The fragrance house Isabey is probably familiar to all those who have already studied the history of haute perfumery and who, in the niche fragrance segment, not only focus on the newly emerging and quite remarkable brands, but also dare to look back into the history of the great fragrance classics. Isabey can easily be mentioned in the same breath as Houbigant, Jovoy, Lubin and Cherigan, old classic French brands that enchant us with fragrance compositions full of elegance and sophistication.
Short and sweet: Isabey
Paris in the 1920s was fascinating, wild and exuberant. It was not only the age of uninhibited parties, the Charleston, and merrymakers, it was also a time of social upheaval. Women broke free from the narrow and strict norms of the 19th century, wore pants and short haircuts, smoked and drank. Art and culture flourished. Life seemed – after the dark shadows of the First World War – so free, so casual and so easy.
This era also saw the birth of some famous fragrance houses such as Jovoy, Cherigan and Isabey. With their lush, elegant and decadent creations, they hit the pulse of the times. An offspring of the famous Rothschild family founded the brand in the early 1920s and named it after the famous miniature painter Jean-Baptiste Isabey, who lived in the 19th century. With five luxurious fragrances in exceptional bottles and outer packaging and a well-known name, Isabey presented itself at the Paris Art Exhibition in 1925. With complete success.
But Isabey met a similar fate to many other old fragrance houses: after a heyday in the 1920s, the Second World War brought an all-too-early end to the brand, which was then more or less forgotten for about sixty years. At the turn of the millennium, the perfume company Panouge awakened the Isabey brand from its slumber, revitalized and reformulated peu à peu the old perfume formulas, creating unique fragrances with a classic heart and modern twist.
Avant et Après – Before and After
The Eau de Parfum Avant et Après is based on a fragrance from the 1930s. In the press text Marie Schnirer is named as perfumer. Now I’m not sure to what extent the fragrance corresponds to the original from the thirties. So whether it is a new development based on the original fragrance or whether the original formula has been revised and modernized. However, I will be happy to find out more about this for you, as I am interested in it myself.
Amidst romance and sensuality, this new fragrance shows the merging of two hearts in love. Who were they before? And what will they be after that? How they love each other is evident in the sweet and salty notes of Avant et Après.
The name Avant et Après (before and after) recalls the emotions, the transformation that comes from a unique encounter. The bright white color of the bottle represents the purity of the moment, the bright gold color of the label and ribbon symbolize a bright future.
The fragrance notes sound incredibly enticing and beautifully reflect the white colour of the bottle: freesia, frangipani, maritime notes, jasmine, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, tiare, vanilla, musk, benzoin resin and ambroxan are the ingredients of this presumably floral and bright eau de parfum by Isabey.
Blossoms as far as the eye can see
Gentle and wonderfully creamy floral notes define Avant et Après from the first sniff. Freesia, jasmine and orange blossom form an enchanting floral bouquet that gets exotic floral accompaniment thanks to frangipani, ylang-ylang and tiare. Soft, delicate and cuddly is the fragrance by Isabey, in which the various floral notes are so finely tuned to each other that they seem to belong together seamlessly. They result in a radiantly bright, almost white floral fragrance that – despite all the lushness of the components involved – seems almost transparent and light.
Rather in summer than in spring I would see the composition, although here the transitions are of course fluid. I perceive the maritime notes less as aquatic nuances and more as a subtle saltiness that adds a touch of freshness and excitement to the florals and underscores the sunny mood of the creation. Vanilla and musk round off the powdery-creamy composition beautifully, underpinned by milky-looking benzoin resin and cotton-soft ambroxan.
Avant et Après by Isabey is a bright, radiant floral composition that smells of summer and sun. Distinctly creamy and at the same time delicately powdery, the Eau de Parfum is a light-flooded floral creation that is airy, light, at times almost ethereal, rounded off by crystalline saltiness, delicate vanilla spice and white musk powder. A complex, feminine floral fragrance that is modern, elegant and classic at the same time. A touch of nostalgia certainly resonates in the creation, but interpreted absolutely contemporary. Simply wonderful! I would definitely classify Avant et Après as an everyday life and office-appropriate eau de parfum that feels right at home in the warmer months.