Suzanne's Perfume Journal

The disadvantage of this system is that you can’t see what perfume you’re choosing until you withdraw the bottle and read its label. This isn’t a problem for me (I retain a good memory of where each perfume is placed), but if this were a concern, the bottles could be arranged alphabetically, left to right. Or if you owned enough decants and minis to outfit several (or more) cigar boxes, you could group them by perfume house, so that one box might contain all of your Caron and Chanel decants, for example. And you could always type up a little list or chart (similar to what you’d find on a Whitman’s Sampler chocolate box) and attach it to the lid or tuck it inside, quickly eliminating all guesswork.

Images are my own.

The advantage of this storage system is that I can fit at least 25 decants or minis of various sizes (from the tall-and-thin to the round-and-squat) into the box, and it’s deep enough that only the lids of the bottles come to the surface—meaning, the bottles themselves are not exposed to damaging sunlight. They fit snuggly together, so they won’t topple over, of course; but by the same token, there’s still enough room for me to withdraw each bottle easily and even to store a few carded and ziplocked samples in between some of the bottles. And as far as presentation, it fits with my artsy-antiquey décor and keeps my favorite decants within easy reach (this cigar box sits atop a jewelry box on a bookshelf in my bedroom, which works for me since I more often reach for perfume than jewelry, but when I want to pair the two together—voila!—the decant of Black Orchid Voile de Fleur is right there with my black pearl earrings).

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Map of Cuba and Nicarauga, top of box (decants are too tall to permanently fold down lid)

Because perfume lovers who purchase decants are always casting around for storage ideas, I thought I’d do a brief post to show you what I do with mine.

We have a wonderful cigar emporium in our town where customers can enjoy a relaxing smoke in the well-appointed, well-ventilated rooms of this lovely shop. In the first years after it opened, my husband was frequenting the shop quite regularly, and one day when I was there with him, the owner’s wife saw me admiring a display of empty cigar boxes she’d arranged on a wall. Upscale cigars are just like upscale perfumes—they often involve fancy packaging—and one of the boxes that caught my eye was the one you see pictured: a rustic-looking number with a hinged lid, on which is decoupaged an Old World-style map highlighting Cuba and Nicaragua. Seeing how much I liked it, she kindly insisted on giving it to me, and from that day forward it has been housing my decant-and-mini-size perfume bottles quite nicely. I thought it might be worth mentioning here, because for readers living near a fine-cigar store, these types of boxes can often be picked up quite reasonably. Our cigar store sells many of its cigars singly and thus ends up with an accumulation of these empty boxes for which they have no further use—and now they’ve begun selling them for a very small price, usually $3 to $5 a piece.

How I Store My Decants and Minis

April 23, 2009: