Throwback Thursday: Vintage Perfume Bottles

sensorium bottles

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about my visit to the “Sensorium” organized by Sephora and Firminich in 2011. Here’s another photograph from that event, showing four vintage perfume bottles: one from Guerlain (Coque d’Or, in the front), one from Hattie Carnegie (in the rear), and two from Elsa Schiaparelli (Zut on the left, Shocking on the right). These bottles matched their fragrances and their brands so well. I think many of us miss seeing that kind of attention to detail today!

Throwback Thursday: Vintage Perfume Dispenser


I took this photo three years ago, at a pop-up perfume exhibition titled “Sensorium: Life at First Scent & Lucid Dreams.” This show was co-organized by Sephora and Firmenich (a global flavor and fragrance producer) and it included various interactive experiences that encouraged visitors to think more about our sense of smell and to learn more about the hows and whys of perfume design.

One of my favorite sections, however, was a more traditional display just inside the exhibition entrance, where vintage perfume bottles and other fragrance-related memorabilia were shown in cases. This fantastic little machine probably dates back to the late 1950s. It dispensed tubes containing sealed-glass sample tubes (“nips”) filled with perfume. For just 25 cents, a customer could enjoy a dose of Chanel no. 5, Lanvin Arpège, Lanier Folie de Minuit, or Silent Night by Countess Maritza. Such an affordable luxury!

Image by Tinsel Creation.

Just Because: Jean Paul Gaultier Perfume Advertisement (1993)

jean paul gaultier perfume ad

Every Friday, Now Smell This hosts a “community project.” For today’s group post, everyone is wearing and naming the a “down the rabbit hole” scent—the fragrance that turned her/him into a perfume obsessive.

Mine? The original Jean Paul Gaultier perfume, now called Classique. It was launched in 1993, and I wore it regularly in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It’s not a niche fragrance, nor the creation of an independent perfumer, no—but thanks to this fragrance in its female-torso bottle, I started thinking about fragrance in a deeper and more detailed way. I realized that rose and vanilla were (and are!) two of my favorite notes to wear. I learned the difference between an Eau de Toilette and an Eau de Parfum, and I noticed the differences between these two formulations of Gaultier’s fragrance. I admired the bottle and learned that it was inspired by an earlier, iconic example: Schiaparelli’s Shocking (created in 1937). Personal taste, terminology, history, visual identity; all aspects of fragrance that I still ponder and research.

If you’re a NST reader, please do add your own gateway perfume to the community post today!