At last, you find a fragrance that you can’t wait to put on in the morning. It’s fresh but interesting, light but present. It smells like you and how you want to feel every day. One morning, you spritz the last from your bottle and hie to the store to buy a replacement, and….it isn’t there. The fragrance is no longer being made.
What now? Here are the steps I’d follow to get my hands on more of my Holy Grail.
1. Check for backstock. Just because a fragrance isn’t in production doesn’t mean there aren’t scores of bottles waiting to be sold. Department stores are generally good about checking other locations and having bottles shipped to you. This is great if your favorite perfume happens to be a mass market seasonal flanker. If you’ve fallen in love with a bottle of Fendi you found at an estate sale, this tactic won’t work without a time machine.
2. Try the perfume brand’s website. Maybe you can’t find your favorite perfume because the brand is having problems with distribution — more often a problem with niche fragrances than with the Diors and Chanels. Go straight to the source.
3. Try online perfume sellers. For fragrances from small perfume houses, perfume boutiques with online stores, such as Luckyscent, Aedes, Fumerie, Twisted Lily, Indigo, Beautyhabit, and others might still have stock. For larger perfume brands, check a big online retailer like Parfum1 for discontinued fragrances. (Note: some online perfume discounters are more reliable than others. You bear the chance of getting a “gray market” bottle that might not have been stored well — or worse.)
4. Look into Basenotes and Facebook groups. If the perfume you love is old enough to have vanished from the market — say, it’s Rochas Mystère or the Fendi I mentioned earlier — options narrow. You’ll have to get a bit more Nancy Drew about your search. Members of Basenotes sometimes sell bottles from their personal collections. Facebook hosts closed groups for perfumistas, and members might sell or trade bottles there, too.
5. Ebay. I’ve heard enough stories of scams and spoiled bottles from Ebay to scare me off, but you might be desperate enough to give it a try. Buyer beware.
6. Find something new. In the long run, this last option might turn out to be the best. The people who work at perfume boutiques want you to find a perfume you adore, and they’re good at sussing out a fragrance’s notes and vibe and pairing it with the right person. If you’re lucky enough to live near a good perfume boutique, take in your empty bottle and ask to find its sister scent. Who knows? You might find your new Holy Grail. If you don’t live in a town with a good perfume store, you’ll have to rely on phone calls or emails and purchasing samples. Sure, it might take time, but I can think of worse ways to spend it.
What routes have I missed to finding a discontinued fragrance? Do you have any happy stories of finding your own vanished Holy Grail?