Beautiful Smells in Beautiful Bottles

To the despair of my art-historian sister, I’m not much of a visual person.  She keeps walking me through the modern-art sections of various museums, explaining things to me and suffering through my “Okay, okay, I get the idea, but that’s just freaky!” comments.  Like your average art philistine, though, I “know what I like.”  Also, I do tend to be interested in the tactile experience of the objects I handle: I love the shapes of my treenware coffee-measuring spoon and my ancient Blue Willow teapot, as well as the texture of line-dried sheets and the insides of my fuzzy pink socks.  I’d never buy a perfume just for the bottle, although a pretty bottle is a bonus.  But I do love a bottle that feels nice in my hands.

As a companion to my “ugly bottles” post, here’s a rundown of the fragrances I own that are housed in aesthetically-pleasing packages, whether they’re a pleasure to handle or just pretty to look at:

Mariella Burani (edt).  The resin rose bouquets in orange-red on the cap might give you pause, but I think they’re kitschy fab.  And I really enjoy handling the substantial, squarish glass bottle. 


 Dior Dolce Vita.  Probably the prettiest bottle I own, with its globe shape dotted with concavities.  Sometimes it reflects pieces of light like a disco ball – I’m sad not to display it.  Unmistakable, fun to spritz, and architecturally interesting.


Shalimar Light.  It’s a variation on the familiar Shalimar bottle, in palest blue.  Distinctive, beautiful, luxurious.   A lovely shape for the hands to explore.



Caron Aimez-Moi.  I have a small bottle from the original release – it looks like a cut-glass version of a tasseled pillow.  Way cute.  Here I will digress and comment on the standard Caron non-urn bottles (see my “Ugly Bottles” post for more ranting): they are Butt-ugly.  ‘Nuff said.  Caron seems determined to do itself out of business these days.


Teo Cabanel Alahine.  It’s hard to see in this photo, but the back of the bottle has a dark red tracery of flowers and leaves on it, which shows through to the front.  (Click on the pic and you’ll get a better idea of what I mean.)  Also, the bottle has beautifully-rounded edges and a sprayer that delivers a finely-directed mist of fragrance – especially good for applying orientals – as well as that pretty string-and-seal on the side. 


Donna Karan Gold.  If I could have changed anything about this bottle, I’d have wanted a smooth cap, preferably in metal, but at least in heavy plastic.  The texture of the wooden cap is in conflict with the graceful proportions of the rectangular bottle and the smoothness of the gilded sides.  Cap aside, this one’s a pleasure to hold and spray.


Guerlain Chamade, in parfum.  It’s meant to evoke a heart turned upside down with love, and the stopper makes me think of a candle flame.  (I like the classic Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue bottles, too – Guerlain does a good job at designing distinctive bottles.)  I actually bought an empty 1/4-oz Chamade parfum bottle and emptied a decant of pdt into it, so I could hold it and play with it and and run my fingers over the ridges and look at the sun through it… I even wrote Chamade into my NaNoWriMo novel, bottle and all. 


Any Lancome La Collection fragrance, from the larger spray bottle to the smaller dabber bottles with ground-glass stoppers.  The shapes are attractive, they feel nice in the hands, and I adore dabbing with a stopper anyway, it’s so deliciously retro.  The sprayer on my bottle of Cuir delivers a nice mist, too.


Any Chanel parfum bottle.  Absolutely classic, from its square bottle with slightly-rounded corners, to its ground-glass stopper that’s a delight to hold, to the iconic black-and-white label.  There is no element of this bottle that isn’t simply perfect.  I have two bottles of No. 5 extrait in different sizes, and a tiny 4ml bottle of No. 19 extrait.  They’re all a joy to use.

I’d love to hear about the most beautiful bottle(s) you own.

All photos are from (because mine never come out right).


17 thoughts on “Beautiful Smells in Beautiful Bottles”

  1. Hmmm, now you got me thinking. I don’t particularly note the beautiful bottles, more the ugly ones. 🙂
    But of the ones I own, I like Penhaligon’s Artemisia, it is lovely as the scent in it. And the only SL bell jar I have is really great.
    Btw, anything that comes in no nonsense class rectangle bottle will be beautiful to me, I like minimalism. 🙂

  2. I’d have to say AG Le Chevrefeuille or Balenciaga Le Dix. The ribbon on the AG is such a pretty shade of egg yolk yellow. My Amaranthine or Lily & Spice are attractive too – the former has a perky silver bow.

    My bottles are all on the floor right now, as their fridge is defrosting, and to be honest, most of the bottles are not that prepossessing. I may be odd in also liking my Kenzo Flower Oriental. The abstract brown squiggles border on modern art.

    1. (Didn’t you just defrost your fridge a few months ago?)

      I haven’t seen that Kenzo – I assume it’s in the Flower bottle, just a different color?

      I love all the AGs, and I think the Penhaligon’s bottles are attractive too. Le Dix I don’t remember… Oh, yes, the shape is nice on the Balenciaga edts – I once owned a mini bottle of Le Dix but traded it away, and my Michelle parfum is in a plain cylindrical bottle.

  3. I own so few full size bottles that I can’t talk about those in any detail. But from what I see in stores I love the Annick Goutal bottles – all the different ones. I also like the Byredo style of bottles, but haven’t found a Byredo fragrance yet that I really really want to buy. Agree that Chanel are amazingly stylish.

    1. SS, the AGs are so terrific – from the butterfly boules to the nice square men’s ones (I love the purple Mandragore with the gold squiggles on it). ByRedo are those hefty squat cylindrical ones, aren’t they? They look like they’d be good to handle.

      I have a lot of decants.

  4. Hi Mals,
    I adore the Chamade bottle and also have a few empties that I plan to do just as you’ve done – just waiting to find time to properly clean them out first!
    My favorite has to be Nina Ricci’s 1987 Nina bottle – which can also be found on the Fragrantica site. I know you’re not a fan, but I just love the scent.
    Other beautiful bottles I own include the crystal Joy and L’Heure Bleue perfume bottles which I’ve been too anal to open, an ancient (Louie XVI) bottle of Apres L’Ondee with a few thick drops of perfume remaining, and Caron’s Bellogia – also crystal with the ground glass stopper.

    1. Ann, Chamade is just SO lovely.

      I think the old style Nina was pretty – I had a sniff of it on a friend sometime last year. I really like Farouche, too. The newer Nina is the fruity one in that apple bottle, right? I have to admit, that apple bottle is adorable, even if I don’t like what’s in there. Ricci Ricci nearly killed me – I have difficulty with patchouli anyway, and when it’s mixed with fruit I’m trying to keep my lunch down. That one I wouldn’t take if someone paid me – even if the bottle’s cute.

      Oh, gosh, your parfum bottles… Joy goes all dirty-panties on me (wah, it makes me cry), but the bottle is really beautiful. And the crystal Bellodgia bottle is gorgeous – I’ve only seen that one in photos, but it’s such a fascinating shape.

      I actually have a bottle of L’Heure Bleue in parfum, and it’s nice to hold. I’m always afraid I’m going to break the stopper, though that’s probably just paranoia.

  5. I don’t think I have any beautiful bottles and I also care more about how it feels and how easy it is to spray. I do have a mini of Mitsouko that is pretty cute. The nicest bottles I own are probably Hermes Eau de Merveilles Constellation bottle and Jennifer Lopez Deseo, although both of those are a bit ungainly to spray!

  6. I’m in total agreement with you on the Mariella Burani! A wonderful fragrance with a lovely bottle/cap. I’ll put in a vote for Dior’s Dune – love the shape and the iridescent color – and the YSL Paris bottle.

    And I’ll admit to a great fondness for the original Prince Matchabelli crown bottles – kitschy, yes, but they make me feel nostalgic.

    1. Yay for MB!! I don’t remember what Dune looks like… my sister wore it, but WOULD NOT SHARE any with me.

      I have two ancient PM crown bottle minis (Wind Song, of course, and Stradivari), and they are cute as the dickens.

  7. Hi Mals86,

    I’ve never commented on here before but I wanted to tell you I love your blog and lurk here quite often. I love your reviews and little anecdotes … just lovely!

    As for bottles in my collection I find aesthetically pleasing:

    Wish — Chopard
    Angel — Thierry Mugler (I know, I know … it was a long time ago. :-))
    Chanel No. 5 — I echo you and everyone else … beautiful and stylish
    La Collection Bottles from Lancome— I agree with you, too.
    Apres L’Ondee — Guerlain’s Bee Bottle
    I think the Guerlain Acqua Allegoria bottles are nice, too, even if I’m not too crazy about the juice I have inside them.
    Arpege’s Boule noire with bouchon framboise- Lanvin– gorgeous

    I am lemming the MB after reading your review and I think the bottle is super cute!

    1. Hi, Connie, and welcome! I do think Wish and Angel come in super-cute bottles, even if I don’t enjoy what’s in them. And yes, all the bee bottles are lovely (I wish I owned one).

      Ohhh, and Arpege in the black boule, yes! Double yes. My bottle of Arpege is the tall rectangle – actually, it’s a 1/4 oz parfum, so it’s not really tall. It’s a nice bottle, actually. So is the little bottle of L’origan parfum.

      Luckily, the Mariella Burani is very reasonably priced, although you can only find it on eBay and a very few online discounters. It was an excellent unsniffed purchase for me.

      1. Thanks for the warm welcome, Mals!

        You have a lovely collection. I have a little L’Origan parfum, too, and the square arpege/my sin bottles. I’m afraid I fell down the vintage rabbit hole over the last 6 months or so.

        Must. Stop. Now (which really means soon).

        Looking forward to more of your musings.

  8. Chanel bottles are my favorite!!! Love them!!!

    Only other bottle I remember loving was circa 80’s Poison. That beautiful purple color that fit so perfectly in my hand. Oh why didn’t I keep that bottle???

    And of course, Angel has to be on this list, too. Still have a bottle, and still love the juice.

    1. Hi, K! Both Poison and Angel skeer me – you’s a brave woman. The bottles are very pretty, though, and I remember holding my friend’s Poison bottle in my hand and enjoying the feel of it. I recently tried Poison again from a modern bottle, and it seems to have lost that truly-dangerous quality (although as it was, my entire family avoided me and my ONE DROP of Poison for hours).

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