giovedì 7 gennaio 2016

"Then and Now": Bandit, de Robert Piguet.

If you love "leathery" scents, you should know Bandit
Alongside with Cabochard (Grès), Aramis, Knize Ten, Jolie Madame (Balmain), Cuir de Russie (Chanel), and a few others, Bandit is one of the most famous "leathery" scents ever made.
It's one of  the greatest perfumes (together with Fracas) produced by Robert Piguet, created during the Forties by Germaine Cellier.
There are a lot of articles about Bandit (and about Robert Piguet's perfumes) so if you want read reviews, you will find as usual a lot of references at the end of the article.
A bit of recent History: after many glorious decades, the "Robert Piguet Parfums" brand was sold in 1985 to Alfin Fragrances, then sold again in 1995 to Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics Ltd, which currently own the brand. It took a certain amount of time to completely reformulate and relaunch the scents, in 1998, with the label of the "original formula, certified by Givaudan".
Recently, at the end of 2012, Bandit underwent a reformulation due to IFRA restriction laws.
These are the notes according to Robert Piguet website:
Top: galbanum, ylang
Middle: leather , jasmine
Base: Patchouli, oakmoss, vetyver

And here are the bottles used for this comparison "Then&Now", spanning nearly 35 years, from the end of 70s to 2015.
(if you are interested in Fracas comparison, see HERE )

1-1970s EdT (original RP Parfums)
2- 1980s EdT(Alfin Fragrances version)
3- 2012 EdP (modern, before reformulation)
4- 2015 EdP (modern after reformulation)

1- Late '70s bottle

2-  1980s

3- Year 2012 (modern version, pre-reformulation, batch 2E1) 

4- Year 2015 (modern version, identical bottle)

All tests were performed in the same room, at the same temperature and time, on paper, skin, and heavy fabric.
The results are somewhat surprising: all samples smell different each other, although on different levels. You  have four different samples, and you got four different smellings. Please, don't mismatch my words: it's always Bandit, but with different nuances..
Instead of  speaking about single notes ("a peppery opening, followed by jasmine, etc...."), I'd prefer to putting evidence on diversities (and similarites) between samples. So:

1- The older one from the Seventies appears as a rich, creamy leather scent, with a lot of depth. Top notes are not so prominent, but the "leathery" drydown is heavy and magnificent. 
2- Similarly it happens with the sample from the Eighties, the only real difference being a sort of  apparent "dilution", but very similar to the previous one. Less brutal, less intense, more "diluted", but with no so many differences. 
3- The third sample from 2012 (modern, pre-reformulated) is pretty different, with a stronger floral/peppery opening and a quiet, although solid, leather core.
4- The fourth sample (reformulated, year 2015) is slightly different from the previous one. Curiously, I smell differences only in the topnotes, but not in the drydown, that's quite the same. In this fourth sample, topnotes are sharper and heavier than ever.
If you are interested mainly in "leather", you could prefer the first one;  if you are interested in a more complex, variegate scent, your choice should be the last one. 

Finally, there is no difference between EdT and EdP: longevity and sillage are the same. The leather drydown stands for at least 6-7 hours. Curiously, Bandit is one of those perfumes performing very well on any surface: paper, skin, and fabric.

According to... Gianni Bertetti.

(Gianni Bertetti, the living legend of vintage perfumes, narrates his story  here ) 
"I could say many things about this scent by Robert Piguet, since I have been selling it for 50 years: since a picture is worth a thousand words, here's to you a very rare 400ml EdT ancient bottle."


by Luca Turin

"I'll start with a note of caution: I've owned several bottles of the original Bandit over the years, and this is not it. But read on. Reproducing modern versions of Germaine Cellier's masterpiece is both easy and hard; easy, because her perfumes had such bold, distinctive structures that even a pixelated version of Bandit, such as the last, dreadfully cheapened and traduced "original" version, was still recognizably the old scoundrel; hard, because Cellier was fond of using bases in her composition, to the horror of other perfumers. Bases are mini-perfumes, pre-packaged compositions that dispense you from reinventing the wheel every time you need a complex but recognizable note in your fragrance: peach, leather, amber, etc. Some, like Ambre83, Persicol, and Animalis, are so rich and so good that you wonder why nobody bottled them and sold them. The problem with Cellier's use of bases is that half of them have disappeared, so that even if the whole formula were to fall into your hands and you trekked to the address of the maker of Dianthiline12 in Grasse, you'd likely find a time-share development instead of a little fragrance factory. Modern reconstructions of Cellier's perfumes are above all a work of translation of the original formula into things you can actually identify and buy today. In my opinion, this can be positive: these perfumes always carried a sort of excess baggage to compensate for the starkness of the basic accord. If it can be done elegantly, a cleanup is in itself no bad thing. One just has to get used to the idea that, as vintage aircraft, what you see is a machine in which perhaps only th eserial number plate subsists from the original, and every spar and rivet has been made from scratch. This version of the 1947 original is a bit like a reconstructed Bell X-1 supersonic aircraft: sleek, beautifully done, and a mite too clean, as if ready for a movie shoot. But the magic is all there: bitter, dark yet fresh, beguiling without any softness, and still several unlit streets ahead of every other leather chypre around."


(since 1998)

All modern bottles, produced since 1998, have a sticker on the bottom reporting: "Fashion Fragrances&Cosmetics Ltd", and:
1998-2004: "New York" address only.
2004-2009: "NY" plus "Amstelveen, Netherlands."
2010- current: "NY" plus "Thorigny sur Marne, France". Example:
NEW YORK address: years 1998-2004
All modern bottles (since 2008) sport a 3-digit batchcode on the box and on the bottom of the bottle: the first number is the YEAR
Early bottles sport a longer batchcode. Example:
Batch 2E1 = year 2012

another example:
"Netherlands" sticker (2004-2009),
+ "9A1" batchcode painted on the bottom
= year 2009

ALL modern boxes (since 1998) have a "certification by Givaudan" signed by President. Simply check his name:
1998-1999: Geoffrey W. Webster
2000-2003: Errol G.W. Stafford
2004-2014: Michael Carlos
President : Michael Carlos
= years 2004-2014

...and previous bottles?
Remember: old 1980s and 1990s box and bottles ("produced by Alfin") sport the word "BANDIT" in CAPITAL LETTERS.
Modern bottles since 1998 ("Fashion Fragrances & Cosmetics Ltd") sport the word "bandit" in lower-case letters instead. See the picture below:

End of 80s- Early 90s

"bandit" in lower-case letters,
since 1998

and even before...



Year 1970

Year 1972 

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