My Vega, My Sin – About a Vintage Perfume and a Black Cat

I remember reading Undina’s series of her love of orange cats. Now Rusty has to be the blogosphere’s most photogenic cat, but for me; I like all cats, or so I thought because, in hindsight, I see a few black influencers…

L to R in circle; me in ’78 with my favourite songbook under the arm, the cover of said songbook, Dinah Alice’s kitty from through the looking glass, Chat Noir, My Sin advert, Cat Woman, Bacall obviously with Black cats, Behemot, another My Sin. middle: another childhood fave.

Starting here; with my favourite song book as a child, over to Alice’s kitten, Cat woman, the famous Chat Noir, the infamous Behemot and last but not least My Sin! What a lineage…

I never thought that my cat the cat who would accept to share my home with me, should be called anything perfume related, so going through endless names, her name was actually from the star rather than the perfume. As she had three white dots from neck to underbelly, I decided she should be called for the brightest star in the summer triangle; Vega! And this is how she ended up with a perfume related name after all. So or so, it suits her and she likes it as in; she doesn’t ignore it.

I’ve been talking about getting a cat for ages but also been very aware of the responsibility going with it. Perhaps too much so, forgetting what a pleasure it is sharing your life with an animal.
I had been scouring the various shelter sites for ‘the one’, for ages. A cat for which it wouldn’t be a deprivation being in a flat, a ‘single’ cat, since I felt two was a bit much for my flat.
‘My’ cat had been on the site for some months, one reason being that the description by the woman who had taken care of her while Vega was fostering her kittens, was not encouraging. She wrote that Vega had only been out of her hiding at night when the house was quiet, and she was uncertain if Vega would ever become accustomed to people. I am sure that didn’t help matters, considering that black cats are still harder to shift than other colours, and a one-eyed cat to boot. A black, one-eyed, scaredy-cat in short.

I decided to take a look since she had been there for more than 4 months, perhaps they knew more about her development now?

At the shelter, I played with her delicately and tried to hand her a treat to which she responded by rolling on her back for me, and, by doing so, telling me in ‘Cat’, that she would like a forever home kind-of n(e)ow.

I thought that visit proved that there was more than a tiny hope that she could become a happy cat if I was willing to risk that she might also be forever shy.

The first night was spent underneath my bed, and it took about a week for her to become familiar with more than my bedroom and the floor, but then the development was speedy.

Now, there are only a few signs of her early timid behavior, and quite a few that she has accepted me as her humble servant.
Since I already wrote about Vega here, let me end up with a short My Sin ‘review’, in honour of all black cats.

Before My Sin gets its reputation butchered by this new version – folks do write the funniest things when they are indignant about something- I want to have a look at the old Dame that is vintage ‘My Sin’.

“It actually reminds me of (…) the little lapdog from the movie Legally Blonde. Take a tiny chihuahua, dress it in pink, and name it Bruiser, this is what Lanvin did now”

“Shame, shame everyone knows you’re lying with this name”

“It’s like spray painting primer over a Rembrandt, drawing a stick figure on it and calling it art.”


All Fragrantica quotes for the new version

Unfortunately, I only own a sample of the original parfum, which might mean that it has even less resemblance to what the fresh and original My Sin would have smelled like back in 1924 when this particular Madame Zed perfume was released for the house, Lanvin.

I can, however, still smell the full intention behind the name. The, by age, soften molded aldehydes, reminds me of the grease once used in the practice of floral oil extraction, known as enfleurage. The heart of the fragrance which must once have been addictively intoxicating is a buzz of bees around decaying and debauched white flowers. Its base is lush and drunken with sensual feline animalics and bodily warmth. Oh my, to own this… Oh my, even more, to have been the woman who wore this back in the days, some woman she would have been…


Black cats can be hard to photograph as the shadows only seems to blur their features, but catch them in the rays of the sun, and you see the beauty of the black cat: where the fur catches the sun, it turns a glistering white, and in this magical way, there are no shadows just light…


And finishing on that note

Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

A ghost, though invisible, still is like a place
your sight can knock on, echoing; but here
within this thick black pelt, your strongest gaze
will be absorbed and utterly disappear:

just as a raving madman, when nothing else
can ease him, charges into his dark night
howling, pounds on the padded wall, and feels
the rage being taken in and pacified.

She seems to hide all looks that have ever fallen
into her, so that, like an audience,
she can look them over, menacing and sullen,
and curl to sleep with them. But all at once

as if awakened, she turns her face to yours;
and with a shock, you see yourself, tiny,
inside the golden amber of her eyeballs
suspended, like a prehistoric fly.

Translated by Stephen Mitchell.

18 thoughts on “My Vega, My Sin – About a Vintage Perfume and a Black Cat

  1. I am so happy Vega feels at home with you. 🙂 Although, from my perspective you seem like the cat whisperer.
    As for My Sin – I love the Fragrantica comments! 😀

    • Thank you Ines, yes, I’m very happy for that too. I never imagined she would become such a contend cat. Hihi, cat whisperer, I wouldn’t mind that, and yes, aren’t those quotes the best?

  2. This is wonderful news! I know you’ve wanted a cat for the longest time but it turns out you just had to wait for Vega to come to you. What a lovely meeting you two had. She took to you so quickly and she is all the more beautiful for her single shining eye.

    What a fabulous poem. I especially love the line “your strongest gaze will be absorbed and utterly disappear”. I need a book of Rilke’s poetry, which I’ve been saying for ages.

    Too bad about the new My Sin, but sadly no surprise.

    • Thank you Tara, I think she’s all the more beautiful with one eye too. Turned out, what they didn’t write in the description, that it was actually surgically removed as she had cancer in the eye. So she has been through a lot.
      Yes, and the resinous bit of the Rilke poem too. There’s something always so extraordinarily observant about Rilke’s writing, it hurts a little and is all the more beautiful for it. His books won’t run away ? You’ll read him when it suits you.

  3. Asali, your painting at the top of the post of the black cat is just gorgeous. And I love that you now have a cat of your own – she is especially beautiful against that blue blanket. Wonderful story about how you came to acquire her.

    I am lucky to have a generous sample of vintage My Sin parfum that perfume blogger Olenska sent me. I would say that your description matches up to it quite well.

    • Thank you so much Suzanne. Yes, getting Vega was the best decision I’ve made in ages, she’s such a joy. Even when she’s annoying, I remind myself where she came from, and am happy that she feels safe enough with me to annoy me.
      I’m glad you think you sample of My Sin matches my description, that means it’s not too far gone. Samples do tend to go off compared to bottles. I wonder how you like it, I see you as someone who would carry it off beautifully.

  4. I loved reading about Vega more than the perfume i have to admit! she is gorgeous 🙂 I used to own a black cat very like yours and am feeling rather nostalgic and sad.

    • Thank you Patsi, and hehe, that’s fine, admit away ? I probably would too. Cats are just amazing creatures, and I understand your nostalgia; one reason I had for not getting a cat, was the fact that I couldn’t stand the thought of them dying.

  5. I’m so happy for you and Vega! Lovely painting and story. One of my kits is all black like your Vega. They do have a certain ‘something’, eh? Love to you both. <3

    • Dear Barb, yes I remember that. They do, the way they can hide, looking like shadows amazes me time and again. Thank you and lots of love back ❤️

  6. Lovely paean to cats everywhere! I myself have 7…one of whom is an orange rascal missing an eye himself. He is a nuisance and a devil, an endless source of entertaining malfeasance. Pumpkin is his name. Not a name I would have chosen but he came to me with it, courtesy of my sister with whom he spent the first years of his life.

    I wonder what perfume-related name I could choose for a cat. Fiore? Profvmvm? (Fiore d’Ambra is one of my favorite fragrances). Or perhaps Oriza (after Oriza L. Legrand Reve d’Ossian, another favorite).

    I never thought to try My Sin by Lanvin; you have piqued my interest though I usually have great trouble with aldehydes. You know much more about fragrance ingredients and their purpose than I do so it is a learning experience to read your articles.

    And I love the Rilke poem. It captures the mystique of the black cat splendidly.

    • 7! Oh my, Marlene, how wonderful. I imagine they can run out then? I do love a ginger rascal as well, actually, I absolutely prefer catty cats to doggy cats, even if the former can be a handful. I like Oriza, cat names and perfume is a great theme actually. It’s a bit like wearing perfume: you don’t want it to wear you. Like it takes quite some cat to be able to carry off the name Shalimar for example. I know Mitsy (for Mitsouko) and jicky are popular cat names in our midst 🙂
      Vintage My Sin, is not your usual aldehyde perfume, so definitely worth a sniff should you happen to find a bit of if for not too much money. Treats from me to your cats – all 7 ?

  7. Hoping to sneak this comment in in time…I am invariably last to the party! As the besotted owner of Truffle, I am delighted to hear you have finally been chosen by a cat, and Vega is the best name out. She is so lucky to have you and will doubtless bring you much joy. I have never owned a black cat, and yet had the name ready just in case…Jetsam. Who would clearly need a companion called Flotsam.

    I know nothing about My Sin, probably just as well. Though I did study Rilke at uni!

    • Oh, you’re not, in fact late is never ? Especially compared to my own lateness in commenting.
      Jetsam and flotsam, love it! I had loads of names in advance but they just wouldn’t fit her, shy as she was in the beginning and gentle. About pairs, my idea was Lucie and Absalon, because the nicknames could be Lussekat ( the safran buns for Lucia day in Sweden, also meaning light cat, or indeed Lice cat). Absalon could become Abekat which is like cheaky monkey, literally meaning monkey cat.
      Truffle is a wonderful cat, and you’re fit to be besotted with her.
      It has been remarkable to watch Vega’s development, she’s becoming ever tamer and happier, it’s a joy.

  8. Asali, what a wonderful news!!! I’m so happy for you! I think Vega and you found each other: it is so lucky to find a matching personality in your furry companion. I wish you both many-many-many happy years together (and hope to see proof of that in pictures – both digital camera and painted ones.

    I have never tried My Sin so no comment there. But I’ll wear Vega tomorrow in honor of your new cat.

    • Awww, thank you for the honorary wearing of Vega.
      Indeed I hope for many many many happy years with her too, she’s such a joy, both gentle and silly-catty at the same time. I’ll do my best to share enough photos, but as you know, cats aren’t the easiest of sitters.
      I can’t wait to hear about your London trip and perfumes ( of course including Rusty photos of your haul ? )

  9. Hello Asali! I loved reading about Vega’s arrival in your life. She is a perfect spokescat for our vintage My Sin bottles. Like Vega, these perfumes have been through a lot, they are a little difficult to acquire, but they are elegant and mysterious. Our house is ruled by Tinkerbelle, a very loving patchwork cat, as you can see (I do hope the photo works!)


    • Dear Maria, oh I’m so sorry I didn’t reply before, for some reason the comments report doesn’t work, so I overlooked it. Thank you for your lovely comment, and yes, i like to think that Vega is a good spokescat for vintage My Sin, these are just the best perfume adverts ever. To cat lovers anyway 🙂 aw, tinkerbelle, what a cutie, Patchwork cats are truly special.
      One day a bottle will show up I hope…

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