Friday, October 28, 2011

Corday Toujours Moi

This is a vintage advertisement for Corday Toujours Moi perfume. On the bottom, it reads, "Parfums Corday, Inc. 6 East 39th St. New York". Source: - 1936 Ad Corday Paris Perfume

This month, I spent some time tuning into a now-obscure vintage perfume circa 1924 called "Toujours Moi" (Always Me), a popular perfume by Corday that, according to legend, one composer was so enthralled by, he composed an entire musical piece for it for an album dedicated to his "muses" (five other Corday perfumes were also his muses) in 1948 (and yes, it really smells that awesome).

I first sampled the reformulated drugstore version from a few years back, which smelled astringent though vaguely floral-powdery, and came in a pale, medicinal orange color. It was a different scent than this vintage version, which has an earthier hue and a scent that is warm and rich, vetiver-based though ambery-vanillic, vaguely spicy though classically Floral. I can vouch for how beautiful this vintage perfume smells, because, luckily, I was able to procure this rare find, even if it's no longer in my possession (and I'm glad it found a loving new home). The bottle is gorgeous, like a harp or the inside of a piano, or perhaps a pipe organ, but the scent is outrageous, reminiscent of Revlon Intimate and Raphael Réplique, both of which harken back to days when Floral perfumes were deeper and more holistically aromatic, with universal facets of spiciness (tobacco?), sweetness, resins/earthiness/greenery and fruits/herbs, edging towards the center of the flavor wheel where Men's perfumes reign. And yet, Toujours Moi is a soft and tender, sensitive and melancholic, traditionally feminine perfume, as powdery soft as Caron N'aimez que Moi, but more daring, with the plummy warmth and assertive Floral-Ambery sensuality of Panthère de Cartier.

Although Toujours Moi is Floral, it's also fitting to be categorized as Oriental, as many other sweet-and-spicy perfumes in its era were, like Guerlain Shalimar (1925) and parfum fourrures of its time such as Weil Zibeline Secret de Venus. The dry down is slightly musky and borderline animalic, full of sweet intensity and a somewhat detached, hazy beauty. In a world full of perfumes sharp-smelling enough to literally keep us on high alert, with books on our heads and a straight line upon which to balance our heels like a prima donna, this old-fashioned bouquet of romantic beauty and luxurious comfort can be so captivating because it's so laid back and undemanding.

Related link: Classics Trend Part II - PINK MANHATTAN December 10, 2006