Eau Bourrasque Vintage Eau de Toilette (Le Galion)

It starts off so wonderfully piquant and sparkling, I think to myself, "Ah, I'm going to love this!" But then Eau Bourrasque releases the Kraken.

Momentarily panicked, I thrust my wrist under a friend's nose. "Quick, does this smell fishy?" I demand of her. She says nothing, only looks up at me in pained sympathy.

This is a woman's worst nightmare. I feel horrified, self-conscious, almost tearful. It's really not me! I want to tell everyone within a ten-foot radius. But then suddenly the fishy smell vanishes, and Eau Bourrasque continues blithely along its original, pleasant Spice Route itinerary.

Now, to my knowledge, I have never before encountered such a smell in a perfume. I possess little in the way of scientific knowledge to support my basic suspicions. But something in me insists that the aldehydes are to blame. (Was it the familiar tingle of cold that directly preceded the seafood course? Go fish.)

Just for laughs, I Google "aldehydes fishy smell" and find dozens of hits-- many of them alluding to a bloom of freshwater algae (Uroglena americana) which infected Kyoto's Lake Biwa in 1995. The resulting low-tide miasma has been attributed to aldehydes present in (or produced by) the algae. A similar bloom in Calgary's Glenmore Reservoir has also been traced to "(v)olatile organic compounds (VOCs) derived from two significant algae" -- Dinobryon and Uroglena -- "(which) impart a fishy odor".


Clearly, the aldehydes in my sample of vintage Eau Bourrasque have gone a bit off-- veering perilously close to fruits de mer territory. I'm very glad that the fragrance as a whole was able to recalculate its course... otherwise, a Sea Monster might have run this Galion aground.

Scent Elements: Bergamot, plum, peach, aldehydes, ylang-ylang, rose, carnation, orchid, cyclamen, iris, patchouli, oakmoss, arnica, vetiver, cardamom, pepper, costus, sandalwood, incense, opopanax, vanilla