Sorting through the vintage greats.

I’ve been more interested in variety lately, and what that means is I wear vintage less often. Moreover, because of the sharp rise in price for many vintage scents, it’s not a bad idea to sell some now, which would relieve feelings of becoming a hoarder as well as bringing in some cash! I have plenty of “backup bottles” of a bunch of vintage scents, but I’ve also been thinking that I should sell off some that I never seem to be interested in wearing as of late. How do I decide which ones should go?

Quorum is an interesting case. I like all the notes, but I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed wearing it, perhaps due to a lavender note that is just too strong. However, I have enjoyed Henry Cotton’s in Green, which also features a strong lavender note. The difference is that the rest of the composition of in Green seems to “cut” the lavender whereas in Quorum it seems to enhance its irritating qualities. Because vintage Quorum does not seem to have “hit the big times,” in terms of prices, though, I’ll likely hold onto it for a while.

Carven Homme is another that I don’t seem to be enjoying enough lately. Instead, I would wear vintage Heritage EdT. Not long ago, CH was selling quite well, but then a whole lot of “new old stock” seems to have been discovered and 50 ml bottles were selling for around $20 new. This is a case where it would seem to wait until prices rise again. Micallef #31 is another of this type, though it’s simpler and tends to be less cloying than CH can sometimes be to me. I recently acquired a bottle of Le Male Terrible, and this may be one to keep, because it’s not too close to vintage Heritage EdT, though it’s one I would swap if someone made me a great offer.

Vintage Red for Men is so complex that I can’t imagine not wanting it in my rotation. Every time I’ve worn it I’ve gotten at least slightly different impressions. And while I’ve enjoyed it a bit more or less, I’ve never experienced a “bad wearing” with it. The “patchouli monsters,” by contrast, have bothered me over the last few years. These include Givenchy Gentleman, Giorgio for Men, and Moods Uomo. On the other hand, while I enjoy the Boss Cologne/Tenere type scents, I’m not sure if I need more than a bottle of one of those. Success by MCM was released around the same time with a similar note list, so I never thought it worthwhile to obtain a bottle, though I sometimes look to see if someone listed it at a good price on ebay.

By contrast, the “castoreum monsters” are more appealing to me, though for a while I was very sensitive to that note. These include Salvador Dali Pour Homm, Vermeil, Davidoff, and One Man Show, though there are some that aren’t quite as monstrous in this context, including Leonard Pour Homme, Jil Sander Pure Man, and Van Cleef & Arpels Pour Homme. The most well-known, older aromatic fougeres have not interested me in quite a while (Paco Rabanne Pour Homme, Azzaro Pour Homme, etc.), but I think I’d like to keep Montana’s Parfum d’Homme because it is more complex, which allows for different impressions (with the fougere accord sometimes not seeming to be too strong).

Kouros is an interesting one in this context. I’ve got Balenciaga Pour Homme, Joint Pour Homme, and Kouros Fraicheur, as well as vintage Kouros. Lately I’ve prefered BPH due to the nice sandalwood note, and less astringent qualities, but these are the kinds of scents that really seem to go from one end of the enjoyment/irritation spectrum to the other, depenging upon overall sensitivity or sensitivity to certain notes, accords, or aroma chemicals. Then there is One Man Show and Krizia Uomo. I think I might prefer the vintage aftershave formulation of OMS above others I’ve tried, but I think I’ll keep my vintage EdT as well, along with a bottle of KU, beause again these seem to vary considerably in terms of my enjoyment of them.

Havana and Montana Parfum d’Homme (“red box”) have some strong similarities. The Montana may be the most complex scent I’d call a fougere, whereas lavender does not play any major role in Havana, which features a tobacco note absent in the Montana. They both start out rather loud, but in the case of Havana, it’s too loud, though I can just use my technique for getting to the drydown more quickly, so that’s not really an issue. And while I have too many fougeres, I don’t think I should move out my Montana bottle because the complexity it possesses means that I may be able to wear it when no other fougere will be tolerable. Then there is Havana Reserva, which is a simpler but more tobacco-oriented version of Havana, which means I usually wear it rather than Havana. Because of this, I would part with my Havana bottle, though right now prices are low so it makes sense to wait. The Montana is also not expensive, so there’s not much of a decision to make. If someone wanted to offer me “big money” for a Havana Reserva bottle, I’d be tempted, but otherwise there’s no real decision here.

Sybaris by Puig is another that is in this range, but there doesn’t seem to be much of a market for it, so again, it pays to wait and see if prices rise for that one. The drydown on these is not that far from that of vintage Bijan for Men or Patou Pour Homme, actually, and in the case of those, BfM can be found in vintage formulation at low prices on ebay if one has patience whereas PPH seems to always sell for hundreds of dollars per 90 ml EdT. In any case, I think the above has supplied some ideas about my thought process in this context. One thing I don’t want to do is waste too much time on a hobby, but to me this is also a kind of journey of discovery. I don’t know what the limits of my olfactory interests are, and there are no scientific studies that might help clarify things (that is, a study of perhaps thousands of people over the course of a decade or more who have done what I’ve been doing since 2008). And so, I can’t help but to spend some time each day thinking about how everything “fits together.”

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