Sunday, January 30, 2011
Raphael - Réplique (Vintage)
My recent haul of vintage perfume from Fritsch's Pharmacy came with two, very old, carded samples of Raphael Réplique. The juice inside the vials has reduced about half-way, through evaporation, but there's enough left to tell that this was something special.
The top notes are all gone, except for a brief sparkle of aldehydes that must have been stronger once. Then I smell spices, the cardamom still comes through well, and a fruity wood that reminds me of Serge Lutens Bois de Violet.
In the middle of Réplique's life on my wrist, the clary sage takes over and smells like green leather, with the fruity wood and spices still underneath.
In the later stages, the leather fades and the base notes shine on their own. Wood, vetiver, amber, musk, patchouli and oakmoss, make a dry/sweet darkly rich tapestry that is wonderful, even in this attenuated form.
Réplique must have been stunning once. What's left in my vial has become a little too thin over time. There's no sillage left and it doesn't last long. But I can tell the perfume was once a great beauty, and maybe unique. Was it an aldehydic floral? A chypre? An oriental? It seems like a combination of all three. Complicated and grown-up, Réplique was a perfume with style and grace.
Notes [According to irmashorell.net, a site that re-creates lost perfumes, this is the original formula]: top notes of Italian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, cardamom, neroli, coriander, clary sage and fresh aldehydes. Mid-notes of ylang ylang, lily of the valley, Egyptian jasmine, mimosa, tuberose, heliotrope and coumarin. Base notes of oakmoss, olibanum, powdery amber, musk, vetiver, patchouli
Photo: Lisa Fonssagrives by Irving Penn