del Profumo Oud Caravan Project
Montale Black AoudNeila Vermeire Creations Bombay Bling
Nina Ricci L'Air du Temps
Nez a Nez Ambre a SadeOmar Sharif Pour Femme
Oriscent Pure Oud OilsParfum d'Empire Azemour
Parfum d'Empire Cuir OttomanParfum d'Empire 3 Fleurs Parfumerie Generale Indochine
Parfums de Nicolai SacrebleuParfums Retro Grand Cuir
Paris, je t'aime
Pascal Morabito Or Black
Ramon Monegal Cherry Musk
Robert Piguet Fracas
Serge Lutens Borneo 1834
Serge Lutens Boxeuses
Serge Lutens Un Lys Sonoma Scent Studio Voile de Violette
Sonoma Scent Studio Winter Woods (brief mention)
SoOud Ouris Parfum NectarStone Harbor, NJ Vacaton pix (non-perfume related)
Strange Invisible Perfumes Lyric RainThe Diary of a Nose, Book Review
Tokyo Milk Ex Libris
Vero Profumo Mito Viktoria Minya Hedonist
Viktor & Rolfe Flowerbomb
Vintage J’ai Osé from JoanElaine? Hell yeah, I Dared!
Last month when I bought a bottle of Cartier L’Heure Fougueuse, I couldn’t resist sending some decants of it to a couple blogging friends, one of them being JoanElaine of Redolent of Spices. As many of you reading here already know, JoanElaine is an absolute doll. She’s the kind of gal who makes me want to wink at her across the blogosphere and say, “Hey, sugar sweet. Wanna go steady?” Because (for those of you who don’t know her and are wondering)…Is she smart and bookish? Very. Kinda naughty? Mmhmmm. Playful and funny? Yepper. Does she share my affection for Paul Giamatti, Michael Chabon, and certain Dire Straits songs? UhHuhh, she told me she does.
A good gifter? Oh yeah, baby. Got a return package from her with samples of six vintage fragrances: Magie Noire and Climat by Lancôme; Anaïs Anaïs by Cacharel; Courrèges In Blue; and Fidji and J’ai Osé by Guy Laroche.
I’m pretty sure the only thing standing between me and JoanElaine is that French-speaking husband of hers. A guy apparently so sexy, not even Tom Hardy has a chance of dislodging him. But you know me—I’ll just say so what! and figure out a way to woo her out of his “parlez-vous-Francais” iron grip with my review of J’ai Osé. And if I fail, I can at least say “I dared!” Which is what J’ai Osé translates to in English. How’d you like that, JoanElaine? Pretty smooth, huh?
Now we all know that some perfumes are veeery sexy because they’ve got those “soiled accords” goin’ on—basically, the French way of reminding a person that it’s all about the Boudoir. This they do after they’ve whispered a few ooh-la-la’s into your ear with flowers and champagne and such, because the French have a very pretty way about them—but make no mistake, sooner or later the flowers will turn indolic, or a little civet will run into the room lifting its tail, because, yes, the French will play dirty. It’s how they get you.
Then there are those other perfumes that are sexy—and this is the case with J’ai Osé—without any dirty business goin’ on. These are the perfumes that display that other French tactic of seduction, which, after much scientific scrutiny on my part, I’ve determined is this: they use a classic perfume formula—one that involves a citrusy-aldehydic top, a seamless floral middle, and a mossy-woody base—to produce a Pavlovian response in which a certain figure pops into mind. A 36-24-36, hourglass figure, accentuated by the perfect little black dress, high heels, good jewels, and topped off by a swan-like neck and a goddess’s face. Yes, it’s true—even without a civet in sight (or in sniffing range, which covers a pretty fair distance) the French will manage to get you. On days when they are too busy to soil any accords, or when they simply want to prove their sleight-of-hand mastery in the ways of seduction, they will spin out this formula (which they’ve spent years and countless acres of Grasse jasmine conditioning us with), knowing that the mere suggestion of sex placed on such a comely pedestal is, well…it’s more than you or I can take!
And that’s exactly the case with Guy Laroche J’ai Osé, a fragrance that came out in 1977 but smells like a throwback to another era, an era when grooming was an art form even here in America. True, I wasn’t around to witness that era, but if old photographs and the movies are any indication, then I think it’s not too far off the mark to say that J’ai Osé recalls those high-maintenance women of the forties and fifties who wouldn’t be caught dead in public (nor maybe even in private) without the full complement of make-up (red lipstick and enough liner to create the dark, sultry eye), the perfect coiffure, and the kind of dress that manages both to be classy and to get a man’s notice (its tailoring showing off a nipped-in waist and the flair of hip beneath that tiny waist. Or perhaps the creaminess of bare shoulders and décolletage.)
It’s a sin, really. And maybe that’s why the opening stage of J’ai Osé reminds me of vintage Lanvin My Sin—less busty and a little more refined, but still wafting the kind of citrusy, honeyed florals that put wild thoughts into your head. I can’t say that I smell peach (which is among its notes, see listing at bottom of post), but I smell jasmine as sweet and rich as honey, accompanied by a tang of lemon that makes the back of my throat water, and a touch of cinnamon that renders it lightly spicy. Try imagining smelling all of those things at once, and that’s what the opening stage of J’ai Osé is like.
This candied and piquant jasmine lingers a long time, but as the scent begins to dry down, the smooth, woody finish of sandalwood inserts itself and keeps J’ai Osé’s curvy but trim figure reined in. A very light powder issues from the orris, contributing to the retro, cosmetic smell of the scent—its aura of glamour and refinement. And the combination of oakmoss, amber, musk and benzoin that anchors this perfume lends it depth and a resinous quality that enforces the notion that here is a womanly perfume, full of knowledge that the young can’t yet know; with some delicious tricks up its garter belt.
My only criticism of vintage J’ai Osé—at least in the eau de toilette concentration—is that it doesn’t have great longevity on the skin; I find I have to keep reapplying. But, of course, that can be sexy too, like a woman bending over and swiveling her hips as she adjusts the seam of her silk stocking. Time and time again.
Yeah, isn’t it funny how often they need adjusting? I have no doubt the French invented those stockings; they like to play dirty, even though they call it something else. A certain “je ne sais quoi”—ha! Whatever.
No wonder JoanElaine isn’t leavin’ her husband for Tom Hardy or me. Merde!
Vintage Guy Laroche J’ai Osé has top notes of aldehydes, coriander, citruses and peach; middle notes of sandalwood, patchouli, orris, jasmine and vetiver; and base notes of oakmoss, amber, musk and benzoin. My sample came, of course, from a sweetheart of a blogger from Canada. Hope she’ll forgive me for getting frisky with her in my post.
Image: Marilyn Monroe from the 1959 film comdy, Some Like It Hot.
Posted by Suzanne Keller, 4/8/2011.
All I Am - A Redhead
A Perfume Blog (Blacknall Allen)
Another Perfume Blog (Natalie)
Australian Perfume Junkies
Beauty on the Outside
Bois de Jasmin
Bonkers About Perfume
Ca Fleure Bon
Eyeliner on a Cat
From Top to Bottom - Perfume Patter
Giovanni Sammarco (artisanal perfumer) blog
Grain de Musc
I Smell Therefore I Am
Katie Puckrik Smells
Memory of Scent
Muse in Wooden Shoes
Natural Perfumery by Salaam
Notes on Shoes, Cake & Perfume
Notes From Josephine
Notes From the Ledge
Now Smell This
Oh, True Apothecary!
Purple Paper Planes
Redolent of Spices
Riktig Parfym: Ramblings of a Fragrant Fanatic
Scents of Place
Scents of Self
Sorcery of Scent
The Alembicated Genie
The Candy Perfume Boy
The Fragrant Man
The French Exit
The Perfume Magpie
The Scented Hound
The Sounds of Scent
The Vintage Perfume Vault
This Blog Really Stinks
Undina's Looking Glass
WAFT by Carol