Okay, now we’re talking. After three disappointing fragrances in a row, I think a little classic ditty like Calandre’s going to make me see the Paco Rabanne line of fragrances in a better light.
In Bottle: Aldehydes and enormous florals. Calandre smells like a classic pretty much immediately. I’m thinking I might associate aldehydes with “smells like a classic” though, so bear that in mind.
Applied: Rose and jasmine with those soap aldeyhydes that makes me think “classic”. The fragrance settles down a bit as you let it age but the opening did knock me back because it was quite strong. As Calandre settles down, the mid-stage is an easier to wear and less “punchy” mix of lilies, jasmine, rose, and that omnipresent lingering aldehyde. The soft floral quality of the fragrance shows through more and more as the time passes and the fragrance is less of a punch in the nose and becomes more of an airy breeze. Keep in mind that when I say “airy breeze” when I refer to Calandre, I don’t mean modern perfume, wispy, wilting daisy, and barely there “airy breeze”. Calandre is definitely more pronounced than modern wispy perfumes. But it is light when you compare it to other fragrances such as the heady Guerlain Jicky or Joy by Jean Patou. The dry down is a little bit of a disappointment as Calandre settles into a soft sandalwood with a hint of dirtiness and musk.
Extra: Calandre, so far, seems to be the only fragrance from the Paco Rabanne line that I can actually see myself liking. Though it’s a bit of a weak contender when it comes to others in the classics category, it is leaps and bounds more impressive than the more recent Paco Rabanne releases.
Design: Remember when Paco Rabanne fragrance bottles weren’t literally designed? By that I mean, you didn’t have a perfume called “1 Million” bottled in a gold brick? Or a perfume called “Lady Million” bottled in a gold diamond? I’m not a huge fan of the boxy, kind of boring, Calandre but it’s definitely a step in a classy direction for a fragrance house that has, so far, rubbed me wrong in the design department. And while I can see the appeal of the literal bottles, I just don’t think they’re my kind of thing.
Fragrance Family: Classic Floral
Notes: Bergamot, green notes, aldehydes, lily of the valley, rose, jasmine, iris, geranium, sandalwood, oakmoss, vetiver, amber, musk.
Calandre, interestingly enough, is still reasonably available for purchase. I’m not sure if it’s still being produced. If it is, don’t expect that oakmoss note to be real–or even present. If it’s been discontinued then that would explain why a great deal of the bottles are going for $100 or more. Still, a pretty good price for a fragrance that doesn’t smell like anything made today but is also light and wearable enough if you’re afraid of the old classics. This is probably one of the more approachable classics I’ve tried.
Reviewed in This Post: Calandre, ~1980, Eau de Parfum.