Thursday, September 12, 2013

Caron 2013 Fragrance Editions ~Aimez Moi, Nocturnes, Piu Bellodgia, My Ylang: Notes on Reformulation & Bottle Design

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.

Caron My Ylang, is a totally new perfume addition, composed by Richard Fraysse. The perfume features a noticeable 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


  1. Elena-

    I am puzzled by the look and what will be the feel of the new Caron bottles, and the rather drab cartons. So hard, masculine and uninviting; so against all that is Caron - which is 100 years of feminine. I worked for Caron in the States in the '80's and have a love for the brand and loved the peppercorn bottles so beautiful and such a signature. I don't get it. It is as if Caron has been taken over by uber-urban-minimalists. Completely changing the bottles at the same time as re-formulating the scents leaves the remaining loyal Caron customer with nothing to hold on to.

  2. Jeffrey,

    as you say "it's as if Caron has been taken over by uber-urban minimalists". I don't get it either! The look is totally sparse and would fit a niche brand like Le Labo or Montale or something but NOT Caron. They would look totally at odds besides the Baccarat urns for the extrait too and I fear what that might mean about the urns! *knock on wood*
    Surely the couple of things I have tested in what regards the actual perfume are not all catastrophe (and certainly not the catastrophe that Turania signaled in 2008 for their own reasons) but the fact that remains that such an incongruous relationship between exterior and interior forebodes negatively in the mind of the buyer.
    To be honest there was an innocent and even welcome naivety about the art-deco labels of the 1980s (at least on Nocturnes and its ilk) before the peppercorns became the standard. I'd take it over the new ones! As you say, the design is uninviting and I fear the brand will suffer (further!) as a result, even if the reformulations won't prove to be that bad.

    The bottom line is that the hands that handle the management of a brand can do tremendous harm even if the perfume itself retains a modicum of quality (and Caron is above some other brands in that regard).

  3. "the fact remains that..." (an additional redundant "that" somehow creeped into my phrase)

  4. they simply look "dumbed-down". generic. most of my male friends who wear perfumes originally marketed to women don't care if the bottles are not "masculine"...i think they are going for a modern look, but personally i don't think it's worth it.

  5. NFS,

    it's interesting what you say there: the ones who would be interested in wearing a feminine scent do not care enough for the looks of the bottle anyway. Could it be that they didn't think of that? I know that the L'Artisan caps were redesigned years ago from the gold gilded ones into the more "functional" screw-looking ones to appear more "unisex" to the buying audience. (But it was only the caps and the general look of the bottles remained the same.)

    Caron can't be modern! It's antithetical to everything the brand stands for. They'd need to completely annihilate the brand and start anew.

  6. Oooo - what about my beloved Infini??

    OK - Miss Moi is called by the Chinese "May May" but we call her Moy Moy- its that English thing! LOL ... but mostly she gets called Miss Moy as she is a "miss" or Fussy! LOL
    I hope I find you well Helg :)

  7. Anonymous08:32

    Hmm, ok. So as it appears that the ones you've mentioned are getting a new bottle and a new juice, are all the juices to be reformulated? Will Parfum Sacre be? Again?
    - lynley

  8. M,

    ah, very interesting!! Thanks! (Thanks for the wishes, things are OK I suppose, start of the academic year and all)

    I believe the whole line will be rebottled: it makes sense, since they're changing things, it would look unfinished otherwise. So as always grab whatever you like while you can.

  9. Lynley,

    I believe so. Makes sense to as explained above to Lady Jicky.

  10. Ensoleille15:37

    The original Nocturnes (from 1981) was my signature scent for many years and was housed in a thin rectangular bottle with a black cap and an art deco motif in the shape of a square on the upper half of the bottle. One of the names contemplated for this perfume was "Zelda" so the bottle design makes sense. It was reformulated and then placed in the studded cap oblong bottles which you described. I am sad to hear that it has been reformulated yet again and bears no likeness to either the original or first time reformulation. I still have a very small amount of the original and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find in its original housing.

  11. Ensoleille,

    thanks for dropping by.
    To be honest I don't know what they're thinking. Nocturnes was very accessible to many in both style and distribution, so why change it? The new design says nothing to me. I hope you find the edition you love at some shop forgotten under the counter waiting for you to buy it and enjoy it to the fullest.


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