Jean Patou Ma Collection - Chaldée
Hyacinth is a paradoxical note. It is simultaneously leaf-like, at times herbal and vegetal - and floral. Its greenness can appear, in the same breath, airy, fresh - and fleshy, thick. It is both sharply dry and husky-sweet, like bitter, smoky honey. Its powerful, seemingly earth-bound aroma, somehow soars as light as a feather.
Chaldée, an inexcusably discontinued Patou scents dating to 1927, which features hyacinth throughout two-thirds of its development, is a paradoxical perfume. First introduced as a suntan oil, Huile de Chaldée, the fragrance seems to promise, to a contemporary tester, a sweet, tropical quality. It delivers, in fact, a traditional and, despite the Babylonian inspiration behind the name, "European", floral-oriental composition with the proper structure of the fresh top notes, floral heart and rich, ambery drydown. The composition in which, the floral notes (orange blossom, lilac, jasmine) lead by hyacinth balance the velvety, fleshy, honeyed base with their airy, at times sharp fragrance. The flowers make the intense, seemingly earth-bound Chaldée soar as light as a feather.
Perhaps the perfume only seems to me paradoxical in the context of our very different time, where suntan equals coconut, and the new fragrance structures, spirals, octagons, pentagrams, what have you, have been gradually replacing the time-honored pyramid. Chaldée is in fact not paradoxical. It is classic.
It can be found on ebay and some discounters. I am still hoping that one day Patou will bring back the discontinued scents from "Ma Collection".