Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sonia Rykiel 7e Sens - The Lost Perfumes

You don't get to hear much about Sonia Rykiel's first perfume, 7e Sens (1979). It has vanished off the shelves in the mid 80s and seems to have been forgotten. It's not very surprising, though, considering the shift in taste and trends. In an era when people are constantly looking to smell like their clean laundry, a dark animalic beast as 7e Sense doesn't really fit in the designer market. And what an animal it was...

The opening of this Sonia Rykiel creation starts with some seriously old aldehydes. My tiny bottle isn't exactly fresh and it takes a minute or two before the blast from the past settles down and reveals what's underneath. There's a feeling of an aged, exquisite fruity liqueur, dark and syrupy, being poured into crystal glasses. You can almost see the dim, candle-lit, velvet-draped room in which this rendez vous is taking place. Long black gloves, a slinky dress, soft murmurs. It's a cliche, I know, but the setting for this perfume simply cannot be an ordinary date at a hook-up bar. It's about strangers on a train, Lady Chatterley and her lover, Isadora Wing's sexual adventures... take your pick. Just not Jennifer Aniston and her ilk.

The progression of 7e Sens is a lesson in animalic notes. It's raw, leathery and warm, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn there's some real castoreum or civet in this juice. This is not for the faint of heart or for the easily offended coworker. There's some barnyard in it and a lot of human bare skin. I find it captivating and engaging, but I'm not sure about wearing it in the company of non-perfume-people.

I have a tiny bottle of the parfum extrait, bought on eBay. There aren't many of these floating around, so I cherish every little drop. The ladies at The Perfumed Court have the EDP (just as rare), so one can obtain a sample and weep a little.

Ads of 7e Sens:


  1. Your description makes me want to run out and locate a vial ASAP! Sounds absolutely fascinating.

  2. i remember this fragrance so very well. i was living in england at the time. my parents would visit from canada every 3 yrs and travel europe from there. 1979 my parents went to paris for a month and my mother brought me sonia rykiel 7e back as a present. an exquisite fragrance and one i truly enjoyed wearing . i miss this fragrance there has been nothing quite like it since sharon mason

  3. It's ironic how some things never change; this was a favorite, I bought it as soon as it was available- what a grand bottle, and such jus !

    I guess I loved many of the same things no matter what age I am.

    Another love we share ;)

  4. Meredith, it is a fascinating scent. They just don't make them like that these days. I wish it was easier to find.

  5. Sharon, what a lovely memory to have associated with this perfume!

  6. Chaya'le, I'm not surprised to hear you used to wear it. It must have smelled heavenly on you.
    Age never played a role in my choices, too. I remember myself at 19 wearing Paloma Picasso and at 21 wearing Eau de Soir. They smelled perfectly appropriate to me...

  7. I lived in Abu Dhabi in the '70s and '80s and was lucky enough to have a jar of the 7e Sense body lotion/cream. I have never forgotten that incredible scent. I was never able to find it in any form once I returned to the US.

  8. I purchased 7e Sense as a gift to myself. Once I started wearing it, I fell in love with the scent, I was constantly getting compliments on how nice I smelled. The store was disccontinuing the scent, so I bought 3 bottles and managed to make them last for quit a while, I still have my last bottle, it has a wee bit left, I can't part with it. I really miss it!!

  9. I've had both of the different versions of this scent. The first was a tiny little bottle of the parfum from Bloomingdales NYC (a sales sample), the second a bottle of the eau de parfum bought in France somewhat later. For a long time I didn't know that the formulation had changed and I thought something got lost in the translation. There was a note that reminds me strongly of fresh sawdust that didn't make it into the second version, which I miss a lot. All the same, I think it's my husband's favorite of the scents I wear. Winter time is when it appeals to me most.

  10. I used to drive to Tiajuana from LA to buy it as there was a wonderful parfumerie that sold French perfume. It was my most favorite scent ever. I truly miss it.

  11. I feel less lonely now that I see I am not alone in my deep, abiding sorrow at the loss of Sonia Rykiel's Septieme Sens - the Eau de Parfum in particular. No fragrance, before or since, made me feel the utter rapport and natural harmony with a scent that Septieme Sens brought me. My words are gauche --- I am trying to describe a drop of perfection. Other than people's, there is no demise that has grieved me more than the demise of that incomparable perfume.

  12. I am searching high and low for My Sin by Sonya Rykiel. Help!!!

    1. My Sin was a Lanvin perfume. Hard to find, but not impossible.

  13. My mum has a tiny few drops of this left my dad bought for her back in the 70's it smells divine


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