Barynia by Helena Rubinstein was launched in 1985, but doesn't really smell like the eighties. Instead, this is an aldehydic floral with classic aspirations, a somewhat haughty demeanor and and just enough animalic notes in the amber dry-down one wonders how seriously to take the hyacinth, aldehydes and rose that preceded them.
I bought a sealed bottle of Barynia in extrait de parfum because the price was (very) right and I was curious. When it arrived I didn't take to it right away, at least on the emotional level. It didn't tell me a story and didn't take me anywhere I haven't been before. After all, we know the schtick, and personally I prefer it in various vintage Chanel perfumes and in Hermes Caleche, where there also used to be a hefty dose of oakmoss and leather. I was also more impressed with another Helena Rubinstein vintage fragrance, Courant.
I gave Barynia a chance, though, because it was pretty and easy to wear. Despite the extrait concentration and darker base, it feels a bit light-weighted, which worked well this past summer. It stayed in the background and never demanded much (or any) attention, but here and there I would notice how nice I smelled. There's a well put-together air to Barynia, without making much of an effort, and I've learned to appreciate it. An occasional compliment also helped endear it to me, especially when it came from my husband, who isn't exactly known for his love of (non Guerlain) vintage perfumes. All in all, Helena Rubinstein didn't really create a classic, but it's very nice to have around.
Barynia has been discontinued for ages. I don't even remember ever seeing it on mainstream shelves, but nowadays it pops online every now and then. The notes, according to Marina of Perfume Smellin' Things are: bergamot, lemon, aldehyde, hyacinth, violet, rose, jasmine, tuberose, lily of the valley, orris, carnation, orchid, sandal, vetiver, amber, musk, civet, benzoin.
Images: 1985 ads for Helena Rubinstein's Barynia from vintageadbrowser.com