I didn't know what to expect when I won this on eBay. I knew that thanks to Bandit, I was intrigued by the Piguet line and the woman it seemed to be addressing, so I would give it a try. Soft, floral, even tropical, it has a lushness, like fur, that has to be experienced to be understood. It smells like fur scented with flowers. It's animalic and sophisticated yet unintimidating.
Baghari was the vintage perfume that first made me notice the difference between vintage and modern perfumes. Vintage perfumes have a depth, a volume, as some people say, a way of unfolding through time that even complex, modern fragrances don't have. Baghari didn't necessarily unfold from note to note over time, but its appeal was its roundness, for lack of a better word. There was something 3D and physical about Baghari that I haven't really encountered in modern fragrances.
This is definitely the sexy girl with the big heart of the Piguet perfumes. Baghari is bringing cupcakes to the office party. The other Piguet gals are outside smoking cigarettes.
One of my favorite perfume bloggers at The Scented Salamander had this intriguing historical observation about Baghari's vintage qualities versus its more polite reformulation:
"The vintage Baghari parfum is much darker and animalic and has a hint of danger about it...there is something animal and feral about it yet very sophisticated at the same time...It is a much more self-centered fragrance in terms of its moral makeup. It engulfs you into an atmosphere that is anything but contemporary as one realizes that slightly disquieting animalic perfumes bordering on the offensive-smelling were thought to be seductive... I think that since fewer women worked in the 1950s in reaction to their mobilization during WWII, a current that pushed women to regain interest in more traditional feminine roles, a good number would be able to wear these more sexual scents in the comfort of their home or in social settings where seduction was encouraged. Women wore more furs too and this type of scent evokes the animality of a mink coat...A social evolution is thus very much perceptible between the old Baghari and the new Baghari. The new perfume takes more into consideration the larger social circle of the wearer of the perfume wanting to be pleasant and well-behaved rather than advertise an in-your-face and provocative womanhood."
Top notes: aldehydes, bergamot, orange blossom, lemon
Heart notes: Rose, lilac, ylang-ylang, lily of the valley, jasmine, bourbon vetiver
Base notes: Benzoin, musk, amber, vanilla
Update: After a generous reader sent me some vintage extrait of Chanel No. 5 with loads of golden-hued, caramel-y and rich nitromusks, I realize that Baghari must have the now-banned nitromusks, too. There's a depth and boozy richness to the perfume that seems reminds me of the Chanel extrait...