Elisa describes her beloved long lost perfumes and considers alternatives.
Perhaps the hardest part of the perfume hobby is seeing beautiful perfumes be discontinued. But that’s only the first stage to get through – often, discontinued perfumes are still available online and through discounters for years after they fall out of production. The really hard part comes when those stocks dry up, and the last remaining bottles can only occasionally be found for sale through unreliable sources and at astronomical prices. Iris Gris – a legendary Vincent Roubert creation from 1946 – is perhaps the quintessential “lost perfume.”
But you don’t have to dig back too far into last century to find lost perfumes. Here are five perfumes from the last 25 years that I’ve fallen in love with, only to find them largely unavailable.
L’Arte di Gucci (1991)
Thankfully, there are still good rose chypres in production. But L’Arte di Gucci was special – a big, fruity, nuanced red rose that brings to mind Eau de Joy, with its facets of aldehydes, cassis, and jasmine. To my nose, the base is mostly about the dark, earthy patchouli, with the oakmoss less prominent than in, say, Paloma Picasso. When Angela reviewed this perfume in 2011, she compared it to “wearing red lipstick with a red dress” – a combination so obvious that Donatella Versace called it bourgeois. But I love the costumey effect of L’Arte di Gucci, the way it references both elegance and power. Victoria recommends trying Dior Diorling, Chanel Cuir de Russie, and Parfum d’Empire Cuir Ottoman, if the dark, dry leather of L’Arte di Gucci is what you loved the most.