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  1. #1
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    Default Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Hello Basenotes Friends

    I’m starting this topic in the hope of regaining some of my perfume brio, which has been lacking lately.

    Vintage nips are really fun, especially when I realized that they are not usually made of glass, but an early form of plastic, plastene. You break off both ends (or nothing will come out) and apply. There’s a surprising amount of perfume within each vial.

    There are many different presentations. At some point in the 1950’s, nips were packaged in sparkly plastic tubes like these:

    6056A96D-C473-429F-8830-CB798F348CB6.jpeg



    Small cardboard tubes emerged from vending machines like these wonderful example (with attached napkin holder!).

    961D4114-5C49-4F03-AEE2-DD3CEDF2F0D5.jpeg


    Plastic boxes of nips were used as promotional gifts for car dealerships, insurance companies, banks...

    D013E17A-0E4F-4CB5-A73B-02AF38AF9575.jpeg


    One source of nips are educational sets known as Perfume Typers, which contain tubes of generic nips by type and a box of labeled known perfumes, organized by type. Identifying the perfume in the generic tubes is a deep mystery that I have long pondered...did the “Forest Blend” come from a generic vat? Is it a known perfume? Which one?

    Grace Hummel/Cleopatra’sBoudoir/Fetishfor Perfume has, as is her wont, an extensively researched article on nips here:
    https://cleopatrasboudoir.blogspot.c...me-typers.html

    Barbara Herman wrote a fun post on nips here:
    https://yesterdaysperfume.typepad.co...t-history.html

    Most of the perfumes found in nips are deeply obscure feminine vintages. I have found Schiaparelli Shocking and Lanvin My Sin in nips but these seemed to be filled with the cologne or a watered down version that did not provide any indication of how exceptional these perfumes can be, from a good vintage bottle.

    For these posts, I will open and test a nip and try to document what I can find about the scent.
    If you have some vintage nips around, or if you know the perfume in other forms, or if you just want to comment, please do join in. And stay well, safe and sane all

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Esperanto (1955) Lanier

    Attachment 122302

    There is little information to be had about the Lanier perfume company which released a group of perfumes in 1955 that are very well represented in nip collections. I’ve never seen a full sized bottle of Esperanto or any other Lanier perfume for sale. Perhaps all they ever made were nips and small miniature bottles?

    Named for a universal language, Esperanto did not entirely win me over. A hesperidic (lemony) and soapy top develops into notes of orange blossom and possibly lilac. There are a good deal of effervescent aldehydes in this composition that tickle the nose. The base has a dry woodiness, and the overall effect is prim and dainty.

    The Basenoter Jack Twist found rose and warmth in Esperanto but I did not, sadly.

    Sunday update...

    Update: I could still smell Esperanto in my elbow the next day. Why was longevity so readily available possible in and not today? I realized that I should look up Esperanto in the Perfume Guide in my kit, and learned it was classified as a Fruity Bouquet. That was puzzling until I read that Fruity Bouquets include perfumes with “clean fresh citrus notes” as well as those with a “smooth, mellow, peachlike warmth. And I did find Esperanto to be quite citrus-y.
    Last edited by grayspoole; 5th April 2020 at 08:48 PM.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    I have never come across a nip. This looks like a fun project.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    I recently went on a Nip-bidding binge on eBay -- and lost every single lot that I had bid on!

    Now I'm giving you the side-eye, Grayspoole, and wondering.....

    But seriously, I've had several batches of Nips in the past, and thoroughly enjoyed them. But like you, I found that the more illustrious names were pretty much shadows of their famous selves.

    And wasn't Lanier the Texas company that put out one of the obscure scents we sniffed in that Fragonard pass that Epapsiou did a couple of years ago? I'll go look that up right now.

    Edit: No, I was misremembering. It was Lenel that was a Texas company, on which you yourself did a great deal of research for that thread.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Etsy dealer GrandmasTopDrawer is selling this amusing PR letter from Lanier, dated December 3, 1952:

    LanierLetter.jpg

    My favorite part: "We have been told that this exotic fragrance, 'folie de minuit'—which incidentally translates into 'midnight madness' in English—is perhaps too sensual and alluring for American women."

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by Bavard View Post
    I have never come across a nip. This looks like a fun project.
    Nips ARE Fun! It’s very liberating—open, test, and move on. I have duplicates of many of these so let me know if you would like to try something.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    I recently went on a Nip-bidding binge on eBay -- and lost every single lot that I had bid on! Now I'm giving you the side-eye, Grayspoole, and wondering.....
    Well...I may have outbid you, Cook.bot, a while ago, but I haven’t purchased more nips in some time. I told myself, “No more nips until you try the ones you have!”

    Quote Originally Posted by PStoller View Post
    Etsy dealer GrandmasTopDrawer is selling this amusing PR letter from Lanier, dated December 3, 1952:

    My favorite part: "We have been told that this exotic fragrance, 'folie de minuit'—which incidentally translates into 'midnight madness' in English—is perhaps too sensual and alluring for American women."
    What a great find! Thanks for posting! Lanier seemed to have the marketing angle down to a science. I do have some Folie de Minuit nips so I will be sure to warn my DH when I test this dangerous composition!

    But where did all the full size Lanier bottles go? Or did they ever exist?

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by PStoller View Post
    Etsy dealer GrandmasTopDrawer is selling this amusing PR letter from Lanier, dated December 3, 1952:
    Love the typeface on the house's logo. Clever marketing too, practically daring the customer to use the perfume.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by grayspoole View Post
    But where did all the full size Lanier bottles go? Or did they ever exist?
    I couldn't find one. Best I came up with was a mini in a box. Like you, I'm having doubts they ever existed, though the marketing campaign naturally implies they were a bigger deal than it seems they actually were.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    That's so cool! I have never seen or heard of these before. As they look to be single use, I imagine vintages are hard to come by?
    Currently wearing: Hard Leather by LM Parfums

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceRF View Post
    That's so cool! I have never seen or heard of these before. As they look to be single use, I imagine vintages are hard to come by?
    I may be wrong, but I don't think they make nips anymore, in which case they'd all be vintage. They serve as a relatively inexpensive way to try certain vintage fragrances.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Envoy Lanier (1955)

    Reaching into one of my boxes of nips, I pulled out at random yet another Lanier composition from 1955. Did I mention that any box of vintage nips always seems to contain a full assortment of Lanier scents?

    I liked Envoy much better than Esperanto. It has a rich, almost chewable, perfume peach opening (aldehyde C-14) that reminded me of Femme, Diorama, Quadrille and other similar mid-century fruited florals/chypres. Envoy evoked memories of these much better perfumes, but it lacked complexity and a distinctive character of its own. In the vintage Perfume Guide, Envoy is classified as a “Spicy Bouquet” but I did not perceive a strong presence of spices such as clove or cinnamon. Envoy has modest longevity, with a drydown featuring dry sandalwood and (perhaps) some oakmoss

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceRF View Post
    That's so cool! I have never seen or heard of these before. As they look to be single use, I imagine vintages are hard to come by?
    Quote Originally Posted by PStoller View Post
    I may be wrong, but I don't think they make nips anymore, in which case they'd all be vintage. They serve as a relatively inexpensive way to try certain vintage fragrances.
    I agree: perfume samples are no longer put up in nips. Grace Hummel’s research suggests they appeared in the 1920’s. I think they disappeared in the early 1970’s.

    It’s not hard to find nips but don’t overpay. With rare exceptions, such as Schiaparelli’s Shocking, Caron’s Bellodgia, or Lelong’s Indiscret, you will not find highly sought-after vintages in a box of nips, but they are still a fun way to try vintage mass market scents.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Carnation Mary Chess? 1935

    Good morning friends!

    My nip-o-the-day is labeled “Carnation” and could be a sample of Mary Chess’ Carnation perfume, launched in 1935. In the interest of accurate scholarship, I will mention that the Perfume Guide included in one of my boxes of nips lists Carnation with THREE different manufacturers, with no indication of how to distinguish them—Mary Chess, Garlands, and Patricia Murphy. I have many nips that are definitely Chess, such as Yram, so I am going with Mary Chess for this Carnation.

    EDF9EB8B-B653-44A5-9368-837B89B96972.jpeg

    Because I just love Mary Chess, AKA Grace Mary Chess Robinson. Born to privilege, she nevertheless was a “can do” person of great energy and many talents. Check out Grace Hummel’s excellent overview here

    https://cleopatrasboudoir.blogspot.c...-perfumes.html

    In 1966, Chess contributed the essay, “Flowers and Perfume,” to The Herbarist, a publication of the Herb Society of America, which was established in 1933. The Herb Society’s founders, a group of accomplished New England women gardeners, were convinced that the traditional knowledge of herbs and their uses in gardening, cooking, and medicine was disappearing in the modern era and needed to be preserved.

    Chess provides a succinct historical survey of perfumery and discusses how natural and synthetic ingredients are used to make perfumes. Dispelling popular misconceptions that persist even today, she writes, “No, perfumes aren’t made by throwing a bit of leather into a pot of boiling water, or stewing up flower petals in some way.”

    While describing the crucial role of “Aromatic Chemicals” as “indispensable” complements to natural ingredients in modern perfumery, Chess emphasizes the importance of sourcing the best naturals. After selling her business, she was shocked to see that the “so-called perfume chemist” who was hired to go over her formulae had written that a natural essential oil could be obtained “from any reliable firm” going on to say “It had taken us fifteen years to find the source of each particular oil that best suited our formula—no matter how reliable another firm would be, no other would do.”

    So what do I think of my Carnation nip? It’s a very good carnation soliflore, very natural smelling and delightfully balanced between sweet and sharp, with peppery, clove, floral, and green nuances. It has a wonderful depth, and the notes have a kaleidoscopic quality. Dianthus or garden pinks, the type of carnations with a scent, are lovely plants, with a blue-tinged foliage. They like well drained soil so they grew better in my Colorado garden than here in Pennsylvania, but I enjoy them very much. But dianthus are low-growing, so you would have to lie on the ground and bury your face in them to smell them as powerfully as in this lovely perfume composition.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  14. #14

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful thread and the stunning visuals with us.
    While not familiar with the concept till now (and thus frankly until first reading this very thread), have subsequently noticed as well that this application/storage method of scents combines a certain tradition with practicality/handiness. Even more impressively, most if not all of the vintage scents seen and shown here are true fragrance landmarks, classics and must haves.
    Currently wearing: G. Bellini X-Bolt by Lidl

  15. #15

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Grayspoole, thanks so much for starting this thread!
    I love the Mary Chess biographical information. She was quite a person and ahead of her time. I think she would be pleased with the modern efforts of independent perfumers and the widespread appreciation of heirloom and small grower botanicals.

    I’m sharing some pics of part of the nips I have and some additional info here. It has been fun wearing, cataloguing, and pretty much playing with my small collection of nips.

    Here’s a nip of Lanier Esperanto and a penny for scale.

    3006F4CA-23DA-4358-B0C5-B00F3BF2602F.jpg

    Below is a perfume typer. As grayspoole mentioned they come with 7 tubes and a “bonus box”. The nips in the tubes are grouped into fragrance types and are only indentifiable by the color code on the tips of each nip, while the bonus box nips are imprinted with the fragrance names as well as being color coded. This typer is missing the “spicy blend” tube.

    C73CCB7A-A218-44E6-B2ED-E2E79C361A01.jpg

    You can see that the “oriental blend” tube below contains a single color coded fragrance. These small tubes would generally include enough for 5 or so wears as that is the suggested number for typing.

    655F76CE-5D75-4F2F-8E47-D1642564B181.jpg

    One of the great little items I love that is included in the perfume typers and the Scentury Packs (next post) is the Perfume Guide. The Guide includes some brief perfume history, instructions on choosing and using perfumes, using a perfume typer, index of manufactures, descriptions of the seven basic perfume types, and an index of perfumes by type, It is a nice booklet to get an overview of what fragrance and manufactures were getting some attention in the market as well as dating sets by releases included in the guide.

    Here is the cover and a page from the perfume manufacture’s list, and below that the instruction page for the typer and index of perfumes by type. I didn’t include all pages here. If anyone wants them then PM me and I can send you images, or perhaps there is a place for such resources to be posted

    4B6382EB-CF6E-4E5D-873D-53846190C437.jpg
    5B99AEF9-99FE-4A50-8DE0-0FCE63D86173.jpg

    Although the typer tubes contain unmarked nips, some sets come with a postcard to return back to the Nips company offering a bonus tube of perfume that reveals the brand names of the mystery fragrances. The instructions in the pictured guide refer to looking up the unlabeled nips in the booklet after sampling but there is no color code list published.

    I’m suspecting that this typer activity was not driven by the big houses because I doubt they needed that kind of method for customer enrollment so suspect that these mystery scents are from up and comers. Also the booklet states that typing necessarily needs to be done blind, without regard to house name, popularity, etc. Hmm...

    Ive still some perfume sleuthing to do to see what clues can be got from Grace Hummel’s lists.
    ”I want all the perfumes”
    Currently wearing: Oud Palao by Diptyque

  16. #16

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Nips for general use - not typers, were available both imprinted and unimprinted.

    Here is a Scentury Pack. I like these sets because some of the more premium (relatively) fragrances are included and there are lots of them. They also come with the Perfume Guide and a nice little travel tube for your purse. I was very happy to find a few nips of Roger and Gallet Blue Carnation included in this set.

    BD7F95C8-E074-4303-BF03-CEE63563300D.jpg

    Lots of businesses and attractions had custom labeled mini sets of “Famous Name Perfumes”. This “DeLuxe Purs Pak” is from the Seattle Space Needle and contains slightly smaller nips (see imprinted is for comparison), as most of these small packs did, and a color code guide to the 10 included fragrances.

    In the pic below you can see the larger imprinted nip from the Scentury Pack. I believe these are the same size as those labeled “King Sized Bottlettes”.

    30CBF062-5ADC-406A-915B-9E198F84594B.jpg
    A9D5F587-E154-4962-835F-24A22956EDF8.jpg

    OK - now on to actually sampling!
    ”I want all the perfumes”
    Currently wearing: Oud Palao by Diptyque

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by Earlyn View Post
    Grayspoole, thanks so much for starting this thread!
    You are so welcome! I hope it is fun for all. And thank you for posting all of the wonderful photos and information.

    Living through Covid-19 (and the workload needed to adapt my university’s curriculum and services for remote delivery) have left me unable to think about anything weightier than a nip.

    Quote Originally Posted by Earlyn View Post
    Although the typer tubes contain unmarked nips, some sets come with a postcard to return back to the Nips company offering a bonus tube of perfume that reveals the brand names of the mystery fragrances. The instructions in the pictured guide refer to looking up the unlabeled nips in the booklet after sampling but there is no color code list published.
    I fear the unmarked Typer tube nips will haunt me forever. Perhaps we will be able to figure out the contents together!

    I look forward to reading that your testing notes soon.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Golden Chance 1948 Harriet Hubbard Ayer

    Happy Saturday!!

    After plucking it from the box, today’s nip provided many wonderful surprises and discoveries.

    Almost masculine in feeling initially, I found Golden Chance to be a vivid composition with chypre nuances. It has a strong bergamot top note, some oakmoss, and a slightly animalic nitromusk base. The floral notes are well blended, and primarily suggest LOTV, jasmine, and orris. In the late drydown, Golden Chance developed into a creamy and waxy makeup scent.

    DA111B2F-0CD7-47DE-A256-40576D768CC0.jpeg

    Looking up the source, I was thrilled to learn about yet another pathbreaking beauty entrepreneur, Harriet Hubbard Ayer (1849-1903). The fact that Golden Chance was issued long after Ayer’s death didn’t prevent me from exploring her history. An excellent survey of Ayer’s life and career, and the perfume company founded after death appears here:

    http://www.perfumeprojects.com/museum/marketers/Harriet_Hubbard_Ayer.shtml

    Ayer’s 1889 book on beauty, A Complete and Authentic Treatise on the Laws of Health and Beauty, is available as a free pdf on Google Books. If you are as obsessed with vintage beauty culture as I am, you really cannot miss this delightful book, packed with deep and often dubious wisdom on “The mortification of women with beards and moustaches” and “Depraved women [are] never truly lovely.” There is a well-informed chapter on perfumes, with recipes for DIY toilet waters and sachets. Ayer recommends light floral soliflores of violet or heliotrope, warning that “A high bred woman does not associate herself with musk or patchouly [sic]” (454).

    And you can enjoy Victorian makeovers like this one (a photo of Miss Frankie Jay’s final swanlike beauty is in the book):

    B23F92EE-0F5E-4F19-8C1C-B7DFD2B642CC.jpg

    I have seen Harriet Hubbard Ayer perfumes, but never took the bait. Now I am fascinated by her biography and eagerly awaiting the arrival of this book:

    Blaugrund, Annette, Dispensing Beauty in New York and Beyond: the Triumphs and Tragedies of Harriet Hubbard Ayer (2011)

    Hope you are all well and enjoying your weekend

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by grayspoole View Post
    “A high bred woman does not associate herself with musk or patchouly [sic]” (454).
    You do find the most amazing stuff, Grayspoole.

    It's a pity that Harriet Hubbard Ayers didn't instruct Miss Frankie Jay on how to deal with a unibrow.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    It's a pity that Harriet Hubbard Ayers didn't instruct Miss Frankie Jay on how to deal with a unibrow.
    Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Frankie Jay...after six weeks of beautification.
    E9E50D87-A312-4ED4-8145-0AA4C156F1D9.jpg

    We all agree this was a set up, right?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    I’m wearing Esperanto by Lanier this morning.
    First off it smells very vintage. I do not get much lift in the opening. There are flowers, fruit, and a slight spice/bitter note. I detect the fruitiness as a fleshy non-floral slight sweetness along the lines of a not ripe apricot. There is some sharp oiliness underneath. It smells like clove but might just be a spicy flower, or peel.
    I can’t pick out individual flowers but the bouquet seems familiar, formal, and of the rose jasmine type. Nothing smells exotic to me.
    The flowers don’t seem to be the focal point, but work as a balance.

    I’m waiting to see what direction this takes later and if there are any nice surprises. I would expect some vanilla in a perfume with this name.
    So far the overall not too sweet, not too spicy, not too floral arrangement fits the universality concept of Esperanto, which may or may not be a plus in the case of perfume.
    Nothing here to offend but not really anything to wow either.
    ”I want all the perfumes”
    Currently wearing: Oud Palao by Diptyque

  22. #22

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by grayspoole View Post
    Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Frankie Jay...after six weeks of beautification.

    We all agree this was a set up, right?
    Ha! Of course.
    I like how they made her raise her eyebrows to create a forehead wrinkle and then made it disappear. Women weren’t really that gullible were they?
    ”I want all the perfumes”
    Currently wearing: Oud Palao by Diptyque

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by grayspoole View Post
    We all agree this was a set up, right?
    One photo session.

    No way it took six weeks to do her hair.

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Women weren’t really that gullible were they?
    You must not be following Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Goop' blog very closely.

    Quote Originally Posted by Earlyn View Post
    Ha! Of course.
    I like how they made her raise her eyebrows to create a forehead wrinkle and then made it disappear.
    6-week Makeover Regimen:

    1. Avoid surprised expression and elevated brows.
    2. Tweeze/wax
    3. Remove spitcurl

    "Why, Miss Frankie... you're... you're beautiful!"

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by Cook.bot View Post
    You must not be following Gwyneth Paltrow's 'Goop' blog very closely.

    6-week Makeover Regimen:

    1. Avoid surprised expression and elevated brows.
    2. Tweeze/wax
    3. Remove spitcurl

    "Why, Miss Frankie... you're... you're beautiful!"
    GooP makes these old beauty guides look legit.

    No telling if they actually unblackened that “missing” tooth, since Frankie never smiled again.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Envoy by Lanier this morning. The juice In this nip is fresh looking and the tube has cherry red ends. I'm noting the color ends as I test in hopes of eventually figuring out the identity of those mystery nips in the typer tubes.

    I get a warm moist opening - contained florals with no real greenness, over a little fruit. It quickly gets lighter and more diffuse, and starchy. Starchy to me is like paring a diffuse powder feel with a dry and mild sweet taste. There is a lilting perfumed, preserved foodiness. I agree with the similarity to femme that grayspoole mentioned here. The fruit seems sustained to me even as Envoy moves to the dry down where the fruit is joined by a slightly waxy snuffed candle note and light wood.

    Much later I think I smell some smooth vanilla coming in and the fruit finally fades, giving way to a familiar unsweetened rootbeer or sarsaparilla or slightly anise note that I keep running across very late in vintage dry downs and have yet to identify. This is a cosy, warm and dry fragrance for most of the progression. Warm breath pulls up more fruit but no hint of an earlier top. The middle and especially the dry down are very nice to me, and although Envoy is not outstanding among similar vintages, it seems well composed and worthy of wearing.
    ”I want all the perfumes”
    Currently wearing: Oud Palao by Diptyque

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Dear Earlyn, I enjoyed your notes on Lanier Envoy (1955). We seem to agree that it was spicy warm perfume-fruity all the way through, pleasant but not especially memorable. I have a few more Envoy nips, so perhaps I will try to wear it side-by-side with Femme, Quadrille et. al. to compare and to see if Envoy has any specific virtues. My Envoy nip also had red tips at both ends.

    I am now photographing each nip as I open it, and I will make notes of the tip colors. I am resigned to never knowing the identity of the nips in the generic tubes, but I fully support your efforts to solve these deep mysteries.

  28. #28

    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    OK, as we figure out a test order I'm going to catch up with Carnation, by Mary Chess (or others).
    This nip has white/gold ends.

    Well, this is a very yummy carnation! Reminds me of when I was a flower girl at my older sister's BFF's wedding. She had all her bouquets done up in carnations and I ate mine after the ceremony was over. This is sweet/spicy balance, like fresh sugared petals along with a hint of those narrow green leaves. The spice tends towards a cinnamon rather than pepper as it is not so sharp and adds some warmth to the coolness of the floral note. It isn't a cloying sweetness but it makes me want to lick my wrist. I haven't had much opportunity to test fragrances where carnation is the star. This is well done. I'd like to see how it stacks up to Roger and Gallet's Blue Carnation.
    Last edited by Earlyn; 19th April 2020 at 12:00 AM.
    ”I want all the perfumes”
    Currently wearing: Oud Palao by Diptyque

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by Earlyn View Post
    Well, this is a very yummy carnation! Reminds me of when I was a flower girl at my older sister's BFF's wedding. She had all her bouquets done up in carnations and I ate mine after the ceremony was over.
    Love this!

    I'd like to see how it stacks up to Roger and Gallet's Blue Carnation.
    I’m curious to know too. I don’t think I have any Blue Carnation...

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    Default Re: Vintage Nip-a-palooza

    Quote Originally Posted by Earlyn View Post
    She had all her bouquets done up in carnations and I ate mine after the ceremony was over.
    OMG, I used to eat carnations when I was a little kid too! I didn't know anybody else did that.




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