After being intrigued by Flambeau, I decided to grab a trio of Fabergé fragrances that were part of a cool sixties travel set that included Woodhue (with a cute wooden cap), Tigress (with a kitschy furry tiger-print cap) and Aphrodisia (with a lucite citrine-colored cap). Tigress and Aphrodisia were both originally released in 1938 and I’ll be reviewing them soon.
Spicy, vanillic and animalic, Woodhue, although the lightest in color of these three Fabergé scents, has the darker, more mysterious vibe. (I'm saying this in spite of Fabergé's advertising, which suggests that Woodhue is "for the casual you.")
As often happens with vintage perfume, Woodhue's top notes were a bit off, and in this case, initially smelled like hairspray. Soon, a vibrant orange and bergamot came roaring out, the orange note joining with sandalwood and what smelled like cinnamon or ginger, making Woodhue spicy and warm.
Top notes: orange, bergamot and citrus
Heart notes: jasmine
Base notes: sandalwood, vanilla, cedar and musk
(Notes from The Perfumed Court)
Update from 1000Fragrances writer Octavian: orris, clove, a green violet note, methyl ionone, ionones, benzoin, vanilla, opoponax, myrrh, amber accord, nitromusks, civet, sandalwood, cedar, vetiver
Woodhue was most seductive when it was in the last stages of the dry down. A delicate orris-like veil of powdery softness blended with the spices, vanilla and touch of civety musk. (The notes say musk, but I detected something civet-like darting around in the background.)
An hour or so in, a natural vanilla scent blended in with my skin to create an ambrosial, lightly-sweetened milkiness that was so comforting. Occasionally, sniffing my wrist with my nose up close to my skin, spicy orange and jasmine would pierce through the softness like rays of sunshine through a cloud.
The rocky road to this dry down is worth it, so if you get some of the old stuff, give it a chance to sputter, screech, and blow smoke like an old jalopy you started up after 50 years of its lying inert. It’ll be worth it once this scent hits its stride and the ride is smooth.
Get it on Our Favorite Auction Site (as Olfacta calls it) or wherever you can find a vintage bottle. The Vermont Country Store does not, I repeat, DOES NOT sell authentic, vintage Woodhue. It's their own reproduction. Either believe me, or wade through this exhausting debate on 100perfumes!
NOTE: Read perfume historian Octavian Coifan's Woodhue post on 1000Fragrances to discover the fascinating link between Woodhue...and Aqua Net! Also, as usual, he sniffs out the notes in detail. His finds? That Woodhue is built around a floral spicy note that sits between the jasmine-ylang "fresh rose facet of Chanel No. 5 and the soft sweet spicy carnation of l’Air du Temps." With jasmine, ylang-ylang, orris, clove, a green violet note, methyl ionone, ionones, benzoin, vanilla, opoponax, myrrh, amber accord, nitromusks, civet, sandalwood, cedar, vetiver