Four favorites of mine:
Chanel Bois Noir
With the elimination of all that is good and holy in perfume- I thought it might be nice to compile a list of your favorite vintage scents. Those that seem to hold up well over time, in your experience.
Personally, I have several doozies;
Coty-Chypre (earliest version)
Caron- Tabac Blond, Narcisse Noir, Fleurs des Rocailles, Infini
Guerlain- Djedi, L'Heure Bleu, Après L'Ondée, Chamade, Mitsouko
Patou- The Ma Collection (from 1980's), Moment Supreme
Balmain- Madame Jolie, Ivoire, Miss Balmain, Vent Vert
Chanel- No. 19 EDP.
Givenchy Gentleman, Givenchy III parfum
Madame Carven, MaGriffe, Vert et Blanc
Dioressence, Miss Dior
Acqua di Parma Profumo
Houbigant- Quelques Fleurs
Ralph Lauren-Polo Green
This Fragrantica article poo-poos the practice of acquiring vintage. Me thinks the writer has been burned by some bad purchases. It is definitely a crap shoot. Not for the faint of heart.
The trick in buying vintage is to buy it sealed in the box if possible, or with the box, or at least one that's not too dark in color. I also try very hard not to overspend and get really caught up in the holy grail thing. I've only done it a very few times. And when I did, it was for VERY special sauce. And, I got pretty good deals, too. Sometimes the stuff may have been stored badly, I got burned on a $100 bottle of 'Deneuve'. It is rank- spoiled. I can't even give it away because I don't want someone to sell it. Another person will get ripped off. These are the risks of buying blind.
Last edited by kumquat; 16th February 2014 at 09:24 PM.
Four favorites of mine:
Chanel Bois Noir
Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.
Too many to mention. Just a few:
Guerlain Heure Bleue
I agree with what you say about buying vintage. it's always risky, and inevitably one gets bad deals sometimes, but most of the times, it's perfectly ok.
I disagree with Elena this time (though I usually do agree with her posts). Unfortunately, it's true and we know that vintage is always somewhat problematic, top notes go easily. But often, much of what made the perfume great is still there, and the current version, if existing, are so bad that they're worse than any damaged vintage.
I remember we had some posts on Dame's assertions already. and they are understandable by somebody who is trying to sell current stuff.
Of course, ideally we'd all like to buy new, perfect masterpieces from the past, but since they're not produced, one does what one can. If you will, it's like saying that since many ancient Greek statues are broken and not what the sculptor intended, we should not bother.
Cacio- What a perfect analogy! That's exactly right. These are slightly damaged works of art. Some are in better shape than others. I've had many that are in tip-top shape, luckily. (along with some duds.)
Most of those in my list are Parfums, BTW. Vent Vert & Ivoire are 2 that are fine in vintage EDT.
Last edited by kumquat; 17th February 2014 at 12:06 AM.
I only have these 3, but they are doozies
Guerlain Habit Rouge EdC clamshell bottle--wow, so good
Guerlain Vetiver EdC clamshell
Guerlain Shalimar EdC
Norma Kamali Incense! The top notes are toast, but who cares about top notes anyway when you've got this stuff
I too read the article on Fragrantica on vintages & (totally) disagree to many statements, considering that I'm a terrible nose - to me, it's "just" their opinion, most are perfumeurs & are businessmen too - I am not a perfumeur & will never know how perfume X made in 1970 was supposed to smell at that time & how a vintage bottle of the same, in very good condition smells today (from individual notes perspective, evolution of notes etc) - that analysis is useless to me. What matters is - does the scent smell good enough to make me buy it today, in spite of owning 300+ bottles; if yes I buy; if not, I don't. Hype on BN or fragrantica normally does not affect my decision much...
From what I own, these below, in their original formulations or recent vintage versions are "still" in excellent condition.
Bogart Furyo / PH / One Man Show / Bogart, Worth Pour Homme Haute Concentration, Eau Sauvage (if you are lucky to get a good version with no damage to notes, like I did), Equipage, Bel Ami, Chanel Pour Monsieur (again, lucky to get a travel duo in plastic bottles - juice in mint condition, probably late 80's version), Farouche, Gucci Pour Homme 1, the ever reliable Quorum, Aramis Aramis EDC spray (which is way stronger than many of today's EDT's), Revillon French Line, Arpege extrait, Jicky Extrait, Shalimar extrait, Caron Fleurs de Rocaille, Molyneux Vivre, Balenciaga PH, monsieur rochas, leonard PH, R de capucci, salvador dali 50ml splash, Monsieur Carven, Enrico Coveri PH, Oscar de la Renta Pour Lui, Paco Rabanne PH, Capucci PH, Trussardi Uomo, Diana de Silva Ettore Bugatti (Original), Givenchy Gentleman, Vendetta PH, Rochas Moustache, Schiapparelli Snuff in the vintage pipe capped splash bottle & many others...
I do have to thank immensely the selected few "reviewers" I follow on both BN & Fragrantica - they are amazing noses, humble people & I've found amazing vintages (& current parfums), thanks to their amazing, thoughtful reviews; my respect for them grows by the day...
Kumquat I absolutely agree with your advice in reducing the risk of buying spoiled vintage and some will hold up better than others. I have quite a few vintage fragrances and love them, yes the top notes on a couple have faded but it's the trade off you make for the goodness that lies in the mid and drydown. My valentines gift to myself was a bottle of Cuir de Russie parfum from the 1950's, sealed in box, deep golden hue and a just a bit of evaporation. The top notes are mostly still intact and the fragrance is superb, not bad for 60 years.
We live only to discover beauty. All else is a form of waiting. ～Kahlil Gibran
In the case of one of my vintage finds, Weil de Weil, I could even argue against deterioration being inevitable; it smells exactly as I remember the original bottle I was gifted in the the early 80s.
Yes, cacio, I agree with kimquat; the broken statue analogy is perfect.
What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!
Here's a tip, if you've had significant evaporation as I did in a wonderful 1920's bottle of Tabac Blond; put a small amount of 100 proof grain alcohol in to spiff it up. Add it slowly and test to satisfaction.
Another thing to remember is that the scents under pressure or especially in cans will be in very good shape.
I have some great Norell, Rive Gauche & EL- Private Collection sprays.
Last edited by kumquat; 17th February 2014 at 01:05 AM.
Zibeline! That has always eluded me! One day I hope to try it.
Can you give a description, please?
Last edited by kumquat; 17th February 2014 at 02:40 PM.
I've seen some very serious experts cringe at the idea of "vintage" perfumes. Their complaints are usually chemical - Given 5 or 10 years, citrus notes lose their brightness, while aldehydes start to smell more and more like vinegar. That being said, there are plusses as well - patchouli blooms over time into something wonderful. It's been conjectured that a big part of the "cult of oakmoss" among vintage perfume enthusiasts is oakmoss getting credit for what's actually the amazing smell of mature patchouli.
At a local store that's been around for ages, I've been able to smell side-by-side carefully preserved bottles from the 60's alongside new bottles of the same thing. The vinegar deterioration of the vintage bottles is quite obvious - there's a certain acidic dullness that marks "vintage" bottles. But, there's often a richness to the old formulations that gets lost in the brightness of current bottles. Without the distraction of bright topnotes, bases can feel thicker and more present.
As for vintage recommendations, I don't really have any. If anything, I'd suggest that paying a premium for the current extraits of classic perfumes will often get you the best of both worlds. No. 5, Joy, Mitsouko, and many others are AMAZING in their current extraits and I'd never want to trade away No. 5's legendary champagne aldehyde topnotes for a bit more oakmoss or some nitro musks that we know full-well are poisonous now.
Has everyone checked out my Top 100 Blog??
Rogalal makes good points.
But I don't agree that the current extrait is always better, at least post IFRA. I have not tried post IFRA Joy, but it seems hard to believe that one can create Joy without jasmine. (No 5 perhaps, the post-IFRA I tried was not as luscious as the old, but it was good on its own, as crisp and soapy as ever). And then there's the usual problem that for most frags, there are simply no current extraits.
Weil is an underrated house whose quality is on a par with Caron or Chanel.
My Weil collection includes:
Cassandra EdC (don't be fooled—this is potent and tenacious)
Antilope EdT and PdT
Noir unidentified concentration, tiny bottle and wears like an extrait
Weil de Weil PdT
Kipling, a masculine woody tobacco
Weil pour Homme, my only contemporary Weil, clean old school barbershop herbal
I had an ounce of the famed Secret de Venus bath oil, which I gleefully finished off in about 6 weeks, in the bath.
I also have Mollie Parnis, an intoxicating, sharp fruit and floral chypre that came out in 1978, branded Mollie Parnis, but by Weil according to perfume intelligence.co.uk. It was my signature for years, lost to me until the age of ebay.
What do insomniac perfumers do to fall asleep? They count chypres!
The Fragrantica article strikes me a momentary lapse in taste and reason from a writer whose work I actually respect a lot - can't think what happened there, even quoting the infamous 'Mr. Dreck' . . . I mean, really?
Whatever. These are 'older' ones I own that certainly perform beautifully despite going beyond this ridiculous '5 year limit' arbitrarily imposed by whoever.
Mitsouko PDT / EDT & Extrait (80's)
Shalimar (various Extraits 80's & 90's)
Habit Rouge (a decade+)
L'Heure Bleue (early 2000's)
Eau de Guerlain
Vol de Nuit EDC
Caron Pour Un Homme and Nuit de Noel (80's)
Yohji Homme (year of release) and last, but not least, several bottles of early 1980's Crabtree & Evelyn Mysore Santal EDT
Oh - and as of this morning, Helmut Lang Eau de Cologne - fresh, bright, crisp and just great thank you very much!
It's a shame Monsieur de Mouchoir and Sorcery of Scent don't post here these days - they have stuff going back decades that would seriously challenge the opinions of the writer of that article.
I've owned enough of them of all kinds and ages to know how good it feels knowing that if taken care of, anything I buy today will stay good until long after I'm here in physical form.
Guerlain and Chanel IMHO have been the two that I count on, their sourcing of quality primary ingredients as motto, tend to macerate much better.
I have dipped my toes in the vintage pool lately and have found that these perfumes really please me. cacio made a perfect analogy, as others have noted. The lack of top notes in some that I've tried is not an impediment to my continued interest in the older fragrances. Thus far my favorites are Shalimar, Vol de Nuit, Emeraude, and Je Reviens. I also have a small bottle of Dana Tabu which is very nice. I've been lucky and haven't been burned by sellers on ebay.
Haven't looked at the Fragrantica article, but I will soon. While I believe that Vosnaki is knowledgeable and well-educated, I do not enjoy her articles much as I find them cumbersome, pedantic, and irritating to read. Enjoyment of perfume, like any form of art, is subjective, and whether or not one likes brand-new or ancient, who cares?
It certainly was a puzzling lapsang souchong morning while reading Elena's, of all people, article this morning.
I was under impression she was particularly fond of vintage & seeking out vintage perfumes in little forgotten quaint perfume shops. Apparently I am mistaken.
I still find a lot of her articles & guides very valuable & enjoyable.
Regarding top notes, yes sometimes they go off & sometimes they don't.
I've, as soon of you have seen, acquired quiet a few goodies ranging from as far back as the late 70s the early 90s.
Yes, I haven't smelled them in their original state but recognizing citrus is not difficult.
This bottle of Diorella, around 20 years old now, is bursting with citrus.
I believe that Elena is not against vintage, but merely trying to generate discussion about why people should buy vintage, or not. Often, I think lots of people hold many misconceptions about vintage, and she was merely trying to demolish such misconceptions. Whether we agree or not with her assertions is another thing.
I am currently in the throes of a Shalimar bender that just won't quit. It is 30+ year old vintage extrait that I lucked into, sealed. I felt as such that it was worth the risk and cost. It is glorious. I can say with confidence that it is superior to current Shal extrait which to me is harsher up top and overall not as well-blended as this vintage of mine, which is smooth as silk and almost drinkable in its deliciousness.
Among the other beautiful vintages I own are
Chanel #5 eau de cologne. Again, superior IMO to the current edt. It is smooth, luscious, and roundly full of what can only be nitro musks.
Helena Rubinstein Heaven Sent
Coty Emeraude, L'Aimant, L'Origan
To be sure, I have acquired a clunker or two, among which L'Air du Temps which, though it came in a sealed box and a spray, is skunky and vinegary; ditto a Norell splash. The successes far outweigh the duds and I remain unconvinced that sourcing vintage scents isn't worth the risk.
"I felt something so intense, I could only express it in a perfume." - Jacques Guerlain
Elena follows up with another article, but on her own blog: http://perfumeshrine.blogspot.sg/201...-of-truth.html.