Femme (1989) Eau de Toilette

Version from 1989
Femme (1989) (Eau de Toilette) by Rochas
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Femme (1989) (Eau de Toilette) (Rochas)
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8.2 / 10     183 RatingsRatingsRatings
Femme (1989) (Eau de Toilette) is a popular perfume by Rochas for women and was released in 1989. The scent is spicy-chypre. The longevity is above-average. The production was apparently discontinued.

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Olivier Cresp

Fragrance Notes

Top Notes Top NotesApricot, Bergamot, Peach, Plum, Rosewood, Cinnamon, Lemon
Heart Notes Heart NotesClove, Iris, Jasmine, Carnation, Rose, Rosemary, Ylang-ylang
Base Notes Base NotesAmber, Benzoin, Oakmoss, Leather, Musk, Patchouli, Vanilla



8.2 (183 Ratings)


8.5 (121 Ratings)


7.6 (116 Ratings)


7.4 (127 Ratings)
Submitted by DonVanVliet, last update on 06.01.2019
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Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 10.0/10 Longevity 10.0/10 Scent 8.0/10
Femme Fatale, indeed!
Femme is timeless, and quite seductive. I can detect sweetness flittering around the deep, dark notes like oakmoss, clove and leather. Very earthy, natural. The peach and plum aren't the juicy variety; they're powdery, spicy and rolled in cinnamon. That warm cinnamon is my favorite part of Femme. For some reason, this strikes me as animalic - probably the cloves. It's spicy, sweet, and encapsulates the '90s perfectly.

It vaguely reminds me of Poison, for a frame of reference. Mysterious, angsty, dark, sexy, provocative... It's classic as well as classy, it's got that rich, warm, vintage feel, with the deep & rich complexity you'd expect from a chypre formula originating from the '40s. Despite my praise - it's probably not for everyone, though!
Very helpful Review    8
survived reformulation
Rochas Femme would be interesting if only for the fact that it is a great battle-axe of perfumery.  It originated during a time of rations and war, it has survived a number of  formulations, and it's survived trend and fashion, no mean thing. But Femme is interesting other reasons. It is an early work of the the noted 20th-century perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, and it is an early and stellar example of the dark fruity chypre, one of the best styles of 20th-century perfumery.

From castoreum to methyl ionone (the chemical Roudnitska apparently made use of when he found it in a factory during WW II) to oakmoss, Femme has had its ingredient list maimed over the decades. I can’t say how much the current model resembles the original, which was apparently quite a dark delicacy. But what I own is a parfum de toilette in a one ounce round bottle (the "Byzance" bottle) that may or may not be from the 1990s.  I've also had a few carded samples from an old perfume shop of what was labeled eau de parfum.  They smell similar enough to my nose.  I suspect Femme's saving grace has been it's dark, boozy plum note. It is enhanced by a cumin note that I believe was ostensibly added to replace animalic elements as they became unavailable.  Here Femme is luckier than many of the other animalic perfumes to have been reformulated.  The woody cumin works fits the darkness of the fruit. Used strictly as a spurious animalic, a cumin note is generally unsuccessful. Reformulations that use this sort of crude bait and switch are one of the reasons reformulation is so demonized. 

Look at the great mid-20th century chypres, with their great lung-buckets full of oakmoss and other toxins.  If you line up Miss Dior, Ma Griffe, Miss Balmain & Jolie Madame the vintage and current models, it's hard to see the modern bottles as anything other than a fall from greatness. Femme and the other fruity chypres of the time appear to have enough grit and chutzpah to survive the criminalization of oakmoss. To my nose Femme as well as Guerlain Mitsouko and the underestimated Y by YSL, are in better shape currently than the others mentioned above. 

A well-done reformulation certainly helps, but Femme's other advantage is context.  Forget the old chypres, Femme could be seen today as a smart, boozy version of the generally vapid fruity floral. Femme fits right in line with Badgley Mischka by Badgely Mischka.

Femme isn't what she used to be, but who among us is?  I hope I can find a context in which I'll still shine as she does at her age.   She's a tough old broad and I'm still honored to wear la Vieille Femme. 
Very helpful Review    7
Estrogen gone wild
I will preface this by saying that I much, much prefer the reformulated version, so this is the one I am reviewing.

Unabashedly feminine and voluptuous, Femme is an amazing treat for the senses:
From its gently seasoned, stewed fruit compote opening that flows right into its spicy floral heart, the fragrance is a dance of flavors and textures.
The base contrasts the earlier lushness with deep earthy notes, dry and dark, only to be gently softened with the barest hint of vanilla.
It is said that there is no cumin in the reformulated version, but I beg to differ: I get cumin and it wraps the whole composition into a flustering aura of unsettling crude sweat.

The whole impression of this perfume is one of swaying hips and throaty laughter, it bursts with glowing sensuality, plays up the beauty of the floral notes against the tentalizing fruity notes while allowing what can only be described as shameless depravity to permeate every part of the composition.
It's that slight B.O note that gives this perfume such raw femaleness: It's beautiful, yes, but deep down, the question is not "what does she smell like in public?", it's "What does she smell like behind closed doors, after a savage night of ... ?" You fill in the blanks, lol.

Femme is just that: a celebration of what a woman really is, not a mold of what she should be like.
Bottle 5.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 8.0/10
Helpful Review    4
Wartime Elegance
Dark and Indolic Femme reflects the austere and well
tailored elegance of wartime fashion of the early
1940's of boxed shoulders and wasp waists mannish
and yet feminine rochas must have been a milestone
during it's release in 1943 a scent that is'nt frivilous nor girlish it was simple and yet sophistocated a perfume that conjours the rationed
mentality of wartime,

Femme demands but doe'snt
scream like Cinnabar,Spellbound,Opium,Ciara,or Obsession it slowly draws you in like a spider waits for it's pray or a cat that slowly stalks to get
his prize, The opening starts off sweet with the note of Peach then dries of a deep and juicy scent of plum. Cinnamon brings the heat and the fire of Femme with delectable nuances Bright slices of Bergamot
and lemon turns this fragrance to a zesty drydown,
As this scent dries to the heart of Rochas it turns
woodsy and grounded begining with Rosemary and powdery Red cartnation Iris seems to have a subtle
effect usually giving a cool crisp scent but there is no edvidence of that, The note of Jasmine with it's nocturnal Elegance to the senses Greenish and semi-sweet cloves finishes the middle.

The Base note drydown is my favorite a sexy mix of
Leather Civet and a tinge of Tobacco, Picturing
Marlene Dietrich in a skin tight black leather
low cut gown in a moving train in the first class
compartment seducing all the powerful men with
smoke blowing from her glossy red lips from a cigarette from her black Leather Gloves.

Femme is Fire beneth an icy exterior.
Longevity 10.0/10 Scent 8.0/10
Greatly helpful Review    6
Maligned and unappreciated.
Oh, poor Femme Rochas. It's much maligned for being reformulated (in 1989), and it's under-appreciated for being wearable (today).

This reformulated version strikes me as a nice balance between older style fruity chypres and more modern ones. It's also knock-down, drag-out, 10-times better than the reformulated Mitsouko which sells for much more than Femme's discounted price.

I appreciate Femme for what it is, and I could careless what it was. It's beautiful, it's wearable, it's comfortable, it's gorgeous.
Bottle 7.5/10 Sillage 5.0/10 Longevity 5.0/10 Scent 9.0/10
Helpful Review    3
Secret paths
A lovely classic has crept into my heart!

The initial way is firmly fruity before Jasmin swings the scepter quite considerably.
This pairedly finds very easily with spices to my preferences.
The feeling of happiness is perfect because leather, sandelwood, musk and Patchouli have taken a seat on the edge of the clearing on soft oak moss. Warmth wraps me up.

Femme radiates femininity and elegance for me, a embodiment of the woman.
My mother is born in 1923. I cannot ask her any more but the smell would have matched her wonderfully.

Heart, what do you want more?
1 Replies
Bottle 10.0/10 Sillage 7.5/10 Longevity 7.5/10 Scent 8.0/10
Very helpful Review    4
Caveat E-bay Emptor
It saddens me to learn that people are selling bad bottles and decants of reformulated Rochas FEMME. My own bottle (acquired at some point during the late twentieth century) contains a delightful fruity chypre with just enough spice to make it truly unique. Although I am quite sensitive to cumin and find many cumin-heavy niche perfumes completely unwearable, the drydown of Rochas FEMME is simply a dream, with the texture and depth characteristic of all good chypres.

I agree with fellow Parfumo member Awesomeness (in a comment to one of my blog posts) that Olivier Crisp's FEMME is leaps and bounds better than reformulated MITSOUKO. In the case of MITSOUKO, the reformulation itself is at fault. Not so in the case of FEMME. Those who believe on the basis of an e-bay acquired sample or bottle (or a decanted vial from the same...) that this composition is "vile" have obviously sniffed a very different liquid than what is found inside my beautiful bottle of FEMME.

The inference made by one reviewer to the effect that the "vile" quality of FEMME accounts for the fact that bottles can be had for $8 at e-bay completely misconstrues the order of explanation, it seems to me. In a recent post in the threads at another fragrance website, a member un-self-consciously reported that she was preparing to put up for sale on e-bay a bottle of perfume which she herself believed to have gone bad. In the case of FEMME, I think that the evidence is overwhelming that, if this perfume is not properly cared for, it will spoil, and that is why there are so many bad bottles being fobbed off for $8 to people chump enough to think that they're getting a good deal.

Newsflash: that's what people do. They put their sour perfume (and other junk) up for sale on e-bay and hope that some dumb sucker will buy it. Some of the buyers, not knowing any better, simply assume that the fault lies with the perfumer, not with those who handled the perfume over the years since it was produced. CAVEAT EMPTOR!!!

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