Most of you probably already know this, but last week Slumberhouse introduced a very special limited edition that sold out in preorder overnight. The fragrance is called Zahd, only 125 bottles will be produced, and it will never exist again after this initial run. Zahd’s inspirations were cranberry and red velvet, and the juice itself is the color of rubies, the rarest of the precious gems.
In my favorite Facebook fragrance group, response was divided into two camps: those who loved the idea, and those who were appalled by it. I fell firmly into the former camp, but the comment of a fragrance friend who fell into the latter gave me pause. To paraphrase him, “I have wasted more than enough time on unavailable people in my life; I don’t need to do the same for unavailable fragrances.”
I ordered a bottle of Zahd and I am not at all sorry, but this comment gave me serious pause. I have always been attracted to the unavailable, from records to men to accessories to fragrance. A good salesperson knows that there are certain buttons you push if you want to make a sale, and for me, that button is exclusive. If it is hand-made by blind Tibetan monks and only twelve of it exist in the world, I will find a way to get one. Sometimes I think the chase is the whole point of this obsession for me.
The rational side of my brain knows that exclusivity does not mean quality, though advance word on Zahd is that it is heartbreaking. And if I do love it, then there will come a time when I use it up and can’t get any more.
I have determined that for me, the ephemeral nature of the fragrance will make the experience more poignant, and I have decided that hoarding fragrances (which I am prone to myself) is indicative of a fear of death. For me, Zahd is a way of acknowledging that we all have limited time on this earth and it is our duty to enjoy it to the fullest and let things go with grace when we must.
Today on CaFleureBon I am reviewing another exclusive fragrance, Pierre Guillaume’s L’Oiseau de Nuit, with a giveaway for a generous decant courtesy of one of my favorite fragrance boutiques, Osswald NY. Oddly enough, exclusivity was not a factor in my purchase because I was unaware of the scent’s limited availability at the time. I simply bought what smelled the best to me (in a store full of Amouage and Roja Dove et al), and now I am joining the voices crying for it to be added to the permanent Parfumerie Generale collection, because it is so lovely I want everyone to get a chance to experience it. Where do you stand on the issue of exclusivity?
Nancy – First off, let me say it was a pleasure meeting you this weekend. I hope you had as much of a wonderful time as I did! OK…to your point…I think we all have a weakness for wanting the unavailable and the most exclusive. Much of the time exclusive is capped by a hefty price tag that kills ones chance of obtainment (that is if they have some self control). However, limited editions at a normal price are another thing. I think a lot of us assume that as it’s a limited edition it must be the best…but maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s in limited production because they know it won’t be a long term hit. I fell on the bandwagon with Parfum d’Empire’s Musc Tonkin. I love Pd’E’s fragrances and purchased this as soon as it became available. Lord, it was so wrong…at least for me, but many others held the same viewpoint. So lesson learned…limited edition doesn’t always equal an unrivaled jewel. Of course that lesson will go out the window when I hear about the next limitied edition that I must have! The two you cite thankfully aren’t creating that urge in me! Great topic. xoxoxoxxo Steve
Meeting you was one of the high points of my weekend, and yes, I had a wonderful time. 🙂
I totally agree with your comment about the hefty price tag, and that is a good point too about the limited edition possibly not being a long-term hit. (For L’Oiseau de Nuit, I think it absolutely would be a long-term hit so I am wondering if the ingredients are difficult to obtain. I can’t comment on Zahd since I have not smelled it yet, but this is the reason given for the very limited run.)
It is a terrible disappointment when you have an experience like the Musc Tonkin, but there is always the consolation that it should have good resale value. As for Zahd, if I don’t love it I won’t be too disappointed, because in this case it had the added attraction of helping fund Slumberhouse, of which I am a big fan. xoxoxoxoxo Nancy
I fell for the ‘made by handicapped people’ when buying items in Cambodia. No regrets as I paid $US5 but my partner who speaks the language was furious that I did not bargain down to $US1 per item. Different cultural values there. And yes the sales spiel may have been dramatized.
As for Josh, that was amazing but it will be hard for you when the bottle nears completion. But it does sounds like Zahd has inspired some philosophical reflection on your part.
Oh, Jordan, that story is one I have been through myself (my parents are antique dealers and think everything should be haggled, even gasoline). Yes, when Zahd is empty it will be heartbreaking but the whole experience really made me think. I suspect this will be the one bottle I will not be willing to decant though!
Ah I completely understand that struggle of learning to be free of the need to hold on to something that is necessarily fleeting. I’ve been experiencing a lot of that recently, telling myself to enjoy the present as best I can. This was a wonderful post. As for that bottle of Zahd, just think about the fact that there will certainly be another gorgeous thing to acquire and enjoy when it does run out.
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nancy, i come back to you because i also got my zhad bottle and i must lol while reading hording fragrances is fear of death because its so true! i hope we could learn with every sniff of our beloved fragraces that fades away over time a bit more about our own mortality. thanks for your fine reviews! andreas
Andreas, I totally feel you on this!