I am about to hold forth.
The first I heard about it was in a comment, directed TO ME, by Blacknall Allen of A Perfume Blog. (Whom I owe many samples, B T Dubs, sorry sorry I am a lazy mailer.) Sadly, I can’t remember where the comment was, this blog or hers… but I think it was perhaps in July of this year, and it went something like this:
BA: Hey, I know you’re a huge Le Temps d’une Fete fan [she is not], and I was just noticing that it’s disappeared from the Parfums de Nicolai site along with Vanille Tonka. Do you know what’s going on with it?
Me: Huh. Lemme go check… you’re right, it’s not there. Huh.
So then I contacted the PdN Customer Service via the email link on the website and asked if it was discontinued. It took nearly three days, and then what I received in reply was “Thank you for your inquiry. We will respond within 48 hours.”
I fumed. I did go and check all the usual US distributors of PdNs (BeautyHabit, LuckyScent, New London Pharmacy), and they all had it in stock. PdN did not, as they promised they would, reply directly to my inquiry – I got nothin’, despite having stated that Le Temps was a staple of my wardrobe and I was quite concerned. And then I read Portia’s guest post on Perfume Posse, in which she stated definitively that Le Temps d’une Fete, Vanilla Tonka, and Sacrebleu (not the Intense, the original) had all been discontinued.
I wailed. Over the injustice of the universe, over my personal pain, over my sadness and lack of understanding. But Le Temps is so goooood! I wailed. But so many perfumeheads love it! But it’s so classical! But it’s so me! It is still the only bottle of perfume I have completely drained since becoming a perfumista in late 2008!
All this wailing, you must understand, is compounded by the fact that within the last year or so Le Temps d’une Fete has, to my (adoring) nose, been noticeably reformulated. It is no longer the stunningly intense rays of late-afternoon sunlight piercing through green leaves overhead to the mossy ground. It is gentler and more floral, and now wears like the eau de toilette strength it always, probably, should have been, rather than the persistent radiance it had on my skin before. I understand that some of its prominent notes – jasmine and oakmoss, to name just two – have been restricted, and the balance has had to be reset in order to satisfy the Oakmoss Police, otherwise known as IFRA. I get it, I do. And I insist that Le Temps still smells like itself, only recalibrated toward lighter florals, with less of the heavy, exciting, electric-bass thrum of moss and woods. It is airier. I can now wear six spritzes of it at once without running for the hills – the earlier formula would have probably done me in with three. It still carries a hint of body warmth in the far drydown. But I confess that I grieve somewhat over the fact that my new 100ml bottle is not the same magical elixir as filled my first (and second) 30ml bottle. I dole out the original on special occasions, and have been spritzing the new bottle copiously (since buying it about a year ago, it’s 20% gone – unheard of with most of my other fragrances).
You must also understand that, as many perfumes as I own, Le Temps d’une Fete is truly one of my favorites, even in its current iteration. (Witness the plundering of my 2012 bottle.) At the thought of never smelling it again, I’m stunned with pain. And Parfums de Nicolai is niche enough, limited enough in its distribution, that there will be no stalking ebay for minis, such as I’ve done for Jolie Madame parfum and old Coty Chypre. There is literally nothing else like it (despite that misleading review of it in Perfumes: The Guide, in which Luca Turin compares it to “Chamade with backbone”). It is very little like Chamade, other than the colors it makes me see when I wear it; I compared the two in a throwdown post in 2011.
I enjoy Vanille Tonka too – it was the very first perfume I reviewed on what was then my brand-new blog, back in 2009, and it still makes me unbelievably happy to wear it.
However, Victoria of Bois de Jasmin recently gave us the welcome news that Le Temps d’une Fete will apparently not disappear entirely from the world. Instead, it will be pretty much a “sold on demand” fragrance, not in the regular lineup but still available when a customer begs for it. Vanille Tonka will not be discontinued. Sacrebleu will be phased out, represented only by the Sacrebleu Intense version.
I nearly cried with relief.
However. The word I heard is that these three were being axed due to flagging sales. Flagging sales! I swear, all you perfume people who say a perfume is good and you love it and you’re saving up to buy it (okay, I’m guilty of that too – a bottle of Guerlain Vega has been on the wishlist for a good three years), but you haven’t bought it yet… well. For heaven’s sake, everybody order the heck out of Le Temps d’une Fete, and perhaps it will come back!!
It is probably enormously presumptuous of me to whine about a perfume I love disappearing. It is a First World Problem for sure. But there you have it: my PdN Pretty Darn Nasty rant… sigh.