When 4711 was perfume and vintage was just old

I went to a vintage shop in Daylesford recently. It was a cross between a lovely frock shop, Mexican curio cantina and antique dealer with just enough of a dash of dodgy earth-mother-fisherman-pants-flouncy baby-doll dresses. But anyway, in the back room, I discovered the costmetics area, complete with vintage perfumes.

      Years ago, when Frank and I used to sell our old stuff at the Camberwell Market (and Frank would make a killing from offloading designer work samples) I’d wander around to see what the other stall holders were selling and there was always


      who had a cosmetic basket filled with half-used jars of

Oil of Ulan

      and empty


    perfume bottles. Who the hell buys that stuff? It seemed like they just grabbed everything they could see in that last minute dash out the door at five in the morning.

So I wasn’t at all surprised to see that little area in the back room with its curious little bottles and jars. In fact, I was totally delighted by it. And there was that familiar cylindrical bottle with the blue and gold label.

It was half full of yellow liquid. Sure, it could have been toxic but i felt driven to do what I did next. I picked it up. I removed the lid and then… I spritzed. Because you don’t spray 4711, you spritz.

    Talk about a serious whack to the nostrils! Was it the alcohol? Was it the passage of time? Was it just the fragrance itself? There are a few fragrances that bring me back to a certain time:
  • Felce Azzurra talc in a sachet
  • Impulse “perfume”
  • Pino Silvestre cologne

And 4711.

I swear I only spritzed once but as I walked back into the main area of the shop the “fragrance” lingered longer than I would have liked, or imagined.

It certainly turned more heads than an Impulse ad.