Thursday, March 27, 2014

Fabergé- Tigress (Vintage Perfume)

I wasn't aware that Tigress by Fabergé ever had a parfum version until I came across the bottle at a local antique store. I was familiar with the eau de cologne, of course, with its round tiger striped cap and a scent that was everything my mom would have described as "cheap perfume": loud and spicy (which was basically everything I wanted to smell, instead of the dainty florals that were all I was allowed to wear). Loud and spicy is pretty much what I still love, along with animal prints (which my mother would not be caught dead even considering).

Faberge launched Tigress in the late 1930, several years after Dana's Tabu, which has probably influenced it greatly. Tigress, even in the very old formula I have on my hands, seems somehow more simple and easy going than the thick explosion of vintage Tabu. But that doesn't mean it's not utterly lovely, and that's the big surprise here. If you're familiar with some of the big animalic perfumes of yore you've already smelled some roaring and shocking beasts. Tigress is much better mannered, offering an almost soapy spicy-flora core (carnation is unmistakable, and I agree with Barbara Herman's assessment of hyacinth and quite a bit of powdery orris. As a matter of fact, for a while there Tigress veers on the line of soapy before it reveals the oriental exotic side full of clove, cinnamon, and an ambery vanilla that surrounds the dirty yet surprisingly animalic base.

Tigress is  as warm and  fuzzy as the tiger print velvet box, and very satisfying, especially if you're in a retro mood (read also Angela's review on NST). Cheap? Funny how perception changes over time. In today's world Faberge perfumes are far more complex and sophisticated than the fruity and vanillic body sprays favored by the masses, and dare I say- better composed and crafted. Several sources suggest that Tigress has undergone at least three major reformulations: in the mid-60s, in the 80s and in the last decade. I'm not sure quite how old is my extrait de parfum: the bottle design is older than that the one in the 1965 ad above, but I can't tell for sure if it is the original formula. In any case, bottles of the eau de cologne from the 60s and 70s can still be found here and there, and are often reasonably priced. It's worth a sniff- you might find yourself adopting this cute little tiger.


  1. Sylvia Plath mentions "my own tigress perfume" in her diaries. I wonder if she meant this one.

  2. I was thinking this only the other day - that cheap perfumes of my youth were so much more complex (and even beautiful) than a lot of those that are made now, even those that are very expensive!

    I remember revelling in Tigress as a cheap thrill all that time ago, and now I wish there were more like this around today.


  3. During the early 1970s, in high school, my cousin (God rest her soul) wore Tigress and I wore Woodhue. We loved perfume and had other kinds, but these two were among our favorites. Pretty good memories. Thanks, Judy

  4. It really is pretty incredible - and wonderful - how some of the perfumes that were considered cheap in the past (especially in their parfum formulations) can hold their own with a lot of the higher end perfumes release today. I've got a couple of bottles of Tigress parfum - I'm fairly certain they are at least from the 60s. Keep meaning to get some of the bath oil as well, but, have to say, the striped fuzzy topped bottles of the cologne always make me smile. Such happy, totally unapologetic kitsch.

  5. I remember loving that fuzzy-topped bottle of Tigress when I was a kid. I thought it smelled elegant. I still prefer spicy to floral.


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