Saturday, June 30, 2012

Lutens & L'Artisan: Setting the Score Straight on Discontinuations

It was with some disappointment that I received the latest newsletter from a (very popular) niche online boutique stating "We managed to secure a small amount of some of our favorites which are sadly being discontinued. This is it...so if you like 'em...get 'em now." They then went on to depict three fragrances: one from Serge Lutens, two from L'Artisan Parfumeur.

You're asking which ones? Well, the Lutens is Five o'clock au Gingembre. But the rumour isn't 100% true: The fragrance still appears prominently on the official Lutens page for sale. They have moved other things from export range to exclusive range etc. ~which I had reported here a long while ago as I do with all cutting edge Lutens perfume news~ and were confirmed by official Lutens mail later on, so it makes sense that they would act on it promptly. They had in all other cases.
Bottom line: I wouldn't rush into a panic just yet. There's plenty of stock left (it's a slow seller) everywhere.

But regarding the L'Artisan fragrances the plot thickens: The distributor site mentions a 135$ price for a 100ml bottle each for Navegar and Tea for Two. Even though Tea for Two is indeed getting discontinued, as first reported on Perfume Shrine (and Navegar is not long for this world either), there is actually a sale going on on L'Artisan's official site right now, mentioning a 35GBP for 100ml for Navegar! No Tea for Two available sadly (though you could find it elsewhere, I bet), but I'd say that's a huge difference to pay with the "bait" of "we secured a small amount of discontinued fragrance"...For shame.

Feel free to vote with your wallet.


  1. FYI, if you live in the US, the Navegar is NOT for sale on that site - you lucky Europeans, you!

  2. Nina Z17:32

    I think you may be wrong about this. Recently Tea for Two was for sale, and now it is discontinued (the SF Barney's SA told me this, and mentioned she was trying to get her hands on every remaining bottle she could find for her customers who love it). I think the Navegar is on sale to dump it before discontinuation, not to trick people into buying it.

  3. C,

    yes, that's true. Hence my mentioning the GBP price. But still, lots of people order from the american site overseas and they might be served better through a European connection. (the price difference is huge enough to justify the favor).

  4. Nina,

    you must have misunderstood me, surely? If not I apologize in advance. :-)

    What I said is that yes, Tea for Two IS discontinued (actually I had reported the discontinuation in February 2012, as linked, so everyone had plenty of time to stock up, like I had mentioned the substitution of Vanilia with Vanille Absolument in my review of the latter eons ago) and the sale is because they're dumping stuff. Of course! (though to my knowledge they're not discontinuing everything that is listed in the sale)

    But the point of the post is I abhor the practice of keeping the prices up (and later on increasing them) when a bargain can be found elsewhere (much more so when it's the official site). Tea for Two was there in the previous sale right when I had mentioned the discontinuation originally. Anyone could grab it at an advantageous price rather than getting skinned.

    My point is: this is not a private seller coaching their children through college by selling discontinued, rare stuff for $$, which is understandable; this is a lucrative online business doing it, when they probably don't need to do it anyway (I assume their sales are stellar). Did I make it clearer now? Hope so.

  5. I must also point out that when you say "I think the Navegar is on sale to dump it before discontinuation, not to trick people into buying it." you're referring to L'Artisan, while I was referring to the american boutique with the "fortunate" name ;-)
    It's them who are posing this as a "don't miss, last chance for $$", not L'Artisan themselves (who host the sale).

  6. Kenneth21:40

    I don't think it's that misleading. First, the L'Artisan sale is for Europe only (as has been previously mentioned) and a lot of folks don't want to deal with the hassle of ordering internationally.

    As for Five o'Clock, it doesn't really matter if its being discontinued entirely or simply relegated to Exclusive status, as the latter is again for Europe only and procuring a belljar here in the states usually costs quite a pretty penny, and even then many people (myself included) prefer the 50ml spray atomizer as opposed to the dabber jar.

    The fortunate niche west coast boutique is selling both Tea for Two and 5 o'clock at their normal retail prices so no price gouging or unfair/malicious pricing as far as I'm concerned. The fact places like ebay and FragranceNet offer them cheaper doesn't mean those charging retail price are being dishonest imo. I guarantee as soon as places like the fortunate niche boutique (and their contemporaries) sell out of these fragrances the prices of them on eBay will shoot through the roof. So while it may not be your last chance to get these fragrances, it may be your last chance to get them at a fair price. Just my 2c.

  7. Ken,

    true, it's not above retail price.
    I guess the timing was bad with the L'AP sale at the same time, even if applicable to Europe. It just left a bad taste in my mouth. It's worth mentioning for those who do travel or can have someone close ship the thing to them from Europe. The price difference justifies it.

    Thanks for commenting though, you made a good point!


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