(PNS reporting from NEWARK) After 19 years of being regifted, the last known bottle of Jean Naté After Bath Splash has been returned to its original gifter here, PNS has learned.
Josefina de la Placa, a registered nurse, purchased the bottle in 1983 at the Rexall on Lafayette Avenue in Hawthorne as a Christmas gift for her brother Hector. It was regifted 19 times before she got it back at an office party Friday night.
“Well, I thought it was a nice gift,” de la Placa told PNS Sunday. “Hector is an ungrateful desgraciado.”
“What am I, an 82-year-old little lady?” Hector, an 81-year-old civil engineer, emailed this reporter. “I gave to the lady who delivers the mail.”
The scented water, created by Charles of the Ritz in 1935 and later marketed by Revlon, made it around the world before landing back in de la Placa’s lap as part of the Jade Isle Rehabilitation Center’s Secret Santa game at the home’s Christmas party. She is night nursing supervisor at the facility.
The Jean Naté After Bath Splash Mist, Original Scent, in the eight fluid ounce (236 ml) bottle, picked up some celebrity clout in its long journey.
It was regifted to both Sir Elton John and former presidential nominee contender Wesley Clark. Neither responded to requests for comment.
The cologne made it to Sri Lanka where it was gifted to a travel agent in the early 90s. It then traveled to Alaska via a cruise ship where it was gifted to a forlorn bebop pianist stuck playing requests in the budget piano bar on the lower deck.
The pianist, Keith “Ice Cube” Commish, was known for methodically preparing ice cube trays with Popov vodka (the cheapest) and keeping an ice bucket on the piano so he could “freshen his drink” during interminable sets of stupid music for stupid people without revealing he was totally drunk on his ass, all the time.
Experts suspect that it was at this point the bottle was accidentally frozen solid, which helped to preserve the cologne.
The bottle eventually landed in the hands of Josefina’s colleague, Claudia Torres, an occupational therapist, who received the bottle from a patient. It was Torres who unknowingly regifted the bottle to its original owner.
The Historical Society of Regifting in South Florida has shown some interest in adding the bottle to their collection.
“If only that bottle could talk!” said spokesperson Mandi Consuelo. “It would have some serious abandonment issues.”
The organization already has acquired treasures like the pink necktie Pres. George W. Bush regifted to his brother Jeb and the fur scarf Marilyn Monroe received from Robert Kennedy and regifted to her cousin, Nadine.
De la Placa has not decided on whether to keep the bottle or pass it on once more.
“I’m torn,” she said. “On the one hand, it’s a shame to let a good gift go to waste — maybe I should pass it on again. On the other hand this stuff is really strong and maybe I could put it to good use. Do you think it would keep PATH stations from smelling like urine?”
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