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  1. #1

    Default Where to start with vintage?

    In the year (less than) since I discovered Basenotes, perfume has gone from being an interest to a genuine hobby (some might say obsession!). I'm still a fragrance newbie, working out what I like and exploring new things, and I've mainly stuck with modern fragrances.

    However, I'm thinking of branching out and trying some vintage fragrances (a slippery slope??). When I've tried older "classics" I generally haven't liked them - I suspect this is partly because my nose hasn't got used to them, and partly because of reformulations etc.

    I'm on a budget, so at this stage I can't really go buying bottles off ebay etc when I don't know what I like and am not accustomed to vintage fragrances yet. I always keep my eyes open when I go in charity shops (thrift stores), and I've found a few nice things, but nothing vintage.

    Are there any websites that sell samples of vintage fragrances? And any fragrances in particular you would recommend? I'm probably looking for about 3-6 fragrances to introduce me to the world of vintage

  2. #2

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    To be honest here in the UK they don't appear it charity shops. Usually its yard sales in the US you hear of people finding treasures. Ebay really is the place to look, but be aware it could be off and many goes for very big money.
    DONNA

  3. #3
    teardrop's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    The Perfumed Court & Surrender to Chance carry samples of some vintage fragrances. l got a sample of vintage Narcisse Noir parfum from STC earlier this year, & it's gorgeous; a rich, animalic floral. Only problem is, now l have a hankering for a vintage bottle, & l really can't afford the prices on ebay! Just be aware that although exploring vintage is a fascinating journey, if you fall in love it could an expensive, & sometimes heartbreaking exercise .
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Being on a budget doesn't help. I'd wait till more disposable income is available.

    A friend bought vintage no.88 by Czeck and Speake. A whole 200ml. It was sealed never opened. It was off and only had 100 or so in it.

    for swap/sale:





  5. #5
    4160Tuesdays's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    You're right, it's difficult. I started with scents that I knew I loved from years gone by (then again, I'm quite old and started buying posh scent at 16), which had changed: Diorella, Eau de Lancome, Trophee Lancome - all my favourite fruity chypres, then I got a bit carried away... I also tend to refer to Basenotes before buying. I'll whip out the smartphone and check out the reviews before I commit.

    I paid a bit too much for Shocking off eBay - but I really had to know how it smelled, and got some Soir de Paris from Etsy. I'll buy almost every old bottle of Chantilly (up to the 80s) that appears on eBay - but not the new stuff as it's appalling.

    May I also modestly suggest that you have a little look at my website? 4160Tuesdays.com
    I did a vintage talk with Odette Toilette (The Valley of the Lost Scents) and am about to do one of Lila's Perfume Lovers' London events (January) on vintage. I started collecting because I needed to know what the older versions had smelled like. S now I've got loads - far more than I've put up on the site - and sell them from 1ml at a time.

    I go to the occasional car boot sale and have picked up one or two interesting things, but some of my best buys have been from old chemist shops who've still got ancient stock in their cupboards. I bagged a nice bottle of Nina Ricca's Deci Dela, which I LOVE to bits, for half price in a central London chemist not long ago. But I only bought it because I already know I loved it. I was in Lille earlier this month for the biggest car boot sale in the world, and got some In Love Again (YSL) which I adore, Choc de Cardin for one Euro, some brand new Givency III (gold dust!) and took a flyer on a Johnny Halliday scent for women - four Euros - which isn't as bad as you'd imagine.

    Just watch out for bottles with no boxes. Aoid them if they are old and unboxed. My mum's generation would put perfumes on the dressing table in full sunlight for a year and wonder why they went a bit stinky. But even if they stink at first, after 20 minutes or so, vintage scent can still smell OK. The basenotes might have stayed intact. In my experience, anything pre-war is likely to smell pretty god awful by now, but I've got some classics that had been stored in the cool and dark and have lasted amazingly well.

    Good hunting.
    Perfumer & writer
    www.4160Tuesdays.com
    "the world of perfume needs shaking up, and you’re the gal to do it" Jo Fairley

  6. #6
    Super Member Scent-imental's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    I buy quite a bit from Ebay, if the price is right, and have been mostly lucky. I have several vintage bottles, sourced from various places. What have you tried, and disliked? I added some pictures of what i have, in the Rare and Discontinued Fragrances thread. i often sell them on Ebay. I am also obsessed by vintage, but there are few places to find it in Alaska, we have very few antique stores, and garage sales have not provided me with anything, despite diligently spending the entire weekend, going to as many as I can, and hassling the hosts for bottles of perfume. They look horrified that i would even ask. So for me, it's mainly Ebay, and i have to sell stuff, in order to expand my collection.

    Good luck

  7. #7

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Scent-imental, it is not the first time I hear about your fragrances in Rare and Discontinued thread. Since your Wardrobe does not show, I went through everything we have here on the Ladies' side and for the life of me I do not see it. A link please, perhaps?

  8. #8
    Lifelong Sniffaholic
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Twolf,

    When the wardrobe icon doesn't show, you can generally see a wardrobe by going to the member's profile page and clicking on View Wardrobe in the left sidebar.


  9. #9
    Super Member Scent-imental's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    Twolf,

    When the wardrobe icon doesn't show, you can generally see a wardrobe by going to the member's profile page and clicking on View Wardrobe in the left sidebar.

    http://www.basenotes.net/group.php?groupid=79

    They should show as thumbnails on that page

  10. #10

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    I have also been mostly lucky on ebay, but they're not particularly cheap. I've been less lucky in stores, I don't seem to find all the marvels that some people seem to find in antique stores, though I did have a couple of sensational finds (diorissimo and bandit parfum for less than $50). In general, on Ebay brands like Guerlain, Chanel and Dior tend to reach stratospheric prices. In other brands, sometimes one can find reasonable prices.

    As for what to try:
    Tabu: reference leather animalic oriental. This one was so common that it can be found for less than $20 on ebay, both in parfum concentration and in edc. Tabu is still available in stores for little, but the modern version is rather harsh, so make sure you get a truly vintage one.

    Caron: now mostly reformulated, but stuff like Narcisse Noir (already suggested), Tabac Blond, Bellodgia, etc. They tend to be expensive, though

    Chypres: since they are now severely restricted. Vintage Mitsouko, Coty Chypre, Diorella. Regrettably, other stratospheric prices. But stuff like Givenchy III (already suggested) sometimes is more reasonable.

    Finally, I'd recommend stuff by Cellier (Vent Vert, Jolie Madame, again, make sure it's vintage as they still exist), or other "difficult" perfumes like the already mentioned Shocking by Schiaparelli (rose, honey, animalics).

    cacio

  11. #11

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Thanks for all your suggestions, they're really helpful. I might wait a while before properly exploring vintage, but for now it will be nice to see what a few of them smell like

    4160Tuesdays, your website looks great and just what I was looking for. I'll have to have a look and pick some out!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Vintage My Sin will certainly give you an idea of what all the fuss is about, and can be gotten for not too much on ebaY, if you don't mind an already opened bottle (fwiw, a half-full bottle I bought smells divine). What is past recapturing that draws us to vintage? IMO it's the animalic ingredients. My Sin has loads of civet that make it an extremely sensuous aldehydic floral. It also has genuine sandalwood, whose creamy depth can't be duplicated.

    Good luck!
    What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!

  13. #13
    Basenotes Junkie anomie et ivoire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    One problem with vintage is the rare off fragrance; usually "squashed" smelling aldehydes. If the perfume color is not terribly dark (unless it was intended to be such) and the bottle has been stored in the box, it usually smells okay. I've blind bought hundreds of vintages, and only two of them have been off: Chanel No. 5 from the 1930s (unsurprising) and Quelques Fleurs edt from the 70s (stored under bright lights in an antique shop).

    You might be better off starting with late 60s through early 90s vintages (at least pre-IFRA up to the early 2000s).

    Minis are a good way of finding affordable vintage, especially in the strongest parfum concentration. Some find minis difficult to apply, so a funnel and atomizer for each scent might be worth the investment--I wash out and reuse mine with no trouble. The Perfumed Court and Surrender to Chance have semi-affordable vintage samples. 2 ml gives at least enough wears to become familiar with the scent.

    A decent intro to vintage might be:
    one Guerlain of your choice, one Caron of your choice, one older Dior, and one or two of Chanel, Balmain, Balenciaga, Lanvin, or Lancome. You could see which classics from these houses have notes that you like, since even if something is an agreed upon classic, you are not likely to think so if you hate the notes.

    here's what I'd choose: vintage L'Heure Bleue parfum, vintage Tabac Blond parfum, the oldest Arpege you can find, vintage Diorella, 70s First edp. And like cacio said, anything by Germaine Cellier.

    Since you live in the UK, you might have luck buying from eBay France?

  14. #14

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scent-imental View Post
    http://www.basenotes.net/group.php?groupid=79

    They should show as thumbnails on that page
    It says I have to be a registered member of your group to view them. Will NOT want to do that, too much hassle. Could you please tell me what you have, without pictures? (I saw your Wardrobe as per 30R's recommendation, it showed Mon Peche, Arpege and Norrell +27 more items).

    A group for members who are specialized in collecting discontinued and rare/special edition/limited edition fragrances.
    The purpose of this group is to share information about discontinued perfumes and help each other with questions.
    Also, to document any information regarding discontinued perfumes, such as olfactory pyramids and descriptions, (often included in the packaging).
    To create a list of all discontinued fragrances that have so far not been listed in the basenotes fragrance directory.
    The promotion of sharing/ sampling/swapping and selling rare and discontinued fragrances within the group.

    You need to be a member of this group to view its contents

    Last edited by Twolf; 29th September 2012 at 01:17 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    yellow cello, the problem with vintage is that you need to gamble a bit from times to times... also what exactly you are getting and whether it really suits your taste. I was (I hardly go vintage today) very lucky, but I know my taste and preferences very well. You need to sample and smell a lot, find common notes that you adore etc.etc. Having said this, I would recommend to you vintage sampling packs that contain several samples for one theme (e.g. vintage leathers, green chypres etc.), read a lo here in the review section. Go to the old reviews - there were very knowledgeable and experienced perfumistas sharing their impressions (vintagevogue, Purplebird, bbBd, if I get their names right now).
    One word about vintage - don't fool yourself with really old and dark juice. Depending on the perfume, you cannot expect e.g. certain floral notes to be intact after decades. E.g. Vol de Nuit, En Avion, also L'Heure Bleue if you care most for the florals in it, all age poorly (and anything prior to 1980) is most likely more than slightly off. Opened, unsealed or not full, possibly, not properly stored (offered without box) increases the risk of turned juice and or deteriorated notes dramatically. There are very very few perfumes that age so well like Shalimar Extrait does.
    Last thought - there are so many 'endangered' (but available) perfumes now that are sooner or later disappearing for sure (e.g. Guerlain's Sous le Vent, Vega, maybe Liu, Vetiver pour Elle is already discontinued) that you might want to find out what you really like giving you the chance to back up some private stock of perfume in perfect condition.

  16. #16
    Super Member Scent-imental's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Quote Originally Posted by Twolf View Post
    It says I have to be a registered member of your group to view them. Will NOT want to do that, too much hassle. Could you please tell me what you have, without pictures? (I saw your Wardrobe as per 30R's recommendation, it showed Mon Peche, Arpege and Norrell +27 more items).

    A group for members who are specialized in collecting discontinued and rare/special edition/limited edition fragrances.
    The purpose of this group is to share information about discontinued perfumes and help each other with questions.
    Also, to document any information regarding discontinued perfumes, such as olfactory pyramids and descriptions, (often included in the packaging).
    To create a list of all discontinued fragrances that have so far not been listed in the basenotes fragrance directory.
    The promotion of sharing/ sampling/swapping and selling rare and discontinued fragrances within the group.

    You need to be a member of this group to view its contents
    Ok, here we go.
    Shocking You by Schiaparelli
    1000 by Jean Patou
    Tweed by Lentheric
    Nuit De Noel by Caron
    Bellodgia by Caron
    Pheromone by Marilyn Miglin
    Tigress by Faberge
    Ambush by Dana
    Balenciaga Le Dix
    Possession by Corday
    Enjoli by Charles of the Ritz
    Chantilly by Houbigant
    Jontue by Revlon
    My Sin by Lanvin
    Tianne by Nettie Rosenstein (this one was a cream perfume and has gone kind of off)
    Al Di La by Fra Grande
    Coeur Joie by Nina Ricci
    Youth Dew by Estee Lauder
    Shocking by Schiaparelli (all over after bath cologne splash stuff, smells like it might have turned slightly)
    Floral Dawn by Max Factor
    White Sholders by Evyan
    Tailspin by Lucien Lelong
    Arpege By Lanvin
    Chanel No 5
    Norell by Norell.

    I have some minis, some unidentifiable stuff, and a couple of masculine colognes, and have sold 6 or 7 recently on Ebay. The Arpege is extrait, everything else is edt i think. Thats about all them i think.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Very nice, thanks.

  18. #18
    Cartoonish Royalty Le Grand Duc's Avatar
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    Default

    I adore vintage perfumes, and eBay is your friend.

    When starting with little money to spent, I'd go for
    the big houses like Chanel and Dior. They have always
    been big sellers, so, the market is flooded with lots of
    vintage goodies - some to be bought way cheap on
    the Bay.
    Givenchy, YSL and Guerlain are also good houses to
    start with, even though, vintage Guerlains often gets
    ridiculous prices at auction.

    Vintage delights - which are often somewhat cheap:

    Chanel No.5
    Miss Dior
    Poison
    Ysatis de Givenchy
    Rive Gauche
    Shalimar
    Arpège
    Ma Griffe

    Quote Originally Posted by donna255 View Post
    Usually its yard sales in the US you hear of people finding treasures ...
    ... or Danish flea markets!

  19. #19

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Thanks to all of you for your really helpful input. Today I ordered 1ml samples from 4160Tuesdays (thanks for providing such a great service) of the following (all EDTs)
    -Balenciaga Le Dix (1940s)
    -Coty L'Aimant (1920s)
    -L'Heure Bleue (1930s)
    -Mitsouko (1960s)
    -Lanvin My Sin (not sure when from)

    Can't wait to try them!

  20. #20
    Super Member Scent-imental's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Ooh Yellow Cello, all wonderful fragrances, i hope you enjoy them, and post your impressions here. I have My Sin, Le Dix, and i did have L'aimant too, all delicious.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Here are a couple of blogs where you can read more about vintage perfume:
    http://yesterdaysperfume.typepad.com/
    http://www.thenonblonde.com/search/l...tage%20perfume

  22. #22

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    My package from 4160Tuesdays arrived today - such a beautiful little package, with each sample wrapped in tissue paper, like a little box of sweets And she also added a couple of samples of her own creation. Thanks so much, I look forward to trying them!

  23. #23
    Super Member Scent-imental's Avatar
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    I am thrilled! I won a vintage Joy EDP unopened 1oz bottle today on Ebay. I like the current formulation, so I am expecting to love this.

    Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on your fragrances you chose yellow cello

  24. #24

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    So I've sniffed them in the bottle and am currently testing them on paper.

    Hmm...I wish I had the nose and vocab to say something more about these fragrances, but I'll do my best.

    Le Dix - I like the violet (a favourite note of mine) when I sniff it in the bottle, but on paper there's something sour and like bad soapy. Maybe it's off... I'll wait and see how it develops.

    Again, liked it to a certain extent in the bottle, but a bit sour-soapy on paper. Maybe I need to try this and Le Dix on skin.

    L'Heure Bleue - This is the one that most struck and intrigued me, and the only one I could see myself wearing (at the moment at least). I think I can smell lilac-y/hyacinth-y notes - which aren't notes I'd normally be drawn to, but I like them in this. There's a lightness and ethereal quality to it which I like. It does actually smell like twilight - a floral-herby garden that's been warmed in the sun during the day and is still releasing its fragrance.

    Mitsouko - I'm getting very strong iris from this. Iris is a note I haven't really come round to, so I don't think this is one for me at the moment. Good to smell it though

    Mon Peché - still got that sour-soapy thing (maybe I should use different paper??). Quite spicy. I don't think I like it but I'll keep trying it


    So, the winner at the moment is definitely L'Heure Bleue! At the moment, I dont' think I like the others, but it will be interesting to see if my tastes develop. They're so different to the perfumes I currently like. Which were probably mostly released in the past 10 years, so maybe it's not surprising that I'm not immediately drawn to these vintage perfumes! (with the exception of L'HB)

    Thanks for your advice, it's really helpful I'm looking forward to continuing my journey into vintage!

  25. #25

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Start with Shalimar, but know that it will all be downhill from there. Okay, L'Heure Bleue is fantastic, too.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    I went through the insane buying stage, where as a newcomer, I wanted to try all those classic perfumes at once. Then, with a string of disappointments, I calmed down and took a more measured approach with my purchases.

    After determining which vintage perfumes were written about with love and great enthusiasm, I slowly began sampling. I have found that minis are a really good way to get a taste of vintage without some of the risk associated with old, half used, treacle coloured bottles. Lots of them appear to have been kept in their boxes and therefore out of light and the extremes of temperature.

    A friend gifted me a small collection of minis and they formed a great beginning. I believe you need at least a couple of mls to really understand a perfume. This is what put me off getting samples. You really need to try perfumes more than once.

    Initially, they are sometimes so unusual that your nose is given a shock. A mere ml of some rare classic can cost a great deal, whereas if you track down an original mini, you get from 2-7.5mls depending on the brand.

    You soon get a feel for the vintage products from the big perfume houses. I found starting with the classics from Chanel, Dior, Rochas, Patou, Balenciaga, Guerlain, were a good way to start. You then get a feel of the notes you enjoy. The various classic perfume houses had a distinctive style in their perfumes. Once you become acquainted with them, you'll frequently find new ones you encounter, are just part of a family of fragrances that appeal on the basis of the first few you try.

    I found many of the older classics were so strong on civet that they didn't appeal. I was astonished that we used those perfumes back in the 60s and 70s and I wasn't aware of that strong animalic aspect.

    There are specialty mini perfume sellers who have new stock all the time. At least with a $10-$20 investment in a mini, over time you can afford an occasional bottle and build a collection. Once you're certain of your great loves, then it might be time to start trying to source full bottles.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Where to start with vintage?

    Hello Ladies!

    I just wanted to pass a long a great place to pick up perfumes, parfums and perfume bottles. You all have heard of Goodwill, well all Goodwill's from across the country take items of designer value and puts them up on a auction type website called www.shopgoodwill.com. If you search cologne,perfume,parfum or fragrances you can come across some really nice bottles, a lot vintage, of fragrances. They have some nice things up for bid right now! The only drawback is they ship by ups or fedex which is a little pricey, but hey your saving so much on perfumes it's worth it. I picked up an $85 dollar bottle of Dior Homme, full and unused for around $35!

    Give them a try!

    Best Regards
    Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity - COCO CHANEL

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