Raphael Replique

replique I had a vintage-bottle score a couple months ago and finally got around to the work involved in unstoppering my beautiful little bottle of Raphael Replique, about which I knew absolutely nothing. My bottle is 1/2 ounce parfum, with maybe one-fourth remaining. The bottle is charming, I think crystal with rounded shoulders and an R on the stopper. It’s boxed, but given its age, how little fragrance is left and the fact that it’s stoppered, my expectations were pretty low.

The top notes have gone off on my vintage version — it’s got that garden-variety old-hankie musty opening I’ve smelled before countless times with vintage. If you’re lucky, it dries down to something worth smelling. I put it on, sniffed, shrugged, and went about my day. Eventually I remembered to check back in.

It’s stunning. The first thing that crossed my mind was: Bal a Versailles meets Tabu. Okay, granted, for some folks that must sound appalling, like King Kong mating with Godzilla. But for the rest of us, lovers of deep, dark animalic orientals, really — it’s the bomb.

I googled around and found this information from Irma Shorell, whom many of you probably already know; the company makes dupes, allegedly from the original formulas. (I think their Chaos dupe is great.)  Here’s their blurb, which I’m lifting and crediting because I can’t see how I’d say it any different, much less better:

“Replique perfume has top notes of Italian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, cardamom, neroli, coriander, clary sage and fresh aldehydes. Mid-notes of ylang ylang, lily of the valley, Egyptian jasmine, mimosa, tuberose, heliotrope and coumarin. Base notes of oakmoss, olibanum, powdery amber, musk, vetiver, patchouli.

Replique has a dual personality, at times fresh, green, bright and calm soothing mosses…at other moments spicy and woody with deep exotic earthy tones. Replique is on occasion classified along with Youth Dew and Tabu, and the rich warm spices of an oriental fragrance are evident; but here the depth is more in the background and long-term dry down. The enveloping fresh mossy floralcy and greenness that embody the top and middle notes of Replique places the identifying character more in the chypre class. Fresh, floral, green, spicy, earthly…one…the other…really all together now…Replique is full of character and complex sensuality.”  — Jeffrey Dame

Formula note: The Replique formulation offered here is based on the original 1947 recipe. In 1975 the Replique formula was changed to have a somewhat fresher and green accent. Replique has now returned to its more sensual and earthly pre-1975 original formulation.

I think that formula note at the end is especially relevant — if you met Replique in the 1970s (and it’s still available new online) it sounds like it would be a lot greener, and probably a lot cheaper-smelling and less interesting to me.

What I smell in the vintage drydown is oakmoss, civet, incense, musk and patchouli.  It is literally almost all bottom, in every joyous way you could think of, its liquid darkness cut very slightly with the vanillic sweetness of coumarin.  It’s less pervasive than Youth Dew and less meaty than Tabu — don’t get me wrong, I love Tabu, but man, a little of that goes a very, very long way.   (I’m a fan of the vintage Youth Dew bath oil worn as fragrance, btw.  One drop’ll do ya.)   In feel, my vintage Replique is closer kin to the inky depths of Bal a Versailles extrait.   My vintage is, at a guess, more raunchy than the Shorell version would be, as in my experience the animalic aspect of vintage fragrance is often what lasts the longest.  I’d love to hear from anyone who’s tried the Long Lost Perfume version, and my guess is you can scare the vintage up on eBay.  I’d also like feedback from anyone who’s tried the cheapie version still on the market.

photo: grabbed for this post from eBay, it’s on sale there for $50 BIN, it looks like the same bottle I’ve got only full.

  • schinamama says:

    Hello to you lovely ladies,
    I’m just getting ready to attempt to sell some of the perfume boxes I have inherited from my sister in law and I’m doing my research. I do not wear perfume.
    But I do know a treasure trove when I see one.
    My SIL’s mother went to France in the 50’s and must have thought she would never return, so she purchased one of every type of fragrance under the sun. Then brought them home and never opened them. Smile. Ok, one or two are open. The whole things smells devine.
    The boxes still have the cellophane wraping (a little yellowed) and you can tell that the liquid is still there. I just lifted a quite little pink Diorissimo, Christian Dior box up and it only says 1/4 fl oz on the box, it is VERY light.

    Does anyone want to talke perfum with me?
    This is just the first shoe box
    Tabu Dana #103
    Raphael Parfums 1oz
    Chanel #46
    Replique 2oz
    Carnet de Bal Revillon 1 2/3 oz
    Le Galion Sortilege 1/2 oz
    Lanvin Arpege #828 Extrait
    Carven MaGriffe ?? no indication of what is inside Ref 8001
    Parfum D’Lee
    Christian Dior eau de cologne Fraiche 4 fl oz
    Christian Dior Miss Dior 1/2 fl oz, but most evaporated
    Christian Dior Parfums diorissimo 1/4 fl oz

    Take care

    • mals86 says:

      Schinamama, that is a treasure trove! I suppose you’re going to sell on ebay?

      I’m quite sure that the blog administrators here prefer not to be affiliated in any way with sellers (you may have already heard such from them in a private email), so we won’t be of help with pricing or the like.

      If you’re interested in more information on the fragrances themselves, a couple of good places to search are basenotes.net and fragrantica.com. Good luck!

      • schinamama says:

        Thank you Mals86 for writing back.
        I have not decided where and how to sell. I was basically wondering why someone would buy all these different perfumes and then keep them for all these years. UNOPENED!.
        And how would I even sell them not knowing what is behind door #1??
        I don’t even know if there is any perfume in the box unless I open it up? Am I suppose to do that?

        I know perfume evaporates cause the one that the box was opened, but not the actual bottle has a good portion gone. The smell is lovely and would make a great sachet for a drawer.
        Oh well.
        Thanks for writing.

        • sweetlife says:

          Schinmama —

          You have some real treasures in your list–vintage perfumes that have been reformulated or that simply disappeared. So here, for what it’s worth, is an answer to your question, and a little advice.

          People often have unopened perfume because they were saving a treasured, expensive gift, or because they may have bought a back-up bottle of something they really liked and then didn’t use it. To sell them, you will have to make a decision about whether or not to open the boxes — they will lose some value, but many buyers prefer to be able to see the bottles and examine their condition, so they may be easier to sell that way. You SHOULD NOT unseal the bottles, unless you want to keep the perfume to wear it and explore it yourself, in which case, by all means, have at it! While you are deciding what to do, keep your perfumes in a cool, dark, dry place, like the top of a closet. Air, light and heat are the enemies of perfume.

          Fragantica.com is a good place to begin learning about your treasures, as is basenotes.com. Take a look at other perfume sellers on ebay to see how to display your wares, if that’s what you want to do. I also highly recommend checking out Octavian Coifan’s site, 1000 Fragrances. Octavian is a perfume historian and is often generous with his knowledge.

          Good luck! And if you get tired of your treasure trove you can send it to me! LOL 😉

        • March says:

          Hi, sorry for the slow reply — I have a bad habit of leaving the more complicated responses for further thought, and then not taking care of them.

          I think between Sweetlife and Mals you have a lot of your answer already. They’re probably worth a lot of money, and if I were you I’d probably put them (or at least a list of your future inventory) up on eBay at the same time. If you’re curious what they might be worth, you can search completed listings, I don’t know how familiar you are with eBay. If it seems like too much hassle to sell, there are businesses (we have one in our city) that take your stuff and sell it on eBay for you.

          People buy and sell old, unopened bottles all the time. I agree with the sentiment that unwrapping them takes a little value off for a bottle collector, but anyone interested in the bottle for the juice (we actually wear old scents) will want to see the contents, so you’re likely to attract more, higher bids that way. This is just my opinion.

          For reasons too complex to go into on here, this site can’t be used to facilitate the sale, sorry. But if you don’t want to go the bid route here’s another place you could list your scents at a fixed price determined by you:

          Good luck.

          • schinamama says:

            WOW! I can’t thank you enough. That is very generous of you guys to share this information with me. I have sold things in the distant past on ebay, but with all the changes they have made and with two bad experiences I have been offline for a while.
            I thank you for sharing the info on perfumes with me. I will look at the sites you recommended.
            I don’t wear perfume myself as I feel it just attracts bugs. Grin. Can you believe it. I’m sure you all are laughing at me.

            It’s funny- because the two boxes of this stuff WAS stored in the back of the bottom of a closet. Squirreled away since probably 1960? 70? You should see the platform shoes from the 40’s. Size 5 1/2. Oh I love old vintage stuff, but when you have too much of it, it becomes a burden.

            Thank you all for your words of wisdom. I’m off to do further research and hopefully get rid of this stuff.

  • Angela says:

    Oh March! This sounds wonderful. What is it about those fusty, lush perfumes that can be so entrancing? A Buddhist monk would probably tell me to snap out of it and start living in the present. But when the present involves so many of those damned woody-musky things, what can I do?

  • Elle says:

    The vintage really is great stuff. My father had a favorite teacher who had worn this and he loved it, so, since perfume was how we did our father/daughter bonding, he got me a bottle when I reached the ripe old age of seven. 🙂 I could wear green chypres pretty early on, but I wasn’t quite ready for Replique then. It now serves to bring back some great early childhood memories of perfume sniffing w/ my father.

    • March says:

      That’s so sweet! What a great memory to treasure. Do you have any particular scents (his or yours) you associate with him, I wonder?

      • Elle says:

        He didn’t really wear scents himself, so all I associate w/ him is pipe smoke and occasionally in later years I remember him wearing Habit Rouge (after his death his bf told me he’d finally convinced my father it was safe to wear scents after he retired). But one of his great joys was shopping for scents for me and taking me around w/ him at their cocktail parties so I could say hello to everyone, but basically he just wanted me to be able to sniff interesting perfumes on the female guests and then the next day we’d discuss them. It helped that we lived in the Middle East and Central America, so most greetings involved kissing the person – thus enabling better sniffing. 🙂 His absolute favorites were Miss Dior, Ma Griffe, Chant d’Aromes and Caleche. I think he would have considered himself a failure as a parent if I hadn’t loved them as well.

  • mals86 says:

    Eep! The love child of King Kong and Godzilla? I’m the one running away unbelievably fast, like those poor Japanese people in the movies… Youth Dew frightens me, and I think Tabu smells like an industrial accident.

    And now that I have been denounced as a heretic, I shall confess that I haven’t been at this sniffin’ thing very long (7 months?) and I do like Bal a Versailles, even if it makes my husband avoid me.

    • March says:

      Thanks for the first out-loud laugh of the day! Your husband avoids you?!? That’s not the effect it’s supposed to have on men. 😉 Mine seldom complains, although he finds it disturbing if I wear something really quote unquote masculine. Probably like a dog marking on his territory or something 🙂

      • mals86 says:

        Yeeeaah, I know Bal is supposed to be Sex Bomb material, but apparently he only likes girly-frilly-floofy smells on me. MJ Daisy, of all things, makes him amorous. I think it’s boring, HE sends the kids to bed early… he also liked that vintage Emeraude, which I can’t complain about because I lurrrve that one so much.

        And if I wear something “masculine,” I feel like I’m wearing his underwear. Too weird, can’t do it.

        • Olfacta says:

          Well at least he likes some of the stuff. I was wearing some old Woodhue last night and asked mine how he liked it. He said “it’s not revolting like some of that other old stuff you wear at night.”

          But hey, I wear perfume for me (particularly the ones I sleep in.) If I wore it for him, I’d have two scents, both from when we were “dating.” So I just laugh and keep spraying. It’s fun to choose your night perfume.

        • March says:

          MJ Daisy?!?! That’s really funny. That was the winner of my “so sexless you can give it to a child” search, which I did. But to each his own, you know? If it makes the man happy…

          • Musette says:

            ROFL! I was going to try Narciso today but was told it drives men wild – I was on my way to the plant and while I wouldn’t mind driving them wild if it means they will give us more work….what if they all converged on me in a pack!LOL!

            I wore Lyric Woman this morning (w/ a hit of Eau Suave on the other wrist) but by the afternoon had a headache from the Suave. WAshed it off and spritzed Yves Rocher Gardenia.

            Wow. They were swirling around me like bees! huh? It’s gardenia. It oughta remind them of their grandmother………..???

            is that what it’s come to?


  • Olfacta says:

    Enable me, dah-ling. I’ve been eyeing some vintage Replique in a set, but I already have two of the four (L’aimant, Emeraude, the Rep, I forget the other one) and my guess is that, as often with these sets, it’s turned (and they’re probably EDT anyway.) I have a vague memory of Replique from those little parfum coffrets they sold on duty-free carts in the Sixties. It thought it too strong. Of course, I was, um, twelve at the time….

    If it smells even remotely like Bal, I’m there. Uh, next month probably though.

    • March says:

      I’m sort of wanting another bottle myself. And my vintage L’Origan has jammed up (the sprayer) which makes me sad, although I haven’t devoted much time to unjamming it.

  • There’s actually a little hole in the wall store in Baltimore that still has a bunch of original bottles of this, if anyone’s interested. I snagged one for myself. 🙂

  • sara says:

    Quelle score! Congrats!! That sounds just like my kind of fragrance.

  • Melissa says:

    Last year sometime, I went on an ebay binge and bought countless vintage bottles and minis, including two of Replique. One had turned so badly that I only used it for display. But I wore the heck out of the other, a cute little mini, just waiting to surprise you with the powerhouse fragrance contained within.

    So, in honor of vintage orientals, I just dabbed on some Lanvin Crescendo and waited out the musty topnotes. And yes, it too is worth the wait! Spice and incense, floral notes peeking through. Makes me wanna resume my ebay hunts.

    • Olfacta says:

      Fleabay seems to be heating up with the IFRA controversy. Six months ago there were bottles of Joy everywhere, now not so much. And an old houndstooth bottle of Miss Dior brought in over 20 bids a couple of weeks ago and sold for over $60. Of course I don’t think most of the sellers know about all this, but perhaps perfumistas are over there a lot lately. I have been.

      • Melissa says:

        Funny that you mention the Miss Dior. I’ve been watching the prices on ebay soar into the atmosphere too. I don’t know whether we were watching the same auction, but it wasn’t the only one that went up there. Now I neeeed a bottle of the vintage! Too bad that I didn’t need one a year ago!

      • March says:

        I’ve been wondering. You’re right, the bidding seems to have gotten more competitive. I can’t decide whether it’s people wanting old bottles or new folks taking up the hobby. Either way, the really cheap scores aren’t as plentiful.

        • Louise says:

          I’m very happy I went on my vintage Mitsouko binge over a year ago-the prices for the few bottles that now show up are often well over $300-one “rosebud” bottle sold at nearly $500 ;(

    • March says:

      Crescendo is such a great name, but it makes me giggle a little. It’s very … bosom-heaving. But I guess that’s just me and my silly mind.

      I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see more competition on eBay for older scents.

  • Shelley says:

    Well, I’m a bit of a swatchy mess this morning…I was already sneaking in a test drive on two scents, and now you sent me off to unstopper my little bottle of vintage Replique. (Very little; it’s a mini…micro mini.)

    This is my second go round, and I am reminded of what I thought the first time; while I have trouble with many of the intense “skank” perfumes, every now and then one will strike me as beautiful. Replique is one of them. I have the newer one, too, and it is thinner and greener. I like this denser older version much more; the green element punches in and out of the miasma that is the other, and either because of that accent, or synergy, I enjoy both.

    Sheesh, now I’ve started the day huffing, and I’m supposed to be thinking about my transition back to M-F duties. Oh, well…there’s still a few minutes left before I’m REALLY in danger of falling behind… 😉

  • Louise says:

    You crack me up, doll.

    A (new to you) bottle of perfume that you’ve had “a couple of months”?!!

    Now with moi, any new package is liable to be subject to box-cutting and frenzied shredding within seconds of arrival. Stuck stopper-no problem, I’ll spend hours steaming, freezing, gnawing on the sucker til the juice is mine. A package/bottle picked up from the post office-no problem. While I no longer carry a box cutter with me at all times, I find I can get into the box and bottle with the assistance of keys, belt buckles, hiking poles, whatever 🙂

    Replique sounds gorgeous, just my cup of tea. And with the cool weather back, just purrrrfect!

    • March says:

      Oh. Well. Then I definitely need to get together with you, I have this ancient handblown bottle of something labeled “Chypre” in a Beaux Arts font that I’ve had for at least a year and have never opened. Seriously. You could do the honors, I’m afraid I’ll break it. And you can try my Replique! I just ordered a mini from Shorell for comparison.

  • Francesca says:

    Musette: Really!

    Replique: now there’s a blast from the past. I was such a good little girl, and I wore all these skanky frags. Haven’t thought about that in forever. Thanks for reminding me about it.

    • March says:

      I think that little bottle is so pretty. And it’s only a little smutty. I think it’s softer than either YD or Tabu.

  • Musette says:

    King Kong mating with Godzilla? Oooh! I want that offspring as a ‘companion animal’. I would sleep like a baby!

    You know, I need to pull out my Bal and show some love – y’all give it such a hard time but it’s really a very lovely fragrance. Really.

    no, REALLY!


    • March says:

      Hunny, you must KNOW how much I adore Bal. It’s on my list of classic perfumes people have to try if they’re going to be serious about their perfumery, right up there with Mitsouko. Whether they like it or not is another story (ditto Mitsouko). What I love about Bal is the contrast between its incense-y sweetness and its dirtiness. The smuttiest Bal bottle I have is actually a new-ish EdC, I’m not sure what went on with that production run.

      • Musette says:

        Oh, I know you do but for some it is a fireball of terror – sort of how I feel about Aromatics of Dooom. I think AofD can defend itself quite nicely (without even coming out of the bottle, if it wishes, it’s that strong) but poor Bal – just gotta snuggle her.

        Wearing Amouage Lyric woman today – was going to wear the Narciso Essence but…well, I just couldn’t. I spritzed it and it just didn’t feel right. Off to the plant – Amouage oughta keep ’em busy!


    • kathleen says:

      pssst…I like the Bal, too