The title of this post is related to posts one can find on the major fragrance sites. I think there was one about a “niche version” of Bleu de Chanel not long ago, and there have been more than a few others. The idea seems to be that the person asking the question wants the same smell but with “higher quality ingredients.” I certain can understand this sentiment. In fact, I often think to myself that a scent could be excellent, if only it didn’t have a “sticky,” synthetic, metallic, or even “chemical mess” quality to it. In other cases I’m thinking that it needs to be stronger, though usually that can be overcome by spraying more.
Now the reason why I chose this title in particular is because I made up several samples for someone the other day, one of them being One Man Show “vintage” aftershave. It’s a splash bottle so I used a disposable pipette to decant into the vial. I put the pipette aside and forgot to throw it away. Later, when I went into that room, I thought to myself, “something in here sort of smells like a niche version of Sauvage!” And then I realized what it was, since that was the only thing in that room that could generate any scent at all. It didn’t have the “blob” type quality of Sauvage and I could get a sense that some actual notes were present. It didn’t seem quite as marine as Sauvage, but the idea is something that can be identified as similar without necessarily being identical (since that is probably asking too much). I would consider layering Horizon with OMS A/S if I really liked Sauvage (but didn’t want to spend any more money) – it only has to satisfy me, not anyone else in the world!
I thought it was a good idea to mention this because the Pour Monsieur blog is back again:
I enjoyed this blog and recommend it. However, the author argues that he only obtains the latest formulations of many vintage scents, since he doesn’t want to go out of his way to find the originals (or something to that effect). Now this is certainly a reasonable position for some of the vintage “greats,” such as Boss Number One; I obtained a bottle about five years ago and thought it wasn’t too far from Boss Cologne. It’s also problematic to find on ebay, because a lot of sellers will call it Boss Number One even if it doesn’t say that on the bottle. And in some cases (with other scents) one doesn’t know what is vintage and what is not, especially if no box is present.
However, it’s very easy these days to set up a notification for free (there are several sites that provide this service, though I’m not sure if all are free). This will allow you to receive an email when something like a One Man Show aftershave bottle is listed on ebay (I think all the splash bottles of this formulation are “vintage”). Of course, sometimes the listing is wrong or the description is problematic, but it will save you a lot of time, since you won’t have to go there every hour or so and search for it (and perhaps a bunch of others that interest you).
Most “vintage hunters” seem to be interested in only one or two at any given time, so I’m not sure why so many have claimed that “vintage hunting” is some sort of major burden, to be avoided at all costs. And while I’m not a fan of bottles that aren’t sealed, I have never had a problem with drydowns with any scent, even ones that looked horrible in the bottle (assuming more than a tiny amount was present, and I’ve only gotten some of those for free in lots or from relatives/friends). But again, you can just set up the parameters that work for you and ignore the “alerts” that you think are not worth pursuing.
It also seems that most of the critics don’t understand the “thrill of the hunt.” I wonder how many of them went hunting or fishing as children (I’m a vegetarian so I certainly don’t advocate these activities), or did anything of this sort, even an Easter Egg hunt! I knew quite a few people back in the early 90s who went to estate sales seeking expensive works of art or antiques – they definitely enjoyed the “rush” they got from it. The critics seem to be overly negative in their assessment of these kinds of activities, so I suggest they try to see things from the perspective of others. It’s a very “low risk/high reward” kind of activity, for those who have the time and enjoy doing it. After all, if you get something at a yard sale you can likely spray it before buying it, and if you buy from ebay there is buyer protection (and obviously you should avoid listings that are suspect).
Why be a “Debbie downer” in this context? But there’s another major issue here: even if you just go to a local store or major discounter site to buy, you might get a vintage formulation by accident! And if you do, because you are not aware of the differences in formulations, you could be misleading your readers when all you had to do was search one of the major sites to read about the differences. I’m sure no blogger wants to do that, but because of this attitude, it’s likely to happen from time to time, and it probably already has in some cases. Moreover, considering how some of the vintage greats are being reformulated into chemical messes, baby bath soap scents, or weaklings, it seems more important than ever to learn a little something about a vintage scent before writing about it.
NOTE: One free alert site is Stuff Alert:
I have no affiliation with it whatsoever, though I think I used it for a scent or two a while back.