Sunday, 10 July 2016

The Scent Crimes Series: No 16 - Lalique Flora Bella and unexpected flecks in the spritzing area

As I mentioned in my last post, there were two perfume related incidents during my recent bottle sale which I felt warranted inclusion in the Scent Crimes Series. Having got them both off my chest, I will revert to 'normal trading' on Bonkers, whatever that might be, as Prince Charles famously said of 'love'.

So one of the perfume packages I was making up comprised a full bottle and a few decants, including one of Lalique Flora Bella. The very last of the bottle, as it happened. For anyone not familiar with this languid, milky, tropical-leaning floral, I have uncharacteristically featured / reviewed it twice here and here!

But the subject of this post is not how Flora Bella smells, but rather its consistency or texture. Specifically, the fact that as I was decanting the last 15ml for a fellow perfumista, I couldn't help noticing that there were...ahem...'particulates' suspended in the juice, to borrow the technical term for those little 'bits' in soup and yoghurt. I might be inclined to describe them as 'foreign bodies', only it seems inconceivable that anything could have entered the bottle after manufacture. Which left the twin theories of the perfume itself separating out and emitting? / spawning? a shower of tiny white flecks, or some kind of partial disintegration of the plastic atomiser tube, my preferred theory.

Flecky Flora Bella

This curious phenomenon reminded me fleetingly of those gold sparkle-type perfumes - Thierry Mugler Alien Eau Extraordinaire Gold Shimmer being one example that springs to mind, though there are others. You know, where the perfume has little flakes of gold shimmer deliberately added, so that it resembles a snow globe when you shake it, and the little gold bits add a glint to your skin. Come to think of it, the very best execution of this concept simply has to be Jean-Paul Gaultier's discontinued tuberose scent Fragile, where the bottle was an actual snow globe, but with gold rather than white flakes!

Anyway, this was not that, and the white flecks were certainly not some kind of 'late onset snow' that suddenly appeared out of nowhere.


Obviously I 'fessed up to the prospective recipient that the Flora Bella was strangely adulterated in this way, and she gamely agreed to take it anyway, assuming it smelt the same, which it does.When I carried out a few test sprays, I had no sense of little white pellets landing on my skin like fine gauge ammo or - God forbid - dandruff! Or should that be the other way about in order of disagreeableness? images of White Shoulders by Elizabeth Arden have just popped into my head. ;)

The parcel is still en route to my friend, but should make landfall this week. If there are any developments, either in terms of the flecks having disappeared - or multiplied(!) - in transit,I will be sure to do an update.

And in a curious coincidence, not only do we have an instance here of 'flecky Flora Bella', but there is a rather fine bluegrass / jazz fusion / funk rock band called Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.

Okay, so that was a bit contrived, but I toss it out there, much as this atomiser seems to be doing with its little white specks...


Have you ever observed any floating detritus in a perfume? 

If so, whether 'small bore', or big chunks of flotsam or jetsam, do share your experiences of unexpected items in the spritzing area!


Angie Cox said...

I have Jivago 24 a fragrance that has real gold flakes in . This might sound pretty but they block up the pump and drive you round the bend .

Vanessa said...

Hi Angie,

Oh I say, that is a new one on me - must look it up. Sounds like the manufacturers didn't think through the practical implications of adding this luxury touch...Time will tell if the speck-laden Flora Bella encounters similar issues though I'd say the particles were very fine?

Bee said...

I have the JPG Fragile and though the glitter globe bottle is adorable it too has problems with the pump. You have to press the base to make it work and in general it just doesn't get much scent out at all. More decorative than functional sadly.

Tara said...

There was also an Agent Provocateur flanker titled "DD" for diamond dust which had shimmering bits in it.

I haven't come across a perfume separating like this but it shows it's a good idea to streamline your collection as these things are bound to happen over time.

Unknown said...

Never had anything like that, but I'm intrigued. Have you asked any of our professional perfumers?

Vanessa said...

Hi Bee,

Wow, you actually have Fragile, what a coincidence, especially with it being discontinued!

Shame that it is dysfunctional though, as Angie found with her bottle of Jivago 24.

Vanessa said...

Hi Tara,

That's interesting about the AP flanker, which I was not aware of.

Well, I am not sure the perfume is separating of course - I favour the 'perishing plastic pipe' theory, because I don't think the perfume could contain these little white bits ;) - but either way it is some kind of age related degeneration, yes, and a shot over my bows in terms of managing my remaining bottles.

Vanessa said...

Hi Sabine,

No, I haven't, but that's a good idea!

Blacknall Allen said...

Yes I have discovered bits of perfume "sediment" but only in very old perfumes and not in modern ones.

One can see your problem there, maybe filtering with coffee filters might clear it?

Vanessa said...

Hi Blacknall,

Yes, I know the sort of sediment you mean and this didn't look like that - more like perished bits of the atomiser, as I mentioned. Weirdly, when I decanted the last of the bottle, the specks weren't so visible, though maybe they regrouped later, hehe.

AustralianPerfumeJunkies said...

Sorry Vanessa, I've not seen them before but I did love the post.
Portia xx

Vanessa said...

Hey, thanks, Portia! xx

Vanessa said...

An unknown reader's comment which accidentally ended up under a different post, so have copied it over here!:

I'm no expert, but I work in the cellar door of a winery, and when wine has been stored at a cold temperature, it often develops tartrates which show up as little crystals in the wine - more visible in a white wine. They are sometimes romantically called 'wine diamonds'. I think there is tartaric acid in perfume, so perhaps these bits in your perfume could be perfume diamonds.

Vanessa said...

Hi there,

Now that is an interesting and eminently plausible theory - thank you for letting us know!

meganinsaintemaxime said...

Vanessa I can't say I've noticed any detritus although I have seen plenty of perfumes with gold flecks. Atelier Des Ors has real gold in theirs. Plus I have a Songes body oil with gold shimmer and I will say that it is not a good idea to apply this before you put anything on the face with all of that shimmer or you will look like you're about to go to a glitter party.

Undina said...

I've never used perfumes with any intentional additives but I returned to the store Yosh's Ginger Ciao because I discovered some strange particles inside the bottle. Two other bottles they offered as an exchange had the same problem - so I had to wait for another 6 months before I found a normal bottle of this perfume.

Vanessa said...

Hi Undina,

I know that scent, but have never come across the particle phenomenon with it, albeit I only ever had a little decant. Glad a non-bitty bottle showed up eventually!

Vanessa said...

Hi Megan,

Thanks for adding to our tally of gold-flecked scents. I am not familiar with the first one, but love Songes. A 'glitter party-ready' look is definitely one to avoid at my age. ;)

angie Cox said...

My goodness, I'm very sorry to hear that you lost so much perfume. To be honest, I have been afraid that anyone on Facebook Fragrance Friends would want a decant because I'm pretty sure that you have to let them have so much proof, gene samples, etc before you're allowed to send anything like that.