Faberge Imperial: Into the wishing well

Hello, dear Posse lovelies. Ann here, filling in on a Wednesday for the divine Musette. Here’s my perfume tale for the day:
My wonderful mother-in-law has always adored all manner of antiques and objets d’art, and we’ve ooh-ed and ah-ed over many, many gorgeous pieces. Among those lovely treasures were Faberge eggs, to which she introduced me (to admire, alas, not to own).

Faberge Imperial So in 1996 when I saw Faberge Imperial beautifully displayed in Neiman Marcus, my antennae went to full attention. I salivated over the gorgeous egg-shaped bottles it came in, trimmed in matte gold, with a removable embossed gold top capping a deep blue sprayer.

And that’s not even getting to the oh-so-elegant, golden juice inside. It features some of my favorite notes: neroli and bergamot, marigold and sandalwood, among others, but all so incredibly well-blended that no one note stands out, with a ribbon of carnation and clove that runs softly throughout, making a quiet but distinctive statement. I generally am not a big fan of those two notes, but they seem like just the right touch here.

If pressed to link Imperial to another fragrance, not necessarily in the scent itself, but in spirit, I’d say it could be related to the rich and seamlessly blended Clive Christian C for women. Or perhaps a quieter, but no less-beautiful cousin to Ysatis (which is somewhat brighter, more floral and even a bit dirtier to my nose). To my mind, all three are well-bred scents that don’t scream their pedigrees, but speak eloquently in refined tones.

Faberge Imperial The gorgeous Faberge Imperial, smooth as silk with that hint of carnation (to add a whisper of surprise or mischief, perhaps?) smells like just the thing for dressing up and going out to dinner during these late autumn nights and on into winter.

It was not cheap back in the day, and certainly not now after all these years (when you can find it), but, oh, oh, oh, do I wish I had pulled the trigger on a small bottle! That wonderful 20/20 hindsight in action again, folks.

But in my defense, it was 1996, the Summer Olympics were in full swing nearby, traffic was horrendous and I had a job with crazy, upside-down hours that kept me hopping. So I was pretty distracted. I did snag a few samples but heaven knows what happened to them, more’s the pity.

Ah, if only I knew then what I know now …

So tell me: What scents have made you think: “Man, I wish I had bought (fill in the blank) then”?

Faberge Imperial notes from Surrender to Chance: neroli, orange flower, ylang-ylang, bergamot, green notes, rose, jasmine, carnation, violet leaves, clove, sandalwood, musk and patchouli

  • Amer says:

    Gucci Rush for men… It used to be my signature scent, now it’s gone. I can’t understand the reason behind its discontinuation. It has all the elements of a best seller. Perhaps a reissue is in order?

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Amer. I can’t believe it’s gone, especially since the women’s is still out there, and going strong it seems. And Gucci, please bring back the L’Arte, too, while you’re at it. Gucci, are you listening?

  • MARK NEWMAN says:

    Ann, There is a 1oz bottle of pure parfum in a Lalique Egg for $625 on Ebay

  • Flora says:

    I am still kicking myself that I did not stock up on the other Faberge that was launched around that time, Princesse Grace de Monaco. Faberge had made a final try to be taken seriously again with these two perfumes, but oddly, they never got much publicity. Princesse Grace was an absolute masterpiece with a price tag to match. Now it sells for hundreds of dollars on Evilbay, if you can even find it. I had a sample, and I kept the empty vial just to sniff every so often. If I win the lottery, I am going in search of them both!

    The other one is the original formula of JAR Golconda – it was “only” $400 when it was first launched. A better carnation perfume has never existed, IMHO. I understand it has been reformulated and is not nearly as good, but it also costs more now – a lot more. Le Sigh….

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Flora! Was that the green bottle of Faberge? I remember seeing it at one point but never got to try it. So sorry about it and the JAR — I feel your pain …

  • Patty White says:

    Those damn Gobin-Daudes when Tak was going out of business and they were selling them for about $20-30 apiece. Or biting the bullet and buyin every last one from Liberty in London when they were closing out the line, though it was more expensive!

    • Ann says:

      Oh, Patty, that must have been rough! But thank heaven, at least you got some, despite the expense
      BTW. I was sad to hear that store had closed because I’d always wanted to go there. Oh well …

    • nozknoz says:

      I agree: not buying Gobin-Daude Seve Exquise (even at full price) is my greatest regret. But then I’m constantly regretting not having bought any number of thing when they were better or cheaper. And when I’m not regretting, I’m fretting about the stuff I don’t have yet that IFRA is planning to demolish. I really need to win the lottery!

    • mim666 says:

      YES this x10000 I lived in NJ and thought about going into the city but figured I’d wait until I was going anyways and they were all gone and now I am bereft. Was going to post right away but was too sad. Am actually not kidding.

      Also: Scents from Perfume movie coffret….and vintage Shalimar parfum. My grandmother had a teeny bit and I love it so much but the new Guerlains do not agree with me.

  • pam says:

    Hi, Ann! Great post, as usual.
    I wish I’d bought a gallon of the original Fendi. I loved it at the time, but I wasn’t a true perfumista and so I only had one bottle of scent at a time. And I kept delaying. And now it is no more!

    • Ann says:

      Hi, dear Pam — good to hear from you! I feel your pain. Let’s roll out the time machine and head back with gallon jugs ready to be filled!

  • Alison says:

    I’m still kicking myself for not stocking up on Lancome’s original Magie Noire. I had no idea back then that perfumes got reformulated. No other perfume has gone straight to my cerebral cortex like that one did. Ah, the memories!

    • Ann says:

      Yes, Alison, that original Magie Noire was something else, wasn’t it? I could only wear a drop or two of it at a time, and it ended up that the body cream (or was it lotion?) worked out better for me. Keep looking, though, you never know when you might spot some.

  • Mals86 says:

    Oh, that Faberge sounds really lovely… I wish I had six bottles of pristine Victoria, that lovely ladylike floral chypre that debuted back when Victoria’s Secret was anything but slutty. (Unfortunately, it did not age well. I’ll have to make do with my little bit of Deneuve…)

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Mals! Do sample the Faberge (they have it at STC); I think you’ll like it. That Victoria sounds lovely, but does it have that civet note that Deneuve has? I can usually wear civet (cumin is my true nemesis), but Ms. D’s civet jumped up and bit me, I swear!

      • Mals86 says:

        I don’t remember the Victoria having civet, but my memory is bad. (I never wore it when it was new, it was too expensive! I had to make do with the occasional spritz from the tester.) The Deneuve civet is not bothersome to me, though. In any case, the bottles of Victoria I’ve gotten from various ebay sources have all been sadly deteriorated, so that it is difficult to tell anything about the scent other than it was a floral chypre.

  • Liz K says:

    Kingdom! I am fortunate that the Saks SA thought I would love it (or needed to unload extra samples) when it first came out. I never bought a bottle (at one point I counted 16 completely full spray samples and this was several years later) and didn’t realize until it was d/c until it was too late. My search for a replacement plunged me into the world of perfume and now I am trapped. It would have been much cheaper to just have purchased a bottle to begin with but it is much more fun this way.

    • Selina Moore says:

      Lizz – I’ve just tried Kingdom for the first time today and am completely in love with it – so definitely share your pain! Although the notes are very different, for some reason the smoky spicy darkness of it reminded me of Arquiste’s Anima Dulcis -perhaps best described as a distant cousin?! I still prefer Kingdom -Anima Dulcis is a gourmand scent which i’m less into, but it does have better longevity and is nonetheless dark and interesting -perhaps worth a try?!

    • Ann says:

      Hi Liz, that is so aggravating, isn’t it? But keep on eye on eBay — you never know when a bottle might pop up.

      • Ann says:

        But very happy that it got you down the perfume rabbithole — think of all the fun and good sniffing you would have missed otherwise!