Thursday, May 08, 2014

The Blue Bird Of Happiness

Being on the hunt for vintage perfume means different things to different people. Some are looking for their discontinued or badly reformulated holy grail in its original formula, while others collect perfumes from certain houses. There are people who are all about the bottles, chasing exquisite Lalique or Baccart creations, sometimes focusing on a specific time period. Some collectors go for the big names: Chanel, Coty, Guerlain, Dior, but as prices have risen over the last five years it's easier to find and afford treasures from second and third-tier names, and even past cheap thrills. I've been through just about any of these stages at some point, but more than anything, I'm led by my curiosity. I want to find and smell everything.

But even as I scour the flea market for vintage perfume bottles I always have a dream of finding something so wonderful, rare, and precious. Preferably still sealed in its original box. If I could only have that one...

The thing is that I'm not entirely sure what that one may be. Of course, I do want a full size bottle of Iris Gris, but how dare I even dream about it when I still have a few drops of it in a mini bottle. That's more than enough in perfume karma terms. And I've smelled vintage Djedi, which is in itself a dream come true, so how greedy can I be? (Very, actually). One can never have too much vintage Mitsouko, Shalimar or Parure, and the same goes for Chanel Cuir de Russie (but how about other Cuir de Russie perfumes? Guerlain and other houses also had their own) and Chypre de Coty (or  La Rose Jacqueminot). But there are also so many perfumes I've never even smelled... Would any of them become the Blue Bird Of Happiness?

Right now I'm pretty certain that the 1946 Dingo by Piguet could be the jewel in my crown. The crazy name alone is worth it, not to mention the possibility that it's a Germaine Cellier creation.Robert Piguet in general is always on my Most Coveted list (add vintage Bandit to the "can never have enough" column). Révolte by Lancome, the grandfather of my beloved Cuir, is another one, and don't even get me started on original formulas of every Jean Patou perfume. I could go on and on.

How about you? Are you chasing The One? The One that got away? What vintage find would bring you untold happiness?

Image: The Blue Bird Of Happiness, designed by Elsa Williams, 2013, via


  1. I would love to buy Helena Rubinsteins Apple Blossom.
    I loved it when I was a little girl and I have seen it on Ebay but I have never won it! Rrrrr
    I want to see if it still holds that "something" that it did when I smelt it on my aunty all those years ago.
    I always look for Parure by Guerlain and I did find one last year .... OMG - sent me back to my early 20's and it was as lovely as the day it was made!!!
    I use it very carefully ! LOL

  2. I wish I could smell vintage Jicky or Chanel no5.

  3. I already own my Blue Bird -- an untouched vintage Guerlain Chamade found in a cavernous antique store -- but I can't get the darned thing open. The glass stopper is good and truly stuck, trapping my dream 'fume inside.

    1. I've got a box full of precious bottles with impossibly frozen stoppers and another smaller group of bottles which I've managed to break the tops off of and leave just the stopper stuck inside. Beyond frustrating! I've tried every method out there (freezer method has been my favorite so far) and I usually have success - sooner or later - but after a couple of recent disasters with broken tops I've decided to get an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. A vintage seller I know has used this with a lot of success and I saw that on a thread on Sorcery of Scent the last comment mentions it as well (not sure if I can post the link, but the date of the post was Nov. 27th, 2010). I'm not sure it will work for everything, but it sounds like an excellent option. They have them on Amazon for decent prices. If this doesn't work for me I'm going to go to my final, most drastic resort, which is to use a glass drill and drain the perfume out (well, DH will have to do it for me - I wouldn't have the nerve). I've seen a couple of posts about this in various places, but the one I remember most clearly was at the Vintage Perfume Vault blog from Dec. 27th 2010 (very detailed) and also Nov. 11, 2009. I hope you find something that works for you!

  4. Ellipse by Jack Fath would be my Blue Bird.

  5. Also Doblis and the original Rosines. Any good pre-1940 perfume in its original formulation. But what really drives me crazy is Gobin-Daude. I was aware of that brand but overlooked it until it was too late. Can't bear to think about it. nozknoz

  6. A few blue bird perfumes I already own are: Vintage Chanel No 5, eau de cologne, Jicky Eau de Parfume vintage 1980s (it's stellar), Shiseido's Feminite du Bois Extrait. The jewel in my collection is a Baccarat 1929 perfume crystal bottle called Lubin L' Ocean Bleue - it took me 15 years to find it and I was over the moon when I did.
    A few I'm still on the hunt are Lancome's Kypre and Bandit vintage perfume. I would love to smell a few drops of Iris Gris, I bet it's heavenly!

  7. My curiosity about, hunt for vintage perfumes isn't something with an end in sight - it's a sort of lifelong avocation, like a perfume archaeologist. Yes, I definitely dream about and am constantly looking for certain holy grail scents (am with you on the Dingo), but I have to say I'm just as intrigued by and thrilled to find more "everyday" perfumes from the past. The quality of ingredients used, especially in pre-1950 perfumes was usually so wonderful across the board that it's just pure joy to be able to smell them (nitro musk bliss!) and it's endlessly fascinating to see what different perfumers did with them.

  8. I have a list of blue birds that I keep on a small notebook in my purse. When I find one, I cross it off. Right now on it are such super rarities as Parure, Djedi, Clandestine, Shalimar extrait, Molyneux 5, vintage Y, and Iris Gris but also some things that are more likely to be found such as certain Avons.

  9. Dear Lady Jicky
    Is there any way i can reach you? I have a bottle of HR Apple Blossom (splash) I'd be more than happy to send you. The bottle is ribbed, and nipped in the "waiste" if you know what i mean. The box is really cute, too! The top is screw-on, and pink...
    cheers, Wendy


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