Crying Over Spilled Perfume


Last night, I ripped open the package of Catherine Deneuve pure parfum I’d bought for this week’s celebrity perfumes workshop. You probably know where this is going from the post title. Despite the Fort Knox’s worth of bubble wrap, the bottle was completely empty. Every last drop of this priceless (well, $29.67 for 1/16th ounce, but who’s counting?) perfume had leaked.

It’s not my first brush with perfume tragedy- there’s the bottle of (vintage!) Chanel No. 5 parfum that spilled in my purse, or the J. Crew rollerball that was already half-evaporated when I opened it- but this one definitely hits the hardest. There’s always more No. 5, but Deneuve was discontinued years ago, so it feels like I’ve lost a little piece of perfume history. At least the box still smells amazing.

What’s your greatest perfume tragedy? Leaks, shattered glass, discontinuations- spill the juice! (METAPHORICALLY, PLEASE.)

Disclaimers: This post is not sponsored and does not contain affiliate links. I purchased all products featured in this post (sob). 

26 thoughts on “Crying Over Spilled Perfume

  1. Oh noes! Deneuve parfum! That’s lovely stuff, and I think I have about two drops left in my bottle. (I still have some edt if you’d like some – PM me.)

    I spilled a whole vial of Osmanthe Yunnan on the carpet instead of on myself. So far, knock wood, that’s the only spillage I regret. You watch, though – now that I’ve said that, I’ll probably drop my bottle of Iris Poudre or Memoir and shatter it in the next week…

    1. Perfume gods, watch over this woman’s carpet! May it go unstained by Amouage!
      Well, now you have to tell us: does Osmanthus Yunnan have better staying power on a carpet than it does on skin? 😉

  2. Hi Ari!

    Yep, I have had a recent similar disaster! I posted the following on NST last week:

    My entire house smells like Diptyque Essences Insensees Mimosa due to a damaged bottle arriving from eBay a couple of weeks ago. When the carrier delivered it, the box reeked and upon opening it, the bottle was completely empty. Not. A. Drop. So the seller turned out to be a jerk about it, and I had to wait several days for eBay to step in. In the meantime, I carried the box from room to room, and when eBay stepped in and confirmed my full refund I printed out the label and went to the post office feeling smug. Nyah nyah, mean seller!

    Welp, two days later the carrier is standing outside my door with a huge grin and holding THE box which was still reeking (although he said “it sure does smell mighty nice and now everyone else’s mail does too!”) The label eBay sent did not cover the postage for the box, which was a priority box. Sigh …
    So back to the post office, car now reeking as well, where I was advised to transfer the perfume into a new box to return it without paying postage. Then back home with THE box which I have inexplicably kept. I don’t know if I will ever pursue buying the perfume again, so maybe holding onto the box is as close as I’ll come. I’m not sure I even *want* to come any closer at this point. 😉

    Besides the above, I also recently bought a mini of Scherrer that has one of those caps that’s supposed to kinda be wriggled off. I got that far, but wriggling it back on caused the little plastic thingie in the cap to fray and it just wouldn’t fit. After twirling cuticle scissors around the interior of the cap to no avail (hours, I tell you!), I eventually took a stick of incense and melted the thingie which worked. Of course I probably contaminated the perfume itself by doing so, and I guess if I ever want to try it again I’ll have to go hogwild and fling it around with abandon. Oh, and my Neela Vermeire samples are completely dried out. Kaput! Ditto for decants of Eau des Missions, Rose Cut and Oeillet Bengale

    I’m sorry about your Deneuve. I still have my scented Diptyque box, but now it’s beginning to feel very bizarre that I’ve kept it. The thought that it would be such a waste to get rid of the wonderfully scented object may indicate that I’m in danger of becoming a hoarder.

    Holly xo

    1. What a saga!! My perfume psychoanalysis is that you’re holding onto the Diptyque box because in your heart, you’re still not done with that Mimosa.
      Oeillet Bengale is stunning- I would be very grumpy if that one dissolved on me.

  3. Noooooo! Can’t hit “like” but you have all my sympathy. These posts are making me even more appreciative of the ebay sellers from whom I have bought since starting my perfume explorations, who wrapped their bottles so carefully and taped their necks to try to prevent leaks. That seems to work!

    1. Oh, yes, some tape around the neck would have been nice. I’m sure the seller took every possible precaution, but it’s definitely a bit of a bummer. This is actually the first time I’ve bought perfume on eBay- maybe this was my initiation ritual!

  4. Noooo! I’m sorry about your perfume loss. 😦

    I also had a half-empty-when-I-opened-it J.Crew rollerball. Perhaps more tragically, though, I had a rollerball of Kiehl’s Musk oil that I was keeping in its little box. A few days after buying it, I dropped the box while leaving my apartment, and put it back in my purse without checking it. What I didn’t know was that the glass bottle had broken, and that over the course of the day, all the oil spilled out and soaked through my purse. So not only did I have multiple giant oil stains in my favorite purse, but I smelled like a HUUUUUGE musk bomb. Fortunately, the drycleaner did some magic work and rescued my purse, but I’m not sure my relationship with Kiehl’s Musk will ever recover.

    1. Ooooof. I can’t even imagine a Kiehl’s Musk spill. C.H. had an unfortunate run-in with a trigger-happy salesperson a few months ago and says she can still smell the marshmallow-y orange blossom even after getting her coat dry cleaned.

  5. I know how you feel! Last summer my brother accidentally spilled a decade old bottle of perfume I loved to wear during my college days called Tuesday- and I was in tears! I fortunately went through my collection and saw I had another bottle stored (I like to have backups! if possible) 🙂 Sorry to hear about your perfume! Hope a new one soon will make you 😀 again.

  6. Fortunately I haven’t really had this happen to me (yet), but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. The closest thing was that once I won a RAOK where I was going to win a travel spray of Vanille Galante (!!!) and then the person sponsoring the giveaway dropped the bottle and it shattered. But it was never mine, so I couldn’t be too sad. I’m sorry for your loss though. 😦 Maybe you can find some more someday?

    1. Noooo, not Vanille Galante! This sounds like a whole new category of perfume grief: The Perfume That Could Have Been.

  7. I’m sorry to hear about the Catherine Deneuve! It is so sad when a rare perfume like that bites the dust.
    I’d say my biggest fragrance disaster happened on my birthday about five years ago. I was carefully removing the stopper from a hand painted bottle of AG Songes, a gift from my husband, when the upper part of the bottle simple cracked off in my hand – shocking! Losing the scent wasn’t so much the issue. I have other, standard bottles of Songes to enjoy and have spilled various other perfumes over the years. This time it was the bottle I was heartbroken about. I decanted what I could, tried to repair the bottle – to no avail – and finally just threw it out. 😦

    1. I am seriously devastated for you, knowing how gorgeous those Annick butterfly bottles are. And your poor husband, who picked the perfect gift!

  8. My most recent spill/shatter happened during the Sephora 15% off when I ordered four travel spray sizes of various perfumes. Although not packaged very well, only the Orange Sanguine arrived with broken pieces rattling around in its box. Fortunately Sephora has great customer service and before I knew it I had a replacement arrive at my doorstep. 🙂 All’s well that ends well.

  9. Sorry about the Deneuve…it’s one I’ve been meaning to try for a while, but have never managed to.
    My tales of spillage are pale by comparison to the others – I once dropped one fairly full 50ml bottle of Prada Intense on the tiles in my hallway, needless to say, despite the rather sturdy bottle, it ended up in pieces and I ended up with a nice scent wafting around the apartment for days. Another (maybe spillage) incident happened years ago when I picked my fairly large decant of Vol de Nuit from the post office, stepped into the elevator and as impatient as I am, proceeded to open the box inside the moving elevator only to see the decant slip out of my hands and rolling deep down into the oblivion of the elevator shaft. although the container was metal, I guess it broke upon impact, I guess…

    1. I literally gasped at the elevator story. Until proven otherwise, I’m going to assume that the elevator is haunted by some Vol de Nuit-loving spirit who just had to have your bottle.

  10. I’ve always wanted a bottle of vintage Shocking. You know the one designed by Leonor Fini of the torso crowned with flowers in the little dome. Luckily I found one on eBay, set my alarm for 3:00 AM, stumbled out to my computer and won the auction. Fast forward to its arrival a few weeks later. As I was unwrapping all of the bubble wrap, I’m getting wafts of THE most amazing smell. I get down to the little bit of plastic it was wrapped in to find the bottle didn’t survive its journey to London. Months later it is still sitting here on a little plate next to my computer. I can’t bear to throw it away. It just feels wrong to! For a while, it was probably the most extravagant room fragrancer in existence. My entire flat smelled of Shocking. Heavenly. I can still catch the occasional whiff of it, and I will definitely hunt down another bottle!

    1. That’s a solidly happy ending for such a shocking (I’m sorry, I had to) tragedy. I’m glad the experience didn’t ruin Shocking for you!

  11. Not quite a tragedy, but I spilled a good amount of a Mitsouko sample on my cat while trying to dab it on my wrists! I was so worried the smell would drive her bananas. She did smell lovely for about a week . . . And I think she forgave me!

  12. Dropped Mum’s 16oz still half full bottle of EdC when I was a kid. I thought it was Joy but Jean Kerleo says they never made Joy EdC so it must have been No 5. We were in the bathroom soaking that juice up with scarves and underwear.
    Portia xx

  13. When Poison first came out I had a mini gift with purchase…the mini spilled all over my handbag which was scented with Poison for an entire year.

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