Saturday Question: What Is Your Favourite Vintage Fragrance?




Hello Fellow Fumies,

I have had an idea. Well, actually I’m copying an idea from Olfactoria’s Travels. Once a week there used to be a Question. Everyone would chime in with an answer, chat with other responders and it would be a generally fun events each week. Taking sides never meant taking offence and everyone kept it respectful and light.

I’d like to carry on that tradition, maybe you’ll see it on the weekend or chime in through the week. Hopefully you will come back and see if anyone has responded to your comment and you can reply to them.

If we get over 150 responses I will draw a $20 Surrender To Chance Gift Card. Every comment will get a place in the draw, so if you comment purposefully on your own or another comment you’ll have a chance, will draw the winner on Friday and the winner will be announced in next Saturdays question.

Saturday Question:

Saturday Question: What Is Your Favourite Vintage Fragrance?

OK, so firstly I’m going to define Vintage for this question. Yes, THIS QUESTION ONLY. There is a wealth of argument for and against this but that is todays parameter. Vintage for todays question means anything from before 1990. So any fragrance released up to 1990, especially if it has been changed due to IFRA, budget cuts or fragrance house stupidity.

My answer:
This is hard because I really love my vintage fragrance. One of the problems is that I feel guilty if I don’t choose the ones my Mum wore, giving them Scent Memory Status. Also, my taste is so mercurial that pinning down a favourite this week could easily not be my choice next week. Also, I love some things that I rarely wear because they’re so precious, and wear some things that I merely like because I have an abundance of them and know they smell great on me.

So, I’m going to give the gong today to vintage Miss Dior extrait, created in 1947 by Paul Vacher, Jean Carles, Serge Heftler Louiche. Though it’s not a memory scent and isn’t an iconic fragrance as such it does give me instant and lavish eyes rolled in head joy. I love the way it’s so softly lived in and it’s warm furry galbanum/oakmoss meets floral heart. Strikingly green and earthy yet light as a feather and chock full of precious floral bouquet till the sweet woods, lightly salted dry down.

Parfumo gives these featured accords:
Top: Galbanum, Bergamot
Heart: Jasmine, Rose, Gardenia
Base: Oakmoss, Ambergris, Sandalwood, Patchouli

So my question to you is

What Is Your Favourite Vintage Fragrance?


115 comments on “Saturday Question: What Is Your Favourite Vintage Fragrance?

  1. Tena says:

    For me, it would have to be Jolie Madam. The depth and raunchiness of the vintage is amazing.
    As a matter of fact, I think I will make my tiny bottle my SOTD.

    • Gina says:

      To me this goes on gorgeous jasmine, rich and sweet; dries down creamy with some muskiness ; doesn’t last on my skin though; So, the weird on top of weird, was when I got a second mini of this that went on COMPLETELY tobacco and smoke then dried down very dark, musty but still tobacco. I don’t know which one is the way it should smell. I am assuming the jasmine one. Can you weigh in?

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Hey Gina, I find Jolie Madame very birch & leather too.
        Portia xx

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Tena,
      Aha! What a lovely choice. Jolie Madam is excellent, so much more than anything on offer on todays shelves.
      Portia xx

  2. Sue Mills says:

    Tendre Poison. Can’t replace it. Green but warm, 80s powerhouse with depth and soul. My precious. Always.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Sue,
      One of my besties loves it too. Whenever I see it for a good price I buy it for her and she is insanely grateful. So we both get a win, I get to hunt, she gets to continue wearing.
      Portia xx

  3. Monica Beaton says:

    Frances Denney Interlude – my first “grown up” fragrance – warm and silky, nothing sweet or girly about it. Spicy, dark and romantic and made me feel like a woman.

    • Gina says:

      I tried this one and like how it goes on spicey and smokey. I am not a big chypre fan. It dried down chypre which kept it from being a LOVE for me but this is a chypre that even I can like.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there Monica,
      I’ve never even heard of this one.
      Great name.
      Portia xx

      • Monica Beaton says:

        Happy to send you a sample – it’s a bit “fuzzy” as it’s an oldie, but the drydown is lovely. If you email me your address – I’ll send one off to you!

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Heya Monica,
        You are the sweetest but I have SO MUCH awaiting my nose that it’s become overwhelming. Please don’t send me anything.
        Portia xx

  4. Mary says:

    Always Opium…

    • Kandice says:

      I second that. Such a beauty!

    • Gina says:

      Love it! I almost said that because I wore it in high school but i went back further to vintage before I was born. Something I could not have had in high school that is rare or not produced anymore.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA! That is my BFFs Mum’s fragrance. It’s getting expensive keeping her in the vintage.
      Portia xx

    • Laura Keller says:

      One of my Ultimate Favorite Favorites since the day it was released. I don’t even think of it as a vintage since like Gina I wore it in High School – though if someone were to suggest buying a bottle of the modern stuff I’d be shouting vintage only. =)

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        Laura, 100% with you on this. The new stuff is nice enough but it is NOT Opium.
        Portia xx

  5. Jac says:

    Versace l’homme

  6. AnnieA says:

    Dioressimo is my lost scent because the newer versions are a shoddy imitation.

  7. Erica says:

    Today, my favorite vintage perfume is Shalimar Parfum, followed closely by Chanel No. 22 Parfum.
    However, if you had asked me this 5 years ago (before I started exploring classic vintage perfumery), I would have probably chosen something nostalgic from my childhood: The original China Musk perfume oil from California. My dad bought it in CA for my mom when I was a young girl, and she didn’t really wear it. I used to open the unlabeled clear glass vial, lift the white plastic wand cap to my nose, and drown in the sexy white musk haze of this iconic cult favorite. I used that bottle down to the last drop, I think it was probably 5 mL. Honestly I’m not sure who makes it, I was thrilled to find the real thing at Newport Aromatherapy in Rhode Island and I have a gorgeous cobalt apothecary bottle that Cynthia filled for me about 10 years ago. It has stood up well to the test of time, and every time I wear it I feel young and beautiful. It is a major compliment magnet, I think that many people have a loving scent association with this scent and don’t realize it.

    • Gina says:

      Yes, my first gut was to reply with Tea rose or Jessica McClintock or Opium or Obsession. These all are still faves. But I went further back into my truely vintage vault memory to a time before I was born on this since I am not vintage yet. LOL

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Erica,
      No idea about your China Musk but it sounds heavenly.
      I am a huge Shalimar fan though, so bloody good.
      My vintage CHANEL No 22 started to attack me and give headaches so I moved it along. It was a very sad day when I packed that beauty up.
      Portia xx

      • Tiffanie says:

        No 22 is gorgeous. Also is the most insistent fragrance I’ve ever worn. I can not wear it late in the evening. It will invade my dreams and has woken me from sleep, ha!

    • Laura Keller says:

      No. 22 vintage, Shalimar vintage – especially in parfum -are definitely 2 of my Ultimate Lifetime Favorites and I could have used either for the answer here. China Musk sounds so familiar but I have no real memory of it and never went to California before 50 so I doubt I ever really saw it; it brings Alyssa Ashley musk and more, the Alyssa Ashley Civet to mind though and boy I loved those. Sigh.

      • Alison says:

        Another vote for No. 22. I fell in love with it at what, age 16? Also Calandre which I wore nonstop for 20 years, then stopped because it reminded me of a broken romance, then picked it up again about 5 years ago.

        My all-time favorite vintage though is Lancome’s Magie Noire circa 1980. First time I smelled it was like crack – sadly lost to the ages now.

  8. Gina says:

    Wow, that is a tough choice. Really tough. If I pick one, I have to say vintage Bal a Versailles. Civet bomb. I love civet. It is a rich fragrance without all the oakmoss chypre ick. I also adore many vintage Carons and Guerlains, especially Bellodgia.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Oh yes Gina,
      I too have a BaV stash here of the extrait. SO bloody good. So raunchy yet elegant, plenty of ass.
      Portia xx

    • Tiffanie says:

      +1 for Bellodgia!

      • australianperfumejunkies says:

        OMG Tiffanie, Bellodgia!! I have quite a stash of it too and haven’t grabbed it out in over a year. THANKS for the reminder.
        Portia xxx

  9. Tina G says:

    Guerlain – Vol de Nuit. Every version, however my 30ml propellor bottle is particularly precious. Juice is perfect, it was (& is) well cared for.
    Tina G xx

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there TinaG,
      Those propeller bottles are the absolute bomb. Did Guerlain discontinue them with the others recently? Are you sitting on a vintage goldmine?
      What are you awake at this ungodly hour?
      Portia xxx

      • Tina G says:

        Ha!! All good questions. 🙂 I think I’ve worked out that my propellor bottle is a 1970’s. No idea what they’ve done lately, I find their whole revamp upsetting. And I was awake enjoying some early morning quiet time. Hehe
        xx Tina G

    • Julie F. says:

      I’ll second Vol de Nuit. Always.

    • Tiffanie says:

      Vol de Nuit is Perfume with a capital P. It makes me catch my breath every time I smell it. And agree with Portia that the bottle is fabulous.

    • Lillibet says:

      Oooh those bottles are so gorgeous 🙂

  10. Laura Keller says:

    Virtually impossible for me to answer this question; of my 400+ bottles at least 300 are vintage. Hell, *I’m* vintage. Looking in my closet. My favorite? I can quickly pare that down to 100 or so. Hmmm, okay. I’ll pick Krizia’s Teatro Alla Scala in pure parfum form (with some finishing sprays of edp in case the people on the first floor of our 3 floor building can’t smell me) because that’s what I’m wearing right now. It’s ungodly, unbelievably magnificent, elegant and sexy. A perfect choice for a night at the Opera, I’ve always loved it with jeans, a lbd or nothing (decades ago, people) and am rocking it’s honeyed, civet rich, Oriental opulence while doing housework with my cats today.

  11. Robert H. says:

    Vintage Guerlain L’Heure Bleue Extrait. I can’t even. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
    Robert H. recently posted…Today……My Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Yep, 100% yes. It’s eye rollingly gorgeous, every time. I have a tiny little sample that I’ve eked out over years. It’s heavenly. Death by baby blue powder.
      Portia xx

  12. shiva-woman says:

    I love vintage, and I hane been lucky to score several 1950’s/60’s Shalimar. Heaven. That favorite is followed closely in hot pursuit by Coco Chanel, born 1980’s, so barely vintage. But I love my spices. Great question and I look forward to others’ fav vintages.
    shiva-woman recently posted…Saturday Question: What Is Your Favourite Vintage Fragrance?My Profile

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there Shiva-Woman,
      Two of my all time faves. I loved the Coco 7.5ml extrait rectangular spritz in black & gold. There are a couple here and they are to die for. Coco is definitely vintage now, the original, animal version.
      Portia xx

  13. Tatiana says:

    Oh geez! Just one?!! I can’t pick just one. A starter list would be L’Arte di Gucci, vintage Miss Dior, vintage Diorella, vintage Guerlain Vol de Nuit and especially Mitsouko. I the middle of winter vintage YSL Opium. In the spring vintage Jacomo Silences, Ralph Lauren Safari, PdN Le Temps d’une Fete and especially vintage Chanel No.19.
    Sorry my list is so long. Just can’t narrow it down.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      HA! Tatiana,
      You’re cheating but I don’t mind.
      I love the little Silences parfum bottle. It adds so much depth in that concentration but of course I overspritz it with the PdT to keep it big. MMMMM
      Portia xx

  14. MichelleU says:

    For me it is always hard to pick favorites as I love many fragrances but if I would have to pick ultimate vintage favorite it would be Miss Dior no mattter the concentration. Love it to death and back!

    I am that sort of person who can never decide on favorites but Miss Dior has been close to my heart as it was love at first sniff!

    WIsh you all the best!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there MichelleU,
      WOO HOO! We are Scent Twins for this question. So happy to meet a fellow Miss Dior lover.
      Portia xx

  15. Marion Corvi Low says:

    Hard to choose just one, but luckily I’m old enough to have experienced many vintage perfumes from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. One perfume that was so wonderful in it’s cheeky square bottle was Cabochard. An Indian inspired mélange of spices, flowers, animalic notes and mossy velvety dreamy goodness. Roses, jasmine, oakmoss, carnation, hyacinth, sandlewood, rosewood, vetiver, Patchouli and Russian leather, musk, ambergris, civet. It had everything. It was a little devilish, very sexy, grown up, it almost forced you to behave, yet underneath it had a tigerish growl.

  16. Troy says:

    To wear everyday until the end of the world would be, Vintage Dior Eau Sauvage Extreme.
    A few of my other favorites have been mentioned.
    Vintage Chanel No.22 EdT
    Bal a Versailles
    KL Homme

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Troy,
      I’ve not tried Dior Eau Sauvage Extreme, is it much different to the original?
      Portia xx

      • Troy says:

        Yes ma’am, it has the original dna but it’s more oily and resinous with much more depth. A lot more of the herbals amplified, basil, lavender, and rosemary and a little bit of dirtiness that most of the old Diors seemed to have. I wore it for years and it feels as comfortable as wrinkled linen shirt to me. If you ever get the opportunity, give it a sniff in the Eau Sauvage Extreme Concentree’ form. Not the Intense.

  17. Azsa says:


  18. Tara C says:

    Rochas Byzance from 1987 is my favourite vintage. Sweet, warm and sexy. 🙂

    • xxdfarre says:

      I was going to post that this was also my favourite vintage, how I loved it – and wish it was still around – though of course I might not love it so much now?! And the name sounded so romantic too…

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey TaraC,
      I have a little stash of Byzance. Isn’t it heavenly?
      My sister wore it to her Year 10 formal and for about 12 months the house would often smell of Mum or her wearing it.
      Portia xx

  19. Kate Apted says:

    Mine is a little known Avon beauty called Hawaiian Ginger. Never been anything like it before or after. I had a bottle given to me as a child and I ADORED it. The bottle was quaint and the scent was beyond it ls time.

  20. MikasMinion says:

    That’s an easy one for me. Guerlain Parure, hands-down. I mean, I love and mourn several lost beauties but it’s the only vintage perfume I would actually shell out big money for.

    • Tiffanie says:

      And the Parure bottles are gorgeous. 🙂

    • Bernadette Winfield-Gray says:

      Totally agree! While I love most Geurlain product this one pips Vo de Nuit and even Shalimar.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      WOW! That’s a HUGE call MikasMinion.
      I’ve only smelled Parure from a tiny sample back in my early perfumista days. Sadly I only got one go at in because it dried up. Is it very Guerlain?
      Portia xx

  21. Tiffanie says:

    Great question! I’m enjoying the comments. Caron Bellodgia is my vintage dream fragrance. A marvelous thing.

  22. Ingrid says:

    My all time favorite is Cabochard, I started wearing it in the 60s and still have a bottle. Today’s Cabochard is an insult to those who knew and loved the original masterpiece. Close second is Sikkim by Lancome, the rectangular bottle from 1971.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there Ingrid,
      Yes Cabochard is beautiful. I have some of the vintage parfum in the fabric bow extrait bottle. TBH I use the modern-isa extrait more because the scent feels cleaner and fuller than my old, slightly turned original.
      Portia xx

  23. Lillibet says:

    I haven’t explored many vintage perfumes yet (trying not to fall for too many expensive and possibly unobtainable loves LOL) but I do love Ma Griffe. It isn’t like anything else I’ve come across. Green gardenia under a shimmering froth of aldehydes.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Lillibet,
      Ma Griffe is a lovely green. I have a couple of girlfriends that wear it as their signature.
      Portia xx

  24. Anna Maria says:

    Thanks to you Portia vintage Miss Dior, little slice of heaven…love my Opium from my honeymoon 1989, is that vintage?

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      YAY!! So glad you’re enjoying the Miss Dior.
      For the purposes of this question your Opium is definitely vintage.
      BTW, did you see the above comment? Ma Griffe! Weren’t you wearing it last night?
      Portia xx

  25. Scott Steward says:

    Wow, great question!
    How to pick just one? They are so mood related for me. My old bottles of Magie Noire if I am going out, BaV or Kouros for a date, Coco for general shopping, Madame Rochas for anything classy…Maybe it would have to be Rive Gauche though. I probably wear that one the most, and in all seasons. And it was Mum’s signature in the 70’s, part of the reason I love it. The old edp would be my favourite

    • Laura Keller says:

      All great choices, and most of all yes yes yes on the vintage Rive Gauche body parfum/edp. I didn’t appreciate it as much when it came out as I do now, mostly because my sister loved it and I thought the cans were hideous. (Turns out that aluminum is the thing for keeping perfume good over the years, I really was a dumb kid.) It’s right any time of the year. Love the parfum, edt and cologne too. Any time I wear it out I get asked what I’m wearing

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey there Scott,
      I love that you chose Rive Gauche, my personal memory scent for you is definitely Magie noire though.
      Portia xx

  26. Marion says:

    Ah for me it’s always been and always will be Mitsouko. The memory of my first reform bottle is seared into my psyche, I thought aging had killed my nose! Then the internet…..I’ve got a huge backup supply of all the iterations now. But there are many others….Femme, Diorella, Diorama, Vent Vert, Bal, Fidji, original Poisons and Paris…..the amazing Eden and Lou originals which somehow passed me by back then….but I’m overanswering…I must say in agreeance with Portia, the Miss Dior
    Parfum is a revelation compared to the other versions….

    • Laura Keller says:

      I too rememember my first truly reformed bottle of Mitsouko sans oakmoss. At that time I was in relatively good health still, but I do have a chronic autoimmune disorder that had started to become more aggressive, so I thought for sure something was going wrong with my senses when I got that bottle. Hurrah for the internet!
      I think this question is hard not to ‘over answer’! For people anywhere near my age or anyone who has really gotten into vintages look how many wonderful choices there are. And we didn’t even have flankers for most of that time!

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      YAY!! Another Miss Dior fan.
      Yes, the Mitsouko stash here is out of control. EVERY time I see a vintage extrait for a good price I buy it.
      Lou Lou is another fave but I prefer any iteration to the parfum which I simply cannot do. It’s like drowning in cordial to me.
      Portia xx

  27. Marion says:

    A thought just struck me, I’m going to “do” Amouage this winter so I’ve corralled my samples and decants. I was blown away by Myths Woman upon retrying, and it does remind me of Magic Noir which I’ve only recently scored….

  28. Greg says:

    Such a tough question. Like you Portia, I have a lot of vintage fragrances that I love. But it’s tough for another reason too; do I love them because of how the smell, or for their significance? Some of the vintages I have are, frankly, unwearable, but I would never part with them because they are rare treasures.

    I’m going to answer your question in this second sense, because I find it easier than deciding which one smells best. Without a doubt it is the first vintage bottle of perfume that I ever bought: Jean Patou’s l’Heure Attendue. The bottle is a lovely Art Deco design, but it is the story behind it that gets me. The name translates as “the time that we’ve been waiting for”, and celebrates the liberation of Paris from the Nazis. Along with the New Look, it represents a triumph of culture and spirit over adversity; I tear up a bit each time I look at it.

    Readers with long memories might recall this article about it:
    Greg recently posted…Alchimie by Rochas – a genre-spanning gemMy Profile

  29. Fazal says:

    This is very tough question since I am lover of vintage perfumes but if I am forced to choose only one on a gunpoint, I will choose vintage Givenchy Gentleman because it started my fascination with perfumes and it remains in my top 5 most favorite which is ironical since patchouli is not one of my favorite notes. Most patchouli fragrances have been misses for me rather than hits.

  30. Bernadette Winfield-Gray says:

    How to answer this one when I crave vintage scent? I love Caleche, Cabochard, Parure, Mitsouko, Chamade, Vol de Nuit, Shalimar, Arpege, Miss Dior. But it is Giivenchy III that always makes me feel just that bit taller, lighter and well put together. it is my world conquering fragrance. Mind you, Eau de Givenchy is wonderful for when the temperature goes north of 30C.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hi there Bernadette,
      YUM! I have a bottle of both of these beauties. Givenchy was such a good perfume house. What a shame they have sunk so low in modern times with their 7million flankers of things that were only moderately good to begin with.
      Portia xx

    • Marion says:

      Oh how could I have forgotten Caleche ???? Apart from my Guerlains and Fidji it was the only one I rebought…..

  31. Neva says:

    I think I have never loved any “new” perfume as much as I loved my vintages back in the eighties. I developed a special relationship to each one I wore back then, and I also used to rebuy them. The one I wore from the beginning, when I first saw it in 1983 was Giorgio Armani. The elegant feminine classic is my scent for all festive occasions when I want to feel classy, sexy and mature.

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      Hey Neva,
      Yes, the scent you wore then entered you into a club, didn’t it? A small fraternity of like minded and smelling individuals.
      Do you think because we now have so much that the club is about our love of fragrance rather than the fragrance itself?
      Portia xx

      • Neva says:

        That’s a very interesting question Portia. I am surely here because I love smelling good and it is a kind of lifestyle. On the other hand, I’m trying very hard to find the next unique fragrance of my life and it is a never ending quest, I know.
        I think everyone has a slightly different motive but in the end it has to be relaxed and fun although it sometimes feels as an obsession 😀

  32. Nemo says:

    I have tried very few vintage fragrances because I don’t want to break my heart or wallet. I do love my tiny miniature of vintage Shalimar EDT, though! And I wouldn’t mind trying some other concentrations, as well as some vintage Jicky 🙂

    • australianperfumejunkies says:

      One day you should come to Australia and we can spend a weekend in the frag room sniffing.
      Portia xx

  33. Lindaloo says:

    Like Monica, I too miss Frances Denny Interlude. It wore it at the time it was one of the three scents I had; the other two were Aromatics Elixir (which I am never without) and Cristalle.
    I also miss my later joy, Diorella from the 80s.

  34. sara says:

    Mitsouko. Worn it for over 40 years. It’s me.

  35. jill falconer says:

    I love white linen by estee lauder I love all estee lauder fragrances and another favourite Chanel no 5..

  36. Hikmat Sher Afridi says:

    My love is for Chanel Antaeus and Shalimar Derby

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