Grooming

The Boldest and Coolest Perfume Bottles to Add to Your Collection

Towers, fists, torsos, slabs... these perfume bottles are baby sculptures.
IMAGE Jean Paul Gaultier, Viktor & Rolf, Paco Rabanne
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When buying perfume, are you here for the juice or the bottle? Some say what matters is what’s within, while others argue that, yes, you should take into consideration the vessel in which the scent, cologne, fragrance, or make-me-sexy potion is housed in. Though we like to point to emotions or memory as the true values of fragrances, these bottles of liquid magic are, let’s face it, a flex.

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You buy that bottle of perfume as a ticket to your membership to a luxury fashion house. You place it on a prominent spot on the table so that your (special) guest will know of your good taste. You whip it out of your bag and maybe create a performance to make sure everyone sees the shiny slab.

Of course, the ideal would be that the cool and bold appearance of a perfume bottle also matches its inside, and chances are, perfumers who value the presentation of their creations put great care into the formulas. From a red tower to a fist, a torso to a transformer, these perfume bottles are mini sculptures you must collect.

Paco Rabanne 1 Million Parfum

Photo by Paco Rabanne.
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“Don’t be afraid to be outrageous,” says Paco Rabanne of the new 1 Million Parfum. The embodiment of the edict is a bottle that is not a bottle, but a vessel in the shape of a gold bar. Inside: “a floral leather with solar strength.” In other words, this is never for wallflowers.

 

Versace Blue Jeans 

It had all the classic notes of a fragrance for men: woodsy and citrusy with bergamot, lemon, vetiver, and more. But what made this throwback cologne (born in 1994) cool was its soda bottle-shaped flacon. Lion medallions, a highly adorned cap, and the blue canister completed the experience. Too bad it’s been discontinued.

 

Diesel Only the Brave

Photo by Diesel.
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While we’re on the subject of perfume bottles that are not bottles, consider the clenched fist of Only the Brave. If you think about it, there is some Inception-ish mind game going on here: Your hand is holding a hand that is holding a bottle of perfume. And if you want to be more obvious about it, there is a black and gold version, too.

 

Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb

Photo by Viktor & Rolf.

The shape of a hand grenade is the most fitting expression for Spicebomb, “an instant olfactory detonation,” as described by Viktor&Rolf. The handsome choice would be the original black bottle, but there’s also a green-tinged flacon (Night Vision) that feels just a touch wilder.

 

Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male

Photo by Jean Paul Gaultier.
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This sculpted torso of a sailor can be read in two ways. First, it is the perfect signal for masculinity, which, for Jean Paul Gaultier, smells of shaving soap and vanilla. As well, it references the designer’s most popular motif, la mariniere or the striped top worn by French sailors. It would be a good idea to pick up the iconic bottle this year as the scent celebrates its 25th anniversary.

 

Issey Miyake L'eau d'Issey Pour Homme 

Photo by Issey Miyake.

Issey Miyake’s slender perfume bottle is poetry. After designing a towering vial for women, the Japanese designer created a complement in this broad and thin slab for men. The design has been recently updated (the Igo) by turning it into a two-in-one experience. L’eau’s cap now houses a small reserve of perfume, giving you the option of mobility.

 

Valentino Uomo

Photo by Valentino.
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If we’re going by how it smells, we’re more aligned with the Intense version, but we’re here to talk about Uomo’s spike-riddled bottle. And this one looks like the rare vintage you purposely place on the topmost shelf. You’ll admire the amber liquid but never drink it, because it is just too precious. (Also, it’s perfume!)

 

Bulgari Aqua 

Photo by Bulgari.

Aqua reigned in the noughties, a time when blue, watery, and oceanic scents were popular. That idea was perfectly translated into the form of a pebble so smooth it is as if the bottle was shaped by undying currents. Aqua’s novel flacon lies flat on the table, making it stand out against common towers.

 

Voyage d'Hermès

Photo by Hermès.
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We’re here for the acrobatics. Hermès innovates the vessel, installing an all-over cover that swivels around to reveal the round-bottom bottle. If you follow the luxury house, you may connect the swingy form to the stirrup of a horse, the spirit animal of Hermès. And if you’re not familiar with the brand, Voyage is an example of its unconventional approach to everything.  

Kenzo Homme

Photo by Kenzo.

So, yes, the perfume bottle can go beyond the pillar (see everything above). Kenzo leans into the concept, literally, by creating this flacon that tilts, sways, and bends. What are you reminded of when you see this? The pliable bamboo? The hilt of a sword? Whatever it is, the bottle made you look.  

Pasha de Cartier

Photo by Cartier.
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No doubt, the Pasha perfume bottle belongs to Cartier as it adopts many of the jeweler’s motifs: The tower-like form is capped by a silver dome decorated with gadroons. A blue ornament, reminiscent of the sapphire cabochon used in the jeweler’s watches, crowns it. The intertwining bands of the Trinity Ring also appears on the base of the cap. Pasha is really best viewed from the top.

Dolce & Gabbana The One Mysterious Night

Photo by Dolce & Gabbana .

Finally, something red. Mysterious Night is an edition exclusively made for the Middle East. When you combine the Italian fashion house with Arabic sensibilities, you get this masculine slab dressed in an unapologetically bold color, a mirror of its oud smell. And, of course, there on top is a gold crown.

These are cool, but how does a perfume bottle work?

Here’s a question that keeps us up a night. How does perfume travel from the depths of a bottle and onto your skin? The quick answer: It’s a pump-and-tube action, where the pump draws liquid into and up the tube (that sliver of pipe in the bottle) and pushes it out through the nozzle. It’s the nozzle that turns liquid into mist.

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The concept behind the delivery follows the principles of airflow, which, according to sciencing.org, involves horizontal and vertical (this is that tube) interaction and also suction. But you shouldn’t worry about the mechanics. You should worry when you run out of fragrance.  

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Clifford Olanday
Editor in Chief, Esquire Philippines
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