Jean Patou Colony -1980s reissue Ma Collection vs Héritage Collection (2015)

Henri Almeras’ Colony from 1938 is described as ‘a fruity chypre with a prominent note of pineapple, Colony was inspired by the warm climate of tropical islands.’ Once again, I do not own the 1938 version, but the 1980’s reissue by Jean Kerleo which went under the name Colony Ma Collection (MC).

What I get from my 1980s Colony matches the description above pretty perfectly. Colony opens on a mossy green note paired with an old-fashioned ‘pineapple’, which probably will not instantly translate as pineapple to anyone used to the very literal fruit notes in today’s perfumes, where even the difference between clementine and tangerine, nectarine and peach is discernible. I would think that this pineapple is pineapple in the way that people talk of ‘red berries’ in coffee or ‘chocolate’ in wine. For me sniffing Colony, I get an instant feel of pineapple, albeit perhaps more as in a still life painting than in a pineapple on a plate waiting to be consumed. It’s not a refreshing feel; rather humid warmth runs through its veins. There’s a touch of spice to the composition and tropical floralsy, but underneath it all, a well-worn, weather-beaten leather is the soul of Colony and keeps the perfume in tropical chypre land. Many hours later when everything fruity and leathery has left the skin, a warm blurry musk with a hint of powder makes for that sensual vintage dry-down.

I love how Colony is both tough leather and a tropical dreamscape from a time when ‘Colony’ was a name that could actually be used for a perfume.

Top notes: pineapple, ylang-ylang
Heart notes: carnation, iris, vetiver and opoponax
Base notes: leather, musk, oakmoss

And how does the new Heritage Collection Colony (HC) by perfumer Thomas Fontaine fare in comparison?

Top note: bergamot, pineapple, orange
Heart note: jasmine, rose, carnation, nutmeg
Base note: leather, patchouly, vetiver, ambergris

The PR now talks of a green fruity-floral fragrance. The top note pineapple is more ‘realistic’ fresh cut pineapple, and its sidekick bergamot makes the green notes a lot fresher, rather than the earthy moss in the MC version. Obviously the feel is very different, HC’s refreshingly fruity, as opposed to MC’s humidly tropical. What I really get after that is a rather indolic jasmine, and at times I could have sworn that I get something civet-like. Leather- not openly so, to me Colony HC stays indecently floral. In the late dry-down a faint but deeply resonant ambergris rounds off the composition.

The density of Ma Collection Colony is here substituted with a modern transparency; if we are indeed still in the territory of former colonies, surely someone turned the air-condition on.

The steamy but tough Colony Ma Collection in the zaftig shape of pineapple, moss and leather, is no more, and the substitute indoles of Colony HC make for only suggestive indecency. It is the lightness and space in the new fragrance which makes it both very contemporary and despite its many beautiful traits, makes it a little difficult to capture, perhaps less intimate. As with Vacance; if you’re looking for an identical version to the old Ma Collection, this is not it. It is however, in its own right both beautiful and a little different with a hint of vintage. So if you like your fruity-florals, grown-up, light but still a little naughty with a smooth ambergris finish you should give it a try.


Just because I had to =^..^=

Just because I had to =^..^=


Disclosure; I purchased a sample of Colony HC from a retailer. The amazing 1930’s postcard of a pineappleseller is from Etsy seller MinistryOfArtifacts, all other pics mine.

16 thoughts on “Jean Patou Colony -1980s reissue Ma Collection vs Héritage Collection (2015)

  1. I’ve never thought of a pineapple note being something that I would be interested in a perfume…maybe a fresh fruity home fragrance, but never perfume. This intrigues me, and I’m a huge fan of Jean Patou. Great review.

    • Thank you Steve 🙂 I know, that modern pineapple is more weird-fun than actually something one would consider in a perfume. But in both cases the pineapple note is more than wearable. I do feel that the new Heritage Collection is more feminine than the Ma Collection though, but I suppose it depends on how well one might wear jasmine… Another Patou fan, hoorah!

  2. Reading your review I would prefer THE 1980 version to THE modern one. Colony certainely is a name from another era. Love your pics with your review !

    • Thank you Esperessence, I do prefer the old one too, but the new one is good in its own right. It’s different from the old one, but still has a retro-vibe that I like.

  3. I knew what I wanted to comment until I saw the kitty pineapple pic and forgot everything else 🙂

    I know I particularly enjoyed reading about the 80s Colony and your fab comparison to notes in wine. Also loved the description “warm, blurry musk”.

    I have quite a crush on Thomas Fontaine since the Osmo so he can do no wrong in my eyes, ha ha.

    • Hehe, completely intentional dear Tara, I just couldn’t help myself but to re-use this picture. I think any post including pineapples will forever get this signature 😉

      Fontaine sounds very charming indeed, and I would love to know everything behind these re-issues. One thing all the new versions have in comparison is that they are much more etheral and airy, in an Ellenaesque sort of way, I know this is intentional, but still, personally, I would have liked a bit more body. You should definitely try them, with your crush 😉 and all, you might fall for one.
      So or so, I can’t wait to finally visit the Osmoteque one day.
      And thanks, yes it occurred to me that I had read several people not getting the peach in Mitsy, and that the ‘pineapple’ in the vintage Colony might have the same problem.

  4. Pineapple note is something I have a hard time imagining – but I won’t have to imagine for too long since I have a travel spray of HdP 1804 coming from a swap arrangement (risky given my track record with HdP and my general dislike of many things I try), but it sounded too exciting NOT to try, so what the heck.

    I’d certainly like to try this new one, if only because I share a last name with the perfumer. 🙂 Thanks for the review!

    • Dear Sun Mi, I do hope you’ll be happy with the swap, 1804 is an easy enough perfume to like I think, but I don’t know which HdP’s you’ve tried so far? The pineapple-note there, if my memory serves me right, is very similar to the one in the new Colony by your namesake perfumer 😉 even if the rest of the composition has nothing to do with each other.

  5. Even before you said this yourself at the end of your review, as I was reading your description of the Heritage Collection version of Colony, I was thinking that it sounded beautiful too … a modern update that actually captures the spirit of the original without attempting a duplication of it.

    I’m not familiar with any of the perfumes in the Ma Collection, apart from reading about them, but it’s still fun to get your take on the differences between the MC version and the HC version. Nice work, Asali!

    • Thank you so much Suzanne.
      Well you hit the nail right on its head; it doesn’t make sense for me just to say that everything old is automatically better, and any reformulation or as here re-orchestration, is therefore worse. I do get that you have to cater to the taste of today’s markets also, so I try very hard to see each perfume as an isolated thing before comparing. Personally I am not completely convinced by the wispy feel of many new perfumes, I like a full-bodied perfume, but still HC Colony is a much more interesting and beautiful perfume than a bucket of niche releases out there.
      I could see you liking both actually…

  6. Sounds so nostalgic & exciting! I can imagine them being reminiscent of the Indian Subcontinent and the memories that brings for me, which really has me interested!

    • A few blogs, write about the whole (problematic) issue of ‘Colony’, both in terms of the original bottle and adverts, and of course the name. You can google it, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the read.
      When I didn’t mention it here, it was more because I had nothing to add to what has already been said, but you’re right it’s a highly interesting issue. Thanks for all your comments, always great to ‘meet’ a ‘new’ perfume enthusiast 🙂

  7. I have tried the 80s version but not the latest release – am a big fan of representations of pineapples, but mostly in visual form, haha. Not really that keen to sniff it, but I didn’t dislike Colony. Smelt a bit ‘of its time’ as in olde worlde, but then I am not really a chypre person, so probably not best placed to appreciate it then or now.

    Instead, I very much liked your pineapple painting!

    • Well pineapples are very ‘in’ for interior design 🙂 Chypres part the waters a bit, don’t they. I’m not a green chypre girl myself, it’s not meh, but not exactly love either, but as soon as they add fruit it gets a whole lot better; Mitsy, Femme, Quadrille, Colony etc. Those old fashioned fruit notes are quite spectacular.

  8. I don’t think I want to smell of pineapple – though I might give it a try if I ever come across a nice perfume with that note (not necessarily this one). But, in general, I wanted to say that these “re-creations” rather annoy me: why to bother to do it if you plan to change how the perfume smells? It’s not even a popular perfume to try to cash out on the name!

    • I get your point, but, I think we even discussed this before, as vintage trend is all the rage, and perfume houses get resurrected left, right and centre I think you can cash in on history, even in an updated version, and you don’t need the perfume to have been famous for that. Only us perfume nerds care that it’s not really the old versions anyway.
      I do like those not too literal fruity notes of the past though.

Comments are closed.