martedì 9 aprile 2024

Some brief notes about dating Ralph Lauren perfumes (unpublished article)

(Foreword: these are the notes relating to Ralph Lauren perfumes that Andre left. These notes should have become a complete post, but instead they remained in a raw state. Please consider that no one of us has any idea who "Saunders" is; he is probably a friend who worked at L'Oreal. - all pictures taken on the net, and added later)

About Calvin Klein: Saunders suggests to ask Piatigorsky, OK. I asked Saunders if he remembers anything about the Ralph Lauren batchcodes or methods for dating vintage RL perfumes. Saunders says he remembers just a few things, many years have passed and he has vague memories. The situation was very messed up with RL perfumes. Saunders remembers a couple of stories that clearly explains the situation they were in.... here it is: at a certain point dealing with "Ralph Lauren Polo Sport Women", they found themselves faced with three, four different batchcodes.  These batchcodes had become so confusing and incomprehensible, thus they had to change batchcodes (this aspect needs to be explored further ).
The other story: at a certain point in the production of "Polo" and "Safari for Men", there was a stock of old stickers and boxes left. Well, they continued to use them until ran out. This means that the batchcode was up to date, ...but the labels on the bottle (and/or the box) were from 5-6 years old: i.e, stickers were outdated.
Really confusing. (to investigate further.).
Saunders says the scent he remembers best is Polo Crest, because he worked on the marketing personally. Polo Crest: launched in 1991, discontinued in 1999, and underwent a reformulation in the middle. OK.

venerdì 22 dicembre 2023

The unfinished articles PART 5 : Decoding JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER perfumes


(note : this is the RAW version written by Andre in June 2016; pictures added later )

There are literally dozens of versions of the main perfumes by Jean Paul Gaultier ("Classique", "Le Male", etc). Since most of the perfumes are "Limited Editions" and/or "Special Editions for Collectors", it can be quite easy to know the year of production. Otherwise, you have to use to some tricks.

giovedì 3 marzo 2022

The unfinished articles, part 4: a letter from an ex-CHANEL employee (the old CHANEL batch codes revealed).

(Well, here it is. One of the most important article Andre tried to write.  Never been able to post it as an article, so we post it as "unfinished". The keypoint is How to date Chanel perfumes produced in the world, with apparently impossible-to-decipher batchcodes. Luckily we found an old -now retired- Chanel employee who explained us how to solve the mistery: Chanel used five different batchcodes in the same time! 
Please pardon us, received first in French, then translated in italian, re-traslated in English. last corrections dated June 2016. A few pictures added later for a better comprehension) 

"Hi Andre! 
I received your request through our mutual friend XXXX (...) You ask me if I can help you in decrypting the Chanel batchcodes that were used during the 70s, 80s and 90s around the world. Actually, many years have passed, I worked in the Chanel factory in New Jersey too, well, many years ago! but I still remember something (...) I read your article on Chanel 4-numbers batchcodes, yes, it's correct, it shifted month-by-month and repeated every 8 years (from 00 to 99, then restarted). Well, in America -and outside Europe- the situation was a bit different, codes were partially based on the French ones or completely different, and now I will try to explain how Chanel batchcodes worked.
Chanel codes are so difficult to understand for a simple reason: we used FIVE DIFFERENT BATCHCODES at the same time. If you don't understand how they work, you are lost. So, the first thing to be aware of is to recognize the different types of code. 
The amazing thing is that you will eventually discover how easy it is to understand and use. At the end you will be able to date every perfume! Let's start!

lunedì 21 febbraio 2022

The unfinished articles, part 3: Chanel Egoiste (June, 2015)


(We are going to illustrate here the notes taken in 2015, relating to an article about Chanel Egoiste " be published in future". It can be fragmented and incomplete, nevertheless we think that even after so many years the information provided can be useful for many enthusiasts and collectors. Enjoy the reading.
Old friends from Raiders of the Lost Scent)

lunedì 6 luglio 2020

The unfinished articles: Part Two (LANVIN PERFUMES)

In these short posts we want to present the latest unfinished articles, written in the years 2015 and 2016. We thought it was right to publish everything, even those notes that would become full-fledged articles. No changes have been made, the writings are in their raw state and therefore still incomplete.

(last script: May, 2016)

"How to recognize Lanvin perfumes"  

"Jeanne Lanvin: 
to amaze her daughter, 
amazed the world".
(Louise Valmorin)

Here's an attempt to illustrate another historical brand, one of the greatest in perfumes during the XX century, at the same level of Dior, Chanel, Patou, Guerlain, and one of the few to proudly produce its own perfumes in its own factory: it's Nanterre, located in the north of France.
Lanvin ceased operations in 1989, and with almost no first-hand sources to investigate, we at RotlS were lucky to found an old retired worker from "Lanvin Italie" (it was the Lanvin subsidiary in Milan, Italy), who gave room to his rememberings since the end of 1950s. So, no "batch-codes" here, but a bunch of old stories. 
It's enough to summarize a glorious story indeed.  

lunedì 15 giugno 2020

The unfinished articles: Part One (DRAKKAR NOIR)

In these short posts we'd like to present the latest unfinished articles, written in the years 2015 and 2016. We thought it was right to publish everything, even those notes that would become full-fledged articles. No changes have been made, the writings are in their raw state and therefore still incomplete.

Part One: 
A tribute to Drakkar Noir, by Guy Laroche.

                                                            (last script: March, 2016)

Drakkar Noir, created in 1981 by Pierre Wargnye at IFF, launched the following year by Guy Laroche Parfums, was one of the most iconic perfumes of the 1980s. 
Actually Drakkar Noir was a flanker of "Drakkar", launched in 1972; it was the first time a flanker had a much greater success than the original. 
Drakkar Noir was one of the most famous scents of the 80s, for having begun the massive use of the chemical substance dihydromyrcenol in perfumes. Dihidromyrcenol smells like a "laundry detergent", and the success of this scent was overwhelming, backed in 1988 by Cool Water by Davidoff, built around the same molecule.
One of the little known aspects of this perfume is that it had many reformulations over the years, but the most famous and rare version was the first, and for a specific reason. When it was created in 1981, patchouli still was a predominant ingredient in perfumes. The second version (i.e. the first reformulation) created in 1989, almost completely removed the patchouli, considered too "1970s vibe", and left only a woody background. 
In doing so, however, the scent was "distorted". 
Only a "fresh, woody, clean scent" remained. When you compare the first version of Drakkar Noir with the following ones, the difference is enormous, especially in the "base notes" and drydown.
The first version of Drakkar Noir was really a *great* scent.
So, let's go in details:

martedì 19 marzo 2019

A letter from an ex-Guerlain employee: more Questions and Answers.

Risultati immagini per guerlain extrait

You will probably remember the post about the letter written by the old Guerlain employee. Well, through a mutual friend we sent him a letter with seven more questions concerning the old Guerlain fragrances, and we got the answers.
Keep in mind, before reading: we do not want to break any copyright and, most importantly, everything is based on ancient memories, so there is no evidence of what we are speaking of. You can agree or disagree. 
But it is a wonderful and engaging reading.... 

Here are the Seven Questions:

1- Why did the name suddenly change from "Extrait" to "Parfum" on certain old bottles?
2- Can you remember any of "reformulations" occurred in ancient times?
3- What exactly was the old "Parfum de Toilette"?
4- Can you tell us something more about the old "batch-codes"?
5- What can you say about the strange "110ml Eau de Guerlain" bottle?
6- Does a change in the box automatically mean a change in the aroma?
7- What's the difference between 85° and 85%?

And here are the answers.
(please note it was translated from French to Italian, then again to English)

martedì 3 aprile 2018

Opium, the Greatest.

"It will be the Greatest, and we will call it Opium"
(Yves Saint Laurent, 1976)

Sexy, Sultry, Seductive, Successful: it's Opium. After Samsara, this is my second tribute to wonderful scents of my youth: this time we talk about the Greatest one.
This article is divided in 7 parts:

- Opium at a glance
- Box and bottles through the years.
- Bottles "Year-by-Year"
- The Advertisements
- The Flankers
- The Opium Universe
- Tutorial Pics

I tried to make some sort of "Opium encyclopedia". Enjoy it!

giovedì 15 marzo 2018

How to recognize GUCCI perfumes.

"Dating" Gucci perfumes can be a very, very difficult task due to extremely intricated story of House of Gucci during decades.
Therefore, similarly to what was done with Jean Patou perfumes (read here the marvellous story-interview), we received some help from signor Ernesto, an old employee at Gucci in Florence, now retired, who helped us to solve many controversial aspects.
Dating Gucci perfumes can make you fool, because you have to "decipher" same numbers during different periods. 
One of the most famous example is batchcode "0163": it could mean year 2003 (Wella-type batchcodes, you have to check the last number) or year 2010 (Procter&Gamble-type ones, you have to check the first number).... 
So, in an attempt to "date" all Gucci perfumes, we have to proceed in a rather unusual way: "period-by-period" and "scent-by-scent".
But, after all, as signor Ernesto said us: " many cases, you can rely on the clues on the boxes, i.e. addresses, distributors, labels, more than the batchcodes..."
Follow us in this long and a bit complicate road.
Alba, Laura, & Roberta.

giovedì 1 febbraio 2018

How to recognize JEAN PATOU fragrances.

" asked me how to put a date on old Patou perfumes, 
and I'll teach you it.... 
but you shouldn't care about years and months, 
because I worked at Patou, and I can assure you: 
Jean Patou was the best. 
All bottles produced were pieces of Art.
Top quality, the best materials, and the best perfumes. 
Jean Patou was Art."

We never heard about a method for dating vintage Jean Patou perfumes. Actually it is quite a difficult task, because technicians used ingenious tricks to date perfumes (such as the "inverse" alphabet), so we have to thanks an old french-italian lady ("Signora Mimma", she is 83-years old now!), once employed at Patou, who revealed us the secrets of the batch-codes, and gave us a marvellous interview about "good old times" spent with Patou.
This (very) long article is divided in 4 parts:
- Batch codes revealed;
- Tutorial pics;
- Glimpses from an interview;
- Miscellaneous pics. 
Follow us and learn why "Patou is not about dresses and perfumes; Patou is about Art."
Melba, Roberta, Dahlia, Laura.

mercoledì 10 gennaio 2018

A letter from an ex-Guerlain employee

A very important number:
the Formula.

(UPDATE: this is the Part 1. 
You can find the Part 2 here , with more questions and answers about vintage fragrances)

On October, 2017, I received this letter about "reformulations", via a common friend. It is incredibly interesting and deserves the publication. It could be of some interest for all Guerlain enthusiasts. Anyway, it's really intriguing.
Sincerely yours,
Laura Alessi 

(translated from french)

I read the articles written by your group, about the reformulations occurred in many perfumes: since I worked at Guerlain for a few years, I could give my contribution and suggest you a little trick. You don't need to collect and examine samples, batch-by-batch, and smell many stripes to determine if a reformualation occurred. It's quite time-consuming and in most cases, not really useful.  
There is a faster and more effective way to determine if a reformulation occurred. As you should know, all cosmetics since year 2003-2004 have to indicate the "allergens list" on the box. 
Since then, all LVMH perfumes (Guerlain, Dior, etc...) indicate the allergens, in conjunction with a particular progressive number evidencing the formula of each product. So, you will read different numbers for aftershaves, eau de toilette, eau de parfum, parfum, etc. 
Each number = a "recipe". 
So,when a reformulation occurs, the "recipe" changes, and you will read a different number. 
Collecting several boxes through the years, you will read different numbers ...and consequently you can spot on the reformulations.
There is no reason to smell several samples to guess if a change happened or not: simply look at the number on the box.
At Guerlain, the biggest part of reformulations happened since 2007. Please note this doesn't mean the new formulations are worse or better than the older. We at Guerlain were very strict on quality, and we put every attention in reformulations, I can guarantee it to you. You couldn't even notice any difference. Simply, check out the Formula on the corner of the box, and you will notice all reformulations. 

Since the numbers are in progressive order, with some experience you will be able to obtain all the infos you want, simply reading the batch code (year of production) and the formula. and guessing the date/type of reformulation of your own bottle"

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