Perfume, Cologne and You, Part Three: Vintage Perfume Bottles and Other Ways to Store, Travel and Apply Perfume

November 21, 2021
Vintage perfume bottles
Photo by William Bout on Unsplash

For the last two Sundays we have been talking about perfume in all it’s wonderfulness. We’ve covered Perfume, Cologne and You, Part One: Choosing a Signature Scent and Perfume, Cologne and You, Part Two, The Psychology of Scent. Today is the final installment in this series on perfume. It’s a beautiful topic because we are talking about vintage perfume bottles and other pretty (and practical) ways to store, dispense and wear this loveliness. So consider…

Crystal and China Perfume Bottles

Some scents (like Channel #5) come in beautiful or iconic bottles – so you would probably never want to “decant” them into something else. Cheap wine looks more expensive when you pour it into a crystal decanter before serving. The same can be said for inexpensive or less attractively bottled perfumes/colognes. They can look all-the-more glorious on your chest-of-drawers or dressing table simply by pouring them into different containers. New, fillable, perfume bottles come in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, as do vintage containers. It’s really up to you to decide on the look you are going for.

Crystal will allow you to see the actual color of the perfume/cologne and this may be appealing to you. China-based containers will hide the perfume color, but can be found in a variety of patterns and colors to match your décor. The artistry of these bottles can be quite remarkable. And they make a great collectible. Most bottles will look best when gathered in a grouping on a tray (ah, how I love the tray… see my blog on trays ). This will keep them from dripping unto the wood of your furniture and will minimize the likelihood that they will topple over.

To Spray or Dab But Never To Rub

Perfume bottles allow the user to apply perfume in two primary ways: via atomizers which spray the perfume and and via stoppers (called dowels) which are used to dab the perfume onto the skin. People will often use an atomizer style for less concentrated colognes, Eau de Toilettes and Eau de Perfumes. People use a dowel for more concentrated perfumes, but it is a matter of personal preference. However you apply, you should avoid rubbing your wrists together after application. Rubbing can dull the top notes (or the scents you smell in the first five minutes of applying perfume). Secondly, rubbing mixes the perfume vigorously with your body’s natural oils, which can change the way it smells.

Great Tips For Traveling with Perfume

When in Paris, one of the places I absolutely had to see was the Musee du Parfum (perfume museum in the Opéra Garnier quarter ). I used what little college French I remembered to get directions and I headed straight there one morning. It’s a fascinating place and whilst there you can learn many of the manufacturing secrets of perfume. The history of perfume from Antiquity to the present day is explored, as well. I loved it. But I make no secret that what I loved best was the gift shop attached to the museum. As the French would say: Quelle Surprise!

The Musee is holy olfactory happiness! I purchased a perfume there that has become my evening signature scent: Belle de Nuit by Fragonard. My friend, Ann, who I was traveling with, encouraged me to buy it in a metal spray bottle, as well as a glass bottle. I am forever glad that I did. You see, the metal bottle is not only smaller and refillable, but it travels well without breaking! This part is awesome. I realized, after the fact, that you can buy these metal travel perfume bottles very inexpensively online. You can decant your perfume for travel (or for your handbag).

The other travel trick is that some perfumes come in cream form (and usually in a small tin, much like lip balm). Cream-based perfume packaged in this way is great for travel too!

A Final Thought….

I hope that you have enjoyed this three-part series on perfume/cologne. It’s just one of those non-essential things, but it makes life a little more lovely… and we all could use a bit more of that these days. As always… stay safe out there, my friends… and have fun!

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