Instant Vintage: Caron Nuit de Noel
"You gather things to you like an old road.
You are peopled with echoes and nostalgic voices."
Pablo Neruda, Your Breast Is Enough
Nuit de Noel is one of those perfumes about which I could never form an opinion. (Clearly there are a few of those, might be a topic for a post.) It's not that I didn't like it, I liked it just fine. I certainly had an utmost respect for it. It's just...something didn't click. And yet it was bothering me that, whenever I was wearing it, I felt as if I was right on the edge of getting the gist of it. You know how a name you can't remember seems to be tickling the very tip of your tongue?
I tried Nuit de Noel vintage, I tried it not-recent, I tried it new. This month, emboldened by the newly sparkled interest in all thing perfume and by re-discovery of certain ingredients, genres and brands, I tried to find a sample of it in the chaos of my sample drawer, had no luck and finally ordered one from Les Senteurs. Which is to say, it was not a vintage sample, and it was an Eau de Toilette. I wore it and enjoyed the fragrance like never before. It still bothered me though that I couldn't formulate what the gist, the tag-line of Nuit de Noel was for me. I knew that I knew it, I just didn't know what it was that I knew, you know? Then the other day (are you still with me?) I put on Chanel No 46, a sample of which has been buried in that limbo drawer for many years. And that is when I finally "got" Nuit de Noel.
You know how vintage fragrances inevitably acquire a certain beautifully hazy quality, a certain delightful indistinctness akin to that of an old sepia photograph?..No matter how different any vintage scents that you might try are, they would have this slight patina of olfactory dust, the texture of old Persian lamb fur, still glamorous but worn so thin that now it looks and feels more like velvet. The kind of texture that makes it hard to distinguish notes in a composition, leaving one with a general impression of a Perfume and a feeling of vague nostalgia. This is what even the new Nuit de Noel smells like to me. It is Instant Vintage.
Sure, I could make an effort and distinguish the brighter flowers (jasmine, rose) in the top notes of Nuit de Noel, the creamy tuberose enhanced by sandalwood in the heart, the Persian fur of the ambery, musky base and the Mousse de Saxe hovering over every step of the development like a ghost of the belle epoque long gone...But I don't want to. It would ruin the sepia magic.
Available in Caron boutiques, at the aforementioned Les Senteurs and at a lot of online discounteres, for example at Scented Monkey, for $30.78 for 50ml of EDT.
Image by Sebastian Faena, to whom I apologize for my photo-shopping.