A Serge I missed deliberately? and a sad Palate cleanser

Normally I’m reviewing new Serge scents as soon as I can squirt some up my nostrils, but Fille en Anguilles last fall almost knocked me over in disbelief when I smelled it. Then I read the almost unanimously great reviews (including March) and wondered if I was missing something and put it to one side.  Everyone kept loving on it, I kept furtively sniffing the bottle once very  month or so, hoping the pine-sol soaked urinal accord would clear and it would be something less than hate.  Nope. I finally sacrified my hand and sprayed some on just to be sure I wasn’t  reaching a snap decision.

Let’s talk about the notes first.  All I could find was pine needles, vetiver, frankincense, fruit and spice notes. March gets forest when she sprays it on. I get just-cleaned-after-a-Friday-night truckstop bathroom, and not in a good way.  March says it barely lasts on her and is transparent. This thing has stuck to me like resiny goo stuck on the bottom of my foot from above-mentioned bathroom.

This is one toxic, nauseating mess. I would kill for the fruit notes to surface any time I have it on, it would be a welcome relief from Pine Urinal Cake.  Am I the only person who hates this and smells it like this?

Palate cleanser. I read recently or had been told that Paco Rabanna Calandre is being discontinued. is this true? Judging by how it is disappeared from all the discounters and the price per bottle on ebay has gone up from the normal $29 for 100 mls to $70 plus, I guess so!  You seem to be able to still get the 50 ml bottles for sub-$20, so snap them up while they’re still good for getting.  So it’s either being discontinued or reformulated and all the old bottles are out in the stream and they’re readying the new revision that I’m sure will suck spectacularly.

Gorgeous little aldehydic green floral that does a great job on hyacinth – one of the few perfumes that do.  A little green, a little bubbly, a little one-off on the floral with that cocked lily of the valley sharp greenness floating around, feels a little like hay or narcissus wound up in it.  I wore this thing to death in the ’70s and ’80s, it was the go-to scent for spring and summer. It floated around me effortlessly- full of youth and sunshine and hope, while being grounded in the green from the earth.  How can they discontinue this scent?  It is so classy and classic and deserves so much love and everyday wear. Couldn’t the world be overfilled with this instead of Angel?  I did what any good perfmista does, went and bought more than enough bottles to last me.

The list of change or discontinued scents I love keeps getting longer.  The saddest for me is still Diorling. I found a bottle of vintage EDC recently that I opened the top and almost cried.  How can that scent slip into the mists of memory?  But when the el cheapo scents like Calandre that I thought would be around forever dirt cheap start going down that same path, I wonder where it will all end.

What is the most regretted reformulation or discontinued scent on your list?

  • Flora says:

    I looked up the provenance of Calandre out of curiosity – it is now in the Coty Prestige “family” of fragrances, so that explains a lot about the poor quality of the current verson & it being on the chopping block.

    Now there’s an obvious one for the discontinuation/reformulation list- the fall of Coty! Methinks the man who brought the world the original Chypre, L’ Origan and La Rose Jacqueminot would weep uncontrollably if he saw what has been done in his name. :((

  • nozknoz says:

    There are so many, but the one I think about the most is J’Adore. I bought J’Adore in an airport when it first came out and wore it during some amazing times. To me, it was the scent of pure happiness. I gave it away when I moved, thinking I could always get a new bottle. I was HORRIFIED when I spritzed it on in Macys and found it completely changed! Worse yet, the bottle looks the same to me, so I cannot figure out how to track down the original on ebay. :((

    I wish I didn’t care – but I do!

  • Erin T says:

    I appear to be the only one going “meh” over Fille – neither love, nor hate, but worse for a Serge… indifference.

    I am able to be relatively philosophical about the scents that are long gone, for some reason: the old Femme, Emeraude, Diorama, Moment Supreme, etc. What really bothers me are the ones they discontinued right as I fell in love with them and they became impossible to find, Slatkin Persian Lime & Mimosa chief among them, but add the B Never too Busy scents, the old 10 Corso Como, Diptyque Virgilio and the old Sublime to the pile.

  • Joe says:

    I need to test my vial of Fille en Aiguille some more, but in a similar vein, I wound up loving Wazamba and wore it a lot in December. Does that one work for you or do the same Pine-Sol thing? I’m pretty sure I don’t like Fille nearly as well though.

    You know, there are vintage scents I love, but I don’t have any that I’m crying about reformulation of either because (a) I have enough with my current (not very large supplies) or (b) there’s so much new stuff that pleases me that I just say “move forward & don’t look back.” Saves shedding a lot of tears. This applies to areas other than perfume, too! (Now for me to just apply that theory to past relationships.)

    But I just scanned a couple comments and oh yeah, I think it will be sad for Attrape Coeur to just be lost to history entirely.

    • Winifreida says:

      Yep, plus we are pretty helpless, voices in the wilderness…
      It is onward and upward! Plus I am finding that going back and trying things I never particularly liked decades ago – hasn’t changed my mind!
      I think what is disappointing really is the way the once great houses are just flogging cheapened dreck; taste and fashion is one thing, but cheap and nasty selling for big dollars is so disheartening.
      The corporate approach seems to be just to keep churning out stuff hoping for a hit, because of image and packaging rather than the actual fragrance. I’m amazed at how they all smell so similar, and I have felt that for the last 20 years.
      Mind you I sometimes think that the touch of moss that was in everything gave a feel of similarity too, and now that its all old-fashioned its okay to make an example of that terrible allergen!

    • Nina Z. says:

      The perfumes I wore and loved during different phases of my life (Ma Griffe, Le de Givenchy, Cabochard, Magie Noire) have all been reformulated, but I agree it’s not worth shedding tears over them. To get philosophical, impermanence is the nature of human existence. So, yes, I say, let go of the old loves and move on to new loves. A global economy and the internet have now made it possible to obtain a huge range of fascinating and quirky and beautiful fragrances, plus new friends to share them with. I’m amazed to find myself sharing bottle splits with people from all over the world.

  • Flora says:

    Discontinuations: Always and forever, the old Jean Patous, most especially Vacances and Colony, the likes of which we shall never see again, they were so original. Waaahhhh!!! :((

    Of course, there are plenty of others, such as entire houses going away – Le Galion, Jean d’Albret (Ecusson, Casaque) and the fall of the once-great Houbigant, now only a name, its heritage destroyed. (If you really want to cry, try smelling one of their perfumes from the past, pre-takeover by who knows how many other companies in the last 20 years or so.)

    Reformulations: Vent Vert and all the Balmains, and other fragrances being cut down so that only the EDT is left in the line, such as Anais Anais – the Parfum and the bath oil in that stuff were beyond awesome back in the day, and now all we have is a reformulated EDT, may as well discontinue it, since it’s been gutted anyway. 🙁

    On the bright side, thank goodness for niche lines who don’t use cheap and sleazy ingredients, at least we can still get the good stuff even if it does not have a venerable name on it!

    • janh says:

      Casaque–wore it for years getting it in the Bahamas and Mexico towards the end.

    • Rappleyea says:

      LOVE Colony and thankfully have a decent supply from a split. But it made me afraid to even try the rest of those discontinued Patou’s for fear I’d love them as much!

      • Mim says:

        I third the Colony love. It’s just beautiful. I’m sure it would still sell today if they rereleased it.

  • Kelly says:


  • mariekel says:

    Loved and lost perfumes…sigh..such a sad, interminable list. I second or third the mention of the Gobin-Daudes, especially Nuit au Desert, which smells like nothing else on earth. I also deplore all the Dior reformulations — why in the world would anyone play around with the formulations of the great Roudnitska? EU regs. be damned, I say!

    At the top of list, however, is the stunning Orris by Andy Tauer. I actually wrote to him and asked him to please, pretty please bring it back. nothing doing — too difficult to source the ingredients, apparently.

    Then there are all those gorgeous vintage gems — Coty Oeillet (THE best carnation ever made), Le Galion Jasmin, Lanvin Scandal, Doblis (why on earth don’t Lanvin and Hermes bring these two back permanently? Everyone wants them, it seems), L’aArte de Gucci, Matthew Williamson Incense (original)…

    OK, now I am depressed. Better go spritz on some happy.

  • Ceil says:

    Love love Fille en Aiguilles… scheming to get some more…
    Saddest over the discontinuation/end of all of the Gobin Daudes,
    Creed Angelique encens, Guerlain Guet apens/attrape coeur, Theorema,
    Matthew Williamson (original) incense, Molinard Caramel pain d’epices, New West desert nectar.
    Reformulations sadness…Paloma Picasso, Aliage, , Dioressence.

  • ScentRed says:

    Although it’s still available online, the thought that Theorema will soon be gone makes me very sad. This is one I’d like to have around forever.

    I have 2/3 of a full bottle and a couple of really cute minis. Now if only I could figure out how to open them…anyone have this dilemma?

    • Claudia says:

      Yes, I bought a mini and it’s really tricky twisting that little cap off.
      After I got it off, I didn’t even like it that much. I don’t know what’s wrong with me – everyone else seems to love it.

    • Ann N. says:

      Theorema’s inevitable departure makes me want to cry. Can’t they see how much it is beloved and bring it back? And I, too, have trouble with that cap. I just sort of gently rock it backward and forward while pulling up and that usually does the trick.

      • Shelley says:

        If not the rocking, I’ve had good luck with the heated wet paper towel. (15 sec in a powerful microwave is enough.) Others here extol the trick of putting the bottle in the freezer for a while. Somewhere, somebody put up a post about loosening up perfume tops.

        Does that sound wrong?

    • Masha says:

      I can’t open my Theorema mini, either! And I thought it was just me….

  • carter says:

    Fille fills my heart with happy 😡

  • Disteza says:

    Single biggest loss for me was the entire Gobin-Daude line. That was one of those “I just found you, and now you’re lost to me” sort of tear-jerkers that would make for a bad melodrama. Somebody cue up the theme from Love Story. :((

  • Ann N. says:

    Good post, Patty, and thanks for the warning on that Serge. Sounds like something I need to steer clear of, as anything with pine in it does me no favors.
    As far as discontinuation/reformulation, the fragrance(s) I’m most unhappy about are those in the Must de Cartier line (maligned by many, including Mr. Turin, but that’s OK, I love ’em and they smell great on me). Sometime in the ’90s, I’m guessing, they did away with the lovely Must EDT, a great scent on its own, and as far as I can tell, re-launched it as simply a lighter version of the heavier EDP. And then, to add insult to injury, they did away altogether with the equally lovely Must II EDT and EDP. They still can be found occasionally on eBay, but usually at steep prices. :((

  • Jillie says:

    Don’t weep too much over Calandre. If my recently purchased Metal is anything to go by, the current Calandre is probably only reminiscent of its old self any way. I remember Metal as being so sophisticated and expensive-smelling – now it reeks of cheap ingredients. I don’t think it’s my taste that has improved over the years, it’s the manufacture of the perfume that’s deteriorated. Oh dear, big sigh …. so many dear departeds ….

    • Ann N. says:

      Jillie, I feel your pain. I, too, loved Metal back in the day for its sophistication. I didn’t realize it had been reformulated, so thanks, I’m grateful for the heads-up on it. Now I won’t tarnish my scent memory by even trying the new stuff. Now if we could only find a decent vintage bottle …

  • Zazie says:

    I am crying over Opium :((
    But it’s been years now since it is the ghost of what it used to be…

    SL FEA was not love, but I liked it. My sample is still almost full, though! And it was such a huge lemming of mine before it came out: I was dreaming of a forest+incense in a bottle…

    • Shelley says:

      Have you tried Mecca Balsam? That one struck me as a pine forest + incense thingy…

      • Zazie says:

        Not yet!
        But it did tickle my fantasy!!!
        I’ll try to hunt down some samples… I wouldn’t buy it unsniffed, despite the glowing reviews, because I fear it would be one of those “all base notes” perfumes, that I find lovely at first but then tire me very quickly…
        I’m a pyramid addict!! 😉

  • Musette says:

    btw2 –

    re FeA – I’m somewhere between your and March’s take. It’s not even decant-worthy for me,though, not ‘getting’ the Serges overmuch. Besides, I am up to my elbows in Things Urinary and Cleaner right now – don’t need a perfume that conjures that AT ALL!

    xo >-)

  • Musette says:


    Wherefore art thou,

    xo >-)

    btw – this is why I steer clear of reformulations of vints I’ve known and loved. I have nebber sniffed a vintage Mits and plan nebber to do so – why make myself more insane than I already am? I have pretty good Coty vintages (not great, mind you, but Good Enough) so I can stroll down memory lane with those.

    Pretty much everything else, I stick with current. If I like it, fine. If not, not. But at least I don’t overwhelm myself with :((. Diorling (and, okay, Doblis) – plenty :(( for a lifetime.

  • Hi Patty!

    LOL, I guess not all Lutens are for all, although I would have pegged this one to be quite popular and “easy”. But I get your point.

    It’s sad about Calandre, because hey, it’s special and it was offered to me when I was a young teenager as a gift, so it’s also got memories attached.

    But surely Diorling is still being sold at the flagship Dior boutique in Paris? Diorama sure was last Christmas when I got my replenishing bottle (didn’t inquire about Diorling because I hadn’t run out of that yet). BTW, the parfum in vintage is truly sublime in Diorling, it’s criminal how they stop producing the very best leather scents, eh?

  • pyramus says:

    Lancome’s Tresor was ravishing when it was first launched in 1990: a warm, radiant peaches-and-roses confection on a woody base, pure Sophia Grojsman. Now it’s unspeakably hideous; the core of the scent might still be there, for all I know, but the top has been contaminated with this spindly bright-green thing in the modern style. It’s like they splashed sewage all over the Mona Lisa. I was horrified when I discovered what they had done to it.

  • Alison says:

    This is new news to me that Calandre is being discountinued! It has been my signature scent for over 30 years – Aaaahhhhhrrrggggggg!! Must.go.buy.lots.now.

  • mals86 says:

    I didn’t even bother with FeA so can’t comment; I just knew it wasn’t going to be my thing.

    Absolute saddest reformulation, IMO: Emeraude. Climat in the blue-and-black pkg, compared to the vintage, totally sucks. The current version of Diorissimo is toilet cleaner.

    This topic is making me surly. I’m going to stop considering it right now before it ruins my day… 🙁

    • mals86 says:

      I Just.Last.Week. bought a mini of vtg Calandre on evilbay but haven’t received it yet. If it’s good, I may go on a spree. It sounds like my kinda thang.

  • Francesca says:

    I’m with Louise on Filles. I get the best kind of greeny pine-forest floor, it lasts, and I love it.

    My great sorrows are the reformulations of Calèche and Vent Vert, and I still wish I could find someone who even remembers Norman Norell Red from the early seventies. I KNOW I didn’t just make that up.

  • Louise says:

    Oh, how I love my Filles. I don’t get any of this toilet bowl cleaser nonsense you complain of. It’s pure warm Oregon woods on me, with a sweetish balsam drydown. It’s also longish-lasting on me. A true love 😡

    There are so many sad reformulations and discontinuations out there. My mission is to hunt down and capture as many as I can with my big Butterfly net…and ebay’s help /:)

  • katya says:

    My biggest regret is Yohji Yamamoto Essential-such an interesting floral chypre that lasted all day and had the most divine drydown on me -i have never had more compliments about any other scent,the Guide doesnt mention it but gives 5 stars to Yohji Homme which ironically I bought for my husband but had to give it promptly away as it had the most persistent licorice note that made me quite nauseous every time he wore it…

  • Shelley says:

    Oops, most regretted reformulation/discontinuation? Off the top of my head… Discontinuation: Black Cashmere. Wait, it’s back. Then YSL Nu. (This is like a soap opera!) Reformulation: Right now I’m on a tiny Pucci Vivara kick. The old formula, was dry and greenish and a kind of “come along, further down this path now, chypres aren’t so scary, see? way. The new one is…well, contemporarified. (word, that?) More floral, sweetness running through it. Not unpleasant. Not remarkable. Cool bottle. BUT, I likes me the older version.

  • Daseined says:

    The list of heartbreaks is long where discontinuation and reformulation are concerned, but the keenest loss due to reformulation for me was the recent defilement of Vol de Nuit extrait. The reformulation (as many people say of Mitsouko) is still a good fragrance, maybe better than many things out there, but I can’t be sure since it made me cry when I smelled it, it was so unrecognizable.

    The other huge losses to discontinuation: Doblis, Atuana. Great old school floral aldehydic leathers that o could wear every day for the rest of my life–if I could actually get them.

    In the late winter/early spring I miss Gobin-Daude fragrances the most.

    I fall firmly in the “better to have loved and lost” camp so it’s possible I set myself up for this sort of thing.

    • Fiordiligi says:

      Oh yes, how I agree with you about the lost lovelies! I haven’t even dared to sniff the reformulated Guerlains but fortunately I have several lifetimes’ worth of vintage set by.

      Funnily enough, I’m wearing the fabulous Diorling today.

    • Rappleyea says:

      I totally agree with you, Daseined, about the VdN extrait reformulation. Somehow that one seemed to slip under everyone’s radar with all of the outcry over the Mitsouko reformulation. But the Mitsouko reform. smells like a masterpiece compared to what they’ve done to VdN. I literally would not have even recognized it as the same scent had it not been labeled. I hope the ghost of Jacques Guerlain haunts them forever!

  • Shelley says:

    Yo, first in line. Because I was so LONELY when the love came in for The Pine. Remember, the big Wazamba / Filles en Aiguilles smack down? First the stampede went toward Wazamba, then out came FeA and the crowd swayed that-a-way. For whatever reason, I really enjoyed Wazamba from the get go. Girls in Needles? Pine Sol out of the bottle, and never could shake that sensation.

    Haven’t tried it for a few months now. Maybe I’ll go back…nah. That kind of masochism, erm, keeping of an open mind can wait until next winter.