Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bad news for lovers of old-school perfumes

Sad news for lovers of old-school perfume – three very well-loved Carons have been discontinued. This week I noticed my bottle of French Cancan was running low, and Perfume Shrine reported the latest list of banned/ restricted allergens in perfumes, which sent me into a bit of a panic. I contacted my favourite perfume retailer, Les Senteurs, and they told me that the version I have for French Cancan is currently safe. (I ordered a 100ml bottle of French Cancan anyway, just to be on the safe side.) However some classics are going: Caron are unwilling to alter Bellodgia, Nuit de Noel and Narcisse Noir any further, so they've been discontinued. If you like Bellodgia, Nuit de Noel or Narcisse Noir, stock up now.

I'm especially sad about the latter – I'd spotted Bellodgia getting scarcer and bought a couple of bottles of the eau de toilette, but now can only get hold of Narcisse Noir in the parfum, and I simply can't afford to stock up on that. When my last little dribble is gone, that's it. It's the fragrance Gloria Swanson famously sprayed liberally on the set of Sunset Boulevard, to make use of its unsettling properties. Personally I find it very lovely but also quite cold – I always wear it to funerals, and so it brings back bittersweet memories of people I've loved. I'm sad it's going, but fair play to Caron for not mucking about with it any further.

It's not just Carons that will be affected, as Perfume Shrine point out – Opium got fairly heavily mutilated a while back as it was, but the classic Guerlains Shalimar and Mitsouko are also going to be hit badly, and even Thierry Mugler Angel will need changing. Angel is a perfume I'm not especially fond of, but it is one of the great modern fragrances and it's a shame even something so recent will need altering.

What can you do about it? Not a lot. If you have a particular signature scent that you can't bear to be without, stock up now, and keep your bottles somewhere cool and dark so the juice won't turn. I'm going to be adding a large bottle of Caron En Avion to my stash at some point in the near future. Les Senteurs specialise in niche parfumery, but if you're looking for something more mainstream, I can definitely recommend both FragranceDirect and Strawberrynet for big brands at bargain prices – although Brits note you will have to pay import duty on purchases from Strawberrynet as they're based in Hong Kong, so it's worth ordering from them when they've put a big discount on an item, but you might be better off shopping on the High Street otherwise. I've ordered from both in recent months and received excellent service.

I have updated my post 'A brief guide to vintage perfumes: up to 1940' to take account of the discontinuations.

1 comment :

  1. That article was really interesting, thank you for the link. It's something that's affecting aromatherapists too, for the same reasons.

    My two favourite perfumes are both discontinued, simply because they weren't very popular. Both Alexander McQueen - Kingdom is a very musky smelling, slightly peculiar scent (my Dad described it as smelling like "sweaty boys", how charming!) and My Queen is a light violet perfume that smells a bit old-lady-ish, I suppose. I have a full bottle of that still unopened, but I'll be sad when the Kingdom runs out - I can't afford Ebay prices for it!

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