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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Yin and Yang

Review by Tom

I've gotten a boatload of samples in...But I'm going to cheat and write a review of two scents I have already. So sue me!

Caron Royal Bain de Caron / Royal Bain de Champagne

This one I had a yoof, oddly it has survived the period when others, sadly did not perhaps because at the time I did not grasp how good it was.

Now called Royal Bain de Caron, (apparently some people were annoyingly sticky about the champagne thing), it was introduced in 1941, supposedly to supplant some Calfornia milionaire's champagne baths. It starts with a sparkly wine note that makes me think of a good chardonnay. Just at the point where that would become a big snooze, a wonderful musk slinks in, like a bad girl in a film noir determined to cause havok, or at least cadge a drink. Just when you think you have it pegged, powdery violet and lilac drops in to wrestle with the musk, spending a long time almost like the olfactory equivalent of a Chuck Jones cartoon, with a musky devil on one shoulder inciting you to open another magnum and a violet/lilac angel on you're other trilling that you should abstain. At the end on me, the angel wins and the musk turns all church-like and powdery, like Sadie Thompson in the second act. I find it a pleasant change from my usual quest for ever skankier and more leather-clad scents, although I had dropped a touch of CB I Hate Perfume Musk in there at the end just for the hell of it.

Caron Yatagan

All of you are familiar with Colombina's excellent review, if not, please click the link. I'll wait.


Back? Good. Adding to what Colombina wrote, I will say that this one starts out on me VERY in-your-face, smelling strongly of an ashtray. You know the one, the ashtray after a night out doing things you know that you are going to have to say a bunch of Hail Mary's over come Sunday. Oddly, it has a weird hit of celery in there as well, as if you'd chain-smoked and hit the crudite plate really hard. Also oddly, it's fabulous, this coming from a rabid ex-smoker. Earth and musk and labdanum and leather join in at various points to remind you that in the 70's people really got bisssay (what will this decades perfume legacy look like 30 years from now?). This is smells like the socially acceptable version of sex with a Tom of Finland illustration. To borrow from Kelley: Leather-Hottie-in-a-Can.

Both of these are available on the internet at prices that are scandalous considering how great these are. Get 'em now before others discover them.


Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, I haven't tried Royal Bain but I have and love Yatagan (thanks Columbina for the recomendation!!!). On me, I don't get celery or ash trays. I get pine needles and patchouli. I am totally addicted to this. I wish it lasted longer on me...I think I get about 4 or 4.5 hours out of it. I love to wear it to bed.

I think I am going to try to get a sample of Royal Bain de Caron. Sounds amazing.

11:14 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Ah, skin chemistry. On me Yatagan becomes leather and smoke and lasts forever...

Royal Bain is one of the few truly sweet scents that I really like. Maybe because its a winey sort of sweetness and not a sugary one.

11:34 PM EST  
Blogger Erin said...

I don't get a particularly smokey blast from Yatagan, either, more the evergreen/herbal bite Kelley mentions with patch-y leather underneath. I think I can see the celery - and I love the "hitting the crudites hard" line, Tom. In any case, Yatagan's just plain great. And it smells wonderful on Miriam (my baby!) I think I like Third Man better, but it's a close race. Those Caron masculines kick ass - they're just the epitome of good taste (taste so good that even *I* am interested in it...)

12:19 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

it doesn't start smoky on me, it really smells like an ashtray: the in-your-face Sunday morning smell of the ashes of Saturday night's Marlboros. There is something green and vegetal in there: like there was a strange, celery involved bacchanal; it makes me think of the club scene in "Basic Instinct", if they were chomping crudite in between chain smoking, snorting and dancing suggestively, this opening blast is the morning after...

As in Kolnisch Juchten, I get the patchouli (although far less than KJ) in the drydown, a comforting embrace, those Hail Maries after the walk-of-shame opening...

12:46 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Royal Bain de Caron has been on my must-try list forever. I think I may just order this unsniffed pretty soon. Yatagan, on the other hand, I have no wish to try. And I'm an ex-smoker myself.

6:45 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Tom of Finland, huh! Well, there are times that I feel like a gay man in a woman's body, and I do love Yatagan, so. . . .
Like many others, I haven't been moved to try Royal Bain yet--but your review is pushing me to do it! Thanks.

7:51 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I like Royal Bain, but don't have a bottle. Your review makes me want to buy it this minute. (Why is it SO cheap?)

And to Erin...on your baby? You go girls! :-) And thanks for an idea...

8:14 AM EST  
Blogger chayaruchama said...

So, I love you passionately, in the most madonna /whore way possible, and we both agree...

And this surprises you HOW ?

Yeah, baby !
Love it, love it, love it...

8:15 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

Oh, and , Tom, ths is not perfume related, but whatever... Thank you for recommending Top Chef to me. I enjoyed the marathon last night. I am rooting for Frank as he reminds me of my dad :-)

8:16 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

I'm inspired to try Royal Bain now. I have a feeling I've tried it before, but just didn't give it enough of a chance.
Yatagan is just brilliant. Thankfully, I get no c*l**y in it. At all. Phew!! Knocks on wood, tosses salt and garlic over shoulders, crosses self...must go check internet for further protective actions.

8:31 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

The Royal Bain ... well, not a huge love for me.

But the Yatagan! Colombina sent me a sample, b/c she knew it was just my sort of thang -- I don't get the green/herbal stuff (thank heaven). I get ... um ... bissay. Bissay with the goatheard. In a good way. I bought a bottle in, like, 2 seconds.

10:14 AM EST  
Blogger Kelley said...

Tom, now that my show is over, I am trying to get a bunch of stuff done that I was avoiding. I know I was going to send you a Montale sample but can't remember which one!

11:07 AM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think Yatagan might surprise you. Royal Bain is like a secret club- I smelled someone wearing it at the market yesterday and asked them if it was, and they were bowled over- he couldn't believe anyone knew about it.

12:06 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Give it a shot- it's so inexpensive!

12:08 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I have no idea why it's so cheap, but I hope it stays that way...

Maybe it's because it just doesn't fit in anywhere today? We're used to gagging fizzy kiddie sweetness, not adult, winey, party-at-Mocambo sweetness

12:11 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Love you too. In a Madonna/Britney way :-)

12:12 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Glad you are liking "Top Chef". Cooks are even bigger divas than fashion designers. Who knew?

12:13 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


Yes, Yatagan is brilliant. So much so that the dreaded c#l##y note (back unclean thing!) doesn't bother me. Perhaps because it's fleeting, and so buried in the ashes of the opening

12:15 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


On paper I should have hated Royal Bain. I don't like sweet, I don't like powdery and I don't like lilac/violet. I think the fact that it's in there warring with the skank that makes it work for me. Yes, the powdery lilac does win out at the end, but it gets pretty dirtied up doing so.

12:19 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...


I think it was Aoud Ambre

12:21 PM EST  
Blogger tmp00 said...

Corporate Quana? Harsh...

6:35 PM EST  

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