I was always confused by the dizzying array of perfume options, put off by the price, and most importantly I never much liked how they smelled. In fact until recently I think the only time I wore perfume in the last 15 years was on my wedding day in 2001. Still I liked the idea of perfume:
It certainly seemed an important part of vintage beauty rituals which is why I was intrigued when my favorite cosmetics company Besame (I've written about their lipsticks here, and here, and here) came up with their Decades of Fragrance Collection.
At last this was perfume I could understand, aimed at the vintage fanatic, each perfume is meant to capture the essence of a different decade. As a vintage lover who likes to flit from one decade to the next this really appealed to me, I liked the idea of changing my perfume to match the decade of my outfit. Also while the perfume is definitely not cheap, each rollerball costs $25.00, it is more economical then many department store perfumes I have seen. I decided to take the perfume plunge and try fragrance representing my three favorite decades: the 1920s, 1930s, and 1950s.
The 1920s perfume is described as having notes of mandarin, jasmine, and cocoa (as well as a bunch of other stuff). I have no clue what notes are, but this one smelled quite good to me. I did feel it smelled a bit cocoa-ey and fruity and I could see it in on the neck of a flapper in a jazzy speakeasy, which of course is the idea. I definitely like wearing it with my few 20s outfits, even if no one else knows it is there, it seems to fade quickly on me, I do.
The 30s perfume is, to my nose at least, stronger smelling then the 1920s one. It is described as embodying Marlene Dietrich, cigarettes and seduction, which even if it isn't my look has a definite appeal.
Some of the notes are mandarin, tobacco, and vanilla, and I do notice a subtley smokey aspect in this one. It's a bit darker then the others, which is appropriate for a dark and troubled decade in history. The 1930s are the decade that first got me into vintage and I have lots of 30s outfits and I do like wearing this fragrance with them, it's currently the lowest of my three vials which shows how much I wear it! It adds the perfect touch to a 30s look and it seems to last on my a bit longer on me then the others.
The last fragrance I tried was the 1950s once.
The 50s are, tied with the 1930s, my favorite decade. 1950s, as well as 30s, looks make up the majority of my wardrobe, and I would say my day to day look is usually somewhat 1950s.
The 1950s fragrance is described as evoking Billie Holliday
who I adore (after all what other Diva would let her dog chew on her shoes),
with a floweryy scent of gardenia and frescia. I find this to be the prettiest smelling scent straight out of the bottle. It smells powdery and like flowers and make up in a good way. Picture the most glamorous make up table you can imagine:
Sadly it fades a little quickly on me, so I need to reapply it multiple times if I want the scent to last all day. Still I wear it quite a lot, and its a bit of mystery to me why there seems to be more of this one then the 1930s one in the bottle because I really think I wear this one more. It adds just the right sweet scent to my 1950s style dresses and jeans.
Since each Besame fragrance retails for $25 dollars I was able to get three for about the price of one department store fragrance, and they all smell, at least to me, infinitely better then any of the better known perfumes I have sampled.
My only complaint is they seem to fade quickly, but that may just be my body chemistry, perhaps I reject perfume? I haven't read any comments on the Besame website from anyone else saying the fragrances fade quickly. It is also somewhat mitigated by the fact that they come in a rollerball:
and thus are easy to carry with you and reapply. Overall I am very happy I purchased these fragrances and I am calling this post Besame Decades of Fragrance part 1 because I hope to try the other scents 1910, 1940, and 1960 soon!