Top Great Market Failures : Fragrances

Madness

Does market success serve as the best measure of a great fragrance? Certainly, this is not usually the case. One only needs to browse through the top seller lists to see what kind of blandness is responsible for retail profits. In this spirit, I have decided to compile a selection of a dozen or so memorable market failures—unique perfumes that simply did not survive on the fragrance counters. In some cases, it was due to the overly daring compositions, in others the failure hinged on the poor marketing campaign. So, without further ado, here is my anti-best seller list (in alphabetical order)! I hope that it will entertain you as well as inspire some interesting, and in some cases, inexpensive discovery.

Alexander McQueen Kingdom

Cumin, jasmine, animalic notes? The mere thought that this perfume was launched in the prestige market makes me admire the Alexander McQueen fragrance development team. Needless to say, it was a flop. On the other hand, those who like their flowers dirty and dark might appreciate Kingdom’s drama.

Bulgari Black

Black is still available from certain Bulgari counters as well as Sephora, but it would be a stretch to call it a successful launch. This smoky tea and dark leather composition is simply too edgy and brooding. It is also a modern masterpiece and a must try perfume!

Chanel Égoïste

Égoïste was a relative success in Europe, and a complete flop in the USA. Some observers blame the marketing campaign, the name with its negative connotations, the sweetness and complexity of the fragrance. All in all, the entire franchise just did not make enough money for Chanel, which is why only three years later they introduced Égoïste Platinum. The original Égoïste is ingenious—a gilded layer of sandalwood a la Bois des Iles inlaid with velvety oriental notes, juicy plum and piquant thyme. It is also fantastic on a woman.

Chopard Madness

Dark chocolate, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla… Madness is bold and dramatic. In a way, it is too much of a good thing, but occasionally there is nothing wrong with that. If you are tired of the current “oriental lite” trend, then it will satisfy your craving for something decadent and luscious. The triple fudge nature of Madness scared off the American consumers, and the bizarre marketing campaign of Salma Hayek in distress (see the top image) did not help matters either.

Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve’s eponymous fragrance was a fantastic green chypre with a soft leather note. Its elegance made it one of the best fragrances in that genre, but one only needs to compare it to the wildly successful Elizabeth Taylor White Diamonds to see why its refinement was lost on the wider audience. If all failures could be this splendid!

Givenchy Insensé

Rose, jasmine and magnolia in a masculine fragrance? Of course, floral accents are nothing new in scents designed for the male market, but Insensé does not merely limit itself to a subtle hint. The floral notes are lush and silky, harmonized perfectly with the camphorous green floral top and the woody mossy drydown. Not surprisingly, this avant-garde composition tanked.

Guerlain Nahéma

If asked about his favorite creation, Jean-Paul Guerlain names Nahéma without any hesitation. Along with Chamade, it is undoubtedly one of his most ingenious and memorable fragrances. It sets the plush ylang ylang into a rich heart of plummy, dark notes and wraps it into a classical oriental Guerlain accord. It was such a resounding market failure that the losses forced Guerlain to sell a part of its real estate. The problem of Nahéma, launched in 1979, was timing. Had it come a few years later in the 1980s when the taste for dramatic (Giorgio, Poison, Paris) was at its apex, it probably would have been more successful.

Hugo Boss Boss Pure

A sleek, polished masculine fragrance in the style of Hugo Boss. What did it in was the ad that looks suspiciously like an underwear promotion–a man in white briefs plunges into the water with a look of despair on his face. Is he swimming, contemplating suicide or suffering some existential boredom? Hugo Boss’s trademark is the cool, confident business style, none of which was reflected in the advertising image.

Issey Miyake Le Feu d’Issey

Le Feu d’Issey is a marvel of technical ingenuity and creativity. The pairing of charred, toasted notes with the creamy accord makes the most out of its woody structure, which is dominated by sandalwood. However, this is not the whole story, because sheer rose and crisp lime add their own interesting twists. Le Feu d’Issey smells at once like a stone oven baked focaccia and the salty sun-bleached woods one finds on the beach, a gorgeous juxtaposition of two delicious fantasies. However, when a fragrance is expected to be a crowd pleaser like Chanel Chance or Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, it is not surprising that creative, but challenging compositions do not fare well. The confusing marketing campaign only added to Le Feu d’Issey’s struggles.

Kenzo Kashaya

Strange name and advertising did not help the success of Kashaya, although its creator Sophia Grojsman thinks that the main problem was its rush to the market. Nevertheless, Kashaya is striking—a radiant floral oriental composition that impresses with its unusual development. The initial apricot and jasmine chord of Kashaya are rich and velvety, while the heart is a delicate arrangement of white roses and lily of the valley. Just as one expects Kashaya to fade, it suddenly grows richer and darker again, revealing its amber and musk drydown.

Kenzo Jungle

Cardamom, gingerbread and sandalwood made Jungle L’Éléphante sensual and voluptuous. Another splendid oriental, the likes of which are few and far between. Jungle Le Tigre (now discontinued) is a sweet orange and osmanthus embellished version, which is likewise excellent.

Versace Blonde

Admittedly, Blonde is hardly a masterpiece, it is merely a Robert Piguet Fracas type. Nevertheless, it is a very good one.

Yohji Yamamoto Yohji Homme

The magic of Yohji Homme lies in its blend of cool lavender with the gourmand richness of coffee and licorice. This interesting duality makes it memorable and unique.

Yves Saint Laurent M7

The failure of M7 had as much to do with the ad displaying frontal male nudity as with the dark and challenging woody composition. For niche perfumery lovers, however, this spicy oud and leather blend will be a revelation.

Yves Saint Laurent Nu

The smoky layers of incense over a dark floral accord make Nu one of the most sensual and mysterious fragrances I know.  A must try for any incense lover!

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105 Comments

  • Ann C.: Interesting list! I have tried a few (I got Bulgari Black for my husband; he doesn’t wear it, so it’s mine now), but I can see several others that look like must-tries, including Kezo Kashaya. October 14, 2011 at 7:06am Reply

  • Vanessa: Fascinating to read the lowdown on the fate of these scents, not all of which I know. I lament the loss of Nahema which I liked a lot, though it did remind me of sucking on powdered iron girders. Bvlgari Black is still knocking around on Ebay and in Europe, and I have a bottle, fortunately. Going back to Guerlain, they recently discontinued my favourite scent of all, Plus Que Jamais, and I would love to know the reasons for that. I thought it was a cracker, and LT rated it too. October 14, 2011 at 7:32am Reply

  • Emma: Have Caron Montaigne and Patou Sublime been discontinued? These are perfumes you don’t find anymore at major NY department stores. In the niche category, I never got over the discontinuation of Gobin Daude. October 14, 2011 at 8:28am Reply

  • suzannamars: What a great post, Victoria, and so very entertaining! Love the bit about Boss Pure. Tighty whities, suicide,and existential boredom do not a great fragrance campaign make.

    Going to put on some Nu to share in the fun of this piece. October 14, 2011 at 9:10am Reply

  • Kostas: A quick search for Insense’ online didn’t turn any credible sellers. Any suggestions? October 14, 2011 at 9:30am Reply

  • Victoria: Black is one of my favorites, and I am wearing it today. It is an olfactive equivalent of a film noir! October 14, 2011 at 9:47am Reply

  • Victoria: Maybe, it was just pulled back temporarily? Guerlain has a tendency to bring back its fragrances. October 14, 2011 at 9:48am Reply

  • Victoria: They are both still listed as “living” fragrances in those brand’s portfolio’s, so I guess, their distribution is limited. In the US, they have always been difficult to find. October 14, 2011 at 9:49am Reply

  • Victoria: Nu is such a gem! Every time I wear it, I regret that I did not stock up on more bottles when it was less expensive and more widely available. October 14, 2011 at 9:51am Reply

  • Victoria: I got my bottle when Givenchy first relaunched it, and I think that it has been axed again. I wish I knew where to find it. October 14, 2011 at 9:52am Reply

  • Style Spy: I love Bulgari Black, but I must admit I wear it infrequently. I have to be feeling VERY sure of myself before I put on that stuff.

    Someday I will try Nu, although probably I shouldn’t because it sounds like exactly the sort of impossible-to-find perfection that will drive me mad because I cannot have it. I also need to get my hands on those Kenzos, which sound amazing. I tried Kingdom waaaaay back in my early days of learning about perfume and hated it, but I’m more tolerant/enlightened nowadays, so I should give it another sniff. October 14, 2011 at 10:03am Reply

  • gautami: Great post, Victoria! I have some work cut out for me now. I must try the Kenzos, Givenchy, and McQueen. October 14, 2011 at 10:15am Reply

  • Victoria: Kenzo fragrances, even discontinued ones, are easy to find and they are inexpensive on Ebay. I love both Jungles, and I am glad that L’Elephante is still available. October 14, 2011 at 10:28am Reply

  • Victoria: Glad that you liked it! Sometimes, the best discoveries are the unexpected ones. If a fragrance fails on a wider market, in some cases it is because it was too edgy, too challenging–all good things to a perfumista. October 14, 2011 at 10:29am Reply

  • Nikki: Great reading in the morning! I tried most of the above and agree that some of those were great ones. Although the Kenzo ones are special, except for Kashaya, they were very difficult to wear. I was sprayed with Nahema when at Guerlain in Paris and upon entering another store, people fled…Beautiful but too overwhelming. Insense is a wonderful fragrance, I gave my Bulgari Black away but will have to try Nu again. I remember finding the whole line of Deneuve’s fragrance and body products at Marshall’s or TJMaxx in 1989…beautiful scent and packaging as well. It would be good to know which fragrances will be continued so one can look for them at the discount stores…any lists forthcoming on recently discontinued fragrances to stock up on? October 14, 2011 at 10:31am Reply

  • Victoria: Fun idea! I will have to keep a better track of discontinuations.

    Nahema is best worn in small doses, as it is very powerful. I had a similar experience with it as you did the first time I tried it. It was in Moscow, where people do not mince words. Some stranger said to me, “your perfume is too strong, it is giving me a headache!” LOL! I have been more careful with it since then, and I have received plenty of compliments, rather than complaints, on it. October 14, 2011 at 10:38am Reply

  • Yelena: I remember when Kingdom came out- it had the best drydown at the time. But you are right- I love my flowers very dark. And you are right again- Égoïste always smells like European male to me. For some reason, it just has something in it that would not appeal here in the United States. I always thought that was a good thing. However, if you are trying to sell it here, yes, that would make it a stinker in terms of sales 🙂 As always, thank you for a though-provoking post. Oh- and I was not so happy to see Yohji Homme- I have a bottle that I need to open. This was also the sad fate of my very favorite fragrance in the whole, entire wide world- Yohji Yamamoto Essential. A scent that appeals to no one but me, alas! October 14, 2011 at 10:40am Reply

  • carmencanada: Victoria, I’m surprised you wrote about Nahema as an ylang, when surely it is a rose (and does, unlike what Luca Turin suspected, contain actual rose oil). As far as I know it is not discontinued, as Vanessa seems to think, though there’s a strong chance it isn’t stocked by many retailers.
    As for both YSL masculines, their lack of commercial success might well explain why the brand has become so unadventurous of late.
    We could add the legendary Feu d’Issey as a historic flop that was an aesthetic success. October 14, 2011 at 10:42am Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, good call on Feu d’Issey! It is a gem.

    I do not remember Luca saying that it does not contain rose oil. In fact, when we were once discussing Nahema, we remarked how interesting was the use of both natural rose and damascones, the naturally occurring components of rose oil.

    At any rate, to me, the ylang-ylang in Nahema gives it the gilded character. When I was studying Nahema and working on its duplication, I discovered that without rose, you can still make Nahema, but you cannot have its character without ylang. October 14, 2011 at 10:53am Reply

  • Alexa: I recently purchased NU and love it. The “bottle” is no prize as a round plastic case, but the scent has people moving from room to room to locate the source!
    Alexa October 14, 2011 at 10:55am Reply

  • Victoria: Yohji Yamamoto Essential is a wonderful perfume! In general, the whole Yohji Yamamoto range is fantastic.

    Glad that you liked the post! October 14, 2011 at 10:59am Reply

  • Victoria: I agree, the bottle is a nuisance, and it leaks. The fragrance itself is worth the trouble though! October 14, 2011 at 11:00am Reply

  • Elisa: Egoiste was one of the first fragrances I felt like I *had to have* — I was 15-ish when it came out and read about it in Sassy! (Who remembers Sassy? Best magazine ever.) I did get a bottle as a gift (never having smelled it) and found it a little overwhelming at the time. Now I love love love it. I still have a bit left in that same bottle! October 14, 2011 at 11:03am Reply

  • sweetlife: Kingdom is one of the few perfumes that I purchased unsniffed for the flacon alone! (Then I had an interesting and hopeful little adventure with it and some young women that gave me hope for the perfume future.)

    I have a half bottle of M7 from a similar source and will now go put some on in honor of this brilliant post. Dying to smell the Givenchy Insense now, too. October 14, 2011 at 11:06am Reply

  • Victoria: My husband wears it. He usually leaves for work before I do, and I love whenever I wake up and can smell his sillage of Egoiste. And the sillage is excellent–rich, velvety, dark. October 14, 2011 at 11:12am Reply

  • Victoria: Your point about Kingdom’s bottle made me remember that I also bought it originally for the flacon. 🙂 It is brilliant and very striking. October 14, 2011 at 11:17am Reply

  • zazie: Egoiste!!!
    I remember the ad. Simply great.
    I have an old miniature of Egoiste from my teen days, and it is wonderful stuff. I often say it is Serge Lutens before Serge Lutens.
    I really enjoy wearing it myself, I sometimes add a drop or two of bois des iles and it is heavenly… October 14, 2011 at 11:23am Reply

  • Elisa: You’re right, it is very Lutensian! With that dense spicy fruitiness. October 14, 2011 at 11:34am Reply

  • sweetlife: I was very pleased to see that they included the flacon in the McQueen retrospective at the Met. It fit in perfectly on the wall above a breastplate made of red glass and across the way from that silver metal spine that ends in the spiky tail October 14, 2011 at 11:37am Reply

  • Victoria: Such a great example of McQueen's aesthetic!  October 14, 2011 at 11:41am Reply

  • GrtPumk: I loved Egoiste! Still have it, must dust it off and give it a whirl! Does anyone remember Sandalwood for Men by E. Arden? That was the first “important” i.e. not drugstore fragrance I bought for myself back in the day. The sales lady couldn’t believe I was buying it for myself and not Dad/brother/Grandpa, LOL! I still have a huge bottle, still wrapped, that I bought when it started to get scarce. I’m afraid to crack it open. Thanks for a great article! October 14, 2011 at 11:48am Reply

  • dleep: I love this post! I haven’t sniffed even one of these and now I want to sniff them all. October 14, 2011 at 11:57am Reply

  • Kym: I LOVE this “list.” I’m a big lover of lists in general, thanks for the twist. I’ve never sniffed most of these, but I do have sames of Nu (which feels somewhat thick and goopie to me – it’s kinda a hot mess. I know there are many fans, but it feels cheap to me. I’ve also sniffed M7, which seems a little confused to me. I’ll try this again in cool weather and see if we can arrange to like each other! Question, are Nahema and Mahora related? I thought I read they are the same scent? October 14, 2011 at 12:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, they cannot be more different! Mahora is a tropical floral–tiare, tuberose and loads of coconut, while Nahema is a lush oriental where the ylang ylang and hyacinth are set against a plush rose and plum heart. Very different! October 14, 2011 at 12:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: Some are just fun, others are really special. I enjoyed writing this post. 🙂 October 14, 2011 at 12:40pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have never smelled it, but based on what I read, it should be very good and sophisticated. Do not save it for the rainy day though! Perfume does not last forever, so use it and enjoy it! October 14, 2011 at 12:41pm Reply

  • violetnoir: Nu! One of the best fragrances out there. I love it!

    Hugs! October 14, 2011 at 12:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: It is! I guess, one can glimpse pieces of it in various fragrances from Tom Ford, especially in Black Orchid. October 14, 2011 at 1:05pm Reply

  • Flor: Nu!!! I know so many people who love it, it’s completely unclear to me how it could have been a flop. I think regardless of market acceptance perfume houses should keep their greats alive. Killing them off is a tragic waste. October 14, 2011 at 1:39pm Reply

  • Austenfan: Well I am wearing another not so successful fragrance today. The original Nina by Nina Ricci. I love it and of course loathe the current Nina.
    From your list the only ones I am familiar with are M7 and Black. I like and own a bottle of both. Black is brilliant, and I for one find it very easy and comforting to wear.
    Kenzo has done some pretty great stuff. I used to wear their Parfum d’Eté and remember being quite partial to Kenzo le Parfum, which seems to be called Ça sent beau these days. October 14, 2011 at 2:00pm Reply

  • Bulldoggirl: What a fun post!

    Never heard of Chopard’s Madness but now I most definitely want to sniff it out. (You’re right though; that ad borders on the ridiculous.)

    I admire Bulgari Black and owned a bottle (which is a great design) for awhile but that burnt Barbie Doll note finally did me in. I gave it to one of my husband’s friends and on him it’s spectacular—not at all headache-inducing.

    Kingdom I own and wear, but have to be in a particular mood for it. I actually like it more in its initial phases, when it’s all bright lemon and roses on my skin. The dry down is often just a bit too skanky.

    But my absolute favorite of all these is Egoiste (which must be distinguished from PLATINUM Egoiste, which is not nearly as good). I think this is one of the most magnificent ‘fumes in the spicy/woody genre. Love, love, love.

    Now, if only I could hunt down some Deneuve and Kashaya. My life would be complete :o) October 14, 2011 at 2:23pm Reply

  • behemot: Lucky you! I love Egoiste and bought it for my husband in Europe. He cannot wear it to work, though, because he is a physician and his perfume might irritate some patients. According to the new hospital policy, nobody is allowed to wear fragrance, body lotion and deodorant (!) to work…
    Also, recently I was invited for dinner in a private house and the host told all guests “no perfume, please”.
    It is little too much for me.. Is it the same everywhere in the US, or it is just the Pacific NW, where I live? October 14, 2011 at 2:38pm Reply

  • minette: fabulous list! there are only 6 on your list i don’t own, and only 3 i have never smelled. guess i like marketing duds, and may not be the general audience, because i think the ones i have are really good (my faves are egoiste, m7, nahema, and jungle)!!! the deneuve sounds like something i might want to seek out! i have tried to find the yohji, but to no avail. fun article and way to look at things! October 14, 2011 at 2:40pm Reply

  • Dane: No mention of Le Feu d’Issey?

    Agreed on the others…especially the YSL’s. I’m curious how successful Cinema & Yvresse were/are. Both are still on the market, but never at the YSL counter??

    Glad to see you posting regularly again! October 14, 2011 at 2:54pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, I just added it! It was an unforgivable omission, since it is one of my favorites. I like it so much, it is hard to think of it as being rejected pretty much everywhere. 🙂

    Cinema did not do particularly well, and as for Yvresse, it was beleaguered from the start–the law suit due to the original name (Champagne,) the somewhat retro chypre structure. It was Sophia Grojsman’s take on Mitsouko, by the way. October 14, 2011 at 3:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: The TV spot for it was equally ridiculous! Even the beautiful Hayek did not help to sell it.

    >>Now, if only I could hunt down some Deneuve and Kashaya. My life would be complete :o)

    🙂 Deneuve has been gone for a long time, and I do not have anything other than a sample. Kashaya, on the other hand, is fairly easy to find. October 14, 2011 at 3:20pm Reply

  • Victoria: I guess, I have always rooted for the underdogs! 🙂 October 14, 2011 at 3:22pm Reply

  • Victoria: Wow, no, I have never encountered anything like this on the East coast! October 14, 2011 at 3:23pm Reply

  • Victoria: Nina the original was gorgeous, while the current one is simply trite and predictable.

    I used to wear Parfum d’Eté, and I still enjoy it. Such a fantastic sparkling green floral. October 14, 2011 at 3:24pm Reply

  • Victoria: I would love for the kind of perfume museum, where you could go and smell all of the fragrances available in their original incarnations. And, to make the fantasy complete, perhaps, one could even purchase them! October 14, 2011 at 3:27pm Reply

  • annemariec: Ca Sent Beau does seem to have a confusing history. I thought when it came out it was just called ‘Kenzo’? You still see it called that sometimes at the discounters, who must be harbouring old stock. Very confusing. Kenzo (the company) does not help matters by bringing out perfumes with similar sounding names in identical bottles. I wish they would get a grip. That said, I do like Ca Sent Beau. It’s a great, overlooked treasure. October 14, 2011 at 6:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, this can only be rivaled by Hugo Boss, bringing out similarly named perfumes and not even putting names on the bottles! Cannot figure this out… October 14, 2011 at 6:37pm Reply

  • kady: As soon as I saw the heading for this post, Nu popped into my head. It maybe shoud have been marketed as a masculine? I don’t know, I just wish I could still buy it. October 14, 2011 at 10:33pm Reply

  • Little Red: Not my beloved Nahema! It’ so hard to find that I can’t bring myself to open up the bottle of parfum I have in my collection. October 14, 2011 at 10:53pm Reply

  • Victoria: Dense spicy fruitiness is spot on! That plum note in Egoiste is fantastic. October 14, 2011 at 11:43pm Reply

  • Warum: I love Yvresse! I think you could still buy it from YSL website, but I stocked up locally at beautiful House of Perfumes in Portland Oregon. October 15, 2011 at 1:43am Reply

  • Emma: Victoria, Saks Fifth Avenue has just discontinued the Jean Patou fragrance line, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman only carry Joy. In the US, Sublime can only be found at online perfume discount sites and ebay. The vintage version of Sublime in EDP is one of the most beautiful perfume of all times, I believe a masterpiece as important as Feminite du Bois. The parfum needed serious dilution, from opening to drydown it smelled the same one-note strong vanillic amber, it lacked the complexity of the vintage EDP.
    I was told that Jean Kerleo himself prefered the EDP to the parfum. I never cared about the EDT.
    According to french perfumistas Sublime can only be found at the Jean Patou boutique in Paris now. October 15, 2011 at 1:56am Reply

  • Holly T: Jungle L’Éléphante is one of only two fragrances that my extremely finicky sister will wear; she swears it smelled like the Halloween scratch n sniff stickers we had when we were kids. October 15, 2011 at 5:16am Reply

  • astrorainfall @ beauty box: It was a very entertaining read indeed…Marketing is a powerful force 😉 October 15, 2011 at 5:22am Reply

  • Nikki: oh, no, that is going too far. my husband is a physician, too, and we are moving to northern california. i hope they aren’t that crazy there. i really think this is going too far; i am european and if i may say so, it seems that the USA is going really extreme in everything: first everybody smokes, then nobody is allowed to smoke, then there are these crazy strong american perfumes, i.e. CKOne (loathe it…) and others and one gets bombarded by people’s gluttonous use of perfume and now, one isn’t allowed to wear any perfume or deodorant? i certainly would decline the invitation to a no perfume party, what’s next, dictating which color underwear to wear? i find that individualism in general is not as appreciated here… October 15, 2011 at 10:00am Reply

  • Bulldoggirl: So sad, what happened to Sublime. I was my favorite for several years after it first came out. I smelled a recent incarnation and found it a ghost of its former self. October 15, 2011 at 10:03am Reply

  • sweetlife: This is so sad, Emma. I do love the Patou line’s aesthetic. It seems very grown up and glamorous to me. Even the fruit bowl of Sira des Indes… I have teensy coffret of vintage Patous. You are inspiring me to go put on some Sublime this morning. October 15, 2011 at 12:03pm Reply

  • Flor: Perfect! October 15, 2011 at 1:12pm Reply

  • Victoria: We can wish, right? 🙂 October 15, 2011 at 3:03pm Reply

  • Victoria: It does work really well on a man! I also wish I could buy it in its exact form (Black Orchid is not incense enough for me to be a good replacement.) October 15, 2011 at 3:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: The Guerlain boutiques still carry it, but of course, they are limited to only a few big cities… October 15, 2011 at 3:05pm Reply

  • Victoria: I also prefer the EDP, because the parfum, like you point out, is very rich and heavy. The EDP has that gilded, baroque quality that I admire in Patou fragrances.

    Sad news about it being discontinued in such big stores! October 15, 2011 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: It sure is! 🙂 October 15, 2011 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 I love how some fragrances can remind us of something so obscure, but beloved from our childhood. October 15, 2011 at 3:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: Good point about Sira des Indes. Fruity and modern, but it certainly has plenty of that classical Patou glamor. October 15, 2011 at 3:08pm Reply

  • behemot: i am also from Europe and I feel your pain. Hope you will not have problems in N. Cal.
    But party without perfume… This sounds so strange!
    Thank God, not everyone here in the NW is scared of perfume. I met a lot wonderful perfumistas and there are good perfume stores with great sales people.
    Good luck in N California, it is great here. SF has a lot of good perfume places to shop 🙂 October 15, 2011 at 3:11pm Reply

  • behemot: I am curious if Fendi’s Theorema didi not do well financially, so it became discontinued?
    It is such a great frag. October 15, 2011 at 3:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: We spend quite a bit of time in SF area, and I agree, North CA is a great place (and good shopping in SF.) I also love the laidback, relaxed attitude, which is very refreshing after the permanently stressed out and hectic New York.

    And I love the Guerlain counter inside Neimans in SF! October 15, 2011 at 3:16pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it was simply got discontinued along with all other Fendi fragrances, when the brand lost leadership. The whole collection was simply axed. Now, that it is a part of LVMH, they are using it to push new perfumes. The newest one is Fan di Fendi is not bad, but it does not fit Fendi's image to me at all. October 15, 2011 at 3:27pm Reply

  • johanna: Great list, thank you, I’ll certainly be keeping an eye out for some of these. October 15, 2011 at 4:09pm Reply

  • behemot: The Guerlain counter there is great! October 15, 2011 at 4:30pm Reply

  • behemot: Thank you for the explanation. Fan di Fendi is not bad, but not as great as Theorema… October 15, 2011 at 4:32pm Reply

  • Nikki: oh, great! i am looking forward to San Francisco and the shopping. Thanks for the tip on the Guerlain counter…maybe we can all meet there one day and have a perfumed afternoon…and check out Delrae as well. October 15, 2011 at 5:16pm Reply

  • behemot: Ha ! I live in Seattle, but it is not far to SF from here. Plus, we have good friends 20 mins from SF downtown, whom we visit quite often.. Will be glad to come! October 15, 2011 at 6:30pm Reply

  • OperaFan: Deneuve is such a glorious perfume that I don’t doubt Mme Deneuve herself was heavily involved in the development process. Very glad I had a chance to acquire some in the last few years. October 15, 2011 at 9:02pm Reply

  • Kristen: After reading this post, I went to the YSL counter at House of Fraser (I’m in England), and the SA told me that Nu is being re-released in November with totally different packaging. I’m looking forward to trying it; I own three of the other perfumes on your list- M7, Egoiste, and Black. October 16, 2011 at 11:24am Reply

  • Nikki: sounds good! let’s exchange info. October 16, 2011 at 11:27am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you, Kristen! What great news!! I will check here to find out when it might be launched in the US. October 16, 2011 at 11:54am Reply

  • hmichel@cogeco.ca: I agree with carmencanada’s comment. When I read your comments about Nahema’s notes, I presumed you were discussing Mahora. Nahema no doubt uses ylang, as do most perfumes, but its dominant note is not ylang, but rose. It was re-formulated after its introduction to downplay the ferocity of the rose and the fruity topnotes but it is not discontinued. Only the parfum was discontinued. Mahora was also re-formulated to change the balance of tuberose and ylang, and in the end it was discontinued but may be brought back as a LE. October 16, 2011 at 3:38pm Reply

  • Bob J.: I’m afraid I have to agree about the Northwest. I live in a currently-mega-trendy town that is fashionably “outdoorsy” and “natural” and I always get the sense that the open wearing of perfume or scent is something that would be looked down upon. Perhaps it’s different in the heart of our most urban cities, but walking through town and passing someone who smells good is always a rare treat here. October 16, 2011 at 4:13pm Reply

  • Victoria: I never said that Nahema was discontinued, but thanks for an added info. Never missed Mahora that much, but I guess, those who love it will be glad to know that it might return. October 16, 2011 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: I noticed it recently when I came back from the Northwest to NYC. Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by the smell of perfumes everywhere! October 16, 2011 at 4:57pm Reply

  • Victoria: Oh, lucky you! Such a gem that fragrance. October 16, 2011 at 4:58pm Reply

  • Victoria: I’m glad that you liked the post! Some of these fragrances are still easy to find both in stores and online. October 16, 2011 at 5:00pm Reply

  • Olfacta: Certainly this is California’s little secret, at least So Cal where I used to live — there are many people who just refuse to put up with much of anything, whether that be perfume or (God forbid!) smoking or parking one’s car in front of a neighbor’s hourse, or…well, the list is long. October 17, 2011 at 7:27am Reply

  • Cristine: Mahora is, in fact, available as an exclusive–it’s called Mayotte. It was renamed and repackaged in the iconic bee bottles and given a hefty price increase. I believe it can be purchased at Guerlain boutiques and certain high-end retail stores. October 17, 2011 at 8:53am Reply

  • A-M: Dear Victoria,
    I enjoy your blog very much and I commend you on your interesting and original posts. Although I no longer work in perfumery, I once did both as a perfumer and then as a sales manager. I had a chance to meet Jean-Paul Guerlain, and I recall asking him something about the rose in Nahema. He shrugged and said that I didn’t understand Nahema. It was not about rose for him. Good for you to be able to see this fragrance in your own way! It is complex enough to fit many other views.
    Regards,
    A-M October 17, 2011 at 9:40am Reply

  • nstephens@beachcroft.com: I always rather suspected I was drawn to the less obvious, shall we say, and here is proof! Of the 15 scents listed I own 9 and wear/have worn extensively in the past 7 of them. Bulgari Black is the closest I’ll ever get to a signature (can’t yet afford La Fougueuse!)and I love Kingdom, Egoiste, Deneuve,and Nu. Great list, thanks and thanks to all who have commented with extra bits of information. Am so happy Kingdom got its place in that McQueen exhibition. Though I think Sarah Burton is doing a wonderful job keeping his aesthetic alive whilst adding her own signature, McQueen himself is much missed. Nicola October 17, 2011 at 9:43am Reply

  • Victoria: There is a new rule here that you cannot smoke near the office building. Or maybe, it is not new, but I have not noticed it before. At any rate, it is widely flaunted, although I have observed some people being chased out. 🙂 October 17, 2011 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yeah, I agree, no comparison at all! October 17, 2011 at 12:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: Ah, I remember seeing Mayotte, although I admit that because I dislike Mahora so intensely, I did not even revisit Mayotte. I knew that it was related to Mahora somehow. Thanks, Cristine! October 17, 2011 at 12:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: Nicola, me too! I also miss his own verve, and while I admire Burton’s work, it is difficult to compare her aesthetic with that of McQueen. October 17, 2011 at 12:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for your interesting comment! It is interesting how perfumers sometimes see their own work in a very different way. It is always fascinating to hear them speak about their own creations. October 17, 2011 at 12:54pm Reply

  • Cecile: I have a bottle of Nahema from the original launch and it’s a powerhouse. What you buy today is like a pale, diluted version. Sad that it had to be reformulated.
    Great list! Thanks, Victoria! October 17, 2011 at 4:02pm Reply

  • Victoria: Just an update on availability of Nahema and Mahora. I went to Guerlain boutique today, where I was told that Nahema parfum is indeed still available in 30ml bottles. The Eau de Parfum is sold too, in 50ml refillable bottles.

    And they also have Mahora sold as Mayotte in their exclusive range. October 17, 2011 at 10:17pm Reply

  • Victoria: Lucky you! I have a small amount of the original formula, and it has a very different character what the current Nahema. The current one is much more tamed, more well-behaved. The original is dramatic, lush and heady. I prefer the original one for its character, but I admit that the current version seems more wearable to me. October 17, 2011 at 10:21pm Reply

  • Nikki: Hello Victoria!

    Thanks for the list; the Chopard Madness arrived, all 3 of them, and they are fabulous! Just love the fragrance! I think Christine Nagel is a genius, her Mauboussin from 2000 for Mauboussin is fabulous as well. So, thank you for mentioning this Nagel creation! By the way, it is discounted like crazy on e-bay as well as in stores in Germany…makes you wonder why they sell a perfume like this for $9.99. October 20, 2011 at 10:14am Reply

  • Victoria: It is probably coming from the gray market, which is why it is so inexpensive. And also, it is discontinued, so they are trying to get rid of the stock.

    I am so glad that you liked it!!! October 20, 2011 at 10:18am Reply

  • Carolynn: Oh I’m so glad you mentioned Givenchy Insense! I feel like it’s been completely forgotten. I picked this as a present for my man when I was 17! I can’t decide if I was just a very sophisticated teenager or if I thought he was sophisticated enough to wear such a scent. =) At any rate, I was still in The Philippines then and I haven’t been able to find this here in Sydney. To everyone looking for it, I’ve found a seller online. Enjoy!

    http://au.strawberrynet.com/mens-fragrances/givenchy/insense-ultramarine-eau-de-toilette/17678/ April 5, 2012 at 10:02am Reply

  • jb: Oh I did not know jean patou sublime was discontinued 🙁

    It is still being sold here in my country but what is available is the new formulation with stamped of P&G.

    On my nose it still smell nice, powdery and distinctive but it is too expensive $150 sigh February 2, 2014 at 6:10am Reply

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