Monday Question – Do You Buy Back-Up Bottles?

By Tara

Have you bought a second (third or fourth) bottle of any of the perfumes you own already?

Which perfumes have you bought back-up bottles of?

What are your reasons for doing so? Is it because of reformulation or discontinuation?

Are there perfumes you wish you had bought a back-up bottle of when you had the chance?

Or do you have so many bottles in your collection that it doesn’t make sense for you to double up?


My Answer:

I do occasionally buy back-up bottles, usually when it comes to perfumes that have been reformulated or discontinued.

I have two back-up bottles of pre-reformulation Diorella, because it gets paler and duller with each new incarnation.

Recently I purchased a second bottle of Vol de Nuit extrait (albeit a modern version whereas my first bottle is vintage). I did this because it was going for a good price on an auction site and it’s quite possibly my favourite perfume of all-time.

My favourite leather, Cuir de Lancome, is a discontinued beauty so I’ve been meaning to buy a back-up bottle of that for ages. I should have done it sooner because it’s now doubled in price.

Please share your own back-up bottle stories in the comments.


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84 Responses to Monday Question – Do You Buy Back-Up Bottles?

  1. cookie queen says:

    No. Never. Which answers that Monday Question. :). xxx

  2. Sandra says:

    I have never bought a back up bottle. If I drain a bottle and still love the perfume, I do buy a replacement bottle. I may change my ways if I hear of a favorite being reformulated or discontinued.

    • Tara says:

      Sandra, all is well and good until discontinuation or reformulation is threatened.

      I hope that doesn’t happen to one of your favourites. Back ups are costly!

  3. annemariec says:

    Good question – I don’t see this discussed much. I have occasionally bought back-ups, including a bottle of a now d/c gem by Sonoma Scent Studio called Femme Jolie (ripe fruit, spice and cedar, a bit like Feminite du Bois). Like you I have considered a back up of Cuir de Lancome but have so far not gone there, despite the price rise. I’m certain my 50mls will be enough.

    Still, it’s worth buying a backup even of a mainstream fragrance if you really love it. Who would have thought that Miss Dior Cherie and J’Adore would be reformulated so soon? I try and follow the Tania Sanchez rule: when you love something, buy it. Otherwise you’ll find yourself bidding against other fools who didn’t get it when they could.

    • Tara says:

      annemarie, I actually won an auction for Cuir de Lancome last night and got it for£35. I was pleased with that as it’s usually Buy It Now for £60. I have only half a bottle left and it’s my favourite leather by a mile so I think it was worth it. You do have to weigh up whether what you’ve got will last you.

      I agree that if you love something, go for it. Another rule could be: Don’t expect any Dior perfume to stay the same for long.

      • annemariec says:

        Yeah, I’ve pretty much written off Dior, at least in the mainstream. Did you notice Victoria last week on BdJ had some nice things to say about recent improvements to two Guerlains? Mitsouko and one other, can’t remember which.

        Congratulations on the Lancome! The price seems to rise every month on that one. Well done.

        • Tara says:

          Thanks for the tip, I’ve just looked it up. The other perfume Victoria feels has improved with recent reformulation is Chamade. I’m going to have to check that out. It’s so rare for perfumes to be changed for the better.

    • Dionne says:

      Anne-Marie, I’ll join you in my admiration for SSS’s Femme Jolie. I think I snagged one of the last bottles Laurie had in stock, and it’s become my go-to for the Christmas season.

  4. Not yet – but I haven’t been a perfume lover for that long. Although I may be tempted when I move back to NZ as it will be much more difficult to buy niche perfumes there.

    • Tara says:

      It’s true that the longer you are a perfume lover the greater the chance that one of your loves will be reforumlated or discontinued.

      Hopefully you will still have access to niche via the internet when you go back to NZ or it could be expensive to stock up before you go. Also your tastes may change over time so it’s a tricky one.

  5. Zazie says:

    I’ve bought quite a few back up bottles – in some cases I’m happy I did, in others I’m not sure….
    I’ve bought a backup of Shalimar extrait (because these classics get tampered with, so who knows what will happen to them in the future?), no regrets here.
    I’ve bought a back-up of shalimar ode à la vanille du Madagascar (yes, I’ve shorten the name!), and sort of regret it…one bottle was enough, and I prefer the extrait, after all…I suppose I was caught in the limited edition trap!
    And then there are those 3 back ups of Attrape coeur (discontinued) – no regrets there: I love, love the perfume, winter would not be the same without this rich and decandet potion of candied violets and VOV, and I told myself that if 4 bottles total ends up being too much, well, I can always sell one!
    Do different concentrations count as back ups? In that case I have few other Shalimars and Bois des iles in my drawers…
    Ouch! It looks that I’m the only really guilty one with multiple back ups, at the moment….

    • Tara says:

      Zazie, I’m sure you won’t be the only one hoarding back ups for long! You’ll never regret those bottles of Attrape Coeur and as you say, you can always sell one on if need be.

      You make a really good point about limited editions. That is another really difficult one. Do you buy up and take that risk that you might go off it or it will be added to the permanent collection anyway? Or you do you just buy one and fear using it up? Another reason why I don’t like LEs.

      Let’s not count different concentrations because then I’d have to add a couple more too!

  6. isabeau1977 says:

    I have bought a bottle of Iris Ganache, because it was discontinued. I also wish I had done that with Miss Dior Cherie.

    • Tara says:

      Iris Ganache was a good back-up buy. There’s nothing like it.

      It’s so annoying when you wish you’d bought something that is no longer available. Perfume love has its stresses…

  7. Alexandra says:

    I have never bought back up bottles before, but in the new year I am off to buy a back-up bottle of LAP Safran Troublant following rumours of discontinuation – how could they do this?!?!

    • Tara says:

      Hi Alex, I have heard the rumour about ST but it’s not under the “Last Chance to Buy” section of their website at the moment (unlike Traversee du Bosphore, Coeur de Vetiver Sacre, Bois Farine and a few others). Another bottle wouldn’t hurt if you love it so much though and have the cash in the New Year.

  8. lucasai says:

    I bought a backup bottle of my beloved Prada Amber Pour Homme and when my mom decided she wants Vanille Insensee from Atelier Cologne I used their free shipping opportunity and ordered it from France and grabbed a petit flacon of Rose Anonyme – now I have both huge and small bottle.

    • Tara says:

      Sounds like you have it covered. Hopefully no regrets for you then.

      My Mum always says “Better to have it and not want it than to want it and not have it.” That’s been my excuse many a time when shopping 🙂

  9. Vanessa says:

    Hi Tara,

    What a great saying of your mother’s! Sounds like the sort of thing mine would have endorsed. 😉 I have two back up bottles currently – of discontinued or soon-to-be so scents – namely PG Bois Naufrage and Cuir de Lancome(!). I picked the latter up the other week for about £45 delivered vs the £30 I paid in T K Maxx for my first bottle. I looked online just now and couldn’t see it again, so if you are struggling, do come to me for a top up!

    • Tara says:

      Hi V,

      My Mum knows all the old sayings and uses them often. Usually they have a lot of truth to them and find myself thinking of them on a regular basis. Nice to know your Mum thought the same way.

      Thanks for the CdL offer but I managed to get a bottle just last night for £39 delivered, on evilbay. My first bottle was about £25 or even a bit less.

  10. Lady Jane Grey says:

    No, never – I won’t even have the chance to use up my existing bottles…

  11. Trish says:

    I’ve done this several times, due to fear of not being able to get a favourite again, and worries about reformulation/discontinuation. I have backup bottles of Séville à l’Aube (because it was meant to be limited edition); Tweed (vintage); Je Reviens (vintage); Tea for Two (because they discontinued it); and Arpège (vintage).

    • Tara says:

      I think sometimes they say something is a limited edition just to test the water. It’s so annoying. I don’t think you can go wrong with your vintage bottles though (as long they keep well, of course).

      Tea For Two is back on the L’Artisan website. I’ve bought a bottle and I cannot stop wearing it. Oh dear, should I buy a back-up bottle? 🙂

  12. FeralJasmine says:

    I have a small back-up bottle of DK Black Cashmere vintage, and one of Organza Indecence vintage. But really, I don’t know if I will live long enough to use all the perfumes I have, so I am thinking more in terms of buying decants rather than full bottles than about buying back-up bottles.

    • Tara says:

      That is absolutely one of the difficulties when deciding whether to go for a back-up bottle or not. Will you actually go through the first bottle, let alone a second?

      Black Cashmere and Organza Indecence are great bottles to have back-ups of.

      It is sobering when you think of how many years’ worth of perfume you already own.

  13. ringthing says:

    I bought a back up of Donna Karan Black Cashmere because of reformulation and I’m glad I did. Other than that, there’s a lot of perfume in the world, and I have plenty without duplicates.

    • Tara says:

      Another for Black Cashmere! That is a very popular Perfumista perfume. Good to hear you don’t regret getting a back-up.

      There is so much perfume out there but it can be so frustrating when you regret not buying a back-up of something that you can’t get anymore. You have to be discerning about it though, I think.

      • ringthing says:

        Discerning also has a lot to do with storage space in my situation, my house is tiny and perfumes /jewelry /scarves all live in the same antique cabinet. In general, nothing comes into our house without something going out, but my hobbies – and my husband’s tools – are the exception. It should be noted that tools take up more space than perfume 😉

        • Tara says:

          I can see that it must concentrate the mind if space is at a premium. You can’t really make rash purchases if you have to get rid of something to make room. I’d love to look through your antique cabinet. I’d love something like that.

          I’m glad your hobbies are an exception and it’s noted that tools take up more space!

  14. Darilyn says:

    I, like Zazie, LOVE Attrape Coeur, and was lucky enough to obtain a second bottle from the Guerlain boutique in Las Vegas! It has to be my all-time favorite scent! I have never purchased
    any other back-ups, because I am always on the search for my next “true love”!

    • Tara says:

      Darilyn, I bet many of us are jealous of you having one bottle of Attrape Coeur, let alone two. How great. Very necessary when it’s your all-time favourite perfume.

      We’re always on the look-out for our next rrue love aren’t we?

  15. Lilly says:

    Yes, in a full-blown panic I bought a backup botte of Après l’Ondée when I heard rumors that it may be discontinued. If this gorgeous scent disappeared I would be utterly heartbroken…

    • Tara says:

      Lilly, it’s awful when those rumours switch us into panic mode. What do I know, but I’d be shocked if Guerlain ever discontinued Apres L’Ondee. It’s such a classic cornerstone of their collection. Better to be safe than sorry though if you’d be that heartbroken.

  16. Tatiana says:

    I have to admit, I do have backup bottles of vintage YSL Opium and Chanel 31 Rue Cambon.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for owning up to your back-up bottles, Tatiana. Lots of us have them and you’re doing pretty well with only two.

  17. shellyw says:

    I have never had the funds for back up bottles, although there are 2 that I would want to have (Balenciaga Le Dix being one). I console myself that there are many new beautiful scents being made each day, so I may be sad for a moment if one is unavailable when I run out, but
    there will be many willing to take it’s place.

    • Tara says:

      That’s such a great attitude to have, shellyw. I spend way too much time brooding about what I should have done in life and that extends to perfume. I’m scared of having regrets. But as you say, there are new perfumes coming out all the time so we shouldn’t dwell on the ones that got away.

  18. Of course, Tara.
    I buy backups of my most special favorites and of vintages I love (Lyric Woman, Kiki, vintage Diorella, Femme and L’Heure Bleue)
    Main concerns for this are possible reformulation and unavailability where I live.


    • Tara says:

      Hi Caro,

      Buying back-ups of your favourites seems to make perfect sense to you and that’s great. So many of us dither and fret over this. I love your choices too.

  19. Alice says:

    Not often, and more by chance than design, but I do have back ups of Tea for Two (because they discontinued it, and surprisingly I realised this – usually I don’t till its too late); and Feminite de Bois, I have 3 of the old-style bottles in different shapes (they were selling off the stock at discounted prices in Selfridges, I happened to walk past).
    There are a couple of others I really regret not getting extras; Yes Rocher Rose Absolue, I like this more and more each time I wear it (beats so many niche releases), but they discontinued it!
    Also Cuir and the other Lancome classics, I have one cuir, but not climat or sikkim. Mostly, though I prefer recent to older creations, so don’t worry too much about back ups.

    • Tara says:

      Alice, you’re so lucky that you generally prefer newer creations to the older or vintage versions. That will save you a lot of heartache. But how lucky that you have 3 bottles of the original Feminite du Bois! That walk through in Selfridges was great timing.

      Sometimes like with your Rose Absolue, you don’t realise just how much you love it until it’s no longer available.

      I always wondered about Tea for Two so went for it unsniffed when it popped up on the L’Artisan website recently. Love it.

  20. Asali says:

    Hi Tara, yes I do
    Vintage femme, quite a few Guerlains; VdN (double up of a couple of both edt and extrait ;-)), H’LB, Mitsy extrait, Aroma Allegoria Exaltant, Caron Parfum Sacre extrait (because it’s a great frag and at the prices I got them, it was way too good a deal to miss) And Feu d’Issey- which wasn’t on purpose, but after getting a bottle for sentimental reasons, since I used to wear it all the time when it first got out, I rediscovered a bottle in a box which had moved around with me for a decade without being opened. I don’t really need the Feu back-up, but as for the rest, I’m very happy with my back-ups and the only perfume at the moment that I’d like to add to the back-up list would be Attrape Coeur/ Guet Apens, maybe if I wish it enough it will magically come to happen 😀

    • Tara says:

      Hi Asali

      Loved reading about your back up bottles. I have a 90ml pre-reformulation VdN edt but it’s going down way too quick. You’re making me wonder now if I should take action.

      Parfum Sacre is wonderful and fancy discovering you have a spare bottle of Feu d’Issey! If you ever feel like it you could sell that and re-invest in another bottle of Attrape Coeur if one comes up (or make an offer to one of those above with several bottles!). Love that boozy, violet amber but i was too late to get a bottle. Luckily, I can live with that though.

  21. I haven’t ever bought a back up bottle, but I don’t really have the space. I would also worry that in my un-climate controlled apartment, it would go before I could get to it. I love seeing what other people have backed up though. A bottle of Feu d’Issey . . . sigh.

    • Tara says:

      I know, it is hard to imagine getting through what we have without doubling up. The fear of the juice turning is also very real.

      Isn’t it fun seeing what other people have squirreled away? So many gorgeous, rare ‘fumes.

  22. Olfactoria says:

    I have a back-up bottle of Cuir de Lancome and I wish I had one of Iris Ganache, because I don’t dare use the one I have. I hate knowing I can’t get something I love anymore, so I save it, even though I know that is stupid, because I don’t get to enjoy it at all. 😦

    • Tara says:

      Oh I know exactly what you mean. We fear not having it so we never use it!

      Maybe you could break out the Iris Ganache for Christmas Day. That would be lovely.

  23. Woodgirl says:

    I’ve got a variety of back-ups; sounds sooo much nicer than hoarding! Vol de Nuit, Cuir de Lancôme, Bal a Versailles, Femme Jolie. Usually because I’ve found it at a great price, but sometimes because it’s not going to be available much longer. They take up 2 of 3 crispers in the kitchen fridge.

    • Tara says:

      Oh yes, calling them “back-up bottles” makes it sound much more sensible!

      Love your back-up choices. High quality stuff. It is tempting to buy another bottle when you see it at a good price.

      Who needs salad when you have perfume? 🙂

  24. Cuir de Lancome is discontinued…oh no, I didn’t think that it would ever go away and should have bought a back-up bottle. I bought two bottles of this year’s Bronze Goddess, and bought several of Vol de Nuit BEFORE I knew that it had morphed into faux Vol de Nuit… The next extra bottle purchase will be Amber deMerveilles since I adore that fragrance and worry about its future.

    • Eva S says:

      The moment I hear a wisper about Ambre de Merveille being discontinued I’ll buy back-up bottles for sure!

    • Tara says:

      Cuir de Lancome is so good but I guess it might not have appealed to the average Lancome customer. I wonder how their whole upscale perfume collection worked out.

      Good idea to stock up on Bronze Goddess. You have to use a fair bit of it at a time also. Even better that you stashed away some Vol de Nuit. It’s just not the same anymore.

      If you adore Ambre des Merveilles that much I don’t think it’s a bad idea to get a back-up, especially as it’s inexpensive.

  25. Eva S says:

    I have back-up bottles of Mitsouko (could never do without!) and a back-up bottle of Donna Kara Gold because I heard it was discontinued and the local perfume store had the last bottles on sale.

    • Tara says:

      Ah yes Donna Karan Gold. That was another DK perfume popular with perfumistas that got dropped. A lucky spot at your perfume store – good move.

  26. Natalie says:

    I think this may be the trickiest question for me, in terms of buying habits. I have had negative experiences both ways. To take just two examples: I bought some back-up bottles of Shalimar because it was in an amazing sale. A few months later, I kind of “went off” Shalimar (not that I don’t like it, but for other reasons), so I eventually got rid of those back-up bottles. On the other hand, I didn’t buy back-up bottles of Miss Dior Cherie when I heard about the reformulation, because I thought I had outgrown it and I had enough. Fast forward two years, and I’m on eBay trying to find something that is practically extinct. Sigh. I don’t know what the right answer is.

    • Tara says:

      That’s exactly one of the hardest things about the question of buying back-up bottles. We can’t look into the future and know how much we will use, if we will still like it, or like it even more!

      Overall I think maybe it’s better to buy because you can always sell on as you did with Shalimar and protect yourself from that awful MDC situation. Hope you find some at a decent price. If you let me know what to look for, I can keep an eye out on Ebay UK for you.

  27. Gretchen says:

    I love this question-I do have 2 backups, one of Teo Cabanel Alahine because I didn’t like their new bottles (same edp I believe) and the lovely, inexpensive Laura Mercier Un Minuit d’Enchantee, which is good as I’m almost out of the 1st bottle. I tend to believe ill never use up all the perfumes I have but it doesn’t stop me from getting more (samples, decants and FBs). If I were to get into the frenzied acquisition of vintages of my favorite classics, I would be in big trouble.

    • Tara says:

      Gretchen, you’re so right. At some point we have to draw the line with back-up bottles. I’m sure many of us would buy up vast quantities of vintage classics if money were no object.

      Interesting to learn that you bought a back-up because they changed the bottle. I’m sure others have done the same.

  28. cj says:

    My only back-ups are two extra bottles of Cuir de Lancome, and I’m so happy to have them since it is still the closest thing I’ve got to a signature scent and is now at least twice the price I paid initially. Luckily, even though I adore it, I still wear a lot of fragrances as well, so between those two bottles and the one I’m about half-way through, they should last me for years.

    • Tara says:

      Great! Sounds like you’ve done the right thing for you and you’re happy with your decision. That’s the ideal when it comes to buying back-ups. Cuir de Lancome is so unique and so stylish.

  29. Undina says:

    I have back-up bottles only for two perfumes, one discontinued (Lancome Climat – my first and gratest love) and one reformulated (Miss Dior parfum, vintage). There are a couple of perfumes for which I’ll run if I hear they are about to be discontinued but other than that I have too many perfumes to care for more bottles.

    I should finally get that Cuir de Lancome bottle! 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Undina, those are two special perfumes for you so it’s good to have back-ups of them. I will always associate Climat with you.

      Now get that Cuir de Lancome! 🙂

  30. Dionne says:

    I don’t have any right now, but I’m seriously considering getting a second bottle of 28 la Pausa (there are some major rumblings about it being dc’ed), because I can’t ever imagine myself being without it.

    • Tara says:

      Dionne, not being able to imagine being without a particular perfume is the perfect reason for getting a back-up in my book. Shame about 28 La Pausa, but I guess at least you’ve got a heads-up, if it is true. It’s so difficult to know about these rumours but an extra bottle of a great love can’t hurt.

  31. fleurdelys says:

    In some cases, I have backups (No. 5 vintage parfum, Anais Anais EDT, Aimez-Moi EDP, Bandit EDP, White Linen, Lou Lou parfum). In others, I have a fragrance in its different iterations (even though I may not need to have ALL of them!): Shalimar in vintage parfum and cologne, and in modern EDT and EDP; No. 5 in parfum and cologne; Anais Anais in EDT and EDP; Lou Lou in EDP and parfum).

    • Tara says:

      Sounds like you have your favourites well covered.

      I do envy your vintage No.5 parfum! We decided above not to count different concentrations for fear it would make us feel more even guilty than we already do 🙂

      • fleurdelys says:

        I found the No. 5 & backup through sheer luck. And yes, laying it all out there, I feel a bit guilty – but not too much! (LOL) Especially with vintage, my motto is, “If you find it, grab it”.

  32. Anna says:

    I’m guilty. I’ve recently purchased a second bottle of PG’s Tonkamande. It’s my favourite perfume of all time and I’m so sad that it was a limited edition fragrance. Though I’ve bought a ‘re-edition’ bottle (100ml EdT- Boyfriend: “You’re mad!”), I hope it’s still the same scent and it didn’t lose the charm and the power of the ‘Original’ EdP.
    If I were to come across a scent again, that blows me away like Tonkamande did, I’d always purchase a backup bottle. (My BF has no saying in this anyway. 😉 )

    • Tara says:

      Anna, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you’re happy with your new Tonkamande. I think you’re right about buying a back-up when a perfume blows you away – it’s a good lesson learned.

      What do BFs know about our special world of perfume, right? 🙂

  33. Figuier says:

    I use up perfume *very* slowly, so generally speaking back-ups don’t make sense for me. Like many others here I bought a second bottle of Cuir de Lancome, but soon realised that I’m not using the first one fast enough to finish it in the next 2 decades; so I sold the spare on again.

    The exception to this is Guerlain’s Terracotta, which I am very glad to have a back-up of (I could do with more, in fact). It’s probably the scent I spray most lavishly and use most frequently, summer and winter, and after 4 years I’m almost 2/3s through bottle 1. It’s v comforting to know I’ll be able to keep wearing it for a little while longer.

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