Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I don't remember how I learned about art film actress Catherine Deneuve but from the first time I saw a photograph of her icy, regal, unabashed feminine beauty, I was going to get hooked. I bought my very own copy of Belle de Jour and had to smell her own perfume called Deneuve, and thank goodness I found an online perfume shop which had just two bottles of parfum left, both of which I bought on the spot. Today, Deneuve is one of the most rare discontinued perfumes, sold on eBay at astronomical prices, yet it still has a devoted following of people who can't live without it.

What does it smell like? It's a beautiful piece of retro perfumy perfection. To me, it's the ultimate Green Floral composition with a cool, spring flower-freshness yet with voluptuous, sensual, sophisticated, somewhat avant garde appeal. Greens and Chypres are not considered mainstream scents, and back when Deneuve was launched in 1986, Greens were not the popular trend. Deneuve has sharp, dazzling, luxurious top notes, a very full and lush floral heart and a mossy, warm base. The dry down on me is a bit herbaceous. If you crossed Ivoire, Private Collection and the original Armani Femme with the attitude of a gorgeous crossover Oriental-Chypre like Ysatis, you might get Deneuve, but Deneuve is still in a class all its own. Some people compare Deneuve to leathery Chypres such as Balmain de Balmain and Miss Dior but Deneuve doesn't venture into the angular leather realm, at least not to my nose. I think it's more Green Floral in the family with Armani and Chanel No.19. The bottle was a sleek design with a twisted cap, packaged in a black box with a pink silk fabric ribbon. I don't make a habit of wearing vintage perfume but now and then, I need to experience Intelligent Bombshell Elegance that is the essence of Catherine Deneuve. It's a shame such a scent is only a fading memory now. At least she's still rockin' at 62. Here are the notes according to Basenotes:

Deneuve (1986)

Top Notes
Green notes, Galbanum, Bergamot, Neroli, Basil, Aldehyde

Middle Notes
Rose, Muguet, Jasmin, Orris, Ylang-Ylang, Violet, Hyacinth

Base Notes
Moss, Musk, Cedarwood, Sandal, Civet