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  1. #1

    Default Elderly perfumes, can you still smell the original intent?

    I just wondered, when you buy an obviously old perfume, sometimes just for the bottle, and there is some perfume left in it. Can you still get a peek at what the original scent was meant to be, when it has very obviously 'gone off'?

    I ask, because I bought a pretty crystal bottle of Carven Vert et Blanc and the liquid is dark umber coloured. It smells more than a little catty at first, but after some endurance, it does have a very dry, dark green, broken leaf smell. It is nearly pleasant in a powdery, old, sophisticated lady sort of way, but prevented by a tiny hint of the catty sourness still.

    Judging by the name, I would imagine this to have been something along the right lines, but am really curious as to what would have vanished in the notes over the years, and what I have left here that I'm smelling.

    I raided this explanation from the perfumed court (hope you don't mind for this sort of reason TPC ladies).
    'Carven vert et blanc eau de cologne features notes of gardenia, galbanum, aldehydes, clary sage, jasmine, ylang-ylang, sandal, vetiver, styrax, cinnamon, benzoin, labdanum. Created in 1946, this is a classic that is always fresh and green and extremely rare.'

    When people buy expensive perfumes like the nombre noir which have never been opened, how can anyone ever know if they are even nice? Or doesn't it matter if it's rare?

    Lots of questions and thoughts. I would be interested in your comments, as I haven't been at basenotes long and I see many of you like the vintage fragrances. How do we know when they've gone off or not, if we've never smelt them before?
    Currently wearing: Armani by Giorgio Armani

  2. #2

    Default Re: Elderly perfumes, can you still smell the original intent?

    Just noticed the same description on TPC for Ma Griffe. Now not sure which one it applies to.

    Yours states Ma Griffe to be
    top:- Aldehydes, Clary sage, Galbanum, bergamot
    Mid:- Gardenia, Jasmin, Ylang-ylang, Rose
    Base:- Cinnamon, Tonka Bean, Vetiver

    I suppose they may well have been similar.
    Currently wearing: Armani by Giorgio Armani

  3. #3

    Default Re: Elderly perfumes, can you still smell the original intent?

    I think when fragrances turn, it's as obvious as when old wines have oxidised and turned. My first experiences smelling turned fragrances was when i was a young antiques 'picker' in the 1970s. I'd find perfumes in old boxes and trunks which were from the 1930s, 40s and early 50s. Some were gems, in good condition. Some had turned hopelessly. It all depends on storage conditions and somewhat on the the perfumes compositions.

    How do you know when a fragrance is off? First look at the condition of the bottle and its content. Is there significant evaporation? If it is a fragrance you know something about, is the colour of the juice washed out? Or is it dark brown and concentrated, about the colour of tired 20/40 oil drained from a car's engine? Evaporated, too light or too dark juice might be your first indicator of a scent having been ruined. If it is an extrait bottle, how does it look around the seal? Has it been opened? is wax, string or other sealing materials dried out and falling apart? Still the fragrance might be good.

    Materials or 'swirls' floating around in a light coloured juice (when held to the light) may indicate the fragrance won't be what it should. And when fragrances have turned dark, near opaque and evaporated, ruined Chanel #5 will smell much like ruined Sortilege or ruined Coco....

    Crimp sealed spray bottles are usually preserve EDPs and EDts the longest. Fragrances in splash bottles which had first been opened back in the 1980s or before are likely to be a bad bet as to having retainined the quality of any fragrance.

    Sometimes you can discern the original intent of a spoiled fragrance but not always.
    Last edited by Morticia; 9th February 2010 at 10:03 PM. Reason: accidental omission

  4. #4
    Basenotes Institution
    Mimi Gardenia's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Exactly Where I Should Be

    Default Re: Elderly perfumes, can you still smell the original intent?

    Morticia- this is extremely helpful advice ! Always helpful for bidding on older perfumes on Ebay too .
    Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
    Currently wearing: Angel by Thierry Mugler

  5. #5
    Eliza's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Pacific Northwest

    Default Re: Elderly perfumes, can you still smell the original intent?

    Thanks for all the advice!
    (seems like vintage L'origan was made just for me)

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