The Last Few Drops

I’ll be honest – my brand-new decant of Nuit de Tubereuse arrived the same time as the summer heat.  It’s 94 and sunny, and I’ve done pretty much nothing but … how did Tom put it?  Drench my poitrine with NdT until my socks were wet.  I went to a much-anticipated party on Saturday night, with lots of old friends, and they know about my perfume foolishness.  You will be unsurprised to hear that I cheerfully invited them all to lean in and sniff an interesting take on a tuberose, just released in the United States!!  Reports were favorable.  Today I’m wearing it again, and if the heat holds maybe I’ll throw some on tomorrow, that or the Amaranthigh.  I’ll try to wear something new by Wednesday – the new thing sitting right here to the left of my computer, actually.

So today let’s visit another topic.  I had cause recently to root around through my fairly extensive sample/decant collection, making up my side of a swap package.  I have a lot of samples, and while I joke about my ineptitude, the samps are in fact pretty well organized, sorted into sealed plastic tubs alphabetically by house.  This means that if someone is interested in experiencing the joys of Serge Lutens, I can find those samples in one place in fairly short order.  Things are a bit more complicated with the larger atomizers that don’t fit into the tubs, but I can usually find what I’m looking for.

It seems to me that the concept of sample-swappage as we know and love it has been going on most aggressively during the same time that I developed my perfume habit – that is, over the most recent five or six years.  I’m talking about the making, collecting, trading and storing of fragrances in containers other than their original packaging, for swap or for sale, initially aided and abetted by places like MUA, Basenotes, and eBay.  Two or three years ago, I discovered that the contents of some of my older plastic atomizers had gone seriously “off” – there was speculation that the plastic itself was a problem, and I think that most of the decanters switched to glass atomizers around that time, although I have no idea if that’s why.  Glass breaks and is heavier (?) so the plastic ones made a certain amount of sense, even if they weren’t very elegant.  Anyhow, all my good stuff I re-decanted into glass atomizers quite awhile ago, although the spray mechanism itself is plastic.  While I’m babbling, let me stress that a) I store them upright when possible and b) a lot of the new, small spray ones don´t come with caps the way they used to.

So color me sad when I realized that the contents of several of my larger (8ml?) glass atomizers, which are capped and upright, seem to have mostly evaporated, along with the contents of several smaller spray atomizers (the capless ones) and even a few of my teeny vials, which are still capped tight.  I’d been nursing along a few drops of vintage Chanel 22 parfum which is now completely empty. Presumably all of this took place slowly, over a long-enough time that I didn’t discover anything amiss.

And yes, this is very sad.  But once I looked past the sad part, it got me thinking.   I’ll spare you the gag-inducing firefly-in-a-jar analogies, but let’s face it: some of this stuff, it ain’t necessarily gonna last forever, particularly if we’ve only got a few ml of it.

I went to the house of Friend X, and was astonished to discover that her custom-designed Decanting Space smelled of nothing.  I mean, there was no huge perfume off-gassing.  And she laughed and said that if it smelled, there’d be something wrong.  It would mean something was incorrectly stored.

Well, hmmm.  Most of my vintage perfumes, and much of my perfume in general, is in the empty bedroom on the north side of our house.  The room is cool and dark.  It also smells quite strongly of vintage perfume, right now with an overlay of Chamade, most likely.  But if it weren’t Chamade, it would be something else.   I suppose I could run around weeping and tearing my hair out and then go in there and – I don’t know what.  Seal all my stoppered flacons inside Saran Wrap and duct tape?  Where’s the fun in that?  If I can’t walk by my dresser and pop the teensy stoppers off my vintage, better-than-Shalimar Emeraude, or my skanktastic fingernail-sized bottle of Youth Dew Bath Oil, or my recent eBay win, a room-clearing mini of Dune in parfum, well … I don’t see the point of owning them.  I can only assume that molecule by molecule, drop by precious drop, some (most?) of those stoppered flacons and minis and carefully, lovingly prepared homemade vials and decants are evaporating, no matter how careful I am about making sure the stoppers are in and the kids aren’t playing with them.

Someone on the blog last week made a comment about hoarding the last precious few drops of a much-loved sample.  I think it was Chanel No. 5 parfum, vintage.  And several of us chimed in and said, wear it.  Go on and wear it.  Enjoy it now, just because you can.  Unless you live with another perfumista, nobody else in your house is going to appreciate those last couple of drops of Micallef Gaiac, or vintage Norell, as much as you will, right?

I have little stashes of vintage. In their own special boxes.  Small vials.  Long lost Guerlains, Lelong, Givenchy, some Weil, other things.  I think it’s time to start wearing them.

PS Thanks everyone for your feedback on contact lenses — it’s nice to read various perspectives on the daily/weekly/monthly contacts as well as other options.  I’m sure the eyedoctor will have a recommendation, but I’m always interested in the opinions of others with experience and no particular agenda regarding sales, etc.

  • Snosher says:

    Mary –

    Would that Jean Rhys book be Quartet?
    (not read it in a long while),the Merchant Ivory film of which has Isabelle Adjani make fleeting mention of L’HB & chypre. Rather good film – esp. for period & atmosphere; though it does not get over much to grips with the dark & troubling heart of Rhy’s work.
    She is tough stuff & unpalatable/perplexing to many, but, I think, an important voice.

    I so enjoy references to perfume in film & literature!

    • mary says:

      I think you are right, and it is Quartet. I have to pull it off the shelf. I have never seen the film– Adjani would be perfect as the protagonist, though. Yes, Rhys is dark, and full of chaos, and broken people, who somehow manage a last act of defiance. I’m going to shove my old paperbacks in the duffle for family vacation next week. While the kids are doing camp activities, I will take a nmenatal vacation to Paris of the 1910’s and 20’s. And , I will add Quartet to our net flicks list! Thankls for the comment:)>-

  • nbh says:

    I give the decants that I don’t love to friends. They have started to anticipate those bundles of fun. I figure that someone else will love what I don’t. I feel that samples are like books; once you are done with them, pass them on. The ones you love, you keep.

    Now if only I didn’t love so many fragrances. . . By the way, I also have too many books!

    • mary says:

      I also have way too many books, some I have hauled around for years. But you have now triggered a new train of thought– Colette and Jean Rhys both wrote about scent. When I had my first bout of perfume fanaticism, in the early 80’s, it was triggered by a Jean Rhys character’s exchange with a woman who liked her scent– the story went back and forth on Chypre and L’Heure Bleu, with the implication that Chypre was cheap and for shop girls, and L’HB for kept women. I went in search of smelling both– and unbelievably, the lady in the St. Vincent de Paul down the street from where I lived came up with a nearly full bottle of Chypre. I used it up, even though it had some sort of crusty looking stuff floating around inside. It was fine for a penniless student with a longing for french fragrance. I think I’m going to spend the summer re-reading Jean Rhys, Colette, and maybe Muriel Spark. I wonder if there are any other novels with perfume discussions? Thanks for bringing up books! ~o)

      • Shelley says:

        What is this “too many books”? 😉

        Yay to sharing the love, nbh! And as for the Jean Rhys…NOW I’ve been toppled over into reading her. Been on the “to read” list for-evah. Incidentally, I love Chypre…and am a LHB fan…I guess, in the end, I’m a shop girl. And would also have worn the Chypre despite the crusty stuff.

        We should start a book list. I am inhaling a book by Roald Dahl’s granddaughter (I know, that’s unfair, she’s got her own identity…except that the publishers put that data point right on the cover, so blah), and already Ma Griffe has come up as a character’s scent.

        • mary says:

          Oooh, I want to read any book with a Ma Griffe wearin’ character. That sounds like a good read. I will google RD’s granddaughter and come up with the name. Jean Rhys is very moody and depressing, and totally absorb you into the time and place. I am always so thrilled to emerge back into our time, though, things were pretty grim for single working women back then. Thanks so much for not being grossed out about the crusty stuff. I will never forget that bottle of Chypre, which I still had some . . .

  • Tara C says:

    I have had several decants evaporate, even ones that had caps! I also have a few full bottles that were testers and have no caps – I wrapped some parafilm around one of them, but I’m wondering what else I could do to protect them? I may have to decant into another bottle as I can’t bear the thought of a whole bottle of perfume evaporating for lack of a cap. :((

    • March says:

      The tester bottles haven’t been a particular problem for me (the ones with no caps.) They don’t seem to be evaporating in a way I can notice. Fingers crossed. The stoppered flacons and the glass decant bottles seem to be more of a problem. I’m thinking about Louise’s solution of electrical tape around the decant neck to form a seal.

      I don’t know what your testers are or if you buy much from, say, TPC? It might be worth it to see whether they’d sell you a few caps. I mean, they’d probably have ones for current bottles, and maybe I’m mistaken but I’d guess that they’re disposing of the bottles.

  • mary says:

    I just love gloating over my little hoard of samples and bottle from yard sales, junk and antique stores, and that big yard sale in the sky–ebay. I smell them one by one, deciding which one is just right for sitting in my little office. It’s like taking an invisible pet with me, almost. Today is a Niki day . . .March, as always, a wonderful essay–Mary

    • March says:

      Lots of Niki fans on here today! It is a great, unusual scent, and having worn it in college, I’m happy to be surrounded by fans. LOVE those scores from yard and junk sales!

      • mary says:

        I think if I were to go back to being a 2 or 3 bottle at a time perfume wearer, Niki is one I would keep wearing, for as long as they make it.

  • Kim says:

    What’s the point if you are not going to enjoy it?
    If we consider perfume to be an art form then I would extend the analogy – would you put your beautiful painting in the closet wrapped in saran wrap and duct tape?
    No? If not then why do we do that with the art of perfume?
    Wear it and love it just like it was meant to be!!

    • March says:

      This has been the topic recently, in various facets — wearing the things we truly love rather than constantly searching for a new smell. Anything that reminds us to savor what we have is welcome.

  • Louise says:

    Oh, darn-did someone yet mention the utility (heh) of electrical tape-not to seal a bottle, as for shipping, but around the neck of decants, large and small.

  • Ann N. says:

    Thanks for a great post, March, and thanks, too, for all the wisdom shared by other posters. But now I’m just a little afraid to go peeking into some of my older stuff. Ah, well, must remember to use it or lose it!

    • March says:

      I have some very old bottles that have been around for decades and barring some drama, will I guess be around for decades more. But the evaporation of some of my stuff, commercially bottled or not, was a wake-up call.

  • maidenbliss says:

    Shelley, your Geminity is speaking to my Gemini/Cancer cusp. It’s maddening to be mecurial is it not?

    March, I thought I was imagining things when noticing some of my perfumes were not as full as I thought they were. It also begs the question about your friend’s comment about the non-aroma decanting space-how could this be? I assumed and have read that most people love the area/closet/space there they store fumes. It’s my favorite thing to do–poke my head in the vault. Well, scientifically, I guess all things are in the process of evaporation, but knowing that makes me want to stop buying and start enjoying and indulging more than just appreciating. Or just having it to have.

    • Madea says:

      I’ve yet to get the email, hun, so I set up an account just for this. MadeasRage at gmail, and I’m sorry it’s taken so long.

      Best,
      Madea

    • March says:

      I don’t know what I am (birthday’s on Thursday) but the Gemini thing is enough of a curse on its own. I am often very much of two minds about something.

      Seriously, this friend had a room full of boxed and nonboxed bottles, ready for decanting, and in my memory it didn’t smell – to the point that I commented to her about it, because it was so surprising. My bedroom smells like a bordello compared to her space.

    • Shelley says:

      Well, the benefit of the cusp is that when I’m not fretting over the mercurialness, I’m very placid about it/embracing it. 8-}
      ;))

      • maidenbliss says:

        That indeed is the splendidness of Gemini/Cancer cusp. Mecurial and placid intertwined. I embrace my twin.
        I love that my bedroom smells like a bordello, a very high class bordello, of course…

  • maggiecat says:

    Some things are meant to be saved. Some things are meant to be savored. I think perfume falls into the latter category most definitely since it does evaporate/turn eventually, unlike vintage jewelry, say. So seize the day! Wear the good stuff! Celebrate and enjoy!

    • March says:

      It’s a conundrum. On the one hand, I’m enjoying fragrances that at this point are probably 70+ years old — you know, well beyond that sell-by-date that perfume manufacturers have … manufactured. 🙂 On the other hand, my Jicky parfum’s clearly evaporating (and it’s not even that old.)

  • sweetlife says:

    Oh my lord, March, you are giving me the willies. I refuse to start rifling through my stash looking for evaporation…until the end of the day. Or at least after lunch. 8-|

    I was completely shocked a couple months ago when I offered some of my Sarrasins to a woman who was seeking some on a perfume board and she said “Want to swap? I have lots of vintage stuff and I’d be happy to make a sampler.” And then presented a list that had both the fabled Doblis and Djedi on it. I wrote back something like “Excuse me but I think you have short circuited my perfume brain. I’ll be right back after I soak my head for awhile…” We worked out the swap.

    And you know what? I put on the Doblis immediately after it got here. And it was both very, very, lovely, and the kind of thing I could see wearing everyday, in all moods and weathers, for the rest of my life. I’ve worn it several times since. But I haven’t worn the Djedi yet (I know, I know) because I’m fairly certain it will be Demanding. That it will require my strength and attention, and I haven’t had much of either to spare recently. Maybe soon. Maybe tomorrow! Or today. When I’m rifling.

    I made a No Hoarding rule early on in my perfume obsession (my flexible definition: if I’m wearing it or sharing it I’m not hoarding, no matter how much back up I accumulate). I love the reckless feeling of putting something special on in the middle of the day when I’m alone. But I think its good to have a No Panicking rule, too. Because I don’t want to be held hostage to my precious vials in any way…

    • Shelley says:

      With you on No Hoarding and No Panicking. Though I amended “saving” to include “hoarding” in my save-seize-share mantra, the spirit of it follows your definition…wearing it or sharing it mitigates the need to call it “hoarding.”

      FYI, on the Djedi…the one time I was able to put some on skin (THANK YOU, oh generous friend who shared), I found it compelling. But too gorgeous to be Demanding. BUT…this from a person who would argue that No. 19 gets served raw when presented as “wire coat hanger mother” or “beeyatch” or what have you. Combine that with a love for many chypres…remember it’s Guerlain…such is my context.

      OMG, I still look happily on that day. See? Totally worth applying. 🙂

      • sweetlife says:

        Thanks for the encouragement Shelley! I actually convinced myself with my own comment, went to go put it on, and then (oops! something SHINY)got distracted by a four year old samp of Fleur de Cassie that I’ve been looking for forever. So I’m wearing that right now. But Djedi will follow soon! And FWIW, I totally see the tender side of No. 19. It’s one of my favorites. It took me awhile to get past the coolness, but now I think of it as that late fall/early spring chill, and that’s when I wear it.

    • March says:

      WELL?!?!? Have they evaporated?

      Doblis I really, really wish they would re-release. (Re-re-release?) They’re such idiots. If we’re bidding $1k+ for bottles on eBay, why not just make us some more? :-w And Djedi, FWIW, I thought was stunning and not difficult. More … arid. In a good way.

      • sweetlife says:

        Hee, hee! Well, Doblis, Djedi, and my bitty 1/2 ml of JAR lightning bolt are just fine. The rest of the zillion spray samples and decants I have? Who knows? And I don’t have time to find out in one fell swoop. I’ll try to take a peek as I go through my normal perfume routine, but as I said above I am refusing to panic. If I have so much stuff that I can’t go through it, it’s a pretty nice problem to have, eh?

        And on the subject of sprays vs. stoppers: I find it hard to believe that my vintage stoppers are more porous. I can barely get most of them out of the bottle they’re in there so tight. I have considered decanting my half-bottle of vintage BdI into a dark screw-top type bottle, though…

  • gator grad says:

    I haven’t noticed any evaporation in my stored-upright 1ml samples, but I’ve had mayjah evaporation from my non-capped, glass atomizers. I’ve lost 5ml+ from several in less than a year. There was a major lesson in this, painful and sadder than the tone of your post, but I’m going to look at it your way instead. I store my 1ml samples in test tube holders, in boxes. I’ve noticed that the boxes smell slightly/lovely when I open them, but I always thought that was due to droplets on the outside when I recap. No??

    This whole thing makes me worry about what to do re: Ormonde Jayne. I go back and forth about what to do when my travel sprays of Tiare and Ta’if are gone. Do I buy the edp or the parfum?? I love the parfum bottles (love!) but will those be more likely to turn or evaporate? Probably. Stoppers aren’t as reliable, right??

    • March says:

      Those noncapped glass atomizers… clearly there’s an issue. I found a couple that I assumed had somehow leaked or spilled — they were more or less full and I’ve had them less than a year. But I really don’t think they DID spill. I think they went pfffffffft.

      And all I can say about the smell is to repeat Friend X. She didn’t keep decants around — she was a decanter, but she only had the bottles. When I walk into that bedroom, pop the lid off a plastic container, etc., and am assailed with fragrance, I can’t help but think of her.

      • Shelley says:

        You know, when you think of it, we’ve already been warned about evaporation from old-fashioned bulb atomizer bottles…why not an atomizer head on a glass bottome? 😕 #-o

      • Louise says:

        electical tape around the neck of the bottle does wonder…I posted below, but maybe shoulda responded here?:d/

        • Shelley says:

          Caught you on both sides, and thanks. Though that makes another #-o for me; duh, I use electrical tape when I *ship* sharings all the time.

        • March says:

          Now I’m contemplating how long it would take to tape all my decants… do you think that’s where they’re evaporating?

          • Louise says:

            I think there are only a few escape routes…the neck and spout of the sprayer, and the top of a sample tubey. The good thing about taping the neck is that it only mars beauty, not use-and it comes off the spout quickly for emergencies. I tape a very few of my samps, but for the expensive stuff, it’s worth a moment. Electrical tape is the duct tape of perfume /:)

          • Shelley says:

            Okay, I’m feeling all :d because I’d recently realized I could leave the neck tape on splits that I had purchased and were shipped to me that way. Maybe I should save the blow-hole tape, too? And reapply when not using?

            Ironically-sadly, when I first started purchasing decants, they’d arrive all nicely taped, and I’d oh-so-carefully untape them…even save the tape…just not save it *on* the bottle. :-j D’oh. I didn’t want to put tape back on the sprayer spout (also known as the blow-hole), because I thought it would grab precious mist. Ah, well, it’s all live and learn now, innit?

            Besides, I am going to WEAR the stuff. (And my a/c will never quit. And the cat will never knock stuff off the dresser. And and and… /:) 😉 )

          • March says:

            I LOVE blow-hole tape!

          • carter says:

            Plumbers tape! The kind that is designed to seal leaking pipes. You don’t even need to have a plumbers butt crack to use it!

  • Shelley says:

    I do believe vibes settle in. Your north bedroom is a user’s space; if your friend’s space is “dedicated for decanting,” then said friend must be serious about decanting. Therefore, that is a decanter’s space. All is as it should be. 🙂

    Oh, I totally remember the Protected Room, Dina. A neighbor had one under wraps; my grandmother had the living room set for “company,” and the family room for “living.” Somehow, this talk of special rooms and the hauntings of wearers past has me now putting March’s North Bedroom in the same category as the West Wing…Dark Shadows, not White House, style. The place you go to experience life in a different era. Or, at least, to enter a different state of mind.

    Perhaps it’s because I’m a Gemini/Cancer cusp (three personalities!!), or because I want it all, or because I am just nuts :d :”> , I’m a carpe diem librarian. I love having a reference collection, and absolutely think of it as a “scent library.” But books are for reading and thumbing through and loving, and those perfumes are to be enjoyed. HOW YOU ENJOY THEM. (With a smiling nod to Masha’s Alice Walker reference.) If I had the means, I’d not only have my own version of Carter’s closet of Ondees (let’s see…No. 19, all versions…Djedi…Attrape Couer…Tabac Blond Extrait…oh, let’s face it, making this list is just a work-out, never final…)…anyway, I’d not only have that closet, I’d have a party every two months for ‘fume friends, and I’d gift decants every time.

    Save (/”hoard”), seize (the day), share. >:d<

    • March says:

      That bedroom is one of my favorite places in the house. It’s got its own miasma for sure, and it’s not just the vintage bottles. 🙂 I swear those fragrances have haunted that room, in a good way. In the meantime, I share the reference library desires. I’m just going to have to be realistic that some of my references are in fact in the process of disappearing. 😕

  • DinaC says:

    It’s always good to get that reminder to Carpe Diem, right?! I’m newish to the perfume passion (two years), so I don’t have a ton of samples and decants to evaporate yet. I’ve used up a lot of little samples, and I usually leave a couple of drops behind for, as Joe put it, reference. I want to be able to go back and sniff again in the future. It’s sad to think that in the meantime it’s all evaporating on me.

    Do any of you remember the concept of the Best Parlor or Living Room, where nobody was allowed to go in and play or even crack open a book? That hermetically sealed room that was for special occasions only? Fortunately, neither my parents or grandparents adhered to that tradition, but I know it existed. The only holdover from those days is my tendency to only use my china and sterling silver flatware for special occasions. I should probably use that stuff more often along with the samples of hard-to-find, vintage or extra expensive scents.

    • March says:

      Oh that’s so funny, I’ll focus on the end of your comment. We had china we never used. Never. And then I inherited nice things — a couple sets of china. We have proper silverware. And we use it every day. I’m getting ready to take a few bent forks and spoons that had a run-in with the disposal to the silver repair man … I’m careful with those things, I try to teach my kids that, but in the end, why else are those things there but to use? They give me pleasure. OTOH we have our limits (nobody touches the champagne flutes!)

      Anyway… based on my experience with the last couple drops, some of those vials you’ll pull back out and find them empty.

  • Louise says:

    I’ve lost some perfume to evaporation, and quite a bit of vintage to an unfortunate AC incident while away a couple of summers ago.

    So yes, wear and enjoy. And for me, a reminder that any time with certain pleasures may be passing 🙁

    The saddest, and most beautiful heartbreak I had was in buying some old Mitsouko in a “Ode/Rosebud” stopper bottle. I tore the package open, and ooohed and ahhhed at the pretty bottle.

    I opened it, and applied a dab on the way home from the post office. The scent warmed, and was so stunning I had to pull off the road. Seriously. For a long while, just inhaling. It was the most entirely transporting scent of my life.

    I had just time enough to share a sniff of this with you, dear Marchele. And then the bottle went dramatically off-just wretched. Very sad, and a good lesson in seizing the joy of the moment.

    • gator grad says:

      “Very sad, and a good lesson in seizing the joy of the moment.” — That’s incredibly wise. 🙂

    • March says:

      I remember that! That was so incredibly sad. I still don’t understand it — how can all that amazing smell leave? It was all right there in that moment. And it goes to show that even the carefully stored vintage stuff in original bottles isn’t immune.

      It’s a less terrible loss, but my Jicky parfum is clearly evaporating. Nobody in this house is stealing my Jicky. 🙂

    • ladida says:

      Alas, the fragrance faeries take what they like. I have, well, I believe the best description would be a “Big Ass Bottle” of CK1 left over from my high school/college days as a raver. Needless to say, this thing is aged, but not a drop has evaporated and thejuice still smells exactly the same despite having been exposed to heat, sunlight,etc. I believe my
      house and everything in it could be reduced to ashesbut the BAB would survive, contents unadulterated.

      I suppose it’s just as well. I like to wear a squirt every once in awhile, just to remind me what it smelled like to be free, 18, and skinny.

      I’m sorry the fragrance faeries wiped all the smell-good from your Mitsouko, though. May it be the last time you are stricken with such misfortune.

    • carter says:

      Oh, man!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Oh yes, you (we) really do have to wear and enjoy our beauties. My saddest evaporation story is Les Larmes Sacrees de Thebes which is practically gone now, from the inkpot-type bottle (not the pyramid), and I’ve scarcely used it.

    Like carter I have multiples of my beloved ancient Guerlains for the very reason that I want to be able to wear them forever. The only one I hesitate about a little is the Turtle bottle of Le Parfum des Champs-Elysees (but good grief woman, it’s 60ml of extrait, just use it!)

    As for the marauding hordes of samples, I really am trying to use them but keep coming across little phials with half a drop in them and wondering whether I’ve really used them or they’ve just gone pffft. Got to use that Djedi and Doblis before it goes the same way.

    • March says:

      EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEe OH MY GOD I just KNEW I was going to run across a comment like this. I’d prepared myself. But not well enough.

      THEBES?

      😮

      Did you cry? I probably would have cried. And see — you’ve got that pfffft question too in your little vials. I say it’s evaporation.

  • Francesca says:

    Oh, I had such a heart-to-heart response to Madea’s post above–I have a passion for, and large collection of, vintage/antique Mexican silver jewelry and I always wonder about the woman who wore my pieces before.That said, I splurged on a whole bunch of stuff from TPC last week and I think I have to make up a whole little ritual for The Sniffing of the Doblis.

    • sweetlife says:

      Love the idea of a ritual, Francesca!

      For Doblis maybe–a glass of good Cognac. A 19-Century novel. A vintage scarf for it to linger on, until the next day…

      It is such a soft and lovely floral leather. I only have a few drops myself, but I feel very tenderly towards them.

    • March says:

      Hee on the Sniffing of the Doblis! Just make sure the cap’s on tight … /:) And I too just placed a TPC order. Because, you know, I don’t have enough unsniffed samples already.

      Your silver jewelry, wouldn’t it be wonderful to know the history?

      • carter says:

        My engagement ring is a vintage piece and I always thought very happy thoughts about the fact that it had a history until an acquaintance said, “But don’t you ever worry that the former owner might have had a terrible life, or been brutally murdered, or had simply been a thoroughly rotten individual? Aren’t you afraid that it might have some seriously bad mojo?” and I thought, “Gee, thanks for sharing, you jerk” but it did have a fairly profound affect on my thinking. Honestly, it had never occurred to me before (well, duh) and even though I still love my ring, I can’t help but wonder about that.

        So I guess maybe now I’m the jerk…

        • Shelley says:

          Pshaw. Even if that had been the previous story, the ring was destined for happiness, and you have completed the mojo. Karmic circle repaired…if it even needed it. >:d<

          • Musette says:

            PERSACKLY What Shelley Said.

            The ring is neutral. It’s who’s wearing it that counts.

            It was given to you in love. Love it/wear it/ love your fabbo hub who went to all the trouble to find you something unusual and wonderful.

            And ice that acquaintance, doll! What a strange, unfriendly thing to say!

            xo >-)

        • March says:

          BLECH those are the same folks who tell you horror stories when you’re pregnant. Why do people say things like that? If that ring makes you happy, that’s the start and end of it. @};-

        • mary says:

          I think if it were the case that there was a terrible psychic trauma associated with the ring, you would never have loved it to begin with–if the mojo theory is correct. If it brought you joy and happiness until your friendl-)cast the cloud over it, it’s your friend’s mojo–not the ring’s–you can do without. How wonderful that you chose a beautiful vintage ring. It is a very soulful and valid choice to reuse a beautiful old crafted item, with lots of healing benefits for the planet– no new expenditure of mining, drilling cutting, etc. Don’t let your superstitious friend get you down. %%-(%)

  • Madea says:

    I love wearing my vintage stuff. Finding a bottle of vintage somewhere–especially a bottle that’s been well used–is a little like seeing a ghost for me. I feel a connection with the other woman; our shared love of something ephemerial, like perfume, brought us together for a second.

    • March says:

      A ghost — exactly. I think I’ve used that precise word… I love my fragrance ghosts. And like you I would love to know the history of some of my bottles. 😡

  • Tamara says:

    As Angela said on NST “Wear them with wit.”
    It’s cool to read your thoughts on all of this. As someone brand new to the sample , decanting world I am on a wild frenzy of trying on everything to see if anything out there is FB worthy love. I am having a blast smellin’ my life away. And it’s so much fun to go through everybody’s perfume heads on here and NST and Perfume Smellin’ Blogs and so many others. I love to read all the archives of all the years I’ve missed out on,
    I read for hours, my girls make fun of me because
    I hog our one lil’ computer in the house!
    And my ‘to try’ list gets longer, there is forever more to love.
    I could stop now I suppose but why?
    Because I don’t want to hoard my treasures
    or have them go to waste.
    I should start using them up now before I have a sad revelation of my own someday. But I’m still searching for FB lust and I know I want to start with T.C. Alahine, L’Artisan’s Verte Violette ,Parfum’s de Nicolai Balkis,Mimosaique,and Vanilla Tonka.
    Oh and Andy’s Une Rose Chypree & either Le Maroc pour elle or Reverie au jardin!

    See???! Thats a good start right? aha 😉
    Thanks again for a wonderful blog and sharing your feelings of scent. I love it so much. I really do!

    Truly, Tamara

    • March says:

      You’ve got a pretty great lust list too!

      I will *never* complain about samples and decanting. I am soooo grateful for the opportunity to try things that way (just in case it wasn’t clear from what I wrote.) But having made this discovery, I thought the issue was worth raising — those samples and decants and bottles do evaporate.

      • Haunani says:

        Well, thank you for this fun read! My decants are lying down on the job in a shallow drawer, and that drawer smells YUMMY (way TOO yummy, I think). You have convinced me that they need to be standing up, and that there is no good reason to hoard them. Oh, and that my mother’s silver is doing me no good packed away in a “safe” place!

  • Winifreida says:

    Yes I have to agree! I have finally got a grip and have learnt enough to feel I don’t have to have everything at once! I am also discovering that most of the ‘lines’ tend to do a version of major notes/families. Its amazing how many sweetly zingy acqua green transparent florals I have smelled lately. And I can’t help but feel that the available aromachemicals and trends are pumping out ‘sameness’ even in the niche. I also learnt that some of the classics I knew I didn’t like twenty or thirty years ago I still don’t like! But I did miss some like Vent Vert, and had great fun on the’bay finding older bottles of favorites from my pre-Mitsouko days. When something really unusually great like Nuit de T comes along, its really to be treasured.
    I’m down to only a few few bottles on the must-have list; the Vero Kerns, Nuit de Tube, Stephen Jones, some from the US artisans…and I am carefully going thru’ my huge sample collection one by one, because yes, in only a year and a half I am getting deterioration and evaporation!
    Its a bit frustrating in one way, because my tastes have definitelty been educated, especially in what I now regard as fem vs masc. So when I thought, oh, I’d better retest Chergui, put away for being too manly, it was a let-down to find it all but gone….

    • March says:

      Your must-have list is pretty alluring! And you’re confirming the deterioration and evaporation. A few times in the past I’ve just thought, huh — didn’t I have more of that? Wasn’t it almost full? But digging out bottles that were, essentially, empty — I know I didn’t put them away like that.

  • Masha says:

    Your essay reminds me of Alice Walker’s story, “Everyday Use”. You support Maggie’s position, I think– enjoy your perfume heritage, love it, and use it! Maggie’s sister, Dee, might argue persuasively for vintage perfumes to be kept in a museum, and there is a place for that, surely, but with most of it, we just have to wear them and create fantastic, fragrant memories for ourselves, our friends, and families. I’m with you on that one!

    • Musette says:

      ooh, yes! forgot about that story!

      What Masha Said About What Alice Said.

      xo >-)

    • March says:

      This is a bit off topic, but I was searching for images for this post last night. And at one point I googled something like “empty perfume bottles.” So it’s some gal’s Flikr files (I think) and she has these *phenomenal* vintage perfume bottles on a tray on her dresser — very boudoir-ish. In the caption, she says she likes the way they all look empty — that the coloring is clear. It’s strongly implied that she … you know, dumped all the contents out so they’d be more visually appealing. It upset me so much I gave up the image search. 😮

      • Shelley says:

        I’m going to choose to believe she found someone who would “take that off her hands.” :-s

      • carter says:

        *clutches chest, falls over in a dead faint*@-)

        • Musette says:

          Tell me about it. I had that happen in an antique shop – with a buncho Guerlain bottles. Old Guerlain bottles. The dealer stood right in front of my face and told me the Very Same Thing.

          😮

          Hey! at least I didn’t bean her with one of the bottles!

          xo >-)

  • Joe says:

    What!? 😮 Evaporation?!?!? :(( Say it ain’t so!:-ss

    I did find a sample of something that had evaporated; I figured the stopper wasn’t in correctly. But atomizers… that’s a different story. If I go to pull out one of those babies and it’s empty… well… it’ll serve me right, I guess. At this point, I have an awful lot of atomizers — stored upright, like yours.

    And I’m such a freak about using the last few drops. I treat my decants and alphabetized ziplocs full of samples as if I’m curating the Osmotheque or something. I can’t possibly wear that 1ml of Serge Fleurs d’Oranger because I’m a raving lunatic I might want it for reference someday, you see. Yes, for reference. Uh huh. Decants freak me out too when I get down to having 3ml or less (fewer?). Because you know I just can’t buy another decant of 98% of this stuff, right? l-)

    The big question is what do do with that 1ml of Djedi in the little dram jar with a screw-on lid? That would be the ONE milliliter that cost me about $25. b-( How about this? I’ll make a deal with the perfume gods: I’ll start wearing my vintage No. 19 parfum — all 5ml, and I’ll sniff a drop of Djedi every couple of months if they promise to not let my beloved Attrape-Coeur ever turn.

    • Masha says:

      Oh, my, and I thought I must be the only one who kept that last little drop “for future reference”. Are we closet librarians, or just completely MAD??:o

      • gator grad says:

        OMG. I never put that together before, but yes. I am totally a “closet librarian”.

        • Masha says:

          Time for Closet Librarians Anonymous….

          • kjanicki says:

            I’m fairly new to perfume collecting, so I don’t have a ton of samples, maybe a couple hundred. At first I thought of them as “notes” keeping them in ziplock baggies labelled “violets” or “incense” so I could compare them. But there were too many cross-overs or hard to define scents. So recently, I re-sorted everything by perfume house, re-labelled all the baggies, and rearranged them alphabetically. I’m considering cataloguing them on a spreadsheet too so that I can look up what I have.

            You know what, I was a librarian once upon a time too 🙂

          • Olfacta says:

            I have a spreadsheet of decants, minis and bottles, but samples? No way.

          • KarenG says:

            Hello, my name is Karen, and I have at least 100 samples of fragrances I don’t even like, which I am keeping for “reference”.
            Oh dear.

          • Masha says:

            Hello, my name is Masha, and I can’t stop cataloguing my stuff!!

    • Musette says:

      You cut that out. WEAR that Djedi or I will come over to your house and wear it for you! :-w

      Sweetie, this is all so fleeting – I have bored the socks off y’all with my trip down the tunnel to the light and back again but it really did happen (sans light – just some green grass) and while I didn’t learn enough to change ALL my ways I did learn that ‘if you’ve got it, wear it/eat it/love it/enjoy it’. Dead is dead, baby, whether it be a perfume – or you.

      Besides, if you wear it in love and delight the Universe will prolly find a way to make sure there is always some available for you.

      okay, I’ll go back to picking daisies and signing hippie love songs!

      =))

      xoxo >-)

    • March says:

      Mmmm, yeah. Those “reference samples.” On the one hand — I blog. I mean, I’ve dug those up. If I think A smells like B, often I can dig B up to see if I’m right. It’s usually an interesting comparison. But if I never get to finish off the vial of Bois de Violette because I want it for “reference” and don’t want to pony up for another vial … what’s up with that?

      I’d give the Djedi in the dram jar with the screw-top a better chance of surviving, though. But I still think you should wear it. 🙂

  • carter says:

    I wear them, but that’s why I have multiple bottles of the vintage fumes I love — all purchased with their seals intact and boxed, some still in their original outer wrappings. Because I want to wear them until I die, not hoard them for hoarding’s sake. If an opened bottle should go “off” or evaporate away (which I have to say has never actually happened, probably because I use them before that can happen) I can sleep at night knowing that there’s plenty more where that came from.

    I’m always joking about my Ondees, but I have six sealed bottles of extrait and one open bottle currently in use, and if I hadn’t bought them when I did I would never be in a position to wear one of the greatest masterpieces of perfumery whenever the mood strikes. I can’t bear to even contemplate the prospect of living without it. Ditto vintage Jolie Madame, Bandit, Scandal, Rumeur, L’Heure Bleue, Shalimar and Violette Precieuse.

    • Joe says:

      Oh! You and your doggone Ondees! ^:)^

      • carter says:

        Ha-ha! I wrote that post and immediately went running to my open bottle to make sure it was okay[-o<#:-sand then I dabbed some on to wear to bed because I had totally talked myself into it:-ss:d

    • Masha says:

      Your Ondees, my Niki dSP! I have no idea who to will a whole liter of this stuff to when I head up to that big happy perfume counter in the sky! My descendants can argue about it, I guess, I’ll have to peek in on that conversation!

      • carter says:

        I know, I know, which is why I’m wearing my Ondees to bed|-):d

      • Shelley says:

        Oh, Niki, you’re so fine… I do loves me some NSP.

      • Ann N. says:

        Yes! Another Nike dsP fan!! Mmmm … seriously good stuff!

        • mary says:

          I sprayed on a goodly amount of Niki for bedtime last night– I love it. I was thrilled to find out they still make it, and I hoarded some up, so I have several years worth. Somewhere in one of the perfume blogs or books, someone mentioned the nose who worked with Niki de Ste. Phalle to create the fragrance– but now I can’t find the name. Does anyone know who that person is? :)>-

          • March says:

            I don’t know who the nose is, but it’s great stuff and I too was delighted to see that it’s still being made.

    • March says:

      It’s great that you’ve figured out the scents that make you the happiest, and you’ve tried to do the best you can to make sure you’ll have those going forward. I think (?) you’ve mentioned having more of a “uniform” before in terms of clothing, makeup… it’s an organized, sensible approach.

      • carter says:

        Yeah, pretty much. I just don’t want a closet full of clothes that I don’t wear, or shelves and drawers of perfume that have no chance of ever seeing the light of day. I have multiples of things I love but are hard to find, whether it happens to be something extinct or else one of those current frags that one has to bribe a friend to carry home to you from Europe in her ondees. Hello Serge, Ima talkin’ ta yooze, dear
        :[email protected]

        I have full bottles other vintage extraits: Mitsouko, Vol de Nuit, Le Fuites des Heures, Chamade, Jicky, several of the original Chanels (the ones that don’t hate me) Balmains, Patous, Carons and Diors, but in most cases only one of each. (Okay, okay, maybe TWO,tops) and then FBs of the handful of newer things I like. But nowadays (with a few notable exceptions) I find myself buying splits instead, simply because I don’t want to have too much of anything around that I can easily get my mitts on with a quick walk across the park. Clutter confounds me. These days, half of the time I’m not even sure why I’m standing in the kitchen or how I got there in the first place.

        So, anyway, where was I? Oh yeah…so I spritz ’em ALL on with luxurious [email protected]};-Life is short n’est-ce pas? Now excuse me please while I go check on my babies…er…Bandits.

  • Jarvis says:

    Yes, it’s time to wear them.

    I think we should host fabulous dinner parties on a weekly basis, and drench ourselves with the last drops of a beloved vintage at each one. What say you?

  • Musette says:

    This is starting to spook me. I JUST (I swear) had this thought last night, looking at alllll the samps and decants etc and wondering when I would ever manage to wear them all. Do I have them to enjoy? Or just to amass and/or hoard. I’m past the hoarding phase (no point to it anyway, as I’m past my halfway point in Life) so it’s Wear Time!

    I was in one of those “if I died tonight, what would I want to be smelling as I pass on out of here?” moods – I looked longingly at my Mitsouko vintage parfum and edt – and decided to put both of them on! Different iterations of Fabulousness and a delightful way to snooze. I didn’t die so I think I’ll wear some other vintage tonight. And why not. Why else would I have them?

    I’m with you: WEAR THEM!

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      Well, yes. 🙂 Enjoy or hoard. I’ve just read through comments below and I share a lot of the same mixed feelings herein. As I think I’ve mentioned before, “hoarding” tendencies make me uncomfortable anyway; I don’t like large collections of things. So my perfume sample collection (and bottle collection) prompts its own set of mixed feelings automatically.