Caron 101- Five to Get You Started

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When it comes to the great maisons de parfum if there is one overlooked member of this category it would be Caron. I am not sure why this is the case. They have a history around one of the greatest perfumers of the early days of modern perfumery Ernest Daltroff. The body of work is as impressive as the other great perfumers which shared the timeframe. Maybe it is the urns from which these perfumes are dispensed. When you choose one of the perfumes which make up the collection it is dispensed from a Baccarat crystal urn into the bottle you have chosen. It is one of the best ways to sell perfume in my mind because you can take as little or as much as you want. For those of you who have never considered Caron here are the five I would suggest you start with.

If there is a flagship perfume in the collection it would have to be 1919’s Tabac Blond. Tabac Blond is simply one of the greatest Oriental leather perfumes ever. M. Daltroff working in post-World War I time was looking for something to appeal to the French women who were just taking up smoking. His concept was a sophisticated leather accord matched with orris and ylang-ylang in the heart landing on a classic vanilla tinged Oriental base. The tobacco is an accord of the leather along with vetiver, and linden. I almost always just notice the leather and the tobacco occasionally surprises me. Tabac Blond is one of the most sophisticated leather perfumes you can experience.

Nuit de Noel was released in 1922 for the Holidays. It isn’t particularly evocative of the scents associated with the Holidays. Instead it is a simple construct of jasmine, sandalwood, amber and the base Mousse de Saxe. It is the Mousse de Saxe which makes Nuit de Noel unforgettable. In a time where the bases perfumers devised would make or break a construct Mousse de Saxe was one of the most versatile; somewhere between chypre and leather but not quite either. It has a shimmering quality in M. Daltroff’s hands. The jasmine adds a floral oomph and the sandalwood and amber provide warmth and creamy woodiness. Nuit de Noel is a great perfume no matter whether it is the Holidays or not.

caron pour un homme

One of my favorite recommendations for a man just starting out in expanding his fragrance wardrobe is Caron Pour Un Homme. Again M. Daltroff keeps it simple using lavender as the focal point and sweetening it slightly with vanilla before amber and musk make sure to give it a manly heft. If you love lavender, no matter what gender you are, Caron Pour Un Homme is one of the best.

When Caron was resuscitated by the Ales Group it commissioned a new masculine take on lavender from perfumer Akiko Kamei. The idea was to make a contemporary lavender as an alternative to Caron Pour Un Homme. Mme Kamei offers a spicy and floral enhanced fougere in Le Troisieme Homme. The lavender is paired with geranium and then coated in clove, tarragon, and coriander. These enhance the herbal nature of the lavender while the greranium adds its green tinted floralcy. Vetiver and oakmoss form the base accord. There was a long time where I thought if I only had to own two fragrances it would have been this and Caron Pour Un Homme.

Parfum Sacre is another of the modern Caron releases. Composed by perfumer Jean-Pierre Bethouart in 1991. It is one of the more comforting floral perfumes I own. It has the ability to be a fragrant version of a Snuggie in front of a roaring fire. M. Bethouart takes a trio of spices in coriander, cinnamon, and black pepper. He then used an expansive rose for them to push against. The base notes are sweet myrrh, vanilla, and ambrette. This is where you take the spicy rose and cuddle in tight while the fire burns.

As I mentioned above Caron is a forgotten brand and it shouldn’t be. If you haven’t considered them these five will show you why you they should be on your list to try.

Disclosure: this review is based on bottles of the perfumes I purchased.

Mark Behnke

3 thoughts on “Caron 101- Five to Get You Started

  1. Like you, I'm of the opinion that a collection including Pour un Homme and Le 3eme Homme would be a great place to start — or wind up.  Toss in Yatagan, a radically different fragrance, and a guy might never have to look any further. than Caron  How these original, compelling perfumes can pass so far under the radar consistently puzzles me.  Worlds away from the "cookie cutter" path many follow: maybe that's the problem.

    • Having been round the houses with scents over the last year or two it is always to Caron that I return, and return happy and elated.  Pour un Homme and Le 3eme Homme and Yatagan are staples that I could never be without.  The very new Pour un Homme L'Eau is a most delightfully handled more floral and fresher take on Pour un Homme that doesn't slip into the modern blue/fresh clichés.  L'Anarchiste does every that Creed's Viking tries to do but just years earlier and far better.  I am just discovering Tabac Blond and the terribly overlooked Infini from the 70s (not the new version from this year).  Nuit de Noël is the next purchase.  I'm hoping the new perfumer William Fraysse will start to review the back catalogue and undo some of the infelicities of his father's reformulations and return these beauties to their former glory. 

  2. I actually am that guy… I have tried a lot of things and owned all kinds of stuff (though I gravitate towards the classics), but the Caron 'holy trinity' are the only thing I seem to keep. A sensitivity to aromachemicals limits what I can wear, but I've never had any problem with Caron fragrances… I'm also sentimental about them, having discovered the three at the now vanished Caron Boutique in NYC with my wide a few years ago. I can never understand how these fragrances are so well made and so (relatively) inexpensive! I'm rather curious to try Caron Pour un Homme Sport, but it has not surfaced in Canada yet as far as I know…Anyway, thanksfor the great article and site.

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