Monday Question – Which Are The Most Precious Perfumes In Your Collection?

By Tara

What are the shining gems of your perfume collection?

Which beloved fragrances of yours were extremely hard to come by?

Do you own a much loved perfume that is no longer available?

Is there a perfume that you would struggle to replace when it runs out?

My Answer:

Vol de Nuit Parfum (vintage), Guerlain

Vol de Nuit has a special place in my heart and unfortunately the vintage parfum is my favourite formulation. Needless to say, this propeller bottle and its zebra case is a much loved treasure that would be tough to replace, especially at an affordable price.

Bois des Iles Parfum, Chanel

This isn’t particularly hard to come by, but it is precious to me because Chanel’s parfums are pretty special in themselves and this is the only one I love and own. The beautiful bottle with its glass stopper is pure elegance.

Shalimar Light, Guerlain

It took ages for this now discontinued version of Shalimar to come up on Ebay UK at a reasonable price so I hit “Buy It Now” immediately. It’s a beautiful mellow rendition of the iconic original and the version I wear the most.

Puredistance I, Puredistance

I was very generously gifted a partial bottle of this luxury fragrance in its fantastic “test tube” shaped flacon. It would be a stretch for me to ever replace it.

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77 Responses to Monday Question – Which Are The Most Precious Perfumes In Your Collection?

  1. So many Tara,
    I think the most precious is a Chanel No 5 Parfum 7.5ml with New York on the back. It’s still sealed and I’m too scared to open it in case it is ruined or I’ve been hoodwinked. The dream of its perfection is good enough for now. One day I’m going to have a party, open it and we can all wear it for a night.
    There are a few vintage parfums that I will be devo when they are gone.
    Portia x

  2. Olfactoria says:

    Very good question, Tara!
    My most precious ones are those that are irreplacable: Guerlain Metallica and Guet-Apens for example, or the vintage parfums of Shalimar and Vol de Nuit. Armani Privé La Femme Bleue also falls in this category, I guess.
    Most precious in terms of cost is my new Nabucco Amytis (upcoming bottle of the month :) ), I doubt I will ever replace it, once I run out.
    The one that got away, and therefore very precious, is Guerlain Plus Que Jamais, should I ever find a bottle, I’m not sure I could even use it, for fear of losing it again, stupid, isn’t it? :)

    • Tara says:

      Oh B, the way you feel about “the one that got away” makes total sense to me. I hope that one day you find it again. I see Guerlains are particularly precious to you, with good reason.

      I’m intrigued about Nabucco Amytis!

  3. Sandra says:

    I like the question and find it difficult to answer. I would not necessarily say that I have precious perfumes. I have yet to hunt down discontinued perfumes and I am not sure that I want to start that for fear of coming up frustrated all the time. The perfumes I have are precious to me for the memories they evoke. For instance, it is not a perfume that is precious per say but I treasure the bottle of perfume that Tiffany’s gifted me when I walked in with my new born son. I also treasure the perfumes that were given to me for my various milestone birthdays.

    • Tara says:

      Those are lovely personal reasons for certain bottles of perfume being precious to you, Sandra. I resisted vintage/discontinued perfumes till this year but with Guerlain it’s very hard. I was looking for my sample of Iris Genache last night because they’ve discontiued that one. I’m sure people will be trying to track bottles of that in the future.

  4. poodle says:

    I don’t have many rare gems yet but I do have a few that are special to me. My Shalimar which was my godmother’s is special, not because it’s rare but because the bottle is enormous and vintage. I think it’s 750 ml. It must be 8 inches tall. I had wanted it since I was a kid and when she gave it to me I was thrilled. I also love the scent. The other perfume I think of as special is my bottle of Tea for Two which was one of my first really different perfumes which has since been discontinued.

    • Tara says:

      A 750ml bottle of vintage Shalimar?! Wow, how amazing that must be. Normally we moan about huge bottle sizes but not this one! How wonderful. A gift from your Godmother makes it that more special too.

      I’m glad you got a bottle of Tea for Two before it got discontinued. That is indeed a very unique perfume.

  5. Excellent question T!

    My mini bottle of Shocking Extrait is pretty special, because it’s so rare and the juice is in pretty decent condition. Basically anything I have in extrait; Shalimar, Vol de Nuit (we are vintage VDN twins!), Fracas, Puredistance I and Rubj, are all very precious.

    I’d also say that my bottles of Honour Woman (because of the price and I adore it so much) and Iris Ganache (once it’s gone, it’s gone) are also pretty special.

    The most special however has to be my 1L bottle of Alien…..

  6. Ines says:

    Vintage Jicky parfum (thanks to Birgit), Vent Vert – not the vintage-vintage one, but the one previous to the modern one, all the Shalimars that are no longer in production and I will add Puredistance I and Antonia because I doubt I will be buying those once they are gone.

    • Tara says:

      All the Shalimars that are no longer in production is a good call, Ines! I didn’t click with current Vent Vert but the older formulations must be a world apart.

      That’s great you own PD1 and Antonia. At least a little goes a long way. Puredistance makes such top quality but wearable perfumes. The best kind of luxury.

  7. masha7 says:

    Definitely my 20ml of vintage Mitsouko extrait in excellent shape. I bought it for 20 euro, can you believe it?? Some people just don’t appreciate poor Mitsy. I have a lot of discontinued gems, even some Venezia, but Mitsy is my crown jewel! It’s also my favorite perfume of all time. I wear just a drop every New Year’s….

  8. andreawilko says:

    I should have answered this question earlier as my answer is almost identical to Birgit’s. For the sake of repeating it though my most precious bottles are Guet Apens, Metallica and La Femme Bleue, Iris Ganache can also be added to that list now it has been discontinued.

    Other precious bottles for the cost factor are Puredistance 1 and Rubj although I could buy these again if I REALLY needed and dependant on funds.

    The ex (so he informs me) has just bought me a bottle of No 5 Parfum, maybe if I keep this sealed and in the dark it will be worth a lot of money one day (goodness knows what restrictions are on their way for this classic) when I pass it onto my daughter. :-)

    • Tara says:

      Well you and B both have such great taste! I wonder if La Femme Bleue is unavailable now, as it was a limited edition.

      I’m so glad you have a bottle of No.5 on the way. Chanel do a great job at maintaining their perfumes in the face of EU regulations but better safe than sorry. I’m sure your bottle will only grow in value over time.

  9. Safran says:

    First of all, your question makes me think about the few treasures, I already gave away, because I didn’t wear them and I needed some money back then, sniff….
    That was Hermes’ Doblis and 2 of my Gobin Daude scents. But I kept two others, Biche dans l’Absinthe and Nuit au Desert, which I love dearly. Also the two discontinued Scent Systems extraits, Oeillet and Rose. One drop of those lasts a whole day, so I will be able to wear them for years.
    And to my surprise I found a full bottle of Antaeus EdT in my cupboard, which I remember buying at Heathrow Airport in 1998. I thought I had given it away! I am very happy about that, because it was always my favourite men’s scent and even if my actual bottle smells a bit weak and dilluted now, it reminds me more of the Original than what you actually get now.

    Cheers
    Safran

    • Tara says:

      Safran, I’m glad you didn’t sell off all your treasures, but when times are tough perfume goes right down the list of priorities.

      The great thing about extraits is that a little goes a long way.

      What a happy surprise about the Antaeus!

  10. kjanicki says:

    I think my original entry was lost so here it is again:
    #1 My bottle of vintage Jean Patou Vacances, because it has a pretty green glass stopper and it’s so rare I will never see another.
    #2 My decant of L’Artisan Parfumeur Fleur de Narcisse, because it was a liited edition you can’t find anywhere now, and I love the leather, mineral, hay barn smell.
    #3 My bottle of Roja Dove Diaghilev, because it’s what I imagine great older chypres used to smell like and it was also a limited edition which I think is too expensive now for me to replace.
    #4 My bottle of The Party in Manhattan, because it’s such a rich, slutty chypre and my husband bought it for me in Italy.
    #5 My bottle of Chanel No. 5 extrait, because who knows if the next bottle I buy will be the same?

    • Tara says:

      Wow, what a list. Thanks for re-posting.

      I’ve tried all of those except Vacances which sounds as wonderful as it is rare. Fleur de Narcisse is so rich and I think you’re right about Diaghilev. They did stock The Party at Roja Dove’s perfumerie in Harrods but not sure it’s still there. I’m starting to wonder myself if I should buy a bottle of No.5 parfum, even though it’s not my thing.

  11. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I’m going to answer this question rather in terms of precious feelings than presious costs (and can’t get sweet little Golum off my mind…) : 1. another vote for La Femme Bleue (Armani Privee), then 2. Caron’s Farnesiana Extrait and 3. Mona di Orio’s Oud in that lovely bottle and lacquered box

  12. Alexandra says:

    Oh good question – and I am enjoying reading the replies! I love my big bottle of Amouage Epic (because it is all mine and I can wear it with abandon), but for pure beauty I just adore my bell jars (I only have two: MKK and Ambre Sultan, I do wish my beloved Chergui wasn’t in an export bottle…), they are so elegant and so pleasing and look so nice together, oh but imagine owning an engraved one – oh my life.

    • Tara says:

      Good answer Alexandra! Epic is just wonderful. It is my favourite Amouage.

      Those SL bell jars are something special. It’s great that you have 2, no need to say “only”. If you’re on the mailing list they offer free engraving every now again so you’ll have to get that done on your third!

  13. Suzanne says:

    I’m joining a few others in saying my 1960s vintage bottle of Chanel No. 5 parfum. It was definitely pricey, but the reason it seems precious is because it smells so sexy and gorgeous, it completely changed my perception of Chanel No. 5.

    Also: MDCI Chypre Palatin, because I bought it in Paris; Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan, because I bought it in Montreal; Amouage Opus I, because I loved it for what seems like forever and waited a long time to buy a full bottle; Chanel No. 22 because it makes me feel like my idealized self when I wear it.

    Enjoyed reading your answers to your question, Tara. That vintage Vol de Nuit parfum bottle is one of the most flat-out gorgeous and unique bottles I’ve ever seen!

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Suzanne! Everything is perfect about vintage Vol de Nuit from the juice to the bottle to the zebra patterned box.

      I love that your picks also have special memories attached. I really need to take some time to get know No.5 as so many people I admire – like yourself and B – have found it a revalation. I’m glad you now have that much longed for bottle of Opus 1.

      Your reason for No.22 being precious is the best ever!

  14. My most precious perfumes that were the most difficult to come by are partial bottles of Fendi Theorema and Egoiste Cologne Concentree (which they don’t make anymore). They’re so delicious!

  15. susan says:

    The thing in my collection that would be hardest to replace is surely Andy Tauer/Tableau de Parfums Dark Passage, as he only created just enough of those to fulfill his Kickstarter campaign pledges.

    I’m not sure that’s the one that I would struggle the hardest to try to replace, though. I’m lucky to not have many beloved and discontinued or superexpensive perfumes in my collection. I’ll have to save up when I run out of Tableau de Parfums Miriam (I have the purse spray), but I can swing that. Oh, and this may sound silly, but I dread the day I run out of my beloved Bath and Body Works PS I Love You shower gel.

    • Tara says:

      Andy did an orris fragrance once that I would love to own, so it’s great you got hold of these two Tableau de Parfums perfumes while available.

      It doesn’t really matter if it’s a Tauer or Bath and Body Works if it’s beloved to you.

      • susan says:

        oh yes, I would love to try his Orris, or the even-rarer “Hyacinth et Mechanic” that he sent out to some of his blog readers at one point. But they’re gone, gone, gone!

        • Tara says:

          Thanks for the info, I didn’t know about “Hyacinth et Mechanic”. Sounds amazing!

          • susan says:

            Yes, there are a few reviews of Hyacinth et Mechanic out there if you google. It was a traveling bottle that passed from perfume to perfume fan. Sounds like gorgeous stuff. Wonder where the bottle ended up?

          • Tara says:

            What a nice idea. Andy is such a great guy. It would be good to know who ended up with the bottle.

  16. Andrea says:

    I have to thank my grandma for the ”most precious” perfume I have in my collection. My favorite is the vintage Nina Ricci L’air du temps with the original box (i think it is covered in silk) and with the two beautiful doves on top of it. I think I find precious all the vintage samples she gave to me… I don’t really know their actual monetary value, but they sure have a lot of emotional value.

    • Tara says:

      Andreea, your comment just goes to show preciousness is not dependent on monetary value. The most precious perfumes can be the ones that are connected to someone important to us, like your Grandma.

      Those vintage perfumes were often packaged so beautifully.

  17. lucasai says:

    Would be Prada Amber Pour Homme Intense. It was not available in Poland at all and I struggled a lot because I just knew I need to have it. It took me 9 months to target a bottle, which came to me from the other end of the world (for a very reasonable price btw)

    • Tara says:

      Good work! I’m glad you loved it when you finally got your hands on it. I’m sure it’s all the more precious to you because of the time and effort you put into securing it. At least it was a good price in the end. Enjoy it!

  18. Undina says:

    Interesting question… I’m not into vintage perfumes, so I do not get too many of those in my collection but I have to name two – my Climat (Lancome) and Miss Dior parfum. My Climat isn’t of a vintage I’d like to have but the one I wish for is too expensive to experiment with eBay (I would have paid for the “sure thing” in a heartbeat).
    Other than that, I’ll name two lmited edition bottles – Armani La Femme Bleue (who would have thought that out of 1000 bottles created at least 4 landed in this blog’s readers collection? ;) ) and Jo Malone Sweet Milk (I’m wearing it today and will be very said once it’s gone).

    • Tara says:

      All the La Femme Bleue owners here show what an exclusive, sophisticated club OT is! I didn’t know you owned a bottle, that’s wonderful.

      I know what you mean about taking a risk on ebay for something so pricey with no guarantee of quality. I don’t enjoy gambling! I hope a bottle of vintage Climat comes your way at a price worth risking one day.

  19. jamesdennard says:

    The full bottle that immediately comes to mind is Guerlain Vetiver. I have an earlier formulation than the version made and sold now. I’m hoping that replacing it won’t be difficult or costly. But this is one of only a few fragrances that I will insist on owning a vintage bottle.

  20. fleurdelys says:

    The shining gems of my collection are some vintage bottles of the classics: Chanel No. 5 perfume and cologne, Shalimar perfume and cologne, Emeraude perfume and cologne, L’Aimant parfum de toilette, Evening in Paris perfume. Surprisingly, they weren’t that hard to come by, I just got lucky on eBay and at flea markets. I like to gloat over them, but I do wear them!

    I have a decant of the original version of Histoire de Parfums 1740 Marquis de Sade, which is a favorite cold weather/holiday fragrance. I understand it is now much changed. However, I wouldn’t struggle to replace it; rather, I would look for something with similar notes that created the same “mood” for me.

    • Tara says:

      Gloat away fleurdelys, you deserve it! I envy your vintage Shalimar perfume and cologne and I’ve long been interested by the sound of vintage Emeraude. I’m glad to hear you wear your gems.

      It’s such a shame that 1740 has changed so much, I know it has a lot of fans.

  21. Eva S says:

    I don’t own any vintage perfume but I guess my limited edition bottles are among my most precious (Guerlain Ensence Mythique D’Orient, Rose Nacree and Shalimar Ode A la Vanille and AT Dark Passage). Also Puredistance I and Amouage Epic feels like shining gems of my collection.
    I’m afraid my Bandit will soon become even more precious to me since Piguet is apparantly planning to rework Bandit entirely, due to coming restrictions :-(

    • Tara says:

      Eva, your LE bottles are wonderful. They are gems in anyone’s book. PD1 and Epic are favourites of mine too and feel so luxurious.

      I hadn’t heard that about Bandit, what a shame if it’s re-worked for the worse. It’s good you already have a full bottle.

  22. I have a small amount of vintage Vol de Nuit left. There is still about half a bottle of L’Heure
    Bleue and a tiny amount of Patou’s 1000 in the beautiful little green bottle. I ordered a new bottle of Vol de Nuit and was so sad that it was so changed. Why, oh why was that necessary? When I was younger I had an original bottle of Shalimar with a glass stopper. I guess I must have felt that it could be easily replaced. Woe is me, it cannot.

    • Tara says:

      It is such a shame the classic Guerlains aren’t what they once were. I really don’t care for the present Vol de Nuit parfum much at all. I don’t know if they think they are improving them or are restricted by EU regulations but it’s a real shame. At least you have little of the vintage VdN and L’HB. Sorry about the Shalimar!

      • Tara, this feeling that the world we love is shrinking is causing grief. If the EU regulations are ruining Guerlain fragrances, I pray that France pulls out and does the things that it does best – perfume, wine, and cheese. It could be the result of the transfer of the company to hands that are not of the Guerlain family. I grieve for the family that lost this precious company. I wrote to them once and said “The world is a more beautiful place because of Guerlain”. It was, and I hope that it still can be. If it is possible for “Vol de Nuit” to be itself, then it should go back to its real self.

  23. annemariec says:

    My great gem is some Chanel No 5 extrait a friend passed on to me from his mother. Her brother bought it for in Aden his on the way home from the Second World War! She hardly used it and it is in near perfect condition. I have vintage Chanel No 19 from my own youth in the early 80s.

    I have some precious things from wonderfully generous perfume penpals, including vintage Miss Dior and Puredistance Antonia. And once my Deneuve extrait is gone, it’s gone!

    • Tara says:

      Hi annemarie,
      What an amazing history your No.5 has. You must think of that every time you wear it. I really to teach myself to appreciate No.19 and No.5 before they change further.

      Enjoy your Deneuve extrait while you have it. Nothing lasts forever.

      Perfume friends are the BEST!

  24. Dubaiscents says:

    This is a difficult one….I am going to go with my Mona Di Orio, Oiro and Nuit de Noire since they are discontinued and even if they bring them back I doubt they will be the same. I also just acquired some Caron Parfum Sacre Extrait and vintage Miss Dior Parfum that I am pretty happy with. All my Amouages should also make the list because they hold a special place in my heart being that they are from Oman and so are my kids :-)

    • Tara says:

      I think your experience with Mona’s original line shows that if you really love something you shouldn’t delay too long in purchasing because you never know when it’ going to disappear. Who knows if they will be the same when they bring them back, which I understand is the plan.

      I love the peppery rose of Parfum Sacre and I bet the extrait is sublime.

      We all love your kids too! :)

  25. Jackie says:

    It’s fascinating to see how many Guerlains are on everyone’s lists. I have a decant of Iris Ganache which I gloat over, but I want to wear it too, should I just be greedy and use it?
    I have Epic too which I use a lot but keep checking the level!

    • Tara says:

      Jackie, I think Guerlain in general means a lot to most ‘fume fans but the vintage formulations are just so special.

      Lucky you to have a decant of Iris Genache. I’ve been wondering all day if I should have got one myself before it got discontinued. Personally I would wear it and enjoy it. Life is short and perfume doesn’t last forever.

      Another vote for Epic and another level checker!

  26. Mel says:

    My Chanel Les Exclusives !

    • Tara says:

      Oh yes! I have 3 in the edt (31RC, Cuir de Russie and Bois des Iles) and one parfum and I love them all. I’d happily own most of the line if money would allow. Wish they did a travel set…

  27. Mel says:

    I have no22, 31RC, Jersey and Bois des Iles. I would love to have Coromandel!

  28. ninakane1 says:

    Ooh, that’ll have to be a vintage Je Reviens by Worth and a bottle of the now discontinued Hypnotic Poison Elixir. Love both of these and use them very selectively.

  29. anitathepianist says:

    I am starting to wonder if an avalanche of mail to Guerlain in favor of bringing back the original versions of our beloved scents would cause the owners of that company to reconsider the changes that they have made in the formulas. They may not know the anguish that many of us feel when things that were so dear to us disappear. Customers can be effective when masses of us express our thoughts. Why don’t we try it?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Because Guerlain is not necessarily to blame for the reformulations, but IFRA is. Guerlain is known to rather discontinue than reformulate, which I find to be a more honest solution. They don’t/won’t/can’t do that for the big sellers like Shalimar though.

  30. Do you think that IFRA might be influenced by consumer pressure? There is always the option of a boycott. I’m going to do some research about them.

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