Thursday, October 30, 2014

Corday- Toujours Moi (Vintage Perfume)

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.


  1. Toujours Moi is one scent I could absolutely never wear. I had such a hard headache from it; and never thought of it as being vanilla; which I can generally always wear. It was so heavy and cloying; I could never appreciate what a lot of people saw in it. But there is a scent for everyone, it was a major failure for me. Looking back, I guess it is just that I am definitely not a fur wearer.

  2. Dear Gaia,
    I am new to your blog that I enjoy immensely. I have never heard of that perfume house. I am amazed at the advert that says in French...".le parfum de votre sein" or as it would translate..".the perfume of your breast"..except that the English translation skips that rather daring part ! Interesting ! Now I really want to smell it !

  3. How egalitarian...ah, for a time when perfume was sold as an 'accompaniment to mink', but in affordable ONE DRAM sizes. Those times are long gone I guess. *side-eyes Roja Dove and his unattainable large extraits*

    And Cary Grant! Where is today's Cary?!

  4. "cupcake generation" you crack me up!! I know exactly what you mean. Any woman today who must declare "I'm a strong independent woman" clearly isn't. This generation has a lot to learn about the seduction, class and art. I agree with the previous comment--the French text in the ad above is super sexy, not translated into english, but warped...thank you for such a lovely piece on Halloween. I will wear my vintage Vol de Nuit tonite and my black witch hat while giving candy to the kiddies at the door.Voila!

  5. So glad to see your review of this perfume - adore it. The Habanita connection is quite strong in both the bottles I have and that, for me, is a very, very good thing. I wasn't aware that Toujours Toi even existed until a few years ago when I accidentally bought a partial bottle of the edp on ebay (not sure what era, but, given the other perfumes sold in the same auction and from the same source, I'd guess mid 50s to early 60s). The bottle was identical to Toujours Moi and it was going for a decent BIN price, so I snapped it up instantly, not bothering to look at the name that closely (was being sold by a seller I'm familiar with and trust). Anyway, am glad I got it, but it's not a perfume I'll be stockpiling. Toujours Moi is a perfume that goes straight to my soul the moment I sniff it - bypasses all intellectual processes and just makes me immediately feel happy and immensely comforted and grounded. It's without doubt a dense, opulent scent with a fur coat (faux, in my mind) texture, but Toujours Toi is a light, smooth silk and, although it is without doubt a lovely scent, it definitely does not bypass my intellectual instincts. Toujours Moi almost seems to actively discourage thoughtful analysis on my part, encouraging me to just stay in a primal, feeling zone, but my very first reaction to Toujours Toi is to think about it - about the texture, the season it would best match (spring, early summer), what scents it can be compared to (a less dimensional cousin of Joy or Le Galion's Snob), etc.

    1. I always reserved the wearing of Toujours Moi for Autumn.
      It had a woodsy smell for me.

    2. I always reserved the wearing of Toujours Moi for Autumn.
      It had a woodsy smell for me.

  6. Sounds like a perfect evening!

  7. I also shnortled, along with the reader above, when reading the French advert : "the smell of your breast". What??
    And, no, it's not some kind of French expression/compliment that doesn't translate well into English. Really, really weird. I, for one, certainly hope my breasts have no smell. But I guess if they did, they should smell like perfume.
    Thanks, as always, for your wonderful blog.

  8. I love the smell of it...I actually just put some on before coming to the me it smells clean, like soap..I love it right after my Boudoir perfume by Vivienne Westlake... so clean and sultry at the same time..I love them both.


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