Monday Question – Did You Ever Buy A Perfume For The Bottle Alone?

Did you ever fall head over heels for a bottle, and only the bottle?

Is it sometimes more about what’s outside than what’s inside?

Did you ever buy a perfume as a decorative object rather than an olfactory one?


My Answer:

I did actually. More than once. Sometimes the bottle is a piece of art in itself. It is always important for me as part of the whole, the Gesamtkunstwerk, but sometimes I want a bottle no matter what is inside. If it’s good, that’s a bonus, but if not, nobody forces me to ever use it. Sometimes it is enough to display the bottle and derive joy from it as an objet d’art.

The prime example for this is my bottle of Kenzo L’Eau de Kenzo Amour. Sigh. Perfection.
The perfume inside smells actually very nice and I use it from time to time, but that was the cherry on the top in this case for me. I just enjoy this bottle and would be just as happy only looking at it.

kenzo amour l'eau

The most recent such acquisition was Acqua di Parma Acqua Nobile Iris. Inside this elegant vessel is a lovely, summery version of Iris Nobile, but aside from that, look at the bottle, it is heavy, elegant, timeless.

acqua nobile iris

Hermès 24 Faubourg Edition Quadrige holds a gorgeous perfume, but truth be told, I was never convinced to buy it in its regular bottle, while the LE version featuring one if my very favorite Hermès designs, was a no brainer. I ran out to buy it the minute it became available, for the bottle alone. How lucky I like the perfume too…


Do you have any tales of a case of le flacon pour le flacon?


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101 Responses to Monday Question – Did You Ever Buy A Perfume For The Bottle Alone?

  1. Jordan River says:

    Yes. No. Yes. No. Yes, I bought Noora from Swiss Arabian.

  2. saffyishere says:

    Yes !!!! On the top of my head, as I type,are my shelves of perfume bottles….my empties and a couple near full which are contained in exquisite bottles. first ,is the Princess Marina Bourbon bottle…2nd is the YSL Saharienne bottle and third…. Nubiade by Omar Shariff

  3. laniersmith says:

    Chanel No.5 because of the history and the classic design. Besides I can’t afford the Andy Warhol painting. As it is… I love the fragrance too and wear it to bed sometimes. Just No.5…nothing else (wink)!

  4. Laurels says:

    No, but I’ve paid more per ml for a perfume I like to get it in a prettier bottle.

  5. Nana says:

    L’or de Torrente… check it out on google images. I couldn’t insert the picture on the comments.

  6. haefennasiel says:

    An interesting post, Ms. B! I started collecting empty perfume bottles when I was a kid because I was fascinated by how it looked, and how the sunlight reflected on the glass. And at that time, I had no idea (and couldn’t care less back then!) whether the perfume or cologne smelled nice or not, whether it was a revered classic or the latest from Avon.

  7. lucasai says:

    I wanna try that Acqua di Parma Acqua Nobile Iris! I once had Iris Nobile EDP in my collection.

    Speaking of the bottle – no, never… well… almost never. I bought Annick Goutal both for the bottle AND for the perfume.

  8. Safran says:

    I was going to say, never! Only the juice counts – but I actually just did a blind sharing of Iris Nazarena recently, where I gave away 80ml, before I’ve tried the scent. The bottle and the box looked so pretty, that I thought, oh well, even if I wouldn’t like the scent, I could keep the bottle and give away the rest.
    Also, I do love the shape and sculptural design of the Kenzo Amour bottles and I remember, when the first ones in 3 different colours came out, I was very tempted to buy the whole set and just put them on a shelf as a piece of art.


    • Olfactoria says:

      I’ve entertained that same thought about the three original Kenzo Amour bottles. 🙂

      How do you like Iris Nazarena? I love the bottle as well, but both Aedes perfumes are not really for me. I’m still holding out in the hopes they make a perfect juice to go with that great bottle sometime in the future.

      • Safran says:

        I like Iris Nazarena a lot, but rather on a man! I was surprised, when I first smelled it, but also fascinated. There’s something very androgynous about it, imo. And it reminds me a bit of some early 80s men’s scents, with a slightly melancholic touch.
        It’s interesting, none of the other women, I’ve shared the scent with, perceived it as a rather manly scent!

        PS: The other one wasn’t for me either, I just don’t like to smell like rhubarb. But I love their 2008 Aedes/l’Artisan scent!

  9. Thankfully I have not bought a perfume strictly for the bottle, but poor bottle design has kept me away from some perfumes (Montale for instance) and I have to admit the by Kilian bottles and cases are pretty alluring.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It’s the same with me and Montale. I hardly tried any of them because of the bottles, and I’ve still not bought Tiaré Intense, although I like it a lot and if it had a lovely bottle I’d be all over it.

  10. Darilyn says:

    So far, I have not made a purchase based on the bottle alone, but after seeing the bottles in M.Micallef’s Rouge collection, I just might…

  11. Lynne says:

    Oh yes. I mentioned this on a perfume blog yesterday. It’s a new one. Florabotanica by Balencigia. It’s one hot mess on me, but I love the bottle!!

  12. Lynley says:

    Years ago, my purchase of Alchimie by Rochas was probably as much for the bottle as for the juice. Same goes for Amour ( I have the pink one). I also bought the parfum versions of Caron’s Nuit de Noel AND Narcisse Noir for their beautiful little Deco bottles. I suspect that when funds allow I’ll be doing the same with Guerlain Vol de Nuit for the little propeller bottle.. 🙂

  13. FeralJasmine says:

    Roberto Cavelli’s Serpentine. Why they didn’t put more thought into the juice is beyond me, but the flask with its embossed snakes is very lovely to me. I put it where the light will shine through the bottle and light up the serpents, without a thought for the preservation of the perfume inside.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I must google that one. Cavalli scents are generally so bad (sorry if that offends anyone!)… at least you needn’t worry about light exposure. 😉

  14. rosarita313 says:

    My collection has been obtained mainly through years of swapping and acquiring flocks of decants so I am more about the juice, but I did buy Fendi Palazzo for the bottle. Unfortunately, it smelled awful and I eventually swapped it away. Sometimes I wish I had kept it.

    I have a fondness for kitschy bottles, like the ones from Rochas and Parfums Gres. They had lots of personality.

  15. I have bought a fragrance because of the beauty of the bottle at least twice. Chamade parfum came in a lovely glass bottle with a stopper. In Love Again by YSL had a delightful bottle that caught my eye and dictated a purchase.

  16. This is one thing I have not done yet in my time being interested in fragrances. I have owned lots of very nice bottles; but the fragrance inside has been the main reason.

  17. lorraine says:

    I think the Nasomatto bottles are pretty spectacular. They wouldn’t be the ONLY reason I’d buy one but it would definitely bump it to the top of my ‘to buy’ list.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I agree, I own Nuda and I love it, but bought it because of the scent. China White’s bottle is even better, but that would really be a purchase for the bottle alone…

  18. Trish Devine says:

    Never bought a fragrance just for the bottle (I’m a downshifter, so on a tightly restricted income, and funds don’t permit that kind of thing), but I do have a collection of blue, pink and green glass vintage perfume bottles from the 1920s and 1930s, all bought empty to use as posy vases. I have no idea what the original perfumes were. I do also like looking at my miniatures when I open the perfume cupboard – they’re so cute, all only about an inch high, so I think I will keep all those when they’re empty. But my main beef, having arthritis in my hands, is the lack of ergonomics in most bottles. My favourite bottle to actually use is the export Serge Lutens – flat, thin from front to back, easy to hold in the hand. I think designers often forget that bottles need to be used – the Ramon Monegal bottles, for instance, are very fetching, and weigh a ton, but the flip-back cap is so heavy, it makes the spray hard to actually press. 😦

  19. Farouche says:

    My favorite bottle luckily also holds one of my favorite fragrances: Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles. The bottle design is just gorgeous, and I’d love to own a giant one. I wonder what the biggest size is?

  20. Alexandra says:

    I don’t believe I have ever bought a bottle of perfume purely for the bottle, but bottles certainly provide a huge temptation: I could have bought a plain bottle of Amber Sultan, but the bell jar was just too beautiful. I certainly still daydream about the blue glass Attrape Coeur bottle…

  21. behemot says:

    Please, don’t laugh at me. I bought Katy Perry “Purr” just fr the purple, cat bottle. It was $19 at Nordstom Rack 🙂

  22. Tara says:

    It hasn’t happended yet but I definitely would rule it out. It would be nice to be able to display the bottles outside of its box for once if I wasn’t fussed about the contents. Like others, a pretty bottle can encourage a purchase.

    I love that you have that mirrored tray for displaying yours, B. I need to think about something like that for those in heavy rotation because now I think about it, it does seem a shame to only have them out of the box for a couple of minutes at a time.

  23. Lila says:

    No, I haven’t (yet) but I was thinking about this topic just yesterday. I have never been able to wear Chanel No. 5 although I love it on other people (on me I smell wasp spray). I assumed Eau Premiere wouldn’t work on me either but I tried it yesterday and really, really liked it! As I was happily trying to justify a purchase of it on my way home I was surprised at my disappointment that it doesn’t come in the square bottle. I never thought that packaging made a difference to me since I would buy a Lutens if it came in a milk carton! I do want to buy one of those pump atomizers, the kind with a ballon pump and tassel. Those are the quintessential perfume bottles, IMHO.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I love Eau Premiere, glad it works for you! Too bad about the bottle though, the square one is prettier.
      The ballon pump looks great, but I wouldn’t use it with perfume that is rare or expensive, since evaporation is high with them.

  24. Lady Jane Grey says:

    No, not really, I would have bought Mona di Orio’s Oud without its gorgeous Gesamtkunstwerk as well : the bottle with the Caligraphy in the lacquered box – fitting to the gorgeous juice…
    I love the Armani Prive bottles, but haven’t found a scent I’d love yet – so there is no such lovely bottle on my shelf yet. And finally : the pretty black Kilian bottles – so pretty, but the content…

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m still hoping for the perfect Kilian scent too to add a bottle to my collection. This is definitely too expecnsive to buy it for the bottle alone… 🙂

  25. Tatiana says:

    Yes, no, yes? I bought a special edition Hermes L’eau de Merveilles in a blue bottle with a pegasus on it. Win, win. I love the bottle from VC&A “Midnight in Paris”, the scent just does nothing for me and I can’t justify spending $$ just for that beautiful, blue bottle. On the other hand, I do love the design, heft, and magnetic cap on the Kilian travel sprays so I was happy to get a gold one for my Incense Oud. For the longest time I was trying to figure out which scent from the original line I could live with so I could justify purchasing a travel bottle in all black. Now you can by the travel bottles separately. Since I’m very fond of simple design I love my Chanel Exclusifs, Dior Collection Privees and Frederic Malles.

  26. Vanessa says:

    The answer is strictly no, however I came close to buying Le Premier Figuier Extreme on bottle only grounds (or bottle mainly, if that is allowed), and if money had been no object I would have wanted La Femme Bleue for the bottle alone! Regarding the Ajne range, if I hadn’t liked one of the pefumes as much as I did, I’d have been sorely tempted to try to like one, ‘arranged- juice-marriage’ style!

  27. Eva S says:

    When I bought Shalimar Ode a la Vanille (untested!) I must admit that the packaging-the lovely presentation box was a big draw. I’m a bit tempted by the bottle and the box for the new Amouage Fate as well- and imagine having the bottles for Amouage Epic, Memoir, Interlude and Fate lined up next to each other, now that would be nice 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’ve heard good things about Regina Harris, but I’ve never tried her scents. Let us know how you decide!

      • patricia says:

        Ok will do-sounds like it may be a win- win and worth the purchase-i will get some little sampler bottles and share to whoever wants a try.

  28. Joe says:

    Never just for the bottle but it has influenced me, some examples
    The cobalt blue bottle of Guet Apens, the silver bee bottle of Metallica and a litre bee bottle of Eau De Coq.

  29. Dina Ross says:

    Yes – once I bought a bottle of L’Air du Temps (Nina Ricci) because of the pretty little Lalique-style dove on the screw-top, I found the perfume insipid, but adored the bottle….Thierry Mugler’s Angel also has a gorgeous bottle…that heavenly cobalt blue……

  30. If finances allowed, I can think of several that I would happily own just for the packaging (Coco Noir, L’Heure de Nuit, Nuit Étoilée), but iI have never bought a bottle for the bottle alone . . . yet 🙂

  31. Melinda says:

    Ofcourse! Quite a few times I’ve bought perfume because of the bottle. I love the Dior Pure Poison bottle (that pearly white apple shaped bottle) and ofcourse Guerlain Insolence is a rather nice bottle too.

  32. Lila says:

    I was impressed with the box that my Clive Christian came in. The bottle is ok, but the satin lined box it rests in is worth keeping. I actually keep the bottle in the box. I feel like I’m opening up one of the crowned jewels. As much as I paid for it I should be! :).

  33. Dionne says:

    I’ve never bought just for the bottle, but I’ll admit that a beautiful bottle adds to my delight. I’ve got ELPC Tuberose Gardenia in the parfum, and I know I wouldn’t have spent that much if it wasn’t in that gorgeous, GOR-JUS container.

  34. beautycalyptique says:

    I bought several perfumes for the sake of the bottle (but have read the scent description in advance): Patou’s discontinued Forever and Balenciaga’s discontinued Cristobal.

    Oh great, that made me sad now :/

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, I’m sorry! 😦
      It’s always so sad when a favorite perfume is discontinued.

      • beautycalyptique says:

        thank you.

        and the irony of one of those being called “forever” is completely lost on me!
        (not even in the patou HOUSE in paris have they remembered it in 2006!)

        • Olfactoria says:

          That is really embarrassing for the house! Forever indeed!

          • beautycalyptique says:

            they’ve put the names of all scents over the pink walls. just not ‘forever’ :/ it’s in a splendid 20ies style bottle and smells of berries, and ananas, and is just Roaring Twenties, bottled. *sigh*

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