|Source: Vintage Perfume Vault|
Yes, the other day over dinner at their house, Tony whipped out a pink cloth bag containing a purse spray, plus two other tiny miniature perfumes, and announced: "Here you go - there are more where they came from, and I'll fetch the rest when I am up at the house next." My mini-haul comprised about 4ml of Coty L'Aimant, Lucien Long Indiscret and Goya Pink Mimosa. Well, the Goya is empty in fact, but still smells of something prettily floral. Pink Mimosa came out in 1947, Indiscret in 1935. My research suggests that the two minis are most likely from the 50s or 60s, but if anyone has a more exact idea I would be glad to hear it - maybe they aren't that old? The Coty L'Aimant has a price tag of £2.25, which places it in the era of decimalisation at least ie post 1971! It does additionally have one of those high pressure spray mechanisms that I associate with older bottles - when were they phased out, I wonder?
|Shocking pink and a fierce squirter!|
L'Aimant is still readily available in drugstores for very little money - you can pick up a boxed set and still have change from a tenner. The vintage version smells classier than the current formulation - like Rive Gauche crossed with very expensive soap. I am not really drawn to soapy perfumes, but it is a very elegant example of the genre.
The Lucien Lelong is on the face of it absolutely not my thing - one of those fierce spicy orientals - the only modern equivalent of which I can think of being EL Spellbound. Here is Angela of NST's take on an Indiscret estate find of her own from the same era:
|Civet and spice and all things (strangely) nice!|
"My guess is the bottle I bought — flat, octagonal, with gold cap and rubber stopper — was from the 1950s. On skin it smelled spicy, woody, powdery, and floral and was reminiscent of Millot Crepe de Chine but with a definite clove note. Its floral heart was tight and seamlessly blended, giving the shape rather than the distinct fragrance of jasmine, ylang ylang, carnations, and other flowers I can’t suss out."
Donna of PST also reviews the vintage Indiscret:
"However, once it’s been on the skin for a while, it reveals itself to be the real thing, as the distinctive rich, spice-laced heart notes are still there, and once I got over the opening I loved it."
I have nothing to add to their descriptions really. Indiscret reads rather severe and aloof to me (spiky, not fluffy!) - and the carnation and/or clove is too jarring for my taste, though it softens with time. Yes, by the far drydown, it had taken on a creamy, almost dreamy aspect, with the florals still prickling with spice and mired in civet. I should have hated it, but found myself oddly mesmerised.
|More vestigial molasses than perfume|
As for the Goya, the best I can say about the scent itself from the rim of the bottle is that it is an indistinct spring floral - however, I had a lot of fun with it otherwise. I am not sure there is a word for the perfume bottle equivalent of potato printing. If anyone can tell me what this black inky stuff is, I would be fascinated to know.
|Is it a leopard? Is it going to come off with pumice stone?|
Now I can't pretend to say that sniffing these perfumes brings back memories of Dorothy, as Tony's mother was called, because it doesn't. I never met her. I did attend her funeral as it happens, but that was mainly in the capacity of chauffeur. I do, however, like to imagine the 50s through furniture - I own a cabinet from that period which once belonged to the someone's granny in Bootle - I love to imagine where it has been and what it has "seen".
|Must sort out those cables|
In summary, I have never been especially interested in vintage scents, not least because so many seem to be of this austere oriental or chypre style, but I am not "agin" the category either - I very much sniff as I find. I guess my newfound love of period furniture easily crosses over into an appreciation of old artefacts generally, including perfume. Yes, my recent windfall has definitely piqued my curiosity in vintage scents, and I await with interest to see what Tony comes back with from his next decluttering session at the family home...