Does Anyone Suspect Dilutions Recently?

    Does Anyone Suspect Dilutions Recently?

    post #1 of 19
    Thread Starter 

    Just got back from a trip to the department store, which isalways depressing in a Midwest town(consisting of mainstream and designer fragrances, no niche, no limited editions,andonly best-sellers) but this timewas even worse.

    Itried a few testersof fragrances I have owned in the past. These were new, full, testers. They were weak. Not all of them, but some. Significantly weaker than the last bottles I owned. What were once powerhouse fragrances with ONE SPRITZ, I could barely smell on my arm.

    What's going on? At first I thought it was my nose. I walked away fromthe fragrance department. I walked outside inthe parking lot. Still, I could barely smell some ofthem. I kept thinking, it couldn't have been sense of smellbecause a few of them did still stand out.

    Me: "I'm having a problem smelling this one."

    SA: "I can't smell X on you, but I cansmell Y."

    Me: "Even from over there?"

    SA: "Yes."

    I felt as though the last bottle I owned must have beenthe last good bottle in existence -- the oneI hadcarelessly used up, thinking I could replace it. It made me feel crazy, as ifsomeone had died.

    Do you think, possibly, that fragrances are being diluted? Wouldn't it be easier and cheaper tosimply dilute a fragrance to meet the new restrictionsrather than pay a professional to accomplish the difficult task of remaking it to smell the same?

    Every concentration has a range: Parfum 15-30%, EDP 8-15%, EDT 4-8%. Essentially, some fragrancescould start out at the upper range and be diluted to half their strength. Would this be enough to make them squeak by the restrictions? Lazy, but effective?

    Am I being paranoid? I know that manufacturers would never tell us the truth if they were diluting. They alreadyref****late and say nothing, as if changing thebottle is a legitimate way to inform us that the product is no longer the same. (I call that practicebait-and-switch, which is supposed to be illegal, but it happens all the time in fragrance.)

    Honestly, one of them smelled like hardlymore than diluted alcohol in a bottle. How sad. It seems thatthe only ones I can trust are the new releases. Unfortunately, I haven't found any of those thatare worth buying. Anything that isn't selling like crazy is at risk for losing support from the manufacturer. Looks like I'll be buying niche from now on.

    Anyone else feel like I do?

    post #2 of 19
    I think it's possible that fragrances could be diluted to circumvent established restrictions but don't know how one would be able to prove it. Personally it doesn't seem to concern me much as I would probably not be able to discern any weakening, but that doesn't mean you aren't. You probably have a more sensitive sniffer and can differentiate fine nuances between different versions of the same scent. I can understand how that would bum you out and cause you to think differently about designer fragrances.
    post #3 of 19

    Sadly, many perfumes are being reformulated, both because of the restrictions, and because tastes change. That said, depending on the brand, testers are a touch less intense, but from what you describe, it sounds more like a plain reformulation.


    post #4 of 19

    I haven't noticed it, but most things I own, I have only owned once, and thus nothing to compare it to.

    However, it seems that very recently there has been a lot of grumbling about by Kilian and Amouage fragrances being substantially weaker now. I hope it isn't true, as there are still a few by Kilian fragrances I need to get full bottles of!

    post #5 of 19
    The one that smells like alcohol water, that one actually sounds like a damaged tester.
    post #6 of 19

    Could be bad testers either due to age, bottle damage or improper storage.

    Which ones did you test?

    post #7 of 19
    It's always harder to smell fragrances in a store. Think about it logically: you're trying to smell a perfume, right? What do you do? You spray it. Now think for a moment about how much perfume has been sprayed there that same day. It's the same as trying to hear the song being played overhead in a crowded bar. If that same song were playing at the same volume at home, it would sound like it's blasting, but since there's so much other noise at a bar, it can be harder to hear. Your sense of smell works the same way. And just as certain sounds are more effective at cutting through the clutter (especially middle to higher frequencies) certain notes in perfume are more effective at cutting through the clutter too.
    post #8 of 19
    I wouldn't be surprised if a substantial proportion of existing fragrances have been diluted. After all, isn't dilution is just another aspect of reformulation, and another way to deal with ingredient restrictions?

    Of course, I don't like it, but why wouldn't they, if they can reformulate at will?
    post #9 of 19
    Thread Starter 

    I hate to name names of fragrances and start a riot on here, so I think I will leave it at that.

    I believe the testers were fresh (they looked full, and previous testers had been low) and that is why the weakness could be caused by dilution or ref****ulation. (BAD WORD! CENSORED!)

    And, yes, it is hard for me to smell fragrance in the fragrance department. That is why I step outside in the parking lot.:happy:

    I think my disgust is mainly due to the factthat I don't trust these mainstream fragrancehouses anymore. They won't be honest with me. I only want to know so I don't feellike I am imagining things or my nose is not working properly.

    Yesterday, I called Auric Blends and asked them if they had been using polycyclic musks and (if so) whether theyare being replaced by macrocyclicand anicyclic musks. Their representative was polite and helpful. Hesaid he had seen a memo on that subject and would look for it and write back to me. If he does, that would be a giant confidence-builder for me with their company. He said I haven't been the only person who has asked that question.

    The point is, if I know the truth, I can decide whether I want to continue buying a product -- even if it has changed -- because I understand why it has changed, and in what manner. That's all I ask for, a little honesty.

    post #10 of 19

    Given the current state of mainstream perfumery, I definitely think there's a possibility there could be dilution occurring. Not only would it allow companies to circumvent IFRA restrictions, but there is also this trend nowadays with ever-decreasing budgets for mainstream perfumes - trying to make a perfume for as cheap as possible. Diluting a fragrance would make the composition cheaper and if the company is selling it at the same price as before, their profit margin would be higher.

    post #11 of 19
    Thread Starter 

    Sad but true. How can artistry continue?

    1) Avoid joining IFRA

    2) Start substituting with otheringredients

    3) Craft all formulations no stronger thanEDT or cologne

    Which option would cost less? Number One might cause sales and marketing problems or liability lawsuits. Number Two would lock you into a palette of ingredients. Number Three might alienate customers.

    post #12 of 19

    I just wonder what percentage ofcustomers actually use up a bottle of something, and then come back looking for more ? In the real world, not a very high percentage, I'll bet.

    I suspect that frag houses are well aware that *very* few customers are going to comparing their past versions of things withwhat they offer now (under the very same name) and that's one of the reasonsthey figure they can get away with allthis.

    post #13 of 19
    Thread Starter 

    You're right. I forget that our behavior (that of Basenotes members) is not typical of the average consumer, i.e. "normal."

    A lot of people operate like this: Buysomething new. Take it homeand put it on a counter top. Spray yourself a few times a year. Say you're "saving it." Let the bottle go bad.

    Yet there are some loyal customers for almost every fragrance. They are just not in the majority. This is probably the reason why fragrance houses churn out so many new fragrances -- capturing increasingly smaller slivers of the customer pie.

    Heck, no, those kind of people don't get to the bottom of the bottle. The same mentality makes them buy cheap junk from Walmart,throw it out within a year, and go buy more. It's a sick ethic of over-consumption and undervaluation.

    post #14 of 19

    Did they reformulate Terre D' Hermes since 2011? I still have a 2011 bottle at home, and the new ones just smell terrible. I don't know if my sense of smell has changed or they watered it down.

    Terre D' Hermes Parfum smells like onions to me for example.

    post #15 of 19

    Then again, there's the apparently-fashionable "skin scent" thing. Wouldn't want to offend anyone's new-found sensitivities, you know ?

    And a convenient excuse for watering things down as well.

    With an attendant reduction in price of course.

    This is all just snob-talk I know, but still the unreliable state of things these days does little for one'sconfidence.

    post #16 of 19
    Thread Starter 
    Originally Posted by Birdboy48View Post

    With an attendant reduction in price of course.


    I'm actually looking for musk "skin-scent thing," partly because my husband hates strong fragrance, and this would be nice to wear when I'm in the car with him, but also because I'm giving in to the new sensibilities. It's only creatingso much agony, beating my head against the wall concerningthe new direction of perfumery instead of adapting tastes. I'm actively seeking new compositions to fall in love with.

    post #17 of 19

Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000