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Je Reviens was created by perfumer Maurice Blanchet for the French design house Worth in 1932, and it is regarded by some as one of the world’s greatest perfumes. Je Reviens translates as “I will return” or “I will come back” and Susan Irvine, in Perfume: The Creation and Allure of Classic Fragrances, attributes the original name to Napoleon’s instructions to Josephine, 

“Je reviens en trois jours, ne te lave pas.” [I’ll be back in three days – do not wash.] 

The name gave it legend status during WWII, and it became a gift to girlfriends, wives, and mothers from soldiers both leaving and then returning after six long years of horrific war. 

The original parfum formula featured aldehydes in the top, following the lead of Chanel No. 5 a few years before. Instead of the fizzle and sparkle which opens the Chanel classic, the aldehydes in Je Reviens hum with a slow buzz, and their distinctive chemical solvent note adds a soapiness to the opening accord of oakmoss, bergamot/lemon citrus and white and yellow florals. These are blooms with attitude! I detect the sour-waxy scent of pollens from narcissus, the dirty-clean funk of jasmine, the damp earthiness of oakmoss, and then blue and purple florals deep underneath.

Up to this point there is not a hint of sweetness, the accord is crisp and cool, green with the scent of freshly cut stems. After a few minutes, the lightest waft of jasmine and ylang-ylang add floral sweetness and a subtle note of bitter almond, which quickly fades away as the floral heart opens up.

Blue and purple blooms of lilac, iris, hyacinth, and violets exude a pale, shimmery, diluted sweetness which hovers over the come-hither night-time waft of narcotic white florals, orange blossom, ylang-ylang, narcissus and jasmine. The blue and white floral bouquet is spiked with a cinnamon-clove hit of rose and carnation, and this spicy accent blends with warm musk notes and leads seamlessly into the base, where the sandalwood resins add their powdery aromatics. Wafts of incense and vetiver create a trail of smokiness intersected by wisps of violet and watery iris notes.

Je Reviens parfum dries down smelling of flowers and bare skin, powdery but not quite clean, salty-sweet with musky warmth, cool green and woody with a hint of post-sex cigarette smoke hovering in the background. The scent wears close to the skin, a whispery breath that invites closeness. The beauty of Je Reviens is so distinctly unique, it is unforgettable. 

NOTE: My vintage bottle is a 30ml. bottle of parfum de toilette from the early 1980’s, in the packaging with the cherub which predates the major formula changes. It is definitely Je Reviens, and still has the initial bite with the lovely dry-down . I love it.

Notes:aldehydes, orange blossom, jasmine, ylang-ylang, bergamot and lemon; narcissus, lilac, orris root, hyacinth, cloves, ylang-ylang, rose;  sandalwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, violet, oakmoss, vetiver and incense

Type: Vintage - Parfum de Toilette (EdT)

Parfumeur: Maurice Blanchet 1932


Price: $6.00