Saturday Question: Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

It is not a confirmed information, but it looks like if not a straightforward discontinuation some changes are about to happen to this Guerlain‘s line. After the last week’s perfume bottles swaps discussion where hajusuuri mentioned that Guerlain was changing bottles for this line, I saw ThePerfumeGuy’s YouTube video, in which he shared tidbits he got from several brand’s SAs, all of which boiled down to these perfumes being re-released in new, larger and more expensive bottles. And it is not clear, which of the perfumes are coming back.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #76:

Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

Do you have any that you planned to buy eventually but haven’t yet? Or are there any bottles that you planned to re-purchase once you finish the current one? Do you hope for any of the previously discontinued perfumes from this line to come back?

My Answer

For the longest time, I planned to buy Angelique Noire once I finish the decant I have. I always liked this perfume, but with how seldom I wear each of the perfumes in my collection, I easily had another year before facing the decision whether to buy a bottle or try to get another decant.

When I learned about the upcoming changes, I searched for a bottle and found it available on one of the large department store’s websites. I could have bought it then and there, but of course being me I wanted to wear Angelique Noire once again… Do I have to tell that the next time I looked it was gone?

In a futile attempt to find it, among other places I visited the brand’s site. Of course, it’s not available there as well, but at least Angelique Noire is listed there with a somewhat pacifying “Email when in stock” action offered. I do realize that it might come back reformulated again and in a 100 ml (or larger?) bottle. But there is at least some hope. And that’s when I realized that I didn’t see there the first perfume from Guerlain that I bought – Cruel Gardenia.

Guerlain Cruel Gardenia

I still have probably about 20 ml left in my bottle (the photo above was taken about 5 years ago). But the thought that it might be gone completely upset me so much that I ran back to the same sites looking now for a backup bottle of my beloved Cruel Gardenia. Luckily for me, it has always been an odd one in the line, so it is the last one left from the older creations (another one still available in the US stores is Iris Torréfié, but I don’t think I’ve ever tried it). Since I want it for myself and do not plan to sell for profit or split, it doesn’t matter to me that others do not like it as much as I do. So, now maybe one of the last few Cruel Gardenia bottles left in the US is on its way to me.

How about you?

 

Will You Miss Any of L’Art et la Matiere Perfumes?

Saturday Question: Do You Swap Perfume Bottles?

As many of my questions, this one was brought by something that I came across elsewhere: in the recent 356 perfumes in 365 days series’ post mmkinpa showed a bottle of Annick Goutal Musc Nomade that she got in a swap. That sent me thinking about swaps.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #75:

Do You Swap Perfume Bottles?

The question isn’t about exchanging decants or samples. But do you swap actual perfume bottles? If yes, what do you swap away? Have you ever got anything great in a swap?

My Answer

I rarely buy something impulsively. So, by the time I decide to get anything into my collection, I’ve spent some time thinking about that perfume, imagining having it, coming up with all the justifications of why I need it… And once I get that perfume, it is here to stay. I might share samples and decants from the bottle I got, but it is almost impossible for me to part with a bottle once I got it.

Not related to this, most of the swaps offered in places where I see them (NST swap meets and FB groups) would not interest me even if those perfumes were offered “for grabs” for free, so it’s completely out of question exchanging them for anything from my collection.

I need to work on letting go of perfumes that I know I won’t wear: it makes total sense to pass them onto someone who would enjoy wearing them instead of me waiting for those unloved ones to go off. But even if I manage to persuade myself to part with some of them, I think it would be easier for me psychologically to give them away than to exchange them for something else: I usually love my unloved ones still more than most of perfumes offered for swapping.

 

Do You Swap Perfume Bottles?

Saturday Question: Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released?

This question is inspired by my story about the recent Diptyque‘s limited edition perfume Ilio that got sold out seemingly within weeks after its release.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #74:

Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released?

We are talking not about discontinued perfumes that we loved or former beauties reformulated beyond recognition. The question is about the true Limited Editions that companies released at some point, sold out and never brought back.

If you could tell to one brand which one of their LE perfumes you wish they would bring back for this year’s holiday season, what would it be? Just one! (As a suggestion: if someone has already named one of your “candidates,” respond to their comment in support. That would allow you to name your own choice in your comment – and see if others would support it).

My Answer

When I came up with this question, the answer immediately popped up in my mind. But since I have a luxury of a home-grown database of all perfumes I own or had a sample of at some point, I decided to be thorough. As I looked through all the LEs (I have them marked), I realized that in the last 15 years I didn’t come by too many limited edition perfumes, and out of those several that I tried, liked and bought, my initial idea was still the best choice for me. And I couldn’t think of any such perfume that I liked but missed before it was gone.

So, even though I still have some of this perfume left, I would like Jo Malone to bring back Sweet Milk from their their 2001 LE Tea Collection.

Sweet Milk by Jo Malone

Which LE Perfume Would You Want Re-released?

Saturday Question: What Perfume Brands Are Popular Now?

If you’ve been in this game for at least 7-8 years, you probably still remember times when everyone was talking about a new release from L’Artisan Parfumeur, Serge Lutens‘ releases were expected with growing anxiety, and the next Le Labo‘s City Exclusives would cause growling amongst anxious perfumistas who couldn’t figure out how to get a hold of it. Several more names were in the same camp back then: Frederic Malle, Amouage, Parfum d’Empire and Parfums De Nicolai. But what about now?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #73:

What Perfume Brands Are Popular Now?

It’s not a question of which perfume brands you like and still follow, but rather which brands you think are still more popular than the rest among people who consider themselves perfumistas? What names do you hear more often than others? What do you attribute it to?

My Answer

With the avalanche of new brands and releases from both new and established brands, as well as the decline of the popularity of the written word in the last years, it seems like perfumistas’ interests are scattered all over. As I watch NST’s split meets, I see that people are mostly splitting old favorites – Chanel, Guerlain, Hermes and, yes, Serge Lutens. But I see much less newer brands. And in the daily SOTD threads whenever anybody mentions new perfumes or lines, those comments don’t collect too many reactions.

I tried to think on the answer to my question. If not to count big names that are talked about more not in the last place because of their accessibility: it is much easier to get to try new perfumes by Chanel, Tom Ford, Diptyque, Jo Malone or even By Kilian than by any of the smaller niche brands.

But if I had to name at least one smaller niche brand that still gathers a lot of interest, I’d say that it is Zoologist Perfumes. Personally, I do not like this brand: I don’t like the name of the brand and perfumes; I don’t like the packaging; I hated one perfume from it that I tried on skin, and I was indifferent to several more that I sniffed at a store. But whenever a new one is released, I see others discussing it and getting samples to try. I think that, in addition to making perfumes that people like, this brand doesn’t charge the super-luxury level prices, and they have samples and travel sprays.

I can think of a couple more brands, but I’ll leave them to you to name.

 

What Perfume Brands Are Popular Now?

Saturday Question: Do You Prefer Pure Parfum with a Stopper or Sprayer?

I know that in the recent years the definitions of different perfume concentrations got blurred, and it’s hard to know what concentration of oils we’re getting in the bottles of colognes, EdTs or EdPs, unless a brand makes a point of it in their ads and PR materials. But some fragrances are released as “Extrait [de parfum]” or “[Pure] pafum” – and my question is about those.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #72:

Do You Prefer Pure Parfum with a Stopper or Sprayer?

Do you have any extraits/parfums in your collection? Do they come with a stopper or in a spray bottle? Do you like it, or would you prefer it the other way around?

My Answer

I know several perfumes that come in spray bottles, even though they have the highest concentration. For example, Ormonde Jayne offers some of her perfumes in 40% and even 50% concentration, but as far as I know, those are sold with sprayers. It doesn’t sit well with me. Since I grew up with perfumes coming in small dab bottles, I think I still expect “real” parfum to be in a tiny (7-15 ml) bottle with a stopper that can be used to sparingly apply that precious substance. This is ironic because I do not feel good actually using those stoppers for the application: I’m afraid to deposit oils and other impurities from my skin into the bottle.

With my very first and extremely precious bottle of Lancome Climat, I had a special glass applicator that I stored in the bottle with alcohol and would dry before using it to dip into the bottle. With a couple of extrait bottles that I currently own I do use the stoppers but try to wipe them on the fabric of my clothes before replacing them in the bottle. I tried decanting them into a spray vial, but I don’t like how they feel applied this way. And it defeats the purpose of having a beautiful bottle.

But if I was given a choice, I would have still probably preferred extraits in old-fashioned small bottles – even though that is much less practical than sprayers: there is something very decadent and sensuous in applying perfume this way.

Rusty and Climat, Chamade and Chanel No19

Do You Prefer Pure Parfum with a Stopper or Sprayer?

Saturday Question: Are You Tempted by the Chanel Factory 5 Collection?

To mark the centennial anniversary of THE perfume, Chanel produced seventeen new N°5-scented bath and body products with black and white utilitarian packaging inspired by everyday objects – refill stand-up pouch, tea tin, water bottle, gouache tubes, paint can and so forth. All these are limited edition, some are available online, some in pop-up boutiques only, some are already sold out. Which brings us to today’s question.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #71:

Are You Tempted by the Chanel Factory 5 Collection?

Have you bought any of the objects? Do you plan to? Are you tempted?

Bonus questions: Do you have N°5 in your collection already? Do you like it?

My Answer

For years I tried Chanel No 5 again and again hoping I would “grow up” to like it. I still don’t. I learned to appreciate it, and I even enjoy smelling it from others. But whenever I try it on my skin, I end up slightly disappointed that it keeps leaving me cold. I tried both modern and vintage versions, EdT and EdP, the original one and all the flankers. I kind of could wear No 5 L’Eau, but I do not love it.

Chanel No5

And still, I’m tempted by this extremely strange collection. Luckily for me, the item that I wanted the most – the tea tin – isn’t available online, and none of the designated boutiques that are supposed to carry this collection is around where I live (I was surprised that not all Chanel boutiques got it!). Paint can is also not available. So, I’m looking at the soap in a tin, but for a small tin $45 seems too much (I don’t really care for the soap, I’m attracted to the tin). From the practical side, shower gel is the best product for me: using in the shower the scent that I do not mind but do not wear as perfume is perfect (otherwise the scent gets to mundane, and I somehow value perfume less), and it is still available online. But for me a dish soap bottle is one of the least attractive objects in that collection.

And then I started thinking… Maybe I should buy a bottle of actual perfume? It’s a new redesigned and, if I understand it correctly, limited edition bottle. And maybe – just maybe, I have absolutely no knowledge that it is or even could be the case – since it’s a special and limited edition, they’ve used a better quality ingredients (it’s wishful thinking, I know). So, should I finally get No 5 or L’Eau into my collection?

Of course, if I keep thinking for two long, the decision will be made for me: I expect the collection to sell out soon. Will I regret missing this collection? I wish it was No 19 or Coco – I would have pounced already, on the first day of the release. But on the other hand, No 5 is such an iconic perfume…

 

Are You Tempted by the Chanel Factory 5 Collection?

 

Image: from the brand’s site

Saturday Question: Do You Buy Vintage Perfumes?

In the comment to the last week’s SQ post about special occasion perfumes Neva asked me if I owned vintage Climat. So, this week I decided to ask you about vintage perfumes.

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #70:

Do You Buy Vintage Perfumes?

This isn’t a question about whether you own any vintage perfumes either inherited from relatives or those that became such over years while being in your collection. But do you hunt eBay, thrift stores or estate sales for vintage gems? If yes, are those perfumes that you remember and like from the time when they were contemporary, or do you experiment with perfumes you never knew in their heyday? If you buy vintage perfumes “blind,” are you more often delighted or disappointed?

My Answer

In general, I do not like vintage perfumes. Back when most of those perfumes that are sought after now were modern, I was a signature scent person. And since I do not have any emotional connection to those perfumes, I do not see any reason to start experimenting with online bottle purchases or even getting samples.

So, how about my all-time favorite Lancome Climat? Surely I should have a bottle or two of vintage version of my beloved perfume… I don’t. I have multiple versions that I bought over years, so formally they are already “vintage.” But only once I tried to buy a mini bottle of vintage EdT – and it was a bust: it was spoiled. It wasn’t extremely expensive, but still I was very disappointed. And I can only imagine, how upset I would be had I spent $300-$700 for 0.5-1 oz bottle and discovered that it’s either went off or was a fake. So, I decided that I should be fine with all the later versions of Climat that I collected. But who knows: maybe one day…

 

Do You Buy Vintage Perfumes?

Saturday Question: Do You Have Special Occasion Perfumes?

In the discussion that followed Val’s recent post on A Bottled Rose, a topic of wearing perfumes for special occasions came up. Val wrote: “I never save anything for a special occasion” – so, I though it would be a good topic for a Saturday Question post.

 

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

 

Saturday Question #69:

Do You Have Special Occasion Perfumes?

Are there any perfumes in your collection that you wear only/mostly for special occasions? If yes, what are those perfumes? What are the occasions you consider special to wear those perfumes? If no, why?

My Answer

I absolutely have special occasion perfumes. But they are such not because of their rarity or price but because I designate them as such – same as with some clothes or jewelry. I wear those not necessarily for something that manifests as “special occasion” – it can be a mini-vacation trip to the nearby seaside town or a quiet celebratory dinner at home just for two of us. But wearing those special perfumes add something to the celebration spirit. It’s like Christmas decorations or carved pumpkins: we do not save them for the appropriate occasions, they are an integral part of those occasions.

I almost always wear Lancome Climat for New Year Celebration, Ormonde Jayne Ta’if for my birthday and Amouage Ubar for Thanksgiving. I do wear these perfumes more often than once a year, but it’s always for something meaningful and special.

I have probably another 8-10 perfumes that I would mostly wear to different celebrations and events, but I don’t consider them “for a special occasion” – it’s just that they are too “loud” for the office. Working from home, I wore them more often during the last 15 months: they go perfectly with my pajamas.

 

Do You Have Special Occasion Perfumes?

Saturday Question: Would You Wear Perfume That Your Loved One(s) Dislike?

It comes up in perfume discussions from time to time that we wear perfumes, first of all, for ourselves and not to be liked by others. And we get annoyed by co-workers or strangers who are perfume haters. But what if those are people whom we love?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #68:

Would You Wear Perfume That Your Loved One(s) Dislike?

We are not talking about cases when someone dislikes perfumes in general (though, it would be interesting how people handle that type of the situation), but rather when someone close to you dislikes particular perfume that you love. Would you still wear it? If yes, then where/how? Somewhere away from the person who doesn’t like it? Or maybe in tiny doses hoping they’ll get used to it? Or will you give up that perfume altogether?

My Answer

I’ve been lucky so far: my vSO doesn’t object to any of my perfumes (not the least because his allergies prevent him from smelling them half of the time). On rare occasions when he comments that he doesn’t like the scent, it’s one of the samples that I’ve been testing and not liking either.

But had it not be the case… I would have probably given up perfumes that I just like: with the number of perfumes in my collection I can probably be fine without any particular one that is not a great love. But if it were one of my most favorite perfumes, I would have tried it several times under different circumstances to make sure that it wasn’t just a fluke. But if no, I would still hold onto my favorite but probably figure out when to wear it so that it wouldn’t bother my vSO.

Under normal circumstances (meaning, not in a hospital, on a plane or any other similar situations), I don’t think I’m prepared to forfeit my perfume wearing for anybody else. But I do choose [not] to wear particular perfumes for when meeting with some of my friends or colleagues when I know that they like or dislike some of my perfumes or perfume styles.

 

Would You Wear Perfume That Your Loved One(s) Dislike?

Saturday Question: Do You Use Cashback Sites?

It is not a strictly related to perfumes question since most of niche perfume sites do not participate in that type of promotions, but some do. And it is useful in general: money saved elsewhere can be used to buy perfumes, right?

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #67:

Do You Use Cashback Sites?

Do you use them ever? How often? Which sites? Do you have any strategies? Do you use browser plug-ins? Did you get any money back?

If you do use those sites, share your personal links for those sites that give bonuses for/to friends who sign up.

 

My Answer

When I do not forget, I try to use cashback sites. I have several that I’ve been using for years, I know that they track purchases from the supported stores accurately for the most part, so I usually check them for stores where I plan to place an order, choose the one that offers a better % cashback and click to the store from that cashback site.

Since I do not use just one cashback site, and I prefer not to give any site more information than is absolutely necessary, I do not commit to any one of them – that’s why I do not install browser plugins that offer to track my movements “not to miss any cashback.” I’m fine remembering it on my own (or not remembering, as it happens sometimes – but I’m fine with it).

While I used just two sites, I was usually checking them directly to see if they supported the store I needed. But since recently I subscribed to a couple more, whenever I’m checking who gives the best cashback, I do not go directly to all the sites but instead I use one of the cashback monitoring sites. I used to like one specific site, but it doesn’t track most of the newer sites, one of which I recently joined, so I’m checking out a couple of new sites to see whose technical abilities to keep the list up to date is better. Over years I got back about a thousand dollars – not too impressive since it was distributed over many years, but it is more than I would have without using those sites.

Two tried and true sites that worked fine for me for years are MrRebates and Rakuten (previously eBates).

At the moment, Rakuten seems to have the best referral program: if you use my link (or any of your friends’ link) to sign up for the account before the end of June 2021, shop at one of the supported sites after clicking to it through your Rakuten account and spend at least $30 in the 90 days from signing up, both you and a person who referred you will get $30 cashback. US and Canada only.

MrRebates referral program seems to be broken, but the cashback they offer works fine, so you should sign up if you find that they have the best rate for the store you need.

Recently I subscribed to the TopCashback. I haven’t got anything from them yet (it’s pending), but sometimes the rate they offer is much better than from the other sites, so I decided to try. I do not see any promotions now for signing up, but here’s my link – just in case you decide to join.

 

What you need to know if you haven’t used these sites before:

1. You need to go through the cashback site to the site where you shop in order to get cashback.

2. Using coupons not provided on the cashback site for the selected store might disqualify you from getting cashback (but, in my opinion, working coupons that give you an immediate discount are worth risking the cashback).

3. The rate different sites give for different stores changes, so if you use more than one rebate site, make sure to check which one gives a better rate and click through from there.

4. If you do a partial return for the multi-item order, it might cancel the complete cashback transaction.

5. It takes a couple of months for a cashback to “clear,” and most of the sites I saw required you to earn some minimum before you could get money from the account.

6. Don’t spend more than you planned to hoping for the cashback, and be prepared not to get it (though, in the recent years these sites got better with tracking, and you can provide them the order # if you clicked through, completed the purchase but didn’t get it to register on your account).

https://www.topcashback.com/ref/member430287883357

Do You Use Cashback Sites?