Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Caron Infini

Caron Infini is among my favorite Caron creations that I actually own in parfum and EDT. I love it because it's among the more delicate, understated blends in the line alongside my other luminous favorites, Nocturnes and Fleurs de Rocaille. When I first wore it, I was surprised that I liked it, because it was described as a 1970 Aldehydic Floral and I'd expected a thoroughly unsweet, powdery-green-woody scent. Infini is unique in that it fits that retro 1970s popular scent type mold but it also has a unique floralcy, a hidden passion and joy in its heart with tuberose, jasmine and daffodil giving it an infinitely loving, intuitive, feminine touch. Overall, I find it has a pure, cristalline beauty characterized by a clean (somewhat soapy), green opening and a bold, dry woods finish, but most of all, the heart sings its sweet song without going overboard with sweetness and just adding a natural sensuality to an otherwise austere classical form. Infini comes across as a cool and sophisticated, elegant scent more than a warm and sensual one, but it has enough of the lively, good stuff not to bore me. It's powdery but not densely so, and the most well-mannered tuberose blend, as refined as a cultured pearl. Infini is an enigmatic juxtapositioning of the complex and down-to-earth Caron quality and streamlined, bubbly aldehydic Uptown cosmopolitan chic.

I was surprised to have sampled a leather scent called Parfums de Nicolai Baladin earlier, only to be reminded of Infini. I have never seen any notes associated with leather listed for Infini, and I'm probably only smelling vetiver combined with other woods, jasmine, oakmoss plus coriander (cilantro), a sharp, spicy herb in the parsley family (aka Chinese / Italian parsley), but somehow, I feel there's a deeper, more intricate tale to be told here. I wouldn't be surprised if some abstract form of the leather accord was in Infini, as I now believe Chanel No.5 (1921), the definitive Aldehydic Floral, is an abstract Russian Leather perfume. Infini certainly feels like if it were heavier and more animalic, it could fit into the Chypre (Chypre Floral-Animalic) mold just as easily as No.5 could. However, it's more polite than that and remains a soapy green Aldehydic Floral Woody. Caron Infini is said to have been created originally in 1912 (known as Caron L'Infini Souvenance according to the British Society of Perfumers), 9 years before Chanel No.5, although I've never smelled this earlier version of the Aldehydic Floral fragrance and have only seen the long-discontinued bottles on auction sites. If this scent smelled anything like it does now back then, I'd say nothing has smelled more avant garde in its time than Infini, and perfumer Ernest Daltroff should get his credit long overdue.

(Image: Caron Infini ad, 1971)