Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Souvenir From The Past




My interest in vintage perfume started a few years ago, when I realized that things no longer smelled the way they used to. The solution was, naturally, eBay, where I found myself searching, bidding, sniping and often losing auctions to other perfume nuts (like the sealed bottle of Fath Iris Gris I lost to Patty of Perfume Posse) with the same mission and obsession.

A couple of the more interesting items one can find on eBay are old collections of micro-mini perfumes from the 60s and 70s. As far as I know, they were sold as souvenirs on duty free carts during flights from Paris. These boxes often contain the pure extrait de parfum version of then-popular scents, ones that either vanished completely or have been horribly reformulated.

I got this one a couple of years ago, at the beginning of my vintage journey, and it took me a while to warm up to these scents and get them. Each tiny bottle held about 2 ml extrait, most of them are actual miniatures of the original.

Fath de Fath (Jacques Fath)- This was probably the reason I wanted this set. I was (still am) very curious about the legendary fashion and perfume house of Jacques Fath. The problem was that the top notes are completely dead (there was probably quite a bit of citrus there) and at first I thought the perfume has turned. Once I actually gave it some time, I discovered some of what hides under the rubble. There's a robust floral heart and a dark chypre base. It feels formal and formidable. Not sure about wearability, but since I have a full sealed bottle coming (of the vintage, not the reissue), one that hopefully was better stored and have retained more of its glory, I'm going to find out soon enough.

Fidji (Guy Laroche)- The 70s in a bottle. I remember playing as a kid with a bottle of Fidji my mom had around the house (a gift from a someone well-meaning but utterly misguided. She wore nothing but the original Chloe) and probably used to clean light switches and the telephone receiver. Other than time travel to my childhood, Fidji is also green and sweet, a happy scent from an era when you could evoke a tropical feeling without the smell of a pink drink and cheap suntan oil. Just add a silk pareo. The current reformulated EDT smells like the vintage parfum's poor and trashy cousin.

Magie (Lancome)- A sweet floral with more than a little animalic base. Some of the top notes are gone, but there's still enough here to enjoy. It's a bit too lush to be considered polite, which makes it a lot of fun, at least in theory. I wouldn't dare wear this version of Magie in public, but it might be just my skin chemistry. Jasmine is rarely my friend.

Empreinte (Courreges)- The big surprise in this collection. I knew close to nothing about Courreges Parfums and never heard of Empreinte before the little gold bottle landed here. I loved it from the very first sniff. It starts dry and peppery and has a hint of smoke, almost BBQ like somewhere in the heart, which would have put me off if not for the beautiful leathery drydown. It could easily be considered a masculine nowadays. I saw new bottles online of an EDT, but have never come across one in person, so no idea how they compare. Might be worth checking, though, because Empreinte is a great scent.

Climat (Lancome)- My sister had a bottle of the EDT in the very early 90s, but rarely (if ever) wore it. She was more into heavy orientals while I preferred big chypres, so Climat was quite neglected in its modest aldehydic non-glory. I never really got the point of this perfume until I smelled the vintage extrait and discovered it had nice cheekbones and a lot more character than I've assumed, but it's still not me. I suspect my sister would like it better nowadays, especially in the EDT (Sis, if you're reading this, ask mom what she's done with the bottle).
both photos are mine

1 comment:

  1. if I wasn't 3400 miles away I would so be at your door to sniff these..

    ReplyDelete

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