Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lentheric Shanghai

Shanghai is a little like starring at the pattern on my suit too long...
...well if you're gonna stare, might as well check out the rear view.

I recently purchased a set of Lentheric perfumes still sealed in their packages. The inner cardboard of the Shanghai cap had sealed so tightly I required a pin to pry it off. It was not unlike breaking into a factory sealed nip. Shanghai dates from 1936, though I believe my bottle to be from the early 50's.

I love perfume. Even fragrances I wouldn't want to wear on my person interest me as cultural/historical artefacts. I would never dismiss something as vile without giving it my best effort to if not enjoy it, at least understand it. I've come to a place like that with Jicky. I wouldn't enjoy wearing it, but I could if I had to (you know, like if I wanted to attract a cat or something). Shanghai, I'm sorry to say is a fragrance I will not be bothering to understand better. It started with allergies, and ended with a headache-something that very rarely happens to me. Yes, it is a perfectly preserved bottle-but I hate it. Hate it. The silage is about halfway across the Atlantic. You'll want to use it sparingly, and put it on in a room alone. You should stay in that room for a while until the aldehydes die down-five or six hours, at least. If you like a long lasting perfume, Shaghai delivers! If you make the mistake of putting some on a hankie be prepared to wash it several times before it is gone.

Top note- (there's really only one detectable) Aldehydes. Like a biology lab. A biology lab filled with open bottles of aspirin that have started to get old, and smell like vinegar and gym socks. I'm being generous-Shanghai wishes it smelled of vinegar and gym socks.

Middle notes-a citronella candle that isn't doing shit to ward off mosquitoes, so you light several more hoping for the best before giving up and going inside. Whilst outside you had a g&t, so it smells of tonic water as well. Once inside, you grab a bottle of Chartreuse, and have a good slug of it before bed. That's Shanghai's middle.

Base notes- God only knows. Something like ambergris mixed with sandalwood, or maybe frankincense. And soap, but not a nice soap but something really medicinal like Physohex. I think I smell Sea Breeze astringent too.

So to summarise-300 level biology class meets right after gym and you haven't had a chance to shower. You had a quick gin and tonic on the way to the science building, and then washed your hands with antiseptic in a room where someone had just come from mass and smells of incense. That's Lentheric's "Masterpiece" Shanghai. I can't believe that the company responsible for such beautiful, original fragrances like Lentheric 12, and Tweed could bring something like this to market. It is not even remotely, nice.

Interestingly, Mr. ETB (who doesn't have much sense of smell) could smell it strongly in the car, and thought it was heavily herbal. Once in the house, he took a better sniff and declared it, "Soapy" but not something like Cashmere Bouquet, or Pears but perhaps something that aspires to be like Cashmere Bouquet or Pears. If there are florals in this perfume, I'll be damned if any of us could detect them. Typically, I like herbal perfumes( I can even take Aliage in small doses) but they still need something to counteract all that pungent green-Shanghai does not readily present anything floral to my nose, and if it is there (which it surely must be) I can't find it.

I still have, Dark Brilliance, Confetti, and Miracle to get through.

Outfit Particulars:

1960's  (70's?) suit by, Scakowitz
1950's velvet hat-Hand-Me-Ups
Shoes-K mart
Blouse-Jennifer Lopez for Kohls
Tights-Donna Karan
1940's velvet handbag-Thrift World
Faux fur-thrifted
Lucite and silver Lisner brooch-Hand-Me-Ups
Milk glass 60's earrings-Thrift World
1960's Marvella stranded necklace-Goodwill (I think)
Gloves-Can't remember
Milk glass 50's wrap bracelet-Hand-Me-Ups
Fragrance-Lentheric Shanghai


Mim said...

Intriguing! It's a shame it's not nice. I've got a bottle of Jean Patou 'L'Heure Attendue', which originally dates from the end of WWII, and while it's grown on me there is a certain cleaning-product quality to it. (Okay, too much and it smells like urinal cake, the solid disinfectant blocks people shove in gents' pissoirs.) Maybe both reflect a liking for that sort of cleaning-product smell at some point.

Beth Waltz said...

Child of the 60s that I am, I gaze in awe at the psychedelight that is this dress and stockings and gasp: *wow* This is THE outfit you must wear when exploring Zaha Hadid's contemporary art museum in Cincinnati!

I'm intrigued by your analysis of Shanghai, Goody, especially your complaint about too much "green." One is curious to discover how Shanghai was marketed back in the day -- as "mossy"? or "crisp and fresh"? They can't have said "stuff smells like canned green beans..."

Curtise said...

Well, the suit, hat and handbag are marvelous, even if the perfume isn't! Your description of Shanghai is fantastic, but nope, you're certainly not selling it...
Hope the others in the set are better! xxx

Helga said...

Jaysus, woman, you rock a good suit!
Herbal sounds pretty good, but most perfumes give me such a headache I might not get close enough for a sniff...but I would for a grope!

Goody said...

I wonder if they really smelled so much like disinfectant at the time, or if they've aged poorly. Once the top notes disintegrate, the experience can be different. Or maybe that was just the style.

@Beth Waltz
I think (from the old ads on line) it was promoted as a "floral Oriental". I guess to my mind that sounds like Opium, or maybe Samsara, but I don't know how much of that was marketing the exotic. I certainly don't get any florals off it. There's *some* spice, but it is very muted.

Thank you! I had reservations about wearing it together as a suit (I wear it happily enough as separates) I hope I didn't give anyone headaches.

*Just* a grope?
Yeah, this is a perfume you'll want to stay far, far away from if you're sensitive to fumes.

Bibi said...

Shanghai was originally launched in 1911, it was originally named Cœur de Paris.
A 1936 ad reads:
"New fragrance Shanghai, a gift that is refreshing. Many women like a spicy and gay fragrance and this perfume is as merry and gay as the Christmas season."
Well that's a bit of a marketing jump from Paris to Shanghai.
Aldehydes give me rip roarin' headaches too.
I'm not at all fond of powdery or 'oriental' scents.
The weird thing is I fly through Tokyo, Bangkok, Seoul, Taipei, & Beijing quite a bit & hit the 'duty free' fragrance counters. Judging from what's popularly sold at these far eastern international airports 'oriental' perfumes aren't very popular in the 'orient'. Go figure. It would seem east Asia prefers the 'fresh & clean' or fairy cakes scents much like Americans do.
Now when I fly through Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain, or Abu Dhabi - WHOA!!!!!!!!! -The heavier the oriental the better they like it, with gasp inducing, eye watering, sinus searing sillage for light years!!!

Goody said...


I envy your trips through Dubai, as that's where all the limited edition Guerlains are released (I guess they know where their money is!).

I don't typically mind aldehydes, but I need something to go with it. I really wonder if my sample lost some of the top notes over the years.

If this a fragrance born in the teens, that would make more sense with it being somewhat hard to take-I wonder if it was already viewed as too old fashioned by the 30's prompting the re-branding?

Mim said...

I think it was a style, as my L'Heure Attendue is one of the Ma Collection bottles, so only dates from the 1980s or 90s. I'll have to track down more from 35-50 and give them a sniff!