Montana’s Parfum de Peau (1986)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

I didn’t know about the Montana brand till I read the “Top 10 discontinued male fragrances” article on basenotes.com. Montana Homme is amazing; I bought the cheapo 50ml traveller’s kit for $12 and later bought the 100ml as my first ever backup bottle for an equally cheap $20. (Note: it has been reformulated, if you are interested, get the one in the red box.) Montana Parfum de Peau (1986), the women’s version, however, didn’t make the top 10 list of discontinued women’s perfumes, and it’s a shame.

I blamed its modest minimalist packaging, for the longest time it didn’t get any of my attention whenever I visited a perfume shop. But, eventually I heard its weeping sound and looked up and saw it sitting on the top shelf, and decided to bring it home. I’d say it’s one of my best blind-buys. First of all, the bottle rocks. Folks who live in Toronto probably know there is a pair of very famous condo buildings nicknamed Marilyn Monroe in the neighbouring city, Mississauga. The bottle of Montana Parfum de Peau looks crazier than those towers, and not to mention it was designed in 1986, not 2006, without the aid of industrial design software. The scent itself, is another big surprise. I’d say I feel very satisfied when I am wearing it – nothing seems missing and it’s very “full”. Almost like going into a hot bath with the perfect water temperature – a little bliss. I didn’t analyze of the genre of the perfume when I first applied the perfume, for there was so much going on – most noticeably black currant leaves, blackberries, pepper, marigold, aldehyde, the heavy floral top notes hitters, followed by another wave of thick layer of floral mix middle notes; only two hours later I realized it’s a leather chypre. Strangely, it reminded me a little bit of Estee Lauder’s White Linen, except half-way through rolling in the giant bed you realized it’s Brown Linen for someone who wore a leather jacket had slept in that bed before.

Absolute World Towers, Mississauga. © Victor Wong
Absolute World Towers, Mississauga. © Victor Wong

Alexander McQueen’s Kingdom for Women (2004)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

In a land far, far away, there was a kingdom called McQueen. Its king Alexander was looking for someone special to share his life with. He sent thousands of special packages to shops all over his realm, each sealed with red wax and stamped with a mark of his initials. “If you follow the instructions inside and you could become the King’s special someone”, read the box.

Years had passed and no one ever became the lonely king’s special someone. The packages were becoming scarce. Greedy people put their packages in auction houses at ridiculous starting prices. One day, Victoria found an unopened package at a shop that few people visited. She brought it home, and eagerly opened the beautiful package. She found a perfume bottle inside that looked like a quartered small cantaloupe. “Spray it, and come to my castle. If I can smell you, you will be my destined wife.” Victoria sprayed it all over her body like a crazy bee. “This scent is not that special. It smells like any other spicy orientals that I’ve owned,” she thought. Nevertheless, Victoria set off her journal to meet the king to try her luck. An hour later, she reached the castle gate. There was a notice and it read, “King Alexander has a massive windfall, and he is away for vacation.” Frustrated, and just before Victoria turned around, she smelled her skin again, but couldn’t detect a trace of the perfume, except her own B.O. ~The End~

Salvador Dali’s Le Roy Soleil (1997)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

While taking photos of this perfume bottle, I suddenly felt a little bit sad – look at the face on that cap! It looks like a sad puppy.

The fate of a discontinued perfume sometimes is like a pet waiting to be adopted. In this case, this bottle of Salvador Dali Le Roy Soleil (1997) has been sitting on the back of the shelf for nearly 17 years. I mean, give it one more year, it can vote for our Canadian prime minister.

The fate of a collector is often tragic too. A collector is the opposite of a monk. Never satisfied, always tempted; the joy of owning something hard to get lasts only a short moment. But let me tell you how happy I was when I found this 100ml bottle (yes, not a 50ml, not a 100ml without a box) at my local perfume store, at a normal retail price. The sales person in fact had never seen what the bottle looked like, and she said “wow” as she took it out of the box.

Really, the scent is almost unimportant. (Sorry, this is so wrong.) It’s important, and it smells like a peach cooler with a metallic dry down. Very nice.

Salvador Dali’s Salvador (1992)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Continuing my new-found interest in Salvador Dali’s perfumes. The bottle of “Salvador” (1992) looks like the cross-section of an epidermis under a microscope, zoomed-in, looking at the amber fatty cells. Slightly disturbing, but I appreciate the effort they put in making this design unique.

The opening of Salvador is a disappointing “typical citrus cologne, again?” smell. But honestly, I shouldn’t get disappointed smelling a lime. Slowly, the middle and base notes start revealing themselves – carnation, rose, tonka beans (yeah baby), vanilla, leather, making it a yummy cologne, and also making Guerlain’s Tonka Imperiale look like an eunuch.

Gerard Anthony was the co-creator, his works include Azzaro and Balenciaga Pour Homme. (I will talk about this monster soon).

Salvador Dali Pour Homme (1985)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Salvador Dali has made so many perfumes since the 80’s, every time I visit a perfume shop I see a bunch of them on the shelves. Their weird looking bottles made me think that they were gimmicky and just trying to sell you the packaging. And of course, I remember reading Luca Turin’s reviews on most of their perfumes, on average each get a two out of five stars. Last week I re-read all his reviews on Salvador’s perfumes and realized that there were two or three perfumes that got a four-star rating.

Now Salvador Dail pour Homme didn’t get any review because it’s their debut perfume (1985) and it is discontinued. I wish Luca did a review on this one because it’s actually quite good. The surprise is that it was created by the current Guerlain CEO/Lead perfumer, Thierry Wasser almost 30 years ago. I guess he was in his twenties? A well thought out top to bottom note design, it is a very decent oriental fougere. The bottle is also one of a kind. I think it should be in every eclectic perfume collector’s collection.

Issey Miyake’s Le Feu d’Issey (1998)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Cute Flame

Le Feu d’Issey by Issey Miyake was a blind buy, and an expensive blind buy. But the way Luca Thurin described it made it irresistible and possibly justifiable.

I don’t know why they named it “The Flame of Issey”, but to me, it’s more like “The Milkshake of Issey”. Very unique, very sweet, and very unusual. And the bottle design is just one of a kind, like the evil computer “HAL” in Stanley Kubrick’s movie, 2001.

Lubin’s Idole (2005)

Lubin Idole, 75ml, EDT
© Victor Wong

Lubin’s Idole has one of the most creative and beautiful perfume bottles I have ever seen. The nose behind Idole is Olivia Giacobetti; the perfume reminds me of Serge Luten’s Ambre Sultan and some L’artisan Parfumeur’s woody/oriental perfumes.

Last year I saw this bottle at a perfume store but didn’t get it because my nose was not open to very herbal oriental perfumes. But the shape of the bottle already had grabbed my attention. As I’ve done more research and questioned the weird shape of the current Lubin’s perfume bottle shape, I suddenly realized that I had forgone a little treasure (as a perfume collector) that was not very widely available. Glad that they still have one bottle in store!