The Reformulation

By March

It must be tedious to read a perfume review that winds up saying, well, of course, if you want the good stuff you need to have smelled it back in The Day.  You know — back before they ran out of cheap Mysore sandalwood or banned that particular musk in the base, back before they decided they were going to cut their per-bottle liquid content cost from $18 to $1.80 or whatever the hell it was they dreamed up while they were thinking of new ways to save money.

It seems to me that the most common Arc of Disappointment is 1) The Cheapening of The Ingredients.  The whole construct starts to smell like a made-in-Macau dupe.  (Deor Poisson!)   Sometimes this aura of cheapness goes hand-in-hand with 2) The Dumbing-Down of the Concept.  To pick on Deor Poisson again, I find its current iteration slightly gourmand in a way that manages to feel dated already, and it seems less relentlessly aggressive, less toxic than the older bottles, although I’d still wear it over lots of other choices.   There’s usually a slow downhill curve in the quality decline, unless there isn’t (Diptyque Tam Dao suddenly smells like nice pencils.  Diorissimo still smells great-ish unless you smell the original, so don’t.)

Sometimes a house un-retires a name from the past and perfumistas cry foul because the new model doesn’t resemble the old at all – Rochas Femme, Cuir de Lancome, Lanvin Rumeur.  These are trickier to judge because the newer versions, which may be rather nice on their own, are inevitably damned by comparison.  I like new Femme, and love new Cuir, but I am not blaming you if you can’t get past your disappointment that the only thing they have in common with their predecessor is the name.

Cartier Must, as far as I know, was never pulled from the market for its overhaul, and the current version doesn’t smell like either a subtle taste-tweaking or a cheapening of the original.  (Anyone who wore the old stuff and can flesh out the reformulation timeline?  I’d love your input.)  People have long complained on the Posse that the original Must, in the identical bottle, was much different (and much better) than the current scent.  Eventually a die-hard fan sent me a care package and, armed with a sample of the vintage, I have to agree.  Whenever and however Cartier changed Must, the then-and-now versions are so different as to be essentially unrecognizable as the same fragrance.

If I were to sum up the current Cartier Must in pithy Turin/Sanchez style for The Guide, it would be chocolate ashtray.  And noooo, not in a good way.  (LT says Russian chocolate and gives it one star, he calls it flowers, galbanum and vanilla.)  The galbanum greenness is the bridge from old to new – only in the new version it’s like someone decided it’d be clever to layer the galbanum with a gourmand note, a cheap-chocolate-cookie smell, maybe Keebler’s or a BBW Choco-licious, not to give BBW any more wretched ideas.  (Ack. This’ll now be in their winter lineup, named Sensual Chocolate.)  The current Cartier Must is heeeeeedious, a two-pronged olfactory assault that’s as appetizing as chocolate-dipped herring.  When I read online reviews by people who actually like Must – and yes, there are plenty of them – they’re always talking about the vanilla:  the vanillic sweetness, the warm vanilla drydown.   There’s an interesting conversation to be had about the commonalities of vanilla and chocolate, smell/taste-wise, but I’m not having it, not while you’re asking me to choke down an entire clipped ornamental hedgerow at the same time.  Even I have my limits, people.

I have no idea what’s in the vintage, but on my skin it’s a green/spicy oriental that would probably fall somewhere between Chanel Coco and Cristalle, only done with a heavier hand.  You know, more stereotypically Cartier-ish – more blinged up, suitable for placement next to Dragon’s Breath and the glittery eyes of Panthere.  It’s got a sweet, powdery undernote that breaks hearts because it calls up the original Coty Emeraude – not the criminal, heinous swill sold today near you for $3.99 in a plastic clamshell hang-box, but vintage Emeraude, the one that equals – or, okay, I’ll say it, possibly surpasses – Shalimar.  Go buy a mini vintage Emeraude on eBay, or at the junk shop.  Find one that looks old.  There are still tons of them out there, because Emeraude’s been around so long.  Unlike Shalimar I can actually wear Emeraude, appreciate its vanillic embrace, its powdery sweetness.  Vintage Must carries that seemingly contradictory airy/richness along with its florals and its spice.  Vintage Must isn’t asking to be eaten, like the dregs of the Whitman’s box.  It isn’t asking to be loved, either, particularly.  But it can be admired.  It must have been grand.

My correspondent included samples of the long-discontinued and apparently much-sought-after Must II (EDT and EDP) about which I know pretty much nothing.  It’s interesting how different the two concentrations are.  Must II EDT is drier and green and closer to the original Must.


Then I put on the Must II EDP, in passing, contemplating the many facets of this unexplored side of Cartier, and …………… aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaghhhhhhhhhhhgllllllllllllllllllgh.

WANT. Want want want want want.  (scramble scramble type)   Oh, look, I can buy this discontinued crap for … lookslike … $298 a bottle BIN!   Fuuuuuuuhhh…gheddaboutit.  It’s like stalking Chaos, I’m not doing it.  Too much heartbreak.  More googling produces the information that it was done by Alberto Morillas in 1993, notes are mandarin orange, peach, hyacinth, jasmine, daffodil, moss, vetiver, sandalwood and musk.

Must II EDP is massively fruital.  Melissa, have we accepted your coinage?  Fruital is yours, yes?  Must II EDP is fruital in the general sense that Poison or Dolce Vita are fruital.  It’s a syrupy, intensely sweet decoction without any of the redeeming spice-qualities of vintage Dolce Vita or the weirdness of Poison, and as I huffed it up my nose I wanted it desperately.  I can smell its peachy fruitalness clear through its sealed plastic mini-bag on my side-table.  You wouldn’t want this leaking in your purse.  Or your car.  Or your mailer.

My resistance? Was fruital futile.

On eBay –  I don’t really want to pony up $200 – $300 for a new (old) bottle that, when it arrives, may smell nothing like my sample.  So, let’s just check the auctions … well, here’s a seller with essentially no track record at all, shilling a partial bottle that’s probably been on Aunt Tillie’s dresser under a south-facing window for the last ten years, soaking up the rays.  The photo’s so bad I can’t even read the label properly, and the description is inconclusive … yep, I think I’ll bid on it.

And I did.  And, as luck would have it, I beat out the other hapless fools drunk-bidding on eBay that night.

I’ll let you know how it works out.

  • Darryl says:

    Tedius. Yes. So much so that I’ve pretty much thrown my hands up at the whole reformulation thing, and no longer feel the overwhelming urge to seek out vintage versions of classics that I enjoy perfectly well in their current iterations. If I happen to come across an older bottle of one of my faves, of course I’ll jump on it, but I don’t stay up nights worrying about being outbid on that shrink-wrapped 1980s bottle of Opium. (Which I happened to win. Which never arrived. Which I’m still a little bitter about, honestly, because I think the current Opium is balls-out fantastic and would LOVE to get to know the vintage – ie. “real” – thing.)

    Must de Cartier I’ve never smelled in any capacity, but “chocolate ashtray” has me beyond intrigued, even if it’s “not in a good way”. If I learned to love the petroleum-soaked armpit of Fahrenheit (vintage, ironically – the new stuff is great but far tamer), I’m sure I can handle a little Marlboro-dusted Hershey’s.

  • Cheryl says:

    I have out of curiousity purchased a small bottle (5mls?)on that auction thingy. I believe the older juice. It opens with bergamont and morphs into an oriental cinnamon…nothing citrus….nothing chocolate. It’s in my purgatory pile. Don’t hate it or love it….but if any of you folks wish it, I’ll be happy to pass it along forward and send it on to a good home.

    • March says:

      Hah! We should all get together in one giant swap meet and trade stuff … you don’t have any perfume nuts where you live? Or swap on MUA? You can always resell it. It must be the EDT or EDP?

      • Cheryl says:

        I just’s 4mls Parfum…but yes a swap meet would be a HOOT. I guess I’d be too intimidated to organize it… I live in a city of the tres wealthy (vancouver, canada)..but occasionally there are signs of perfume nuthood out there..when I get into conversations…particularly about some of the components…people stare at me with a very hard glint in their eye…and I suspect they too are of us…

  • Tom says:

    drunk-bidding on eBay? I think we’re related.. :d

  • Cathleen says:

    I got my sample of Must parfum from The Court, I’m wearing it today. I have to be careful applying it because it really lasts on me, it’s a room clearer. Some warm days it’s a gawd-awful scrubber; it smells like overpowering amber. But days like today it is soooo perfect. It is so much sharper than Shalimar and less sweet, more sophisticated than Geisha Noire.

  • sweetlife says:

    Oh, March. You are in fine, fine fettle this morning. (And last night too, apparently. Glad to know I’m not the only one occasionally succumbing to the evils of the bay after 11.) I laughed many times, reading this. Thank you.

    I don’t have much to say about reformulations right now. Kind of taking a break from the whole vintage thing. But I wanted to get on here and thank you AGAIN for reviewing the Tigerflag attars. Finally got around to diluting the Champa Attar that came as a gift sample with my larger order of Saffron, and–how did you put it?–nnnnnggggggaaahh gah gah gah… And my husband thinks so too, which is rare. I seem to remember your not caring for it, but maybe you tried it straight? On my it was like, hmmm, like a cross between Carnal Flower, and a real gardenia. It had that buttery tuberose thing going on, but also the mushroomy, raspy gardenia thing. And it’s own sweet self, of course. I see more in my immediate future.

    (And THAT is why free samples are good business!)

    • Masha says:

      Oh, I love that champa attar. It’s nothing like the Ormonde Jayne, but it’s gorgeous in its own unique way, YUM!

      • March says:

        I need to dilute it more, right? It’s soooo intensely ripe on me at first, and then three hours later it opens up. That majmua is still rocking my world, please see my comment to sweetlife.

    • March says:

      I have my silly hat on today. Although unfortunately I also have my creeping chest-cold hat on and have spent much of the day with a hot cup of tea and the chills …. wah wah…. where were we?

      Those Tigerflags! Hah — wearing the champa attar right now! You know what’s great about them from my perspective? (They’re on permanent placement in a drawer next to my blogspot.) They smell *nothing* like anything else I write about. They are not “conventional” perfumery. So when I am sick to death of the rest of it, on goes a Tigerflag. I’m still enthralled by the smoked incense one and the majmua … also I can wear them (subtly) to places like yoga and not offend, which has turned into the challenge now that I’m doing yoga regularly.

      • sweetlife says:

        So sorry to hear about the creeping cold! Quick, quick! Take a huge overdose of Vitamin C (I drink those Emergen-C things) and eat a huge bowl of unbearably spicy Thai soup, preferably the one made with fish and tomatoes. Always works for me. (Big grinning emoticon.)

        I diluted my champa around 1:7 or so, maybe a bit more. I was less precise this time around. Can totally see that it would be unbearable if I hadn’t. Only two of the attars have really worked for me so far, but man, they really brought the magic back, you know what I mean? That feeling of OMG, I HAD NO IDEA, that I had so often, when I first started in on perfume…

        Masha, it reminds me more of Red Flower’s Champaca oil than the Ormonde Jayne, though I’ll have to smell the OJ again to see if I can catch the Champa note in it.

        • March says:

          The champa attar is growing on me after several hours. I need to dilute it more, clearly. And I’m taking lots and lots of Vitamin C, trying to keep this thing from infiltrating my chest.

          I know exactly what you mean about bringing the magic back — remember my squeeeeeeeee over the majmua? Almost exactly the same: OMG I HAD NO IDEA. The majmua still takes me there.

  • Ann N. says:

    Yay, March!! Thanks much for your great post on Must, my much-loved scent (vintage, of course) that’s all too often maligned. Back in the early ’80s in college, it made me feel so glorious, sexy and grown-up, in all its iterations: EDP, EDT and the Must IIs as well). Glad you’re liking the Must II EDP. If the bottle you bought on eBay is a bust, please let me know and I’ll be happy to send you a generous decant of mine, which is still pretty true.
    As regards to the newer (reformulated) Cartier bottles, they have a plain dark red cap atop a glass bottle and the boxes have all-white type on them and a huge C across the bottom half of the front. The vintage ones almost always have some kind of metal trim, such as metal shoulders and/or sides. In the batch I sent you, I think I put a sample of the original Must EDP, but if not, let me know and I’ll shoot you another one. Anyway, thanks again for riding to the rescue!!

    • Ann N. says:

      Sorry for the unnecessary description in my post just above: The photo accompanying the column IS of the new stuff.

    • March says:

      And loook, it only took several months but I did play with those samples and review them. So :* to you. You couldn’t find your EDP at the time. I think the Must II EDP is a better fit for me in terms of what I’m likely to wear, although your samples have already been put aside for filing (yes, insane but true — i have them filed alphabetically so I can refer to them.) But if the Must II EDP fruit-bomb is a disaster I will be bugging you for a decant! And thanks for pointing out the metal trim, as did another commenter, I am rather embarrassed to have missed that.

    • March says:

      LOL my bottle just showed up. Spraying it on I understand what captivated me. It’s almost garbage-y. Intensely overripe sweetness, very indolic. Must be the jasmine?

  • Rappleyea says:

    *little guy ROTFL*

    Thanks, March! I needed that. That was a great laugh first thing on a Monday morning.

    My vote for bad use of the same name is the new Mitsouko. It’s a very nice oriental in its own right, but IT. IS. NOT. A. CHYPRE. and therefore NOT Mitsouko! Why didn’t they give Mitsy a state funeral with a casket in a horse drawn carriage pulled majestically down the Champs Elysees? You do make a good point though about the difficulties of coming up with and registering new names, and I suppose in the case of a name as iconic as Mitsouko, Guerlain thought they were doing the right thing. (Or am I giving them too much credit?)

    • Musette says:

      What an elegant idea. Six glossy black Percherons pulling a glass hearse…millions of couture-clad women weeping into black-edged handkerchiefs. The solemn tolling of bells….

      …so beautiful.

      …so fitting.

      thank you for that visual.

      xo >-)

      • Rappleyea says:

        And boughs of oak moss covering the casket rather than flowers…. (I’d use the wailing guy, but you and March are the only two with keys to the emoticons).

    • March says:

      Honestly — having traded up from the already kinda-lame Mitsouko EDT *before* the oakmoss thing, I’ve tried to ignore what they sell now. But I think I could argue that it’s recognizably the same scent, if nowhere as good, and kinda-bad Mitsouko is still 100% better than much of Sephora.

  • mals86 says:

    Re: 1) Cheapening and 2) Dumbing-down – absolutely. Right on. Preach it, sister. Not only do current versions of older fragrances smell vaguely chemical and unpleasant, they’re… insipid. Pusillanimous. Like you’re getting Barbie, or a blow-up porn doll, instead of, say, Helen Mirren’s good bones and slice-you-to-the-bone intellect, or Bette Davis’ dangerous, smoldering sexuality. Faugh!

    And Poisson amused me – add an S and you get, what, Fish? I was just threatening my kids yesterday afternoon with that vtg Poison esprit de parfum: For heaven’s sake, stop bickering or I Will Put On That Poison You Hate. (Middle kid: “That perfume really does smell like it could kill you. And then smile.”) I’m not sure *I* don’t still hate it, but gosh, the thing does have a stupendous rack, and not from silicone, either.

    I adore Vintage Emeraude. It only recently occurred to me that Emeraude is the reason I love Shalimar Light so much – it’s Shalimar, minus that Tar thing I find so difficult. That said, I am not in the least interested in Must, in any iteration. Likewise Must II, since I have both Rumba and Dolce Vita, both scary-big Warm Spiced Fruit Compote scents, but I’m anxiously awaiting your report on that ebay bottle.

    • March says:

      If you’ve got Rumba AND Dolce Vita you’re probably good … I’ve been unable to score a Dolce Vita of a vintage that satisfies me. And God help us if we ever break our bottles of Rumba. That thing should probably be in a Zip-Lock.

      Shalimar hates me, I’ve said it before and it’s true. Emeraude totally works, though. And my oldest girl is surprisingly tolerant of those heavy sweet orientals like Poisson 😉 It’s the old-fashioned mossy ones they dislike.

  • DinaC says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever sniffed any versions of Must, but now I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it. I enjoyed reading your humorous account of it, March. It’s true that it’s frustrating to hear about the wonderful good ol’ days when the fumes were so marvelous, knowing that you’ll never get to sniff them. I just keep hoping to stumble across someone’s old stash at a garage sale or thrift shop. :-)

    • March says:

      Ah, yes, but every now and again, this actually happens! I bet tons of people on here have some great bottle(s) from a garage sale or thrift shop. I have a bottle of Venezia, bejeweled no less, that I could resell for 10x what I paid. In a junk shop because the woman thought the bottle was cute. She couldn’t believe I was interested in what it smelled like! (I asked to uncap it, it wasn’t sealed.)

  • Olfacta says:

    I remember the original Must a little too well. I had a small decant of the perfume, the first release of it. It smelled like — oh, I’ll just go ahead and say it — sex. Still haven’t a clue as to what was in it, but a few dabs lasted many hours. A not-sweet Emeraude comes close but on me it was much more animalic — of course I didn’t know the word then — just that it made me feel that way.

    Cut to three years ago, I’m walking through a Bloomie’s or somewhere and I see a tester and…aaccck. Syrupy sweet cheap vanilla. My first experience with reformulation or maybe I should say deception. Because that’s what this is. If you can’t make the juice, big corporate cosmetics company, do us a favor and retire the name, willya? It’s the decent thing to do.

  • karin says:

    I wore Poison back in the day, and haven’t had the courage to test the current version. Best to leave sleeping dogs lie? Suppose I’d rather cherish the memory than cloud it with a reformulation. Bought a bottle of the new Rive Gauche, and oh was it a disappointment. Not that the reformulation is BAD, it’s just not what it used to be, and that’s sad…

    I’ve somehow managed to avoid Ebay!!! Don’t even want to think about what I might be missing…

  • Louise says:

    Ah, Marchie-

    I’m so glad you had a chance to smell the good one, the old Must. I have only had a small parfum of it-and always liked it’s ambery, oriental wide shoulders. My sis has always sworn by it, and in certain cozy moods, I love the waft of it’s oomph.

    Never smelled the modern-and have no desire to ruin my feelings toward Must. I’ve never tried the 2-but it sounds sooo nice, I must huff whenever possible!

  • Melauriga says:

    This clears things up a lot for me…I bought Must de Cartier after reading glowing descriptions of it being a love child of Shalimar and Aliage. But when I tried it on it was just nasty. You are spot on in your chocolate ashtray description. It sounds like it is very hard to tell if it’s vintage just by the bottle?

    • March says:

      Oooh! Love child of Aliage and Shalimar sounds pretty darn wonderful, doesn’t it? 😡 That’s why I kept resniffing and thinking, I give up.

      As I said above somewhere, I can’t see any difference in the bottles at all that would indicate age or reformulation. I poked around online awhile. They all look the same to me.

  • Winifreida says:

    Ah Must – reminds of my misspent youth…it was another one I was unfaithful to The Empress with…
    I was dismayed by LT’s cheap chocolate thing, I just could not connect with that description, and like you, thought, my nose ‘must’ve’ been wrong…but I did get a little bottle of older Parfum off the bay and it does smell very similar to what I remember.Vanilla, ambery, not chocolate to me.
    Interesting your comparison with Shalimar – YES! That’s it! But its a little more modern, sweeter, possibly more wearable. Its hard to fathom why they would tamper with it, you would think it is still quite current.

    • March says:

      The older parfum sounds pretty great, and that’s often the case, isn’t it? Things I wouldn’t like at all smell good in a vintage parfum. The current version … I don’t know. I don’t know who thought that was a good idea but people do buy it, don’t they? I mean, I can’t stand Baiser either.

  • Jillie says:

    I’m sort of feeling smug right now, although things might have been different …. when we moved house a couple of years ago, I decided to prune my perfume collection and – horror – actually threw away some bottles because I didn’t think I’d wear them again(I know, that makes me feel less smug and I don’t want to think of those that I lost, and I wouldn’t do it now). However, I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of my Must, which was half full and still in its cute leather pouch. So I am thrilled to be able to go back to it for a nostalgic sniff, and not to be lamenting my foolishness for chucking it. It was never a favourite, and I couldn’t quite work out what it reminded me of, but March (as always) you put your finger on it – it’s Emeraude, only less sweet. I think I’ll get it out and wear it today, although I wonder if it was and is just too sophisticated for me!

    • Winifreida says:

      OOOh gah, I did the same thing with all my empty bottles of Mits and L H’B parfum, which I’d tuck into my undies drawer and then whaaa – throw out – if I had a big tidy-up or moved house….

    • March says:

      Oh, put it on! Tell me how it works out! The consensus seems to be animalic vanilla, is that what you’re getting?

      My eyes tear up when people tell me they threw their perfume away, as if it had an expire date like canned soup.

      • Masha says:


        • March says:

          Tell me about it. A neighbor last year said, in essence, oh, you’re into perfume? My mom had a buncho that crap, I chucked it, it was dusty…. 🙁

          • Musette says:

            Did I tell you about the Hoarders episode with the woman who collected – nearly everything? Luckily her stuff was relatively clean and actually a lot was quite valuable – but Lord – there was a LOT of it!

            Anyway, I was feeling awful for her poor ol’ husband, stuck amongst the 45 cuckoo clocks…….and then the camera panned across a table, filled with 😮

            in the .04 second shot I espied a bottle of Shalimar and another Chanel….and that was just two of about 80. EIGHTY!


            😕 she had a sale…she lives in TX. If she has another sale I’m drivin’ down… :d

            xo >-)

          • March says:

            I know, I know. She had a sale and probably sold a bottle of vintage Mitsouko for $3.

      • Jillie says:

        Well, I did my duty (in spite of a cold, which means I may not be quite as accurate as I should be) – I hunted for my Must and found it hiding in a box at the back of the wardrobe. It is an edt, and I bought it about 1985. At first I didn’t smell much apart from the green-ness, which I didn’t find too citrussy. As time wore on I was thinking “yes, it’s a bit reminiscent of Shalimar”, and maybe that’s why I never finished the bottle as I don’t think that suits me either. I wasn’t hit by vanilla, although I think it is there, but totally ungourmand. And then gradually the perfume seemed to get stronger as it developed, and I detected a hint of skank and – more than any other note – civet! I am not surprised about the civet because the idea that kept popping into my head was that it smelt like my kitties’ fur. Then I got images of an old pair of my gloves, which were leather and lined with fur (I would never buy fur now though!). And that gave me the clue to what I smell now – leather

        It is amazingly long lasting and is still there on my wrist. It’s smooth and very different and, I think, still not me. However, I remember someone saying to me, when she smelt me wearing it, that it was her absolute favourite and that she sprayed it extravagantly over herself and the bed when she was giving birth and, of course, forever more associated her labour with Le Must!

        • March says:

          And thanks very much for the extremely detailed report. The skanky base notes sound great, and now that I’ve discovered they’re even in the very-sweet Must II I’m not surprised.

          • Jillie says:

            I know – I’ve got verbal diarrhoea (or the written equivalent). Can’t help it when it’s my favourite subject, and especially when delirious with a high temperature!

  • Mary says:

    :)>-So many fumes, so few $$$! Thanks for the giggle-

  • Masha says:

    Funny coincidence, I just bought my first bottles of L’Origan and Emeraude (very OLD and in good shape) on ebay, but I can’t try them because they await me on another continent, and I don’t know when I’ll get back there. WAAAAHH!! Still, I’ve been enjoying my Irma Shorells so much, I had to try the real Emeraude as well. And now we are describing ‘fumes from the 90s as vintage, that’s how much things have changed in perfumery, and not for the better. Sigh. I’m glad the indies and micro-niches are around to compensate! That seems to be where most of the fun stuff is happening now. Oh, and the ‘bay, of course….

    • mals86 says:

      Oh, hope they’re good. I am a Vintage Emeraude Ho (at last count, I had six bottles of PdT and parfum, swoon) – and L’Origan is gorgeous.

    • March says:

      Oh, I think you will love your Cotys. You just have to come get them! And those Irma Shorells are great, aren’t they? Which also means you CAN make those scents. So why don’t people do it? Why can’t I get Bakir? Why why why?

      • Masha says:

        I really like my Irma Shorell Bakir, but I’ve never tried the original. Perfect for watching “North by Northwest” or some similar movie. My other Imra Shorell faves are Anarchy (discontinued) and Cannes (the Deneuve dupe, very leathery), and Tuvara Tuvache. I didn’t think I liked aldehydes until I tried some of these old recipes. Yum! Hopefully, I’ll be stateside soon, and can try my Cotys.

        • March says:

          I’m STILL mad about Anarchy, which I think is actually a better dupe of the original than the current version. I wish I’d caught it on sale.

    • Musette says:

      What continent is that? 😕 Can’t they UPS them? I would UPS them. Yes, I would. Prolly today :d I loveslovesLOVES my vintage Cotys. I wonder how they would fare, were they re-released in even an approximation of what they were in their heyday, rather than the dreckolicious stuff they put out around Christmastime, for the unwary to spritz and 8-x

      xoxo >-)

  • Tamara*J says:

    Gaaaaaawd I hate evilbay , I really do.

    It’s the Savior and Satan all rolled up in one entity.

    But it never stops me either.ha.

    Good luck doll!

    • March says:

      I love evilBay. Let’s be truthful: part of the thrill is the unexpected outcome. Will it be great? Terrible? Did I get a good deal or not? Mostly I tend not to spend at a level that, if the entire thing’s crap, it would ruin my day.

  • Sweet Sue says:

    I know nothing about Must but I do like “So Pretty” a lot.:)
    So, yea Cartier.

    • March says:

      I’m always on the fence about “So Pretty.” I get Tania Sanchez’ review in the guide where she acknowledges its Dewberry whimsy, done with classier effect, but it’s terribly sweet on my skin. I think that’s me, though.

  • Tara says:


    Can you tell from the packaging if a particular offering on ebay is vintage?


    • March says:

      I’ve asked someone that upstairs in comments, hoping she’ll report back. As far as I can determine, no. I poked around for awhile, looking for “vintage” images or advertisements, and the bottle looks the same to me.

      • Olfacta says:

        They came in metal – jacketed bottles — black with gold metal trim for the parfum and maroon with silver trim for the EDT. Both had a “window” of smoked glass with “Cartier” and the name in gold script. The outer box was like a Cartier jewelry box, red leather-like substance with gold filigree around the margins. The purse size of the EDT had a red leather-like envelope pouch (it may have really been leather, I don’t remember). Every now and then I see a small size bottle — even parfum — pop up on EB. I’ve been tempted, but it’s one of those things — don’t want to step all over my memory of the perfume as I experienced it.

  • Erin T says:

    This is interesting. Though she stopped about 10 years ago, my mom wore Must in the parfum version regularly for several years – it was the only pure parfum she ever had – and I remember it as a very animalic vanilla, definitely not my kind of thing, but also not terrible, like Must was when I tried it recently. I didn’t really realize it had changed so drastically, and so assumed either: a) it had always been terrible and my mom and I hadn’t noticed, in our ignorance; or b) the parfum was better than whatever I tried, EdT, I guess.

    • March says:

      Aha! Animalic vanilla sounds great, and I can then understand the other description of tobacco/vanilla, depending on your nose … I wonder if they even make the parfum now, and if they do, whether it’s also a chocolate-y mess?

      • Erin T says:

        My mom asked me a while ago if they still made the parfum and I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t look it up for her, just told her the bad news about what I suspected was the reformulation. My poor mom has bad luck with these things, as the other one she wore during this time period was Boucheron, which has also been reformulated, although not as horribly. She wears Angel mostly now, and occasionally Tocade. She’s kind of a big personality. :)

        • March says:

          Wow, those are definitely perfumes with a lot of personality. And you know, if the thing you love is really different now, why not move on to something else?

  • Musette says:

    Holy Cats and Crackers!!

    I completely missed the whole Must Era! Thank Floyd for small favors, for now I can go on my merry way (insert whistling guy here) blithely unaware of What Might’ve Been.

    I wonder why Houses resurrect old names? It just pisses the wearers of the original off – and it’s not like I’m going to like current Rumeur any more than I do (I don’t) because it’s same-named as the orig…

    I’m off to find some chocolate dipped herring. Or a lutefisk. Or a zombie.

    xo >-)

    • March says:

      Must makes me gag, and has done so for so long I had no idea what to expect. The vintage isn’t my thing (the way Aliage and Cristalle aren’t either) but it was certainly a more attractive scent.

      The name-resurrection often makes sense when you think of the legal aspects of it — trying to come up with a name that hasn’t been copyrighted (or whatever it’s called) now must be so hard. If you can dig up an old name the house already owns … Chanel’s doing that right now.

    • March says:

      Stay away from the chocolate fish,unless they’re the fun ones that are entirely chocolate!

  • carter says:

    You cwaaazy, girl. I like it.

  • Suzanna says:

    March, drop me a line if you would like to try a couple of vintage versions. The first is the original Must (daytime) version, which was a complement to the evening parfum version. They were two separate fragrances. “Pour le jour” (this was never actually the name) was d/c and replaced by an EdT version of the (evening) parfum. I have this one also and it is a tobacco-rich vanilla.

    Over time,the EdT, which was a lighter concentration of the parfum, went through a number of reformulations until it arrived at today’s green/chocolate/hair tonic version.

    It is sometimes possible to get the vintage EdT (the one based on the original parfum) on eBay. I won mine for thirty dollars and it has proven to be my most popular decant. The green-grassy “jour” EdT retails for around $150.00, if you can find it.

    • March says:

      Oh, how interesting! I hope you come back, I have questions. If one were searching for the original “pour le jour” does it have any distinguishing features? For that matter, is there any way, looking at the bottle, to tell older versions of the EDT (the one based on the parfum) from current versions?

      Finally, what about the parfum? If it’s still available, I wonder if it smells like the original evening parfum, apparently an animalic vanilla according to others on here….