Emeraude by Coty
February 11, 2019
Perfumer: François Coty
Year of creation: 1921
Pyramid according to the H&R Fragrance Guide:
Top notes: Citrusy, Fresh
Main: Bergamot, Lemon
Supported by: Lemongrass, Orange
Heart notes: Sweet, Floral
Supported by: Rose, Jasmin, Ylang-Ylang
Base notes: Sweet, Balsamic, Powdery
Main: Vanilla, Ambrein
Supported by: Opoponax, Benzoin, Sandal, Patchouli
Classification by H&R Genealogy:
Feminine, Oriental, Sweet
Classifications according to the Fragrance Wheel by Michael Edwards:
Oriental, Classical subgroup
Classification by SFP (Société Française des Parfumeurs):
F3f – Ambrée, Ambrée doux (sweet/soft amber) according to the old classification. In 1984 classification F3 is reserved for Ambrée hespéridé (citrusy amber) and F1 is Ambrée doux (sweet/soft amber).
Luca Turin verdict: 1 stars of 5, cheap oriental
In his review Luca Turin admires the original version (smelled at Osmotheque) as well as a scratch sample from a magazine in 1967, but calls the modern drug store release “crap value even at the bargain-basement price”.
This fragrance is often compared to:
Shalimar by Guerlain
Inspired by the emerald jewels of Persian temples François Coty wanted to create “the soul of the emerald in fragrance.”
Initially was presented in flacons by Lalique and Baccarat. Latter perfume bottles were made by Coty’s own glassworks in Pantin.
Choosing a perfume to match the hair color was the order of the day when Emeraude came out. This perfume was suggested for brunettes and red haired.
In 60’s Coty used the following slogan to advertise Emeraude: “For the woman who dares to be different.”
Personal notes: Emeraude vs. Shalimar.
Similar age, same classification, roughly the same pyramid construction, so the comparison is inevitable. There are even rumors about Coty selling his formulation to Guerlain, but also a contradicting legend about Guerlain creating Shalimar by adding vanilla to Jicky. The truth is there somewhere… The fact is that the structure of both compositions is very similar indeed: a contrast between a classic citrus freshness and a sweet powdery vanilla with a touch of leather or smoke. An in depth comparison is difficult as both perfumes have undergone many reformulations. And the modern version of Emeraude seem to be a pale image of the original.
Unfortunately I can’t say anything about the original – never smelled the vintage perfume. But I own a modern chartreuse colored cologne version in a squared bottle (see the picture above). It smells a bit cheap to my nose. So I agree with Luca Turin on this, but have to admit that the “cheap” impression is often defined by our olfactory experience. I get a whiff of something that reminds me of a cheap cologne from my past together with a slight soapiness of Emeraude’s floral part and a smoky aspect that makes me think of a burnt incense stick. Those three aspects are making the modern version of Emeraude smelling cheap to me (especially compared to Shalimar).
But once I recognize where those “cheap” associations come from and set them apart, I find Emeraude quite a comforting scent. A nostalgy of a classic bitterness from a fresh citrus top with a lemon candy touch against a sweet and comforting amber with a vanilla powderness and a touch of smoke. I understand the numerous positive reviews. But to me personally it’s rather a house robe I put on at home when feeling chilly than an accessory to complete a look for going out. The floral part is less pronounced here to my nose. And instead a velvety iris of Shalimar I smell just a whiff of ionones here. Can’t get Opopanax or a leathery animalic aspect of Shalimar here, but rather a smoky note of a burnt incense stick (not unpleasant though). The last one also reminds me of Tabu by Dana.
- A study on Coty perfumes with a detailed story on Emeraude flacons on the Coty perfumes blog.
- The Muse in Wooden Shoes shares her personal connection with Emeraude and compares different versions.
- An overview of Coty fragrances at Ça Fleur Bon blog.