a journey of the senses by FLACONNEUR
GREY FLANNEL – 1976 – ♂
Classification: Oriental Woody
Top: Petitgrain, Lemon, Galbanum, Bergamot, Neroli
Heart: Violet, Iris, Narcissus, Rose, Sage, Mimosa
Base: Almond, Oak Moss, Tonka Bean, Cedar, Vetiver
Perfumer: André Fromentin
Price: 4 oz bottle $12.99
Introduced by American fashion designer Geoffrey Beene in 1976, Grey Flannel was the brain child of perfumer André Fromentin. Beene started his fragrance collection in 1975 working in collaboration with Ron Winnegrad, André Fromentin and Michel Gouges. Many of Beene’s fragrances are still in demand today.
Geoffrey Beene was a native of Haynesville, Louisiana and a revered designer in the fashion industry. Beene didn’t start his career in the fashion world. As a matter of fact, he originally started his studies in medicine but dropped out after discovering his interest in fashion design. He enrolled in the Trap Hagen School of fashion in New York in 1947. After finishing his education, he worked for fashion houses like Teal Traina and Harmay, in New York and Paris.
Beene started his own company in 1963 under the name of Geoffrey Beene, Inc. Many famous celebrities in the entertainment and political arena were some of his greatest fans. He was also well known for designing the wedding dress for Lynda Bird Johnson.
Grey Flannel is a classic fragrance and very different than other designer fragrances that were offered up in the mid 1970’s. A woody oriental with a hearty violet and iris heart. I remember this fragrance well and was a bit surprised when I decided to take a little walk down memory lane. Just how well would my sense of smell really work. Grey Flannel was probably my second or third fragrance purchase. I remember the packaging, a deep green bottle with a clean and crisp silver and white label. The little flannel shroud that covered the bottle with a rope like pull string. Everything about the packaging was masculine and somewhat proper.
I decided to purchase a bottle just to see what has been done to this classic men’s fragrances. When I first sprayed the new version of Grey Flannel onto my skin, it was like being reintroduced to an old friend. It still had that wonderful dry dense forest like green smell. It also had a fragrant herbaceous quality in the opening in combination with small bits of citrus. This combination made the opening of Grey Flannel quite a powerhouse, very invigorating and very sharp to the nose. I noticed the violet leaf, iris and sage working it way up through the thick green notes and again, remembered how interesting this scent still is. Violet leaf gives off a slightly bitter metallic note that can be sharp to the nose. The oak moss, cedar base reinforced all of the forest green notes that subsided after the opening but somehow these base notes matured the scent. Nice warm woody notes with light sweet floral notes of iris and sharp violet leaf hovering above. I do feel that this reformulation, while unpopular with many, has a better balance between the overwhelming top and base notes with their interaction with the floral notes.
I feel that the violet leaf and iris are respectful of their positions in the note structure and not misbehaving in this new reformulation. The projection on Grey Flannel has attitude but in an austere way. I firmly believe that it was the overbearing florals in the original version that most people reacted negatively to. I’m glad to see that Grey Flannel was tamed just enough to allow full enjoyment of all of the great note combinations this fragrance has to offer. Many feel remorse over the new reformulation because of the disappearance of the heavy forest like green note in the opening. That note somehow managed to last almost right to the end. I personally loved this note but thought that it was overbearing and smothered the violet and iris notes that were probably the most vibrant in this fragrance.
Grey Flannel is still a great addition to anyone’s fragrance collection. It is masculine, wearable, inexpensive and great for any time of the year but probably best suited for fall, winter and early spring. It appears that Geoffrey Beene has finally tamed the green monster.