Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Classic Smell-Alikes, Part I: Romance

If you're a lover of ambery, balsamic Oriental perfumes such as Must de Cartier or Calvin Klein Obsession, you may also love Fifi Chachnil. Bodaciously rich, rosy, powdery and smoky, it's actually a tobacco blend, but the theme is a classical ambery Oriental with modern touches that bring to mind Houbigant Quelques Fleurs Royale, especially in the high-pitched orangey fruit notes (mandarin). Somewhere between romantic and sexy, Fifi is sure to add some drama and seduction to your fragrance wardrobe as well as to your nightstand. Be careful with the pump atomizer, however, because this style (not pictured) is known to occasionally spill through the woven pump.

The description of the scent from the Fifi Chachnil website is as follows: a tender oriental harmony made of powdered rose and mandarin, amber and tobacco.

If Fifi is out of your budget, there's a lovely drugstore perfume called Chantilly you must try. It's now made by Dana but it was originally made by Houbigant. Chantilly is remarkably similar to Fifi Chachnil and Must de Cartier in style: ambery warm and densely powdery with a dark, intensely sweet base-heaviness: a classic, romantic and substantially rich blend, meant to enhance a woman's softness--in thoroughly retro terms.

(Images: from Fifi Chachnil's website,, Houbigant Chantilly 1941 ad)