Vintage Fragrance: Open or Save?

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Erica Golding

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Hello everyone! I hope you are enjoying a lovely day so far.

Recently, the subject of vintage perfume came up in one of my fragrance forums. We started chatting about a vintage, rare Guerlain parfum in like-new condition, with full presentation intact. The opinion shared was that the bottle should be displayed and protected in a museum.

I completely understand the sentiment of keeping something precious in mint unopened condition and keeping it in that state forever, but I have to admit that I have an opposing gut reaction when applying this sentiment to perfume. I feel bad for a lonely pristine bottle the same way that I would feel bad for a stuffed animal who will never snuggle with a child.

Vintage Fragrance: Open or Save?

Perfume is created to be enjoyed, to be an ephemeral glimmer of gold. Preservation of a vintage perfume, in my opinion, is simply a gift passed to a future generation that will hopefully still have the nerve to apply it on their skin. It would break my heart to see precious beauty forever sealed in a bottle, never to harmonize with a wearer’s chemistry and bathe them in sensual pleasure.

Additionally, many perfume components break down or spoil over time. How long should a bottle linger in a UV-shielded glass case, never inhaled, never loved? As it sits there untouched, the potential grandeur within is slowly fading, withering, dying. Centuries later, the liquid inside will mutate and expire, useless and worth nothing. Who was this beauty saved for then? Who would have been worthy of its marvelous dazzle while there was still time? Why don’t we consider ourselves good enough to be the perfume’s ultimate owner and lover?

I am a breaker of seals and a splasher of time capsules. When I score a vintage fragrance, no matter how rare or valuable it is, I do open it and wear it. I’m respectful of my aged perfumes – I am careful to preserve their purity as best as I can, using a sanitary pipette and closing it up securely, storing away from heat and light. But you won’t catch me hoarding something special for a rainy day!

These are just my thoughts and opinions. What do you think? There are no wrong answers here!

Until next time,

Love and light,

Erica