It is a question of style and of exclusivity: Vintage perfumes are pointers and gateways into a past we seem to remember but cannot really grasp. A post that is gone. A world that is different to our world. Today’s post is , as promised, on Miriam, the first fragrance of the Tableau de Parfum series, built up together with Brian Pera, around Woman’s picture. If you are new to the concept: I invite you to visit Evelyn Avenue, as it is on Evelyn Avenue where you find all information and more. There, we are building a world of moving pictures, perfumes and words, a gateway into a past as we remember it.
I mentioned a couple of times that I constructed Miriam like a vintage fragrance. Maybe of the 40-ies. But what is a vintage fragrance like? Any ideas?
First, and I feel this is important, vintage perfumes are for us like a door opener to a time long gone. They evoke memories of aunts, or grand mas, of actors and a world of long gone celebrities, vintage perfumes bring back ads that are so different, evoking reveries of style and true passion, of a better life, maybe.
Imagine the world right after WWII. A world of winners and losers, and of great poverty. Europe in ashes and most of the money gone, and a lot of other, ideal values, too. Perfume back then was true luxury. Not the cheap bling bling pseudo luxury of LV bags and other stuff and the plastic surgery equivalent of joy you are getting when leaving your $ on the counter to buy them. We live in a world where perfume has become a commodity, and a spritz every day from the flacon of the most expensive brands cost you less than your Starbucks latte grande every morning.
Why were perfumes so expensive? They were made in lower quantities, using exclusive ingredients, in a much less integrated economy, where energy was precious, paper was precious, glass was precious. Perfumes were not sold by millions, not packed in low wage corners of the world.
But there is another difference. It is about fragrant languages or dialects of a period. Look back 30 years: Back then perfumes spoke to us in a different language. In the past perfumes were constructed differently, and in the future they will speak a different dialect, too. The further we dig into the fragrant languages of the past, the more different they get to what we are used to. Perfumes of the 40-ies and beyond feature true head, heart, base notes, often with head notes singing loud and brilliant but never offensive, an immense citrus choir that you do not get today anymore, except in natural colognes; they shine differently, partly because the artificial bright light of certain molecules was not invented yet. Perfumers constructing perfumes in the 30-ies used bases that you do not get anymore. And they were braver. Perfumes made 50 years ago or 100 years ago were braver; today perfumes are shocking by their marketing. They are labelled with names that remind you of a quote from a dirty street corner, they are said to smell of blood, semen, and other juices, they play with sexy images without sex appeal. The sexy marketing lines cannot cover, however, their nature.
Vintage perfumes are often very brave constructions; equivalent courage and style you find today if you are lucky in nicher niche.
And perfumers used raw materials that either do not exist anymore or are hard to get; or perfumers used expensive raw materials in quantities that you do not find in modern day perfumes because modern day perfumes are made to serve many more clients.
Of course, Miriam is not a vintage perfume. It points back in time. I used raw materials such as sandalwood or violet leaf absolute in quantities that you do not get on a daily basis. I composed it in a way that feels like 40-ies to me. I tried to pack it in a way that feels vintage to me. But of course, it is not a real vintage. It can never be. The 40-ies are gone.
To finish this post, here is a description of Miriam, as I see it and how I described it to Brian a couple of months ago.
The dream of a hug, the vivid bitter sweet memory of her perfume,
her hair shining golden in the morning sun, so fine,
the violets from the garden in her hand,
freshly picked with the dew pearls dropping one after the other,
the green May roses on the table, lasting forever.
It is a dream of days long gone, with a smile on my lips.
Today’s picture: The front of the Miriam flacon, inside the cardboard inlay, sitting on a wireless keyboard.