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.

Yves Saint Laurent’s M7 (2002)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Daddy Oud

I believe this is what a lot of people have been saying, the first mainstream perfume to use oud – YSL M7. This has been a difficult perfume to find, for I know that it’s been discontinued for some time, and recently the discussion forum shows renewed interest in this perfume and a lot of people are buying the last few bottles.

I have smelled both Maison Francis Kurkdjian’s Oud and M7, and I think MFK’s Oud smells like a lab chemical scent, very medicinal and strangely addictive; while M7 shares a bit of medicinal notes of MFK’s Oud, it smells super manly and sexy. Like young Tom Selleck and Clint Eastwood would wear it.

Image from
Image from

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!

Guerlain’s Coriolan (1998)

Guerlain Coriolan, 100ml, EDT
© Victor Wong

A Hero’s Second Chance

Released in 1998 by Guerlain, Cariolan (the name of a legendary Roman general), was a “flop”. I didn’t care about perfumes back then, therefore I didn’t hear the sound of him landing face down on the ground.

He got revived, changed nationality from Roman to French, got a new name “L’Âme d’Un Héros”, and given a new modern suit that looks like a wooden box with two sides missing. Now it costs $275 instead of $80, standing side to side with Lupin and Derby.

The important thing to me about this perfume, is its oakmoss basenote. I need to know if oakmoss had already been banned in 1998. If it didn’t, then I am smelling real oakmoss? That’s pretty awesome (I believe I am smelling real oak moss here).

Bulgari’s Black (1998)

Bvlgari Black 75ml
© Victor Wong

I suggest people getting a bottle of Bvlgari Black for their perfume collection before they vanish completely in the market. It is a very unusual perfume.

I bring a different bottle to work almost every week for “show and tell” and the coworker sitting in front of me, who has a very specific taste, (or I should say, a very limited palette for perfume. His fav is Lacoste’s Generic EDT) takes a sniff, and shakes his head and says, “Not for me.”

One day I brought in Bvlgari Black and he instantly liked it. (To my surprise.) His father owned a metal workshop, and when he was a kid, he frequented that place and remembered the smell of oil for machine parts lubrication fondly. And not to mention that he is a cycling nuts, who loves the smell of rubber tires.

He asked me if he could borrow it and bring it home and ASK FOR HIS GIRLFRIEND’S APPROVAL. I asked, “Does your girlfriend ask you for approval when she gets a new perfume?” Well, we all know the answer. (Anyway, her favourite is Flowerbomb, which my coworker doesn’t like.)

Long story short, they both love it, and he is heading to the discounted perfume shop that I go to all the time to get a bottle. I told him to ask for a tester bottle because that could save him 10 bucks as he totally doesn’t care about packaging. Sometimes I feel like I am living in a totally different planet.