When Colony by Jean Patou was released in 1938 it was created as a nostalgic fragrance. The economy in shambles and the world was on the verge of disaster; Patou himself has been dead for two years. Everyone needed comfort, thus perfumer Henri Almeras turned to what he considered a simpler and kinder time and place: the French Colonies. Nearly 80 years later, colonialism is not exactly something that gives us the warm fuzzies, but Colony is better than politics. Much better.
Colony by Jean Patou is famous for its pineapple note. Decades before L'artisan Ananas Fizz, Colony was a real pineapple chypre-- oakmoss and all. The yearning for the tropics of yore is very different from the frothy beachy fragrances we know and love (or not) today. In her review of Colony for Perfume smellin' Things, Donna calls it a "tropical romance" and I agree. This is a picture in sepia of a walk on a fantasy beach. The sepia tone of colony develops further on skin. It's woody, dark dark green with a tinge of chypry smoke that I absolutely love. It makes you forget about the pineapple and just get lost in the sexy green leather. I have two versions of the Ma Collcetion reissue EDT and its richness and longevity are impressive, especially when I decant the juice into small spray atomizers.
Perfume lovers have been lamenting the demise of Patou's Ma Collection for years. For a brief moment there was hope that the newest incarnation of the house will also bring its revival. I'll believe it when I see it, so I'm not holding my breath and not stopping hunting for vintage bottles.
Notes: pineapple, ylang-ylang, carnation, iris, oakmoss, vetiver, opoponax, leather and musk.
Art: Aida Ermat
Jean Patou Colony vintage ads via Hprint.com.