The second En Avion by Caron enters the building you know what it is: a classic grand dame, French from the tip of the fingers to the sole of her shoes. Created in 1927 by Caron's legendary perfumer Ernest Daltroff, En Avion was a tribute to pioneer female aviators- brave, uncompromising and as sexy as they come. Smelling En Avion today in various vintages is yet another exercise in social and generational commentary. You know the drill: yesterday's sex appeal is tomorrow's musty and fusty. Unless you're a vintage/classic perfume fiend (or her husband).
En Avion is an intensely powdery floral perfume with a aldehydic touch in the opening and a buttery leather dry-down. Michael Edwards labeled it a rich/intense floral-oriental in his Fragrances of the World 2012 edition, which I assume refers the newest (and possibly the EDP) formulation. I've tried En Avion in several versions, the latest was last year's extrait de parfum. What I have on hand is a little extrait from the previous decade, but given the frequent reformulations and tribulations that Caron perfumes have undergone I can't tell you if it's one or five versions back. All I can say is that En Avion is really really good for its genre.
I love the assertiveness En Avion presents from the very opening. This might be a floral but it doesn't have a dainty bone in it. There's a rich bouquet of flower and spices that start like an orange-jasmine but ends up all peppery carnation with its characteristic touch of clove. The flowers open their folds generously, scattering sweet and piquant powder all around them. This is probably the part of En Avion that is least appealing to the many as it smells vintage-- for better and for worse.
The dry-down is warm and delicious. I wish it were even more leathery and intense, but I guess that's why we have Tabac Blond.
Notes (via Luckyscent): neroli, spicy orange accord, jasmine, opoponax
En Avion ($100 7.5 ml extrait de parfum) is available from Caron boutiques around the world and at Luckyscent.
Photo of Amelia Earhart and Cary Grant (1934) via awesomepeoplehangingouttogether.tumblr.com.
Caron En Avion ads (1933 and 1951) from hprints.com.