Perfume Bottle Love

Google ‘Perfume Bottle’ and what you’ll get is the complete opposite of what we’re going on about today – you’ll get your Etsy, your wholesaler, your refillable… Google “Iconic Perfume Bottle’, though….. and a Whole New World opens up

And that’s what we’re on about here, today:  the Iconics, the Ironics, the Idolized and the Ire-inducing and enough with the “I” already – we’re going to talk about bottles from Perfume Houses that delight, dismay (oh, Lawd, here she goes with the ‘D”!) and almost always define the House.

Let’s start with an Ageless Icon.  Chanel is uppermost in my mind – purportedly designed by Mme Coco herself that shape visually defines the House and, for the most part, they’ve stuck to it.  I absolutely adore No5 and own many iterations of it – but all pay some sort of homage to that original, iconic, glass bottle (yes, even the black spray EdTs), hefting a bottle of the perfume (vintage and contemporary) never fails to thrill me, in part because, when I release the ground glass stopper, I feel as if I am traversing Perfume History. 

By comparison, one of my absolute favorite Houses (vintage), Coty, does not have that same Bottle Identity – amazing scents (and the early Art Nouveau Bakelite tops and embossed labels are things of beauty) but their Historical Icon is difficult for me to pin down.  Contemporary?  They nailed it (for me) with Elan.  Something about that bottle with the circle atop was the epitome of cool – it was 1968, I was 13 yrs old and  in love with Jean-Claude Killy (who wasn’t?) and he was at the top of his game at the Winter Olympics.  There were several iterations of that top – my PdT has this one.  I look at it and I’m 13 again.  Maybe.

Oh, Jean-Claude…if only!

My first real Bottle Lust came in the form of Lalique’s L’air du Temps for Nina Ricci. I was in my teens when it came into mainstream and couldn’t understand the scent at all – but omgosh!  that bottle!  Of course, I was in my teens so lost it along the way (alas) but it is a thrilling sight, coming upon a vintage iteration of that classic.  Still don’t quite understand the scent, though.  I’m slow.

Remember when Gaultier came out with his eponymous ‘corset’ bottle?  1993, according to fragrantica.  I couldn’t tell you what it smelled like but I could identify that bottle in my sleep!  AND IT CAME IN A CAN!  How cool was that!

On a personal note, for all my love of square, cut-glass stopped bottles, I am easily distracted by ribbons, colored cords, dangly things and colors (in the perfume, not the bottle so much).  And…if you do an entire LINE like that?  I’m yours.  Just ask Romeo d’Ameor  – just LOOK AT THIS LINEUP!!!  Gorgeous (if a bit topheavy) bottles, with those elegant colored cords ALL IN DIFFERENT COLORS…and intriguing names….oh, Romea, you minx.

How do they smell?  Who cares!  I. Want. Them. All.

and…be blue.  Smell like beach. Or not (but I think it helps when you are blue).  Have dangly things that you would wear in Mexico – or Brazil.  You will own my soul.

Oooh! VC&A’s Feerie is another one, though it looks a bit more emotionally dark.  But all the branchydoodles and the BLUE!   I would prolly knock that thing over 300 times a week – but who cares!  It’s BLUE!  With branchydoodle things!  What’s not to love?  I probably should smell it!

There are so many more  – but we’d be here all day the whole purpose of my writing this was to find out what bottle love YOU have!  Are you a Square Snob (don’t judge me! lol!) with a Secret Lust for the occasionally Weird and Wild?  Color Freaks?    Talk to me!

  • Ann says:

    Love, love, love this post, darling!! (Sorry I’m a little late — been having to job hunt, arghhh!) I used to collect minis and loved to display them on my dresser. Then Major Clutter came calling and it all went downhill. My favorites were always the Chloe calla lily bottle and NIki de Saint Phalle’s entwining snakes mini. The one that got away (or maybe never even existed): a miniature of the Reem Acra bottle — sleek yet blocky, with a lovely wreath and bird engravings on the glass. Hope you are doing well; hugs to you!!

  • lisaindenver says:

    I have always coveted one of the original Metallica bee bottles with that gorgeous gold and copper patchwork gilt. Sadly, I didn’t discover the fragrance until after the band Metallica had sued Guerlain for copyright infringement, and Guerlain had withdrawn the fragrance. I feel fortunate to own a bee bottle of its second incarnation, Metalys, but its bee bottle seems rather plain by comparison. As Guerlain d/c Metalys several years ago, and I carefully ration my remaining supply.

    My other favorite bottle is probably Vol de Nuit in the extract. I love that smokey glass with the propeller effect and the art deco-ish Vol de Nuit gold medallion in the middle.

    And while Uncle Serge has disappointed me over the last 10 years in terms of his fragrance direction and incessant and lesser repackaging, my elegant bell jar of La Myrrhe still makes me very happy.

  • Portia says:

    Hey Musette,
    I LOVE bottles too.
    The original Opium in that reddish russet colour and the keyhole cutout. The first JAZZ bottle with inbuilt spritzer. The old Guerlain extrait bottles for Samsara, Chamade and Vol de Nuit. Aeon 001 and it’s near cousin the Cartier? Lolita Lempicka does good bottle as does Boucheron. The simplicity of Hermessence, Dior Prive and the cool rock lidded bottles of Armani Prive all call to me.
    Even the silver cans of Montale give me a thrill and I particularly;y like the look and texture of the Elizabeth & James line.
    ARGH too many to mention.
    Portia xxx

  • March says:

    My first bottle love was a square Chanel flacon of Cristalle, although it never smelled as good on me. I adore the Annick Goutal bottles. And you know how I feel about Mitsouko….

    • Musette says:

      LOL! Yes. Yes, I do! And I had the tall version of Cristalle, if memory serves me correctly – and I loved that greenish juice, except it always made me feel so melancholy……. I daren’t wear it now, lest I collapse in a puddle of tears.! xoxoxo

  • mals86 says:

    I love that classic Chanel bottle, too — especially the parfum, with the ground glass stopper? gorgeous. And RL Safari. And the old KL Chloe, which I’m tempted to buy just as a keepsake (I wore it all through my teen years, and though I’ve tried and it still smells fabuloso to me, I cannot wear it now). And I was very fond of the old PdN 1-ouncers: boring and squarish, yeah, but so nice in the hand.

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    How ’bout Vivienne Westwood Boudoir?

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Ooh, I have a really old Habanita that I haven’t looked at in a while. I wish we could post photos here…

  • hczerwiec says:

    BRANCHYDOODLE — I am dying! I don’t get to love on my bottles as much as I’d like, since they’re tucked away in their boxes for protection. But some faves: pretty much any Guerlain bottle, the funny Tocade I don’t even like but bought for the bottle, RL’s Safari (so pretty with the cut glass and tortoiseshell stopper!), Rive Gauche’s canister, Niki de St. Phaille’s weird blue bottle with the entwined snakes (I only have a mini, but So. Cool.), and I like the satisfying heft of those octagonal L’Artisan bottles. And I love the Mitsouko lyre bottle with inverted-heart stopper so much that I’m having it tattooed on me!

    • Musette says:

      Are you really? REALLY! I know someone else who has had that done (seriously!) – and it is gorgeous!!!!! In fact….if you go back in the archives and search Mitsouko tattoo, you might find it (hint: it’s not me but that’s all I’m sayin’ )

      Those l’Artisan bottles weigh more than Floyd and they are SO elegant! and…..of course….they have discrete labels, which thrills my soul (if you have a series with discrete labels or cords or whatever….omg. I. Am. Yours.)

      You know what’s funny about ‘branchydoodle’? I use ‘doodle’ on just about everything I can’t immediately articulate – and then people start saying it (the ice melt canister is the ‘shakeydoodle’ because I can’t remember Ice Melt Canister when I’m panicking and saying ‘don’t go outside without the…..the SHAKEYDOODLE THING’ when El O is about to step out into 1/4″ sheet of ice. So now he says ‘hey, where’s the shakeydoodle thing?’ which cheers my flinty soul right the hell up.


  • Tara C says:

    I like mostly simple but elegant bottles: Dune, Byzance, Dior Privée, Tauer, Amouage. My mom had that L’Air du Temps bottle with the birds and I loved it though.

    • Musette says:

      I LOVE Amouage – I always keep all my bottles lined up, which delights me! I want to get my beloved Beloved because I love both the scent and the lovely pink bottle! xoxoxo

  • Dina C. says:

    I love the Chanel bottles, too. So elegant and classy. Also the Guerlain bee bottles: kind of Old World, ornate and special in a modern world that doesn’t value the baroque anymore. Love the old Annick Goutal bottles and how they look on an old-fashion vanity — so glamorous and girly. Individual bottle loves: Arpege in its sleek black roundedness, RL Safari looking so Edwardian, and Kenzo Amour which is so sculptural, YSL Paris Jardins Romantiques – like springtime to look at and sniff.

    • Musette says:

      The bee bottles do have an Old World glamour, don’t they! I wore YSL Paris a LONG time ago (like when it first came out – a very romantic story behind that, which is for another time (and, thankfully, this wench is not dead 😉 I didn’t know about JR – just looked at it – omgosh it IS pretty! Even if I hated the jus I would have it for that bottle! xoxoxo

  • rosarita says:

    The Lalique Habanita bottle. Fendi Palazzo, which I owned at one time just for the bottle and swapped away because I wasn’t thrilled with the juice and have regretted ever since. Lolita Lempicka L’s mermaid bottle is a favorite, and I’m fond of quirky bottles: those unique Rochas ones esp that kitschy Tocade and Absolue and the voluptuous Femme, and the Salvador Dali Nose and lips bottle. Mauboussin Mauboussin in that beautiful rainbow pyramid but then they put l’Histoire Mauboussin in that weird clear plastic R2-D2 bottle, which I also like (and love the perfume) because it IS weird. Donna Karan has produced some great bottles too, the Black Cashmere pebble feels so good in the hand and the Gold edp bottle is stunning.. This is way too long already but the classic blue Angel Star is lovely and I’m lusting after Angel Eau Croisière just for the bottle.

    • Musette says:

      Omg. Your bedroom (or cabinet or wherever) must be a visual treat! I would sit and stare at that Habanita bottle for hours!!! I just looked at the Maboussin – totally see the R2D2 connection! xoxoxo

    • mals86 says:

      I like bottles that feel good in the hand, too. Black Cashmere was wonderful for that.

  • Kathleen says:

    So many beautiful bottles! Almost as pleasurable as the perfume.
    I love many but I’m most drawn to the classic and simple heavy glass bottles with structured clean lines. I love heavy glass with solid cap or stopper, so elegant.

    • Musette says:

      That style is my first love – that’s why I love the House of Chanel – it’s also why I love Amouage – the bottle style stays the same, CC just adjusts the color to reflect the story of the jus. xoxo

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Guerlain Shalimar, all versions but especially the “umbrella bottle”, or flacon a sac!

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Some of my faves are very classic: Caleche, Parfum d’Hermes, Lauren, Byzance parfum in a little blue glass “montre”, No. 5 (mais oui!), Jicky parfum (yes, I have a partially filled quadrilobe bottle). Then, too, I look longingly at the kooky bottles from Oriflame, like Dancing Lady Hypnotic Night–I don’t know the juice, I just like the bottle design. There are some ugly ones out there: Montale’s bottles look like fire extinquishers to me.

    • Musette says:

      omg! I almost choked on my coffee! Y’know….I always think of fire extinguishers when I look at the Montale’s – but I conflate that with grenades and then get confused. So I thought I was losing my mind! LOL!

      That Jicky quadrilobed is stunning! I’ve never seen it in captivity!


  • MMKinPA says:

    Guerlain bottles – so many pretties. I have a small collection of Lolita Lempicka Apple bottles. Mugler. And my favorite silly bottle – Tocade.

    • Queen Cupcake says:

      I love that silly Tocade bottle. I have one, and never wear the perfume but keep it just for the bottle, LOL!

    • Musette says:

      I’m with you and QC – that Tocade bottle (with the circus top, right?) is silly – in a truly wonderful way! xoxoxo

    • Kathryn says:

      I love the silly Tocade bottle, too. It has a sibling, Tocadilly, in the same bottle but in different colors, green and lavender. I wear Tocade every once in awhile but hardly ever wear Tocadilly, a sort of watery lilac thing. Still, seeing the two bottles sitting together on the shelf always makes me smile.

  • Brigitte says:

    Oh yes I am the queen of bottle porn. At one point I had about 20 empty old style Annick Goutals.
    I have also been collecting the Escada limited editions since 1994. Older bottles had the juice I adored. Current bottles not asuch but my youngins wear the juice and hand me the empty bottle.
    I have six Phlurs which are heavy, opaque, minimalist white with magnetic caps and when you line them up they spell Phlur.
    And am currently lusting after all the Berdoues Grand Cru collection bottles. Thus far I have only four but I think there are around eight more in the collection.

    • Musette says:

      wow! You ARE Bottle Queen! A lot of people love those old Goutal bottles – I like them but never gave them much thought (which is weird, because I like them) 😉


  • Matty says:

    I’m j ust having a quick think about some bottles I own.
    Mitsouko…Shalimar…The Bee bottles.
    The chunky square bottles from Valeur Absolue with the tiny stones inside the bottle.
    Feerie. Chanel.
    I’m sure there’s lots more !!! X

  • LEE says:

    My first “proper” perfume purchase was in 1968-Miss Dior in the so chic houndstooth bottle, I wore Chant d’Aromes for my wedding, that beautiful flacon with the moss green velvet ribbon around the stopper, sigh.. and then there was the voluptuous Valentino in the 80’s,the impossibly sophisticated Mitsouko ( the fragrance itself I’m still struggling with) and the broad shouldered Chanels…I could go on and on..

    • Musette says:

      huh. the Internet Ate My Reply. Trying again. the C d’Arome flacon is gorgeous – Guerlain is one of those Houses that had stunning bottles – I just have difficulty choosing which one that identifies the House. Miss Dior – that houndstooth bottle is KILLAH!


  • Doreen says:

    also love the faerie one….

  • Doreen says:

    What about the vintage tiny Bal a versailles edp? So cute and odd!

  • Teresa says:

    Well, speaking of bottles and cans…my signature scent Rive Gauche comes in a bottle that IS a can! I’ve always loved its scent, modern look and extreme portability….

    • Musette says:

      omg! that just ZOOMED into my senses, both the can and the lovely scent!!! A lot of people link Amouage Gold to RG – and I can appreciate the similarities!