Photo: Mr Parfumista (c)
First was the first fragrance of the jewellerhouse Van Cleef & Arpels and it was the startingpoint for jewellers also bringing out perfumes under their brands. Later Cartier, Boucheron, Bulgarí etc followed. First was launched in 1976 and is among the earlier perfumes of the master of transparency, Jean-Claude Ellena.
But First is anything but transparent. This is a huge, soapy, aldehydic, floral. The flowers are green, crispy bulbs, flowers of the early spring as tulips, hiacynts, narcissus, daffodils and lilly of the vally. And lots of other potent flowers as tubereuse, orchid, jasmine etc. But there is also a warm fruitiness in First which balances the green, slight chilly, crispiness of the bulbs and gives the composition a warm and sunny feeling. To all this, First is all about soap. The aldehydes lends the composition a well behaved but very distinct soapiness that many consider to be oldfashioned, and probably it is. But to me the soapiness gives First a retro vibe, it is an element that signs First to it's time, the late seventies and early eighties.
Other fragrances that reminds me of First is first of all :-) K de Krizia, the notes are very similar and they smell very close to each other. Ivoire by Balmain is in the same sopy style but I perceive that one as less bold flowery. From Ivoire the line goes to a contemporary, and therefore much more restraint interpretation, Bas de Soie by Serge Lutens. BdS focuses on iris and hiacynth but conveys the same feeling in appearance as First, translated to our zeitgeist. Also Amouages Dia has similarities with First, but Dia is, in my opinion, much more tuned down. First is a alternative to Dia, acheiving a similar effect but much more affordable.
First (I have tested the current EDP version) has an excellent longivity, it is present for a whole day, also in tough conditions: It lasted even after more than two hours in the swimmingpool. Not exactly the right enviroment for an elegant creation as First. First is for dressed up occasions during daytime or meetings where you need to take a centerplace.
By the way: I just love those extensive notelists of the perfumes of the seventies and eighties.
Notes: Aldehydes, black currant, mandarine, raspberry, peach, bergamott, carnation, tuberose, orchid, orris root, jasmine, hiacynth, rose, ylang-ylang, lilly of the valley, narcissus, civet, honey, sandelwood, tonka bean, amber, musk, vanilla, vetiver, oakmoss,