Many loyal as well as casual readers address my inbox with questions whether there are any new reformulations going on in the venerable house of parfums Caron, especially going by the news of new bottles appearing since spring 2013.
The new editions from 2013 are clearly visually separate, by merits of bottle design alone, if nothing else, which should make it perfectly easy on the buyer: the simple, architectural, oblong bottles with the square white cap, with the name plastered on the length of the front, are far removed from the older style peppercorn-studded spray bottle with the gold rounded contours cap, or the royal-blue "crowned" one for the older Aimez Moi for instance. Of course Caron has had as many bottle re-designs as any other older brand; just remember the abstract artwork on the labels on the early 1980s plain spray bottles editions with the plastic cap, just one of them. Then again, the shagreen encasing of the rounded cylinders with the colorful codes for each brand are only too recent in memory to justify another change in so little time. What's going on?
Will this new development mean that the new style will phase out the older ones and does that mean that the perfumes inside are "ruined" for loyal Caron perfume buyers? Read on dear reader what I found out about this matter for your sake.
The 2013 edition of Aimez Moi is credited to perfumer Dominique Ropion (and not Richard Fraysse who reworked the rest of the Caron canon circa mid-2000s) who also had worked in the previous fragrance version from 1996. The two fragrance versions of Aimez Moi are extremely similar compared side by side, with a hint of sweetness being more pronounced in the newer one and a less earthy iris note, making for a slightly less dry effect. Thankfully for old timers, the two are close enough to satisfy the craving when it strikes.
Nocturnes 2013 however is substantially different from the classic aldehydic floral perfume Nocturnes from 1981 composed by Roger Pellegrino. The new version is a "woody floral musk", very soft, with a muted woody (and cleaned up patchouli?) base which points it more to the direction of SJP Lovely than to -say- Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche. So if you're in live with the older Nocturnes, better grab the older bottles while they're still available at decent prices.
Piu Bellodgia means "more Bellodgia" in Italian (fitting language since the original Bellodgia was inspired by the Italian countryside) but doesn't appear to add more oomph to the already rich bouquet of the classic Caron Bellodgia. Reworked by Richard Fraysse, this was a composition that needed to adhere to the new IFRA directives on the regulation of eugenol/isoeugenol (spicy components used in fragrance replicating carnations, such as this one). The newer version is rosier than I get from my old bottle (which is a fuller floral symphony), with less of the spicy kick.
blackcurrant buds note on top, a note that is returning on the trend wagon in perfumes lately, with a white floral heart which predictably features ylang ylang. For those who prefer their ylang rich and tropical like in Ylang in Gold by M.Micallef, or those who prefer their ylang greened up and mysterious, like in Ylang 49 by Le Labo, this is questionably good news; they probably won't be thrilled. For those who love the juxtaposition of a usually rich floral note with the peculiar sour-catty hint of blackcurrants, like in L'Ombre dans l'Eau by Diptyque, this is a welcome addition.
The newer Caron fragrance editions have slowly infiltrated the counters (Londoners will find them at Liberty for instance) and will co-exist with the older ones for a while, but the future holds a complete refurbishing of the line with the newer style bottles replacing the gloriously wicked peppercorn-studded ones, as well as the crystal-faceted oblong ones with the "stopper" style cap (which mimic the ones of extrait for the lesser spray concentrations), with Parfum Sacre being the next to appear in the new style bottle. The advantage of the newer bottles is making them more male-friendly, a trait that is important to the men perfumisti out there. They also look more uniform, more of a coherent line, making way with the disparate bottle designs from various stand-alone glass molds for some of the perfumes in the line. Of course this also means an advantageous glass making cost per production, as each different mold requires a separate client account and budgeting.
In short: a reworking of the visual representation in an even more disruptive way than with what happened with Annick Goutal only this year. Let's hope what counts, what's inside, will hold a reliable standard. Aimez Moi 2013 at least is a step in the right direction.
Related reading on PerfumeShrine: Caron news & perfume reviews