Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Hi everyone. I wanted to discuss with you all the allure of old vintage perfumes, and how they have been altered and reintroduced so they are easy to wear for today's younger market.
 I came across my mother's old empty bottle of Chanel No.5 which got me thinking of the popularity of this perfume. It is supposed to be  a masterpiece and one of the best selling perfume of all times. But in all honesty, how many of us can wear this intense, complex scent easily every day or felt seduced by it when we were teenagers? Sometime ago, all the big perfume houses came up with the idea of introducing the original classics to younger generation.  Even though a lot of perfume critics don't like this business of monkeying about with the old classics, in recent times, the perfume market has witnessed a rise in teen/tween consumers and they have very cleverly cashed in on this change to their advantage. I don't mind this trend as long as the original gems are not discontinued.
Let's look at some of these old timeless perfumes and their newer counterparts.

The old classic...
Miss Dior - 1947
Miss Dior by Christian Dior 1947
Named after Catherene Dior ( Christian Dior's sister) this perfume was a game changer in the 1950s. Dior became the rage in the fashion world and his first perfume launch was wildly popular, grabbing much attention around the world. Today this brilliant classic is all but forgotten.
Perfume notes: bergamot, galbanum, clary sage, aldehydes,carnation.orris root,jasmine,neroli,lily-of-the-valley, rose, narcissus,leather,sandalwood,amber,patchouli, oakmoss and vetiver.
Scent: Heavy on the patchouli, dry, medicinal, chypre leather, with a touch of spring flowers.
Below is an interesting expert I wanted to share from 
The designer’s instructions to the perfumiers creating Miss Dior were simple: “Create a fragrance that is like love.” But, the fragrance went unnamed until the elegant Mitzah Bricard saw Christian’s sister Catherine enter the Dior Couture boutique and said: “Look, there is Miss Dior”. “Miss Dior! That is my perfume!” exclaimed Christian.
More than one liter of pure fragrance was sprinkled every week in Dior’s first boutique when it opened in February 1947, a lot of money, but very effective propaganda as not everyone could afford the scent. In the post war years it was not easy to find material for the fragrance. There was no coal to burn and thousands of workers were on strike, but the team behind Dior quickly realized that luxury was the secret of success, even if it meant having to, temporarily, neglect its French customers because many had no money to spend.
The first bottle, designed by Fernand Guerycolas, of Miss Dior was sold on 1 December 1947, nine months after the revolution of the ‘New Look’. Miss Dior captured the spirit of the Maison Dior and soon became a fragrance of haute couture.
The modernized version...
Miss Dior Cherie by Christian Dior 2005
Playful and sweet. Miss Dior Cherie is aimed at younger girls in search of classy French perfumes. Miss Dior Cherie is reformulated and not available in it's 2005 version anymore. The new version created in 2011, is supposed to be more subtle and charming.
Perfume Notes: Mandarin orange, wild strawberry, jasmine, rose,Vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, Oak moss and amber.
Scent:Fun,flirty, feminine. Fruity opening with a fresh floral heart mixed in with amber. 
You can read my detailed review of this perfume HERE

The Old classic...
Shalimar by Guerlain 1925

Shalimar was created in 1921 and re-released in 1925 in a bottle designed by Raymond Guerlain. And launched at the Decorative Arts Exhibition as an antidote against The Great Depression. It is said that while examining a sample vanillin, Jacques Guerlain suddenly poured the entire contents into a nearby bottle  of Jicky, just to see what would happen. The result: Shalimar. Jacques Guerlain was inspired by Mumtaz Mahal, the woman for whom the Taj Mahal was built. Indian Emperor Shah Jahan's love for Mumtaz Mahal, his favorite wife, was so great that he built her the Garden of Shalimar in Lahore Pakistan (and indeed the Taj Mahal). Shalimar means the 'Abode of Love' in Sansikrit.

Perfume notes: Lemon, jasmine, bergamot, May rose, Tonka bean, opoponax, Vanilla,Iris, Peru Balsam, gray amber, Patchouli, Rose, jasmine,Orris, Vetiver,Civet,leather,sandalwood, Incense and Vanilla
Scent: Fresh citrus opening  followed by warm enveloping vanilla and leathery woods.(wikipedia)

The modernized version...
                                       Shalimar Initial by Guerlain 2011

Scent of desires, joy and sensuality arrives in a flacon which reminds us of shape of the traditional edition. The new bottle is taller and sleeker than the previous. It is decorated with blue stopper and blue tassel on the neck of the flacon. Liquid of the flacon is coloured in warm pink.
It is said that Shalimar Initial was 
 developed by Guerlain house perfumer Thierry Wasser at the request of his niece, who wanted a Shalimar she could wear. Perfume Notes:  bergamot, orange, green notes, fruity notes, rose, jasmine, iris, patchouli, vetiver, vanilla, tonka bean and white musk.Scent: soft, powdery iris-y floral with a mostly clean woody-musky base. There is citrus in the top, but it has nothing like the rush of bergamot and lemon that opens Shalimar.The heart is a quiet floral, every so slightly sweet, ever so slightly almond-y, with a hefty dose of iris, and the dry down is an ambery vanilla with Shalimar’s dirty bits replaced by a clean white musk. It’s not as dark, smoky, rich or vanillic as regular Shalimar.
                                      Jean Paul Guerlain and his grandfather Jacques

The Old Classic...
Coco by Chanel 1984
Coco by Chanel is a Oriental Spicy fragrance for women. Coco was launched in 1984.Top notes are coriander, pomegranate blossom, mandarin orange, peach, jasmine and bulgarian rose; middle notes are mimose, cloves, orange blossom, clover and rose; base notes are labdanum, amber, sandalwood, tonka bean, opoponax, civet and vanilla.
Scent: Intense, rich and sophisticated with hints of Oriental spices and ambery  dry down.

The Modernized Version...
                                                     Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel 2001
Launched for Chanel's younger fans, Coco Mademoiselle is a more vibrant,fruity version of the old classic.
 Perfume Notes:  orange, mandarin orange, orange blossom, bergamot; mimosa flower, jasmine, turkish rose, ylang-ylang; tonka bean, patchouli, opoponax, vanilla, vetiver and white musk. 

Scent: Youthful and classy with hints of jasmine infused musk with Patchouli.Floral Chypre.

The Old Classic...
                                                      No 5 by Chanel

Famous Chanel N°5 is a symbol of good taste and is currently one of the best selling perfumes in the world. Coco Chanel asked the perfumer to create a perfume ' which smells like a woman'. Chanel N°5 is a very complex fragrance which does not allow any of the fragrant components to be isolated out of the composition, what was exactly a request of the great Chanel – the perfume should not smell like a rose, or a lily of the valley, but as a composition.
The perfume became famous thanks to many celebrities who wore it, among which Marilyn Monroe. Chanel N°5 is often connected to her name because during an interview in 1954 she said that in bed she wore only ‘some drops of Chanel N°5'. That statement became a superb advertising slogan and a reason for millions of women around the world to choose this perfume.
Ernest Beaux created two series of perfume samples numbered 1-5 and 20-24 and asked Coco Chanel to choose one of them. Madame Chanel chose the sample no. 5 and thus the perfume got its name. Superstitious, Chanel presented her new perfume on the fifth day of the fifth month of 1921.
Working on creation of this perfume, Ernest Beaux created and for the first time used the synthetic component – aldehydes. In his formula the aldehydes are accompanied by fragrances of rose and jasmine. The fragrance of aldehydes is pure and fresh, reminds of the odor of clean linen just brought in the house form the fresh frosty air. It is said that the famous creator drew his inspiration for creation of this fragrance from one of his visits to the Arctic Circle and the smell of water in midnight. The unique smell of frozen lakes and rivers fascinated him so much that he decided to replicate it in his creation.
Chanel N°5 is the first perfume in the floral-aldehyde group and the first by the quantity of aldehydes in its composition (another legend says that the Ernest Beaux's assistant overdosed the aldehydes in the composition by mistake). 
The first Chanel N°5 was captured in a simple rectangular bottle with the top which resembled Place Vendome in Paris. The first bottle was designed by Chanel herself and represents her classical principle – the less is more. (source Notes: aldehydes, bergamot, lemon, neroli and ylang-ylang, jasmine, rose, lily of the valley iris, vetiver, sandalwood, vanilla, amber and patchouli.
Scent: soapy aldehyde opening with a creamy floral. Sensual and Intense.

The Modernized Version...
                                                            No 5 Eau Premiere by Chanel
 A new version of the world-renowned perfume – Chanel N°5 Eau Premiere. This modern and seductive fragrance was adapted from the original Chanel N°5.
The new version of the 'old' fragrance is lighter, fresher, softer, more delicate, and suitable for every-day use. Chanel N°5 Eau Premiere includes all original ingredients of N°5: rose absolute, jasmine, neroli and ylang-ylang. Ylang-ylang for this fragrance comes from the Comoro Islands, and Jasmine from Chanel-owned fields in Grasse.( source 

                                                           Coco Chanel

The Old Classic...
Chloe by Chloe 1975
This is a feminine and romantic perfume with an intensive floral aroma; the fragrance with character, like so many of the “old” fragrances. Karl Lagerfeld launched 
Chloe in 1975.
Perfume notes:honeysuckle, orangle blossom, ylang-ylang, hyacinth, lilac, coconut, bergamot, aldeydes juicy peach,jasmine, rose, narcissus, tuberose and carnation,oriss root,oakmoss, sandalwood, amber, musk, cedar and benzoin. 
Scent: Heavy floral with emphasis on aldheydes and tuberose.

The Modernized Version...
Chloe by Cloe 2008

Fragrantica describes it as: The new eponymous eau de parfum by Chloe is quite a departure from the once-popular tuberose composition of the same name. A light and fresh yet seductively strong and self-possessed scent, the new Chloe fragrance is in no way its predecessor's timid younger sister.
Just like all Chloe's bold, arty and free-spirited designs, the fragrance is feminine in a rather non-traditional, not all-out-girly way. Its accords expertly play against each other and they seduce the audience by being both elegant and daring at the same time.
The fragrance is very versatile, it is intended for everyday use and is more than suitable for becoming someone's unique signature scent
Perfume Notes: Peoni, Freesia, Litchi, Rose, Lily-of-the-valley, Magnolia, amber and virginia cedar.
Scent: Capturing the spirit of the woman. Fresh, smooth floral with the emphasis on powdery romantic rose. 

                                                          Chloe founder Gaby Aghion

Are you in favor of or against these new versions? Do you know of any more ? I would love to hear your opinions/comments.


Faiza Ahmad said...

Your blog is different and I like it. Keep up the good work :)

Rakhshanda said...

Great post!!! Thanks for sharing :)

Mania said...

great post,like always. I have to say I am ok with the new versions as long as the old ones don't get discontinued . some of the ones you listed I have and love both young and old versions, and although some of the old vesrions are quite heavy for me they brings back so much memories cos they're the ones my mom use so I don't like them to disappear at all :)
have a wonderful day hun xx

Anonymous said...

I like your comparisons, every time I read I always want to go out and buy a new perfume!
I've never smelled some of these though, but I feel like I get a good idea of what they smell like through your descriptions : )

Su said...

Great comparisons! I like preserving the old but also like coming up with something different, not sure, I'm on the wall :D

Times and tastes have changed over the decades, so I think it is great that they tweek the classics with modern notes and make them accessible to the newer gen. But I also smell marketing :)
I am guarded about vintages, so a modern version would suit me well. I think it is ok to create a new thing like Eau Premiere from No 5. But why completely change it, like Chloe, where you can't even tell what the original smelt like?

Pandora`s Box said...

@Faiza Ahmed:Thank you so much. Means a lot :)

@Rakhshanda:Glad you liked it :)

@Mania:You are right. We should cherish the old for it's vintage quality and the history that comes with it.

@Arriana: Thanks for stopping by girl, it's always great to see you here.I'm glad you like my lil reviews.

@SU: I'm with you on this.I like both old and new for different reasons. I think they should tweek one or two notes to modernize the composition a bit like replacing aldehydes with something else and market it along with the original version instead of entirely changing the formula.
Just can't stand the trend of millions of flankers of the same perfume.Back in the golden days perfume houses released fragrances every 5 to 10 years. I guess it's easier to tweek a formula u already have than to start from scratch.And who wants to put forth the effort anymore of a new name and distinctive packaging.Welcome to the fast- fragrance industry :) Thanks for letting me know about Chanel No.5 Eau Premiere, I'm going to add it to the post. Didn't know it existed I'm so excited :)

The Unnatural Beauty! said...

How I love the classic Chanel No. 5 bottle.. I have an Andy Warhol print (a copy of course) of this bottle framed in my bathroom.. so iconic!

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