Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Oleg Cassini Perfume for Women-Review

Oleg Cassini sez:

"When you splash on some Oleg Cassini for women you're going to have that new car smell full of leather, formaldehyde, and incense-scented air freshener (complimentary)that makes you say, daaaaaam! I smell just like a 1972 AMC Matador. Thanks, Oleg!"

I couldn't find any original ad copy, but I'm sure it read something like that.

I had to approach this perfume knowing that my impression of Oleg Cassini is hampered by the image of Jackie Kennedy in that leopard coat (great) and the brown and beige bath towels (and matching hand towels) in our brown marble bathroom circa 1978. It was a hideously opulent bathroom, with thick velour towels to match. That's what you get when building a new house-the bathrooms of your er...dreams. You want marble fucking walls in your bath? You've got it. The second bath had identical design in green and white marble. The powder room had a chandelier. Anyway, good old Oleg's towels adorned the brown bath in the master bedroom and had to be laundered apart from everything else as they were neither dark nor light, and had special instructions about gentle wash, and no fabric softener. So thanks, Oleg for all the extra loads of laundry.

This perfume is not for the faint of heart. I'm wearing a vintage formulation, and the first thing that hit me was civet-like an entire litter. I don't mind civet (typically) but this cat didn't even take five seconds to meow and pounce before trying to claw my eyes out.
That's some civet! Still, like most civet dominant perfumes, it eventually settles down and becomes a more approachable sort of feline...
I was introduced to Bagpuss on a holiday to London when I was already far too old for the show-and I'm still slightly disturbed by it. Bagpuss was OK but that woodpecker gave me nightmares. Anyway, yes-Oleg Cassini has a boatload of civet in it, so if you loathe the stuff (like my son) this isn't going to be a good perfume for you, at least not in the vintage formulation. This is some vintage cat-gland stink going on.

But what about the oakmoss? Oh, I'm so glad you asked. Oleg Cassini for women is like a tour through pre-reformulation fragrances where you can peer through the glass like it is a stuffed and mounted passenger pigeon. It was only released in 1990, but it smells much older. This perfume would have been at home in the early 80's. I know what you're thinking: Oakmoss, civet...must be a chypre. Well...yes, and no. I would lean toward describing it as a floral oriental, but my idea of what constitutes a chypre goes beyond the presence of civet and oakmoss.

Goodness, there's a lot going on here, and I know I'm missing out on the beautiful jasmine other reviewers mention. With all the lovely gardenia and carnation happening, I'm not sure I'm missing much though it is often compared to Joy, which I cannot smell at all (it smells like water to me). Whatever type of jasmine is used here, it isn't turning "off" my nose to the rest of the composition, for which I am thankful.

OK, here's the list of notes. It is kind of long, you might want to grab a seat:

Civet, jasmine, incense, tuberose, gardenia, osmanthus, oakmoss, iris, amber, chrysanthemum, leather, carnation, ylang ylang, musk, orange blossom, Bulgarian rose, coconut, patchouli, freesia, coriander, mandarin, bergamot, and patchouli.

The silage on this perfume is huge, but it is extremely short-lived. If you can resist the urge to scrub (I know, I understand we're not all cat fanciers) it does mellow out, and about twenty minutes in, it becomes appropriate enough for close spaces. Spray well ahead of time if you're planning to wear it to work. The longevity sadly, isn't great. A few hours at most, and it is gone without a trace. It isn't much better on clothes than skin. As this isn't an absurdly priced perfume, it hardly maters to me, but it does mean enduring that civet blast again with reapplication which might not go over well with people that dislike that note. I wish there was some sort of fast-forward button on perfumes that could spare us the openings of many otherwise wonderful fragrances. Until that day comes, all I can say is, "Hang in there, Bagpuss will be along in a moment."

I'll bet the real Bagpuss smells like old, dirty socks and mothballs. There's a subject for the niche perfumers to work with.

I would only recommend Oleg Cassini for purchase if you find an inexpensive bottle-this is not worth a bidding war on eBay. There are perfumes that do this style better, with serious longevity, and less challenging notes up front. It isn't a bad perfume, in fact I rather like it but there isn't anything original here. Even the bottle is uninspired. Sort of like our beige and dark brown Cassini bath towels from the 70's. Functional, yes. Exciting? No, but designed to send a message. I imagine the message was supposed to be, "Class" but that sort of thing is always wasted on me.

Oleg Cassini for women is trying awfully hard to be sexy, but it comes off more, "Key to the office supplies cupboard", than "Key Party."

Someone grab me some pencils and legal pads when you go.


Mim said...

Aw, Bagpuss is adorable! And I honestly don't know how Professor Yaffle could give you nightmares. (Trufax: Yaffle is the West Country dialect word for a woodpecker.)

I like a bit of civet, I have an original bottle of Mona di Orio Nuit Noire which is ripe with the stuff. Therefore this Cassini sounds interesting...

Goody said...

I've always had bird issues, real or toy ;)
(The strangeness of having a child who is bird-obsessed isn't lost on me).

I haven't encountered Nuit Noire, I'll keep an eye out for it.

Bibi Maizoon said...

Ol' Oleg looks like he's saying, "Want some candy little girl?" in that photo.

I'll pass on OC for women, if I want some skank in my stank I'll wear my Versace Blonde.

Goody said...

Sometimes I think things just look creepy through modern eyes, but I'll go out on a limb and say that would have been a disturbing photo even by 1970's standards.