Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jacomo - Parfum Rare and a Giveaway!

Mysterious beauty

Parfum Rare is the first perfume I'll review from the box of samples I received at Christmas from the vintage treasure trove at Fritsch Pharmacy. Everything in the box is a mystery to me and I'm looking forward to discovering new gems. The more I smell vintage perfume, the more I wish I had started my hobby twenty years ago.

In the late 60’s, an American named James Kaplan and a Frenchman, Gerard Courtin, a former pianist, came together to open a boutique on 5th Avenue in New York. They called it Jacomo. In 1970, they expanded their business to perfume. They released Silences in 1978. Parfum Rare was released in 1985 and re-released in 1987 as Coeur de Pafum.

Parfum Rare is a rich floral chypre, with some spice and a deliciously dark bitter base. The top notes start with a bright, tart fruit that could be could be bergamot, or black currant and warm, aromatic spices. The heart is a beautiful full rose and dry, not sweet, florals, possibly the iris and marigold mentioned in the notes, or carnation. The base is also dry with bitter oakmoss, as well as some dark patchouli and earthy vetiver.

It's very well blended and has excellent sillage. It seems to take up a three-dimensional physical space when I wear it, as if I can smell dark and light, high and low, at the same time. It's very "perfumey" in an old-fashioned way that I love and it smells like money. I want to wear it with an inky black mink coat and two dozen blood-red, long-stem roses. Pafum Rare is a portrait of a beautiful but mysterious woman. The painting is a contrast of deep dark depths and reflected light, and the woman is young but with an old soul.

A Giveaway!

Appropriately, Parfum Rare seems to have been discontinued, but I'm happy to say I have an extra sample to give away.

Please leave a comment below and tell me about a rare or discontinued perfume you love, or if you can't think of anything, just tell me what you're wearing today. The winner will be selected randomly and announced on the blog on Saturday. Be sure to check back.


House: Jacomo
Nose: ?
Notes:  bois de rose, cardomome de Ceylan, jasmin d'Egypte, iris de Florence, rose de Mai, vetiver, oeillet d'Inde (marigold), coriandre, immortelle, mousses de chene (oakmoss), santal, patchouli

Photo: Isabelle Pascoe, the Autumn Collections, British Vogue, 1985


  1. As I am not sleeping at this time I have just read this article you wrote. Thanks.

    I have no idea if this giveaway is set to worldwide but never the less I will say that there is a discontinued perfume, that I really miss, and it is Nuits Indiennes. I am sad to see that this perfume won't be made anymore, or, at least, not these times.. I loved it! so so much.

    Best Regards,

    Vintage Lady

  2. I'm new to this vintage obsession, but already hooked. So far, I have vintage Mitsouko, Bandit and Jicky high on my wishlist. Once I conquer those, I'll add harder to find bottles and samples!

  3. Oh...a loaded subject!I love so many vintage editions, but if push came to shove and I had to boil it down to a few, it would likely be either the original YSL Paris (surely one of the greatest rose/violet combos ever made?), Dioressence (my all-time favorite Dior, and like Miss Dior, it's been murdered) or - and this is where my heart begins to falter...vintage Cabochard. Yes, I think it's the one. Bandit's younger sibling, who is just as naughty but hides it well!

    Sigh. The things we miss...;-)

  4. A perfume that smells like an "inky black mink coat"? Yes please! :D

    At the moment, I'm loving two discontinued treasures from the post-WWI era, both of them Coty: Chypre the oakmoss queen, and Paris the dreamy almond-blossom princess. It saddens me to see that Coty has fallen from stately gems like these to the horrible celebrity baubles they now produce. *sob*

  5. Excellent review! The notes sound so rich!
    I love your imagery...the physical space, the contrasts, the mink coat, the roses.

    Not that I have tried the Gobin-Daude fragrances, but I wish they were not discontinued. They sound amazing. Gobin-Daude Seve Exquise is described as " A milky green fragrance of sap" on the Perfumed Court web site. Those 6 words add up to a whole lot of "want"!

  6. All I want to smell is vintage Lauren!

    And if this doesn't have aldehydes, I'm in! ;)

  7. My favourite rare (well, it's not exactly discontinued, just doesn't exist now in the same variant) is vintage Vent Vert. I find it incredible and therefore don't use it at all. :) I'm saving what I have.

  8. I have never smelt anything by Jacomo, but you capture Parfum Rare beautifully in both words and visuals - that woman in the black evening frock is the perfect illustration of this post! It is a dog by her side but I initially thought it was a panther, which would be equally appropriate, maybe... : - )

    I miss vintage Magie Noire, not that I am acquainted with many original versions of scents, such is the recency of my interest in the subject! Oh, and Jean Patou Vacances would be another.

  9. Well, my favorite is Rive Gauche. The reformulation just doesn't cut it - it's like a ghost of its former self!

    Thanks for the draw! :-)

  10. Oh, dear. Too many to list them all...

    Vacances, of which I have a small sample, is ethereally lovely and if rereleased would probably sell faster than hotcakes, even in the current bleak landscape. It is so tender and fresh.

    Vintage Emeraude is gorgeous, gorgeous... bosomy and warm. It is no longer itself.

    L'Arte di Gucci is stunning, mysterious, bold.

    I think I'll stop there, I'm getting depressed. I don't think Jacomo Silences is anything like Parfum Rare, but I love love Silences, such a satin ribbon of a scent.

  11. I heard Sensi (Armani) is discontinued :( Is that true? :( :(
    Thanks for opportunity :D

  12. Thanks for all the comments everyone! I have taken notes because I'm planning a trip to buy some vintage soon. I will post the winner tomorrow.

    Vintage lady: yes, the giveaway is open to people world wide, although I can't guarantee what the postal systems will do.

    Anicka: I don't know anything about Sensei, but Vanessa at Bonkers says that it's discontinued, and I trust her. http://bonkersaboutperfume.blogspot.com/2010/10/armani-sensi-sultry-sweetness-without.html It's too bad, because it sounds nice.

  13. Oooh, chypre! Please add me to the drawing. I'm wearing Mitsouko EDP today (current version).

  14. The winner of the sample of Jacomo Rare is...


    I will send you an email soon.

    Thank you to everyone who left a comment!


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