Lanvin Vintage Black Bottle (1927)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

I have finally successfully removed the stuck stopper from the Lanvin bottle without breaking my heart and the bottle.I had come across many tips and know-how articles on how to do it before, but when it came to doing it on my own for the first time, I was so frightened. It is almost like a cat has jumped on your lap but decides to leave, but one its claws is hooked to the knitting of your brand-new sweater – the cat is struggling, your expensive sweater is being destroyed in front of your eyes, and you don’t want to break its paw trying to get that stupid claw off the sweater. That scary.

I got this bottle from eBay, and the seller wrote it’s a bottle of My Sin (1925) and it’s half-full. (There’s no label on the bottle.) When the stopper suddenly popped out from the bottle, a very little bit of perfume spilled on my hands and I could smell the stunning aroma. It’s beautiful and fresh and new… and old. Very ironic. And judging from the reflection, the bottle is actually 90% full. A very pleasant 1-2-yes-yes surprise. One time I tried to return a full bottle of perfume (in an opaque bottle), and the salesman shook the bottle to gauge how much was left. Honestly, it’s very hard to guess. A full bottle feels like half-full when you shake it.

Now the remaining mystery of this bottle is that I am not very sure whether it’s My Sin or Arpege (1927) for I have never smelled My Sin before, and the Internet told me it smells kind of like vintage Arpege.

[Turned out it’s a bottle of Arpege.]

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong
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Lanvin’s Arpege Pour Homme (2005)

© Victor Wong
© Victor Wong

Arpege Pour Homme (2005) was relatively short-lived. I have a few theories why it didn’t achieve the popularity it deserved:

1) Arpege is a famous perfume for women. Naming a cologne “Arpege Pour Homme” is like Chanel naming a cologne “No. 5 Pour Homme”. Not many men are comfortable wearing a perfume with a name that is strongly associated with a women’s perfume.

2) Arpege Pour Homme smelled “feminine” at the time it was introduced. If Lanvin releases it now, I am sure no one will complain about it. Luca Turin writes in his review of Arpege that it is an “unisex classic”. If Arpege is unisex, then Arpege pour Homme definitely is very “masculine” to me.

3) Lanvin is no longer a famous perfume brand to most people. I hope it is not the case.

Arpege is now my most favourite perfume. Yes, I have almost 200 perfumes and I pick Arpege my number 1. My coworkers all think it’s for grandmas, which doesn’t affect me at all. In fact, I spray it on my pillow occasionally for a better night’s sleep. Arpege is now part of my daily healthy diet. But I digress…

I didn’t know about Arpege Pour Homme until recently – it’s because they are not on any shelves! I discovered it on Youtube when I used the keyword “Arpege”. I jumped out of my seat when I saw it, “What!? There’s a Arpege for men?” Now that I have got the last 100ml bottle in Toronto, I can tell you Arpege pour Homme smells incredible. I don’t think it is a classic, but it is a soft mellow masculine; half a cop and half a cup of warm Crème brûlée in a floral shop. As the top notes are gone, I could smell some light incense, although it’s not listed in Fragrantica.