Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How world politics killed a perfume: Arsenal

Back in the late 1990's when I was still a teenager and not so interested in perfumes, I ran across a spray sample of Gilles Cantuel's Arsenal (Red and Blue) for men. I was so taken aback by this incredibly sweet and mesmerizing fragrance duo; they were very unique, both sweet and sour at the same time - delicious! However, at this innocent age I did not yet wear any fragrance as I considered wearing cologne to be a "macho" thing to do - I didn't dream to wear any out of fear someone might think I was "trying too hard".

A few years later when I began to wear fragrance more regularly I would spend a lot of my free time shopping around my local stores trying to find a fragrance that was distinctly "me". Some of my early favourites included Eau Sauvage and Arrogance - but I knew they weren't truly reflective of my personality at that age. I was a fresh, young, innovative, trendy kinda guy, with an appreciation for sweet and tart flavours. I also lived off the most vile synthetic candy and 7-11 slushies during those summers. This is when I happened to run into those samplers again; digging through some old belongings and found the red vial with just enough left for a few sprays... Upon application I screamed holy *(*#$! - I must have this!

I drove to the nearest Scentiments only to find out that they were unable to stock this particular perfume after the (then recent) events of 9/11. This was due to the fact that absolutley no air shipper would touch this perfume; Its bottle shape and packaging (see above) were just too dangerous and controversial. Rather than change the iconic grenade bottle of this heavily brand/image reliant product Cantuel simply pulled it from distribution entirely in North America. I am not sure of the full story, in terms of how it met its end in Europe - but somehow it has now become a discontinued perfume and I kick myself to this day for not picking some up when I had the chance. Then again I don't think I could have afforded it with my allowance in those days anyways...

another parfum "disparu" I suppose :)

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