Mad for minis

minis2I’m fairly certain that most perfumistas have the “collecting” gene. One look into our cabinets, closets, dressers, etc., would confirm that pretty easily, I think. And I’m guessing that some of us have collections of other things as well. For a few years, I collected teapots of favorite places/icons (Eiffel Tower, St. Basil’s Cathedral, Big Ben, etc.), but those tend to take up quite a bit of room after awhile, so I had to call a halt to it. And I did have a short-lived fling with perfume solids, such as Estee Lauder’s gorgeous collectibles; however, unemployment put the skids on that. But for a long time, way before either of those, I was an avid collector of minis — miniature perfume bottles, that is.

My bottle of choice was the perfectly petite 1/4 ounce size, but once in a while had to make do with the bigger 1/2 ounce. I got out of the habit years ago, but it seems to me that they don’t make minis as often as they used to (and especially not in the world of niche), or perhaps I’m just out of practice and not seeing them because I’m not on the lookout for them.

Here are a few of my favorites:

* the gorgeous blue square bottle of Niki de Saint Phalle topped with the brightly painted, entwined snakes

* the original Halston’s slender, curvy near-teardrop (designed by Elsa Peretti of Tiffany fame)

minis3* Claude Montana’s Parfum de Peau with its twisting ribbed sculpture (corkscrew? helix?)

minis4* the elegant clear crystal cube which housed the perfume of the original Lauren by Ralph Lauren (more commonly seen in the burgandy glass bottles)

* the rounded rectangle with the blue fan top of Folies Bergere;

and the original Chloe’s ubiquitous, but still elegant, frosted glass calla lily stopper.

I’m sure I’m missing quite a few lovelies, especially those of the earlier vintage variety. What about you? What are your fave minis? Or what bottle do you wish they made in miniature?

I know you guys are probably tired of hearing about it, but I’m coveting one of that Reem Acra bottle that I wrote about recently on the Posse.

And I would walk across hot coals to get my hands on a beautiful blue mini a la Amouage Interlude Woman or Annick Goutal’s Nuit Etoilee. There is hope with regard to the Amouage as I know they’ve done miniature sets in the past, but not so sure that AG does or has ever done minis; if so, I haven’t ever seen them.

This is interesting too!

60 Comments

  1. the Niki de Saint Phalle bottle is truly a work of art. I wish I had one too (any size would do)

    • Hi, Amer! Keep an eye out on eBay; I see the NdSP bottles come up on there sometimes. I’ve even seen one at an antiques store, but it’s been a while ago. If I see another, I’ll snag it for you, OK?

  2. Hi, Ann, I too would cross hot coals for a mini of Interlude Woman! A Posse fairy godmother sent me a little and I have fallen in (unrequited) love. I like minis although I’ve thinned out my collection; I keep them on a cheese plate with a glass dome. My favorites are Mauboussin and Organza because I love those bottles.

    • Hey, lady! So glad you’re loving the Interlude Woman, too. BTW, I adore your idea of the domed cheese plate, as those little bottles are a pain in the patoot to dust, ha! I had a three-shelf brass and glass display case about 20 inches high, but every time I shut a dresser drawer too hard, one or more of the bottles would fall over. And when I tried to set it upright again, I’d end up knocking something else over, so I kind of gave up.

  3. I love minis too, and have several dozen that I wear regularly. To protect them I store them in egg cartons, which provide some insulation and sunlight defense. I would love to look at them daily, but I would knock them over and spill, and I hate dusting. The mini size is perfect for serious testing of vintage perfume, and so much more fun than testing from a standard vial.

    • Egg cartons? Never thought of that — very clever! And you’re so right about testing with them; it feels so luxurious to take the cap off a beautiful bottle instead of a plain old vial.

  4. Minis are so delicate and pretty. I remember loving mini of the original L’Air du Temps but that was 30 years ago and lord knows where it got to. I have some little minis of Shalimar (not sure if it’s considered a mini – it’s vintage extrait so it might be the regular size), I have a charming Mme Rochas mini with a Bakelite rose top…and a couple others. I keep them in one of those segmented plastic cases. I need to use those more. – the perfumes, I mean. Not the cases.

    xooxoxo

    • Oh, yes, I remember that lovely L’Air du Temps bottle. Wish I had gotten one way back when. Those others sound beautiful as well. I like your idea of the cases; so much easier to dust than all those little bottles with all their curves, nooks and crannies.

  5. Ooh, you’ve got some really great ones ! Were you able to locate some more Folies Bergere since we last spoke about it? I got so excited for you reading your mention of the bottle – I’m crossing my fingers that it’s a full one! 😀

    Mini’s are always wonderful to have! I don’t make a concerted effort to collect them, but sure do wish I had all the ones I had in 70’s and 80’s back. I’ve always been a huge fan of small extrait bottles too, particularly the vintage ones! Darn you, Magie Noire, why must you torture me so?

    • Hi, lady! So glad you stopped by. Thanks for thinking of me, but alas, I only have my partially full mini of the Folies Bergere, but I’m still looking — not giving up hope yet.. I, too, wish I had hung onto more of those minis back then and snagged a few more as well. Magie Noire, oh my! You’ve got me jonesing for a sniff of it, now 🙂

      • They used to give them away with just about every fragrance/cosmetic purchase back then! It was the 70’s so of course it never occurred to me that someday a group would be formed to police, er, regulate, perfume, of all things.

        I’m jonesing for a sniff of it, too! The vintage is always so pricey on the bay, and it’s not that I’m above dropping a pretty penny on something I adore, but times are tight and if it was ‘off’ in any way I’d be pretty peeved since it was such a long running love of mine.

        Now to the truly important part. If you’d still like another Folies B. in parfum form, please feel free to use my registered email addy to contact me because I just lucked out in that regard!!

  6. Hi Ann, I have an Annick Goutal mini. It’s Gardenia Passion in a round frosted bottle with a gold butterfly stopper. It must have been originally part of a gift set. It’s one of my favorite minis, as is Minimma (sp)? in a tall fluted cobalt blue bottle with gold accents. I have one of the Estée Lauder solid perfume cases, too, a dear little bunny with one raised ear. I paid way too much for it, but it is a treasure!

    • I know the one you mean. It’s from the mid eighties, I think, I have the Eau D’Hadrian in that mini.

      • Oh, yes, ladies — I recall that lovely butterfly bottle now. But they just did it in a few scents, like the two you mentioned, right?

    • Oh, Farouche, I think I’ve seen that Estee Lauder bunny — it is beyond precious!! Their boxes are so darling, but so-so expensive. But one day, when we win the lottery …

  7. The last mini I picked up was a very old, and very empty Prince Matchabelli bottle. It is the standard crown, but even the stopper is glass. Had to have it!

  8. LOOOVE minis. Particularly vintage, but also some not-so-old, and I admit that I have approximately 30 in the collection now. Maybe more, I’m not sure. (They generally live in the bedside cabinet, on the top shelf.) If you really want a list, I can make one; it’ll just take me awhile… I love them particularly for trying older scents that would be prohibitively expensive to buy secondhand in larger bottles.

    The newest in the collection is a 4ml bottle of Chanel No. 19 edp, a little bottle shaped just like the classic parfum ones. I’ve also got a rectangular mini of vintage 19 edt and one of 19 edc, not as pretty to look at but delightful to wear. Some other favorites are Mauboussin, the original Nina by Nina Ricci, Poison esprit de parfum, and a lovely Prince Matchabelli Stradivarius.

    (BTW, Goutal sometimes does produce minis, sometimes in sets. I have an 8ml of Eau du Ciel. )

    • Mals, thanks! It slipped my mind that you were one of our mini experts, but I remember you writing about your collection.. The ones you mention sound lovely, and especially your latest edition.
      Farouche, those Chanel bottles are divine, aren’t they?

  9. For a while, I loved my minis. Had a mini of Vera Wang’s Sheer Veil and signature scent until my mother fell in love with them and took them. Now I just have Tocca’s Florence, Stella, and Cleopatra. Now I am eyeing a no. 5 edt mini.

    • I have quite a few bought cheaplyon eBay. Many are extrait! My favourites are Cartier Panthere and Must, both extrait both perfect and both in adorably ornate bottles. I had quite a few of the Chanel minis which I added to a Chanel sample pass. Unfortunately this pass never got past the first participant who disappeared. The Different Company do minis as samples, so do Mona d’Orio in her sample pack. EldO also do the box of 10ml x 10 bottlesand of course airports are a great source of “travel pack” minis and always have been. I’m a total sucker for these collections and can rarely travel without picking at least one up

      • Eldarwen, I’ve not seen theTocca ones, so will have to explore those — thanks! And Alityke, I, too, love Panthere and Must, but I’m really going to have to dig to find my bottles of those. Good to know about the niche lines that participate and also the airport purchases. Thanks.

        • Sephora carries the rollerball trios and the Viaggo set. Beautyhabit does as well but the Viaggo set from Beautyhabit has three different perfumes. It’s still the same brand and product but the scents are just different.

  10. I find myself getting more and more minis nowadays instead of FBs, since I’m poor as hell, and because the more frags I fall in love with, the less amount I can use up of each before it turns. Plus I LOVE the fact that they are refillable. Or most of them are anyway. And they are so cute, my tiny bottle of Hypnotic Poison is the loveliest thing evah, like a piece of bright red exotic berry:). And the screw-on cap of my mini Femme? So portable:)!
    Nothing niche yet, but I’m eyeing those tiny Nasomatto concentrations (Pardon to be exact), and the mini Lutens-es I once saw on ***bay… Oh, nothing will ever be enough:).
    Great post as always!

    • Thanks, Elvie! So glad you came back — it’s great to have you here on the Posse. Those Poison bottles are just so cute, aren’t they, as are the Lutens minis. You make an excellent point about using the scent up before it goes bad. That’s one of my pet peeves about SAs who say, “Oh, the 3.4 ounce is SUCH a better deal!” To that I say, No, it’s not, if half (or more) of the juice turns before you can use it all. But if you’re doing a huge split, well, then, that works.

      • Thank You too:)! It feels so giddy-good to finally comment after years of lurking:). I wish more niche companies made mini or travel sizes of their fragrances, can’t they see more and more collectors are born these days:)? I know that the costs are high to produce those, but think that would soon be covered, only by us here:D. I am always put off by the size (and price tag) of some true beauties, and splits and decants are great but sometimes one needs a cute bottle. And the feeling of unwrapping a bottle from its package… Minis can give me that:).

        • “Sometimes one needs a cute bottle” — love that, Elvie! And I agree, there’s a certain thrill in taking out an actual bottle. I sure hope some folks in the industry are reading this …

  11. Hi Ann,

    I like mini bottles, too. I think it’s a hold-over from my days as a kid having fun furnishing my Barbie doll house with miniature stuff. 🙂 I would spot things in a store, like a rattan bottle rack in Pier 1 Imports, and call out to my mom, “If you sewed a cushion for that it would make a perfect Barbie couch!”

    Right now, I’ve got a mini Gucci III extrait, an empty Arpege edp mini, a Chanel Eau Premiere mini, and an Angel edp mini. I think that’s it. I’d like to find more, because they’re so cute.

    • Oh, man, Dina, have you ever awakened my inner child with that post!! I think that’s what started my love of miniature stuff, too. I’ve not seen the Premiere mini — gotta go look for that one. And I love the “Barbie couch” too. Thanks!

  12. I also collect minis, as a way of sampling scents AND getting a collectible bottle (I also collect perfume bottles, affirming your theory about collectors. We will not discuss the beanie babies…). I have some very pretty minis of Mitsouko and Samsara that are among my favorites.

  13. That Niki bottle is gorgeous! There is a lot of her art here in San Diego – even a whole park! Too bad I think the scent is probably the exact opposite of my tastes. I do have a few minis and like the idea of them (smaller, still cute and not anonymous like a decant), but not in practice as they are generally splahs bottles and I hate dabbing.

    • Hi, lady, thanks for reminding me about the park — it had slipped my mind. I love her scent, but can see that it’s not to everyone’s taste, and that’s OK. Since you said you hate dabbing, do you just decant the mini’s juice out into a spray bottle?

  14. I have a little 6ml bottle of Niki de Saint Phalle, just the regular blue glass one with the snakes on the front, but I’d love to have one of the ones with the snakes on top. I also have minis of Mitsouko (about 2ml), Samsara (about 7ml), Opium (4ml or so), Jean Patou Eau de 1000 (2ml), Sisley Eau du Soir (2ml), Givenchy Organza (I think about 5ml). Most of these I got at a couple of antiques/resale shops, and I got the Mitsouko and Samsara on Ebay. I also have a .3oz mini of Womanity that I got at Sephora.

    I like buying the mini sprays at Sephora when I like something but don’t want to commit to a big bottle (or can’t afford a big bottle). I did this with Kenzo Amour and Angel.

    • Hi, Jennifer! I love that blue glass bottle, too. You have some really cool minis there; I’d love to see the 1000 and Mitsy minis. I like the little sprays at Sephora, too (and BTW, I really am enjoying that Kenzo as well).

  15. I’ve always loved minis. I lucked out and found Jean Patou Ma Collection in one of our local perfume stores. Twelve mini 1984 reissues of scents like Vacances and Que Sais-Je! The box and the bottles are quite elegant looking and great fun.

    • OH, OH, OH, Elizabeth! I think I feel myself starting to hyperventilate! I would just about give my left arm for that (like many of us, I ADORE Vacances). Would love to see a photo of this amazing collection, but not sure how. Wowza! You are one lucky perfumista!

      • Just search Jean Patou Ma Collection and you will see a box like the one I found….however, mine was only $50! I spotted the box just sort of tucked on the bottom of a shelf in a mall perfume store and, (being a fairly new perfume fan), went home, did some research on the web and immediately got into the car and back to the store. There was also a second box that I wish I had purchased.

        The only problem with having a mini of Vacances is that it makes you really, really want a big bottle 🙂 Perfume Shrine did a nice review of the collection in 2008

        • I just looked it up, Elizabeth. So lovely! Thanks so much for sharing your amazing perfume “find”! BTW, in its early stages, I find Puredistance Opardu reminds me a bit of Vacances, so that helps a little when the craving hits.

  16. I love little things; as someone says above, I think its a throw-over from childhood. I always stop and look at Bonsais when I see them – it makes me feel like I’m in wonderland! I have 5 or 6 minis but I no longer buy them because the dabbing thing doesn’t work for me, I’v never done decanting, and it would feel like a pity to take the elixir out of its true home! I have Arpege EDP (gorgeous blue glass), Organza Incandesence, Salvado Dali Laguna (so quirky!), Cartier’s Delices, Mahora and Cacherel Noa. I often see sets of Lolita Lempicka miniatures at the airport and think they are quite cute. The DKNY mini apples are also cute.

    • Lucky you — those minis you have sound just beautiful! Glad to see another bonsai lover, too. I could never grow them, but I admire them so much. On our way to Florida on vacation, there’s a little roadside stand, of all things, that is chock-full of them. Now if I could just get DH to pull over and let me look. (One day, when I’m driving and he’s napping, I am sooo stopping!) BTW, a little bonsai in a planter is one of my few Estee Lauder solid perfumes — it was pricey but I just could not resist!

  17. I don’t have a lot of these, but I couldn’t resist the small size of the classic Lanvin globe bottles when I saw them at a good price on ebay – have have two now, plus a factice about the size of an orange. I also have a flattened version that was originally part of a necklace.

    • Hey, Nozknoz! I’m not sure which bottle that is — can’t quite picture it, so will have to go look it up. And how cool about the necklace. Wouldn’t it be neat to know the history on that?

      • Ann, maybe “globe” was the wrong word to use. I’m referring to the Art Deco spherical black glass bottles with gold stoppers that My Sin, Arpege, etc. used to come in. The classic picture of Jeanne Lanvin and her little daughter is on the front of the botttle in gold. (The name of the perfume was just a little sticker on the bottom; mine no longer have that, but sometimes you’ll see it on ebay.) Some of the stoppers are round and fluted, some have a “raspberry” shape. Google “vintage Lanvin bottle,” and images of these bottles will come up. To me, it’s the single most iconic perfume bottle of all time.

  18. I just saw that I replied (woo hoooo) to a totally irrelevant post. Dementia is blooming in the winter I guess…

    • Hi, Amer, not to worry — happens often to me (and lots of us). It’s easy to miss (or to forget to click on) the little black reply button. Plus, I’ve heard several folks say that they don’t see it on their Ipads, tablets, etc.

    • Hi, Amer, don’t worry about it — you know how technology can be kinda quirky sometime.

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