This famed floral leather chypre, to my (modern?) nose, just doesn't smell leathery enough. Before I got into vintage fragrances, the first leather scent I ever encountered was the fantastic Bulgari Black, whose leather note is flanked by smoky Lapsang-Souchang tea notes and vanilla, which seem more complementary to leather than candied florals. Perhaps I don't want my leathers so "feminized" with an assault of flowers at the beginning. To me, this is like adding gingerale to Lagavulin scotch. Just plain wrong.TOP NOTES: Neroli, bergamot, mandarin, musk sage
HEART NOTES: Juchten (leather), iris, rose, ylang-ylang
BASE NOTES: incense, oakmoss, vanilla, vetiver, benzoin
The first thing that hit me with Scandal was intense sweetness, almost like the Choward's violet candies you can still buy to hide alcohol-breath. And at least with the sample I have (we're talking 70-odd years old, so who knows what's happened to it), there's not much development. Germaine Cellier's Jolie Madame, constructed in 1953, seems to have improved upon this juxtaposition of candied fruit/flowers/tobacco/leather by creating more of a harmonious balance among the notes. It doesn't just move from sweet to leather in one fell swoop.
What positive effect Scandal does create for me occurs definitely in the drydown, once the flowers dissipate and what's left is the smell of faintly sweet leather and tobacco. I can understand why it must have seemed radical and scandalous to have an elegant, perfumed lady smell like she'd smoked a pack of cigarettes and fallen asleep in the leather interior of a car the night before! But now? Meh, not so much.