Monday, August 23, 2010

Coty Emeraude (Vintage Perfume)

Those who only know Coty and its classics from the drugstore versions of the last couple of decades would never guess the cheap smelling vile liquid called Emeraude used to be a magical and sensual perfume, something a well-coiffed fashionable woman would wear when dressing up. Four years older than Guerlain's Shalimar (1921 vs. 1925), the similarity between these two big orientals are striking, especially as the scent opens and unfolds. Emeraude has the same wood and vanilla lusciousness, and a distinct opoponax note.

Between the various versions and concentrations of vintage Shalimar I own and my small bottle of 1950s or 60s Emeraude parfum I doubt I'd be able tell which is which in a quick blind test. But the late drydown of Emeraude is gorgeous and so distinct- it manages to smell both cleaner and more animalic than Shalimar. Don't ask me how it's even possible. Maybe it's the absence of the somewhat murky and burnt note in Shalimar (not that there's anything wrong with that). It's also less powdery, I think, and feels a bit more hard-edged, which I enjoy quite a bit. Not more or better than Shalimar (my heart still belongs to the Guerlinade), just different enough to make knowing and wearing both worth my time.

The bottom line is that Emeraude used to be dazzling and majestic. It's one more example proving the fall of the House of Coty. Don't bother with the stuff at Wallgreens. Instead, go rummage through your great aunt's belongings and borrow the bottle she saved for special dates. Maybe she also have a good story or two.

Vintage Emeraude perfume ads from the 1940s and 1950s-


  1. Now you've gone and done it, Gaia. This is the post that broke the camel's back. Now I want to start collecting vintage perfume. I don't know if it's the gorgeous Coty packaging that was my tipping point, or just your persistently gorgeous descriptions, but now I'm a convert.


    Bad enough you've got me buying Chantecaille, but this? This is above and beyond.


  2. Emeraude was one of my mother's favorites and in the past few years I've managed to collect a couple of vintage bottles. You're right - the Walgreen's dreck.....well, if we could figure out a way to collect all those bottles and ship them to the surface of the sun I would be a-okay with that!

    A good bottle of vintage Em perfume reminds me of a green/gold/ivory/black plaid cashmere swing coat my mother used to wear. Damn. Wish I'd kept that one!

  3. My two little bottles of vintage Emeraude are precious to me. And you're exactly right, there is something just a bit clearer and cleaner about it, compared to Shalimar from around the same time. I love both, but Emeraude is something I only wear on special occasions (especially in the summer, when vintage Shalimar comes off too barbecue-smoky).

    I just wanted to say too, that your perfume blog is one of the only ones I read regularly! Thanks for all the good work you put into it, I find it consistently enjoyable.

  4. I had this in the late 70s and remember thinking it was waaaay to grown up and ladylike for me. Of course I was wearing Opium at the time at the time LOL. Now I wish I still had that bottle and am off to find some vintage on ebay. Until recently I had an Emeraude vintage powder of unknown origin that I got at a rumble sale out in the country but the packaging was just too deteriorated and I had to let it go. It did still have a glorious soft elegant scent though and I have not forgotten it.
    How amazing are those ads. Makes me think of the green dress Keira Knightly wore in Atonement....stunning.

  5. Ohhhhh, vintage Emeraude is so lovely - plush, bosomy, cozy and yet elegant.

    I find Shalimar pretty tarry, and tend to smell like burnt toast when wearing it (although it does smell great when there's woodsmoke in the air). You would probably not be surprised to hear that I adore Shalimar Eau Legere, both versions, to the same degree that I love old Emeraude.

  6. I have worn the original Emeraude by Coty every day of my life since I was 17 (now 69), and it has always made me feel young. My last purchase was instantly recognized as a "knock-off" had a sour smell on both my skin and hair...I can not wear this! I can't recount the numbers of compliments from both men and women over all these years that the orig. Emeraude drew... I have to find orig. Emeraude to wear for the balance of my years...I'm as heart broken as though I have lost a true love in my was my signature fragrance...................


I love comments and appreciate the time you take to connect with me, but please do not insert links to your blog or store. Those will be deleted. The comment feature is not intended to provide an advertising venue for your blog or your commercial site.

Related Posts Widget