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 10:24 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 don't warrant or deserve other individuals' 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 01:06 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 02:05 AM.
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.
The author goes on at some length without even acknowledging the core problem for the industry: that many reformulations are widely regarded as crappy!
Thank you, kumquat, for starting this thread! I think it's valuable to share the names of successfully-preserved vintage perfumes, because I believe some notes and combination of notes are heartier than others. I bought a sealed, perfectly light-colored edc of Je Reviens and an open, light-colored Edeol by Lundborg of mysterious concentration that barely smell like anything and an opened parfum of Moment Supreme that (as we've discussed elsewhere) I suspect has gone off. Nonetheless, I've had some gorgeous windfalls too, such as:
Jean D'Albret's Casaque (parfum, used or evaporated, golden juice)
Weil's Zibeline (parfum, used or evaporated, dark juice)
Lanvin's My Sin (extrait, sealed, dark juice)
Richard Hudnut's Gemey (extrait, used or evaporated, medium to dark juice)
Revillon's Carnet de Bal (extrait, used or evaporated, medium to dark juice)
Ma collection of Jean Patou (edt, some used, some sealed, no difference)
Other than the Patous, I cannot say that they all have their top notes or are perfect, but they are all absolutely delicious on me, as is. And they were all blind buys, a risk in those cases that paid off. Beauty of bottle plays a role in my purchasing decisions as well. Virtually all my fragrances are in beautiful antique or vintage flacons with historical interest, so, as long as the outlay is not TOO high, even the duds have value to me.
When I joined BN , i haven't known anything about vintage perfumes and quite didn't care much . After one year I bought my first vintage scent ,just for my curiosity and the price was good. Since then ,I keep buying them, when the price is affordable.Unfortunately I have to disagree with some of the statements made by the author from Fragrantica . I give one example of a scent , probably the oldest from my small collection, which smells really good ,not like vinegar or nail polish remover. Monsieur Rochas EDC .... I think examples can continue.
I suspect Miss Elena is hoping to get us all to stop buying vintage so that she can keep them all for herself!!
I am quite infatuated with vintage fumes and can't imagine my perfumed journey without them at this point.
Here are a few favorites:
Bal a Versailles
Shalimar Vintage Extrait and EdC
L'Heure Blue Extrait
Weil Zibeline EdC
Weil Antilope EdC and Extrait
I've got more on their way to me, including Shocking de Schiaparelli and Lanvin My Sin, Joy, Eau d'Hermes and Cartier Panthere.
Do I think they are precisely as they were when originally formulated? No, I'm sure they aren't, but they are wonderful nonetheless.
My own collection includes Monsieur De Givenchy EDT and aftershave, of which the edt topnotes have suffered slightly,
Chanel A Gentleman's Aftershave, which puzzles me slightly as I can't really connect the scent with the current edt version,
YSL Pour Homme, which I do not actually like and wonder if it has gone off or if the vintage was supposed to smell this way ? (I like the current version),
small amounts of Escada Pour Homme (great, would like more)
Paco rabanne Tenere, which I am also fond of, kind of reminds me of Kouros,
Ungaro1 which I find perfect for certain occasions, some vintage Heritage, which is the epitome to me of opulence and one of my favourites, Nina Ricci Club, which I wear to freshen me up with it's citrus opening blast, though it can seem a bit "discordant",
Nina Ricci Phileas, which is unique (I am always reminded of one review which described the scent as reminiscent of a freshly cleaned ballroom floor) though it took a little time to warm to,
Fendi Uomo which I like very much despite the macho medallion man reviews it seemed to get. (maybe I can get away with it, not being the macho kind of man)
and last but not least Vintage Givenchy Gentleman, in EDT and aftershave, patchouli never smelled so magnificent.
Not sure if these all qualify as vintage and there are countless more that I haven't had the pleasure of trying but these are the ones that I feel can comment on.
* Should add vintage Kouros and Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, ultra classics that I would have no hesitation in wearing...
Feel free to talk about your losers. I think we need to keep abreast of the financial curve.
A couple I recall that were kaput-
Je Reviens-by Worth (dull, soapy)
Balenciaga- Le Dix, Quadrille (flat)
Balmain- Miss Jolie, Madame Balmain- EDTs (weak), Balmain de Balmain (dull)
Lanvin- My Sin (soapy)
Last edited by kumquat; 18th February 2014 at 12:22 AM.
I have been willing to take some risks buying vintages and have had both successes and failures. Ebay and thrift stores have been good to me. I treasure my vintage Diorella over the modern sampled in the shop, that is certain.
Other glorious vintages I've acquired: Le Dix, Le De, Le Temps D'Aimer, Mitsouko EDC, Audace, Bal a V, Robe D'un soir, Mayotte, Weil de Weil, Zibeline) .
Fails were: Magie, Madame Carven, Maxim's de Paris, Chapeau Bleu, Stradivari by Prince Matchiabelli, Yendi, Rive Gauche.
So many iconic scents escaped my nose in previous decades, so I can't really compare earlier versions with current. So, if I like the current one enough to wear, well.....I'll wear it. I've read posts lambasting reformulations of scents (Cabochard & Shalimar are often cited.) Posts like the juice from year xxxx is horrible ruined rubbish. Yet if one has not had the opportunity to experience "the good stuff' and likes the new stuff- must one eschew that pleasure? Will the perfume police haul me off ?Wearing the dreg version of Shalimar is still preferable to me than anything produced by Victoria's Secret.
This is another fine thread you've started kumquat. Many excellent posts!
A Scent Rescuer
Every great perfume deserves a good home
Of course, there are many versions of each scent and many circumstances. For instance, I have an original Rive Gauche from the 1980's in a can. It's great. Yours may have been the wrong formulation, or maybe it was stored incorrectly.
My current list of vintage favorites (most of them, also discontinued, these two categories tending the frequently overlap) is quite modest yet also eclectic, but I'll try my best to remember at least some of them:
Biagiotti Venezia and Venezia Uomo (both prior to their re-release)
Le Dix by Balenciaga
Julio Iglesias pour Homme
Yves Rocher Eau de Vetyver
Guy Laroche Horizon
Joint by Roccobarocco
the vintage versions of Yardley Gold and Yardley English Blazer
Fendi Theorema Uomo and Life Essence
a few scents by Faconnable, including Homme and Face a Face
Jacques Bogart One Man Show
the earlier batches of Polo Green
Slava Zaitsev Maroussia and Authentic Maroussia
surprisingly, also certain mass market offerings, more or less vintage (at least, not so readily available nowadays), like the vintage formulations of Brut, Old Spice, Puig Agua Brava, Sumatra Rain, also, the German budget male grooming brand Gammon, with the currently less available variations Cool Passion and Roman Nature
Preferred Stock (yet another comparatively affordable powerhouse)
Guerlain Habit Rouge
Last edited by Ken_Russell; 18th February 2014 at 01:29 AM.
Absolutely, it could be several reasons that Rive Gauche didn't appeal. Storage in heat is likely. Or, just not my type of notes? I should dig it out and retest...You never know
A Scent Rescuer
Every great perfume deserves a good home
Aldehydes are often problematic, so a RG stored in the heat may have ruined aldehydes. In any case, I think the current version is relatively close, so that's easy to see if one likes the thing or not. (and then there's also Calandre, arguably closer to the original formula).
I would say, read Elena's article carefully, and try to see her points as they are (and not to ascribe any particular hidden motive). Her points stand on their own: buy vintage free of the illusions/misconceptions that people tend to have.
Her thesis: "Now that I have caught your attention, dear reader, let's investigate why hawking over online auctions for mystifying bottles with dark liquids and tattered boxes may be a doubtful if entertaining hobby rather than an investment or an art lesson, as you might have originally thought." (Emphases mine.)
Some salient points:
Vintage perfumes age, but not always well.
Vintage perfumes do not represent with fidelity the original conception because of the ageing, and also because of possible improper storing.
Nowhere in the article does Elena actively opposes vintage simply because it is vintage; and such a stand would contradict what she is as a blogger where she has written very much on vintage.
In a way, a lot of the furore seems to be centred on the tone of the article, which is unfortunate, and that prevented a lot of people from actually reading the article completely and carefully. But I can also see a lot of vintage-lovers just get defensive, no matter how sensitive this topic can be handled.
Hedonist - I have that bottle of Diorella shown and it smells brand new to this day!
I just bought a full bottle of the original Derby and I am giddy to try it. All of the samples I've tried so far were perfectly preserved but I do have a miniature that has some barely sour top notes which blow away after 15 minutes or so.
I've yet to find a bum batch of Gucci's Nobile. I have a 30 year old bottle of Carven's Vetiver and I feel the citrus top must be diminished but is otherwise a beauty. My Chanel No. 5 cologne is a little off as well but I still enjoy it. I've got four vintages of English lavender by Yardley - the 50's version is slighly sour atop but far more floral and lush than the others, which are all (70's, 80's, and 2010) new-smelling. All of my old Royal Copenhagen scents held up great. But far and away my favorite oldie is currently a bottle of Norell cologne splash which could originate anywhere from '68-97 and it is stunning; nothing seems to have been lost with time.
"Strange things are afoot. I am one of them and I am up to another." -*^-'._.'-^*- - S.B.
I've had two bad experiences so far with purchasing vintage. One was a Vol de Nuit EdC which I'm pretty certain has lost it's top notes. The other was Antilope EdC which just has very little scent at all. I'd say EdC is the culprit, but I've got a number of those that have held up remarkably well. So, I think it's just storage, as Kumquat so often reminds us!
Well, this is going to look a lot like the list I compiled for lpp's thread about discontinued/cult fragrances, so please pardon the repeats, but most of my very favorites are discontinued as well as twenty or thirty years old, some even older. Many of them were brand spankin' new when I got them and grew "vintage" in my possession, actually, which is why I can not only vouch for their provenance, but can be sure about how they were kept, and also how the actual fragrance has held up ...which in all but two cases has been exceptionally well. I've also had very good luck with new-old-stock, which is, of course, the gold-standard when seeking out vintage perfumes (I rarely buy used, but I have inherited *dozens* of used bottles that have all been quite good.)
Guerlain Chamade, Nahema and Parure
Chanel Coco, No5, No19, No22 and Bois des Iles
Dior Miss Dior, Diorissimo, Dune and my latest lovely vintage acquisition, Diorling (70s parfum)
Gucci No1, Gucci No3 and L'Arte di Gucci
Royal Copenhagen Flora Danica
the original Calvin Klein for Women
EL Azurée, Aliage, Private Collection, Youth Dew and Knowing
K de Krizia
Mystère de Rochas
Avon Topaze and Occur
Molyneux Quartz and Vivre
Patou 1000 and Sublime
Yves Rocher 8e Jour
Ralph Lauren Lauren, Safari and Tuxedo
YSL Paris, Opium and Rive Gauche
the original Oscar de la Renta
Jean Marc Sinan Sinan
Givenchy Ysatis and Givenchy III
Balmain Vent Vert, Miss Balmain and Ivoire
Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. ..Carl Sagan