Judging a perfume by its cover!
Again, the house of the perfumist is going out into the mainstream to talk about this subject that many people know, but not many people like to talk about because they don’t want to anger someone or are simply trying to be PPC (Perfume Politically Correct).
There is no easy way to say it, but we feel that the real art of perfumery is disappearing year after year so we are forced and obligated to say and present some facts and opinions that some may not like to present or say, as this is not just a hobby or a business for us, but a lifestyle, a legacy, a passion and a way of living. We can’t force this way thinking and perception upon everyone but at least we can express our opinion honestly and openly and we will always do that, because it’s one of the fundamental codes and rules in the House of the Perfumist.
It’s the elephant in the room and you probably haven’t noticed it until the moment of reading this article. Judging a perfume by its cover.
I will leave the whole packaging and seal subject to another article, but I will talk about the bottling and glass because it directly effects the oil and the way you experience it. And I’m sorry to tell you that the way you will look at some brands will not be the same after reading this article - so please forgive me!
Will the bottle say everything about the oils? Is that a correct statement? I’m not sure but I’m sure it will say a lot about the perfumist or maker themselves.
Many companies, especially new companies, come into existence based on the idea of rarity and exoticness that many oils like oud, musk, rose, and amber carry and appeal to many people.
But what it takes to make a really good perfume, well, it’s many things. Today I will talk about one of those things because I think this is a part where it can have a huge improvement and a part that many people miss or are simply unaware of. I will jump directly to this.
The first kind is what I call “the cheapy sweepy” of what many people call the regular attar bottle with plastic dipper. Here in the picture you can see it. Many companies are using this because unless you are using the lowest quality of recycled plastic, this is the cheapest way you can pack and ship perfume oils and attars.
The pros of using this:
1- Very cheap (or the cheapest).
2- Readily available and very easy to get.
3- Have cap and applicator, so no need to do (customize) anything else.
1- Low quality or glass doesn’t give you the best view of the oil.
(If you are paying a premium for an oil we think that you need to clearly see it and be able to observe it without having to look at flexing cheap glass. Convex light and doesn’t give you the best view.)
2- Recycled plastic applicator, which is a nightmare for any pure concentrated oil.
(This is the worst part here, and let me tell you, an expert or master perfumist can easily pick up the note of a cheap plastic dipper. You don’t have to believe me, just put any pure rose oil in 2 vials, one with no plastic dipper and one with and place them in the sun for a whole day; open both in the evening and smell them and you will know what I’m talking about. So why are perfumist companies doing this? Don’t ask me, I don’t know, but I will say this, I never ever sold or gave an oil to someone with a plastic dip applicator with the single exception of samplers, but we try to put enough oil in it or few drops so that it’s not in direct contact with the plastic applicator and there is no other way that we can send 9 vials of 0.5 ML to someone other than this way, and still I feel very bad about it. And that’s why we cut down the price of the sampler because we feel that we cut down from the purity and experience.)
3- The glitter! This could be something that’s on the OCD side, and many people don’t mind or even think of. But do you know what this glitter on the cheap bottle is made of? Imagine you are going out and using the new oils that you paid lots of money for and you have sticky glitter all over your fingers or even face - is that the kind of experience and quality you deserve after paying that premium for the oil or is this the way that the perfumist or the maker wants you to experience their work and art?
I know this will sound little radical, but for me a perfumist must be into the very details of the perfume he or she is making so that from the extraction of the material to the outer packaging, the bottle definitely included. Personally, when I see an attar bottle with plastic dipper and sticky glitter I will simply not buy it, doesn’t matter who made it or how it’s made.
4- The glass is not a high recovery glass, which means that the glass inside is not super smooth and not designed in a way that will give you back almost all the oil you put in it. I know this may sound like an exaggeration to many people, but I have seen companies packing 1000$ oils in 3Ml bottle. Whenever that is happening you are losing few drops of that oil because the concave nature of the oil bottle and will not let you get all the oil back. Please see below so you can see what I mean.
5- Ugly presentation - perfumery (real artesian perfumery) is all about passion and beauty every step of it, so I ask the perfumist or the makers of the perfume, “why would you get the best materials, as you say! Make them in the best way, as you say! Mix it with the best carriers or side oils, as you say! Then use the worst and cheapest bottle and give your customers and clients a bad experience or at least not the best.”
Obviously, anyone who is doing this is cutting a few bucks (dollars) and a little work to make a good bottle and by that, cutting big time on quality and experience.
The second kind of bottle is what I call “the charge me more bottle.”
It’s very nice looking, heavy and made from crystal, it doesn’t have many of the first-mentioned bottle’s problems but from an expert’s point of view it doesn’t have many flaws.
1- Looks very nice and feels very heavy and sturdy.
2- It shows that the company or maker paid attention to the bottling and packaging and cares about quality and presentation.
2- Whenever you are buying a bottle or an oil in this bottle you are paying an extra premium, not for the bottle only, let me explain,
(So those kinds of bottles are mainly manufactured in Europe or China and there are few big manufacturers and companies that make those bottles, so when those bottles are made they are only made in large MOQ (minimum order quantity) which means the company is paying large amounts of money upfront, and this translates into additional margins on the item so the company is making money from you on this. When it’s shipped, since it’s very heavy and only comes in super padded boxes, this will multiply the shipping and handling price, and when it’s received it will need more storage. It’s heavier to move and pack so it will take more logistical effort, you may think this is good because the company you are buying from it paying for this but in reality, you are paying for all this.)
3- It’s too heavy to be carried, I know you will say this is a display bottle and not a carrying bottle, but it would be nice if you get the option or freedom to carry your oil in your pocket, bag, or purse. With size and weight of a brick, this is almost impossible to be carried in the pocket or small purse.
4- The metal is reactive!
This is the real issue with this kind of bottle, the cap is made from metal and the top part that covers the neck of the bottle is made from metal also, and as you can guess that this is not titanium or medical laboratory metal so it’s simply just metal. As many people know well, many oils, especially concentrated oils like rose and oud, will react over time with this. So, after a year or so of having your oil in this bottle you will start feeling residue and start getting the metal smell when you open your bottle, not the best note you want to add to your premium oil that you paid a premium price for.
5- Additionally this will have the same issue as the first kind of bottle which is not a high recovery, so you will always lose some drops with this oil.
The third kind of bottle is the “medial V-Vial” and I call it the “purest bottle”.
With this one you really don’t have any issue with quality - yes, it’s made from the best quality of medical tempered glass, it seals very well, and it looks nice.
So, the pros:
1- You get the minimum amount of loss in any oil you will put in this which will work best for super rare and expensive oils.
2- It’s not too heavy or too large to be carried in a pocket or a purse.
3- Great for long-term storing and keeping as it’s completely not reactive and seals very well.
The functionality of use is a problem with this one as it has a very wide neck or opening and no dipper so there is two ways to apply it: put your finger on the opening of the bottle and flip it so then you can apply the oil directly on your body or desired areas, or you use an external glass dipper. Even though this would probably be the best practice and safest way to keep your most precious oils many of us don’t have this luxury and simply need to be able to carry it and apply it, use it, and close it.
The fourth kind, or what I call, the realistic bottle.
(Please note: I’m simply using our bottle for illustrations and education and not to say that this is the best bottle as there are many companies using this same exact kind of bottle.)
This one may not be the nicest or offer the highest recovery but it’s definitely one of the best choices. First of all, it’s made from a high-quality very clear glass, there is not plastic dipper! And you will not smell metal or have a metallic reaction after a while. It's not very heaving so it could defiantly be carried in the pocket or the purse, and it doesn’t look that bad - I mean it’s not a handmade baccarat crystal, but it’s not the “cheapy sweepy” one either. You don’t have to pay a high premium for it, and you don’t have to use or add anything to it. It’s not the cheapest or the best looking, but I would say it’s definitely one of the most realistic and functional choices. And that’s why we chose it to be the bottle that carries our oils. Yes, I know you may wonder why one of the most exclusive, highest-quality perfume houses uses something simply good, functional and realistic instead of the most exclusive hand-blown glass made from the most exotic kind of silicas or materials. The answer is we did that many times, and for the custom (fully bespoke) perfume service we offer the rarest kind of decanters and oil bottles in the world. But not everyone is a king or royalty who asks for a bottle that there is only one of it in the world, a celebrity that wants their crystal bottle to be hand engraved by the best engraving artist in the world, or a tycoon with five-digit budget for a perfume bottle that is ornamented with rubies, diamonds, and precious stones. Trust us, we have done all that before and more, but in the end, we can only take pride in our oils and the way they smell. After all, we are perfumists, and not glass makers!