the proof is in the parfum





I went to my friend Zubeyde’s house in Tokyo the other night to discuss a new project: an online vintage perfume boutique where we could share our beautiful Japanese flea market treasures with the world at fair and reasonable prices ; a place where we could send these forgotten but precious perfumes to people who would really value them, stare at them, USE them.


It would be fun. We both adore scent, and love the hunting, the exploration; the chase. The heartbeating excitement of a find. The opening to check if it is intact; the smelling ( I would only ever send off scents that I had personally validated  first ).


Sounds fun, no?



I like the idea of collaboration, and the creation of something new. The collusion. The integrity. The ever elusive holy grails, trapped in some moribund apartment. Elixirs for us to grasp and take and assess.



Yes, it might be quite an enjoyable little sideline were in not for one huge, insuperable obstacle: it is impossible to send any perfumes out of the country. The rules and the post office are more stringent than ever: for individuals, at least, it can’t be done ( perhaps perfume businesses are exempt from all the bureaucratic bullshit I don’t know,  perhaps we can try and attain that status ), but in any case, for now the idea is just a silly pipe dream. Not impossible, mind, but at this stage of affairs, extremely impractical.









Still, this did nothing to distract me from the pleasure of witnessing her loot, a stash of boxed treasures that she presented to me one by one over Bourbon and some of which she let me buy ( we gift and exchange, but when the balance gets too heavy on one side it’s only fair to reimburse..)





Michelle Parfum.  I only have the dusky, more gauzy vintage eau de toilette, which is lovely, but how nice to get my hands on a bottle of the parfum, which is both fresher and deeper than the edt; sweet, coconut tuberose sapphic, almost chypric, clingy, emotional – I love her. Likewise, I had never even known that there existed an extrait version of the lovely Romeo Di Romeo Gigli; a crisp ( the crispest ever made perhaps) green orange blossom that was a precursor to the Cabotine/Tendre Poison vogue that came later in the 1990’s, but far more intriguing and superior to any of them. Romeo was released in 1989 and has the most glorious mandarin, mango, and marigold accord that in the top notes of this delicious parfum variant just scintillates like the most eternal of mornings. It is a revelation. You realize that sometimes, the proof of the perfume really is in the parfum, as though all de-embellished and diluted afterthoughts were just poor relations.




Filed under Flowers

17 responses to “the proof is in the parfum

  1. OHMYGOD!!! Yes please! I am SO all over that! Vintage online at fair prices! Woo-hoo! Buying from you sounds so much better than a potentially dodgy seller on ebay!

    • Just a concept at present. I am not the ‘business type’ at all and would never taint The Black Narcissus with anything to do with money, but as another thing entirely it could certainly be fruity.

  2. Thank you very much for your coming, my dear N San. It was real pleasure for me although i was not able to speak English at all due to my puzzled mind with stress of hospital matters.
    Actually, your opinion was extremely important for me for vintage perfume boutique,still it is. I was aware of that difficulties but looking for a possibility of that my day dreaming idea. Becoming a Florence Nightingale of perfumes lovers ! Oh God knows how I’m feeling right now. You were/ are totally right. It has some obstacles but there is some light for me or us for that idea.
    Since that day your coming I was thinking that most probably it is not a good attempt ( becoming F. Nightingale) but as I returning home from job a got another lovely surprise at the very hidden corner of street at night today.
    Who knows some one like “you” a true scent lover holding some perfumes for the first time I may still have chance to make smile others. I guess, it is only a matter of time as always it is.
    By the way, although other half of my perfume babies were not presentable, did you like them?


  3. Pls, forgive me if I’m texting too long but I want to add some more.
    As you know, I’m a construction worker. Hard work, day ends mostly with muscle pains or slight injuries every day and when I came home starve for perfume especially when I’m too tired nothing can not ease my muscle except a few spritz of “that moment” scent. Blue,sad, sexy,boring,melancholic,joyful ( and or) as everyone knows. Each time before USE them I pick and smell them by one by doesn’t matter I know how it smell or not until my “ mind??!” say YES. Then that one can complete the night with me in bed.
    As for me, I don’t like too much sweet scents especially “nonsense silly young-joy” ones, they all must have magic. A ticket to swing into another atmosphere.
    Strangely, if I’m using perfumes day time that means I’m in already joy they can make it double for me. Briefly, every scent has some emotion for me if we match then it is in use !
    I didn’t wonder and open some bottles due to some beliefs I can explain later.
    While I’m writing this I’m coming a conclusion ( internally)that my signature scent could be Shiseido Inoui. Doesn’t matter in which mood you are “finally” you will be in “peace “, no more specific feeling/s like odorless. But not sure yet !

    • You know I love Inoui.
      But what a rare signature scent…


    • This is really lovely, thank you. I can relate.

    • That short comment is for your friend Zübeyde Erdem, but somehow found its way slightly elsewhere.

      As for your idea, Neil, I love it and would love to contribute. I’m with you, though: mailing is crazy, ridiculous, impossible. But if it weren’t, I’d be happy to share my stash and hunt for more. That feeling of introducing someone to something beautiful who might never otherwise experience it is such a rush. I used to do exchanges through the website makeupalley before they discontinued the swapping end of things and mailed things all around the world, back when it was semi-safe. I have a dear young friend in Vancouver, my “niecelette,” and regularly send her samples of (mostly) old things. I get giddy when I give the post office the envelope, knowing Nadia will be in a cloud of vintage scent in a few days. My little Christmas package was simply a vial of vintage EL Private Collection parfum and a small decant of vintage Jean-Louis Scherrer. Two very different oddish greenish scents that seem Christmas-y to me. And thanks to her, I’m on the receiving end of all sorts of modern niche such as Slumberhouse and Bruno Fazzorali.

      Oh, I wish we could collaborate, N. It would be so much fun. I wouldn’t care about the money/business/profit end of things at all. It would be beyond that. More like starting a religion. 😉

  4. Oops, Fazzolari, sorry.

    • In truth though, this was never intended as totally brotherhood of man/sisterhood of scent – we hoped to gain a few extra yen from it as we enter our dotage – but it would have been fair and based on how much we paid for them.

      In reality, though, I am one of the world’s ultimate ‘mendokusagariya’: a Japanese word for people who are morbidly averse to hassle of any kind; just brushing up against bureaucracy for even the most minimal of time can leave me insane for hours.

      Daahling I’m an aaaatist

  5. Maybe you could become perfume “mules” and schedule regular personal trips to major cities with suitcases full of perfumes! Deductible as business expenses? I don’t know how much one is allowed to take personally in one’s checked luggage … but I do love the idea of you having pop-up boutiques in places like London and New York!

  6. Old Herbaceous has hit on something. It would be stellar to have you bring a suitcase full and organise a Vintage Frag Party in a home.
    You’d sell out in moments, pay for your trip, see the world and all for the love and sharing of fragrance.
    F A B
    Portia xx

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