Tag Archives: 70s perfumes

Tweed-It’s Golden Oldie Time: Bear With Me.

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I have very happy memories of scents in the 70s. It was the decade I went from nought to ten and grown up ladies were the blueprint of what I was to be become one day.

tweed old1I am not the only forty something who remembers their mothers, aunts and grandmothers dousing themselves in Tweed. Everyone remembers it, but nobody owns it. Except my friend Lisa who, as you know, is canny when it comes to perfume.

Based on her interest, and having been initiated into the Chypre portal via dreamy Balmain de Balmain and  Jolie Madame,  I allowed a small bottle to land by the till of my local chemist and fall into my bag in exchange for money. Oops!

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vintageadbrowser.com

Opening notes are clearly and loudly Lavender and Geranium.  It reminds me of Tauer’s Le Maroc Pour Elle: only because of the lavender opening, after that they part ways.

The Geranium keeps it prickly and it reminds me of Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass  for the first hour. I don’t actually enjoy the first hour of Tweed, but it gets better, trust me.

In the middle phase, the Lavender stays loud and the Cinnamon adds spice.  There’s noisy Jasmine- loud and proud, but the synthetic Lavender jars a little.  There is a disquieting hint of disinfectant.

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The base notes provide the bit worth waiting for.  Oakmoss, Vetiver, Patchouli and Benzoin. It’s a Woody, Mossy finish that lingers long beyond what anyone would expect for £4.99 from a little independent chemist.  For those of you who don’t live round the corner from me, you can buy this from Amazon or Allbeauty.com. It’s less than ten quid and worth it just for that amazing base note and the great longevity.

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Guerlain Chamade: When Retro Glamour Is Required

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Guerlain Chamade is like a trip back into the early seventies.  I don’t mean the flares and the joss sticks but a time when ladies wore suits and court shoes just to go to town. Created in 1969, this green spiky aldehyde is a beautiful tribute to all that is ladylike and harks back to a time when everyone said “Good Morning” and “How do you do?”

Opening with the green and musky notes of the dominant Galbanum, as if to say “Don’t mess with me”, it then beds down and shows its feminine side with Lilac and Hyacinth showing a flash of finely turned ankle.

The aldehydes provide a clean, soapy background against which the prickly notes of Vetiver, Balsam and medicinal Benzoin shine through boldly as the longlasting basenotes make their presence felt.

Chamade was named after the drumbeat of retreat during Napoleonic times and is meant to represent the beating of a heart in love.  Even the bottle looks like a teardrop.  It is out of step with today’s brash modernity, but this to me, is all the more reason to wear it. I feel sure that the existence of Chamade went on to influence many 70s drugstore classics: all those greeny, raspy chypres that smell so classic now but were everywhere way back when.

It’s a grown up perfume that I would love to smell on more people today.  It reminds me of an elegant women with a green, tweed suit, a brooch, and a smart leather handbag, off to town to run errands on a pleasant day when the sun didn’t go down without asking permission first.

Stockists

You can buy Chamade from Amazon UK, although the EDP is harder to find than the EDT.

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Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche: Still an Icon

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I have very fond memories of YSL Rive Gauche, (named after the arty Left Bank of the Seine) but it has been so embedded in my memory that I find it hard to de construct.  When considering what to write about it, my first instinct was to write “Rive Gauche smells like Rive Gauche”, which of course, would make a short and inadequate review.

rive gauche big scarf

Created the same time as I was (1970) and launched a year later,  Rive Gauche and its iconic tin canister has certainly  played its part in my olfactory memory.  My first memory of it is of my primary school teacher wearing it in 1978.  I didn’t know its name then, but the scent memory stayed with me.

My mother then wore it in the 80s, which is how I learnt its name.  My recent foray was yesterday, when I tried the modern formulation, and unlike many purists, I did not find it lacking.  It was still very recognisable as Rive Gauche and the memories came flooding back, although the opening was a very 70s melange of powder, soap and white noise.

As I said, it’s heard to break this down.  It’s not an Oriental, but it’s sort of Woody.  It’s definitely an Aldehyde and a Floral.  Longevity is remarkable at ten hours..Image

So what’s it like?  It’s very 70s, yet timeless.  The opening reminded me of  Givenchy Ysatis, which isn’t good on me:  it was soap, powder and dust. However, when this small fog cleared, the good old fashioned smell of Rive Gauche was there, just as I remembered it.  It opens with clean smelling aldehydes, with a background of flowers: definitely Jasmine, Iris, and Rose. The flowers are muted though, in a refined sort of way, rather than the modern “in your face” way that can sometimes happen.

rive gauche

Dare I say it?  The Iris calms everything down and keeps this both smooth and rich.  It wouldn’t be the same without it.  The finish is slightly woody (Oakmoss), but the florals stay true and rich.  It’s so good I may consider getting a bottle.  I rarely smell it on anyone these days, which is a great shame.

So hard to describe, yet I could recognise it in an instant.  Are there any fragrances that you remember form when you were very young?  Do you find them hard to describe or it is just me?

Stockists You can find YSL Rive Gauche in many places. Try Amazon UK or allbeauty.com