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Who gets it all when YOU die?

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I am 56 years old. I began "collecting" fragrances in the late 1970's. I saved the empty bottles, amassing a huge inventory of beautiful vessels (at one time, over 500 bottles), for display purposes, after the liquid was long gone. I blew money on various new scents in between, all those years of collecting, whenever I had the opportunity to find them, and funds allowed such luxury. This, was long before internet shopping so by 1991 I had so many empty (and newly purchased) bottles I ran out of display space. Then, I fell in love and moved in with, my future (now current) husband. There was No space to accommodate my vast bottle collection where he lived. I began selling the empty bottles (yes, there is a market for those) on eBay and all those old bottles of empty memories (and pre-regulation ingredients), are long gone...

Now, all those old bottles are long gone. Who cares? Well some I did care about and wished I'd saved them for their rarity. They were empty anyway, right? Most of those weren't what would now be labeled "worthwhile" collectibles anyway. I did have some lovely limited edition Caron bottles, some miniatures that now, cost an arm and a leg. Now, I have another, more recent collection of "live" bottles, full, partial, ones that I have taken more seriously, have loved if they were children, these bottles of joy. None are empty. I have decants too, more than I will probably live to use.

My musings are this... Who, gets your collection, if you suddenly die? If you are diagnosed with an illness, do you have a worthy recipient of your fragrant obsessions? I know I don't. I have no living relatives. None, close to me. An uncle. That is it. Cousins? None I have seen in 15 years. My husband will not really know what to do with my collection IF I die before he does.

In reality I know my collection may well end up on Goodwill Auctions or sitting in a local thrift shop. I have tried educating my husband on what I have, or what it May be worth, or how much it has given me joy. In the end, it is all up to him and his lament of my death, and if he even cares where all these fragrant beauties go. A cautionary tale -- Our perfumes ARE worth something to Us -- make sure someone Knows about it...

Perfume, Isn't a coin collection or a sports car, that is easily sold off. I suppose when I am DEAD, I am DEAD. I know I won't care. But, part of me wonders where it will all go - Shalimar, my cheapies, my niche, my fragrant lovelies....


  1. Earlyn's Avatar
    I'm taking it all with me! In the box it goes. No, seriously, we buried my mother in the most exquisite WWII silk kimono. Joked that she and my dad in his dress blues would be the best dressed couple at the eternal ball. Also buried with jewelry on and a lifetime worth of birthday and anniversary cards and their pets' ashes. Still, wish I had that kimono now.

    I've thought about this a lot lately so I'm doing my best to catalog and communicate to my children what they might do with my collections of things. I'm writing notes about where pieces of jewelry came from if it came from a family member. As I share this information with them I always stress that I would never expect them to feel they need to keep something instead of selling if they didn't really want it. Some interests we share and some we don't. After dealing with the burden of sorting through my parents' 5 bedroom house stuffed full of too many things I decided I don't want to physically or mentally burden my children, spouse, or others. Heaven forbid we should have to move through life with all the trappings of generations before.

    Swedish Death Cleaning is trending, and not because people are morbid, but because times have changed and younger people don't want all the linens and china and furniture and on and on. With a perfume collection the ones that are probably most meaningful are the ones that mark shared occasions. This is the one I wore when you were little, this is the one I wore on our wedding day, this is the one I wore throughout my college years.... I think having these kinds of discussions openly and finding out what those shared moments are will guide you in perhaps selecting a few fragrances to pass on to the significant people in your life if others get liquidated.

    My Dad has been gone 20 years, but I still have the gray shirt he would wear in the shop and it still has some faint traces of smoke and wood and him, and of course Old Spice will always be a reminder of him. My vintage obsession began when I inherited my mother's Emeraude, Chanel No. 5, and Ecusson. When I smell her Ecusson I can see her coming down the stairs in a tight fuchsia dress, with shell jewelry and black heels, her dark and wavy hair cropped short and a small gray curl laying just above her eyebrows. I love that I have such ready access to this part of her and hope I never finish that bottle.

    So I'll let others take what is meaningful to them, and maybe I'll take just that one bottle of Ecusson with me, and my dad's shirt, and I'll meet them at the party. Either that or I'll get cremated and put into a factice.
  2. HouseOfPhlegethon's Avatar
    Thank you, for sharing!

    I honestly wish I had someone to leave all my fragrant beauties. I suppose, if the time comes, and I'm gone before my husband, he will most likely donate my bottles. Me, being on the-other-side, won't really care. Perhaps in the future, I may find someone here on Basenotes, to leave my collection. Who knows...
  3. Bavard's Avatar
    HoP - Please give your husband explicit instructions to send them all to me.

    Mine would be divided three ways among the three people I live with. They would probably just share them. They would feel free to sell any online that they didn't like, that they thought would get good money, etc. It's all in good fun.
  4. N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer's Avatar
    Instructions to your husband to send them to your fellow friends on Basenotes?

    I hope to keep the collection small, even with the many backups, but something that won't burden my family since none of them share the enthusiasm that I have for fragrances.
  5. HouseOfPhlegethon's Avatar
    Actually, I'm not sure what I'll have left in the future, as I'm culling full bottles, every seasonal rotation. I'm sure I have something some Basenoters may like. We'll see. I don't plan on dying anytime soon, LOL. Who knows - perhaps in the near future I'll meet a "local" with interests in perfume... Okay. That, is probably not happening; not to the degree we all have here, for the love of fragrances...
  6. Hazel5's Avatar
    I never thought about this! I'm lucky, my daughter shares at least 50% of my enthusiasm (so that's a lot, and I'm hoping to cultivate to a full 100%) so she'll get everything. But if anyone has any specific requests, I'm happy to oblige with written instructions, to be carried out post mortem LOL. (NCal, I suspect you might want my Tihota! ) And come to think of it, I'd like to be cremated doused in a favorite. Maybe Baptême de Feu!
  7. ClockworkAlice's Avatar
    To be cremated doused in Bapteme de Feu would be really symbolic! (I have not tried this, but the name, the name!)
    I am pretty young and I'll hopefully live many more years, but shit happens and no one knows their day and hour of death. In case of untimely death my mom will get all my fragrances and it's up to her what to do with it. I guess she would keep the ones she likes to remind her of me and others would go to my cousins or aunts if they like something or would be donated. But I do not have that much anyway - my books and Magic the Gathering cards take more space and are worth more than my fragrances.
  8. kirtikhan45698's Avatar
    i am ready to find it so many people to new year wishes
  9. HouseOfPhlegethon's Avatar
    I didn't realize I would generate so much buzz, about a somewhat "morbid" topic. I'm glad I've initiated some "food for thought" on this topic. If I'd more friends, relatives, or loved ones, I probably wouldn't have given much thought to all of this.
  10. Ezekiella's Avatar
    I will tell you exactly who gets it: the first people to arrive at your house after your death. Any estate lawyer will tell you that the stuff starts vanishing from the shelves while the body is still warm. I've seen it happen more than once.
  11. riffjim4069's Avatar
    Much like those treasured autographed t-shirts and trinkets from big stars like Mel Torme, Orson Welles, Gene Kelly, Howard Cosell and others...well, they may have been valuable at one time, but anyone interested in collecting this stuff is largely dead and buried, so it's basically worthless. The same goes for our treasured fragrance collections. A few will find good homes, but the vast majority will occupy space in the local landfill. Sad, but true. So use and enjoy your perfumes and colognes while you can.
  12. HouseOfPhlegethon's Avatar
    Updated 17th August 2019 at 12:58 AM by HouseOfPhlegethon
  13. Earlyn's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by riffjim4069
    "use and enjoy your perfumes and colognes..."
    This portion of your post is what I'll focus on because that is really what this love of fragrance is all about, isn't it?


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