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.
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!
My latest post on Now Smell This is a perfume review of two fragrances from Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger, Rose Irisée and Violette Sacrée. You can read it here.
My latest post on Now Smell This is a review of the recently re-launched perfume Fleur09. You can read it here.
My latest post on Now Smell This is a review of Pink Haze, the newest perfume from Brooklyn’s own House of Cherry Bomb. You can read it here.