All the Pretty Bottles

Magpie's Perfume Bottle Collection

Magpie Loves Perfume Bottles | Illustration by The Perfume Magpie

I’m a visual person. I get drawn to anything pretty. Over the years I’ve learnt to behave (a bit) and restrain myself not to collect anything and everything I lay my eyes on but I’m still a magpie through and through. I enjoy being surrounded by things that are pleasing to the eye. As you can probably guess, perfume is one of such things I adore not only for the smell but also for the visual effect. If I had an unlimited amount of money to spend, I would have a huge perfume library in my house with a collection of beautiful bottles adorning each shelf.

So when I decide to buy a perfume, the design of the bottle plays a big part. The number one factor is still the smell, of course, but even if I *like* the smell, if I don’t like the bottle, the prospect of the purchase becomes very slim. (By the way, if I *love* the fragrance, I would buy it however the bottle looks.)

Anyway, I was looking at my humble perfume collection on the dresser this morning and I happened to notice that they have one noticeable visual quality in common – simple. A few of them have so called whisky decanter shapes and the rests are more or less the variations of the prism shapes. For fun, I decided to gather some of the images of the perfume bottles I like and dislike. All the bottles are chosen only for their appearance, nothing to do with the actual fragrances themselves. The choices are completely biased and personal.

So here we go…

The Bottles I Like

I decided to limit to ten commercial fragrance bottles here. Needless to say, there are so many more I like. I didn’t add any of the vanity bottles or vintage scent bottles but I love those gorgeous cut crystal and Art Nouveau glass bottles, especially by Lalique, Daum and Galle.

Perfume Bottles Magpie Likes

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Likes

The Bottles I Dislike

I think you can see some patterns forming here; I don’t like those dolly ones or plasticky ones. I didn’t list it here but I’m not too keen on the bug on the bottle of Maai by Bogue either.

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Dislike

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Doesn’t Like

The Bottles I Feel Somewhat Embarrassed

Not that I get offended by the designs or anything like that. I’m not a prude at all. I just wonder why they couldn’t come up with more suggestive but elegant looking bottles… OK, the Azzaro Duo bottles aren’t so bad if you look at them from the front but the side views they used for the advert definitely make them look like sex toys… Someone said that the bottle should be the physical embodiment of the fragrance… Well…never mind.

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Feels Embarrased

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Feels Embarrased


I want these.

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Wants

The Perfume Bottles Magpie Wants

So, when you buy a fragrance, does the design of the bottle affect your decision making? What is your favourite bottle design?

Disclaimer: The images of the fragrances and the bottles were borrowed from various perfume house and brand websites, Pinterest, and Google image search.

20 thoughts on “All the Pretty Bottles

  1. I love your illustration at the top! The bottle has some importance for me, but not too much. I must admit I’m hanging on to a couple of perfumes I don’t like the smell of because I love the bottles. These are Tocca’s Florence and Pleats Please.

  2. What a fun read. That fur bottle thang is just horrible. That would be like a dead rat lying on your dresser. However, I have to admit that I rather like the Penhaligon’s Tralala bottle 🙂 And of course there is nothing more classical than a Chanel bottle! Love the drawings!

    • Hahaha, Mr. Hound, “a dead rat lying on your dresser” indeed! I don’t support it but understand why they decided to use the real fur, but… I love Penhaligon’s normal bottles. especially in minis.

  3. Oh what great illustrations – and as Houndy says, a fun read indeed. I have the Shalimar shape in Parfum Initial and am very ‘partial’ to that. I also like the Guerlain bee and the Penhaligon’s bottles, though the Tralala one is a bit creepy, I agree with you (love the perfume though!). I adore the Bohemian filigree of Ajne bottles, of which I own precisely one. I differ from you in not liking that Van Cleef Feerie(?) bottle, on the grounds that my mother would have said; ‘You could put someone’s eye out with that.’

    • I love the perfume itself of Tralala! I actually bought a decant and put it in a pretty round spray bottle. 🙂 I’ve never tried any of the Ajne fragrances but, yes, I love the bottles. Pretty, shiny, sparkly…
      Funny, when I saw the Feerie bottle, I also thought “I can poke an out with it…” What more can you ask, pretty on the dresser AND can be a weapon?

  4. A couple of years ago I did the post on the topic (you can check it out for the pictures) but I like your illustrations – both the top one and the composed collections – better than mine 🙂

    I do buy some bottles just for the bottle’s sake and plan to keep doing that – as long as those aren’t too expensive.

    • Undina, those poetry book cases for Ineke‘s Floral Curiosities are just GORGEOUS!!! They definitely stirred up my magpie mind. I enjoyed reading your post and I’m sooooo glad to know that you sometimes buy fragrances just for the bottle’s sake. I like the idea of “to buy for the bottles’ sake” list. 😉

  5. Totally lovely post. There are some perfumes I will not even sniff if I hate the bottle. Montale springs instantly to mine.
    If I love the perfume then I won’t care about the bottle. No examples I can think of. I keep every bottle I own in the box and in dark cupboard so it’s not like I have to look at them anyway. Iconic Chanel takes a lot of beating. Hugs. xxxxxx

    • Hi CG, hope you had a great time in Milan!
      I haven’t sampled any of the Montale line just because I’m not drawn to their bottles… I didn’t even try quite a few of YSL fragrances until recently because of my prejudice against their bottle designs.
      One fragrance I bought in spite of my dislike towards the bottle was the original Samsara. I like the scent but I still don’t like the bottle. x

  6. A true magpie post 🙂 I love the first 5, but not completely sure about row two, I suppose my preferred bottles are a bit simpler, less bling. Apart from the ‘top 5’; Bell jars, vol de nuit, and for some reason I just love the new carven bottle; it’s perfection.
    The ugly ones are so bad… I do dislike the Tralala bottle too, but would love to own the fragrance, wish they would do a 50ml bottle in a different design 🙂
    I have bought solely for the bottle, but only very cheaply. Beautiful illustration as always.

    • Yes, Asali, 100% magpie post. 🙂 You know, I’m a magpie so I’m drawn to something shiny and eye catching. 😉
      I love the Carven bottles. I was thinking about blind buying Le Parfum or Ma Griffe in the new bottle… But I promised myself not to blind buy anything this year. By the way, I’ve never smelled Robe d’Un Soir but I’m totally in love with its bottle. Temptations…

      • Robe d’un Soir, I wonder which bottle you mean… Glad that the magpie eye agress on the Carven bottles. I’d suggest Ma Griffe rather than Le Parfum if you should find a cheap bottle and decide to blind buy 😉 Le Parfum is really rather boringly pretty I find.

  7. Gorgeous bottle illustrations – and your Magpie is perched in front of one of my favorite bottles, the Hermes 24, Faubourg bottle (even though I don’t have the special edition version that you feature, I still think the regular 24, Faubourg bottle is one of the loveliest in my collection).

    I don’t purchase perfume in relation to the bottle. I think that Ineke has some of the most beautiful bottles I’ve ever seen, but her fragrances don’t work for me, so even though I once blind bought a bottle and thought it looked exquisite, I gave the perfume away to a good home.

    Probably the bottle in my collection I love the most is the one for Amouage Gold, purchased in the old-style bottle that was heavy lead crystal with a gold-domed lid. It’s very Arabian looking and exotic, while still being sleek and easy to hold in the hand. I also love bottles that have a simple elegance to them, and for me, that is the Chanel exclusifs bottles with their magnetized caps. And the Parfums MDCI bottles! Not the ones with the classical busts, which I don’t really care for, but the less expensive version. They are round bottles with a tassel, but something about them is perfectly molded and tres elegant.

    • Suzanne, 24 Faubourg is my favourite as well. I usually make a note of which fragrance I wore each day and according to my notes, in March, I wore it 11 times. That’s a record! I love the regular bottle, it’s so pretty and elegant, but I’m still craving to get my hands on those special editions!
      I’d LOVE to have Parfums MDCI bottles. And I have no idea what it smells like but I want Les Beaux Arts Julia for the bottle’s sake.
      By the way, I have a thing for tassels on perfume bottles. 😉

  8. LOVE the bottles Thinking Magpie,
    I agree mostly but I do like the fun of the Gwen Stefani harijuku girls and Tra-La-La makes me laugh, the box is silly and fun too.
    Other loves? Cartier l’heures, Tauer, the old coloured Goutals, brown plastic Opium parfum bottles with tassle, Queen Latifah, Raymon Monegal, LouLou and Le Male.
    Portia xx

    • Hi Portia,
      I like the bottles of Les Heures and somewhat similar Hermessence bottles.I like the spiky red top bottle of LouLou but the later blue pyramid like ones are no-no for me. I also like the Opium bottle with tassel, love the new version as well but I totally dislike the earlier tallish clear bottle with maroon top. Monegal ink bottle? Yes, please. 😉

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