The allure of the lost.

When we were in university, my sister collected old
fragrances, for the pretty bottles. I wasn’t a fragrance slut then, so I paid
them no mind. They were hidden inside her closet for a long time, and were part
of the big move when we left the old

discontinued, Crepe de Chine was a famous fragrance in the
first half of the 20th century.)

found them in a basket last Sunday. They had been exiled to the living
room-turned-warehouse of my grandmother’s house. The living room is always dark,
so they had been spared oxidation damage. I opened the bottles to smell them,
and they didn’t seem to have turned. (Well, except for one – an EDT of Toujours
Moi by Corday.)

only have the bottle (not the soap) of Yardley Red Roses, with 3/4 of the juice
intact. It still smells wonderful – an old-fashioned, full-skirted

Most collectors long for what
is out of reach. Those who collect pens and old railroad nails are luckier;
objects such as these don’t lose their souls after two years in direct sunlight.
(There are perhaps pen and railroad nail collectors who might disagree.) I still
wince when I remember the huge unopened bottle of Coty’s Muguet de Bois that a
grandmother decided to display in her living room, and not use, for twenty

My mother used to receive
fragrances from relatives who would pass through duty-free, dutifully. It is
they I have to thank for Pascal Morabito’s Or Noir (which, in its black opaque
bottle, has soldiered through years of neglect with flowery bonnet held high),
Dior-Dior (now discontinued) and the last few drops of Prophecy by Prince

Don’t hold on to your Ralph
Lauren Blue.