Toujours Moi, Always Me, might sound like the name of a Paris Hilton perfume, but it's a lovely oriental perfume from 1923-1924, that was described in the 1960s Dictionnaire des Parfums de France as a fragrance "made for women with an assertive personality", and was recommended for evening use, to wear at receptions, the theater, for dining out and "ideal for fur wearing". Indeed.
Toujours Moi used to be so popular that in 1951 Corday issued a flanker, Toujours Toi (Always You). You can read more about it in this blog, dedicated to Parfums Corday.
I went back to Barbara Herman's book, Scent & Subversion, when I got my little bottle of Toujours Moi. Herman described this Corday former bestseller very accurately as the "love child of Tabu and Habanita", with a bit of Shalimar thrown in. I'm guessing that the ratio of Tabu to Habanita depends on the particular vintage of the juice you find. Mine is a bit older, pre-Max Factor, and comes in a bottle that has the tall and straight engraved glass stopper. The connection to Habanita was immediate: powdery and smoky incense galore, a bit dusty and free of any top notes that had once ruled the opening.
But it was the oriental woody base with an animalic hint that won me over. The sensuality unfolds as Toujours Moi envelops the skin with the warmth of that fantasy fur. It's just sweet and vanillic enough to present a temptation that lures you deep into the folds of the coat, where it touches the skin.
I wear Toujours Moi the same way I wear my very vintage Shalimar extrait. For myself, not caring how it's perceived by the cupcake generation. But it's also ideal for cozy wear and as a treat. Once upon a time it was recommended for going out at night. Tonight I'll wrap myself in a fluffy cashmere blanket and settle on the couch to watch Cary Grant in Arsenic & Old Lace while wearing this little treasure.
Notes (via Dictionnaire des Parfums de France): exotic woods, musk, myrrh, incense, orange blossom, rose, jasmine, amber.