Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nettie Rosenstein- Odalisque (Vintage Perfume)

I'd love to get my hands on some vintage Nattie Rosenstein accessories and costume jewelry, especially older ones from the 1940s. They sell for small fortunes on eBay, so in the meantime I'm consoling myself with some vintage Nettie Rosenstein perfumes. The most famous of them is Odalisque (no connection to Parfums di Nicolai Odalisque), a massive green floral.

Odalisque was first released in 1946 as an elegant accompaniment to Rosenstein's perfectly tailored dresses (by the way, apparently Nettie wasn't the one who designed Mamie Eisenhower's inauguration gown. Her sister-in-law, Eva Rosencrants did). Back then a genteel perfume could (and should) have had a distinct animalic core. In the case of Odalisque it's a high dose of civet that doesn't even try to hide behind the dainty muguet and carnation that make up the fragrance's front.

My bottle of Odalisque EDT is probably from the 1970s-- it smells aged and the top notes have mostly disintegrated (there's a rumor about lavender, but if so time has done away with it). The muguet is unmistakable, though, and it smells nostalgic and very feminine in that 1950s sort of way- a hint of lipstick in a leather bag, a carefully pressed monogrammed handkerchief, clip-on earrings that smell of the lady's perfume. Civet belongs there, for sure. It's not necessarily dirty, because Nettie Rosenstein's Odalisque is decidedly not a sex bomb perfume (far too floral for that), but it is there to express the complex femininity of the era and make the fragrance more intimate.

Nettie Rosenstein 1946 Odalisque ad via


  1. Thanks for reviewing this, Gaia! I'm always intrigued by less well known vintage perfumes on ebay. Occasionally I'll just buy one unsniffed, but there are still so many more that remain a mystery. I'm always glad to see one of your reviews of older perfumes. ~~nozknoz

  2. What a great description of the Odalisque scent! I have half a bottle of the moisturizer I've been hoarding that I pull out on special occasions (such as for my mom when she was in the hospital recently). Still smells good.

  3. Will anyone licence to make Odalisque again?

    1. Marilyn Miglin (another vintage scent) has the license. You can buy it through them.


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