Let's start at the end, because I know there's some misinformation out there: Tocade, a 1994 Maurice Roucel creation for the house of Rochas, is still in production. The perfume license of Rochas is held by Procter & Gamble (their Prestige department, I hope) and the company employs perfumer Jean-Michel Duriez, so we can assume that he's responsible for the current formulation and for any change made from the original Roucel version. Now, in the US Tocade as well as the other Rochas fragrances are mostly available from online discounters and mall kiosks, usually priced under $50, but in Europe it's sold full price at regular perfume stores (such as Marionnaud in France).
Now that this is out of the way we can actually talk about Tocade, a little rosy gem with a delectable (read: yummy) musky vanilla base. Looking at the official note list (bergamot, freesia, green note, geranium, rose, jasmine, orris, muguet, orchid, cedar, patchouli, amber, musk, vanilla. Via Atlas Olfactif) one might assume that Tocade opens light and fresh. But the bergamot and green notes merely keep the rose and powdery notes from taking over too quickly.
As the rose fully unfolds it reminds me of another under-appreciated perfume: Cabaret de Gres. It's not that these modern fragrance from classic fashion houses smell the same (Cabaret is very much a chypre while Tocade is firmly in the oriental camp), but there's something about the rose-orris-muguet heart that feels related. Then the fun begins. Maurice Roucel has a way with gourmand notes and Tocade is another example of that. The base of this fragrance is a thick and slightly chewy amber enriched with patchouli and a smoky vanilla. I consider the vanilla note the main event here: it takes the powdery rose into Turkish delight territory, rosewater scented milky rice pudding and a slightly burnt vanilla bean. It's irresistible.
My Tocade bottle is older and probably of the original formula (a red box with gold print, red cap with a blue neck). I haven't smelled the current formula but Luca Turin still gives it five stars in The Guide.
Top image: young Jane Fonda via Stirred, Straight Up, With A Twist.