Perry Ellis Oud: Black Vanilla Absolute is (was) back!

And why would anyone think it was gone forever?  That may not be the key question, because unlike other collectibles markets, these olfactory concoction bottles represent something else as well, that is, a kind of “upscale” personal care product (one that gets used up over time).  So, while it may have strong similarities to most other collectibles markets, it also exhibits some unique qualities.   For example, some scents produced not long ago may be cheaper today to produce, but there are the IFRA regulations that may make that impossible now (at least for the major companies).  One can argue that the biggest companies may have worked “behind the scenes” to accomplish this, because they want to produce cheaper scents, but I don’t think that is clearly the case at this point (if so, please disclose your evidence!).

For me, the key question is, why is this scent considered something special?  Now to be clear here, I rarely think a scent is special in the context of what I already own, which is why I was very pleasantly surprised by Dolcelisir by L`Erbolario, a great gourmand that possesses enough balance not to become cloying.  And I had fairly high expectations when I decided to “blind swap” for it, which is rarely the case.  Other than already possessing quite a few gourmands, I read complaints about the longevity of PEO:BVA, so I did not buy it when I had the opportunity the other day.  However, I do think I might acquire it in a swap, especially if and when enough bottles are produced to meet demand (at a price of say $50 or less at the major discounters).  Another fragrance blogger has some very different ideas.  One statement he made recently is:

“…most people have never heard of this fragrance…”

I don’t see this as an issue because nobody I know has heard of many fragrances, including nearly all by Chanel that don’t include numbers!  What appears to have happened here is that a fan base built up quickly for this one, and then there are those who want to grab a bottle at around $50 or less, even if they just want to resell it quickly.  The people who released this scent couldn’t have predicted that this one would be the “blockbuster,” but then again we have no idea how many bottles were produced.  It is certainly possible that the fan base isn’t that large – and the company may now want to release it in small numbers to keep the prices high, though it’s also possible that they have a protocol and they follow it no matter what the sales are.  This blogger then says something I find rather strange, especially in light of the recent success of Sauvage:

“The problem with OBVA is that it’s a Perry Ellis fragrance. Quality-wise, this brand might, when standing on its tippy-toes, brush the Chanel Allure line, and just barely at that.”

First, I consider the initial “masculine” PE scent to be outstanding, but of course times have changed.  On the other hand, this was PE’s attempt at an “exclusive line,” so if they just threw a lot of vanillin and “the usual” masculine “suspects” together, it might have come across something one would find in a Cuba scent.  Then again, Cuba Prestige is an excellent A*Men-like scent!  Things get awfully complicated quickly when trying to get answers to such questions, especially when you add plenty of speculation into the mix (or write as if something must be the case that you cannot verify!).  But after the “ambroxan-overload” Sauvage , why shouldn’t we expect similar things from “lesser” companies?  They might skimp a bit on the aroma chemicals to save a few pennies, but my sense lately is that the main differences involve how much time is spent on “tweaking” the formulation, assuming the perfumers are of roughly equal competency (which may not be the case, for all I know).

The nature of “hype” in this context is also worthy of mention here, as I did my best to describe Amber for Men by Iceberg, pointing out similarities to Ambre Sultan (though Amber also has a rum note!), but I still see it on Scentedmonkey, for example, at $8.73 for 100 mls.  And I’ve been told by people, now and then, that they’ve made some purchases based upon my recommendations and were very pleased.  But again, we simply have very limited information.  For all we know, for example, there may have been 100 times the number of Amber bottles produced relative to PEO:BVA!  The rum and vanilla combination seems like it would get cloying to me, and I have yet to read a review of PEO:BVA that suggests there is enough contrast for my tastes (unlike in Amber, where there is contrast with an herbal note and a hint of the marine-like quality of ambroxan).  Now as to :

“Who Pays Over $50 For This? (Hint: Nobody.)”

Two people did recently, about $100 total per bottle (see ebay item number 381628715126).  Presumably, this was prior to the temporary restocking, but it’s out of stock again, and people spend money on all kinds of “frivolous” things every moment of the day – to me $50 per 100 ml is rather questionable.  I only do it once in a long while when I think the bottle will not lose value and may be something special.  For me, PEO:BVA doesn’t seem like something I should pursue because I can imagine getting a bottle on ebay for $25 a year or two from now, and also because I doubt I’d find it better (or unique enough) than the gourmands I already possess.  I find HM by Hanae Mori to be a unique gourmand, for example, but I don’t wear it because I simply don’t like the composition!  With PEO:BVA I don’t think the composition will be unique enough and also pleasant.  If it were around $10, like Amber, then I would be too tempted to see what it’s like, but otherwise, I don’t feel at all deprived, and that is where I want to end this blog post: perhaps what is mostly driving the sales is that most buyers don’t want to feel that they let something “great” pass them by, so to speak.

NOTE:  My referencing of ebay item number 381628715126 has been called into question so I’ll include a screen shot below.  From what I understand this means that at least one bottle was purchased for $99.95 on May twelfth of this year.  When I clicked on the link to the auction page, it showed that two were purchased, so I assumed this meant both were purchased at this price.  Now considering what the listed prices on ebay have been over the last few months for PEO:BVA, as well as how ebay’s sold items search only goes back a short period of time, I have little doubt that both sold at that price, but if anyone can explain why this is unlikely please leave a comment here.















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