Does the size… (strike that) bottle matter? Yep!


A while ago Monday Question on Olfactoria’s Travels was: How Important Is The Perfume Bottle To You?

Out of 38 respondents 25 (66%) said bottles were very important for the enjoyment of a perfume; 7 (18%) didn’t care for bottles much and 6 (16%) put bottles into the “nice to have but not crucial” category.

I’ve added my voice to the “bottles, please” crowd but my position is a little quirkier; so even though this post covers a slightly different topic I want to reiterate the answer from my comment there.

If I’m in love with a perfume I want to own a bottle of it. And it has to be a real bottle, with a cap and a box: a tester or a refill bottle won’t satisfy my need for a full aesthetic experience. I have no problems with partial bottles though.

When it comes to the perfumes that I just like I’m attracted to unique bottles. And if a brand has standard bottles (Chanel Les Exclusifs, Dior La Collection, Frederic Malle Editions de Parfums, Ormonde Jayne, Guerlain L’Art et La Matière, etc.) owning just one bottle from the line seems to lull the cravings and I feel content with just decants of the other perfumes from that line.

Chanel Cuir de Russie

In the same post Birgit referred to her earlier post about the purchase one of the reasons for which was the beauty of the bottle: So I saw this bottle […] and knew I wanted it for its beauty alone. That it holds an exquisite scent is only the cherry on top and something that makes me happy, but unexpectedly so, because all I knew about 24 Faubourg before I laid hands on my precious Quadrige Edition was from one spray on the back of my hand right there in the store.

I went even further: recently I bought several perfumes… just because of the packaging.

Last July at the First Artisan Salon in San Francisco I saw new packaging for Ineke‘s Floral Curiosities line for Anthropologie and thought it was great. When I initially tested perfumes from the line they were fine but I didn’t love any of them enough to go for a full bottle. But these travel sprays disguised as poetry books were just calling my name. Also since I keep saying that companies should be releasing more perfumes in small bottles I felt like I just had to buy these… So I bought all four: Scarlet Larkspur, Poet’s Jasmine, Sweet William and Angel’s Trumpet.

Ineke Floral Curiosities Travel Bottles

I’ve tested Premier Figuier Extrême by L’Artisan Parfumeur before and thought it was nice but there are several other fig perfumes in my collection and I already have one bottle from L’Artisan Parfumeur line (though those colored labels add some appeal to otherwise similar bottles). Then I came across a special edition bottle… and just couldn’t resist. I will gladly wear Premier Figuier, I like this perfume and think it’ll make a very pleasant office scent. But I do not think I would have bought it any time soon if it hadn’t been for that gorgeous bottle.

Rusty And L'Artisan Premier Figuier

There are several more bottles on my “to buy” list but I think for now I’ve scratched that itch… unless you know where I can buy L’Artisan’s Mure et Musc Extreme in the blackberry-shaped bottle.

4 people from the survey mentioned above also confessed to buying perfumes just for the bottle.

Have you ever bought a perfume just because of the packaging?


Images: my own


58 thoughts on “Does the size… (strike that) bottle matter? Yep!

  1. Love the picture with the cat (Rusty?)! Yes, bottles are far more important than I want them to be. I will go from sample to mini, just to experience the bottle effect. If I’m really in love, I have to have a true spay bottle. I don’t think I’ve bought a bottle just for the bottle. Womanity has that potential – I loved my sample, bought a bottle, but haven’t worn it. Perhaps this summer! But the bottle design went into the purchase choice! I also don’t wear my Fragile, but can’t part with it because of the bottle.


    • Yes, it’s Rusty. He just had to take a part in my photo session with the new bottle.

      Bottles that you like but do not plan to use any longer are perfect for the display purposes! All you need is a mirror tray and a place where to put it.


  2. I go both ways on this subject. The bottle absolutely adds to the experience for me but i’m frugal enough to be fine with decants and tester bottles a lot of the time. I’ve never bought a bottle just for the packaging but whenever I’ve bought a bottle, it was because of the packaging if you know what I mean :)


    • Until recently I could also say that I’ve never bought a bottle just because of packaging ;)

      Well, of course it’s not exactly this way: I wouldn’t have bought a beautiful bottle with a perfume that I dislike. But these five weren’t on the top of my “want” list either.


  3. I am trying to think if there is anything I bought JUST for the bottle I know for a fact there are certain perfumes I wanted anyway that the bottle made it more appealing for me to buy sooner. For example, Tableau de Parfums Miriam, I might have contented myself with purse sprays for a bit longer had the bottle not been so beautiful & tempting.

    I do agree with you though, for a perfume I truly LOVE I want the bottle, not a decant. I need the physical object to complete the experience. It’s why I’m sad when perfumes I love have generic bottles (although I do understand that having unique bottles can be hard for indie/startup lines).


    • As I mentioned in the comment above, I do not dislike these perfumes. But to be truthful with myself, if it weren’t for the packaging and limited availability they would have stayed on my “to buy some day” list for much longer.


  4. I’m in the 16% but there are a couple of stand outs where I purchased the bottle not caring what the unsniffed perfume was like. One was Salvador Dali Woman, the sculpted glass lips with a nose stopper, another was Lolita Lempicka edp, with its purple apple and golden stem.


    • Salvador Dali bottles are on my “to buy for the bottles’ sake” list :) But since they’ve been around for a while and (I hope) aren’t going anywhere I plan to wait a little.


  5. I’m all over the place with this. I think I generally care about the look of a bottle much, much less than others. If I absolutely *love* a scent, I’d want a full bottle of it, but the details don’t really matter. Price matters much more, so if something is outrageous and I could get a small amount of it, I’d be happy then no matter what the bottle (tester, used, etc.) was like. After all, it’s the smell that matters most to me.

    That said, there have been perfumes where the bottle intrigued me when I would otherwise normally never give the perfume a second thought. The upcoming new Etro Rajasthan is the most recent example. After I posted about in the New Releases, I couldn’t get it out of my mind and even contacted the company about it. I’ve somehow become THAT obsessed. All because of the most spectacularly happy bottle. I even contemplated buying it, unsniffed and with the thought of perhaps emptying out the scent if I hated it, cleaning the bottle and filling it with something else. I have absolutely NO clue how I would do any of that or if it would even be possible, but as I said… obsessed. :D

    I’m trying to think if I ever got turned off from a perfume brand because of the bottles. I don’t think I have, mostly because it really isn’t THAT important to me at the end of the day. But I know a number of people have had that issue with Montales. One friend hates the bottle so much, he doesn’t even have much interest in sampling the perfumes.


    • It does sound like an obsession :) But since you want a bottle it’s hard to be disappointed by a blind purchase (though Istill do not recommend it).
      Have you seen this store? They ship to the US (and, if I understand it correctly, the price will be minus 19%).


      • I hadn’t seen the site, so thank you for the link. I don’t know about the minus 19% but the shipping costs are high! I am sure it will be available in the US, so I’ll just have to hunt for it here. I’m obsessed enough to definitely want to try. LOL.


  6. I love this post and the fact that you bought this great bottle! (And Premier Figuier is lovely too!)
    As for me, I’m very happy with my Hermès Quadrige Edition of 24 Faubourg, although I hardly wear the perfume, I still would want to buy it.
    And one more thing: I think I’m falling for Rusty, hard. He is the prettiest and cutest cat ever!!!


    • Thank you, Birgit! I’ll give him not one but two treats from you.

      Because of your Hermes bottle I started looking at otherspecial editions for 24 Faubourg. Luckily for me the last time I tried the perfume it didn’t do much for me. But those bottles…


  7. I’m in the 66 percent-I’ve been collecting for 25 years and the bottle is as important as the juice. Perhaps it’s my shoddy memory, but it seems to me older scents had more appeal because the bottle was so unique, Farouche in the Lalique bottle, Fendi Perfume, Niki de St Phalle, to name a few….

    I see a trend (and don’t care for it) that companies put several different scents in the same style of bottle, (Dior, Chanel and Lancome for example). It’s probably to save money but it does nothing to persuade me there is anything unique at all about the perfume, juice or bottle, that would intrigue me.


    • I know what you mean. I was just thinking how much more appealing classic Guerlein perfumes’ bottles were than those from the current “exclusive” line-up.


      • Exactly, I understand Guerlain’s reasoning behind having the same bottles for their ‘exclusive’ line are also a type of branding, but something unique about each perfume is lost in the process (just my opinion).
        I love Serge Luten’s Feminite du Bois, and own many of his perfumes but the design of Shiseido’s Feminite du Bois perfume bottle is perfect for getting the message across without saying a word. One immediately understands the message behind the sleek and elegant bottle design.


  8. Oh, I am so jealous of your new L’Artisan bottle! I saw this on a website recently (maybe the same one…) and almost bought it because I do love fig scents and the bottle looked so pretty but, there were two other L’Artisan scents I wanted as well (in regular bottles) so I resisted. I am so glad you and Rusty are enjoying it. As for other scents I bought just for the bottle, I once bought Comme des Garçons 2 Glitter just because the bottle was a great sparkly purple and I am a sucker for purple! To be fair it was very discounted. A big part of the reason I just bought a FB of the new Beloved Man was because the box is such a gorgeous purple!


    • Wow… I’ve just heard very recently that Beloved Man will be released – and you already have a bottle. Congratulations! I liked Beloved Woman so I assume the counterpart is also beautiful.

      The irony is that now I plan to transfer some of the perfume from that fig bottle into a purse spray or a secant bottle to use: I do not trust the screw on spray that came with the bottle, I suspect it will not be as tight as those that were factory attached.


  9. I don’t buy perfume because of the packaging. With my students budget I can’t afford to buy perfume I don’t like (or like but not love) only because the bottle os pretty.

    But I’m with you in terms of “if I love perfume I want to own a bottle” Now I’m content that my backup bottle of Prada amber Pour Homme has a cap (my first Prada didn’t have it) so now my Prada aesthetics will be fine. And the bottle is gorgeous, all filled with purplish liquid, my precious :D

    And it smells exactly the same as from my first bottle. It wasn’t reformulated!


  10. I confess that I have ! During my first trip to Paris I bought Escada’s 1994 limited edition Un Ete en Provence because I loved the fragrance but then I fell in love with the bottle. Thereafter every year Escada came out with another limited edition-same bottle but different color. I have every 1.7 oz bottle since that time! The fragrances have gotten much fruitier over the years- yet both of my daughters seem to like them so the juice does not go to waste. The only one I am missing is the original 1993 limited edition- Chiffon Sorbet… I have a mini of it but not a 1.7 oz bottle.

    And I agree with you on Ineke- Her packaging and bottles are exquisite! Memoire Liquide does something similar in putting the perfume bottle in a “pseudo-book” format. My daughter owns Soliel Liquide and I insisted that she keep the “book” box.


    • It would be driving me crazy if I couldn’t get one bottle from the collection! Are you watching eBay? :)

      I’ve never heard about Memoire Liquide before today (and on pictures it’s not clear that those boxes are “books”). But it’s a nice idea, I’m surprised there aren’t more perfumes in creative boxes.


  11. The last packaging I coveted was Florabotanica but the juice was so vile that I was totally turned off. Of course if I find the bottle at a steep discount, I will snap it up and not ever open the bottle. I was also attracted to the Guerlain Muguet 2012 Limited Edition but 1) it is Lily of the Valley which I DO NOT LIKE at all and 2) €385.

    Some of my 2012 purchases where the juice AND the bottle fit my MUST OWN criteria were Coco Noir and Aedes de Venustas EDP. On my To Buy list for the bottle but would love to try the perfumes first are The Vagabond Prince Enchanted Forest and an Amouage I would consider MY Amouage signature scent.


    • I really liked Muguet 2012 bottle and I like LofV but I just can’t pay that price for that perfume!

      I tried Enchanted Forest and liked it so I wouldn’t mind taking a look at the bottle now (it’s cute on pictures).


    • Haju-If you love LoV, my favorite cheap favorite is the original Jessica McClintock perfume. The bottle is plain and the top is kind of cheesy looking-but you can find a 100ml bottle from an online retailer for under $30 bucks. And that perfume gets compliments all the time-it’s pretty good for an under-the-radar fume.


        • LOLOLOLOL. Hajusuuri, the degree of your reaction whenever lily-of-the-valley is mentioned never — EVER — fails to make me laugh. Man, that Andy Tauer perfume did a real number on you, didn’t it?! I’m now more determined than ever to try it. *grin*


          • Oh Oh – all my hate going to the wrong perfume note?

            A swap buddy may be trying to reform me…I have Madame Rochas waiting in the wings.

            Kafka, as to the Carillon pour un ange experience, when you order direct from Andy’s website, he sends a signed perfumed card enclosed in a sealed plastic sleeve. You be the judge :-)

            Undina, I’ll visit the Guerlain counter at Saks and take a whiff of the 2013 Muguet when it comes out and then maybe, the much maligned LOTV may finally get a respite.


  12. Hmm. Too much to say on this topic and I’m not sure any of it boils down to any particular rule. I DO keep contemplating that damn Chinatown bottle because I cannot resist the pink flowers. But somehow I resist them. :-)


  13. I’ve never bought a bottle just for the bottle’s sake, but then again I’m really still quite new to this perfume obsession.

    But as I was reading your post, it occurred to me that there are some perfumes that I would be completely resistant to purchasing specifically because of the bottle even if I liked the scent itself. Betsey Johnson ‘Too Too Pretty’ comes to mind though I’m sure that there are many others.


    • I’m not sure about not buying a perfume that I liked because of the bottle (unless it’s something offensive on the level other than bad aesthetics). But on several occasions I remember deciding not to try a perfume (a mainstream one) because I didn’t like its bottle.


  14. I am not sure if I have ever bought a perfume only because of the packaging, but I have definitely been swayed by the packaging! In addition to the “obvious” beautiful bottles, I’m often attracted to very minimalist, elegant bottles like those from Chanel or 1000 Flowers.


  15. I came so close to buying Premier Figuier Extreme for the bottle!! On Ebay, but still. The scent is okay, quite nice and office appropriate as you say, but I wouldn’t spring for it in the regular L’Artisan packaging.

    Otherwise I would say that Ajne is an example of a fragrance line where the bottle was the sole reason I bought a filigre perfume pendant of Vanille – which I am now desperately trying to offload, because the scent was (to compound matters) unsniffed, and proved to be much too treacly for my liking(!).


    • Do you not like the pendant itself as well? It looks nice on a picture but I know that those can be deceiving. If you like it, maybe you could just pour the perfume out, let it soak for a month and then fill it with something you like more?


  16. I’m a bottle person. I think it’s about enjoying the whole experience.

    I love those poetry books housing the travel sprays and the fig bottle is gorgeous. A really great bottle can tip you over the edge when it comes to whether or not to buy a perfume. Those Histoire de Parfum half bottles are very cute.

    I had a look round UK websites for a Mure et Musc blackberry bottle for you but no luck. I’ll keep an eye out though.


    • Mure et Musc was a special edition (as well as the fig bottle) and it looks like nobody sells it – I checked all online places as well as eBay. But if you ever come across it please let me know.


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  18. I’ve never bought a bottle for bottle’s sake; I have to love the fragrance first and foremost. However, I was severely tempted by Coco Noir last year. If I had more disposable cash, maybe . . . I would also add that if I love the fragrance and it comes in a great bottle, I am more inclined to reach for it!


    • While I was looking at that Coco Noir bottle on pictures I was coveting it. But then in real life it looked not as beautiful as I thought it would and I didn’t like the perfume… But if I’d found a bottle I wouldn’t refuse it ;)


  19. I do love a pretty bottle. That Premier Figuier bottle would have been irresistible to me, as well (and I do at least like that perfume). I like simple bottles, too, however. I was reading Birgit’s recent post about Parfums de Nicolai and thinking I do not hate those bottles *that* much …


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