Hermes Voyage d’Hermes

There are many moments in a Perfumista’s life that are fraught with peril.  I had three of them in one day.  A couple of glasses of champagne are helping now.

The vintage Mitsouko parfum arrived, and it was perfect and pristine, and I sniffed the stopper, and I smelled  – nothing.  OHNOES!  Factice?  Gently clip the tie for the seal, try to turn Baccarat stopper. Frozen stiff.  Take deep breath for surgical stopper removal and feeling grateful I did not start drinking early today, despite the foot of snow that came overnight.  Bathroom faucet turned to hot, gently place neck of bottle under it for 30 seconds, make sure I’m not cavalierly holding bottle when I turn it again. Ah, it turns.  But does it smell?


Dab some on to make sure  top through bottom notes are in good shape.  Swoon some more. Walk huge honking bottle back to safe place.  Whew!

Open box that has a small bottle of Joy parfum in it and unknown size bottle of 1000 parfum in it.  Open box to very strong Patou smell.  Well, yeah, they always leak, those Patou parfum bottles – not sure why, but never had one show up without smelling it before I open the box. Seller sure had a weird way to wrap this, and – crap! – paper around one bottle is very brown.  Very bad.  Pull it out and squeal when I realize it hadn’t leaked much, until, of course, the stopper came out in my hand and I spilled more all over my hands.  Slippery little thing, caught it before I dumped more of it, didn’t lose much.  Then pull out bottle of 1000 parfum, which feels… well, large!  And IT IS!!!!  Big honking bottle of 1000 parfum for ridiculously low price because seller did not state the size.

So far, a couple of near misses that turned out excellent. A great day.

Open new Hermes from Jean-Claude Ellena, Voyage d’Hermes. Will this finallly be the Ellena where he re-creates the smell of air?  I know it’s going to happen, I don’t know when, and I don’t want my crushing on J-CE to be over yet.  No list of notes that I can find, just the cryptic “musky woods” as the description, along with a lot of stuff about taking a journey.

Spray.  There are notes, it is not air, I am saved!!!  Most of the reviews and descriptions of this are similar to each other and the way I experienced it, so it seems to not be veering all over the place on how people smell it. Citrusy and a little tart on the open, green, a shot of skank as that clears, very brief, like a flash of bloomers (or less), but an interesting follow-up to the open, before it lands, for me, in a little bit vegetal Terre d’Hermes place, but not exactly there, with the tartness sorta swirling around.  It is, like most of the J-CE’s of the past few years, fairly transparent. There’s no heaviness that weighs it down, it has a nice float to it. It is so easy to wear and has that beautiful waftiness that so many of his scents have that are difficult to smell when you put your nose to your skin, but surround you in a lovely cloud of scent.

The bottle is gorgeous, and it is refillable.  The 100 ml refillable bottle is going for $145, they will have a 125 ml refill bottle for who knows what price, I think it’s usually $125(?), but my boutique didn’t have those as of yet.  Of course they tossed in a sample for me!  So I’ve got one carded sample to give away, plus a couple of other noncarded samples I’ll make up for three commenters total.

So what has been the most perilous moment in your perfuming adventures?

  • Ruanne says:

    Had to share my worst spillage accident. Back in the 80s, I once went on vacation for a week, leaving a big bottle of Obsession in a purse in my desk drawer. The entire bottle leaked out over the course of the week, mystifying my assistant as to why he could still smell me. I had to throw away the purse, and nearly had to throw away the desk (still sorry about that, assistant Jeff.)

  • Lilybug says:

    So far I have been relatively lucky, only a few old miniatures arrived unwearable. I haven’t yet spilt anything. I dread the day it finally happens – I’m sure I hear no end of complaints about “musty prunes and old ladies” from my already suffering husband who hates all my perfume.

  • Kelly says:

    JCE could do dog doody and I’d want to smell it. Please count me in!

  • Louise says:

    The Coke Bottle Incident ranks highest among my fairly numerous perfume misadventures.

    I bought a large “lyre” bottle of vintage Mitsouko edt-it was already open, and I knew the risks, but loved the bottle itself enough to take the risk.

    I picked up the package several weeks later, and as usual, tore the wrapping paper off with my teeth and keys 8-|

    Inside was a…thinish paper beer…case. 12 pack, all wrapped in duct tape. I managed somehow to did through the tape, and found the box stuffed full of news print. After more digging, I found a lovely stopper. More digging, and a stunning bottle emerged-empty 😮

    I was quietly sniffing at this point, and about to toss out the package, then decided to dig out the rest of the people. And found a 16-oz plastic bottle of Coke, filled with coke-colored juice. And on opening-my Mitsouko, smelling pretty nice. Not as fabulous as some vintage Mitsy I’ve met, but grossly intact.

    Whew…and just soooo weird. :-s

    • Louise says:

      that “people” was supposed to be “perfume” and now be one of my oddest perfume moments 8-}

    • Ann N. says:

      Great story, Louise! Truth really is stranger than fiction! But I want to know how you kept from having a massive heart attack on the spot upon seeing that empty bottle …

  • Winifreida says:

    My daughter bought me a bottle of Iris Ganache in Sydney yesterday.
    Fortunately her and her friend were curious enough to open it later…completely leaked empty and evaporated inside the big Guerlain box sealed up with its little plastic circles!
    She was taking it back last night, haven’t heard what happened yet…

  • k-scott says:

    I hope one day I can develop my tastes enough to experience the joys of Mitsouko. Hearing everyone else waxing poetic makes me feel so left out…

    I have been dying to try the new JCE and would love a sample. Please please please let me be one of the lucky and elite few to get my name drawn! %%-

  • Kirsten says:

    Hi Patty! De-lurking to share my husband’s heart-stopping moment with my uber-precious bottle of Kenzo UFO…

    While I was out one afternoon, our kitten (allegedly) knocked the box off the dresser. The bottle broke apart into all its components sections, just like a little shiny metal transformer – and poor praying/panicking hubby had to put it back together again before I got home – like I wouldn’t notice the box had moved!

    He would never have fessed up – but I noticed the button wasn’t sitting flush against the bottle (like I wouldn’t notice that either!)

    I still think poor kitty is the scapegoat in all this cos he knows she can do no wrong in momma’s eyes. And he came out like the hero in all this. Am I being a tad cynical?

  • pyramus says:

    Story #1: when Bond No. 9 came out with Lexington Avenue, they sent me not one but three samples (those big honkin’ sample vials they used to use, so nice). I was opening one to try it out, and the cap was kind of tight, so I gave it a tug, nothing particularly brutal, and the whole vial just snapped into pieces and sent the contents all over my hands. Luckily, I didn’t cut myself, but I smelled like LexAve for hours afterwards. (Luckily, I love the stuff.)

    Story #2: I seem to have found myself a dealer, someone with a big collection of vintage stuff who’s getting rid of it piecemeal, and ordered a few things that I thought sounded promising. One of them I’d never heard of, Fete EDT by Molyneux, which sounded from my researches like a big sixties fruity chypre in the Mitsouko style. The seller had wrapped the various bottles in plastic bags, and when I opened the Fete bag, I noticed that the box seemed kind of…soft. Soggy. Which it was, because the cap had somehow worked itself loose and a little more than half the contents had poured themselves out.

    But such things happen, and even if I lost a half an ounce or so, I still have another half ounce (let’s say 12 mL) of JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH IT IS SO GOOD. Mitsouko that learned to play nice. Buckets of oakmoss. Spectacular.

    • k-scott says:

      LOL- this very morning I managed to spill a practically new 1 oz vial of Vent Vert on my dress in the car. It was an extremely blonde moment- apply vial to left wrist, turn my right hand to dab wrists together… forgetting that I am still holding the vial in my right hand and it is now upside down. Whole bottle gone in a second! What a moron I am! Its a good thing that Vent Vert is relatively light- I haven’t gotten any perfume offender glares yet today.

  • Linda says:

    Actually, it was a lab accident — I caught a new (closed) vial of orange blossom essence with the back of my hand and knocked it off the table. With my not-usually-catlike reflexes, I caught it before it fell and broke; however, I knocked over another (open) vial. Thank goodness, it turned out to be (inexpensive) Black Spruce essence and it merely made my lab smell as if it had been thoroughly cleaned with Pine-Sol. I aired it out for a week and all was well. It COULD have been expensive and tragic. Don’t get black spruce oil all over yourself, though — I had some surprisingly strong vascular reaction to it (cold fingers, blue nails.)

  • Rosiegreen says:

    I love everything JCE does, please enter me in the draw.

  • maggiecat says:

    I haven’t had too many disasters,f ortunately, at least not with perfume (my fellow perfumistas and the wonderful folk at TPC all pack everything so well!). I did get a gift bottle once, and a small sample of it seemed to indicate it was a soft, light, gnetle floral. So I indulged in a good spritz just before going in to try on my wedding gown for fittings. The spray turned out to be a great, big, whomping ROSE – a lovely scent, but strong and incredibly long-lasting. I should send a note to the poor woman who had to fit me, shouldn’t I?

  • Isa says:

    I don’t remember perilous moments with my perfumes at home, but I was in real danger in a perfume shop, when my boyfriend played a joke on me trying to spray me with ELDO Sécretions Magnifiques :-ss

    Another dangerous moment was coming back from Rome, where I had bought two bottles of L’Erbolario Iris. I suffered all the way back
    in case they were broken or stolen from my case in the airport.

    • Karen G says:

      Isa, could you describe L’Erbolario iris for me? (Big iris ho here) How might it compare to other iris scents like La Pausa or Iris Silver Mist? I’ve not heard of this house before, but might look for them in Italy. Thanks!

      • Isa says:

        Actually, it’s not an Iris fragrance, despite of its name 😉
        Have you tried Lorenzo Villoresi’s Teint de Neige? It’s a powdery bomb. Well, it was the most powdery fragrance I had ever tried, but now the crown is for L’Erbolario Iris. It’s a strong, vanille-sweet powdery scent. And it lasts forever: two drops are all I need to be perfumed all day long.
        Good news: it’s not expensive at all! In fact, it’s very popular in Italy.

    • Isa says:

      I forgot to say I’d love to be in the draw. Thank you!

  • Ceil says:

    One of my more heart stopping moments was soon after I purchased a bottle of vintage Shalimar parfum in that lovely crystal bottle with the blue stopper. It was up on a small shelf in my kitchen above my dish drainer. I still don’t really know exactly what happened…but I/it got knocked off the shelf and fell making broken sounds into the dishes in the wire dish drainer. Somehow….maybe the fragrance gods were being kind to me that day…. it didn’t break! Just sounded like it…no chips…nothing. AND…none of it spilled! What are the odds?!!

  • Anthony says:

    Hi, Patty.. i’d love to be considered in the drawing.

    You know you are a perfume addict when you read stories like the one you opened your piece with today and as a reader, hold your breath a little. You did a great job of creating suspense there hahaha 🙂 I have these sorts of moments regularly as my perfumes cabinet is pretty deep and I’m pretty clumsy, especially when the wine is poured. Near drops/catches in mid air happen a few times a month. I’ve only had one complete drop with breakage which occurred to a large decant of Sel de Vetiver and I was crushed. I couldn’t imagine how I would have felt if it were something more valuable. Fun post, thanks!

  • janh says:

    Old Chanel #5, pliers, hammer, happy ending.

  • zeezee says:

    Reading the stories above, I’ve had nothing but the best of luck what with online & Ebay buys. (Touch wood re: vintages though…)
    Worst that happened to me was a Vero Kern sample leaking, almost totally empty. Irony is that it survived the flight and air pressure changes, but leaked in ground post. The remnants then proceeded to evap at an alarming rate – just really shoddy packaging for such expensive scents.

  • Tara says:

    Well I have about a zillion small sample vials and they are all over the house (despite my efforts to organize and catergorize). I had a couple of Bond No. 9 samples on the side table to our bed and somehow, one – Andy Warhol’s Lexington Avenue – slipped off on to the floor…Well one day as I am rushing off to work..I almost stepped on it..You know the feeling when you feel something under your feet and you know its not good so you slide your foot sideways hoping its not too late..Well it wasn’t too late, which was good for my foot and the floor!!!

    I’d love to be in the drawing.

  • janjan says:

    The scariest so far for me (a relative newbie to this) is opening my sample of Amouage Tribute. Oh. my. god. There’s little enough as it is, how do I yank off the plastic stuck-y stopper without blowing all my precious drops at once?! Thank goodness it went better than I had thought – but I was imagining that opening-the-bag-of-chips phenomenon where you end up with contents all over yourself.

  • ScentRed says:

    p.s. I would love to be in the draw. Recently tried Jardin Sur Nil and I found it so compulsively smellable that I bought a decant for the Hubby.

  • Karen G says:

    Like Cheryl said above, Canadian perfumistas live with constant anxiety about whether our packages will make it through the border unscathed. I’ve been lucky so far *knock wood*. But I didn’t know about the incinerator in Montreal!?! Oh, the humanity!

    My major spillage story involves a huge bottle of Opium, a million years ago, can’t remember if it was edp or edt. Dropped and spilled all over the bathroom floor, and my shoes too. I’m sure that apartment still smells of it 20 years later. Only recently have I been able to wear a tiny bit of Opium parfum, very occasionaly.

    Please throw my name in the hat for the draw. Thanks, Patty!

    • Tiara says:

      Your shoe story reminded me of the time my husband stepped in a small puddle of flavor oil while at a toothpaste plant. It’s extremely concentrated (and there shouldn’t have been ANY on the floor to begin with but that’s a different story). He had to catch a flight for home immediately after leaving the plant so didn’t have time to buy new shoes.

      They were in the air several hours when he overhead one flight attendant say to another, “I must be losing my mind. I keep smelling Crest toothpaste.”

      He didn’t fess up![-x

      • Ann N. says:

        Great story, Tiara! When I read it I very nearly spewed my tea all over the computer keyboard. Can’t you just see it? Poor man, sitting there in his seat, keeping his head down and hoping no one will finger him as the toothpaste culprit!

  • Fernando says:

    Patty, since you’re talking about opening bottles in connection to the TPC business, here’s an off-topic question: what do you do with those modern bottles that aren’t designed to be opened? I wanted to share some of my Timbuktu with my son, but can’t figure out how to get at it to decant a portion for him.

    The hammer thing would work, I guess, but it’s a bridge too far for me…

    • Patty says:

      Well. You can’t. You have to spray from the bottle into the decant bottle. I know. Someone on here who commented and found that out was kinda horrified that that’s how we have to decant everything at TPC. I have a handful of things that are in pour bottles, but even those I transfer to other bottles because who wants to be pouring usually from a big bottle into a teeny bottle and spill it.

      So. sorry!!

      • Fernando says:

        Heh. I thought you’d transfer to wide-mouth bottles and then use a pipette.

        Spray! I thought of that, but worried about what might get lost into the air by such a process. And the tired finger. (“See, that’s a spraying bruise…”) Do people get tendinitis from repeated spraying?

        • Joe says:

          Fernando, there’s no way for me to explain this properly in writing, but there’s a way to sort of hold the bottle in your entire hand and use your thumb and forefinger to **gently** ease the sprayer mechanism down (while you aim it over the hole of the decant bottle that you’re holding in your other hand) so that the perfume “streams” rather than atomizes out of the original bottle. It takes practice, and some spray mechanisms lend themselves to this more than others.

          • Louise says:

            Small funnels can be a godsend for certain spray bottles…

          • Musette says:

            if you can find a willing bottle-holder (EL O occasionally allows himself to be pressed into service) so much the better! Otherwise the Joe Method works well, patience and spritz directly into the bottle – you’d be surprised how little you lose.

            xo >-)

  • mary says:

    Loved your story. My perilous story is about the vintage bottle of Gardenia de Chanel I found in an antique store in LA– actually, my daughter and her little friend found it, and came running through the store “MOM! There is a HUGE bottle of Chanel Gardenia over here!” The label was in sans serif type, it looked straight out of the 20’s. I didn’t know what to think–surely this big a bottle had to be a fake. I bought it, and the antique store guy commented what a wonderful find it was, and the other customers who had hesitated were going to be sorry. (Picture that old Kids in the Hall skit–yeah, they’re going to be sorry) The bottle has a frosted glass stopper, and it was sealed tight with some sort of membrane. The glass was not crystal– I tried to research the label on the internet to try to determine if it was a Mexican counterfeit or the real thing. My spouse wanted me to try to sell it on EBay, but frankly, I bought it on the chance it was an actual Ernest Beaux creation– how could I not open it? So, I had myself a couple glasses of wine one night, and put the bottle in the freezer, the way the Perfumeshrine blog recommends. I used a fingernail file to gently pick at the membrane, and after an hourt of patient work, the stopper came out. The juice is gorgeous, luscious gardenia– the gardenia effect lasts about 15 minutes, then a deep, powdery iris takes over. It smells very Chanel. If it is a fake, it is a doozy. It is much nicer than the modern Gardenia from my Perfumed Court coffret. And Patty, I would like to send you some and see what you think of it. The bottle is huge–too much gardenia for me. I like to think of some LA lady who horded that Chanel over the decades– maybe this was her back-up bottle? :)>-

    • Patty says:

      Mary, i would love to smell it and would be happy to buy some from you! I’ve never smelled the vintage. Just click on the contact us over on the left, and we can talk about it offline.

      What a great find. I’ll never manage one of those, i’m sure, but I love to hear about people who do.

  • Cheryl says:

    I’d like to be in the draw. But I can’t even close to Scentred’s story. My misadventures tend to involve the tension of wondering if Canada Post will destroy a bottle coming over the border. One of my first purchases was randomly stopped and searched at the border, was shipped to a compound in Montreal to be incinerated. Then I received a letter about it months later. I was given the option of going to the warehouse (though I live in the opposite end of the country). It was very sad. What a waste. If they can ship to the warehouse, why not to me? A few other small things have been disappeared since then, but no letters or “closure”. Has certainly put a damper on my lust for the rare and expensive. I had something spill in a suitcase once. Something hoisted on me by x-in laws. The memory of that smell (CK Eternity)makes me go back to a not very happy place.

    • Patty says:

      I know. Shipping to Canada for us has become a nightmare. Some things sail right through, no problems, but we wind up with several packages a month that never arrive, no explanation. I mean, who in the world cares about a couple of samples? Apparently Canada Post does.

      • Louise says:

        The Canadian Postal service just disappeared a large decant of Amouage Epic I was sending to a dear perfumista. The odd thing I also sent a bottle of vintage Lanvin Pretexte on the same day-same labeling, packaging, post office,etc-and that package arrived quickly and intact. The Amouage is….nowhere to be found :((

  • BPerf says:

    Just a minor spillage story – dropped and broke a 9 ml mini of Jo Malone’s Pomegranate Noir on tiled floor in the bathroom – smelled nice 🙂
    Body chemistry disaster – I wanted to love Dzongkha so much, and I can admire it for all of 4 seconds, after which it turns into a spear aimed directly between my eyes – can’t figure out what exactly it is that gives me the headache, but it is similar to something found in the original Comme Des Garcons… sigh.
    I would love to try the Hermes!

  • Junebug says:

    My most moment with “fraught” was when I discovered that Mitsouko had been reformulated. I’m sort of new to the perfume world and didn’t even know that sort of thing happened. So naive. I sort of went into this crazy whirlwind of depression; didn’t know a house like Guerlain would think about doing such a thing. I totally am understanding your vintage Mitsouko experience! Nothing like it.
    Please enter me in the draw for the Hermes; it sounds nice. Thank you.

    • Patty says:

      I know. What is worse is they’ve been doing it forever, but in smaller increments, they just don’t talk about it.

      It makes it really hard at TPC to explain to people whose beloved whatever they wore 60 years ago why it is that way, and most don’t believe you unless they go to the department store and sniff the current version and find out for themselves.

      • Joe says:

        It would probably seem like bad form, but I bet you could write a helluva post on “interesting” TPC customer service stories.

  • Dana says:

    I was so excited to receive my last purchase from one of the discounters because I had ordered Cuir de Lancome (unsniffed, but had heard so many good things). I excitedly, but gently, pulled off the cap and then realized that the circle of metal that holds down the sprayer had come off with the cap. I panicked because without the ring, the juice just pours out of the bottle when you push the sprayer.Crap! Being too impatient to send back and didn’t want to wait for husband to come home (because he can be heavy handed with delicate things like perfume bottles, which he would secretly like to see a few less of anyway), I very carefully wrapped a towel around the bottle, put it in a workshop vise, and oh so delicately tapped that ring back on with a small screwdriver being hit by a hammer. It worked, has held tight, and I love the fragrance!
    Thanks for all the enjoyable reading you all provide and please enter me in the draw.

    • Patty says:

      Perfume bottle surgery, of course1 I’ve done that before, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, and then I just had to transfer it to a different bottle.

      What we have to go through, you know, just boggles the mind, but it’s almost always worth it!

    • mals86 says:

      MY bottle of Cuir had a sprayer in pieces too! I futzed with it for awhile, and luckily I got it back together, no leakage. Thank goodness, because that is some beautiful stuff.

  • ScentRed says:

    My perilous adventure goes something like this. Last weekend I was preparing to try my hand at decanting for the very first time. I figure this is a natural progression of this obsession…obsessive blog reading…chronic sampling…larger decants…1st over $200 purchase…EvilBay auctions…splitting…swapping. So, I’m walking down the stairs with full bottles of Bois des Iles, Chaos, AG Chevrefeuille, Escale a Portofino and a mis-matched collection of supplies – 10 ml pipettes, 2.5 ml vials and a big a** funnel suitable for decanting into vats. Suddenly my right foot slips forward but my left foot stays behind torquing my left knee out to the side and landing me on my back. I lay on the stairs fearing the worst. I mean knees just aren’t mean to bend sideways on a 90 degree angle. I then attempt to quietly (just put kids to bed, CANNOT wake them up) shout-whisper to get the attention of my hubby who’s downstairs. “Help me! HELP ME”. Being the good perfumista that I am, I practically dislocate my knee and require multiple treatments for an out-of-place hip, BUT no perfume was harmed in this experience. After 5 chiro treatments, several glasses of wine, multiple Tylenol and lots of ice, I’m pretty much back to my old self 😉

    • Patty says:

      OMG, that is the funniest story ever! But I’m so glad you are okay! I would have done the same thing, kill the body, save the perfumes! I mean, knees, hips, legs, arms will mend. Broken perfumes spilled all over the carpet will not.

  • helenviolette says:

    What is it with those Patou bottles??? Please enter me in the draw!

    • Patty says:

      I’m not sure. I’ve had more stuck stoppers with them and also stoppers that would just slip out. Both of these were the Baccarat bottles, which seem to be trickier than just the cheap ones they used. So weird.

  • Shelley says:

    Oh, I love those days when everything works. Perfume land, or elsewise. Of course, they aren’t all like that.

    I drove half an hour for a local pick up of a vintage Norell, encouraged by the fact that they gentleman selling things from his aunt’s estate offered to throw in the other perfumes she had. This could be great, right? It could be nothing…but it could be great.

    It was weird off-brand and knock-off drugstore perfumes in a baggie with the Norell. 85% used, almost to a one. For once, my reaction to that was “thank goodness.” Honest, folks, there wasn’t a gem in there. Unless you are a fan of “If you like Giorgio / White Diamonds you’ll LOVE xxxx.” No Sand and Sable or Stetson or anything like that. Heck, I guess Norell ended up in there because it ended its retail life being purveyed by K-Mart.

    That’s one story. I’m sure they won’t end. For, though I go through periods of rationality, I do enjoy a hunt. Just takes an occasional score to keep me going. Good thing I don’t go to Vegas.

    • Patty says:

      I wish I had the patience for pawing through estate sales and stuff, but I just don’t. I keep hearing about treasures that show up, but know that’s just not in my nature to do the searching.

      poor March, she drags me into vintage clothing shops whenever we go somewhere together, and I just try and look interested.

  • london says:

    My mother went to Capri and brought me back a bottle of Carthusia Mediterraneo as a gift. I sprayed it appreciatively and put it away for a few months until the season was right to wear it and then took it out of the box to discover it had entirely evaporated because it had a bulb atomiser. Luckily it wasn’t love but still. Such a waste.

    I would love to be entered in the drawing though. Thank you

    • Patty says:

      Oh, I hate the evap stories. I’ve had them and wept. I’ve still got a couple of weird-looking long vials of some really old Guerlains that I’ll never smell again, and I keep thinking I should transfer them, but for some reason, those dicey vials are holding them without evaporation, and I’m afraid to change it!

      • nozknoz says:

        Patty, there are earplugs that are a soft, translucent, pliable material (silicone?), not the foam ones. I have cut off strips and fitted them around the necks of the stoppers of some of my more precious and less frequently opened vintage perfumes. I can’t really guarantee that this works, since I haven’t been doing it that long, but it’s much easier to get off than wax when you do want to open them.

  • Fernando says:

    No great dangers in my story so far, though I’ve run the usual risks of ordering stuff on ebay. Mostly, so far, things have gone ok (as far as I can tell!). There was a bottle of Infusion d’Iris that got broken on its way here, but it turned out to be more perilous for our mailman than for me… he told us his truck smelled of perfume for days, and his wife was very curious what he had been up to. He knocked on our door and said “I’ll leave this package outside.”

    • Shelley says:

      ;)) …oh, poor mailman… 🙂

    • Patty says:

      Oh, no! At least that one is fairly light.

      • Fernando says:

        And I should say that the seller on EvilBay refunded my money with no hesitation. So it ended up ok.

        We’ve been lucky more often than not. I once received a bottle of Jo Malone’s French Lime Blossom that had been thrown into one of those Express Mail boxes (the large flat ones) with no filler or padding at all. It moved and shook in there all the way, but survived.

  • Suzy Q says:

    The very first sample vial I opened of my very first sample order ever was Miller Harris L’Air de Rien. I spilled it on my fingers. It was horrible. I understood what Luca Turin meant about “rising damp and soiled underwear.” And I couldn’t wash it off! All the other samples had to wait to be smelled. Since that time I’ve adopted cautious opening techniques, just in case.

    • Patty says:

      I can’t believe I’ve gotten used to Rien. It was pretty awful the first time, and then my nose adjusted, and It hink it’s really lovely now!

  • mals86 says:

    What a nailbiter, Patty! I’m so happy your vtg Mitsy is da bomb.

    Worst perfume spillage for me so far: most of a 1ml sample of Osmanthe Yunnan spilled onto the carpet instead of landing on my arm. Sad. What was on my arm lasted about 40 minutes, though, so I sighed and chalked that one up to “not for me.” I almost spilled a big decant of L’Arte di Gucci once – holy moly, that stuff would’ve stuck around for aaaages on the carpet. Knock wood, that’s the only trouble I’ve had, even given my near-obsessive pursuit of obscure vintage miniatures. Some haven’t been wearable, but most have.

    No need to hat me for the Hermes, thanks.

    • Patty says:

      Osmanthe Yunnan on me has that Ellena trick of seeming to disappear, but then I smell it wafting about me for at least a day. it’s weird and tenacious, but if I put my nose to my skin, I get nothing after about an hour.

      The Gucci, you are right about that. Lovely stuff, but scented glue.

  • DinaC says:

    Great post, Patty! I was hanging on the edge of my seat as you unwrapped your package and opened the bottles. I’m envious of the fabulous bottle of Mitsouko. Love, love, love that scent, but haven’t had the chance to smell vintage yet.

    The Hermes sounds really lovely and wearable. I’d like to be included in the draw. Thanks.

    • Patty says:

      This isn’t my first time having to do that, so I’ve got a much more laid-back approach to it. And it wouldn’t have been irritation at having to send back the bottle if it was a factice. It was just missing out on the juice!!! 🙂

  • Ann N. says:

    Whew, Patty, that was close! So glad everything turned out all right. I don’t have any significant perfume stories fraught with peril, as most of the vintage greats are not so great on me and so I don’t own any of those tricky stoppers. But I have had a few uneasy eBay moments where I was holding my breath as I opened the package.
    The new Voyage sounds nice, but please, please tell me there’s no sign of that evil accord (melon?) that makes me run screaming from Mousson? (Apologies to those who are fans.) If you give the all clear, I would love to be in the draw for a sample. Thanks so much!

    • Patty says:

      I didn’t smell any melon. There is a moment when that vegetale part almost tends to aquatic, but it lasts just a couple of seconds, then is gone on me. So no melon that I can detect!

  • Francesca says:

    This was such a great, funny post. I haven’t had any memorable disaster moments, thank goodness, besides dropping the odd decant on the bathroom floor and cringeing before realizing it hadn’t broken. I’ve got a beautiful Lalique perfume bottle I got in Paris in 1973 with a stopper that’s impossible to remove, so I’ll try some of the tips above (nothing in it, never used). And Le Voyage sounds lovely.

    • Patty says:

      Did I ever tell about the time when we were in NYC, I had my decant of Iris Silver Mist in the bathroom. My sister was in there while I was out doing something, saw it, assumed it was room spray and just went on a spritzing frenzy in the bathroom. I was horrified.

  • sybil says:

    Actually, a LE perfume from an independent perfumer that everyone raved about smelled like rotting dead things on my arm, despite smelling quite nice in the sample vial. It was a spectacular bad chemistry moment, compounded by the fact it stuck like glue…I haven’t yet bought any vintage bottles, so I’ve been spared that particular brand of terror.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, yeah, that will happen eventually. I’ve learned to sorta love those moment when perfume just goes bad. It’s a horrid fascination thing about your chemistry. I have the same reaction to the Anguilles thingie I talked about on Tuesday and that Waazamba, along with a lot of others.

  • Daniele says:

    I’ve just only recently discovered the world of fragrance (to my chagrin) so I can’t say that I’ve had a whole lot of perilous moments yet. A couple of years ago my dad got me a bottle of perfume that was clearly picked out for him by his new girlfriend (my dad doesn’t shop. Ever.) and it was Glow by Jennifer Lopez. I suppose the fact that I almost considered wearing it could be considered perilous… 😉
    Fortunately my better judgment won out in the end. I can’t remember who ended up with it; it was a honking big bottle though so I hope they had some real perseverance.

    • Patty says:

      Sorry, sweetie, it is a long, expensive journey. 🙂 But it is so much fun, and the people you meet along the way really are the best. Not sure why that is true, but it absolutely is. Maybe because we are all breathing so deeply all the time with the ‘fumes, it keeps us centered.

      You know, of celeb perfumes, glow is one of the better ones. I like Fancy that Jessican Simpson did too. I mean, I probably won’t ever wear it seriously, but I don’t hate it and think young women would smell prety great and young in it.

      • Graham says:

        I’ll second the Fancy… I remember I asked one young lady I worked with (19-20 years old) what she was wearing that particular day, and I was shocked – shocked I tell you – that it was Fancy. It smelled really nice, and I remember thinking that it wasn’t at all what I was expecting from a Jessica Simpson frag…

      • Daniele says:

        I’m glad to hear that I didn’t give away anything too noxious. 😉 I remember thinking that it was just kind of forgettable, and nothing I could seriously see myself wearing.

        Too true about the expensive part of the journey; almost every expendable dime I’ve had has gone into the perfume bank since I realized what I’ve been missing. But so worth it!

  • Fiordiligi says:

    Ah, what a heart-warming tale. I never met a bottle of Mitsy I didn’t adore, but then again I’ve avoided all modern incarnations.

    You know, for someone who has been wearing perfume as long as I have (over 40 years, ahem) I am struggling to think of any real perfume disasters, but I do remember that one year Mr F’s beloved Bel-Ami (pre-reformulation, needless to say) spilt all over his luggage and for years afterwards the suit carrier smelt fantastic. The piece of luggage is long gone (as is the proper Bel-Ami) but the memory lingers….

    • mals86 says:

      A lovely story.

    • Patty says:

      I have not smelled the modern mitzy, and I’m just not going to. Same with Chanel No. 5. As long as the vintage stock on ebay holds out, I never will. If that ever gives out, I’m just walking away. What’s the point then?

  • Joe says:

    So, Patty… exactly how huge and honking IS that bottle of Mitsy? Glad you didn’t have to resort to the “smash and dab” tactics that Eric describes above.

    I had a frozen stopper (that heart-shaped thing) on a vintage L’Heure Bleue a year or so ago, before I learned about the old freezer trick. I tried warm water. Tried dabbing some rubbing alcohol (yeah, I know) around the top. Finally got it off after wrapping a damp paper towel around the top for awhile, then tap-tap-tapping with the end of a heavy spoon. I’m so glad that thing didn’t shatter. The LHB — ok but not amazing. I need to test some more vintage… keep meaning to compare with a dab of the nice stuff Carter sent me.

    Le Voyage: it doesn’t break down walls and curl my toes like nothing before but I’m loving it and can’t wait until someone (maybe me) hosts a split of one of those 125ml jobs. But then, I’m an Hermès Groupie. There’s definitely something of Terre in it, and like you said, that “wafty” thing going on. It just smells good. Vetiver-y, woody, cardamom-y, but with a citrusy “buzz.” And I know someone will say it’s like bug spray to them, and I can totally see that. I have this totally uneducated theory that it’s got more than a dollop of Iso E Super.

    • Patty says:

      I’m not sure. It’s monstrous. I’ve had that super-large one before, but it’s somewhere between 4-6 ounces, I think?

      I haven’t had to use the freezer trick before, but I keep that in my bag of things I may need. I’ve done the tap-tap-tapping on a bottle of Djedi, but it tapped the stopper right off, but weirdly enough, once half of it broke, the other half pulled out. Weird.

      I may do a split on Voyage, once they come out with the 125 or it hits discounters, which last year’s went there in like 3-5 months. I’m an Hermes slut too. Almost everything in that line will work for me when I’m not sure what will work. So when I’m staring at my perfume drawers, I either find myself in the Guerlain L’Matieres or the whole Hermes line. Poivre Samarcande! yeah, there’s some of that in the voyage, I smell that in my sweater this morning.

      I did grab the new Tulip Byredo unsnifffed, and I’m sure I want to split that one, if anyone is in despite no one smelling it yet! I adore Tulip, I couldn’t say no when the Barney’s guy bugged me.

  • Eric says:

    Well, I had the same problem as your Mitsouko as my My Sin parfum bottle but hot water didn’t do the trick. For some reason, Lanvin’s past owners thought it hilarious to prank future generations of perfumistas by making the cap/stopper a black glass that shatter like soft obsidian and is softer than the bottle’s glass. After two months, I put it in a Ziploc and HAMMER BABY HAMMER’d that sucker. Gotta say, it was kind of fun. However, the resultant parfum is unwearable. I get about 16 hours of creosote, like sticking your head inside a barbecue after the rain. I spilled a drop on my fitted sheet, though and, surprise, it gets beautiful after 30 hours on fabric. Save that tiny whiff of creosote. It’s terrible, though, because I picked up the dregs of a bottle of My Sin parfum at an estate sale and it was, literally, the fragrance I would wear every day, a gooey, stately abstract floral the (figurative)color of amber. Needless to say, not good times.

    However, I love VdH (well, maybe not love but it sure is fun). Maybe it’s just me but it smells so much like a Thai curry, complete with coconut milk and lime. Weird but beautiful. Not great half-life but I get whiffs of the drydown quite a bit, so the sillage must be fantastic. 😀

    • Patty says:

      Oh, Lanvin bottles are not fun once they’ve got some juice dried around the stopper. Back when I had those, I broke more than a few.

      VdH is so nice to wear. I’m getting a lot of pepper this morning, which isn’t something I really picked up on that much yesterday. I love that it’s still wafting through my sweater. I get the lime part, not sure I’m feeling the coconut milk and Thai curry though! 🙂

  • Plumcake says:

    I think my moment that was most fraught with peril was either the time I agreed to buy a still cello-ed bell jar of Bois et Musc sight unseen or, slightly more personal, when I was deciding what perfume to wear for my first long weekend away with my French loooovair (and no, I wasn’t going to wear French Lover). I went with Jasmine et Une Cigarette and it was one of the few choices I made in that relationship I don’t regret!

    • Patty says:

      Interesting choice! I’ve got a whole post about perfumes for dating/romantic encounters muddling about in my head that I can’t quite sit down to write. I keep thinking about it, but then thinking it needs to be divided up into age ranges too. complicated!

  • Tiara says:

    My heart raced just a bit at the thought of spilling perfume, especially Joy, all over. Yikes.

    Recently, I’ve had only mini-disasters. The most recent was when a tiny sample vial of L’Artisan L’Eau d’Ambre just sort of dissolved in my hand. Pulled out the plastic stopper and the glass vial just crumbled. The stack of clean towels on the dresser I hadn’t yet put away absorbed the liquid that dripped through my fingers. I was going to rub it all over me but was afraid I’d cut myself.

    My biggest disaster was when I was about 10. My cousin and I were playing with bottles of perfume on our aunt’s dresser. My cousin opened a bottle of perfume and spilled it all over us. It seemed to dry right away so we thought we were fine and no one would notice.

    However, as soon as we went downstairs, our mothers were like, “Oh my gosh, what did you do?” Us? Do something? Why do you ask?!

    But of course we reeked. Have no idea what perfume she spilled but I can tell you it was was most unpleasant!

    • Patty says:

      You should see the bottle of Joy I had to demolish with a hammer. Baccarat bottle too. I cried. Then there was the Baccarat bottle of Djedi where the stopper wouldn’t come out either. I just had to destroy the stopper to get to the juice, but, well, what’s the point then?

      Sample vials are so annoying. I wish someone would come up with a better way. We have been using those snap-on plastic sprays with the glass bottles – also annoying to put on, if you don’t aim it right, the bottle under goes skittering away, spills, and you have to start all over again – so we found the screw-on sprays instead for those small ones. I’m hoping that will be better.

      I just want someone to build bottles I design exactly thew ay I want them. 🙂

      • Musette says:

        I would by them by the gross! Get hoppin’ missy!

        those 2ml snap-on thingies are Satan’s Spawn, I swear. By the time you actually get it snapped on you’ve gone through at least 3 ml of the juice, it’s all over the place and you hate the perfume and everybody on earth (well, I do but then I have those moments, as well we know:”>

        xo >-)

        ps. my heart is swimming in blood – Djedi? Busted the stopper? 😮 but at least you got the juice – that’s more important.

      • nozknoz says:

        I keep thinking there MUST be a way to drill through glass. I intend to ask my dentist and some the artisans at the Torpedo Factory (actual former torpedo factory on the Patomac River converted to art studios) at the next opportunity.

  • violetnoir says:

    I am so, so happy that everything turned out beautifully for you, babe.

    I actually had a scary moment on Tuesday. I finally decided that my Chamade parfum would be perfect for the spring-like weather, so I was more than ready to give it it’s maiden voyage. The stopper would not budge, I’m too silly, impatient and impetuous to move to the sink and put it under warm water. I thought I would break the thin, pointy stopper. It looks so fragile. What was I thinking? After a few seconds that felt way longer, it magically lifted up and off. I was saved!

    Enjoy your fragrant beauties, Patty!


    • DinaC says:

      Just sampled Chamade parfum for the first time this week. It was soooo lovely. I offered up my wrist to my two kids to sniff, and they did that eyeballs-roll-back-in-the-head, eyelids-fluttering, gusty-sigh-of-ecstasy thing! Glad to hear that your bottle finally cooperated. 🙂

      • Patty says:

        Yes, it is. I only smellled it in the parfum for the first time a few months ago, got a teeny bottle, and it is amazing.

    • mals86 says:

      Chamade parfum is All That, isn’t it? Especially when the weather’s right, it feels like walking in the clouds.

    • Patty says:

      Dear God, those Chamade stoppers are so beautiful, they break my heart, and I just hold my breath every time I have to open one and it’s just a little bit stuck.

      Because of TPC buying, I get to do this regularly. I was just happy that for once, everything that came in that day worked out beautifully, which is not always the case in lots of ways.

      Normally it’s leakage. You think you’ve got a 70% bottle full of something, and it arrives, reeking, and it is 40% full. I hate making the claim, they never really believe you. I tak pictures.

      The worst was a sealed vintage No. 5 parfum. it was perfectly sealed, still sealed when it arrived, the package was the most fragrant package I have ever smelled. There was a tiny chip at the neck, and all of it had leaked out. It too me and Harry staring at it for 20 minutes to figure out how all the liquid in the bottle got out. The seller was so nice about it, though, just took pictures of the liquid stained box and the bottle, and she refunded quickly.

  • sweetlife says:

    Too many jealous-making posts on PP this week! Really Patty, it’s almost in poor taste after March’s Paris news. [-(:d:((

    My most fraught perfume moment has to be the uncorking of a bottle of vintage Caron Poivre. Same kind of thing you went through–“Oh no, a screw top, so easy to counterfeit! Oh wait, it’s sealed! But with what? What is this metal seal? How do I get in?” And so on. Took me a week to figure out the little metal flower imprinted on the top was meant to be punctured… And then all was–fiery! Whew! They weren’t kidding with the eugenol in the old stuff!

    Pretty please put me in the hat!

    • Patty says:

      Sorry!!!! I’m envious of March’s Paris trip too.

      Vintage Caron Poivre!!! I’m just so irritated that the faker guy is back, so I’m leery of everything now and even have to ask where people got their bottles because I know people are buying whatever he’s selling, then reselling it. So I watch what he’s selling, which apparently he’s doing Guerlains now, so I can’t buy any unsealed guerlains for like the next 2 years because of that rat. Which sucks because normally the unsealed ones are okay.

      I’m still looking for vintage Caron Tabac Blond, but for the same reason above, can’t have it unless it is sealed.

      most annoying, that guy!

      • zeezee says:

        :-ss Oh NO! And this just when I’m -cautiously- dipping a toe in the vintage pool! I know the fake guy of whom you speak, I think – is he back under his old name? New name? Can you divulge without risking him suing? I know discussion on both BN and MUA was stifled by threats from him.

      • Winifreida says:

        yes know what you mean, all uniformly unsealed and full, darkly caramelised…

      • mals86 says:

        I missed out on all of the discussion about Faker Guy, except that there was one… if I go back into the past, digging up discussions about the issue, would I discover the seller’s name or not?

        If anybody knows, would you just… privately email me or something? Put me out of my Not Knowing misery, wouldja?


  • Musette says:

    wait. that is just weird. the post is wack (the cursor is at it again, the weasel). The NUUI was the one that caused me to rethink the 1ml samp to FB jump. I jump for Mitsouko EdP anywhere, anytime. And don’t get me started on the parfum.


  • Musette says:

    okay – I am terrified. This Mits is the BEST EVER?

    Patty, don’t do this to me, I beg of you. Please.

    Say it smells like old farts. Or feet. or old farts’ feet.


    Reading this post, with the Mitsouko hook, is probably my worst peril.:(( – that one cured of me 1ml samp-to-FB forever. My next crush too 12 ml of sampling before I pulled the trigger.

    xo >-)

    Otherwise: huh – lessee….careless fleabaying (tipsy on champers) – bought a mini of vintage Vent Vert. One of us is ‘off’ – and I don’t think it’s me.

    And we all know the Nuui Story, ad nauseum8-|

    • Joe says:

      But cupcake, you got a good several weeks’ joy out of The Nuuuuuuui before it turned on you, right? 8-x

      And you make me want to send you a few drops of my VV to make up for the heartache of your fleabay mess. b-(

      • Musette says:

        Actually, Joe, I didn’t! It was weird. I tried to talk myself into it but the Very First Spritz was sort of 😕 – not at first blush, mind you, as I was overcome by its lasery-green goodness, but about 2 minutes into it I was kind of wondering…. something was lurking in the bushes…

        …but hope sprang eternal and I pushed that notion aside. Until it got tired of tapping on the window and threw a muskball through said window, scattering glass all over the floor!

        Oooh, let’s chat on the VV! Let’s do a swap – I would LOVE to know what you think of mine (it just doesn’t seem right). You know my digitals.

        xoxoxo >-)

    • Patty says:

      Well, I always think that. 🙂 This one, because of the tight seal, seemed to have the least destruction on the top notes that I’ve run across. Mitz tends to do pretty well like that, but it was smooooooth, baby.

      I need to track down a little mini of Vent Vert.

      Seriously, though, the mitz really is foot smell, honest! 🙂

  • nozknoz says:

    I’ve had pretty good luck with most vintage purchases except Chanel No. 5. I guess it stands to reason that this would be the most counterfeited perfume ever. The most recent misadventure, though, is snapping the stopper off a quite genuine looking bottle. So I’m mulling over how to break it and collect the juice… 😕 Not in any hurry to go up against No. 5 again, though! :-ss

    • Patty says:

      I’ve had to do the breakage thing. I do what Erin says below. Get a baggie, big one, then I also put a bowl IN the baggie (easier to get the juice out of), put the bottle in the bowl and gently tap the neck until it breaks.

      the worse one was a bottle of Femme, I think it was. Some of those old ones are under pressue. Mike went to take the lid off because it wasn’t spraying, and the whole bottle exploded. He didn’t ask me if he should take precautions before trying to get into it. 🙂

      • Louise says:

        I recommend the 30 seconds-in-the-freezer trick…has worked many times for me-though sometimes the stubborn stopper needs an extra session or two…:d/

      • nozknoz says:

        Thanks for the ideas!

        The sad thing is that I HAVE used the freezer trick before, and it worked so well. I just wasn’t thinking, I guess. No. 5 just has a way of making a monkey out of me! :(|) Next time I get a vintage stoppered bottle, the freezer is my FIRST resort.

  • AnnieA says:

    Since I’ve only ordered samples by mail, my most perilous perfume journey was flying back from a trip to Montreal and New York with my most expensive purchase ever, a Guerlain bee bottle perfume. Before the airline limitations on carry-on liquids, I would have any freshly-bought perfume under my eye and not have to worry about baggage handlers.

    • Patty says:

      I don’t want to tell you how much perfume, one of them an irreplaceable vintage Candide Effleuve, I’ve had in a suitcase, being handled by people that, luckily, don’t seem to steal perfume. 🙂

      • Joe says:

        I can’t frakking believe you mentioned Candide Effluve today because it’s taken up residence in a part of my brain recently. Dang psychic perfume bloggers feeding these obsessions $-) , even if involuntarily!

    • HemlockSillage says:

      Getting things home is scary! I agree with fears of loss on an airline.

      My biggest fear was coming home from my first trip to Paris, SL Chergui and MKK bell jars and Vanille 44 in the checked baggage. . .hoping they’d not be stolen or broken in transit. I literally saw a man throw my suitcase and cringed!

      They survived intact, and are my precious. (Even now that MKK an Chergui are in the export line) I’d love to try the vintage Mitzi. . .and see if she likes me any better in that format 😀

  • CynthiaW says:

    Well, I consider any purchase off of evilBay to be fraught with peril – I’m always on pins and needles until I get my first sniff wondering if this will be the time that I get hosed. Then there was the day that delivery confirmation notified me that FOUR packages had been delivered to me and they had not been – I almost went into shock thinking about approximately $300 worth of stuff going missing (even though most of it was insured). I spent a week arguing with the post office before they all miraculously showed up on my doorstep.

    Then there are the numerous samples that I’ve dropped and held my breath wondering if they were going to break and reek for days. I’ve had a few small spills while decanting (who hasn’t?), but fortunately nothing too expensive.

    Probably the worst disasters have all involved spritzing myself with something that turned out to be terrible on me and then having it refuse to scrub off. Why does everything vile also happen to be long-lasting?

    • Joe says:

      C: I wish I had tried harder to calm you when those splits parcels went missing. I once received a package three weeks after the online USPS tracking number said “delivered”. It wasn’t $300 worth for sure, and I was getting nervous, but I took the Brazilian attitude of “eh, maybe tomorrow it’ll arrive.” Of course, if three weeks passed and nothing came, then you’d kick yourself for not freaking out and threatening to file a complaint, so I guess it can be better to be assertive about it.

      • Patty says:

        Is that Brazilian? I always wondered why our Brazilian customers never seemed to get alarmed until after a couple of months had gone by with no package. 🙂

        • Fernando says:

          Definitely a Brazilian approach to things. We’re trained as young tots by the utterly unreliable postal service. When we send stuff to my mother-in-law, she always gives up on ever getting the package… and then it arrives.

      • CynthiaW says:

        lol – your package wasn’t the one that I was freaked out about. Daisy and I freaked out together about the two of hers that went missing. That made up the vast majority of the total damage. Fortunately, the threat of a complaint to the postal inspector seemed to wake them up.

    • Patty says:

      Oh, yeah, evilbay is one of those that kills me every time, but I can’t figure out how to get stuff from somewhere else, the old stuff. The worst was that guy who was selling fakes. I bought one thing from him, and I wound up throwing it in the trash because even though I knew it was Vol de Nuit, I couldn’t be certain it was the extrait.

      Those scanned delivered things are a mess. we get probably 1-2 of those a week at TPC. Most of them do show up within a week, they just got misdelivered, and the honest person who got them gave them back so they get delivered properly. The rest? some thieves kept them. 🙂