A Special Series on Vintage Perfumes: A Brief History of Vol de Nuit and Narcisse Noir

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain

Bestselling Perfumes of Yesterday and Today

Vintage perfumes are rich in history, and their formulas have seduced decades of admirers.  These beautifully crafted fragrances are what I call the tried-and-true, as beloved today as when they were first introduced. They might be hard to find, but you’ll find it’s worth seeking out these perennial perfume favorites.* (see below)

This is the second in my series of vintage perfume posts.

Vol de Nuit by Guerlain (1933) – Another timeless classic from Jacques Guerlain, Vol de Nuit is a spicy, ambery Oriental scent designed for the elusive, assertive woman, and is one of the most sophisticated scents from the House of Guerlain. The sensual blend opens with fresh notes of mandarin and bergamot. Orange blossom and jonquil bloom in the heart, while vanilla, spices, and sandalwood create an aura of mystery.

Vol de Nuit, French for “night flight,” is presented in a classic Guerlain flacon. The dramatic gold-colored amber bottle is molded with the shape of French Air Force wings. Indeed, Vol de Nuit was created in homage to the daring aviators of the 1920s, and was named after the Antoine de Saint-Exupéry novel of the same name. Saint-Exupéry, also an avid aviator, was the author of many works, including Le Petit Prince.

The fragrance captures the essence of adventure, the spirit of exploration, the radiance of independence. It is an assertive scent of the 1930s; ideal for the modern woman of today.

Narcisse Noir by Caron

Narcisse Noir by Caron

Narcisse Noir by Caron (1912) – Created by the great perfumer Ernest Daltroff, founder of Caron, Narcisse Noir is based on the black narcissus, an exotic spring-blooming flower found in China and Persia. Narcissus is blended with aromatic sandalwood, which lends a sensual, lingering aura to a floral bouquet rife with rose and jasmine.

Narcisse Noir was one of the most important fragrances brought forth in 1912, an industrious year in the history of perfumery. It remains a truly enduring, sophisticated classic. Although Daltroff died in the 1940s, his company and fragrances live on, a tribute to his remarkable talent.

SCENT OF TRIUMPHMy novel, Scent of Triumph, is a suspenseful, historical saga surrounding a young French perfumer. The protagonist, Danielle Bretancourt, comes from a family of perfumers. This world of perfumery is her profession and her passion, so real vintage perfumes of the period are included throughout the book.

 Love to hear your memories and experiences with these perfumes, or others you adore. This is the second in a series, so stay tuned for more posts on classic perfumes.

For more on vintage perfumery, see the first article in this series, A Brief History of Chanel No. 5, Mitsouko, and Joy, as well as my Vintage Perfume Guide. Leave a comment and share your favorite fragrances or memories!

*On request and for your convenience, I’ve linked each fragrance above to those in the beauty department at Amazon US online.

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6 thoughts on “A Special Series on Vintage Perfumes: A Brief History of Vol de Nuit and Narcisse Noir

  1. Thank you Jan for this very interesting post! I think I have told you I’m a LONG fan of Shalimar. Now that you have introduced me to Vol de Nuit also by Guierlain I’m going to have to find it! Love the Amazon link.

  2. Pingback: “Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.” Vintage Perfumes L’Heure Bleue and Femme | Jan Moran

  3. Pingback: Still Hot, Still Haute: Sexiest Vintage French Perfumes | Jan Moran

  4. Pingback: Favorite Vintage Perfumes Reign Supreme: A Brief History of Shalimar and Miss Dior…and The Taj Mahal | Jan Moran

  5. I once wrote a story about a dragon named Santos, based on a chap I met who inspired the character and wore a very posh scent named Santos. It smelled affluent. No, no, not effluent; I’ve no idea how to stink of money but this could be it.

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