Suzanne's Perfume Journal

Image Source: illustration of keyhole was provided by Carol from WAFT to all of the participants. The photo of the Webber 6T perfume bottles is one I stole from her blog.



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Some people are infatuated with solving the big mysteries of life. Who built the pyramids? How was a primitive culture able to erect the massive stone monoliths at Stonehenge? Where and how did Amelia Earhart’s plane vanish without a trace? Me, I take only a passing interest in the big mysteries, but I’m a fool for the small ones. So when Carol from WAFT invited me to participate in a joint blog project in which each person would receive a bottle of a mystery perfume—one of 22 identical bottles discovered amidst an even larger trove of perfumes she purchased at an estate auction—with the only information known about them being that they were created by the estate’s decedent, Mr. Webber, a chemist who, Carol was told, created the scent for the original and much loved American cleanser Pine-Sol—I couldn’t resist.

Really and truly, I couldn’t.

When Carol revealed in one of her posts that the Webber collection included other curious bottles with cryptic labels, I spent the better part of a day puzzling over them. One of the bottles was labeled “Stepan” and included a hard-to-read description on it that she initially thought said “Maywood Darsion.” Many Google searches later, I emailed her to ask whether she thought Mr. Webber might have been employed by the Stepan Company, a specialty chemical company with a long history of providing aromatics, surfactants and other chemical compositions to the perfume, detergent and even the food industry. (Rather interestingly, they are the only company in the USA authorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration to import coca leaves, which they supply to Coca-Cola.) Stepan is headquartered in Illinois but owns a manufacturing plant in Maywood, New Jersey (once known as the Maywood Chemical Company), the purchase of which helped Stepan become one of the leaders in the field of aromatic chemicals. Carol excitedly wrote back to say that she thought this a good possibility, believing that the hard-to-read label on the “Stepan” bottle could now be interpreted as “Maywood Division.”

I don’t know whether she has since uncovered more about Mr. Webber; I haven’t inquired or pried further because this is, after all, Carol’s mystery. Hers to savor and deliciously ferret out its secrets, some of which she may wish to keep to herself. But the task of sleuthing that Carol did charge us with—analyzing the wondrous perfume Mr. Webber created and bottled in frosted-glass flacons bearing only an enigmatic symbol, a curving 6T—is one that has me happily saying “the game is afoot!” (As well as Thank you, Carol, for taking me along for the ride.)

My bottle of 6T arrived the week after I had written a review of vintage Coty Chypre eau de parfum, and so I was astonished (thinking it too much of a coincidence) when the scent that issued forth from the mystery bottle smelled like Coty Chypre’s fraternal twin. At first I thought that having Coty Chypre so recently on my mind had caused me to imagine the similarity. But after some side-by-side comparisons, I realized it was no hallucination. While the two fragrances aren’t identical, they do indeed share a number of compelling similarities— twenty minutes into their wear, they quite intersect each other in terms of smell, at least for a time—making it natural to compare the two for this review.

I’ll start out by saying that if these fragrances could assume human form, 6T would be the fraternal twin that sings a half-octave lower than Coty Chypre. Its opening is deeper and spicier than the latter: I can smell the warm flush of either clove or carnation, perhaps even a smidgen of anise, intermingling with bergamot and some dry green notes (like sage and vetiver). As it unfolds, revealing its middle notes, 6T smells increasingly like Coty Chypre: both fragrances present a grassy-floral heart—that seemingly old-fashioned style of pretty laid down by the kind of people who eschewed anything overly sentimental or sweet. Guessing as to what the heart notes for 6T might be, I’d name the classic jasmine-rose-iris combination and would be tempted to add carnation.

The drydown of 6T is where the fragrance distinguishes itself again (as it did in the top notes stage) from Coty Chypre. While I do think the two fragrances share a similar base—I smell labdanum, patchouli, oakmoss and sandalwood in each of them—the patchouli is more pronounced in 6T, edged with a hint of vanilla, while Coty Chypre stays woodier and greener. The lasting power—or maybe I should say projection—of 6T’s drydown cannot match that of Coty Chypre eau de parfum: the 6T drydown is much more muted. Though Mr. Webber’s perfume doesn’t have the same long trajectory that Coty Chypre does, all in all it’s one beautiful fragrance—an equally restrained but warmer chypre—and an heirloom in the truest sense of the word.

Which brings me to the heart of the real mystery: Where have all the chypres gone? Why must we always travel back in time to find them? And is that where Mr. Webber was coming from or trying to get back to—year ’60, perhaps—when he created 6T?

For a chance to win a bottle of 6T (given away by Carol), please post a comment on any of the participating blogs as to why you should have a bottle of this rare, unreleased parfum, and we will choose the most creative reply as the winner. (This is a full, 15-ml bottle, identical to the one above in my photo—one of only 22 bottles in existence!!)

Since my site doesn’t have a comments forum, email me at suz@eiderdownpress.com with your response by Wednesday, July 14th, and I will make sure that you are entered. (Don’t want to email? Then visit and enter to win at any of the wonderful blogs below. Good luck!)  Please Note: This drawing is now closed.

All I am a Redhead

Bloody Frida

Grain de Musc

Olfactarama

Parfümieren


sponsored by WaftbyCarol

Unlocking an Unknown - Webber Parfum 6T
Joint Blog Project and Prize Drawing

July 12, 2010: