Intermission: Full Bottle Worthy in 2012

IMG_1646I am a big fan of samples and decants, especially since it is rare for me to drain a bottle.  While I appreciate the aesthetics of a well designed bottle, for me what is inside is more important, the atmosphere created by the perfume, the memory associations, the transportive quality of the olfactory experience. There are some fragrances, however, that call you like a siren and want to be a part of your home. This past year, I acquired five full bottles of perfume, pictured above, on my mother’s mother’s mirrored vanity tray.


My first full bottle purchase of 2012 was a sealed vintage bottle of Shalimar extrait from the year 1967, a find on ebay for about $70. Don’t hate me. It was kismet. I opened on my birthday and this is hands down the most beautiful perfume I have experienced thus far in my life. The notes are rich and dimensional, you could almost wrap your hand around the aromas as they waft upwards upon application. The warm incense and magical vanilla are simply gorgeous. This is a different creature from contemporary Shalimar and I am very grateful to have this one in my collection.

IMG_1643I quickly became infatuated with vintage Shalimar, but was discouraged by the $300 plus price tags I found on many of the vintage bottles offered at various sites online. I had gotten lucky with my first find. The above photo is of my second Shalimar find. A sealed box of Shalimar edt in the teardrop goutte bottle with the dauphine or dolphin label. Since I was now in love with Shalimar, I could care less when I found this bottle about the condition of the juice. I was eager to enjoy this little bit of history from fifty to sixty years ago. I was not disappointed by the eau de toilette – a lighter version of Shalimar, this one is just as stunning. When I am ready for a high dose of beauty, I layer the two versions. IMG_1645Another addition to my collection this year was Le Labo Iris 39. I tried the massage oil first and was hooked. This earthy and smooth iris composition is my way of keeping an iris note at hand and satisfies my desire to replace my beloved Chanel no. 19, something I can’t quite bring myself to do. I’m not convinced that the current version will suffice. I’ve come to think of perfumes like bottles of fine wine – all years are not equal. IMG_1642Bois des Iles is the Chanel I purchased this year. This is a warm sandalwood composition and there is an excellent review here at Olfactoria’s Travels. Bois des Iles was created by Ernest Beaux, as was Chanel no. 22, Chanel no. 5 and Cuir de Russie, several other Chanels that I greatly admire. IMG_1641My final splurge of a full bottle fragrance was Bois de Paradis, by Parfums del Rae, out of San Francisco. But this doesn’t make me think of San Francisco at all, but rather someplace more exotic, an island, perhaps, with trees dripping of mango and women with swaying hips adorned in sarongs, lush flowers and the sound of waves not too far off…Notes listed at are lemon, bergamot, orange, rose, blackberry, fig, spices, balsam, woods, amber and incense. That’s quite a lot of fruity goodness. Excellent reviews of this sensual fragrance can be found at Perfume Smellin’ Things and Bois de Jasmin.

Which fragrances did you deem to be full bottle worthy in 2012? Which ones will you seek in 2013? Or do you consider yourself a diehard decant diva?


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About reneetamara

Writing about death, mental illness, spirituality, art and perfume. Because beauty feeds the soul, and love is beyond what we think.

2 responses to “Intermission: Full Bottle Worthy in 2012”

  1. Undina says :

    What a wonderful selection! I haven’t tried any formulations of vintage Shalimar (since I do not like the current version at all I didn’t seek older versions) but I really like the bottle and was even contamplating the purchase of just a bottle.

    Iris 39 and Bois de Iles are my favorites as well but I have only decants of both – for now, I plan to buy Chanel, probably this year.

    As to my purchases, I just counted: I got 13 bottles (several of them partial). The most recent (from the last year, I mean 😉 ) was Ineke’s Hothouse Flower.

    • reneetamara says :

      Time flies, we are now deep into 2014 and I have not purchased any full bottles for myself this year although I have flirted with a few and indulged in the Mona di Orio Discovery set as well as some small decants. 2013 saw me add the pure parfum versions of Chanel no. 19 and Coco to my collection and L’Heure Bleu from the House of Guerlain. I stuck close to the familiar classics.

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