Ever since seeing the new Carven bottle and packaging I’ve been rather smitten. I find it absolutely gorgeous; the proportions, the colour scheme, the font… I thought that perhaps the real thing wouldn’t live up to the expectations set from the über-stunning photos, but no such luck. The bottle is just as pretty up close and a pleasure to hold and spray too. At first I tried to talk myself out of the insanity of buying a perfume for the sake of the bottle, but finding a Ma Griffe at a price that was too good to miss, I did it- I bought a perfume for the first time ever primarily for the looks.
My bottle arrived, and I was very excited as to how this would smell.
It’s straight up green soapy aldehydes, with a faint touch of bergamot. This is really nicely done; it feels like there’s character behind the subtle greens, on the one hand it is reminiscent of good old fashioned perfumes, on the other hand it manages to stay quite contemporary, with a pretty retro-vibe. For a rather short moment, it turns slightly more flowery, predominantly by a soft jasmine, however vetiver and the discreet leathery facets of styrax ( I presume) keeps Ma Griffe tight and grown up. All in all, up until this point, a really nicely done green perfume with quite some back bone.
In the base I smell quite a bit of white musk, and I could have sworn that the slight greasiness I get is from cedar, however this is not mentioned in the pyramid. The dry down is a little bit of a let-down for me in that it lasts too long compared to the rather great opening and heart. It just isn’t as characterful as the opening had let me hope for, and smells rather a bit too much like everything else out there at the moment.
Reintroducing such an iconic fragrance, and basically making a new fragrance which should hint at the past but still suit modern buyers- this is a fine attempt. It hasn’t been given the total photo-shop treatment, there are still certain things that point back to the old Ma Griffe, but basically it’s a new fragrance with a retro twist.
I do own a bottle of vintage Ma Griffe parfum, which came to me by chance, and although I’ve been wearing it, and enjoying it, it’s not an all-time top 10 favourite, so I feel I can judge Ma Griffe 2013 for what it is, not what I wished it to be, based on my familiarity with the vintage version.
Especially when you don’t wear the two versions side by side, there is an overall feeling of some familiarity at certain points of the development, the opening, minus the bergamot which might never have been in my extrait or has disintegrated, at some point when the tougher notes set in, they have a similar feel too. One to one, however, I mostly smell their differences.
The biggest difference I’d say is whereas my vintage extrait feels like a walk on the wild-side, -it’s the green of fresh twigs, herbs rubbed between your fingers, and moss and grass under your feet, it’s the razor cheekbones and husky voices of 50s movie stars , whereas the 2013 version is urban green as in sporting a pair of fancy green leather heels, and certainly not getting your hands dirty.
Do I feel superficial for my ‘beauty buy’ ? Perhaps a little, but I do so enjoy looking at the bottle and for the first hour or longer Ma Griffe 2013 is perfect on certain days, I just need to remember to have another perfume ready to apply when the generic dry down sets in.
Confession time: Did you ever buy a perfume mainly, or even solely, for the bottle?
I could only find one Carven Ma Griffe review of the new 2013 version, it’s from the Candy Perfume boy.
Main photo from Carven Parfums site, Lauren Bacall from Wiki and clothes collage from thestatementbox. Two bottle photos are mine.