En Avion by Caron
Luca Turin’s description of En Avion in his Le Guide, as a fragrance fit for Sam Spade’s fiancée intrigued me enormously. He also describes this perfume as Olympian and suitable for an Amazon. According to Caron, En Avion was created as a homage to the first women of the skies (Adrienne Bolland, Hélène Boucher and Maryse Bastié), the adventurous ones, the ones who braved the elements.
After sampling En Avion, I am not convinced about future Mrs. Spade and especially about a Greek goddess wearing this, but that is definitely what an Amazon might smell like. In fact, a woman wearing En Avion would be a great match for someone who wears Muscs Koublai Khan. That would be a union made in horse-riding barbarian steppe heaven.
The official list of notes (“Orange tree, rose, jasmine, carnation…Totally new balance of rich flowers on a dry, spicy, wooded base.”) does not mention any animalic notes, but they are there, to my nose. The same “circus smell” as in Koublai Khan hit me when I first tried En Avion. It is not as wild as in the former but it sure is there. Not entirely unpleasant, weirdly captivating, En Avion is one of the most unusual perfumes I have ever tried.
Vol de Nuit by Guerlain
Vol Nuit is yet another aviation-related scent that I find to have animal accords. There must be some connection there, but it eludes me. Vol de Nuit was named after Antoine de saint Exupery’s novel, in which a pilot loses the control of his plane, while his newly wed wife is in the control tower, desperately waiting for any signs of life from his aircraft.
It feels almost wrong that Vol de Nuit, this incredibly romantic story of love, is animalic on my skin. Think En Avion's prettier gentler younger sister. Think Muscs Koublai Khan's very distant relative. Perhaps it is jasmine playing its cruel indole game with me again. I don't know. All I know, there is something a little dirty and sensual in this fragrance, but that sensuality is suppressed. Fearless En Avion left behind her classy upbringing and eloped with Koublai Khan, while Vol de Nuit stayed at home, met her pilot and we all know the rest of the story.
*The painting is An Amazon, by Franz von Stuck.