VINTAGE - Prince Matchabelli Abano Cologne Parfumee
Year Introduced: 1931 - Feminine
Notes: Top notes of green notes, bitter orange and carnation; middle notes of frankincense, lavender, honey and Mediterranean flowers; and base notes of patchouli, musk, Mysore sandalwood, cedar, oakmoss, ambergris and vetiver
Launched by Prince Matchabelli in 1931, Abano has been long discontinued. Named for the famous rejuvenation spa at Abano Terme, Italy, it featured an advertising slogan: "Abandon Your Cares to Abano".
An excerpt from a review by The Vintage Perfume Vault:
Abano is one of the stealthy classics of vintage perfumery; it also happens to be one of my personal favorite scents. This Prince Matchabelli creation is ardently loved by its fans, who hold its secrets close. You will scarcely hear tell of Abano, yet if you check out some completed auction listings, you will see how much people are willing to pay for the pleasure of it.
What makes this scent so special? Part fragrance, part treatment, it was the first of the modern day "spa scents" but Abano was done in the old school tradition; it's more of a prototype. Released in 1931 Abano was one of Prince Matchabelli's earliest scents. The Prince was in fact an amateur chemist, and there are some who believe he had a hand in formulating at least some of the early scents.
The packaging for Abano features a Greco-Roman style mosaic of a seahorse wearing a crown, reinforcing the Grecian spa associations. It is named after the ancient sea-side community (now resort, town) in Northern Italy; for centuries people have traveled to Abano seeking out it's natural hot springs and healing mud baths.
The print advertising for Abano feature a photograph of a beautiful, serene woman swimming naked through crystal blue waters and the following text:
Drift in serenity ABANO bath oil smooths your body. It's fragrance soothes your soul. Does just what the ancients knew fragrance could do. Drift in ABANO. Slowly breathe in Abano's exotic fragrance and feel trouble-making tensions drift away. You find again your own true core of serenity. You emerge renewed for living wrapped in a silken robe of lasting fragrance.
Most of the Abano that I see is the bath oil variety. The bath oil seems to have a touch more animal characteristics, spice and bite compared to the cologne, which is sweeter with more orange and drier grass notes. But both smell intoxicating, breezy, and recall the feeling of being on a Mediterranean coast line. Or in my case, it's actually the Northern California coast line which is very similar to the Mediterranean. The bath oil ages from yellow to a deep coffee or cola color while the scent remains sweet and fresh.
The older perfumes I've seen are colored in the same way as the oil but the Cologne Parfumee tends to turn deeper and deeper shades of orange.
Back to the scent.That blend of oakmoss, orange, patchouli, lavender, herbs and grasses contains a special balance of benefits. It shares with many lavender based scents, an ability to stimulate the body while calming the mind. Many men and some women find the scent has an arousing effect as well. The orange enlivens and brings feelings of renewal and joy, the oakmoss and patchouli center the psyche, while herbs and grasses sweeten and fix the base.
Abano has been compared to other potent scented oils - Youth Dew and Weil's Bath oil scent Secret de Venus. However Abano has a much more rustic, aromatic and refreshing feeling to it than either of those heavier, oriental feeling scents. I think of it as a forerunner not only to the many spa and treatment scents we find today but also the hugely popular category of clean, oceanic scents. Calvin Klein's Eternity, similarly groundbreaking in it's own time creates the same clean, serene feeling of existing in wide open spaces as Abano. As Abano dries down, the spices, citrus and musky trace clings to your skin like a veil.
We are decanting from an unopened bottle of the original cologne parfumee version of this fragrance.