26 ottobre 2013

Cinnabar (Estée Lauder, 1978)

I've joined the game "La Settimana INCOM...merciale" (the game title is a play on words in Italian)  on the Adjiumi niche Forum: each participant was given some vintage perfumes, and now we're all wearing and reviewing them according to our opinions and tastes. Among the chosen scents Cristian (that is... Adjiumi himself) offered us some drops of  Cinnabar, composed in 1978 by Josephine Catapano with the help of Bernard Chant. Josephine Catapano, passed away in the spring of 2012 at age 93, was the author of some masterpieces such as Youth Dew (E. Lauder, 1953), Zen (Shiseido, 1964), Fidji (G. Laroche, 1966) and Norell (1969) but since she worked in the period when composers' names were kept undisclosed she never became a public figure, despite having been a prominent professional, held in high esteem by all insiders.

Back to Cinnabar, I find it more interesting than his twin Opium (YSL), which launched more or less the same time with a similar formula and  more luck. The 70s aesthetics were characterized by concept related to far east, drugs, pleasure, and this gave life to fragrances named with with exotic names, dominated by spicy, intense notes of "forbidden" charm. I think Cinnabar is more interesting then Opium because it's more edgy and complex, with fewer concessions to Opium's sweetness. Cinnabar is a fragrance with more character and less marketing.
The opening so rich in fruit makes it rich and sunny; orange blossoms bring a touch of cleanliness/hygiene that one would not expect in such a fragrance. Spices then come all together, and are warm, dry, golden, smell of exotic and expensive, and they're so beautiful and intense that I'd feel like licking my wrists ... They bind to a note of carnation a little spicy on its own which, together with incense, leads the scent towards the greenness and the woods rather than to flowers and powder. Compared to Opium, Cinnabar is (imho) more refined because more rigorous, somehow austere and restraint, less a "pleaser" in mood. In a period of excesses such as the late '70s/early '80s, its relative sobriety made ​​it "dated", penalizing it in favor of Opium, a more modern, cheeky child of its time.
The fragrance lives quite a lot on skin and several hours on clothes, with intense but not excessive sillage, which softens in the end.
I find it extremely beautiful, and in fact two tests have been enough to completely empty the sample vial Adjiumi had sent me. For once, if someone in the post office and in the bank thought I smelled too strong, well... I didn't mind! 

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