I doubt a perfume can get more French than 1000 by Jean Patou. A decidedly floral chypre that isn't afraid to smell perfumy and dress up. While this Patou is actually younger than me, it could have easily been released a decade or two earlier with some other iconic Patou scents.
It opens with greens and aldehydes that set the tone and expectations. When you smell aldehydes it often brings an imagery of tailored outfits and perfect hair. Some find them dated, but eventually we learn to appreciate their sunny quality and the way they uplift heavy floral notes and take them beyond a cottage garden. In the case of 1000, the aldehyde keep the green and almost camphor-like opening from becoming too bitter or medicinal. Instead, it's elegant and sophisticated, making the transition into the floral heart a very interesting one.
I smell roses and a gorgeous more leathery than fruity osmanthus (yes, I'm on a serious osmanthus kick lately). The best part, though, is the subtly animalic base. It's sexy this confident, worldly way. 1000 is not about showing skin or taking cues from the Kardashians, the woman wearing it will never give paparazzi the money shot. Instead, she gives them a half smile, readjusts the black sunglasses and disappears from their sight.
I want to be that woman.
1000 by Jean Patou ($190, 2.5oz EDP or $275, 0.5oz extrait de parfum) is available in very limited distribution. Here in the states it can be found at Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman, including online. I have older bottles of the parfum and the EDT, and I'm not sure if and how they've changed the formula in the last decade.
Photo of Gitta Schilling in a Jean Patou dress by F.C. Gundlach, 1962 from myvintagevogue.com