jeudi 7 mai 2009

A Curious Case of Cloning… The Party in Manhattan



Talk about being late to the party… A couple of years late, at least. Nevertheless, I was thrilled when my friend Tara showed up with a sample of The Party in Manhattan, which as far as I can tell isn’t available in Paris.

And what a lovely scent it is. A fruity lactonic chypre with a distinct peach top note wrapped in a whiff of civet, a rose- jasmine heart and an oakmoss/patchouli/amber base… What’s not to love?

Except. That. I already own this scent. Or its twin. Acqua di Parma Profumo, in its pre-reformulated version (it was excellent remade by Nathalie Lorson last year). Not absolutely the same, but I’d be willing to bet the formulas to those two are practically identical, though the suppliers may be different (the peach in The Party takes on a more candied flavor because of the banana facet of jasmone).

A quick Google search… Yes, it figures. Who’s behind The Party? One Paolo Borgomanero, the very same gentleman who re-launched the Acqua di Parma line, along with Diego della Valle (Tod’s) and Luca di Montezemolo (Ferrari) in 1993, before selling 50% of it to LVMH in 2001 (it became sole owner in 2003).

Did il Signore Borgomanero take a few formulas along when he started The Party? Acqua di Parma Profumo is, according to the brand’s website, a 1930s formula, though no trace of the fragrance has been found in period magazines by Octavian Coifan, who owns quite a collection of them (which doesn’t mean it didn’t exist, but may point towards a little historical creativity). As for The Party in Manhattan, the inspiration is supposed to be a 1930s scent: the website doesn't say which, but inan interview given by Mr. Borgomanero to Cosmetics Business, he says it was called Galore.

Well, fiddledeedee. Galore, still in production, is a Germaine Monteil scent launched in 1964, and not a chypre, for that matter.

Delving deeper into the DNA of The Party/Profumo twins, we do in fact find a 1920s fragrance: Jean Patou Que Sais-je? (1925), Henri Alméras’ sunny answer to Jacques Guerlain’s moody masterpiece: Mitsouko.

That’s quite a distinguished lineage for The Party, though not an entirely legitimate one. But as Profumo has been reformulated, Que Sais-je? is discontinued (though the 1980s re-edition orchestrated by Jean Kerléo can still be found online) and Mitsouko is… well, never mind, The Party can still be warmly recommended to vintage-style chypre lovers. The Perfume Posse trio who reviewed it found it quite high on the skank-meter: I don’t find it particularly dirty, but then, maybe my indole-setting is particularly high…


Image: Veronica Lake by George Hurrell

29 commentaires:

  1. Thank you for your review and research on The Party. A dear friend acquired a sample of it for me a year or so ago and we tried it one evening in Fortnum's up against Jubilation 25. I find those two very similar also but totally agree about Profumo. It is satisfying to have an inkling as to why that is the case (Party/Profumo). However I am most intrigued about the DNA link to Que Sais-Je? as I acquired some vintage and a bottle of the reform recently. I shall go home and have a play. Thanks again. donanicola

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  2. Hi! I read that the party experienced a complete reformulation a year or so after its launch (if I recall correctly, the first version didn't gather enough followers, despite the BIG, celebrity stuck, launch party).
    Do you know if this is true and if the version you are reviewing is the new one? (I can't recall where I read it – nor if it was from a reliable source)

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  3. Ce commentaire a été supprimé par un administrateur du blog.

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  4. The sample I gave Denyse was of the new version (if it was in fact reformulated). I did notice that there was a big hoopla after the launch, but then when I tried to contact their distributors in Italy, no one actually had any in stock, so that may give credence to the reformulation story. I purchased my bottle from Luckyscent about 4-5 months ago. How interesting to read about its similarity to AdP Profumo. I didn't much care for Profumo (vintage or reformulated) but I really like TPIM. It has a bit of skank but not an excessive amount (I found it less skanky than the PP girls did as well). Glad you liked it!

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  5. Which would you recommend as between the reformulated Profumo and the Party in Manhattan. Can you identify the differences? How do these compare with Jubilation 25? (I loved Miss Dior many, many years ago.) I am looking for a exquisite chypre. Many thanks.

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  6. Donanicola, The Party (and Profumo for that matter) isn't identical to Que Sais-je?, but close enough to be drawn from a knock-off formula... I only have the 80s QSJ but I treasure it. Write back when you've played a bit!

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  7. Zazie, I wasn't aware of it, but Tara below sets the story straight. I would imagine that this type of chypre wouldn't gather a huge following, though of course I don't know the first version.

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  8. Tara, thanks for introducing me to TPIM -- but I swear it's practically the same as the Profumo in formula, though as I said, the materials seem to be different.

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  9. Starscent, exquisite chypres are right up my alley! I haven't actually compared the current Profumo, of which I only have a sample, and TPIM. The new Profumo has a brighter, slightly harsher (to my nose) opening than the old one -- I'd say the jasmine probably comes out sooner in it than in TPIT.
    As for Jubilation, would you believe it was sold in Paris for only a very short time? I never got to smell it properly as they didn't give out samples. So I couldn't tell. Sorry!

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  10. Thank you, Carmencanada, for your response about comparisons among certain chypres. Since chypres are right up your alley, is there any one (or two) in particular that you would recommend to an old Miss Dior fan (it need not be similar to that)? Many thanks.

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  11. Starscent, as you know, the chypre family is practically as good as dead thanks to oakmoss restrictions. But I've just discovered a fragrance that reminds me a lot of Miss Dior's drydown, Mazzolari Lui.

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  12. I had a small decant of the pre-reformulated AdP Profumo, but I must have drained it. I would love to try it side by side with The Party. The familial ties are there with the AdP reformulation, but I wouldn't call them clones. I agree that the newer AdP is brighter than the old and The Party is not a bright scent.

    I am struck by the close ties between the Party and Jubilation 25, as others have noted. The first time that I spritzed on the Party, I nearly laughed out loud in surprise. It was so familiar! So much like Jubilation, but it still had its own qualities. I haven't yet worn them one on each arm to compare, but if memory serves, the Party has more rich fruit notes than Jubilation. As for the skank meter? On second wearing, I respritzed after an hour or two, then sniffed my arms a few hours later. The drydown was positively naughty.

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  13. Hi, D. Thanks for shedding some light on the connections between The Party In Manhattan and AdP Profumo. As soon as i read your review, I had to go back and compare them side by side. At first I found them sufficiently different to forgive myself for not having noticed the similarity between these two when I tested them earlier. The Party In Manhattan seems fruitier up and creamier up front, and AdP Profumo seems spicier. (I hadn't before noticed that "banana" aspect in TPIM, but as soon as I read it in your review, *poof* there it was). After a few minutes, though, they both converge on "spicy rich floral with skank." I notice that the website for The Party says this is a "100% natural fragrance." That can't possibly be true? Or perhaps one can say "100% natural" without meaning "there are no synthetics in here."

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  14. Melissa, I don't have enough TPIM to spritz, so I can't get much of the dirty drydown... Pity, I can always stand a little dirty!

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  15. Jarvis, natural, schmatural. I'm sure there are a lot of them in TPIM, it does smell rich enough, but I never heard of a lactone crop!
    Cloning may have been a bit too strong a word, but clearly Mr. Party wanted to reprise the style of Profumo, and did.

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  16. interesting... I think the ADP will be a lot cheaper than the Party which is more expensive than gold as far as I can tell

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  17. Rose, bear in mind that I was talking about the Profumo from the old stock: the one that's available now is a little different, and not so similar to TPIM. That said, the new Profumo is beautiful, just less chypre-ish.

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  18. donanicola reporting back - goodness I smellt wonderful when I went to bed last night! I have a sample of the latest Profumo and it is alot brighter up top (on me anyway) than either TPIM or Jubilation. I would wear this Profumo to the office (have done)and not worry that it will turn skanky as TPIM and J25 have a sneaky habit of doing. Having said all that the familial resemblance rings as clear as a bell (with Mitsouko and Diorella in the background). I also tried Q S-J? and revelled in its mossy/chypre depths but could detect no floral notes. I wondered if you would consider doing a review of Q S-J?. Helg at the Shrine and Angela at NST have both written about it but I'd love to read your take.

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  19. Donanicola, I totally agree about the new Profumo being brighter and "cleaner": it was, in a word, modernized. I'd say I love both versions, with a slight preference for the older one. You're right to bring up Diorella as well, though it is a lot less "meaty" -- Roudnitska was relentlessly paring down his formulas at the end of this career.
    About Que Sais-Je?, yes, I might review some day, good idea... I do get a lot of jasmine from it though.

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  20. Just adding, D: hours later the drydown of TPIM is *quite* dirty/sweaty, in a very nice way. In contrast, Profumo has quietly left just a hint of powder and musk...

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  21. Jarvis, is this the new Profumo? It's quite a bit cleaner than the old one.

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  22. Hi, D -- no, it's the pre-reformulation Profumo.

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  23. Ok, so they may not be clones, just twins!

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  24. Rose, unfortunately, Profumo is not that cheap. The 100ml bottle costs 235 euros.

    I love Profumo and own *lots* of the old stuff. You guys made me curious about the Party now...

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  25. Interesting discovery! I'd never heard of this "party", but considering the premise I'd sure like to join it! But what about availability and, ahemn, price? Profumo is at the top of my wish list, but it's so expensive, and such a huge bottle; a smaller scaled version would be much welcome.
    As far as I can see on their site (pretty nice one at that, exactly my thing) you have to go to Italy to get it..

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  26. Mediteranea, the Party is even more expensive, at $265 for 50 ml... I'm sure there are a lot of excellent materials in it, but a hefty part of the price must go into that handmade packaging...

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  27. LisaCarol, see above! The Party is smaller and doesn't come cheaper. Also, the current Profumo is not so similar to it as the old one.
    Pfff...

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  28. Denyse, very late (I thought I commented but didn't, I must be losing my mind.) I am wondering about Zazie's reformulation comment. I only had a small sample of the first and as you saw in our review it was quite dirty to my nose. Then recently I got two samples from LuckyScent in a package -- The Party and The Ten. And I kept smelling PIM and wondering how my perception of the fragrance had changed so much! I mean, it's lovely, but it doesn't smell like I remember it. Hmmm. My tiny original sample is long gone.

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  29. March, nah, you're not losing your mind, you just have a family... ;-)
    My sample comes from Tara's bottle which is 4/5 months old, so probably the "new"? Dunno...

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