You don’t always know what you’re going to get, with these collections. I look for vintage and cross my fingers. Besides the dreaded 100 ml bottle with 1/4” of cologne left in it, the vintage mini is the most likely to be “off.” Unless it has been stored in one of those duty-free boxes with those little custom cut-outs. I’ve always thought of those as the guilt gift -- daddy went to Paris on business, done some stuff he shouldn’t oughta have done but is bringing home French perfume (which he bought from the cart as the plane began its descent into wherever he lives) and for God’s sake there’s even a drawing of the Eiffel Tower on the box! These coffrets usually contain stuff no one has ever heard of or ever will, but I digress.
So anyway I “won” this collection of minis -- auctionspeak for “snagged the privilege of paying more than anybody else” -- around 25 of these, including five mystery bottles, a couple of real treasures and a few dogs. About average, I’d say, for a typical lot.
(Does anybody know what “Replique” in perfume is supposed to smell like btw? This is an actual 1/4 oz. perfume bottle, sealed, but the juice looks and smells like Jagermeister mixed with patchouli cough syrup. Um, anybody?)
So let’s see. Here we have 5 mls of vintage 80’s “Joy,” and it’s fresh. Score. Two minis of “Ysatis,” vintage also. Five mls of “Ombre Rose,” a soft and powdery rose. A good-sized “Norell,” which smells green like money. “Amariage,” which didn’t deserve the drubbing The Guide gave it -- it’s just an in-your-face tuberose blend. “Fendi,” possibly the original version and my favorite of these, which smells like a modern niche woody/amber.
But then…"Bill Blass," the dreaded synthetic-pineapple smell, probably developed in the wake of “Giorgio.” A tiny bottle of “Ma Griffe,” which has turned to nail polish remover. The aforementioned “Replique,” unless it’s supposed to smell like that, and it may be, for all I know. “L’Interdit,” which has turned badly or is the reformulated version -- here’s that pineapple again and a fleeting, ruined violet. Kenzo’s “Parfum d'ete,” one of those watery 90’s things that might make a pretty bathroom spray. Nice leaf bottle though.
The most interesting item, at least to me, is one of the five “mystery” scents. It smells like Bal a’ Versailles. I wonder if somebody filled some cute little bottle with Bal, or if some lab did a pretty good job of replicating it. The others, well, they’re forgettable. Who knows what they are. This lot, like most, is all about the bottles. Even the Mystery Scents are. It’s fun, though, to try to identify them. One is the Halston bottle, and the juice smells like “Halston Couture” -- if so, a score. Stenciled on two of the tiny bottles -- I had to get out the jeweler’s loupe to read them -- are the words “Parfums International, Miami.” Uh-oh. Dreck. Destined for a duty-free cart in the sky?
In the photo, the mystery bottles are the five in front and the ones that get their very own photo. Anybody care to try?
Which brings me to my point. I’ve been doing Nose Calisthenics to prepare for my participation in the Mystery of Musk event, presented by the Natural Perfumers Guild, in which bloggers and forum participants will evaluate a dozen musk-based scents developed by natural perfumers. Another blogger and pal, Carol of Waft...what a fragrance fanatic thinks is asking some of us to evaluate some mystery scents she scored in a haul I can only dream about: a professional perfumer’s estate collection.
Well good heavens, I’m going to be in some high-cotton company here! I’m honored, a little surprised, and a lot apprehensive, because my nose knows but sometimes my brain takes awhile to catch up, and I still revere those who can pull off a quick and delicate sniff followed by reciting a list of notes. I’m getting better though. Last night I actually identified some iris -- the flower even!
So yeah, I’ll be ready -- I hope.
Posting schedule change: After this week, I'm switching from Monday to Tuesday, except for special events like group blogs. Usually the post is up by 11 am or so.
The bottles pictured are from a lot I bought at auction on Ebay last week.
Photos © Olfacta, aka Pat Borow. All rights reserved.