Friday, November 28, 2008

Forget me Not: L’Aimant by Coty

Those that remember L’Aimant do so fondly, for it is a perfume lovingly adopted and worn by generations upon generations of women. For many women, this is the scent they remember their mothers and grandmothers having worn. For just as many women, this is the scent they adopted as their own when buying a perfume for themselves for the first time. L’Aimant is a play on words, meaning both “Loving Her”, as well as “The Magnet”, cleverly insinuating of course that this is a scent that exerts such magnetic powers of attraction that others will helplessly fall in love with the wearer. Created by nose Vincent Roubert in collaboration with François Coty, L’Aimant was launched by Coty in 1927, becoming an instant success. According to Perfume Projects, the wife of Jacques Guerlain allegedly even preferred L’Aimant to her husband’s own creations. After many decades of success, the scent was at some point discontinued, only to be re-released again in 1995.

My own bottle, bought for a mere 5 euro at one of the perfume fairs here in the Netherlands is a vintage atomiseur de luxe in Parfum de Toilette concentration, whose rare and peculiar presentation had me looking for days on end to date it. Finally, with a little luck I discovered that the particular presentation dates from the early to mid-1970’s. I have not smelled the re-edition, so unfortunately, I cannot draw a comparison between this vintage and the modern juice sold today. However I am glad to say that perhaps due to the opaque casing of this vintage flacon, the juice has had no evaporation and it smells as fresh as if it was bought yesterday, not having gone off in the slightest!

L’Aimant is an extremely aldehydic floral creation with soft, woody undertones. Due to the heavy use of aldehydes, the opening can be a little jarring and perturbing – we are no longer used to such heavily aldehydic perfumes nowadays after all. Highly perfume-y and ever so slightly medicinal, the opening comes across much like light coming through frosted glass: Diffused, soft and intangible. The first impression can seem a little stuffy and old, to the point that I’d not hesitate to say that this is a fragrance that will undoubtedly seem to many as belonging to an older generation. To be honest, even I can’t help but find myself helplessly associating the opening with the word ‘grandmother-ish’. Even though I am usually against putting such labels on perfume, it is something that happens so automatically with L’Aimant, I just can’t help myself. It does, without the shadow of the doubt, smell truly vintage, and I have no trouble defining it as a perfume of another era. Soon, the slightly medicinal, stuffy note dissipates, and an amazing smooth sweetness perfumes the skin. This is where I really begin appreciating L’Aimant’s beauty. Smelling incredibly close in feel to vintage Arpege and Le Dix, the scent becomes very, very creamy and buttery soft. Plummy, apricot fruitiness sparkles ever so gently and delightfully on the skin over a bed of tame florals. As time goes by, the scent becomes ever more powdery and floral: A powdery infusion of strong violets with nectarous yet soft, shy accents of tantalizing jasmine. The drydown is soft and sexy, a skin scent of sandalwood and gentle vanilla. Even though I really love the creamy, fruity heartnotes as well, what really makes L'Aimant incredible to me is this magnificent drydown, so soft, so transparent, such that allows the beauty of one's own skin-scent to show through. Comforting and sexy...

As always when reviewing a vintage perfume I can offer, I’ll be very glad to send a large 3ml spray sample to a reader! Everyone that comments on this post will be automatically entered in a draw for a sample of Coty’s vintage L’Aimant in Parfum de Toilette concentration. The winner will be announced in a week’s time.

Images: www.okadi.com


24 comments:

Mary said...

Lovely review, ma cherie! I've been debating whether to purchase a bottle of L'Amaint and you've helped me to decide. I've been leaning toward powdery scents lately and it sounds just what I'm looking for. Can't believe I've never tested this Coty classic!

Ines said...

Dear Divina, it's always a pleasure reading your reviews and I have to say again how lucky you are that you can find those treasures for so little money on perfume fairs.

Love from Paris (again) :)

Evyan said...

So happy to read about this! One Christmas when I came home from college (many a year ago), my Dad presented me with the creme sachet of L'Aimant and it was wonderful! I also had a ballet teacher, a Russian lady who wore L'Aimant. Sweet memories. I wish it was more promenantly available in stores these days.
Thanks for highlighting L'Aimant!

maitreyi1978 said...

Great review, but how does it compare to the modern version? Please enter me in the draw.

Divina said...

Hello Mary! Yes, I too love powdery fragrances and this one is definitely a keeper! Stay tuned for the draw, maybe you'll get to sample before you buy ;)

Divina said...

Oh Ines! You call me lucky when you get to be in amazing Paris again!!!! How incredible, dear! How lovely!! Wish so much I was there!

Divina said...

Evyan, I am so glad to receive your comment! This is exactly what I was trying to say in the opening of this post, how many women have connections to this perfume, how it holds memories for so many! Thank you so much for sharing your own! (And how sweet is your dad to give you perfume? Isn't it a lovely gift from father to daughter? :) )

Divina said...

Maitreyi, I wish I knew! The modern L'Aimant can't be found around here! It is still carried in quite a few places in the USA from what I understand, as it is still very much in production. For those of us not living in the states, the internet is the most likely place to encounter it. Brand new bottles are sold, but so are vintage ones. The prices are good too.

If anyone has any information on how the modern version smells, please comment!

Sue said...

Aldehydes, plums and apricots, and woods sound lovely together. A generous swapper gave me a sample of the modern L'Aimant and I would love to try the original!

Thank you for another gorgeous blog entry and for the generous giveaway!

Anonymous said...

This sounds right up my alley Divina! I am learning to be more and more adventurous with perfume as time goes by, but I am a classic girl at heart ;-) Please enter me in the drawing too..

Christine

Alica said...

I would be very glad to try this scent! Thank you.

Jenavira13 said...

Please do enter me in the drawing, this sounds like it is right up my alley, I am one of those young women who actually enjoys aldehydes.

Anonymous said...

A wonderful review of a fragrance I have recently rediscovered. I too love the heavy aldehydes and the dry down of L'Aimant is to die for. A timeless scent.

I'm looking for information on another vintage Coty fragrance, Accomplice. So far I have not been disappointed with any of the vintage Coty perfumes from Chypre to L'Origin. Whatever did they think of in discontinuing such classic scents only to go with inexpensive stinkers?

Cheers of the season !
Fhionn

maisqueperfume said...

I just love powdery perfumes. granny style!
Please include me in the draw.
It is so nice that you find these precious perfumes in flea markets...
I always find empty bottles :-(
kissybilsavol

Linda said...

Dear Divina,
Loved reading about this classic Coty: how well I remember it from when I was a litle girl. Yes, aldehydes and powderiness, that's me. And I enjoyed the pretty advertisements ( so different from modern "in your face" ones!) L'Aimant was packaged in pink, I think, and there was another, "Imprevu" which was in a grey-blue box? The latter was given to me as a birthday present by my best friend when at school..
Thank you for this trip back in time,
Hugs,
Linda

Divina said...

Sue, of course you're in, and if you could comment on the new version and how it smells, I would appreciate it!

Divina said...

Christine, one thing is for certain, your life is made easier when you know what you like, with so much juice floating around nowadays!

Divina said...

Alica, my pleasure to enter you in the draw. Thanks for commenting!

Divina said...

Jen, yes! I realized when I read your post about No. 5! :) I am pretty sure you're going to like this one.

Divina said...

Fhionn, I couldn't agree with you more! My mom read this post and was asking me about Coty afterwards... Is Coty still such a great perfume house? Tell me about it? What could I say? It was awful relating how Coty now caters to the Celebuscent market. Great......

Divina said...

Oh, PS. Fhionn, I forgot... I am sorry, but I have never smelled Accomplice. I'll keep an eye out for it at the next Perfume Fair. If I find it for a good price I'll get it and review it! :)

Divina said...

Simone, keep trying, you may struck gold yet! :) Do you have those companies that empty old houses from furniture etc and then resell it? You can find bargains there sometimes because most people are just interested in the furniture and ornaments and not the perfume bottles... I found my full Cardin pure perfume at such a place for just 2 euro!

Divina said...

My Dearest Linda! What a coincidence that you mention Imprevu! This post was almost about Imprevu, since I bought both at the same time! And indeed, the box is just as you remember it, light smoky blue... In the end I decided to review L'Aimant not only because I consider it far superior as a scent, but also cause I could make a sample of it for readers... My Imprevu is a roll on :/

Anna said...

I too remember this fragrance from when I was a younger girl. In my case, it was in the early '90s and I was going into jr. high. All the cool girls my age were experimenting with their first bottles of Sunflowers, Versace Red Jeans and The Body Shop Dewberry but my "wardrobe" as it were was limited to stealing a few drops of whatever my mom wore at the time, and only for special occassions. My parents considered me getting my own bottle of perfume way too extravagant and I had just won the right to wear lip gloss and some eyeshadow so I didn't push the issue ;). Looking back on it now, I'm glad I was exposed to these classics. I've been contemplating buying what I'm sure is the newer version of L'Aimant, along with two other Coty classics I loved at the time: L'Effleur and Muguet des Bois off eBay to see if they smell how I remember them. Great article, I love reading about vintage frags :).