Spanish Geranium (vintage) by Andre Fryse for Lanvin


Post by Azar


Spanish Geranium by Lanvin

Hello APJ,

Spanish Geranium (Geranium d’Espagne) was created for Lanvin in 1925 by the brilliant perfumer Andre Frysse.  It sold for a short time, became unavailable for many years, was revived in the 1950’s and finally discontinued around 1970.  The 20th century actress Joan Crawford (“Mommy Dearest” to some) was reported to have said of Spanish Geranium that it was one of the three fragrances she “would never want to live without”.  The other two were Royall Lyme by Anthony Gaade and Estee Lauder’s Youth Dew.  Jungle Gardenia was also one of her favorites.  Unfortunately for Joan (and for the rest of us) Spanish Geranium and the original Jungle Gardenia that she loved so much are long gone while more mainstream, crowd-pleasing fragrances, like Royall Lyme and Youth Dew, remain.

spanish geranium lanvin

In the 1960’s my mother was given a bottle of Spanish Geranium Eau de Lanvin (an EDT).  She favored Arpege so gave me free access to the SG, which I used with a heavy hand.  The scent of Spanish Geranium, as well as the characteristic Lanvin accord, are burned into my memory.  In those days my application of this fragrance was so liberal that one of my music comp professors actually took me aside on a hot Spring day and advised me on the appropriate use of perfumes and colognes.  I remember his exact words and often ignore them.

Spanish Geranium is a bracing, in your face, almost masculine rendition of its floral namesake.  The top notes are a combination of the familiar scent of the flowers and foliage of the zonal geranium (Pelargonium zonale) and the crushed leaves of the hybrid spicy rose geranium (P. ‘Graveolins’).  Citrus, perhaps unripe lemon or bergamot, and what might be pepper add a sparkle to the floral mix.  The opening never truly fades, giving Spanish Geranium the illusion of a soliflore, which it definitely is not.  After about five minutes oakmoss, palmarosa and a touch of patchouli join the geraniums, eventually drying down to a light amber, a woody resin and something animalic, perhaps civet.  The entire SG fragrance mélange floats on the same Lanvin accord that supports Arpege and My Sin.  I can’t really describe this accord, but if you have used vintage Lanvin you will know what I’m talking about .The sillage can vary between quite intimate to moderate and the longevity up to 4 hours on my skin and more on clothing.

Spanish Geranium Lanvin Geraniums

When I first tried Spanish Geranium I thought it was the strangest fragrance I had ever experienced.  Admittedly I was quite young at the time but, even now, I find SG to be hauntingly beautiful and (for lack of a better word) just a little bit “odd”.  I LOVE odd!  Perhaps you will too! Remember that this is a very vintage EDT. It has faded somewhat but has not turned.  What I perceive to be a fascinating, odd smell is the same scent I’ve encountered, bottle after bottle, from my first sniff over 50 years ago up to and including what I’m enjoying today.

Further reading: Cleopatra’s Boudoir
The Perfumed Court has .5ml in with 6 other Lanvin fragrances from $28

I just asked Lucie Joly (the Assistante Chef de Produit, what does that title mean?) if there would be a modern revival.  She was very cordial but said that an SP revival was not in the works right now, thanks for asking and she would let me know if they decided to do a reissue.  I suppose it doesn’t hurt to put a “bee in their bonnet”. It might be interesting to see what kind of Spanish Geranium would emerge to suit modern tastes and restrictions. When I think of a modern revival of SP I get the the image of a strange mutated butterfly with a vague memory of another life as something else.  This image was probably a result of reading Ellen Covey’s most recent post referring to butterfly memory, among other things.


 giveaway hemodernhomePhoto Stolen hemodernhome


There will be 2 winners this week, each will receive:

1 x 2ml decant from my stash of Spanish Geranium EDT
P&H Anywhere in the world


Open to everyone worldwide who follows AustralianPerfumeJunkies via eMail, WordPress, Bloglovin or RSS. Please leave how you follow in the comments to be eligible. I must be able to check that you follow so if you have an email address on your gravatar that’s different to your follow address then please email me so I know. Yes, you can start following to enter, in fact it’s encouraged.

To be eligible just leave a comment about anything related to geraniums or pelargoniums and mention how you follow the APJ’s (e-mail, wordpress, whatever).

Extra Chance?
Tweet: @OzPerfumeJunkie Vintage Lanvin Spanish Geranium GIVEAWAY @LANVINofficial #Perfume #Giveaway


Entries Close Sunday October 6th 2013 10pm Australian EST and winners will be announced in a separate post.
The winners will be chosen by B-Azar or by Gomez the pionus parrot from same sized folded papers on a tray.
The winners will have till Wednesday 9th October 2013 to get in touch (portia underscore turbo at yahoo dot com dot au) with their address or the prize will go to someone else.
No responsibility taken for lost or damaged goods in transit.

DATES FIXED! OOOOPS! Naughty Portia with the cut & paste


77 comments on “Spanish Geranium (vintage) by Andre Fryse for Lanvin

  1. patty P. says:

    e-mail follower

  2. australianperfumejunkies says:

    Hey there Azar! Great story. DNEM but I wanted to say HI.
    Portia xx

    • Azar says:

      Hello Portia,
      Thank you. We were expecting a big storm last night and I thought I might not be able to greet all the APJ’s this morning, but here I am! The really big winds didn’t blow this way but stayed more on the north coast. So far no trees have fallen on our property and the power is still on. Yeh!
      Azar xx

  3. fleurdelys says:

    Hello! I follow via WordPress. And I love the bracing smell of geranium, it’s both green and floral.

    • Azar says:

      Hi fleurdelys!
      So right! Both green and floral and peppery too! “Bracing” is the perfect description! Lanvin’s geranium will wake you up! You are in!
      Azar xx

  4. Jackie b says:

    I have never heard of this, it sounds intriguing!
    Do love the scent of geraniums though, i grow many kinds and one enthusiastic year I collected rose geraniums and distilled them into the most amazing hydrosol.
    I follow by email. And yes I do have a life outside of fragrance!

    • Azar says:

      Hi Jackie b,
      Wow! You must have had mass quantities of rose geraniums. Did you get much pure oil from the distillation as well?
      By the way, I love reading your posts! You are in the drawing, of course!
      Azar xx

      • Jackie b says:

        Thank you for that!
        I only have a small alembic, so never got the thrill of seeing the layer of EO floating on the top, but the hydrosol packed a punch.

  5. susan says:

    Please DNEM. However, I wanted to ask if you’ve ever tried the Dawn Spencer Hurwitz version of this. For a while she was producing a Spanish Geranium “type”. I had some but have since swapped it away… didn’t work for me. I was just curious how close it might be to the real thing.
    susan recently posted…5 quick impressions of lesser-known Thierry MuglersMy Profile

    • Azar says:

      HI Susan,
      I did try the DSH version but it didn’t really cut it for me either and I still have some laying around. The Lanvin is much lighter with more pepper (like the plant). I think what really throws it is the fixative or a base note used for the type That element of the DSH is nothing like the Lanvin.
      Azar xx

  6. Belle says:

    I follow by twitter and email. I’ve honestly never smelled any geranium (except maybe from the bottle of N19 edp). But all I know it’s a mean and green note!
    Thanks for all of the giveaways, APJ team! (:

  7. Musette says:

    Enter the heck outta me, bay-bee! I would lOVE to try this – how does it compare to FM’s Geranium pour M? hmmmmm, how do I follow thee? Let me count the ways:

    RSS feed
    I just come on here every day

    No Twitter. I waste enough time as it is!


  8. boringzlifez says:

    following via wordpress as boringzlifez.

    kinda confused about mentioned closing date but this does not seemed to have dampened anyone’s enthusiasm in participating in the giveaway so i’m jumping on board too:)

    Thank you for the opportunity.

    • Azar says:

      Hello boringzlifez!

      Thank you so much for pointing out this closing date! Let’s say this instead:

      Entries Close Sunday 6th October 2013 10pm Australian ESP and winners will be announced in a separate post. Also, another change: The winners will be chosen by B-Azar or by Gomez the pionus parrot from same sized folded papers on a tray. One more change: Winners have until Wednesday 9th October 2013 to get in touch with Portia.

      You are so in! Thanks again!

      Azar xx

  9. hotlanta linda says:

    This is so unreal, but the only geraniums ever at our house have been pretty but scentless!! And this is half-a-dozen pots per year on the deck! LOL – maybe this is my chance to WHIFF!! The Arpege samples are sooooo NICE – many thanks!! Think they need a sister 🙂 We follow w/ e-mail, FB, and blog.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Hotlanta!
      Try crushing the leaves in your hand and you should get a whiff of geranium. The leaves of the rose geranium will be rosy and and full of pepper, the leaves of the zonal (the usual potted variety pictured in the post) will be fresher and greener. I agree, your Arpege twins need their sister. You are in!
      Azar xx

  10. Tina Gordon says:

    Hello! Fascinating article, thanks Azar, so would love to put my hand up for the comp & have a chance to smell this first hand. I follow by email and facebook.


    • Azar says:

      Hello Tina,
      I’m so glad you liked this article. I really wish Lanvin would consider a re-issue as a fragrance for men. I think it would be a smash hit and I can already imagine a sexy, spanish ad campaign. You are entered in the draw!
      Azar xx

  11. Nancysg says:

    I follow by email. I find the scent of geranium fascinating. It can be the rosy flower or the bitter green. And I don’t know the Lanvin base that you mention. Haven’t explored either vintage or new Lanvin fragrances.

    • Azar says:

      Hi nancysg!
      I have to admit that I too haven’t tried any of the new issues of Lanvin. I only use the vintage and perhaps the accord I refer to no longer exists in the newer versions? I really should smell some of these newer models. I agree with your description of the scent of geranium. The vintage Spanish geranium really does convey a lot of those ideas.
      Azar xx

  12. annie says:

    OH!!!….THIS SOUNDS TOO WONDERFUL…and of course vintage makes it interesting…mmmmmmm

    • Azar says:

      HI Annie,
      How do you follow (e-mail, wordpress, whatever)? and do you have any thoughts on Geraniums or Pelargoniums?
      Azar xx

  13. cookie queen says:

    Azar – such a beautiful post. For the last five years of her life, my Mum was really into essential oils and their various healing powers. She taught me to put a few drops of pure geranium oil into about half a litre of milk, and then add it to a bath. (Not to the running water, but into the bath when it was drawn.) Pure relaxation. ANd my skin feels gorgeous afterwards. My nightime winter ritual! Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
    I follow by stalking. hahahahaha! Bussis. xxxxxx

    • Azar says:

      Hey Cookie Q!
      I will try your Mum’s geranium bath with the geranium essential oil. It sounds SOOO lovely and relaxing. The Lanvin Spanish Geranium is more of an eye opener than a soothing relaxant. If SP were a dance or a type of music it would be flamenco!
      OH! And you’re in, you stalker!
      Azar xx

  14. minnie says:

    I love geraniums and would love the chance to try this. Thanks for the offer.

    • Azar says:

      HI Minnie,
      How do you follow (e-mail, wordpress whatever)? I love geraniums too! They are so photogenic. For a non photographer like me that is a big deal.
      Azar xx

  15. poodle says:

    Hi Azar! I follow by WordPress. I used to grow scented geraniums but now that I have no good spot in the house for them I don’t have any anymore. I suppose I should just grow them as annuals. I had lemon, rose, attar of rose, cinnamon, and a few others.
    Give that sweet smelling pionus a big poodle kiss for me please.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Poodle,
      I just grow my zonals as annuals, but I find that some years they will survive the winters if I move them to a protected area near the house and cover them with some of the many, many maple leaves. I don’t have any scented geraniums right now. Your collection sounded like it was wonderful. Did you see that Jackie b distilled some hydrosol from hers? I would like to try that!
      Azar xx

  16. Maya says:

    Hi Azar. Any mention of vintage perfumes perk me right up. 🙂 Vintage was my first step towards the “wormhole” I would love to try this. Follow by email.

  17. Maya says:

    Forgot to mention, that I was wondering about the scent of geraniums, but you answered it for someone else.

    • Azar says:

      I forgot to mention something too. Pelargoniums and geraniums are not the same plants even though they are related. Pelargoniums are the scented geraniums, the zonals, ivy geraniums, Martha Washingtons, etc. The “real” geraniums are also called cranesbills and are often considered weeds. Around here we have a wild geranium that we call Stinkweed, AKA Herb Robert and Stinky Bob. Pretty plants but pungent in an almost but not quite unpleasant way.

  18. tsurera says:

    Hi I follow by email. I didn’t know much about geraniums, so thanks for the interesting read.

    • Azar says:

      Hi tsurera,
      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! I’m not much of geranium expert but have always loved these plants. You are in the draw!
      Azar xx

  19. Mary K says:

    I have grown scented geraniums, as was mentioned by Poodle, but did not have any growing this year. Please include me in the drawing. I follow via RSS (Feedly). Thank you!

    • Azar says:

      Hey there Mary K!
      I just love geraniums. The scented ones are wondrous! Maybe next year I will try rose and chocolate and lemon. You are in the draw too!
      Azar xx

  20. Nadja Sand says:

    I can’t say that I know much about geraniums/pelargoniums except that I find them rather ugly to look at… I haven’t really tried any perfume with a prominent geranium note but I’m ALWAYS up for anything odd and I adore vintage perfume! I follow with bloglovin.
    Nadja Sand recently posted…Autumn Outfit + RamblingMy Profile

    • Azar says:

      Hi Nadja!
      You don’t have to love geraniums to be in this draw! You are so lucky I wouldn’t be surprised if you were smelling geraniums soon.
      Azar xx

  21. Trish W says:

    Hello – from an e-mail follower
    SG sounds great!

  22. Datura5750 says:

    Bloglovin Baby!

  23. Azar says:

    Hello there Datura!
    Your gas mask is great! You are in!
    Azar x

  24. hajusuuri says:

    Hi Azar, I follow via WordPress. I was looking up geranium in LuckyScent and was surprised to see it as the first not listed for Slumberhouse Pear + Olive — love this perfume! Also, I cherish a watercolor of potted geraniums which I bought at the Sacramento (California) State Fair many years ago.

  25. Azar says:

    Hello hajusuuri,
    Geranium oils, concretes and absolutes from all over the world are some of the most important ingredients in perfumery. I’m not surprised that you found geranium in Slumberhouse Pear + Olive. I can imagine your beautiful water color! Lanvin Spanish Geranium’s original packaging was a gorgeous box (I wish I still had one) covered with images of blooming geraniums. Oh yes! You are in the draw!
    Azar xx

  26. Ferris says:

    I’m trying to wrap my head around the geranium accord . This one sounds very interesting. Vintage is always better I say. I follow you via twitter @dkchocoman and wordpress

    • Azar says:

      Hello Ferris,
      I agree that vintage is better! The Lanvin accord I refer to still puzzles me. Today, just for a change, I dug out an old pressed glass vintage bottle of Aromatics Elixer, so soapy and rosey and hey! was that a bit of geranium? No, I was fooled by palmarosa. As I mentioned in the post I think there is some palmarosa in Spanish Geranium too, but I’m not quite sure. And yes! You are in the draw!
      Azar xx

  27. Sharon Lenehan says:

    I am making a geranium tincture to use in my perfume making – my favourite hobby.

  28. Azar says:

    Hi Sharon,
    You are so creative! My hobby is buying perfume. I wish I could make my own. Perhaps I would save money, but I doubt it! For the draw let me know how you follow APJ (by e-mail, wordpress, whatever)!
    Azar xx

  29. Lauren says:

    Hi Mom –

    We have annual geraniums outside our office building so last night cut one and took it with me. Very interesting scent. I wonder if that is the same type of scent that is in the Lavin SG. Do you have any annual geraniums around? Is it similar? I have perennial geraniums at home but they are not in bloom so I don’t know if they smell different…

    • Azar says:

      Hi there Lauren,

      The annual geraniums near your office are probably Pelargonium zonale (zonal geraniums). We always grow those here. To my nose SG has elements of both zonals and and spicy rose geraniums (Pelargonium ‘Graveolins’). These pelargoniums are technically not “real” geraniums. Your perennial geraniums are the true geraniums, related to Stinky Bob (AKA stinkweed). Since they aren’t in bloom you might try crushing a leaf or two and smelling that. I don’t think the smell will be anything like SG but I’m not sure.

      Mommy Azar xxx and x

  30. minnie says:

    ps: I follow by email. minnie

  31. AnnieA says:

    Are there any gardeners who out there to comment on scented geraniums? Any favourites/ Anthing particularly far-out in the way of a scent? (Right, read the APJ blog)

    • Azar says:

      Hello AnnieA!
      How about some recipes for scented geraniums? Geranium sugar (like vanilla sugar) can be made with the leaves of scented geraniums. I haven’t tried it yet. That’s a project for next summer. And Annie, do you want to be in the draw? How do you follow APJ?
      Azar x

  32. Nemo says:

    I am really curious to see what geraniums smell like in perfume. I am afraid I don’t know what they smell like in real life (or in perfume!), but I hope to find out soon! I follow by email.

    • Azar says:

      Hi Nemo!
      Some scented geraniums smell like mint, cinnamon and, of course, roses. The leaves of the zonals smell very green and crisp to me. Geranium oil (from P. ‘Graveolens’ not P.zonale) is one of the most important oils in perfumery, especially natural perfumery. You probably have smelled it combination with other notes many times. And yes! You are in!
      Azar xx

  33. Kandice says:

    I would love to try this. Thanks for giving us the opportunity! (I follow via email.)

  34. patriciaC says:

    I’m going to crush a geranium leaf on my moms plant as suggested. I might get smacked but it won’t be the first time.I am really curiouse after this review.I would love to be entered for the drawing, i follow by e-mail.Thank you!

    • Azar says:

      Hi patriciaC,
      Would this work? “Oh hi, mom! I’m just doing some pruning.” Or how about this: “Hey there was a big slug on this leaf.” Pretty lame excuses for a geranium leaf thief but I’m sure you will come up with better ones. Let us know what your nose finds! You are IN!
      Azar xx

  35. Mihaela U says:

    The story is great, the review is great and I bet the scent is great!

    Thank you for the story, the review and the great draw! Wish you all the best!

    P.S. I follow via e-mail and I also tweeted! ^_^

  36. Irina says:

    Hi, Portia
    i follow via e-mail

  37. Sally M says:

    I love geraniums and grow them every year – a couple of my anuals are now 3 years old as I kept them indoors over the winter. Geranium essential oil is wonderful – so crisp and clean. I’m not familiar with this note in perfume though that I’m aware of, so would love to be entered for this draw.
    I follow by email and thanks!

    • Azar says:

      Hello Sally M,
      Three Years! That’s wonderfu! I believe for gardens in warmer climes (or for those who are talented indoor growers like you are) the zonals and scented geraniums can last for years. It seems that every spring another beautiful variety of zonal appears in the nurseries, so hard to resist! You are IN!
      Azar xx

  38. Gloria Frost says:

    Hi there, I am a newby to this site and this perfume, I just absolutely love it so much I can’t stand it any more….I just have to get some of it. It also takes me back to when my Dad was alive, he loved geraniums, twas his favorite flower. To me this perfume has a true sandalwood scent to it as does geraniums and that in itself is hard to find. You are the best to do such a thing as give it away, I love the act of giving which is an act of love!! Thank you for being you!

  39. Joanne says:

    I am the proud owner of a bottle of Spanish Geranium that I purchased in the 1960’s. I keep it refrigerated and don’t use it as I did not know that you could purchase it for a rediculous price still. I do want to say, it is a delicious scent and the scent after all of these years has remained true and fresh as the day I bought it.

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