Dreaded D-word and Back-up Bottles

Discontinuation is a horrifying word for many of us. More than once I caught myself feeling sad when I heard the news about perfumes being disconnected – sometimes even if those weren’t perfumes I loved or wore.

A while ago in the post on this topic Blacknall wrote:

Anyone who loves perfume tends to complain about the arbitrary way in which one scent after another can bite the dust, but we have to remember after all these are businesses, not revolving exhibitions. Either perfumers manage to stay current with public tastes and fashions or they don’t, and when they don’t, sales decline.

Even though I agreed with her in principle, something bothered me – so I kept thinking.

While discontinuation might be a necessary evil, a conspiracy theorist in me has a lot of doubts. Are those perfumes that get discontinued really worst sellers? Or, with everything else being equal, do companies put on the chopping block something that is more expensive to produce – be that due to costs of raw materials, bottle production, packaging or any other components that affect the bottom line? And isn’t it a negative reinforcement: companies train customers to like simpler perfumes that are cheap(er) to produce, put much more into promoting those – and as a result get lower sales for better perfumes and then discontinue them?

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I’m not even sure that reasons are the same for different companies in the same market. But I’m wondering if it is really in companies’ best interest to silently kill off the scent that didn’t meet whatever criteria are required for staying on the show for the next season. Is there really any downside to letting loyal fans know that the discontinuation is coming, which would allow them to stock up on their favorites? (And if we’re talking about the U.S., those would be acquired at full price since perfumes never go on sale in big department stores here.)

Whatever the truth is, I don’t expect to learn it from any of LVMH or Estee Lauder‘s companies. And since the reasons would be different for those brands, for which economies of scale do not apply, there’s not much sense in asking them either. So I’ll have to keep wondering until somebody publishes an all-revealing memoir.

When I recently heard of three of the perfumes I like being discontinued – Diptyque Volutes, Bvlgari Black and Tom Ford Fleur de Chine, – I realized that I wasn’t ready to buy a second bottle of any of them. Eau de Tommy Sooni II has disappeared with the brand, but even if I could find a bottle now, I’m not sure I would buy it. I might regret it one day but for now it feels like I have enough of them, taking into the account SABLE (Stash Above & Beyond Life Expectancy – Vanessa ©) state of my collection. I thought about it more and realized that Ormonde Jayne Ta’if is the only one, about which with a 100% certainty I can say that I’d buy a back-up bottle (or two) in a heartbeat at the first mentioning of the D-word.

Ormonde Jayne Ta'if

Look at your collection. Disregard decants, samples and “to buy” lists and concentrate only on full bottle of perfumes that are still in production. Now imagine that you learn that those all are being discontinued (not all at once: that would be too cruel even for a hypothetical question). Are there any perfumes for which you would buy a back-up bottle?

Images: my own

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Spontaneous me: Diptyque Volutes

 

When it comes to perfumes there are different degrees of impulsiveness. And while I do not approve of blind buys of any amount of perfumes larger than 5 ml (unless the bottle itself is the goal), I find spontaneous perfume purchases at a store romantic to a certain degree.

I have that dream of going into a perfume shop while on a vacation or at a fragrance event and finding perfume, without which I wouldn’t want to leave that store. It hasn’t happen to me yet but every time I read this kind of a love story by one of my friends in the Perfumeland, I make myself a mental note about the perfume.

Lanier’s tale of the premier party at Diptyque San Francisco was one of those stories. It got me very curious about Volutes – the perfume to a bottle of which Lanier had committed just after a brief first encounter.

Diptyque Volutes

The only place around where I live that carried Diptyque’s perfumes at the time was that San Francisco boutique to which I usually can get once or twice a year but I wanted to try it so much that I just had to go… to Madison Avenue Diptyque boutique in New York where I smelled Volutes for the first time.

Both my vSO and I liked Volutes but since he is even less spontaneous that I am, what could have become a great memory of that wonderful New York trip ended up being just a sample.

That Volutes sample came back with me to California and then accompanied us to our vacation in Ukraine earlier this year. I brought it with me not to use it myself but as one of the perfumes for my vSO to test-wear for me.

As I complained in that month’s statistics post, most of the perfumes I hoped I would enjoy wearing during my vacation didn’t work at all in the hot and humid weather. One day I noticed that Volutes smelled really great on my vSO hours after the application and despite the weather. I tried wearing it and ended up loving it on me as well.

Last week I went to the local Nordstrom, which now carries Diptyque line, and bought a bottle of Volutes EdT. So it took me just slightly over a year to get from the first lemming to a full bottle in my collection.

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For the November statistics post, please tell me:
Have you ever bought a full bottle of perfume on the spot, the same day you smelled it for the first time?

 

Image: my own