This listing is for a 1 1/4 oz. bottle of Max Factor Primitif Renaissance Spray Mist Cologne. This bottle came from an old pharmacy in upstate New York that had closed down in the 1970s. About three years ago, I purchased a large box of fragrances that had been sitting in that pharmacy since it had closed down--how awesome would it have been to see that place! Like opening the door and walking back in time. This box has a sticker on the top of it marked $2.50. The box is in really good condition considering and just the front of the box is discolored. The bottle is in excellent condition with its sticker on the bottom and its plastic cap on top.
Primitif is a floral chypre that launched in 1956. It featured top notes of aldehydes, bergamot and peach; middle notes of geranium, jasmine, Bulgarian rose, iris, ylang-ylang and lily of the valley; and base notes of orris, patchouli, vetiver, amber, oakmoss, musk, civet and sandalwood.
An excerpt from a review by Yesterday's Perfumes:
The 1950s were all about "friendly-sexy." "Friendly-sexy" was exemplified by Marilyn Monroe’s soft, downward-curving and rounded eyes, full lips, and pillowy body. Everything about her look screamed sex — but with a smile. 1950s perfume, too, represented by Revlon's Intimate or Robert Piguet's Baghari, is steeped in musky sensuality. (Intimate's animalic ballast — castoreum, civet, and musk — is about as subtle as a bullet bra, and Baghari sinks you into a musky vanilla reverie that's heavy and rich.)
And then there's this little known gem by Max Factor — Primitif. Primitif is deliciously skanky, with intentions about as wholesome as Danger Girl's to your left there. But there's something campy and pulp novel about its menace.
Primitif starts out with a roar of sharp, crisp aldehydes. Within seconds, it lurches down into a caramely, crisp, buttery, peachy perfume with more than a little stink of civet and musk (perhaps nitromusks?) toward its dry down. I would guess some oakmoss and maybe a smidge of patchouli. It's definitely in the chypre-animalic floral family. Jasmine? Gardenia?
So is Primitif primitive? Well, in the most civilized, self-conscious way, like a well-heeled woman wearing a leopard print coat. It reveals, in perfume notes, the contradictions in 1950s good girl/bad girl sexuality. In any case, I'll be Huffing it all week...