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quinta-feira, 3 de março de 2016

Personal Tales of a Vintage Collector II - Fulfilling my Teenage Cravings

by: Miguel Matos

It's been a while since the last time I told you some stories about my vintage collecting and the drive one has to have to porsue this obsession. If you didn't read my first chapter, you can check it HERE.
Pac-Man was one of my obsessions. I was a computer/arcade game freak in the 80's.
In this article I want to welcome you to my time capsule back to the late 80's and 90's. Growing up I always loved perfume. In my family there was only one other person that shared this passion and I think I got my tastes for vintage perfume from her - my aunt Helena. She has had Alzheimers for almost 10 years now but she sure left a mark on me then. She used to wear Calandre and Rive Gauche and L'Insolenton special occasions. I think one of her everyday scents was Avon Tasha. So aldehydes are a thing that makes me go back into my childhood.
1988 Guilty Pleasure: I was a Roxette fan!
When I was a teenager, I didn't have much money. I came from a very modest family background. I was actually the first person in my family to have a college degree and I know my mother used to be extremely poor when she was young. So, I never had much money to invest in perfume until I had my first job at 19 years old. Until then I had to wear things like Old Spice (nothing wrong with that), Don AlgodonCrossmenand Insignia. But my nose craved for things that were out of my reach. When I finally got my first paychecks I started to buy better perfumes. My first expensive perfume was Aramis Tuscany (bought in Spain in a school trip), followed by Aramis New West,Kenzo pour Homme and Pierre Cardin Bleu Marine.
1990: everyone watched Beverly Hills 90210
Recently I started hunting for those fragrances I so wanted to have as a teenager. Having them is now like a trophy to me. They remind me of the 90's and the bittersweet years of the world before Internet and smartphones (I was a depressed teen but always had a smile on my face). They are also objects and smells that tell me: “work hard and someday you will get there”. So I decided to share some of these perfumes, along with others that were later cravings but have only now made their way into my collection.
1992: my favourite TV series was Twin Peaks

Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche (1970)

Rive Gauche was one of my founding aromas in terms of my taste for perfume. Even though I never wear it, it represents an example of the first high end perfume I had smelled in the beginning of the 1980's. My favourite aunt used to wear this and I wanted to have it to remind me of how she used to be. They are also like going back to my first scent awakenings.
I got a bottle of vintage Calandre a couple years ago, but it turned and I had to throw it out weeks ago. Interesting fact is that days later, after I had quit looking for it, I found an almost full bottle of vintage Rive Gauche for only 5 euros at the local flea market. It smells fresh and it is indeed a cerebral perfume, one of these intellectual scent combinations that deserves applause. Even though the modern reformulation isn't that good, it is still interesting. Vintage bottles are the ones that have the name Rive Gauche in bigger font and Yves Saint Laurent in smaller one. This bottle is made of glass, not metal like the modern ones. To me Rive Gauche has a motherly smell (because of family associations) but it surely has an edgy twist: Metallic rose and industrial aldehydes. It was modern then and cool now.

Dior Poison (1985)

This is another big icon for me. It stands for everything I love in a perfume: loudness, sensuality, strength, innovation, uniqueness, deepness... I could go on for days praising Poison. This bottle I got in the same flea market a couple years ago. It's a full 50ml pressurized spray bottle. It's beautiful and it cost only 10 euros. Poison is crucial in my teen years. I was only 8 when it was lauched and I remember that it was like witchcraft. Wherever I went, if some woman passed me by wearing Poison I would follow her, like I was hypnotized. I couldn't resist it. I wanted to eat it, I felt absolutely overwhelmed by it. I remember being fascinated by the sight of the adverts. The bottle and the marketing imagery kept me hooked. I had a darkness inside even at that time and I could identify perfectly with Poison. I would never dare to wear it if I had it, but I wanted to. I had absolutely no financial possibility of having it, so I would sniff the air and follow its trail. In school I had an English teacher who wore Poison. For months I sat at the front row just to experience this bewitching fragrance, feeling hazy, almost high. Then one day this treacher started to wear Tresor and my heart was crushed. Anyway, I always wanted to have it.
After I got the vintage eau de toilette (much stronger and sweeter than the modern reformulation which is a bit softer and smoky, and actually nice, too), I also bought a bottle of Esprit de Parfum, for 5 euros online. This is the most intoxicating thing ever. Delicious. You almost don't have to apply it on the skin. Just open the bottle and you are scented. Anyway I wear Poison sometimes, especially for a night out clubbing when I like to be smelled everywhere. The young boys and girls don't even know what that is and they go crazy over it. Once I took 4 sprays of Poison eau de toilette on the neck (which is too much for the common mortal) but decided that I could survive an extra layer, so I dabbed some extrait behind my ears. Needless to say I was a walking scent bomb and I loved it.

Kenzo Ça Sent Beau (1989)

This one I don't have a big story to tell you about. I only recall seeing this bottle in a friend's house and thinking that it was so beautiful. I remember smelling it and falling in love. 25 years have passed and I got it from a swap with a member from Fragrantica.
What a wonderful way of making a tuberose scent, combined with citrus, green notes and patchouli. I love to wear it and especially nowadays that my tastes are leaning more towards the florals. It is one of the best tuberose perfumes I have smelled so far. And I not only got one bottle in a swap, now that it is so hard to find, but I recently got another one as a gift from a friend who found it at home and decided that it could have a better owner. So after so many years I now have a backup bottle of Ça Sent Beau. Isn't life crazy?

Trussardi Action (1990)

Now this one was the greatest love of all at 15. I wanted this bottle more than anything else at that time. It was utterly expensive but I loved the crazy bottle and the fact that nobody else was wearing it. In fact, I obtained a couple of samples and I kept them in a drawer in the bedside table just to smell it before going to bed. It smelled fresh but luxurious and I loved the spicy notes mixed with the greens. This was a big basil scent, full of aromatic herbs, green explosions and an abstract musk that enveloped everything in a sophisticated way. I didn't buy it then but I started collecting money. 
At the time I was crazy for 2 Unlimited... And wore (fake) Jimmy Doyle boots.
When I finally had the money to buy it, it was discontinued. And this was always an under the radar scent, or so it seems. The decades passed and I gave up on it, finding one bottle very rarely on ebay at stupid prices. Until one day, two years ago, when I went to my hometown for Christmas and accidentaly passed by the old perfumery where I used to go ask for samples. The perfumery was about to close down and they were selling their stock for less than half price. And there it was a bottle of Trussardi Action, a tester, maybe the very same I used to covet in the window. I got it for 25 euros and it seemed like entering a time capsule. Again, the love persisted. I still think this is one of the best aromatic herbals I have ever smelled. The composition is complex with basil dominating and it survived 20 years of storage, still smelling original, crisp and invigorating. This is a truly underrated treasure.

Robert Beaulieu Vison Noir (1991)

What if I told you that I know an old perfume shop that still has a stock of Vison Noir and it smells just as seductive as back then? This is a forgotten gem full of orchids and castoreum. This was first spotted by me as a young boy at the house of another friend. I was captivated by the fur cap of the black bottle and kept this smell in my memory all these years until I found this shop where I bought a bunch of bottles. If you never smelled Vison Noir, I can tell you it seems like a Black Orchid avant la lettre in a softer and more animalic version. I also got the even rarer Vison, which is a very different citrus-floral composition.
First time I heard Ru Paul.

Estée Lauder Spellbound (1991)

Another perfume I wanted to wear but didn't have the courage was Estée Lauder's Spellbound. At that time I didn't know that a man could pull off perfumes marketed for women. Well, at this point I was no longer a teenager, this happened in my mid-twenties. I loved Spellbound and wasn't sure of myself to wear it. A long time passed and now I wear whatever I like.
Spellbound became hard to find. Now after swapping with my Italian friend Giusi, I indulge myself in it to go out at night. Thanks Giusi, I hope I will see you in Florence again this year!

Etienne Aigner Private Number (1992)

Ab Fab: Major fan!
When I started visiting perfume shops to smell and ask for samples (which I rarely was given). I remember that in those days I had a small want list composed of Trussardi ActionRomeo Gigli UomoAubusson Homme (loved the cinnamnon note in it), Versus Uomo (still craving it for my trophy shelf), Chevignon and Etienne Aigner Private Number. This one was just something I smelled at the store and really liked. I was in a blue phase and the blue box seduced me, I think. It was a sweet fougere with great sillage. Again, another unfulfilled desire until a year ago when I saw it in an old perfumery in Lisbon where I found some treasures from time to time. It cost about 13 euros and I had to get it. Finally I never wore it and I cannot figure out what I had seen in it because I always detested fougeres. But I keep it as another symbol of my youthful perfume wishes.
I apologize if this post was too personal, but I felt like writing this to have the final closure on the subject of vintage perfume trophies. Those of you who had the patience of reading until the end, I would love to read your stories. Do you search for long desired bottles that you couldn't buy when you were young?
To be continued next week...

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