Metal by Robert Gonnon for Paco Rabanne 1979




Hello vintage lovers,

Arriving in the post yesterday from eBay and on my skin ever since is a 30ml old, old bottle of Metal. As I opened it I thought I’d give myself a spritz and sadly the sprayer sends most of the juice down the bottle and what little comes out smells broken and nasty aldehyde turn, GRRRR. I’m going to give it a soak in white vinegar & disinfectant.

Metal by Paco Rabanne 1979

Metal by Robert Gonnon


Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Aldehydes, Basil, Green notes, Hyacinth, Lemon
Heart: Cyclamen, Iris, Jasmine, Lily-of-the-valley, Rose, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang
Base: Ambergris, Oakmoss, Musk, Sandalwood, Vetiver

Chypre! Metal is a chypre. The opening is all about galbanum and some citrus fizzed up by aldehydes. I thought my bottle had turned but a few spritzes without the dodgy atomiser and the scent smells pure, clean and fresh, while also not smelling of any of that because chypre. I am thoroughly surprised at how gorgeously it’s kept.

After only a few moments I can already smell the oakmoss furriness that chypres give me. It’s a cool comfort and it makes me feel safe and invincible. If CHANEL No 19 gives you backbone then Metal will give you armour and weaponry.


Funnily I don’t really smell metal, no, that’s not exactly true….. maybe the smell of sharpening a Wiltshire knife in it’s plastic casing. The floral bouquet is a beautiful whole and I can’t pick any of the notes because underpinning the heart is this luscious oakmoss with hints of oily vetiver and a touch of salty brine that I’m attributing to the ambergris and vetiver.

Longevity is good and the baseline lasts hours. It hums away quietly in the background but if I change rooms suddenly I can smell it all over again. Fabulous.

Further reading: I Smell Therefore I Am and Black Narcissus

Do you love the chypre genre?
Portia xx


12 thoughts on “Metal by Robert Gonnon for Paco Rabanne 1979

  1. Hmm… *eyes perfume shelf* …Mitsouko, No. 19, Diorella, Bandit, Aromatics Elixir, Bottega Veneta… Yes I think we can safely say I LOVE chypres 😉


  2. Still exploring chypres but think I have to be in a certain don’t mess with me mood.
    Paco Rabanne must like metal stuff, I bought vintage Eau de Calandre…car radiator apparently, it’s really good!
    Happy Mardi Gras x


  3. What is this secret soak concoction to get sprayers to work???? Vinegar and what? Is it bleach? I am not sure what a disinfectant is other than spray ones that we have like Lysol. Thanks!


    • Yeah, I think Lysol is like our disinfectant Gina. If you remove & soak the nozzle overnight it will sometimes remove all the perfume build up and you can spray again.
      Does NOT always work.
      Portia xx


  4. Oh Portia, it’s so great that you mention Metal. I remember it to be a really fresh floral, I remember the lily-of-the-valley and the rose but probably the initial freshness is gone with the age. I’d love to smell it again in all its beauty. I love chypres and today I’ve tried two of today’s gems of this genre: Zoologist’s Civet and Roja Dove’s Diaghilev. I think I’m in love with both!


    • Heya Neva,
      Lovely to see you, as always.
      YAY! So glad you love Metal too.
      Those two are very hot. Super chypres?
      Portia xx


  5. I remember Metal! I was in college, mid 70’s. My boyfriend was a bit older than me and I had him wear Metal for awhile. Drakkar Noir, too. Those were the days-so fun! And yes, I adore chypres 💝


  6. Major chypre fan here! I love Metal, and wore it often in the seventies as a flight attendant whilst hurtling through the skies in a metal vehicle. It offset the smell of burnt coffee and cigarettes rather nicely.


  7. I adore Metal! My mother bought it in Paris in the 70s and added a touch of glamour to rural New Zealand when she returned to waft around leaving a beautiful trail of aldehydes and galbanum and flowers. It sat on the bathroom dresser for ages – my sister and I would steal it – and I still have both that bottle and my mum today. I can confirm that the perfume has not turned at all, it is a stunning classic beauty. Perfect for Sydney’s heatwave I would imagine!


  8. I don’t know Metal (yet) though I’m a chypre lover and collector. Have to get a sample of it because one can never have enough chypres.
    Back in Germany I used pure alcohol from the chemist to clean spray nozzles, but they don’t sell it in Australia. Perhaps rubbing alcohol works just as well.


  9. I love these stories of vintage buys Portia, you are taking a risk, it’s the fun of the game.
    Yes I also love Chypres eg aromatics elixir and mitsouko.


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