Tuesday, April 01, 2014

My Favorite 10 Limited Edition Perfumes

Limited edition perfumes are a controversial issue. We tend to get emotionally attached to our perfumes, and the idea that a certain bottle is predestined to be irreplaceable is annoying and sometimes offensive. Especially when it's nothing but a marketing gimmick that creates fake scarcity of redundant flankers. Occasionally, though, one of those flankers rises to the occasion and becomes something we hunt on eBay for unreasonable prices.

There are also limited edition perfume bottles that contain the regular juice. These are collectors items, like the special Shalimar above, but the juice is the same, so I'm ignoring them for this list.

Then there are the limited edition bottles that come from very small indie brands. Usually the scarcity is real here and is the result of using a rare and very expensive raw material (sometimes from a vintage stock that can't be replenished). These perfumes are usually not IFRA-compliant and the perfumers are well aware that they cannot recreate them, especially not on a large commercial scale.

Here are my top ten picks of these elusive gems (in no particular order):

Perfumer Andy Tauer has two of these on my list:
 *Orris. One of the best iris perfumes ever, the prohibitive cost of real orris butter made it impossible to produce in commercial quantities.
 *Dark Passage (from his Tableau de Parfums). Created to help fund an indie movie.

* Slumeberhouse- Zahd. An impossible and complex fragrance based on a rare cranberry concentrate that was released in a small 125 bottles edition that pre-sold within hours. If you ever wondered what's the smell of red velvet.

* Givenchy Harvest 2007 Amarige Mimosa. A rounder, kinder, and golden version of the original Amarige.

Turtle Vetiver Exercise No. 1.  A project by Les Nez and perfumer Isabelle Doyen that took vetiver to its extreme greenery. Two other vetivers followed: Back and Front, but the dry and grassy original is still my favorite.

*L'Eau d'Issey' Summer 2007 Pour Femme. Yes, I know, a L'Eau d'Issey flanker. But this one was not just green and crisp, but also quite unique. It was my sister's favorite and I was one of the suckers who bought every bottle they could find online to make sure she had enough for a while: it was the only perfume she wanted to wear while pregnant.

*L'Artisan Harvest- various editions of Iris Pallida, Fleur d'Oranger, and Fleur d'Narcisse. They were all delicate, almost fragile, very sheer and beautiful. The wood boxes added a nice touch.

* DSH Perfumes- Paradise Lost.  There are still a few bottles available of this magical perfume. Created for the Clarimond project, but has an intense life of its own.

*Scents by Alexis. Perfumer Alexis Karl works in very small batches and depends on the availability of the natural raw materials she uses. Some of them come from vintage sources and can't be replicated, while other perfumes are part of various art projects and are composed to accompany an exhibition or an installation.

* Parfums d'Empire- Musc Tonkin. I'm ending my list with one of the dirtiest creatures to appear in a perfume bottle. It came out as an extrait de parfum and knocked the wind out of many. I hear that it will be re-issued as an EDP soon, but I'm holding on to my parfum. I think it can prevent home invasions.

How do you feel about limited edition perfumes? What are you favorites?


  1. The whole title of limited edition bugs the crap out of me along with flankers. I love no. 19 in EDP form but I've never seen it (in the US) at perfume counters. I can only find it online as limited edition. A limited edition flanker that I love is Shalimar Ode de Vanille.

  2. Great choices! I also love the Aromatics Elixir 40th anniversary limited edition. Two other loves - DSH Mata Hari and L'AP Seville a l'Aube - began as LEs but I think have joined their regular lines. In any case, they are both still available, it appears. nozknoz

  3. Wonderful list. The ones on it that I've forked over the most significant amounts for on ebay are Andy's Orris and the L'Artisans. Zero regrets about what I've spent on Orris. But I usually try to stockpile LEs I know I love immediately so I'm not left later at the mercy of the fickle perfume gods of ebay. I don't mind LEs that are about limited quantity, rare components. I buy a lot of vintage perfumes and I think of LE perfumes as the same sort of thing - often unique, gorgeous and well, well worth it. Although, have to say that there are several Strange Invisible Perfume LEs I've absolutely adored, especially Elektrou and Tahitian Honey, that do actually sort of hurt my heart since they are so pricey that there is *no* way I can justify stockpiling them - hard enough to justify getting them at all, especially since it's difficult to even get samples of her LEs. Still, am glad she created them. It's perfumes that are sold only in specific locations that can cause me to imitate the somewhat unusual, guttural growl of one of our cats. Annoying.


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