Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Antilope - A Scent of Distinction

Antilope by Weil

Long forgotten and mostly unknown, Antilope by Weil was my favorite fragrance in late 70s. Sweet, woody, and elegant, it suited my taste back than. It was probably much too extravagant for a young person, but I liked it a lot. It came in a tiny bottle with a stopper. The scent is well etched into my olfactory memory even if I have a slight difficulty describing it today. It was fresh and wild and musky at the same time. I was mesmerized when I first smelled it.

Antilope was launched in 1945 by a Parisian furrier Les Fourrures Weil upon their return from American exile. 

The House of Weil made furs since 1912, but following the trend, launched its first fragrance in 1928. A number of fragrances were created at that time by various perfume makers to mask the unpleasant smell that a fur coat would exude with age. The specially designed fur fragrance was to camouflage the smell without damaging the fur coat. 

The House of Weil made its first fur fragrance at the direct request of a wealthy client. Weil's first fragrance was the Zibeline made in 1928 by the legendary Claude Frayssee and his daughter Jacqueline. A few more followed until the outbreak of the second World War when the Weils were forced into exile. The war did not really interrupt their creativity as they continued to make furs in the United States. Their return to Europe at the end of war was marked by the launch of two luxurious fragrances - Antilope and Padisha.

Antilope is an elegant, but slightly old fashioned floral woody aldehydic chypre perfume. It reminds me rather of the glamorous and capricious ladies who accompanied their husbands on African safaris rather than of the wild scent of hunted game.

There is something luxurious and exotic about the perfume whose "soul" is full of temperament - more like a difficult to catch antelope than a wild animal trying to attack its prey.

The top note is composed of neroli, bergamot and aldehydes that open to fresh and floral  heart of clary sage, rose, lily of the valley, jasmine, carnation, iris and violet. This olfactory structure rests on a woody base with a touch of musk and amber: sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, tonka bean, amber, oak moss and musk.

I haven't smelled the Antilope for ages. I thought Antilope had disappeared from the market, but when the company was restructured in 2002 under a new ownership, the perfume was re-launched in a new, fresher, more herbal and  slightly less "powdery" version of the old classic. Who knows, I might even give it a try.

By Dominique Allmon ©2012


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