Worth is a French couturier that “was the originator of haute couture as we know it.” (1) The house enjoyed a long heyday from around 1850 into the 1930s. Their most famous perfume, Je Reviens, was launched in 1932 (and reissued in 2004), but their first perfume, Dans la Nuit, dates back to 1924.
Worth gown, circa 1882, via the Met
Courtesan is a relatively new perfume from Worth, created by Pierre Bourdon. It was launched in 2006, after the house of Worth was reopened in the late 1990s. Courtesan is, first and foremost, French. By which I mean that it is sophisticated and not overly clean. The opening moments are a blend of pineapple and strawberry, cardamom, baby powder, and orange blossom. Gradually, the fruitier notes recede slightly, and the florals blend in creamily with vanilla, sandalwood, and musk. In spite of the florals and fruit notes, the combination is undoubtedly a cosmetic smell – very feminine and very classic.
Courtesan is the rare occasion where I read the extensive note list and nod my head yes to every ingredient. I can’t smell them all, but the entire list feels like it fits, and like it would add up to what I smell. Fragrantica lists the notes as cinnamon, cardamom, clove, pineapple, red berries, bergamot, orange blossom, magnolia, jasmine, rose, sandalwood, peach raspberry, caramel, dark chocolate, cacao, amber, vanilla, and musk.
Fans of classic perfumes with real presence will, I think, be charmed by this lesser-known perfume. As with Dolce Vita for Dior, Bourdon has made this a little more modern by including fruity notes, but overall it hearkens back to vintage Worth perfumes. It definitely isn’t minimalist! It fits right in with the very few other “sexy” perfumes in my collection. (Which, come to think of it, could probably be a blog post, couldn’t it?)
I owe a big thank you to Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies for lending me a sample of this, and I’m paying it forward by giving away a bottle of Courtesan! Just leave a comment saying you want to be entered, and telling me one thing that appeals to you about Courtesan. Giveaway is open worldwide.
For another review of Worth Courtesan, see The Non Blonde