It has become trendy to hire an in house perfumer these days. But it was the House of Caron who from its inception is one of the rare companies that has always employed an in house “nose”. From Ernest Daltroff, to Richard Fraysse, the current “nose,” Caron perfumes embodies an olfactive heritage that is almost unequaled in the industry. Romain Ales, the president of the House of Caron, shares historical facts and his vision on the future of the House of Caron. In addition, we celebrate the opening of a Caron boutique at MiN New York, which will carry four fountain fragrances: Tabac Blond, Or et Noir, N'Aimez Que Moi and a small urn of Poivre. Worldwide there are only twenty stockists that have the honor of carrying the special fragrances,and MinNewYork carries the most of any specialty store (not owned by the House of Caron) in New York.
What is the history behind the Founder of the House of Caron, Ernest Daltroff and his longtime partner Felicie Vanpouille?
RA: Mr. Ernest Daltroff, a young man enraptured with a dream inspired by the delicate act of his mother applying her favorite fragrance. She would gently dab perfume behind her ears, careful to only apply a dash at the nape of her neck, as in that era it was considered poor form for a lady’s scent to linger. Moved by the image, Daltroff aspired to become a great creator of perfumes, as he hoped women would forever speak of his concoctions with envy.
His aspirations became reality when he created the House of Caron, where his philosophy in typical French fashion is simply about men, women and that elusive thing called love. Ernest was joined by Felicie Vanpouille. Ernest was the nose, Felicie initially was a dressmaker whose ambition led her to leave modest family in Arras and set up business catering to the whims and fancies of Parisians.
In 1907, Ernest asks for her advice on the perfumes and their presentation. As time goes by, Felicie becomes the “couturier” of perfumes, from bottle to box. They set up home on the boulevard Pereire. By 1916 the 42 yr old Felicie secretly hoped to marry Ernest, the man she had shared her life with for 10 yrs. Ernest was aware but was too absorbed by success and spent his time between the lab and his business travels. However he created a fine, tinted and perfumed powder and gave it the name N’aimez que moi that Felicie saw the answer to her questions. The perfume of the same name was created in 1917.
What were some of the fragrances they created together and what were the inspirations behind them?
RA: They introduced innovative, luxurious fragrances which suit each era, such as N’Aimez que Moi (1916), Bellodgia (1927), and legendary Pour Un Homme (1934.) Composed of unique blends of pure, rare essences, the fragrances are presented in the most precious crystal flacons by Baccarat. With chic and original ornamentation, including delicate lace collars, grosgrain ribbon and gold cording, the unique fountains offered the sumptuous joy of filling the bottle directly from the tap, an intimate act for very precious scents.
Marc Chagall: Lovers in Pink
When Daltroff fled France, during World War II, was it because he was Jewish? Did Vanpouille leave with him? Did he return to France after the war?
RA: Persecution against the Jews was at its height and the firm was in danger as Ernest was Jewish. At aged 74 weak and in ill-health he fled to NY in November 1940.
What happened to Caron when Ernest fled the company?
RA: Felicie remained alone at the head of Caron struggling to protect the company from being confiscated and closed down. Luckily the case was in the hands of a sympathizing Francophile German officer, Walter Hummelsheim, who understood Felicie’s predicament and the dangerous situation Caron was in. As long as he was in charge of the case, confiscating the company was postponed. There was however, a solution, appointing a temporary manager from “Aryan” descent.
Felicie panics and flees to the free zone. In Paris Suzanne Saulnier ran the company and coordinated Asnieres and Montauban on her own. The company is in jeopardy. Walter is re-called to Germany. Felicie recovering from a severe leg fracture is in constant communication with Suzanne and applies for an “Ausweis” in view of returning to Paris asap. End of Dec. 1940 she arrives in Paris with her “Ausweis” and a refugee status. She returned to her suite at the Ritz and continued her eternal discussions with French authorities concerning the nomination of an “Aryan” manager. Communication with NY had broken down and on Feb. 13 1941 the sad news of Ernest’s death came, he had passed away a few days earlier depressed and weak from illness.
One of the greatest moments of very immigrant is seeing the Statue of Liberty…. Was there ever a fragrance created to commemorate his new found haven in America?
RA: Ernest fled to America to escape the threat and chaos of war. Approaching Ellis Island, his eyes fell upon the majestic splendor and imposing beauty of the Statue of Liberty, welcoming him to the safe haven of America. Deeply moved, he promised to create a perfume to commemorate this moment… 60 years later; Lady Caron (2000) was introduced.
Where did the name Caron originate?
RA: Aimez Moi, Fleur de Rocaille, Nocturnes, Parfum Sacre, Infini, Le 3eme, Yatagan
Photo: Myperfumedthings blog
What are the core values of Caron that were established in 1904, that remain in 2011?
RA: Reference to the past is a value that opens the way to modernity, a passion for conquest that constitutes the true essence of Caron. Over the century +, the passing years imposed many changes but through it all Caron never ceased to reinvent its future. The arrows of time, which pointed to a future industrialization and mass markets, never affected Caron.
From Ernest Daltroff to current owner, Patrick Ales, the lifeline of Caron perfumes what never ceases is the imagination. As women become more and more present in the corporate world, run companies, sign contracts, and skip through time zones with ease, they still know how to pause to choose their perfume. Therefore as fashion for form or color evolves, style alone still remains, the style bearing the olfactory mark of Caron.
Where are Caron fragrances created?
RA: Always, from the beginning, at our laboratories in France.
What are the “urn” fragrances? What makes them special?
RA: “Les Fontaines Baccarat: they are Caron’s haute couture fragrances, revived some of its finest compositions of extracts in their legendary Baccarat crystal fountains. With the act of filling the perfume bottle at the fountain, the special heritages of these perfumes live on. The perfumes are collected from the little bronze taps into the most wonderful bottles of all sizes, finished with an old world style golden braid.
The two most recognized are Tabac Blond which was created in 1919 as an homage to women’s liberation, and N’aimez Que Moi (1916) a flowered Chypre that was created to boost the morale of the troops and their “Penelopes”, the women who waited for their soldiers to return. Caron introduced this fragrance – “Don’t not love anyone but me” – as forget me not. In addition there is Acacias, En Avion which was inspired by Amelia Earhart; Les Pois de Senteur, which to this day there is still no natural extract of Sweet Pea available on the market, so Caron recreated the scent with a generous bouquet of rose, hyacinth, cyclamen combined with jasmine, lilac, lily of the valley on a warm and woody base of lime, vanilla, cedar, sandalwood, and musk.
Narcisse Noir which was created in 1911 in honor of the consecration of the House of Caron; Or et Noir an pulent yet complex fragrance was concocted with a sensual base of rose sprinkled with geranium, lilac, carnation, and deepened with oak moss, Rose; Tubéreuse which was created in 2003, Alpona, created in memory of the French Alps, and the first fragrance to combine flowers with grapefruit;
Farnesiana, a mimosa based perfume with fruity accords; Poivre which was one of the first unisex perfumes and created in 1954; French Cancan, which was an ode to America and evokes Paris. It was the first of Caron’s perfumes to be geared to the American market.
One of my favorite Caron 'fountain' fragrances is Or et Noir. I don't know if many of our readers are familar with this chypree? What inspired this perfume and who was the nose behind it?
RA: Or & Noir is a complex fragrance with top notes of Antatolia Rose and geranium, enhanced by lilac, carnation and oak moss. Daltroff’s olfactory style is evident in this fragrance: his passion for rose underlies the structure of all Caron fragrances, and of the powders Madame Peau Fine and Mademoiselle Peau Fraîche.
This fragrance marks the return of opulence without ostentation, to help forget the dark years of deprivation: for Or & Noir, Félicie chose a luxurious crystal bottle coated with a thick sheet of gold. Approved by the crystal-makers of Choisy-le-Roi and Romesnil, this rotund and curvy urn shines like gold, mounted by a cabochon cap/stopper adorned with two bees. Devoid of all labels and writing, this gold-coated bottle resembles a goldsmith’s work. The extract’s name is written on a small paper label affixed to the bottom of the base. This luxurious presentation is accompanied by an oval black satin case featuring the emblem of the crown on a gold background. (this is the classic packaging- as it’s only available in our baccarat crystal urns now.
What distinguishes Caron from other houses that have a long history and a past heritage?
RA: Caron, rather than diversify, chose to focus on its know-how: the perfume and the beautiful scented face powder that has been just as much of our legacy as the perfumes. All our fragrances are formulated with raw materials of the highest quality and most of our suppliers have not changed. We own the formula for all our fragrances, buy direct all components and often are responsible for their distillation.
Regarding the powder, it is manufactured on the same machine for almost a century, and any other powder on the market today can't match its fine grain. The tradition is a fundamental value that enabled Caron to survive through the decades and retain its position as a House of Haute Parfumerie.
How does Caron stay relevant, yet not lose its time honored traditions?
RA: Innovation and forward thinking have always been at the heart of the creations of Caron House. The objective of Ernest and Félicie was revolutionary, both olfactively and working and using unexpected notes that would have commercial appeal (today it’s called marketing!)
Félicie quickly grasped the significance of a fragrance’s name and the importance of the design of a bottle. Therefore, all our fragrances have evocative names which were most often associated with major events of the era, such as Tabac Blond (emancipation of women after the 1st World War), En Avion (By plane, first aerial feats)…
Tradition is also a core driver of the House of Caron, expressed especially through the choice of raw materials and the recovery of the craft (eg. The exploitation of creations of French craftsmen who make for unique pieces Caron sold in our boutiques, but also the recovery of a certain expertise, such as gold thread on the vials and the “baudruchage”, wrapping a silken thread around the neck of the bottle. Much of this expertise is forgotten now, but Caron employs specialists to ensure we carry this beautiful art into the future.
Who is your nose Richard Fraysse? Tell us of his background, what inspires his work and which fragrances has he created?
Richard is the son of the renowned nose André Fraysse, who created many fragrances for Lanvin including the iconic Arpege. For Richard, each fragrance triggers a sensation, then an emotion.
A meeting with Richard Fraysse is always intriguing, as he has the ability to incorporate each new scent into what is an olfactory experience. He’s the equivalent to an extraordinary master “scent file,” an ever-evolving living repertoire. In the same way that an accumulation of notes cannot be likened to music, an accumulation of scents can never constitute a perfume.
In fact, although Richard Fraysse uses his nose as a tool, an instrument for control and analysis, it is of course his brain that identifies and classifies various components.
Marc Chagall Woman with Roses
Bulgarian roses, which enter into the majority of Caron perfume compositions, must be grown with the same constancy, in the same type of soil. Jasmine and mimosa, orange blossom and ylang ylang, fragrances so fine and varied, give the perfumer all he needs for his imagination to take flight. Other sources feed the inspiration of Richard Fraysse. Wood, bark and moss provide another range of components; herbs and spices lend their own special notes; fruit from the Hesperides range (primarily citrus) round off the use of what the Earth offers.
Caron L’Accord Code 119
What’s next for House of Caron fans?
We will be introducing new powders, loose and pressed that are more in keeping with a natural look. For fragrance we will introduce Secret Oud in the USA May 2011, as well as our first fruity floral fountain fragrance, L’Accord Code 119 and we hope to introduce this year both Delire de Roses and a new men’s fragrance, Yuzu.
House of CaronTime Line:
(1904) Royal Emilia, Royal Caron, Radiant, (1906) Modernis Ravishment, Chantecler, (1908) Affolant (1910) Isadora, Rose Precieuse, (1911) Narcisse Noir , Jacinthe Precieuse (1912) L ’Infini (1916) N'aimez Que Moi (1917) Mimosa, Bel Amour, London Paris (1918) Violette Precieuse, (1919) Tabac Blond,(1922) Nuit De Noel, (1923) Narcisse Blanc, (1924) Acaciosa (1927) Bellodgia, Pois De Senteur ( 1930) En Avion (1933) Fleurs De Rocaille (1934) Pour Un Homme (1936) French Cancan (1939) Vœu De Noel, Alpona, Peau Fine (Face Powder) (1941) Royal Bain De Champagne, (1942) Pour Une Femme (1947) Farnesiana, (1949) Rose, Or Et Noir, With Pleasure (1952) Muguet Du Bonheur (1954) Poivre, Coup De Fouet(1970) Infini (1976) Yatagan (1979) Les Opalescentes (Face Powder), (1980) Eau De Caron, Les Fleurs De Caron (Solid Scent), (1981) Nocturnes (1984) Les Scintillantes (Perfume Gel) (1985) N°3 De Caron (1986) Montaigne (1991) Parfum Sacre (1993) Fleur De Rocaille (1996) Aimez-Moi
(1904) Royal Emilia, Royal Caron, Radiant, (1906) Modernis Ravishment, Chantecler, (1908) Affolant (1910) Isadora, Rose Precieuse, (1911) Narcisse Noir , Jacinthe Precieuse (1912) L ’Infini (1916) N'aimez Que Moi (1917) Mimosa, Bel Amour, London Paris (1918) Violette Precieuse, (1919) Tabac Blond, (1922) Nuit De Noel, (1923) Narcisse Blanc, (1924) Acaciosa (1927) Bellodgia, Pois De Senteur ( 1930) En Avion (1933) Fleurs De Rocaille (1934) Pour Un Homme (1936) French Cancan (1939) Vœu De Noel, Alpona, Peau Fine (Face Powder) (1941) Royal Bain De Champagne, (1942) Pour Une Femme (1947) Farnesiana, (1949) Rose, Or Et Noir, With Pleasure (1952) Muguet Du Bonheur (1954) Poivre, Coup De Fouet(1970) Infini (1976) Yatagan (1979) Les Opalescentes (Face Powder), (1980) Eau De Caron, Les Fleurs De Caron (Solid Scent), (1981) Nocturnes (1984) Les Scintillantes (Perfume Gel) (1985) N°3 De Caron (1986) Montaigne (1991) Parfum Sacre (1993) Fleur De Rocaille (1996) Aimez-Moi
Perfumes created by Richard Fraysse include:
Eau Pure (1997) Eau Fraiche (1999) Eau Forte, Caron Impact Pour Un Homme (2005), Caron L’Anarchiste and Caron Lady Caron (2000), Caron Miss Rocaille (2004), Caron Pour une Femme (reformulation), Caron Tubereuse (2003), Caron Eau de Regalisse, Caron Violette Precieuse and Caron Montaigne ( 2007) Les plus Belles Lavandes de Caron (2009), Parfum Sacre Intense (2010) Caron Secret Oud, Caron L'Accorde Code 119, Yuzu, Delire de Roses (2011)
– Michelyn Camen, Editor-in-Chief
To celebrate the beginning of the 14th year of Caron Parfums created by Richard Fraysee and the opening of the Caron Boutique at MMMiN New York (yes the fragrances will be avilable online soon), Carons Paris NY offers the readers of CaFleureBon One 7.5.ml of Tabac Blond. Please enter a comment about Carons Tabac Blond, the love story between Ernest Daltroff and Felicie Vanpouille or your favorite Carons Paris fragrance on site.
Where is the love? Please enter your comment on MiNNewYork's FB page.Remember to order by using their banner on our site because "Its our kind of Love" (still got Lady Antebellum and the Grammys 2011 on my mind). Draw ends Thursday February 17 at Noon est.
Editor's note: "Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love"- Marc Chagall