Sunday, January 30, 2011

Raphael - Réplique (Vintage)

A vintage sample is a little thin but has great bone structure

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.

House: Raphael
Nose: ?
Notes [According to, 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


  1. I seem to remember reading on the Perfume Posse, I think it was, that Replique was once hugely popular as a bath oil. I think it was March who applied it with a toothpick, it was so powerful!

    They don't make them like they used to. Maybe Irma Shorell should bring this one back. Doesn't everyone want to feel like Lisa Fonssagrives - just to try it, just once? ;-)

  2. Hi tarleisio: Irma Shorell has her version for sale, at a pretty good price. It might be worth it just to try it. I like hte toothpick story; I wish my sample still had that kind of strength.

  3. Now that's a fine fragrance. "Green leather with fruity wood and spices" sounds divine. It bet Replique was a real knock-out, especially with aldehydes piled on top!

  4. Hello JoanElaine: Don't you wish they still made more like that?

  5. That clary sage note sounds wonderful. And to echo you, I DO wish they still made more like that!

  6. I love my tiny little bottles of Replique; they have the same crazy crown-like cap, the iconic typeface...and, when I bother to actually use some of what is inside, I get a happy reminder that I'll find just what you describe.

  7. What a lovely review! This was my mother's most favourite perfume of all time! She has saved her last bottle of parfum, although it is empty. She nearly wept after purchasing some reformulated Replique. Where did you find yours?

    I am forwarding this to my mum asap xo

  8. Fabulous photo to illustrate your point! You really can be too rich and too thin...


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