Celebrate Award Winning American Perfumes (Part 1): Tuvache, Revlon, Estee Lauder and Demeter
When most people think of Fragrance they associate great scents with the French. The USA has a long history in perfumery from the early part of the 20th century to the present.
In the 1930s, Bernadine Angus started a fragrance company named Tuvache. It was during a time when everyone wanted French perfumes, so she created a fictional name and character Madame Tuvache. The most iconic is Jungle Gardenia, once declared the sexiest perfume of its time. Old Hollywood movie stars loved it. Barbara Stanwyck, Joan Crawford, Joan Bennett, Annette Funicello, Natalie Wood, and Fay Wray wore it while filming King Kong. It’s rumored that Frank Sinatra wore Jungle Gardenia and Michael Jackson was also a fan. Jovan, another great American company bought Tuvache and their Island Gardenia is a beautiful rendition of the original heady white floral.
Revlon was founded by Massachusetts born Charles Revson who turned a $300 investment into a billion dollar beauty industry. In 1973, the company introduced Charlie, named after its founder. Charlie represented the modern woman who was independent and had a great job. The kind of woman who bought her own perfume, which could be worn every day and not just for special occasions. The ads were revolutionary and featured actress Shelly Hack who sent a message of empowerment, striding in her pantsuit and tie. It sold over 10 million dollars in its first year and won a Fragrance Award in 1974.
Charlie Blue is very much like the original; a floral with sparkling aldehydes, peach, carnation and spices. Hooray for the red white and BLUE!
Estee Lauder, whose real name was Josephine Esther Mentzer was born in Queens, NY. She caused quite a sensation with her first fragrance Youth Dew, a spicy oriental fragrance with notes of jasmine, clove, peach and vanilla launched in 1953. In order to get the buyer’s attention at a department store in NYC she dropped a bottle of Youth Dew Bath Oil on the floor and women shoppers started to clamor for it.
The rest is history; she created a Youth Dew Perfume and in 1994 Youth Dew won a Hall of Fame Fragrance Foundation Award.
Estee Lauder is also famous for Aramis, a spicy leather cologne with Artemisia, bergamot and geranium. Named for the character in The Three Musketeers, Aramis which was the first prestige male fragrance launched in department stores and won a Fragrance Foundation Award in 1995. It is one of the great modern classics in men’s cologne history.
Demeter was founded in 1993 by Christopher Brosius who worked as a taxi driver in NYC. It and was the first company to capture realistic smells- dirt, tomatoes and grass. Gin and Tonic, with its realistic scent of “happy hour” is light and crisp with a dash of lime. Gin and Tonic is perfect for men and women, and is a great summer cologne. It’s said that Drew Barrymore is a fan.