Some month ago I posted a question on Instagram if I should open a vintage bottle of Guerlain Shalimar and Mitsouko. Most of the answers were: open those bottles! I opened the Shalimar bottle and posted a photograph during Christmas. I still haven’t opened the vintage bottle of Mitsouko perfume for some reason. Tara from A Bottled Rose inspired me to open the vintage Vol de Nuit pure perfume bottle with one of her posts on Instagram. I am enjoying Vol de Nuit while writing this article. It’s glorious, I am glad I opened it.
This made me wonder why was it so difficult to open this bottle of Vol de Nuit? What use is it to keep it in a box or special fridge and not enjoy it in all its glory? Are you not “supposed” to open vintage bottles when you collect perfumes?
What do you think? Do you open your vintage perfume bottles? Or would you open them?
Writing about fragrances can be tricky as you not always know which version you bought or have.* Some perfume houses claim their fragrances never change and have stayed the same since they were released and others are more open and honest about it.
But due to changing laws or self regulation certain ingredients in perfumes are no longer permitted. Essences have become scarce (even extinct) or due to financial reasons (to cut costs) fragrances are changed. Do not let any sales assistent tell you otherwise.
Personally I own older versions of Dior Dioressence, Dior Diorissimo, Dior Addict eau de parfum and Dior Diorella. Examples of scents which have been altered in the course of time beyond recognition. It is my opinion perfume bottles should have a date on them in order for a consumer to know which perfume version they are buying and if the formula has been changed.
If you go to the perfume counter and buy a completely different version of Dior Addict eau de parfum than the one you bought some years ago, are you being fooled ? Don´t you (as a consumer) have the right to know a formula or perfume has been changed ?
What do you think, do you have a right to know a fragrance was reformulated ? Have you bought a fragrance to find it was changed beyond recognition ?
The book Scent & Subversion is a small encyclopaedia of vintage perfumes with short but rather complete historic backgrounds, perfume notes and adds, giving a good idea of what some fragrances used to scent like before they were altered and why some of them were such ground breaking fragrances at their time. Barbara Herman published her book in 2013.
It is not a book you read as a novel but more from time to time when you want some information and insight in certain periods or learn about certain vintage perfumes, ranging from the Icons of Modernity Guerlain Jicky, Fougere Royale (1882-1919) to Water, Water everywhere CK One, L’eau D’Issey (1990-2000).
Scent and Subversion is a book for people starting to like perfumes or hard core vintage lovers looking for comprehensive information about certain periods or fragrances.
I love reading it from time to time when a certain fragrance pops up on Ebay/Dutch Marktplaats and find it an excellent resource.