I’m sure I’m not the only one who falls for this bit of marketing: I will scour a website trying to find something that I may not even want and certainly do not need simply to get to the holy grail, the nirvana, FREE SHIPPING!!
This time was with Fragrancenet, where, if you’re careful you can tip the scales of giving them $6 to ship you something by spending $12 on stuff you don’t care about! Hey, it’s the American way, and who am I to not play the game.
This led me to a giant (considering I don’t really intend to use it) bottle of Tabu by Dana.
Apparently (according to Fragrantica) this was the first scent for the house of Dana, created by Jean Carles and released in 1932 with the brief that he create a fragrance for a lady who, shall we say, is free with her virtue but charges up front.
Notes (also from Fragrantica):
Top notes are Spices, Orange, Coriander, Neroli and Bergamot; middle notes are Cloves, Ylang-Ylang, Rose, Jasmine and Narcissus; base notes are Amber, Civet, Benzoin, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Musk, Oakmoss, Vetiver and Cedar.
Now I don’t necessarily look at that list and think “Hooker” and I am sure that this has gone through a mind-boggling number of reformulations in the 90-odd years the planet has circled the sun since it was released. Back in 1932 it was standard practice to use real civet, and having smelled that I can tell you it packs a punch in a way that the modern synthetic substitutions simply don’t. Real Oakmoss also can no longer be used, citrus oils are out and I am sure that few if any fields in Grasse were denuded to distill anything that went into this modern version of the “Forbidden” perfume. (the Dana website doesn’t even list civet as a note.)
What I get is powdery aldehydes in the opening (I know, they aren’t listed, but that’s what I smell) that aren’t bright and sparkling so much as fizzing. As a matter of fact, on me with the clove and the spices, I kind of get… Root Beer. Not a hand-crafted one with honey from special Wisconsin beekeepers like Sprecher, more like the stuff A&W pours over Vanilla ice cream. Like a cold soda the nice elderly lady next door gives you for mowing her lawn. The one that goes to Sunday Mass in her black lace Mantilla but doesn’t go to the socials. Some of the roses peep through and at the end you do get a bit of the musk and the amber/patch/sandalwood: kind of a reminder that back in the day the lady rocked the place back on it’s heels and maybe her confessions make the priests blush.
But mostly I get root beer.
This is shockingly inexpensive: I think I spent under $10 for a bottle that will doubtless live with for eons and it’s not that much more at the Dana website. Just note that if you want free shipping from them, you will be ordering gallons of it.
Photo of bottles is mine.