Underrated Friday or I Can’t Believe They Were Discontinued
Writing the Tuesday’s article on Lancôme’s excellent and sadly defunct Cuir made me think of other wonderful scents that were inexplicably and unjustly discontinued. When I die and meet my creator, among the questions I’d ask Him/Her, such as, how the Universe was really created and why was it not made any better than it is, why is yawning contagious, why do men have nipples, and what is the attraction of Kate Moss and The People of Labyrinths Luctor et Emergo, I would beg for an explanation behind the discontinuation of Caron Violette Precieuse and Matthew Williamson Incense, among many others. So, continuing the tradition of Underrated Friday, started by Aromascope, I present to you the list of my most lamented discontinued fragrances. I love them and I know many people love them, some of them have quite a cult following. But they were discontinued, which I guess means that an “average consumer” and the brands that released these scents have failed to appreciate their value. Thus- underrated.
In alphabetical order:
Chaos by Donna Karan
Herbs, spices, precious woods…Chaos is dark, balsamic, resinous, wonderfully soothing. It is simply superb. Donna Karan has released some interesting fragrances in the past (Black Cashmere) and I adore her recent Essence Collection. But all the bottles of Wenge in the world won’t replace the amazing Chaos.
Djedi by Guerlain
Originally created in 1926, it was re-released at least once, in 1996, to celebrate its 70th anniversary. And then it was gone again, perhaps this time for good. Why wouldn’t Guerlain add Djedi to its permanent “exclusive” line is a mystery to me. Granted, this blend of vetiver, patchouli and leather is strange, dry and an acquired taste and perhaps Guerlain is concerned that it won’t sell well. But here is what puzzles me even more. In their Les Parisiennes collection, right next to the exquisite Attrape-Coeur, the sharply chic Derby, there exists…wait for it…Purple Fantasy! Surely, not many people would buy that insipid concoction and surely Djedi is more deserving of a place in the permanent collection. Caron still sells its Yatagan, which is almost as bizarre a scent as Djedi…
Grape & Vine by Fresh
Yes, you saw it right. I rue the discontinuation of a Fresh fragrance, and a fruity one at that. It is the only one of their creations that I liked and of course it is not sold anymore. It seems to be gone so completely that even my relentless stalking of eBay does not produce any results. One of my favorite fruity scents, the promised vines of the title were very apparent in it, adding wonderful, dry greenness to the sweetness of grapes.
Incense by Matthew Williamson
Incense is all about soft woods and spices (sandalwood and saffron) with a little bit of amber and musk added for more richness. Like Chaos, Incense has a soothing, relaxing effect on me, it is a comfort scent of sorts…not that I have enough of it to comfort myself with. Williamson discontinued this beautiful perfume and replaced it with the very pink, fruity-floral Matthew Williamson Fragrance…Why? Why?...One of life’s imponderables…
Nombre Noir by Shiseido
Gorgeous, indeed nocturnal perfume, the smell of a black rose, rich, darkly-fruity and slightly smoky…Released in 1982 it was soon gone, perhaps because, as Chandler Burr points out in The Emperor of Scent, “despite its (significant) price, Nombre Noir lost money because of the packaging”. I don’t care about the black octagonal glass bottle. I’d buy Nombre Noir in the most humble container imaginable. Would the scent be as good if it were to be re-released now, would the formula have to be changed to meet the new regulations and would that damage something essential, something that makes Nombre Noir as beautiful as it is? Who knows…
Orchidee Blanche by L’Artisan
It is not completely gone yet, you can still buy bottles at L’Artisan’s boutiques and in some online stores, but the word is that in the very near future my beloved, dry and honeyed Orchidee Blanche, this gorgeous iris scent, will be no more. Oh woe is me!
Violette Precieuse by Caron
Before I smelled Violette Precieuse, I have always found violets to be passive, quiet, pretty, rather boring flowers…Caron’s creation proved me wrong. Violette Precieuse is like no other violet scent out there. This is a daring, very confident violet. It is wonderfully dry, supremely elegant, rather aloof …and this chic, remarkable scent is gone…The Perfume House of Caron, who is obviously not afraid to keep such original, striking scents as Poivre and the aforementioned Yatagan in their collection, saw it fit to get rid of Violette Precieuse…
There are of course many more discontinued perfumes to be lamented. I haven’t even touched those, like Givenchy’s L’Interdit, which, although still widely available, might as well have been discontinued, since the new version does no justice to the original. I am sure you have your own list of fragrance that you can’t believe were discontinued, so share them and let’s mourn together.
The painting, La Belle Affligée, by A.B.Marti, is from porterfieldsfineart.com.
Please tune in on Sunday, July 16, when Perfume Smelling Things will be featuring an article by Erin (Tigs), The Week in Scent.