Golden Oldies: Worn For Life


Post by Anne-Marie


Hi all

What is the perfume you have worn the longest in your life?

Golden Oldies: Worn For Life

Chanel No 19 Eau de Parfum Chanel FragranticaFragrantica

Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Neroli, bergamot, green notes
Heart: Iris, narcissus, rose, lily of the valley
Base: Sandalwood, leather, vetiver, oakmoss

I’ve worn Chanel No 19 on and off for … ahem … something like thirty years. I don’t know how I could afford it but I bought my first 50ml bottle of the EDT in the mid-80s when I was a student. Between then and 1991 (still a student) I went through that bottle and bought two more. I still have them all; the first completely drained, the latter two are nearly used and rather on the turn now. (Why did I buy a third before the second was drained? I can’t remember.)

In later years I added more bottles of the EDT and EDP to my collection. I still wear it No 19. It’s the perfume I’ve worn the longest, more than half my life.

In those early years I also bought Estée Lauder White Linen, Lancome Magie Noire, Laura Ashley No. 1, and Eau Sauvage (two bottles). Later, after I moved cities, I remember buying Paloma Picasso, Patou Joy, Estee Lauder Pleasures, and Eau de Givenchy. The last was a souvenir of a trip to the UK and Europe in 1996. I bought it in Paris. Squeee!


This was all before I had started having children in 1998, and ceased spending money on perfume for several years.

I don’t wear any of those regularly any more. I’ve moved on from the Lauders, as you do. Paloma Picasso has some sad memories. Magie Noire I wear occasionally still. Joy I never really liked and still don’t. I bought it to celebrate the fact that I could actually afford a perfume once touted as ‘the most costly perfume in the world’. By 1993 it wasn’t, but I loved the idea of it. Eau de Givenchy has to compete every summer with a clutch of other eaux, though it is still the best of the bunch probably.


Fragrantica gives these featured accords:
Top: Grapefruit, mandarin, bergamot, mint, red fruit
Heart: Ylang-ylang, honeysuckle, pure jasmine, narcissus, tuberose, lily-of-the-valley, rose, cyclamen, orris root
Base: Sandalwood, musk, cedar, oakmoss

Anyway – I’m wondering what is the perfume you have worn the longest, and which you still wear? What is the perfume to which you keep returning, no matter how many other perfumed paths you have explored?

Does this long-standing choice suggest something fundamental and abiding about your taste? Note, for instance, that my early perfume collection contained no gourmands, and no orientals except Magie Noire which is part-chypre anyway. Note also that I skipped the marine/ozonic perfumes of the 90s altogether. Thank God. I’d rather squirt L’Eau d’Issey in my eye than wear it on skin.
Or, have you completely left behind all your early perfume explorations and discarded those early, embarrassing bottles?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Until next time, keep spritzing everyone!

27 thoughts on “Golden Oldies: Worn For Life

  1. Hey there Anne-Marie,
    Yesterday I wore a fragrance that has been on my shelves for decades. JAZZ by YSL. Though it has changed over time still it bears a resemblance to the original beauty that my Mum bought me in my late teens. LOVE it.
    Portia xx


  2. My perfume is Rochas Byzance, which I have worn since its launch in 1987. It reminds me of being a young woman just starting out in life, with all my hopes and dreams. It’s a sweet floriental and it makes me happy every time I smell it. It went out of production for a while but I hear it’s been re-released, haven’t seen or smelled it though as I still have some hoarded stocks.

    I will be sad the day I won’t be able to smell it any more but fortunately Andy Tauer’s Une Rose Vermeille has a similar feel to it and will be my substitute when Byzance is gone. My favorite description of it was from a perfume friend who said it reminds you of something you have always known in your heart is true. That’s it to a T.


    • That is a wonderful description – and I can imagine it would apply to other things like books and music as well. That wonderful moment of recognition. And I’m so glad you have a substitute for Byzance lined up! (I will keep and eye out for the re-released version; I’ve never smelled it.)


  3. Interesting question! I do not feel embarrassed by my early obsessions with Rochas Mystere, Chanel 19, Opium…it’s just that I have the attention span of a gnat and a bigger storage area.


  4. HI Anne-Marie,
    There are several fragrances that I wear regularly that I have stock piled from the 60s and 70s. The one that stands out in my mind is Guy Laroche Fidji. I still love it after all these years.
    Azar xx


    • Fidji has a lot of memories for a lot of people. It must have been unique at the time? There seem to be a few perfumes that people carry through their lives because there is nothing else really like them. Coriandre is another. Calyx maybe.

      I’ve only fleetingly smelled Fidji, but liked it.


  5. We are scent twins…No 19 EDP for YEARS! It’s my crack, I honestly don’t know if I could get out the door to work without that green blast. Love!!


  6. Ah a fellow traveller …. yes I bought perfume instead of food and art supplies in my student days…’s the only time I ever lived in a town. How I discovered my beloved Mitsouko???… must have been destiny, because Guerlain was only available in Sydney. She’s been with me for four decades in one form or another. Part of my perfume obsession now stems from the fact that sometime around the millennium, she changed. I thought my nose had gone! Then the Internet……I have now stockpiled vintage of course, so I never have to worry again. I even scored a cache of the vintage soaps thanks to a tipoff from Portia….
    Oh, and Fidji, this was my summer daytime perfume and especially for holidays….it seemed so sweet and light and floral; now I can see it is quite chypreish in fact in the vintage forms which I have acquired!


    • Perfume really does enrich your life, eh? Worth sacrificing a few things. (I’ve heard Mitsouko soap is wonderful; Luca Turin is a fan, I think.)


  7. I only started wearing perfumes when I started college in the U.S. I think the first brand I really took a liking to was Bvlgari, especially, Bvlgari Pour Homme Extreme and Bvlgari Au the Vert Extreme blew me away! But I am not fan of Bvlgari’s latest offerings. The last Bvlgari creation I enjoyed was the Blu Homme. I took a 180 degree turn on Bvlgari Black. Had it but gave it to my dad. Reading Luca Turin’s guide influenced me to try it again and I admit it is one of a kind that should go up in value and popularity, esp., the earliest formulas.


    • And … Black discontinued, or so I hear. 😦 To my mind Bvlgari is a brand with a handful of great fragrances, and the rest of its large output is utterly unmemorable. Funny you should mention Pour Homme Extreme. I bought it for my son just last week. Not sure if he likes it though.


      • Bvlgari issued some great fragrances in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now they have become a crap brand, especially, after being acquired by LVMH. Bvlgari Pour Homme Extreme is awesome. It should have been more popular. I think I have few backup bottles of earlier versions because it holds special importance to me, due to being one of my first loves early in fragrance journey and one of the first loves I found myself rather than being introduced to by dad or someone else. I acquired my love for Givenchy Gentleman because my dad used it in 90s and Eau Sauvage Extreme which my mom used to love in 1990s. Yes, my mom actually wore eau sauvage extreme 😀


  8. Opium is the first perfume I bought for myself. I was mesmerized by the ads so on my first overseas trip to Paris I bought a gorgeous tasselled Opium pendant with a little bottle inside it, which I have to this day. And coming full circle, my most recent eBay acquisition was a half full bottle of vintage Opium which I am savouring drop by drop.

    I’ve also recently returned to another Paris purchase of the late ’70s, Paco Rabanne’s Metal – I now have a vintage bottle AND a new bottle, and am pleased to report they smell reasonab,y similar – still a wonderful blast of icy floral green.

    I also had and loved Magie Noire and Paloma Picasso! I don’t own either now, but you’ve got me thinking about it. Looking back, all the perfumes I wore were possibly inappropriate for a teenager, but I like to think I’ve grown into them now, and yes my collection is very heavy on spicy orientals! I did go through an Eau d’Issey phase (shudder) but now have an ingrained loathing of that melony aquatic smell so won’t be going down THAT particular memory lane again.

    Weirdly I have never ever tried Chanel 19 but it’s been on my ‘must sample’ list for some time.

    What an interesting topic to think about, I’d never really thought about how my forays into perfume as a teen have come around again now I’ve redeveloped the obsession many years later – now helped along by earning more than a student’s income, and relying on the encouragement of blogs like this!


    • Perfume enriches your life, for sure. Makes you ponder the person you are AND who you might still want to be. I wore the heck out of Magie Noire and Paloma Picasso for brief periods. Geez I must have been a walking wall of sillage! But then, so was everyone else then.

      Congrats on that Opium!


  9. Hello Anne-Marie, thanks for your intriguing post. Here I was thinking I was maybe the only person in the world who still loves Eau de Givenchy. I call it my more that 30 degrees weather scent. EdV travelled with me from Singapore to Tokyo to London, Chicago and Providence and worked beautifully through summer in each place. I can only think of it as smellicious yet not pushy, with what was still then the Givenchy refinement. It may be a ‘younger perfume’ but I don’t care – when I spritz it I feel taller, slimmer and younger. As a teen I wafted about in Ambush (!!) Chamade, Shalimar, Arpege, Miss Dior and Parure. And I too spent food money on scent!


  10. I still own and use the very first cologne I ever bought which was Carven Vetiver, but the vintage one in the (then) cut crystal bottle. That first bottle is long gone, but I always keep one on the shelf to wear when I’m feeling contemplative and quiet. It brings back such strong memories for me of life back in the mid-70’s. Great post Anne-Marie!!


  11. I still have almost all the bottles from my 80-ies perfumes. They are in my room at my parents’ house. Mostly they are empty but some of them contain a few drops of the precious juice, like Guy Laroche’s J’ai Ose, Jean Couturier’s Coriandre,YSL’s Paris and K de Krizia. Of course most of them are splash on bottles and I regularly sniff them when I visit my mum.
    Some of the perfumes from back then I have bought during the past few years in vintage formulations because I adore them: Jil Sander Woman III and some Estee Lauders (Private Collection, Estee) but the one that I’ve been wearing ever since the 80-ies is Wrappings by Clinique. I always have a bottle and every year when spring comes with the first warm days/nights I take it out and indulge in it for a while.


  12. Wrappings! What a great ritual. (I’m afraid it’s too pine-y for me, can’t take it.) Sounds like you and I have similar taste in general though. I wish I had kept all my old bottles; many I did, but I THREW OUT bottles of Magie Noire and Paloma Picasso in house moves. I’ve had to buy them again. Bloody hell. 😦


  13. The one worn for life is Clinique Aromatics Élixir. I bought it when it came out in the 70s and have always had it around since then.
    Added in the 80s were White Linen, which I still have, and Cristalle and Diorella which were there too until the early 90s. I don’t have either now, but if I encounter older bottles they will be back.


  14. I didn’t wear much perfume until… 3 years ago (making me 32 at the time). In fact I had one perfume I would wear sometimes (original Anna Sui) but… nothing else struck my fancy. Would wear incense powder. Then I decided enough was enough and others had to exist that I would like and went on a sample binge … turns out that I love skank (reads as sweet to me) and the driest, smokey, woody things. Hardcore incense too.. not a surprise really. I’ve expanded to leathers and chypres as long as they are not sweet. Even some florals! Oud in its rawest.

    Not sure what it was in the Anna Sui that was good, but I am still fond of it. Even if I am more likely to be found wearing Bois d’acese now days.


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