Thursday, May 24, 2012

Jean Patou- Normandie (Ma Collection) Vintage Perfume

Twenty three years after the sinking of the Titanic, ocean liner Normandie made its maiden voyage from Le Havre, France to New York. It was a luxury ship, meticulously decorated with everything art deco, and designed to accommodate a massive first class of rich and famous passengers. To commemorate the event, Jean Patou launched a perfume, Normandie, composed by his in-house perfumer, Henri Alméras.

Jean Patou's Normandie is a full-bodied and elegant floriental with an emphasis on carnation and spice. Some compare it to Bellodgia, and as a matter of fact if I were blind-testing I could have easily mistaken Normandie for a Caron perfume. It's probably a result of the way the composition employs oakmoss for bitterness and grounding without the chypre structure. I also find Normandie related to Guerlain's Vol de Nuit, especially in EDT, with similar high cheekbones and casual elegance.

Normandie's opulent flower notes are abstract in the best possible way. The carnation stands out because of the spicy pairing with its sibling, clove. The oriental base is tightly restraint by dry wood and oakmoss that lend it the crispness and what today we'd probably consider a unisex appeal. If Jean Patou's Ma Collection perfumes were still available, that is.

The disappearance of Jean Patou's classic fragrances from the shelves has been lamented here and elsewhere for years. The abuse this perfume house suffered by the hands of Procter &Gamble, its previous owner, did nothing to endear this company to perfume lovers. It was announced last year that P&G sold Jean Patou and its catalog. It is yet to be seen if Ma Collection perfumes will be resurrected. One can only hope.

Notes: fruits, carnation, jasmine, rose ,vanilla, benzoin, oakmoss, cedar, woods.

Images of 1935 travel posters from


  1. I love the Normandie art prints in your post! <3 They're so atmospheric and glamorous! I became interested in vintage perfumes when browsing ebay. It's a pity that those vintage brands are htf nowadays.


  2. Hi, nice post. love the prints. However you have a's Le Havre, not la :)

  3. Oh I love those posters! They are magnificent!

  4. I love these ads better than I suspect I might love the perfume (although I will seek it out to try, and Colony).

    The second ad is a triumph of domination--the boat as Superman (Super Pacquebot?) more super than even the super-city New York. On a design note, notice how the bow is pulled forward and the perspective changed, in both ads.


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