When enough is enough… or maybe isn’t.

Sometimes, a fragrance is so good that one bottle is not enough; we want it in multiple concentrations, or we buy “back-up” bottles for fear that what we’ve fallen in love with will get re-formulated, or discontinued (as too often happens).

How I wish that I had bought a bottle of J’Adore when I first fell in love with it… or Opium pure parfum—why didn’t I get it while the getting was good?

When I actually focused my mind on the topic, I was surprised how many perfumes I’ve got in multiple. Shalimar, I knew I had plenty of: Parfum (current), back-up Parfum (current), Vintage Parfum, Vintage Eau de Cologne, Ode a la Vanille, Parfum Initial… yeah, I like Shalimar.

Then I realized, I also have L’Heure Bleue in Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum (thank you Anne-Marie!), and in Parfum. See also: Chanel no. 5, Chanel no. 19, Guerlain Chamade, Fifi Chachnil…

Have I lost my marbles? I want to know, do you like to have different formulations of a fragrance? When is “Enough” really enough?

For your reference: “Myth Busting: What Fragrance Concentration Really Means

48 thoughts on “When enough is enough… or maybe isn’t.

  1. Maybe I’m the wrong person to chime in here, because you’ve indulged my curiosity in this manner a couple of times, not to mention I’m planning a purchase of L’Heure Bleue EDP and (modern) Parfum. I’ve got a gorgeous golden atomizer next to my bed filled with L’HB EDT (thank you again for that amazing piece of eye candy, Dee!) that I am very satisfied with, but is it enough? No, no it’s not. Different concentrations feel and smell different and all offer variations on something we love dearly, so why not indulge?

    1. Carrie, I totally agree! Each concentration *does* feel and smell differently, and if it is something we love, it makes sense to have the whole range to hand. However, I feel like I’m losing my marbles when I’m looking at another bottle of L’Heure Bleue EDT—and seriously considering purchasing it before my bottle is even empty—when I desperately want a FB of Opus IV (which I have not yet ordered)! See why I question the position of my marbles?? πŸ˜‰

      1. Okay, just so I’m clear- how much is left in your bottle of L’HB EDT? I do get that panicky feeling too, and I’m nowhere near finished with my bottle- BUT, the one I like the best is the vintage EDT made between the 70s-90s, and you can’t always find those. How’s that for torturing oneself? Now, if I find a bottle for a good price, I MUST buy it. πŸ™‚

        1. There’s not much left! I think it’s a 75mL bottle, and there’s just over a quarter left (I wear it often, and have shared a little). I believe that it’s from that time period (70’s-90’s, though possibly earlier), and so of course I’m distressed over whether or not to try and find the same vintage, or to go with the current formula… I am always watching for bottles… but then, I have an almost full 5mL decant of the parfum from a split, and Anne-Marie graciously gifted me with a decant of the EDP, which again, is still almost full… so, do I hunt for more EDT??!! The EDT is my favorite, but I am going to try and wait until there are less than 5mL left before I commit to making a decision… probably.
          (talking myself in circles)


          1. I don’t think it’s unreasonable AT ALL to be searching for a backup bottle now, especially since it’s vintage. You don’t have much left, and can you imagine being without? I can’t. πŸ™‚

          2. Lavanya was right, we are in dangerous company!

            Honestly though Carrie, I can’t believe how often I wear L’Heure Bleue; I mean, I like it a lot, but I don’t love it. Then again, if how quickly a bottle is drained measures love… well…

            I’m watching a bottle on eBay—actually, I always am—and when I find just the right bottle again, I’ll go for it. Especially since LH’B season is upon us! It’s just that naggling wonder—is the current formula so much different from the vintage? I thought that I had heard that this particular Guerlie had suffered the least? Dish!

          3. I really don’t think the reformulations over the years have been very unkind to L’HB. Honestly, with the particular version that you and I wear (the vintage EDT), it’s splitting hairs. If you compare vintage parfum with modern parfum, they are both beautiful but the vintage is just richer.

          4. To be honest, I’m not sure I could even tell the difference! Other people seem to agree with you (from what I’ve gathered in my small bit of research), that of the reformulated Guerlain’s, L’HB has suffered least.

            I really should spritz myself with the vintage, and then go to Nordstrom and do a side-by-side— that may allay some of my worries! I’m not exactly a L’Heure Bleue connoisseur like you or AM πŸ™‚

  2. I try to get back-ups of things that I love and know are discontinued, or will be, or that I can get at a great price now but probably not later. Currently the extra crisper in my fridge is reserved for my back-ups. My husband thinks this is strange, but there are worse things I could go wacko on, so he doesn’t say anything.

    1. Julie,

      The fridge is a great place for back-up bottles! πŸ™‚

      Where I begin to really question myself is in asking, will it really be so hard to find another bottle of Bulgari Black in a year or two? Will I be wiling to pay $60 or $80 (or more) for a “vintage” bottle if it is re-formulated or discontinued? More importantly, with the number of bottles in my collection, will I even drain my current bottle and *need* a back-up?

      If there were only five perfumes that I LOVED, then I think I would buy at least one back-up of each; problem is, I LOVE at least twenty, and really like many more! πŸ™‚

  3. dee, I felt a lot better about buying the different concentrations, when I read Roja Dove’s book. He says they are intended to be worn all at once! So spray yourself with the edp, then dab a little parfum and travel with some edt for refreshing. Problem solved πŸ™‚

    I now do this with Mitsouko (edp and parfum) and very soon will do the same with Bois des Iles (edt and parfum) now the weather’s getting cooler. I really like applying this way and you feel like you’re using more of your perfume. Must get some Shalimar parfum one of these days…

    1. Worn all at once! That is wonderful!! I’ve layered some of the Shalimar’s, but haven’t adopted this as a general practice; that is brilliant advice!

      What I like about this method is, as you say, you’re getting use of the beautiful perfumes, without having to pick one or the other.

      I can and will accommodate your desire for Shalimar parfum, very soon πŸ™‚

  4. This post is sooo not good for my no-buy, Dee!! As I told you earlier, I have fallen in love with Shalimar parfum and am exercising all my will-power myself not to buy some vintage from ebay (by the way- I think my husband hates Shalimar. Today I may have over applied the parfum and he said I was giving him a head ache..:()
    Tried vintage Miss dior edt and now can’t wait to get my hands on some parfum.

    With Chanel no. 5 parfum, I feel like I want a bottle of the juice from every decade (to compare)- When I find myself thinking that, I realize maybe that is a bit much..:)

    1. LOL, the “no-buy” periods are actually times when I buy more stuff than when I have no restrictions on myself… something very attractive about the forbidden!!

      Lavanya, the vintage is stunning, and a must try. However, I would caution you not to smell them side-by-side, because it will ruin the current formula for you! I couldn’t wear the new parfum for months after getting my vintage, because it smelled so thin and synthetic next to it, and I couldn’t wear it without thinking how it paled next to the original. Now I keep the vintage safely tucked away for special occasions, and happily wear and enjoy the current formulation. It’s possible though that you might not like the vintage—it will all depend on where you fall in the skank-O-meter! πŸ™‚

      If you are truly determined, just wait and watch: I’ve occasionally seen bottles go for silly-low prices, even if most are ridiculously expensive.

      1. LOL- I almost didn’t get the BdI decant – I thought ” If I am able to say NO to BdI, I can say no to anything”..:..unfortunately (or fortunately), I couldn’t say no to BdI..:)

        Yeah- I like the current Shalimar but I can imagine a richer, more animalic version..My tolerance for skank is pretty high (even though Shalimar prolly has one of the skankier top notes that I have smelt).

        I have seen a couple vintage bottles go for pretty reasonable prices (cheaper than for an equivalent amt of current parfum).. What would you say would be a reasonable price for (say 1/4 oz) vintage Shalimar (unopened/opened)- Thanks!!

        1. I think that for someone who loves BdI, to pass up on splitting a bottle would be insanity; I’ve been wavering on weather or not to buy a full bottle forever, and Daisy gave me some great advice: split the EDT, and buy a bottle of parfum. Which is exactly what I plan to do! And it looks like I might be able to get 50mL, so that will last me quite a while!

          The vintage Shalimar is much richer— if you think the current dry-down is to die for, you will faint with the pleasure of the original! It is much more animalic; I have a high tolerance for skank, but when I first sniffed this juice, I was absolutely blushing! It’s just such a totally sensual experience, and born a Catholic, it’s taken me some time to embrace that side of myself. Shalimar helped πŸ˜‰

          If you can, wait for an unopened bottle— if it’s been in a box for thirty years, even better! I think I paid $79 for mine (7.5mL), so really only about half of what I paid for the same amount of the current formula! We’ve all seen them go for higher, but I’ve seen them go for less; I feel like I got a fair deal, and my juice was/is pristine! I stalked eBay for months for it though…

          1. I’ve only recently realized that I love BdI (all this time I thought it was ‘like’ and managed with samples) I was vacillating between the edt or parfum too, as an anniversary present, but ended up buying some vintage chanel no. 5 instead. That is great advice from Daisy. (Though I might be open to splitting a bottle of the parfum too)

            Re: Shalimar, thanks Dee- that seems like the average that I’ve seen it go at- it is very good deal for an unopened bottle..There is something similar right now that I am ‘watching’. I’ve seen two types of vintage bottles – do you know which is older (I will probably email the sellers to find out but was wondering if you knew?)

          2. I emailed the seller – haven’t heard back. not sure if I am going to re-bid this time, though (I am going to be good..or foolish, as the case may be..:))..

  5. Trying (and owning) multiple concentrations, flankers and vintages means you really get to know a perfume and you learn all about it. If you own vintage No 5 parfum as well as the modern, you really know what those glorious old musks used to smell like. If you own vintage Miss Dior (thanks dee!) you really know what blush-inducing skank of an earlier era is all about. You can ponder, on the basis of personal experience, how different are the perfumes of today compared to 50 years ago. And so on. You see see? Its all part of RESEARCH.

    Anyway, wine lovers and antique book collectors don’t think twice about obtaining every vintage or every edition. So have fun!

    1. annemarie- I wanted to tell you that I finally got some vintage miss dior (from the miniature perfume shop) and you are right – it is a gorgeous gorgeous scent..Do you find the edt lasts long on you?

      1. I find that the EDT (vintage and modern) has moderate lasting power (and for me that means lasting noticeably until about 1pm if I have applied at about 7.30 am) – if it is sprayed. Dabbed from a mini the lasting power is a lot poorer. Of course you have to dab a fair bit to get the equivalent of the average spray. And yet even apart from that the projection from a dab-on is not necessarily all that great.

        The spray on the vintage EDT dee sent me is especially good – it does not hiccup (if you know what I mean) and delivers about the same amount of juice reliably every time.

        Anyway, I hope you are loving your purchase. And just think – it’s all part of RESEARCH.

        1. That makes sense – I’ve been dabbing from a mini- so that’s why lasting power’s not great. There were some really good finds (From a Research point of view..:)) on ebay this week, that I ignored including a 100ml vintage Miss Dior edt (I’d already made my purchase by then)

          1. Yeah, well, 100 mls is a LOT if you don’t know if you are going to like the perfume, and if it is vintage you don’t know what condition it will be in. So I’m sure you have made a wise choice.

    2. ROTFL, Research, indeed! I can picture you giving that speech with a completely straight face, maybe even nodding a little as you convince us, “You see? Its all part of RESEARCH.”

      It’s true, you do really get to know the personality of the fragrance. We all have our moments: who didn’t have a firmer bottom at 17? But age brings changes, some for the better, some for the worse. Shalimar may have changed a lot since her early years, but she’s still a very fine lady!

  6. I haven’t yet felt the need to own multiple concentrations — too much of a newbie. So conversations like this are fascinating to me, even though they may be putting dangerous thoughts in my head for the future. πŸ™‚

    1. Dangerous thoughts are what perfumista friends are good for!

      For me, it began with Shalimar— I loved the parfum so much, that I wanted to get to “know” it in other variations, because not every moment is appropriate for Shalimar parfum, but I want a Shalimar that is appropriate for any moment… if that makes sense? Ode a Vanille is a “work” Shalimar, Parfum Initial is a “sweatpants” Shalimar (or shopping, or house-cleaning), the EDC is the uplifting, refreshing Shalimar… and the parfum? It’s the most wonderful sleep scent there ever was. It seems silly, maybe, to sleep in such a costly, full-bodied perfume… but hey, I’m still a newlywed πŸ˜‰

  7. πŸ˜€ I believe I have Shalimar in 4 versions, and Legere is on its way to me (I also plan on getting the Initial).
    And vintage eventually when I can afford it (or a very good offer comes my way).
    But Shalimar is a special case. πŸ™‚
    When it comes to perfumes, speaking for myself, I don’t believe there will ever be enough. I don’t hoard them, they are in constant flux. Sometimes I end up with stuff I know I’m not going to wear so I give it away and other things find their way to me.

    1. Legere… yum! I’ve been thinking about adding that one to my collection too—do you love it??

      Ines, so long as there are funds to support the habit, and cabinet space enough to house the bottles, you are totally right!! πŸ˜‰

  8. I don’t own any of my perfumes in more than one concentration – I’m not sure why, really, but I often try new perfumes in more than one concentration if available to see which one I like best, Perhaps the reason is that the concentration I fall in love with becomes iconic to me – and using other concentrations almost feels like infidelity – lol! πŸ˜€

    I’ve been circling Shalimar for a couple of years not being able to decide whether I like enough to buy it. I was surprised to read that you prefer the eau de toilette – I’d gotten the impression that the EdP was the preferred one – why do you prefer this concentration?

    And no, there’s no such thing as enough when it comes to perfume πŸ™‚

    1. Marie, I always have a favorite concentration, and like you say, it’s the iconic version (for me, anyway) of the scent. But sometimes another version will feature an aspect that I’m more in the mood for on another day—so I wear a less preferred version to get more of said note!

      Regarding Shalimar, it’s the parfum I prefer! I actually don’t own the EDP or the EDT of it, unless you count Ode as EDP πŸ™‚ In fact, I haven’t even smelled the current version of the EDT! I need to get busy on that, lol!

      It’s L’Heure Bleue that I strongly prefer in EDT: Anne-Marie is more expert on the differences between the concentrations, but I think the EDT is sharper in the topnotes, with a drydown very similar to the EDP or parfum. For some reason, the way the EDT unfolds, from a clear, high note to a deep, thrumming vibrato, appeals to me!

      I also prefer Chanel no. 5 in EDT as well, though with no. 19, it’s the EDP for me πŸ˜‰

  9. Oh, didn’t mean to invoke a desire for the EdT πŸ˜‰

    Chanel no. 5 also equals the EdT for me – it’s perfect the way it is.
    And I also have the EdP of no. 19 – also just right.

    Sometimes switching concentrations is of little use – I’ve tried Cristalle EdT several times but have never fallen for it – too austere for me, somehow, so I went for half a bottle of the EdP that I bought second hand – and hmmmm, I don’t now. It’s not bad, it’s Chanel and all that, but it’s a bit odd, somehow. Fruitier – peaches I believe – than the “original”, but not less austere or cold – and cold peaches – well, it reminds me of Meryl Streeps character in The Devil Wears Prada – the smile never really reaches her eyes – it’s just her lips that are changing positions.

    Come to think of it – there is one perfume that I could see myself owning (a little bit of) in different concentrations and that’s – believe it or not – YSL Opium. I’m wearing the EdT (sample) as I’m writing this and in small doses it’s quite nice, it entertains my nose, which is sometimes what I want, but I don’f find it comforting in the big, old cashmere sweater sense – for that creaminess is needed and there’s more of that in the EdP.

    But if I could have both in one oriental type scent I’d be happier.

    1. Opium… one of my very first perfume loves! I too wouldn’t mind having a few drops of each concentration—original formulation, of course! Off Topic: Opium was my first (unknown) experience with reformulation. I bought a bottle around 2001, I think it was, and it was nothing like I remembered it being. I couldn’t figure out why, and it induced sneezing attacks. That new bottle found it’s way to the Goodwill right quick! It was years before I realized that it wasn’t my memories that were tainted!

      You know, I don’t think I’ve tried Cristalle—I’m probably much overdue! That’s too bad that the EDP didn’t warm it up enough—sometimes there’s enough of a difference to really take “like” to “love,” but it sounds like a no-go. Cold peaches sound kind of delicious though (it’s dinner time in Texas) πŸ™‚

  10. Cold peaches in hot weather is probably a really nice thing – maybe I should try to see them, the cold peaches, from that perspective – and perhaps save them for the spring – alway nice to get a new angle on things πŸ™‚

    I was mostly thinking about my cold sensitive teeth – pathetic, I know, middle age will do that to you – or me, at least πŸ˜€

    Ah, the disappointment of reformulations! I can still recall my Miss Dior reformulation related break down – that was terrible. There’s occasionally something to be said for the ignorance related to getting to know a classic late in the game – you don’t know what you’re missing.

    On the topic of orientals, or ambers, rather, I’m fairly sure that I’ll be going for a contemporary one. Again, related to middle age, my big fear is that someone (my age or older) will smell Opium on me and think “Oh, dear, she never moved on!” and they won’t know that I didn’t wear it back then! πŸ˜‰ It would be the equivalent to the panicky move of dying your hair red when you panick 40+

    No, I’m not vain – not at all. Nope.

    1. Straight to Ambers, because that’s my favorite place: Have you tried Alahine yet? It is sublime, and not at all a red-hair moment, LOL! Probably most people you encounter will never have smelled it, or really anything like it. I Smell Therefore I Am has two of my favorite reviews: Abigail’s, and Brian’s.

      So true about those classics! I know that I am guilty of rolling my eyes at people who lament the late-great-whatever, but when I got that bottle of Opium home… shock, dismay, disappointment, and distress. Yep, all of those things! I had such a powerful association with the scent, that the reformulation felt like a physical assault. I feel your pain for Miss Dior!!! 😦

  11. How funny… I have multiple-multiple backup bottles, but I don’t usually need to have different concentrations of the same scent! I do have a mini of vintage Shalimar parfum de toilette that suits me better than either the edt or the parfum, but (sad to say) hardly EVER wear it. It demands precise weather. And I confess to owning three bottles of my favorite comfort scent, lovely – discontinued! – Shalimar Light.

    I have three bottles of vintage No. 5 parfum, and they’re all different. I have two mini bottles of vtg No. 19 edt, a mini of vtg edc, and a half-full parfum, as well as a big bottle, mostly full, of vtg edt (my preferred version). I have multiple bottles of Emeraude pdt from the 70s.

    Most of my backups are of recently-discontinueds that I love: Cuir de Lancome, TF Black Orchid Voile de Fleur, L’Arte di Gucci. Oh, and Silences, too: two bottles of pdt. The d/c ones seem to be the ones that insist I buy multiples of. “Me! Me! You can just save up for a bottle of Iris Poudre – you need more of me because they’re not making any more of me…”

    1. And that’s the conundrum! One Iris Poudre is roughly equal to No. 5 parfum + No. 19 EDT + Cuir de Lancome + Silences. How’s my math? πŸ™‚
      Believe me, I get it. But the other side of my personality (gemini here) says, are you really going to use the back-up/multiple concentrations? Wouldn’t it be nice to have just one bottle of Bois des Iles parfum?

      Then, I argue back, but I’m almost out of L’Heure Bleue EDT!

      Years ago, in a 400 level journalism class (I know, it doesn’t show), my instructor lamented aloud, “If you could just get your personalities together…


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