When a beloved perfume from the past such as Le Galion’s Sortilège (1936) is relaunched, the logic of perfume marketing demands that the new version be praised as a faithful continuation of the legacy. Meanwhile, those who know the original version can be expected to wail in chorus, “It’s not the same.” But If you love vintage perfumes, you already know it won’t be the same. At best, you hope that the relaunch shows some respect for the history of the perfume and the memories of those who wore it in its original form.
Although buying vintage bottles can be a perilous exercise, vintage perfumes are my comfort zone. I wear many beautiful current perfumes and I always like to explore new releases, but once you develop a taste for certain now restricted ingredients found in vintage perfumes such as eugenol, nitromusks, civet, and oakmoss, newer perfumes will always smell different to you. Some will be just as good as your beloved vintages, but they will always have a different character.