It's the time of the year that I'm craving light: sunshine, little dresses and floral aldehydic perfumes that makeup for the lack of the two other items. That's where my vintage bottle of Écusson by Jean d'Albret comes in. It's one of those second or third generation spawns of Chanel No.5 (Écusson was launched in 1947)-- a big burst of fresh and light aldehydes that leads the way to a bouquet of flowers that blend into one another in a powdery cloud (the carnation and iris are quite massive), and dry down into a smooth wood with slightly green edges.
Écusson (meaning "shield" in French) is not too original in this regard. If you collect vintage perfumes you probably already have a bunch of similar ladylike perfumes. It is very nice and soft, and if you love carnation it's definitely worth seeking out. Écusson is a fun and feminine daytime fragrance. It's elegant but not stiff, and has a certain warmth that comes from the powdery and woody notes. My late 1960s-early 1970s bottle aged very well; some of the fresh top notes are gone, but the aldehydes aren't stale and from heart to dry-down everything smells lively and smooth. I bought it sealed and boxed, though, so I can't tell how well open bottles held throughout the years.
Jean d'Albret as a brand has disappeared. It was founded right after WWII by French Count Guillaume d'Ornano and his sons Hubert and Michel. They introduced Ecusson as the first perfume in the line. The company grew rapidly and within a year added the sub-brand Orlane for their skincare products. From what I can tell from old adverts and newspaper clippings, that distinction remained in place for the first few of decades, until the mid 1970s. At some point Orlane took over and Ecusson and the other Jean d'Albret perfumes were rebranded as Orlane fragrances, before they were discontinued and vanished from the market (there is or was an Ecusson version by Long Lost Perfumes, but I've never tried it).
Notes: lemon, cassis, iris and aldehydes, ylang-ylang, geranium, jasmine, violet leaves, carnation, rose, vetiver, oak moss, vanilla, sandalwood.
Images: Ecusson ads from the 1940s and 1950s via Hprints.com.