Thursday, March 17, 2016

Jean d'Albert- Casaque (Vintage Perfume)

It's been nearly three decades since Parfums Jean d'Albert ceased to exist. Casaque, a 1956-57 release, was in production for twenty years. It seems to have been quite popular in the USA, as the pretty bottles (and boxes, if you're lucky) can still be found here and there, tempting with their retro look and smell of a lush floral bouquet.

I wasn't sold the first time I smelled Casaque. I'm a big fan of Jean d'Albert Ecusson, but Casaque hit me with a massive creamy carnation that reminded me too much of White Shoulders (I'm not a fan). Subsequent wearings revealed a more sophisticated blend of flowers, where earthy carnation and crisp hyacinth help ground the white florals, while the latter grant the fragrance a sweet playfulness. Jasmine is quite noticeable, as is muguet (lily-of-the-valley, which I suspect is responsible for the White Shoulders throwback). There's a lot going on there, and I suspect that the note list on Cleopatra's Boudoir is the most complete. Nigel Groom's original Perfume Handbook lists Casaque as a fresh floral, and I can see why. It has that "first day of spring" vibe with tender little blossoms surrounded by a lot of greenery, piercing the cool dewy morning air.

The dry-down is another intricately-woven tapestry, where the most prominent note is sandalwood in all its creaminess. It is further softened and warmed by a lovely musk (I'd go out on a limb and guess that differences between versions and vintages of Casaque are caused by changes in the musks used by Jean d'Albert over the two decade lifetime of the perfume). My bottle of the parfum is most likely from the 1960s: it's the one you see in the top image dating from 1967, nestled in the blue floral box),  It's interesting to note how the late dry-down still holds a lot of that bracing carnation note I smell when first dabbing, but as it develops on skin it becomes more lived-in, and dare I say, sexy. It's also nostalgic and romantic in that way most vintage perfumes tend to be, giving us reasons to keep hunting these bottles decades after they've vanished from the shelves.

*With thanks to Joy from Wyoming who reminded me that I have a bottle of Casaque*


  1. Thank you SO much for writing this and for helping me today! You are the absolute best forever!

  2. Not even heard about this brand, but I will be looking now.

  3. Why don't I wear this more often? Maybe because I haven't stockpiled it the way I have with Ecusson. But what an absolutely ideal, optimistic scent for this time of year. Thanks for the review!

  4. Hi Gaia, I love when you write about these old fragrances. It really takes me back. As a young woman I used to wear Ecusson and remember it fondly. My other fragrances were Femme by Rochas, Heaven Scent by Helena Rubenstein, Quelqes Fleurs by Houbigant, Fleur de Rocaille by Caron and yes, I must admit to it, White Shoulders. I didn't know back then what a chypre was, I just liked those fragrances.

  5. These have completely passed me by so will have to find out more. I mainly wanted to comment on the top photo, what an amazing portrayal of romantic exuberance. However I also wonder how many times they had to take that shot to get everything including the little dog in the right place - without the benefit of a digital SLR!!

  6. Like @Maureen, I was struck by that first photo! The little dog made me chuckle: it looks startled by the exuberance of its human companions. As a result, the photo has a real-life quality that ads today rarely do. Thanks for the post.

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