One of the first fragrances I purchased for myself was the original Egoiste by Chanel. All these years later I am never without a bottle and have since acquired the near-mythical Égoïste Cologne Concentrée and a much loved bottle of Bois Noir, the very short lived fragrance that was the precursor to the final Egoiste.
Having sampled my bottle of the Concentree when I first bought it I decided that I would like to make something similar with the very finest possible ingredients I could get my hands on at the time. And from there was born this nod to Egoiste.
The formula is based on anecdotes and samples of computer analysed formulae, but beyond that I have added a large number of my own favorite things.
Upon letting this rest for a time (and it needs it) you can definitely tell that this is a child of the vintage Egoiste but it is a fragrance in its own right. I seldom give praise to the results of my own labors but in the case of this I think the final perfume (properly aged and diluted) is better than any of the Egoiste family on the market today.
This formula is insanely expensive and uses materials that are difficult to acquire. Do your best to get the best but I’ll mention substitutes where possible.
Brazilian Rosewood oil is becoming harder to purchase on the regular market these days due to scarcity. Typically perfumers these days will use synthetic linalool to fill the gap now left. But genuine Brazilian rosewood had qualities that you simply can’t get from linalool on its own. Those qualities come from trace elements of chemicals such as linalool oxide, camphor, caryophellene oxide, etc.
This is a very basic leather base that has been modified with the addition of a few interesting trace elements to add naturalness and interest. It was created in order to add a complex leather note to my L’Egoiste derived fragrance as opposed to a simpler leather based on just isobutyl quinoline.
The finest Jasmine in the world is Jasmin de Grasse, or French Jasmine Grandiflorum absolute. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to get hold of because Patou and Chanel still purchase most of the French Jasmine for Chanel No 5 and Joy (and presumably 1,000 which is also still in production).
On a recent trip to New York I spent the afternoon with Christine from PerfumerSupplyHouse. We had a great time sniffing various samples she had brought with her and samples I had carried from New Zealand for her. Christine had with her a small amount of peach leaf absolute which was amazing! I am fanatical about leaf absolutes of any kind (mango leaf, rose leaf, violet leaf, etc) so I decided to make a perfume with a peach note.
Ultimately it ended up being significantly bigger than just a peachy perfume and the result was a huge bombshell of a floral aldehyde which ended up very reminiscent of a combination of Bois des Iles and Chanel No 22, both by Ernest Beaux in his early days at Chanel. This is a costly fragrance and absolutely not compatible with IFRA (or EU regulations potentially) but it is definitely one worth making for yourself or to give away to loved ones.
It is very floral and would most likely be preferred by ladies, but these days anything goes and it is perfectly fine for a gentleman to wear as well.
Neroli is one of the most expensive essential oils still in use in mainstream perfume. It is often now used in trace amounts but in the past it was used more heavily as perfume was more about luxury and less about mainstream marketing. This is a luxury Neroli oil replacer which really is excellent and will extend your neroli ten times. The formula does include real neroli oil but you will obviously still save enormous amounts of money using this base instead of pure oil.
Rose D’Orient (Oriental Rose) bases were early attempts to replicate the essential oils of rose (typically Bulgarian – or Rose Damascena). Two in particular were very popular with one featuring as the main rose in Coty’s La Rose Jacqueminot and later L’Origan.
Louis Appell has some amazing formulae and bases in his book The Formulation and Preparation of Cosmetics Fragrances and Flavors and one in particular is a real favorite of mine. He calls it “Rose W” and has this to say about rose bases in general: “Absolutes of rose [around $4,000 per kg] and jasmine are particularly important.
Orange blossom is one of the oldest and most important perfumery notes. It was central to the first colognes in fact. The price of orange blossom (and the closely related neroli) is very high so replacements of a high calibre are needed. This accord is based on a formula by Poucher with a minor tweak to make it more natural and closer to the best orange blossom absolute I have smelt. It’s a small tweak but makes a big difference. This is also incredibly natural smelling – about as close to the real thing as you can get synthetically I think.