Safari by Ralph Lauren: Vintage Extrait


Kate Apted


Hey there, APJers!

Uh huh, been my lucky week. I scored a vintage parfum Safari from a very kind woman. Safari was my signature scent for years! I found it eerie to smell it again and have that rush of recognition flood me. It was almost like the last decade ceased to exist.

Safari by Ralph Lauren: Vintage Extrait

I came home with the fabulous flacon and demanded both my sons try the very scent I wore when they were both born. Naturally, they were not too impressed, but my eldest, H, became curious to know how it compares to the 2013 eau de parfum I own. He understood straightaway.

“That Safari there,” I said, pointing to the parfum,”I would trade for a lifetime supply all the ones I own now.”


Kate’s precious Safari parfum. That presentation! 😍

It is perfume perfection. I thought it back then and I believe it now. I know in my last post I said vintages were just of an era that has now passed, but Safari, as it existed in the mid-late 1990s, is my ideal. Were it released today, as it was back then, I would still feel the same way. It isn’t because it is vintage it is beautiful, but it ticks off every box I have as meeting the criteria of perfection. It is certainly not the most beautiful, breath taking or masterful scent to have existed. It is the girl-next-door, competent in every way sort of scent.

Safari never had niche level prestige, was available at most departmental stores, had very brown advertising, the bottle was topped with a gaudy lid and housed in a kitsch croc skin box, and it was produced for a label appropriating anything not culturally the owner’s and selling it back at couture level prices. Yet Safari got every bit of the scent right.

The 2013 version of Safari smells like a bunch of plastic marigolds that have sat on the vinyl dash of an old car with sunlight streaming onto them for days. Projection dies down to skin within 20 minutes and longevity is under an hour.

In comparison, the parfum has an intimate galbanum that lasts hours. There is a crisp dryness to the scent that mimics semi wet grass reeds stood on on a cool spring morning. What makes it special is the quiet confidence it has. Safari came out just prior to the game changing Pleasures by Lauder, which advocated for a prim and propper twin set in ballet pink, while Tresor, a few years earlier carried the Grojsman exuberance of loud florals. The subdued Safari, with its old fashioned green, almost chypre, took an Imperialist longing for British adventures on the Serengetti and made it digestible for middle class America. It was way ahead of its time and the only modern release remotely like it is Le Sillage Blanc by Dusita. But Le Sillage is Safari on steroids. Too much of a sufficiently good thing.

Would you buy a past love, given the chance?

May the smell be with you! (May the fourth reference – sorry!)

Kate xx

26 thoughts on “Safari by Ralph Lauren: Vintage Extrait

  1. Wooh, lucky lucky girl you are. And what a beautiful presentation it comes in. I’m all about the vintage that evokes bygone times so I can understand your excitement over this. And glad that H seems to get some part of that too. There’s hope for the youth of this world still😃
    Enjoy every single moment of this. And wear it, don’t store it away.

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  2. Oh yes, memories evoked by scent! In the 80’s I was a Cossack dancer based in London and we went on a tour round Europe. St Moritz, playground of the rich and famous. One of the boys fell in love with an Iranian princess who exuded Mystere by Rochas, it was so exotic I immediately bought a bottle. If only it smelled the same today!

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  3. What a gorgeous find, Kate! I LOVE Safari, – the early batches, of course. Gotta say, Le Sillage Blanc doesn’t strike me as the closest one to S. being too heavy on galbanum and leather, but I find that recent Rouge d’Hermes and Chamade are somewhat reminiscent of the Lauren perfume.

    I’ve already bought all my old flames (In Love Again, Hypnotic Poison, Angel, – took me some time to find old-ish versions: while the perfumes are still good, their current reformulations aren’t impressive at all), was worth it.

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      • Kate, I couldn’t grasp the similarity between these three until I’ve tried a recent Chamade, it seems greener than vintage cologne, and has less hyacinth. Rouge is the same: the juice in early red round bottles is heavier on rose and sandalwood whereas a 2015 edt is, again, greener and less floral. It’s not like either one could be replaced by another, each one is unique in its own way.

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  4. Heya Kate,
    You know how I love some vintage but I’ve never got my sniff on this beauty.
    Mum bought me a mens bottle of this very early on. I think it might have been my 3rd or 4th bottle of fragrance, and I loved it so much.
    Portia x

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  5. I wore that one too back in the day, wonderful stuff. Congratulations on your bottle! For me the special one was Rochas Byzance. I’ve been wearing it since its release in 1987, when I was 21 and just starting my life as a young woman. I have bottles of it in edt, edp and extrait. Tauer Une Rose Vermeille has a similar feel to it so when it eventually runs out, at least I’ll have something to wear that reminds me of it.

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  6. Oh you lucky girl! I loved the original Safari. Yes, there a few vintage fragrances I would to have again, instead of the modern reformulations.
    Safari, Chanel No.19. I really do love some quality galbanum. The original Opium in extrait form because I have so many lovely memories attached to it. And about half a dozen Guerlains just because. Vol de Nuit, Mitsouko, Samsara, Shalimar extrait and Habit Rouge. OH and Coty Chypre, too.
    Enjoy your Safari!

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  7. Good on you Kate, enjoy every drop! Such a pretty treasure. I used to wear Safari for Men – loved it when I had it. I’m not much of a vintage gal in perfume really, nor wine come to think it it! Ha ha xx

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  8. Kate, such a beautiful find! My mother-in-law gifted me a bottle of Safari in the late 90’s. I remember I loved the fragrance and the bottle at the time, and now can’t recall how it smelled. Enjoy your special find!
    Yes, I would buy a past love, and of late I’ve been pining for them. I have been researching and purchasing past loves, and new loves from the past that I missed out on.
    Past loves include Hypnotic Poison, Lancome Tresor, Shalimar, No 5, Coco Chanel, No 22, Cartier Panthere, L’Interdit, Champs Elysees, Arpege, Youth Dew. I have back up bottles stocked up!
    New loves from the past and recent acquisitions include Givenchy Ysatis, Fath de Fath, Estee Lauder Beautiful, White Linen and Azuree, Noa, Esprit de Oscar, Niki de Sainte Phalle, Silences, Dali. I’m enjoying all of these so much!

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  9. Amazing flacon! I still keep my nineties EdP bottle of Safari although there isn’t a drop left in it anymore. Enjoy your new baby. It’s such a beautiful perfume.
    To answer your question: I’d ALWAYS buy a past (eighties/nineties) love. I have older bottles of Giorgio Armani, YSL Paris and Nu, Jil Sander III, Vu by Ted Lapidus, Shiseido Zen, Clinique Wrappings, J’ai Ose and Eau Folle by Guy Laroche, K de Krizia, Private Collection…I still need Maxim’s de Paris, Amazone, White Linen and some more.

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