The story goes that the perfume house of Caron created Royal Bain de Caron exclusively to satisfy the whims of a Californian millionaire who wanted to replace his extravagant champagne baths. It was originally called Royal Bain de Champagne, but, like Yves St Laurent’s Champagne perfume that became Yvresse, the Champagne people of France had something to say about the use of that word, so it became Royal Bain de Caron. Whoever it was created for, it was originally launched as a perfume to scent the bath (an “eau parfumée pour le bain” if you will) in the 20s, and became an eau de toilette in the early 40s. It is also allegedly one of the first scents marketed as a unisex or shared scent. The ad below encourage one to use it “Before the bath. During the bath. After the bath”. Rather clever marketing, I’d say, as one would need a pretty steady supply of this perfume to keep that up.
|Ad from the 60s
I have the current eau de toilette formula of Royal Bain de Caron. There isn’t any discussion out there regarding reformulation, so I imagine the scent is fairly true to what it once was. I absolutely love it. I can smell the “Champagne” scent in there for sure. There is a slightly sweet and effervescent fruity note, sort of peachy or apricot, that eludes to the sweet fruity nature of the drink. But there are no fruits listed in the notes, so perhaps it is a lovely perfume mirage. The top notes are listed as floral, and the Caron website mentions lilac. I can smell it for sure, but it is more like a soft powdery lilac soap than a strong floral note. The heart notes are delicious creamy and resinous- opoponax, benzoin and incense- but they are never strong or overwhelming. I adore these notes, especially the incense. They are so smooth that they are almost meditative, which seems reasonable for incense in perfume. The base is a soft woodsy vanilla, with a gentle powdery aspect maintained throughout the development of the scent. And I definitely pick up some soft sexy musk notes. The bottle itself is cute and cheeky, and to this day, it still is meant to look like a bottle of Champagne.
|An orignal ad from the 20s
The fruity “mirage” I mentioned gives a a sweet, almost candy-like impression, that adds an almost edible aspect to Royal Bain de Caron. This is what makes this perfume so remarkable to me- it is a clean, soapy perfume meant to approximate an utterly decadent bath, all the while smelling like sweet skin that invites you in to snuggle up and get closer. It is never strong, never overwhelming, and just basically purrs on the skin. Personally, I can’t wait to pour some in the bath, because the idea of perfuming my bath with, well, perfume, is my kind of decadent. And of course, with a glass of Veuve Cliquot to go with. Pink Veuve, even…..