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March 24, 2011

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Anne

Lovely review. I've sniffed Eden once or twice and will give it another go. I've seen it selling very cheap at one of my local department stores, and been tempted. But a full bottle? Like you, I'm wondering if I would really wear it.

Interesting thoughts about the Unnatural in perfume. Kenzo's Ca Sent Beau has a reputation as a 'plastic beach ball scent'. It came out in the late 80s, I think. (Do you know it?) Kenzo's whole aesthetic seems to be partly about embracing artificiality, as part of the urban life that many of us live. I'm thinking of those ads for Flower which feature red flowers growing on top of roofs. Quite lovely. (But I don't like Flower itself, makes me run for the hills.)

'Artificiality', or 'unnaturalness', seem to me not that far from abstraction in perfumery, which I admire. Chanel No 5 is often mentioned in this context. Speaking of which, I am wearing the No 5 EDP tonight; this is the 1980s concentration that people say has an unpleasantly artificial note in it. I started out thinking this too, but find myself enjoying that slightly synthetic note now, and wearing the EDP more and more often. After all, in applying perfume, we are all applying scents that are not natural to the human body.

Perfumaniac

Hi Anne,

I'm thinking about the Unnatural apart from the notion of abstraction in perfumery. (I'm in agreement with you that, as an art, perfume's artifice and abstraction are good things.)

I'm thinking about a perfumer's (in Eden's case, Guichard's) choice to embed, in an otherwise routine perfume formula, a note that signifies the artificial, and not, say a perfumer who uses vanillin + civet + whatever else to create an accord that wouldn't be found in nature.

Especially given the name of the perfume, Eden, we're invited to think about gardens, and flowers, and well...Nature. So to start your perfume with a nature theme with an incredibly plastic-smelling note, when you have the budget and the ability to create a note that smells "natural," this seems to me to be a provocation, something deliberate and up for interpretation...

In any case, since artificial smells are all around us, in a peculiar way, we might actually grow to like them. I'm a foodie — but I love the artificial taste of Jolly Ranchers, and of all the things in Eden I truly liked, it was that crazy first accord! The problem was, to get it, I had to keep reapplying it. As anyone who's smelled it knows, that mother has SILLAGE. This is not a perfume you want to load on!

I haven't sniffed Ça Sent Beau, but of course now, I'd like to try it. I can't stand Flower (it makes me a little ill, actually), but I have Parfum d'Ete and I'll check it out with your theory in mind! Thanks for your thoughtful response!

Joan

Beautiful review. I can't think of a perfume right now that has a similar appeal, but the beautiful-because-its-fake thing isn't below me either!

Now I will have to smell this!

Perfumaniac

Thanks, Joan! I had only heard of Eden recently, so I imagine a lot of people have never tried it. (It would be great to hear their opinions.) Eden is an odd bird for any era, but definitely out of step in the 90s when so many perfumes got polite and clean. This one is like a Tweaker/Raver perfume in the age of Heroin Chic...

Sylvia

Thanks for your input on Eden! I enjoy your reviews a lot, I just want to add that it seems like the older Cacharel's: Eden, Lou Lou and Anais Anais have undergone quite bad reformulations. I now have vintage bottles of all three of them and have compared them with newer ones.

Eden has always been an odd fragrance, but in the vintage one I don't smell the plasticy burnt rubber in the topnotes. Patchouli is still there but is a lot softer and more delicate, and whatever "bad smelling" is gone. (50 ml splash bottle)

Vintage Lou Lou is a very sweet floriental without the sour anise concoction that I can smell in the new one. (Maybe that can be explained by the two sets of notes you have in your review). (100 ml alladin-lamp shaped splash bottle)

Vintage Anais Anais is more widely flowering and slightly darker from the basenotes, and less cloying IMHO. (100 ml splash bottle)

If you want to look further into this I can send you some samples.

Thanks again for your beautiful reviews

Sylvia

Perfumaniac

Sylvia, thanks so much for your sweet message. Im glad you enjoy the blog! I would love a sample of your Eden, and your Anais Anais, thank you! As far as I know, I have the vintage Eden, but perhaps if youre saying that rubbery beginning isnt there, I should take a sniff! I also have Anais lying around somewhere, but again, to compare would be great. (Im positive the Lou Lou I have is vintage.) I will contact you with my info. Thanks again! I may have to completely rethink the Eden review!

Sylvia

Hi! Thanks for the email. The samples are on its way, (and it's no big deal for me at all to send them :)!!). I hope you will find the comparison with the current one interesting. Vintage Eden is a bit odd I agree, but compared with the new one it's an odd beauty. I would therefore advice everyone who are considering to buy and try Eden to go for a vintage bottle. The reformulation is (sorry Cacharel) very bad.

Perfumaniac

Thanks, Sylvia. I can't wait to see if the one I reviewed is vintage or not! I hope it was! I'll let you know when I get them, and thanks again. :-)

brigitte

Sylvia- you seem to be a big fan of the Cacharel fragrances. What do you know of Noa? Has that Cacharel fragrance been reformulated as well?

Sylvia

Hi Brigitte. Thanks :) Actually it's only the three: Eden, Lou Lou and Anais Anais that I've compared, and I'm not sure when they were reformulated either. I might have an idea how to differ vintage from new ones (by look), which may be useful for Noa as well. Then you can try for your self. Perfumaniac have my email adress if you want to know more.

Perfumaniac

Brigitte — meet Sylvia! Sylvia — meet Brigitte. (I love that I am referred to as Perfumaniac. :-) I should get my name changed!) Brigitte, Ill send you Sylvias email.

brigitte

Sylvia-since its inception in the late 90s I have gone through several bottles of Noa not necessarily because I adored it (in fact I couldn't even smell it on myself whenever I wore it) but merely because it is a light,benign scent that garnered many compliments from children whenever I wore it and was non-offensive to my allergy prone/perfume despising co-workers/family members. The reason I ask about re-formulation is that In 2011 Cacharel came out with a mini coffret set in five floral motive bottles of several of their fragrances: among them were Noa, Anais Anais, and,I believe, Lou Lou. They also sold Noa in the same bottles in the 1oz. size. and called them "limited editions". I'm wondering if this was just a ploy to re-introduce older Cacharel fragrances to new perfume-lovers or were they all reformulations. And,yes, Barbara, by all means, we can share e-mail and dialogue that way :)

iva

beautiful article! Eden was my first perfume , I was using it when i was 12-13 y/o..Back then, back home (Croatia) seems like every girl wore it. After couple of years , I forgot about it, but throughout the years i would smell something simmilar to Eden and it would bring me back to my early teens..I forgot about perfume's name, but recently i remembered it- it weas Eden! I was surprised that noone ( at least noone i spoke to ) in US didnt hear about it. I found a great deal on Amazon, and now im anxiously waiting for 1oz of the most amazing fragrance. I hope it will smell the same as it was 13 years ago. I am a big fan of Thierry Mugler too, I have Innocence, Alien and Womanity and my favorite-Angel. I just found out about your page and cannot wait to read other articles.

Perfumaniac

So glad you found the blog, iva! You are not alone in loving Eden. Many people adore it, and I think it's a really special and strange perfume. And I have always loved Angel...

Iris Jonquil

I don't know if this comment will be posted because it's been almost a year since the original post, but this topic is so interesting and I find "Eden" such a compelling scent, that I wanted to offer another take on it.

I feel like the idea of "Eden" was to conjure-up ancient botanical smells, smells that might no longer be able to exist because some plants were left on abandoned boughs of the evolutionary tree, long since extinct; they would have to be imagined, synthetically reproduced as a creative concept, similar to trying to imagine what the 18th century court of Versailles smelled like based on recipes and accounts.

The wacky, chemical-botanical smells of "Eden", imply oversized growth, decay and new birth hidden under such growth, this concept of an unknowable world to modern noses. "Eden" has a steamy, astringent freshness that, at both times, paints an image of a newly fresh natural World -- uadulturated by human development -- but still, bubbling with the poisons and dangers of an absolute wilderness. In regards to the topic above, I think this was the other direction some perfumers chose to take in androgynous synthetics; to tell gender-less stories, to define beauty in new ways and free from the confines of traditional gender roles.

When we also think about all the attention Earth Day was getting in the early 90's, including a more aggressive pop culture focus on Environmentalism, we notice some artists finding provocative ways to open dialogue on it. To use conscious artificialty as a means of generating a human connection to Nature and appreciation of its power, to generate stories and emotional connections to it, is a pretty fascinating concept. "Eden" accomplishes all of that. Over a decade after its launch and we're still talkingabout how weird and fascinating it is.

Perfumaniac

Hi Iris Jonquil - Sorry it took me a while to respond to this. I'm glad you love Eden, too, and think that its artificiality is deliberate. I like the idea of the artificial notes as representations of poisonous, swampy plants. Or that they're scents we don't know about now because they're extinct, and hence don't refer to a nature we recognize as natural. So, if I understand you, the notes in Eden that smell artificial are in fact referring to unknown, natural scents in Ropion's fantasy of an Eden nature. Interesting!

Sea Wolf

"The baroque, hyper-gendered stylings of the 80s were denuded with CKOne, and the scentless, sex-ambiguous body was laid bare."
I find this interesting because so many women's perfumes of the 80's smell very masculine to 2000's noses. I often wear Obsession to work and get asked which men's perfume I'm wearing - and compliments from men, not in the 'you smell nice' kind of way but in a 'I like that, I want it for myself' kinda way.

Perfumaniac

Interesting, Sea Wolf. Maybe what I mean to say is that hyper-gendered just means, hyper-strong or aggressive rather than wan and minimalist. Paloma Picasso Mon Parfum, for example, is overdosed with castoreum (used in leather scents and we usually associate that with men), and others have lots of patchouli, etc. What have you worn that men seemed into? I love that you are wearing 80s scents!

sea wolf

The only perfume that I wear that gets compliments from men or women (like mm you smell good) is Casmir by Chopard (1991), that vanilla bomb! Its a real crowd pleaser.
My own husband is a sickly sweet gourmand-lover which is amusingly incongruous with his image, his job (in construction), motorcycle riding, amateur boxing. His signature frag is Matin Calin by Comptoir Sud Pacifique, which completely, literally smells like warm milk brimming with sugar.
In terms of perfumes of the late 20th century that smell masculine I definitely have to vote for Passion by Elizabeth Taylor, Paloma Picasso, Opium, Blue Grass, Cinnabar, Obsession, and a 1 sneaky modern one of the 2000's! Fancy Nights by Jessica Simpson.
The 80's was definitely the last grand decade of fragrances - I wonder if it has something to do with it being the last decade when perfumes had to compete with ubiquitous cigarette smoke!

sea wolf

Oh! And Imari by Avon! I am sick with a cold and have lost my sense of smell, but that is one of the few that's puncturing through!

sea wolf

Oh! OH! Niki Saint de Phalle. Okay, I promise I'm done.

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