Monday, June 14, 2010

The Haul

I’ve never much liked miniature anything, but I seem to have amassed quite a little collection of “minis” -- ‘fumefreakspeak for those amusing little bottles used mostly as promotional items. I don’t know exactly how many I have, maybe 100 or so now, and I say “now” because I just bought a “lot” -- fleabay for quantity -- of those darling functional li’l minis.
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 “Mystery of Musk” group project is being presented by Anya's Garden and Perfume Shrine.
The bottles pictured are from a lot I bought at auction on Ebay last week.
Photos © Olfacta, aka Pat Borow. All rights reserved.


ScentScelf said...

You know I am a fan of The Haul.

You have indeed scored, despite the irony (understandable) you underline in the concept of "winning" an auction.

I am drooling (just a bit; there, I cleaned it up before you even noticed) about the Norell. In general, I love minis, because they're more fun to look at than the troops of decants, because I have a visual memory and they help me more quickly find the place in my brain that connects all the dots that go with a given perfume, and because...well, because I trust them more as a reference than any other small package of perfume.

Amarige. I tire of the drubbing it took, not even so much because when I first got my (first copy of) The Guide a couple of years ago it was one of the few full bottles I had purchased. No, it is because if you read through The Guide, you will notice that Amarige is referenced in a number of reviews of other perfumes. It's obviously a benchmark. And Amarige is portrayed as the better choice in some of those reviews. Perhaps the intent is to try to portray some sort of anti-star hierarchy, but that's not the way it comes off in at least a couple...

Anyway, congrats on your score. Looking forward to hearing your thoughts/contributions to both the musk project and Carol's estate fine.

BitterGrace said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BitterGrace said...

Fun post--I love minis. I have a bit of vintage Replique on my hand right now. Replique was weird from birth, but I would say from your description that yours has turned. The good stuff is a powdery green chypre with pungent woody notes in the base. JD's re-creation at Long Lost Perfume is actually pretty close.

I would bet your l'Interdit is the first reformulation. I can't imagine the vintage smelling like that even if it had turned, but your description reminds me a lot of the redone version.

As for your mysteries, the wiggy looking one with the double trumpet top is, I am almost certain, Chloe Narcisse. The one on the far right, with the abstract flower top, is probably the eponymous Oscar de la Renta. I think I own that mini myself.

Which of the mysteries smells like BaV?

ScentScelf said...

Oops, I forgot to play the bottle game. Will do so now...but dang, I have to run a couple windows to do this! (LOL, given that I've always got 6-12 minimum open at a time...)

In the first photo, BG is right; that looks like Chloe Narcisse. On the far right, looks like Oscar de la Renta. In the middle...the Halston shape...but could it be a mini of a Lauder? (Shoot, which one am I thinking of...). Far left I am diggin, but have no idea. And as for Ms. Fan Dance, it looks kinda like Uninhibited after a couple hours at the club. Rhinestones have fallen off, headdress is askew... ;) (which is to say, IDK).

BitterGrace said...

Hey, SS, my first thought about the fan was also Uninhibited, it looks so utterly Bob Mackie. But I couldn't find any bottle pics that looked at all like it.

Olfacta said...

Hi BG and SS -- Thanks!

Yeah, I'm pretty sure the Replique has turned. But now I'm curious as to what it actally smells like.

Thanks for the info -- will have to look up the Narcisse and the Oscar de la Renta. SS, the Lauder you're thinking of is Private Collection (vintage I think). It had a very similar bottle, but without the off-kilter top that was the hallmark of Halston. This has to be Halston Couture. I have some I got last year and I got it out and compared them. The juice in this mini is in better shape than that in the bottle was.

The "fan headress" bottle is the one whose contents smell so much like Bal. Mackie, maybe?

The deco-ish bottle, far left, is a mystery. I do like that bottle though.

Fun stuff!

Darryl said...

The headress bottle is a dead ringer for Paris Hilton's Siren, minus the headress.

Also, a pic of Halston Couture. I'd say it's a match.

Olfacta said...

Hi Darryl -- You're right, it is! except for the Vegas headdress I guess. I wonder if "Siren" is a clone of BaV. Hmmm.

Anonymous said...

I love "hauls" too and got myself a bunch at a big flea market last summer.

My guesses as to the bottles, from left to right: don't know, Chloe (not Narcisse, that had a flower cap), Halston, Bob Mackie, Oscar de la Renta.

Anonymous said...

The one with the fan top is something called Daniel Fasson Pour Femme. I found it in a book I have but I've never heard of it. The one on the left... I have no idea. Great find though!!

Olfacta said...

Hi Patty -- Thanks! Here's hoping the Chloe is the original version -- I'll try it again to see. The Halston is "Couture." Pretty good concensus on the Oscar, it must be that. Appreciate your sleuthing!

Olfacta said...

Hi anonymous -- I'll look that one up, maybe there will be something about it somewhere, now I'm intrigued. Thanks!

Olfacta said...

Hi M -- I'll look that one up, maybe there will be something about it somewhere, now I'm intrigued. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Yaaay! Found the far left bottle!!
It's Alfred Sung ENCORE. There's one like yours, with the box on Ebay right now.

Mals86 said...

I think Patty's right and it's the parfum version of original Chloe (not Narcisse, the mini of that was quite cheap-looking with a plastic top). And to the far right is indeed Oscar de la Renta.

I love minis. Went on a huuuuuuge vintage-mini-buying spree on ebay last summer: Amarige, Ysatis, Paris, Oscar de la Renta, Chloe, Bal a Versailles... I have one of those Les Meilleurs Parfums de Paris collections, too - but mine includes stuff like Fidji and Ma Griffe and Climat and Antilope and Baghari. In parfum. I haven't worn them all. The Climat's gone very powdery and the Molyneux Vivre is empty, but they're fascinating. I think Replique is in there too, but all descriptions of that make me want to give it away ASAP without trying it.

Minis of the old Prince Matchabellis have been good buys: Golden Autumn, Stradivari, and of course Wind Song. Once the nail polishy top is gone, they're lovely.

March said...

Hah! I see everyone already did the bottles. I knew Chloe, Halston and Oscar. What that says about me, I refuse to consider.

I have Replique. I think Jagermeister with patchouli cough syrup is a pretty good description, and I like it. :) The drydown on mine is very woody/oakmossy, with a nod in Youth Dew's general direction.

Olfacta said...

Hi Meliscents--

You nailed it! Thanks so much for the diligent sleuthing!

Olfacta said...

Hi Mals86 --

I think it may be the original Chloe, but not in perfume strength -- it's a little too watery and short-lived for that. (I wish it were, though.) But now that I know what the bottle looks no no, I've barred myself from ebay for awhile...

Olfacta said...

Hi March -- I think it just says you know your stuff. The Halston couture especially is nice, a dark green mossy chypre.

I saw a vintage ad for Replique in which the actual color of the juice was a muted moss-green, while this (I forgot to photograph it) was a dark brown. And even on skin it doesn't bloom much. Too bad. Nice bottle, though, little wax seal and everything.

queen_cupcake said...

Don't you just love a good hunch and a good haul? I recently scored a bunch of minis, many of which were either empty or partially full Avon, etc. Among the gravel, a gem: vintage Jicky parfum, about 1/8 oz. left in a one ounce bottle, still good.