Sunday, February 28, 2016

Houbigant Demi-Jour -Review

I was recently gifted a decant of vintage formulation Demi Jour from the years when Houbigant still manufactured it. These days, it is being made ruined by Dana. If you try to track this one down, and I certainly recommend you do, make certain it says, "Houbigant" on the bottle or box. Mine is from the 80's, but the perfume has been around since the 30's like the bottle in this ad. I have no idea what that version smells like (but if anyone has some and wants to help me find out, I'd be happy to test it out).

I was a bit worried I might not be able to smell anything as I am unable to smell Houbigant's Quelque Fleurs due to the jasmine. Demi Jour also has jasmine, but hapily not the same sort, or in enough quantity to kick my anosmia into gear. I'm happy about that because Demi Jour would be a shame to miss out on.

I have a difficult time wearing over-the-top florals (hasn't stopped me trying though), but Demi Jour stops just in time. There's enough oakmoss and wood notes to keep it from smelling too sweet, and the aldehydes, which I am learning to tolerate better do give Demi Jour a certain punch. Against all my reasons to think this wouldn't work for me, it does. Beautifully.

I'm not a heliotrope fan in large quantity. Demi Jour doesn't have any vanilla for sweetness, instead getting the vanilla/marzipan notes from a floral note. That's clever chemistry, and I'm certain that's what keeps Demi Jour from turning into some sort of gag-inducing candy-sweet floral nightmare. If only that were true today. There's no candy floss in Demi Jour.

Think about the florals in use here-rose, violet, heliotrope, lily of the valley-until you get to jasmine and ylang ylang, there's nothing here that would keep it out of the men's cologne category. The addition of musk, oakmoss, sandalwood, and cedar really could work on a man. It is much less sweet than Boucheron pour homme.

I don't get, "Big 80's floral" from Demi Jour, at all. I know some people do, and they find it much sweeter than I do, but that's the beauty of fragrances-we all experience them differently.

Notes From Fragrantica:
Rose, violets, ylang ylang, orris, heliotrope, aldehydes, sandalwood, musk, oakmoss, bergamot, lily of the valley, cedar and jasmine.

To my nose, the aldehydes, rose and violets dominate this perfume, but the oakmoss is there, but it isn't apparent until after the aldehydes blow away.

I honestly didn't think I would enjoy Demi Jour, which is one of the best things my perfume habit has brought me-an open mind (and nose).


Bibi Maizoon said...

I like heliotrope quite a lot in perfumes, the actual flower smells like honey to me but in perfumes it usually is described as a "doll's head" note. It does remind of my much abused "Baby Tender Love" doll I had as a child in the early 70's.
If you like the violet-heliotrope combination you might try hunting down some of Victoria Principal's "White Violet." It's no longer made but I have a bottle from the 90's that I love.

Goody said...


You just gave me a flashback to scented dolls-I mean deliberately fragranced.
I swear, it is on the tip of my tongue, but I can't remember what they were called. Gah, I hate getting old.

I'll keep an eye out for the Victoria Principal perfume. Wow, that's a name out of the past I hadn't thought about in forever.

Mim said...

I love a bit of heliotrope - Guerlain L'Heure Bleu was an old favourite of mine (NB the current formulation is an abomination; in the guerlain boutique the difference in scent between the vintage formulation in the sniffer jar and the modern in the tester is shocking) and Caron Farnesiana is also gorgeous. I'd never heard of Demi Jour though - and Bibi's description of White Violet is so intriguing!

Vronni's Style Meanderings said...

I had a Houbigant perfume in the 70s. I can't remember what it was called or what it smelt like; I only remember the name! I did like it though. Your description, once again, makes me want to dash out and find a bottle!


Goody said...

I agree about the reformulated LHB. I never understood the need to keep making something when it is so different from the original. They should just let that one die.

I never smelled Farnesiana-I'll look for it.

Chantilly was a popular Houbigant years ago-it was quite sweet. The new one is like water. I always thought I didn't like it until I found a bottle of the original and then, I understood.