Germaine Vintage Bath Perfume (Germaine Monteil)

In terms of scent, the Space Race began with Paco Rabanne Calandre, perfumer Michael Hy's metallic take on the classic floral chypre. In 1969, this iconic mashup -- as weird, dissonant, and fascinating as the Moonlight Sonata performed on a Theremin -- nudged that pipe dream called The Future within hands' reach for real. Coveting both Calandre's scent and success, Yves Saint Laurent's people put Jacques Polge on the task. Within two years he produced Rive Gauche-- a copy of Calandre so nearly note-for-note that Europe's courtrooms soon rang with clameurs.

Across the Atlantic, Germaine Monteil took advantage of the judicial din to sneak her own humble copy of Calandre onto Manhattan perfume counters. Who could blame her? It makes no sense to withhold a fragrance this good while a bunch of contentious suits take their sweet time settling out of court.

Germaine (1971) has everything that made both Calandre and Rive Gauche memorable, priced for the budget of an urban girl-a-go-go and bottled in an ultra-modern faceted cube which fairly twinkles with modern pop-art wit. Crisp citrus, spirited rose, zesty aldehydes, pensive oakmoss, and ultra-chic vetiver-- all here, so far as my nose proclaims, along with maybe just a touch of sophisticated skank a la Revlon Intimate. Like Youth Dew, it's perfumed bath oil, so it's meant to be enjoyed full strength. And yet it's also pedestrian enough to warrant happy, careless, lavish wear, unencumbered by thoughts of propriety or parsimony.

So go ahead-- trip that light fandango. The space age, as it turns out, IS a friendly place.

Scent Elements: No telling, but I guess rose, bergamot, lemon, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver, and civet.