Cyber Perfume Cemeteries, Virtual Fragrant Memorial Stones {Scented Thoughts}

perfumer-tombstone-B.jpgPerfumer tombstone, 2nd century

An interesting phenomenon which has been created by the anchoring of a 24/7 perfume discourse on the internet and the vast circulation of perfume lovers is the unanticipated for me appearance of virtual mini memorial sites spontaneously erected for perfumes that are no more. Like in a classic cemetery, people visit the "tomb" and lay not a wreath but leave a comment to reminisce about the past life of the fragrance. The difference is that, I believe in most cases, there is a practical, hopeful goal: resurrect the perfume for renewed enjoyment of it.

Not all fragrances are equally loved so not all discontinued fragrances get mourned collectively but I thought it would be worthwhile to take stock and list those memorial places which have sprouted within the blog. They have become, I had to realize, veritable places of mourning and fragrance contemplation...

In fact if I go back in time, I think that the issue of the reformulation of Mitsouko by Guerlain motivated my own setting up of what can be seen retrospectively as a memorial space for a defunct perfume. I used words such as "ghost" but also "Te Deum" in the hope, perhaps, that a different course would be taken in the future. It is however not this perfume which is considered to be a masterpiece by many which has garnered the most throbbing manifestations of longing and despair but other fragrances, some much less admired but no less loved.

This is the thing with perfume: it does not need to be great in any artistic and creative sense to be adored. It just needs to make you happier.

My own explanation to the lack of greater emotion expressed at the thought of Mitsouko's death is simply that the reformulation is acceptable if not as compelling than the one for the old Mitsouko created by Jacques Guerlain. Perfumer Edouard Fléchier, the author of Dior Poison, tried to restore some of its former architectural balance and flesh and he did; I have a version which is a bit better than the ghastly thing I smelled one day at Marshall's but it still pales in comparison with the older versions. Maybe one day I will forget how it once smelled. The episode of Mitsouko Fleur de Lotus created by Jean-Paul Guerlain was sort of redeeming to me and not just to me apparently. There was here a certain mellowness and suavity, a certain grace which was closer to my memory of the Mitsouko pre-reformulation.

Mitsouko is not discontinued and it still lives as I smell it sometimes on women both younger and older.

Another explanation is that the site for mourning of this fragrance which is a reference one is more diffuse and spread out on the internet, although the example of Tova, a once hugely popular fragrance, might contradict this assumption

Tova eau de parfum Memorial Site

I think that the top most heavily frequented memorial site is the one that de facto got set up for Tova after I did a post on the 25th anniversay of the scent. It continues to draw visitors who leave a comment to express both anger and sadness at the loss of a life companion. A mass-marketed musk scent through QVC, it lives in the memories of countless people.

Further attempts to find the right balance in the reformulation was met with half-succes over the course of several "flankers" like Tova Platinum with each seemingly put out in an attempt to get it right.

Stella Cadente Miss Me Memorial Thread

Stella Cadente Miss Me was axed in 2008. Some people really do not want to see it go and hope it will be back. I never wore it personally, but I remember it was the one or one of the few ones I noticed most after having done a Sephora wall progression.

Zibeline by Weil Memorial Stone

Long gone, but never forgotten. There has been a new formulation by Weil. I should report on it.

Le De by Givenchy Memorial Thread

Memories remain staunchly alive in the face of the new formulation, which is too different from the vintage Le De.

Crabtree and Evelyn Memorial Site

C & E are literally breaking the hearts of their loyal customers.

These are the perfume tombs I can remember.

Other no doubt future gravestones to add will be if I finally publish my double-take on Diorissimo. I do not even feel like doing a post about Ma Griffe de Carven because it is just so bad in the new reformulation. One article that would be more workable for me would be the differences between vintage Vent Vert by Germaine Cellier and the new Vent Vert reorchestrated by Calice Becker.

I am not however of the school of thinking that all reformulations are necessarily debasing. I perfectly accepted the complete new personality of Orange Blossom by Penhaligon's signed by Bertrand Duchaufour because the new scent is compelling. Féminité du Bois by Serge Lutens has an improved diffusion and sillage in the new formulation.

Now there arises the question of Opium. I would need to gather my thoughts on this one as I have enjoyed their numerous flankers over the years. There was never just one Opium in my experience but a number of variations of Opium, which I think I preferred in eau de toilette. I am not sure what Belle d'Opium is supposed to be exactly in the context of this rich line of descendants, but we'll see.      

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