Carons and Old Friends

Caron had to have a scent that is an all-out smoldering siren, and Narcisse Noir is the little vixen that fills that slot on the Caron line-up. Created by Ernest Daltroff in 1911, this was the perfume that really started the Caron brand and cache, even though it was not their first perfume. Now, be careful not to confuse the parfum with the EDT. I have both, and they are very different in feel. The Parfum is loaded with civet, and just oozes sensuality while also whispering about class. The EDT is more pretty and civilized, it just keeps the skank octane down to manageable levels. NN is a challenge to wear, and it has taken a while for me to really appreciate it, but every time I put it on, I am just bowled over by its beauty and how it perfectly balances what I think a woman becomes when she is done screwing around with the idea of who she should be or who other people think she is or should be. I could not have worn this when I was younger, nor would I have appreciated it, and I think I’ll appreciate it more every year that I grow older. The woman who wears this has a husky voice from a couple of years of drinking too much and smoking, a loud laugh, and likes to have men open doors for her. It is my scented friend that knows who I am even when I forget as I get buried in family, laundry, cleaning, bills, and work.

Notes of Persian black narcissus, orange blossom, bergamot, lemon, mandarin, petitgrain, rose, jasmine, jonquil and civet.

Notes of lilac, rose, violet, iris, vetiver, cedar, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, musk, oakmoss make up Caron’s N’Aimez Que Moi. I had reviewed this in the 12 Days of Violets last Christmas, and I believe it was one of my favorite violets. This is another one you shouldn’t get confused with Aimez Moi, which is the EDT and much sweeter. I don’t mind the EDT, but I prefer the urn parfum. It starts very flowery and what some people would call “Old Lady’ish.” Not sure why that is, maybe the violets always remind people of ancientness? Which is just goofy when you think about it. This is the perfume that really taught me to admire the violet’s strength. They certainly hold their own in a very strong composition, though the violets and rose blend together more than other straight-up violet concoctions, but in this, it is showcased. It is a violet surrounded by roses laying in a mossy forest. I mean, what’s not to love there? And I do. It always reminds me that no matter how delicate the flower may appear, with their shy heads and wilty ways, they are strong and resilient. You can get this from the Caron Boutique or snag a sample or decant from Diane at Dragonfly Scent me.


That’s me on the right with my two best friends in high school — wearing my Farrah hair and CPO jacket proudly. And what was with those jeans? I remember them being very popular that year since both Cindy and I had them on.

If anyone has been around this blog for a while, you know that I have been hunting forever to sniff Stephen B, the long-discontinued drugstore perfume I wore in high school. The lovely Miss March persisted longer than I did and found a little bottle on eBay. I’ve been sniffing this off and on for a couple of months, not really sure what I thought about it. When I first opened it, I was just taken back so many years, to my youth, when boys were toys to be played with and all of my life stretched out before me and I still wanted to “Die Before I Got Old.” I remembered it as being much more grown up and muskier than it actually is, but I surprisingly still like it, even though the scent itself is a little damaged in some of the notes. It’s not a true picture of the perfume, but close enough for my purposes — I can remember the rest. It makes me a little sad because I was right about drugstore scents from back then…they used to be great, and this one is far better, even with damaged notes, than any of the crap sold in drugstores or hawked by celebrities today.

What I’ve found out in my trip down scented memory lane — it was perfect for who I was then and actually makes sense of the things I like today. In smelling it, it’s like the little girl version of Narcisse Noir and N’aimez Que Moi — a little bit dark, but not scary dark; a little bit classy, but not so much that I can’t have fun and fly my teenage freak flag at least at half mast; a little sensuous, but not in that Really Bad Girl punchboard kind of way; and it is resilient without becoming bitter.

  • patchamour says:

    Hey Madelyn E.,
    I’m definitely old enough to reminisce with you — how about early 1960’s? I have an ancient bottle of Aphrodesia which has never left my dresser drawer since my dad gave it to me in 1962 for Christmas. It still smells surprisingly good — it’s been in the dark and hardly ever opened all these years. OMG! 44 years! Wish I had the Arpege my boyfriend gave me in 1961 — threw it out when we split. Glad I lost the BF,though.

  • Madelyn E says:

    Dear Patty,
    How pretty , tall and slim you were ! I’m sure you are just a more ripened version of your former high school self. (I know I got better with age …). Anyway, my drugstore faves in the old days… (probably ancient to you younguns..) Aphrodesia by Faberge, Chantilly, Heaven Scent, L’aimant, L’Origan .of course Emeraude and my all time d/c’d favorite of ALL time (Why won’t Coty bring this one back ?????) are you ready…… Imprevu !!!
    MMMImprevu, let it happen to you Imprevu ! Anyone old enough to reminisce with me (in the late 60’s early 70’s)? I even worked for Pfizer when they owned Coty ..and no luck.. Imprevu was discon…Sad .
    Enjoyed your trip down memory lane Patty !
    Madelyn E

  • Patty, this was a great post. I loved it.
    I’m in my late 30s, and I think you’re right about drugstore fragrances. I haven’t gone near any in the last decade and a half, but I do remember that they used to be sexy and had something grownup about them, which is more than I can say for a lot of the overpriced watermelon juice crap they sell in Sephora nowadays.

  • patchamour says:

    Great post and great pic. You were so cute. I like NN in the EDP (sample) and you’ve got me hankering to try that parfum. There were some great drugstore scents once upon a time. My mom wore L’Aimant. I recently ordered her some from Vermont Country Store, but it was nothing like the original. However, they put out a cream form which I got her for Xmas, and it’s the real thing. I’m so tickled. Can’t wait for her to try it. (She’s 86).

  • Lady Veronica says:

    Congratulations on not dying before you got old!?!

    May have some legal problems with Pete Townshend regarding copyright infringement – but who cares? It’s not like he is with The Rolling Stones.

  • Bryan says:

    Wonderful trip down memory lane with you. Love your writing style and your musings. Girl, you got it goin’ on! I agree with Tom, a little pull here and there and the jeans are very 2006. I love that you appreciate Narcisse Noir, and I think it is amazing (yes, I wear it, the parfum has just enough kitty kat). Don’t forget to get your groove on with the come hither scents of yesteryear….you still got it.

  • Deborah says:

    One of my favorite drugstore scents was Woodhue. To me, that was sophistication in a bottle. Don’t think it’s around anymore. It wouldn’t be the same anyway.

    Regarding scrubber removal– I have had success with Bath and Bodyworks Buttersoft Polishing Hand Wash. Apply directly on the offending stink, then add water, scrub away!

  • Ellen says:

    Speaking of which, has anyone in recent years smelled my old standby “Cachet, the fragrance no two women can wear?” I’m afraid to know now what it really smells like.

    Found something to add to the discussion a couple of months ago about scrubber removal — a scrubby lotion called “Soft Hands,” by Star & Rose of Australia, works wonders! Alas, I bought it at Marshall’s ages ago. The company says they don’t make it any more but promised to try to find out what was in it so as to recommend a substitute. (Will tell if they do.) Stainless & a couple of other suggestions haven’t worked for me. So now am wondering about sugar & salt scrubs. (Thank goodness I had a bit of Soft Hands left to remove the Musc Koublai Khan I just tried — hope that wasn’t really civet butt…)

  • minette says:

    I think you nailed Narcisse Noir – it is an amazing scent – one of those rare elixirs that lift you out of your own time and space. It is my favorite Caron.

    Yes, I also believe the drugstore scents were better back then – richer, anyway. Although I was more into L’Air du Temps, Farouche and Femme at that point.

  • Patty says:

    R, I know you are definitely a Guerl, you and March.

    i’m pretty sure we thought that as well at the tim, whether it was true or not. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Tom, I don’t think anything could make those jeans stylish now. Egads.

    yeah, get up off the couch… okay, I’m heading for the treadmill n.o.w.

  • Patty says:

    Terri — choosing between beer and perfumes?!?! Yikes, i’m not sure I could do that! 🙂

  • Maria B. says:

    Ah, the scents of high school. Okay, for what it’s worth, I’ll bite the bullet and admit that I graduated from high school in 1970. From the time I was about twelve, family friends (parents’ friends) started giving me fragrances at Christmas. None of them were affluent, so they would have bought the fragrances at drugstores and discount stores. Among their gifts were L’Air du Temps, Femme (yeah, in high school!), and what was supposed to be Fleurs de Rocaille. Someone who sold fragrance knock-offs gave me one that smelled a lot like Bal a Versailles. I kept hoping for Shalimar, but that never materialized. My mother got My Sin; I’m glad I didn’t.

    I was considered what today would be called a “geek.” However, I was the best-smelling geek that ever walked those high school corridors. So there. Big raspberry to the girls who tormented me. :-“

  • violetnoir says:

    Hey you foxy thing! You and your friends had to be the prettiest girls in town. I just know it.

    I wish I was there with you on the Carons, babe. I guess I’m too much of a Guerly-girl. :”>


  • tmp00 says:


    Just think of how in style that photo is right now! If those jeans were just a skosh tighter and the pressed-in crease were more of a “surface” it would be totally this year.

    I always thought I was fat. A friend of mine showed me an old photo of me. I was practically two-demensional. I’d like to type “god, for that metabolism” but between the 9000 of us, it’s more like “god, shouldn’t I get up off this sofa” 😕

  • Terri S-B says:

    I graduated high school in 1979…I am so there with you, lol.

    I hoard bottles of Jovan’s Eau Fresh when I can find them on eBay. I think it was discontinued in the early 80s. I bought them in college for like $7/bottle – it was always a toss up between beer money and perfume money.

    It defies description – it’s a blend of soft florals, sugar cookies (I know, I know!) and musk.

  • Patty says:

    L — NN is just magnificent. I don’t think many perfumers are brave enough to make something like that anymore.

    I’m actually revising it to include a lot of Dept store scents are worse than my cheap little STephen B. Looking at you, Escada Fruity Bahama Mama.

  • Patty says:

    Now, now, March, don’t hate me because I Farrah. I really hated my hair then, it took like an hour to do every morning, and bad hair days were a common problem. Just when I thought mine was flawless, I met this chick that truly had the perfect feathered hair. I bobbed off my hair shortly after and got one of those Barbra Streisand “A Star is Born” fros, which was just horrible.

    Then did I tell you about the Gwen Stefani period I went through twice before there was a Gwen Stefani? Both as a result of a botched home-done dye job.

    Yup, they certainly made them better before. A cheap little drugstore scent could be quite good. And Stephen B was a higher end cheap scent, like $8 or something!:-w

  • Patty says:

    L — thank you, but make sure you have fun celebrating. 🙂

  • Patty says:

    Sariah, poison? Hahahaha! I should have found a picture of Sleeping Beauty with the apple. I have to say, I’m fairly certain it is the Wicked Stepmother who wore NN while Snowy White spritzed on White Shoulders. 🙂

    March is just a doll. I was so shocked when I opened that packaged and saw that little bottle in there. I squealed and put out the ears of the rest of the block.

  • Patty says:

    Chaya, my darling niece calls me Aunt Pittypat, which just cracks me up because I couldn’t be further from the GWTW character, except in being a little scattered from time to time.

    Kansas — corn-fed, with a steady diet of beef, chicken and potatoes. And my dad worked my butt off. 1,000 acres of corn and milo and wheat and a dairy. Brutal, seriously.

    Anyway, I would kill to have back my figger, which I totally did not appreciate at all for the first 40 years of my life.

  • Elle says:

    NN….mmmmm…sigh…swoon. Renders me speechless in appreciation. Well, the parfum does. The edt puts me back in verbal mode. It’s better than other Caron edts, but on my skin it still has little magic.
    What a gorgeous pic of you and your friends! That Stephen B sounds wonderful. I agree – drugstore scents really used to have a hell of a lot more character and quality than celebrity scents do now.

  • March says:

    You are a hot fox and I 😡 you. I think that resilience without bitterness is a key note in perfume and life. However, I am a teensy bit bitter about the glorious, perfect symmetry of your Farrah. I was still sporting a Dorothy Hamill wedge and braces.

    That Stephen B! I should have spent more time sniffing it. But you’re so right about the drugstore stuff — even 30 years later, sniffing something that cost, what, $3.99 at Drugfair, you can still catch the original richness.

  • Leopoldo says:

    Today Patty, I’m going to celebrate your beauty and the brilliance of your bitterless resilience. Long may it last.

  • sariah says:

    Patty – what a lovely post. How great that March found you a bottle of your long lost perfume. I’m sorry I just do not “get” NN, to me it smells like poison >:p, not the dior perfume, the one that kills you. Putin could use it in place of polonium-210. But I still keep sniffing it, maybe some day it will grow on me.

  • chayaruchama says:

    What a treat, Patty-lou !
    Isn’t it fascinating, how we evolve [given the opportunity…and seizing it…AND running with it !]
    What a looker !
    Whatever they fed you in Kansas ,did well by you, my friend…
    NN and NQM are favorites of mine as well
    [I’m in Bellodgia parfum as we speak, even though the sun hasn’t risen yet !]

    Happy Chanukkah, everyone!
    Let’s celebrate miracles, not military victory…