This review is a bit of a cheat, as I possess only a non-vintage dupe of Le Galion's Sortilège and not a sample of the 1937 Paul Vacher original, which I have never encountered. (Gaia The Non-Blonde has, and how alluring she makes it sound!) I know nothing of the similarity (or lack thereof) between the old and the new, and therefore I cannot guess at the evolutionary transitions that have taken place between years and between owners. Compounding the problem is the possibility that even Le Galion may have been in the business of duplication, as Donna of PST suggests in her review of Sortilège. In those days, I'm sure everyone wanted in on the aldehydic floral racket, and the difference between inspiration and impersonation is slim at best. Are L'Aimant and Arpège guilty of identity theft? I don't know for sure... but I think maybe Chanel No. 5 secretly knows how to throw its voice.
Sortilège is one of a string of discontinued fragrance formulae which Long Lost Perfumes (the fragrance division of Irma Shorell cosmetics) has legally obtained with the objective of producing note-faithful reproductions-- "freshly-blended from an authentic original formulation and newly bottled and boxed" (their words). I've heard and read fairly decent reviews of their other work, and I do like their Sortilège, such as it is.
It kicks off with a big-ass blast of bergamot and aldehydes, like the first ray of morning sun that penetrates the bedroom curtains to slap you awake. I ask my husband, who dependably delivers monosyllabic assessments of every perfume I wear ("Nice." "Clean." "Eep!") what he thinks of it. "Sharp," he promptly utters. Is that good or bad? I question the man further. "It smells appropriate for work. Very professional. Straightforward," he says.
Sharp as in 'razor-', then. (Chanel No. 5 in tailored business formal?)
This initial spate of seriousness does not last. A tide of sweet vanilla-balsam powder soon rises up and overtakes the bergamot, and from this point straight through to its disappearance from my skin (two hours tops), it's cake. And we like cake, don't we, Mister?
LLP's Sortilège definitely straddles the boundary between old-school pretty and new-era smart. I agree with my better half-- it's an ideal everyday spritz for the office, where conscientious sobriety holds sway over romance and elegant allure. As for the true Le Galion vintage, it doesn't exactly go for a song over at The Perfumed Court.
But I wouldn't turn my nose up at it.
Scent Elements: Bergamot, peach lactone, aldehydes, orange blossom, lily-of-the-valley, jasmine, ylang-ylang, rose, violet, lilac, iris, musk, oakmoss, sandalwood, vetiver, tonka, vanilla, opopanax, styrax, "balsamic ambers"