Finding a lost scent: Taji by Shulton circa 1965

Tonight after years of searching, I found the name of a beloved fragrance from the past: Taji by Shulton, production date around 1965. Oh no! I’m showing my age!  Oh well!  My grandmother had it, it was a light oriental and I remember loving it as a young girl.  It opened with a citrus note that turned to a distinct sandalwood cinnamon blend. It may have had a dash of pepper in it, too, and it dried down to woody warmth. It also had a sweetness to it which appealed to my pre-teen taste.

The gold cap was  beautiful, it looked like the dome of the Taj Mahal. Smelling it and holding the bottle made me feel exotic and grown up. I would spray myself and walk around the farm, then go back to the house to try it on again and stare at the lovely bottle.  As a budding perfume nut I would  often  raid my mothers and grandmothers dressers for perfumes to try and for some reason, nobody complained! At times I would cover  myself so thoroughly  that I couldn’t smell it  anymore, so I would reapply again and again until I finally learned about the rewards of restraint.  But this one scent filled me with such amusement and happiness that it remained indelibly etched in my mind. I can still smell it! Isn’t it funny what we retain?

But what was it called?  And can it be found anymore?  This one haunted me, I didn’t remember the name but I knew what the bottle looked like.  It had an unusual name, something that sounded Indian or Middle Eastern.  And I didn’t remember the manufacturer either.   Was the maker  Avon? Houbigant?  Prince Matchabelli, Revlon or Faberge?  Or was it something else? This was going to be a challenge. I tried for years to come up with it off the top of my head but it was impossible so I threw in the towel and turned to the internet.

It wasn’t anything rare, for sure.  Back in the 1960s in rural Nebraska, our shopping choices were limited. Of course we had no internet and were too far away from the big cities with their unique specialty shops. We did have department stores and the occasional expensive dress store in larger towns that carried a selection of exotica from companies such as Worth and Molinard.  Drug stores in the small towns had quite afew things; some of the nicer ones had a fun array of choices such as Chanel (yes!), Jovan and Jean Nate, and a lot of popular inexpensive lines.

I began searching on Ebay using the term “perfume” and “gold cap” then started using company names as search terms to try to come up with an image of the bottle I recognized , and after plowing through hundreds of images,  nothing looked close.

Then I went to Basenotes and started searching women’s fragrances by year of production, with a guess based on my age at the time: women’s fragrances produced in 1964, 1965, 1966 etc.  I found an entry for a frag named “Taji by Shulton” but Basenotes provided no images.  This could be it but with no photo I couldn’t be sure.  So I then Googled the words and clicked on the “Images” button to look at my results and there it was.

That gold cap. Taji! That was it! Success!  Woo hoo! Someday, whenever it appears online I’ll order it. And now that I’ve gotten the hang of it I’ll search out a couple of other items that have been long gone from the market, too.  I hope this essay gave you some tips to help you find that long lost favorite.

Do you have a fragrance from the past  whose name eludes you?  Have you ever found it?

  • Mum had a great big round Tiffany-blue plastic box with some logo on top and after you lifted the enveloping lid inside was palest blue powder and puff. I don’t want to have it but would love to know what it was. We loved to be puffed and powdered with it.
    Portia xx

  • Sharon C. says:

    Kay, There IS a bottle on eBay right now. Would be glad to send you the link if you’ll shoot me an email at snchamness at msn dot com.

    I’ve never searched for one whose name I couldn’t remember, but I was happy to track down a bottle of the original Perry Ellis perfume I used to wear back in the mid 1980s.

    • Kay says:

      Thank you for your tip – I just put a bid on it! Glad you found an old favorite from the 80s.

  • nozknoz says:

    Great work, Kay! I’ve tracked down most of my early favs on ebay, but I never thought of searching Basenotes by year. When I first started, I actually just searched ebay for “vintage perfume” using the advanced search to subtract out some things I wasn’t interested in (like Avon, Czech – nothing against Czech perfume, just didn’t want all those decorative bottles, ads and sometimes other things). Major time suck, but I found a lot of interesting things, including an early fav Corday Tourjours Moi. I’d forgotten all about it but recognized the Art Nouveau bottle immediately. The great thing about ebay is the photos – you can tell if you’ve found the right thing.

    The one I’ve never been able to find was something unusual – a Russian perfume that I found in a highly eclectic gift shop when I was in college. I remember the name and I’ve often scrolled through all the Russian perfume on ebay, but no luck!

    Hope you are reunited with your Taji very soon!

    • Kay says:

      I hope you find your Russian perfume! I don’t know why I didn’t do the year thing on Basenotes way earlier, I thought I could come up with it on my own (Wrong) And being a librarian by profession, you’d a thought I’d go to the source materials right away – oh well!

      Was the frag you’re looking for by a Russian company?

  • Kay says:

    Thank you, thats a great idea, I’ll let you know what I find when I locate that bottle!

  • Ann says:

    Thanks for sharing your search for the long-lost mystery scent; so very glad you finally found out what it was! That’s half the battle right there. Now all you have to do is keep scouring, looking on eBay, in antiques shops, etc., to find a bottle of it. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that that happens soon. When it does, do let us know and share your thoughts on sniffing it now, some 40-odd years later.