Thread: Perfume Storage
(Think milk in the fridge. My money goes with minimizing the total duration of non-refrigerated time - not with minimizing the number of removals and returns. Minimize the area under the heat curve, not the length of the curve.)
Let me counter the one example with an observation I have made now in two-plus years of Basenoting. My older (2 yo) citrus frags which get heavy rotation and have never been refrigerated - these have lost some sparkle in the topnotes. No fragrance that I have mostly kept refrigerated has lost anything that I can notice.
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We tend to forget about oxidation and leakage because bottle tech has gotten so good. Totally bombproof sprayers are the norm now - at least for designer stuff. Interesting point about Edwards storing bottles upside-down. I'm not sure which degrades seals fastest - vapor or liquid - or whether the vapor is sufficient to keep them dry. Presumably he's kept a sh*tload of bottles in his day, so that's a very interesting quote. If you can find that source, I'm sure it would be interesting to us all.
Light is definitely the worst bad guy after that. I think Turin said roughly 90% light, 10% heat. I've had light-struck bottles when I was young, before an SA told me about proper storage. I can buy the idea a 30-yo bottle left in a drawer being fresh. But definitely NOT one left on a dashboard.
I think the greatest danger is probably one that we can't control - that being use of more "fragile" components in certain fragrances. Not all organic chemicals are going to sit quietly at 40 degrees C in ambient light. The risk of long-term storage to things like isomers and more dainty functional groups is what prompts chem labs to refrigerate. In a world which increasingly places emphasis on the economy and safety of components, with the good fortune (or CYA) of expiration dates, I don't think 30-year longevity is a high priority in fragrance manufacture, any more than it is for most other products these days.
You're getting me curious about this Turin guy! Might want to buy his book for kicks.
I store the bulk of mine in a walk-in wine cellar but I keep the frags in there isolated from the wine in boxes placed inside Ziploc XXL size Big Bags, 24x32 in and 22 gal capacity. It is dead-dark in there and kept at about 60 F.
The only problem I can think of with using a refrigerator is the extremely low humidity it creates. Unless the frag container is air tight that low humidity could affect the contents of any bottled liquid stored long term that didn't have an absolute seal.
I keep a smallish table-top refrigerator in my bathroom with my working bottles/decants/samples (rotated every 3-4 months back into the wine storage area) readily available.
As far as light energy affecting frags I think sunlight is the worst, incandescent and fluorescent much less damaging depending on amount, intensity and distance to source from bottles and transparency of the bottles themselves, but still a potential problem. LED light.. I am not sure.
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Sunlight has much more UV, and UV is generally more able to induce chemical reactions in organics. Fortunately, bottle glass stops a lot of UV (the degree varies widely depending on the glass, particularly if colored, and the wavelength). But the real danger is visible light, which goes through bottles easily. You're familiar with beer that smells kind of "skunky"? A bit sulfurous? That's due to visible light, and it's particularly dangerous with green bottles, as you've probably noticed. It's called "light-struck beer" - you can google it. In that case, it's something of a chain reaction due to photochemical reaction of an impurity - I think it's something in hops. Well - fragrance is a huge mishmash of organic chemicals, with lots of variability, little research outside the industry, and not much desire on the part of people to inform you about the degradability of their products, other than an expiration date. Not all fragrances will be equally susceptible. Naturals in particular are going to introduce large numbers of minor actors. It only takes one to initiate trouble. Fortunately, synthetics can actually prevent problems by providing greater purity, well-defined properties, and (in some cases) beneficial activities such as anti-oxidative and radical-sponging ones.
Many of us have observed bottles of juice change color in the store, under ambient fluorescent lighting. Those are typically the dyes changing color due to photochemical reaction of one kind or another. I assume that it's just visible light. Either the dyes are reacting themselves, or they are victims of chain reactions starting somewhere else (and are, ironically, serving as indicators!). In any case, there is your proof that interior lighting isn't always kind to fragrances.
Personally, I had frags go bad in a well-lit bedroom with lots of sunlight. I was advised by the SA that (unless the room is mostly dark, like an interior vanity with no windows) if you want to keep the frag on display, but want convenience, simply cut out the bottom of the box and put it over the bottle. That does work - I can vouch for it with some very old Polo and Polo Crest, now refrigerated.
Heat may only be responsible for 10% of the damage, but it is still a significant risk for those fragrances that happen to be more vulnerable.
I bought 2 sealed, never-opened boxed of Laura Ashley No. 1 on eBay; the first, bought in 2007, was a disappointment-- its top notes were weak and not as sweet as they should have been. I've stored it in the fridge and worn it anyway but the first 10 minutes are not so good.
Earlier this year I decided to try again in the hopes that the first one was a fluke. The second sealed, boxed bottle was really spoiled, worse than the first. Neither bottle had seen any light, being boxed/sealed, but the second one had 3 more years of not being refrigerated. I have to conclude that this fragrance is particularly vulnerable to heat damage.
Anecdotally many report that their fragrances stored at room temperature for many years are fine. I believe them. Perhaps some perfumes are more hardy. I just don't want to take the chance that the particular fragrances I use will spoil, especially as my favorites are now discontinued or reformulated.
Regarding humidity in the fridge, our mini is not self-defrosting, so I think that means the bottles don't have a low-humidity force being exerted on them (which could cause evaporation over time of less-well-sealed bottles, the way vegetables in a self-defrosting fridge go limp over time from water loss.)
I'd like to call it crazy but hey, having >30 different fragrances is already considered crazy by many outside this community. So get your fridge/cooler/underground vault or what-have-yous. More than anything else, it's for your peace of mind after all.
The benefit of refrigeration doubtlessly varies among perfumes. Some doubtlessly benefit little if not at all from it; such perfumes are composed from highly-stable chemicals and they are going to stay they way they are prehaps forever even in what we consider uncomfortably-hot environments. Other perfumes, on the other hand, contain chemicals that decay over time. They decay because they themselves are unstable and tend to break apart into smaller molecules or they decay because they react with other chemicals, often oxygen in the headspace of the bottle. Heat accelerates most -- not all, but most -- chemical reactions. This is especially concerning for people who wish to keep perfumes long-term, collectors and this who simply have so many bottles that they are obviously not going to use up most of them very quickly. The professionals seem to favor it. So, storing perfumes under refrigeration should do no harm and should benefit many perfumes.
Last edited by Renato; 13th November 2010 at 03:58 PM.
Our job is to live joyfully in this world of sorrows--Joseph Campbell
The question here is what causes fragrance to change over time?
Contamination is one possible cause. Substances from the outside environment can seep in. This will be a greater problem in "splash" bottles. Spray bottles should be the best protection.
The opposite of contamination is evaporation. Over time, some important components of the perfume will evaporate away, especially the water and the alcohol, but others too. Again, spray bottles win.
Chemical reactions are the next serious cause of decay. Oxidation, reaction with oxygen in the air in the headspace, is the most common reaction. But I wonder if the various components of perfume may even react with each other slowly over time. Most chemical reactions are accelerated by heat and slowed by the lack of heat (there really is no such thing as "cold," just less heat). So, refrigeration is the answer.
The last cause of fragrance decay is the natural tendency of many large and complex molecules to break apart into smaller, simplier pieces. Again, heat accellerates this and cold slows it down. Light also accellerates this.
The latter two of these have something in common. They involve energy. If you put energy into something, you generally accellerate both chemical reactions and chemical breakdown. So, the critical question is: what puts energy into things? How can we avoid doing that? The answers are:
B) Light. All light. Higher frequencies, green... blue... violet... ultraviolet... are the worst. Some light sources have less of these higher frequencies of light than others, but no light is safe. The idea that LED-sourced light is safe is wrong; it may be safer, but all light adds energy and adding energy accellerates chemical reactions and breakdown.
C) Mechanical agitation/vibration. This is the least-effective way to couple energy into a fluid. I think we can neglect this one.
D) X-Ray and nuclear radiation. Hopefully, we can also neglect this one.
D) Electromagnetic waves. Seriously. Radio signals. This really does work and is often used to accelerate chemical reactions is industry. Don't store your perfumes near a strong radio transmitter such as your wireless access point. Do you set your cell phone down at night on your dresser just a foot or two from your perfumes? Probably not a good idea either.
So, my conclusion is: store in darkness, in cold, and away from strong radio transmitters and prefer spray over splash.
I keep my edp in the original box and in a closed dark cabinet, had no trouble to date. Have thought about refrigerator, but I don't have the space.
All mine are in a mini fridge at 42 degrees F. All mine smell fine. None have gone bad. All my creeds, amouage, and designers
I live in a 1970's-era apartment that is half underground, and thus subject to mold. Granted, I've fixed the place up a lot since I first moved in, but I still run de-humidifiers when I'm not home, just to sap moisture out of the air.
My bedroom is situated where it doesn't really get much sun, even with 2 windows. That being said, I just store my fragrances on wooden shelves and make sure it's cool and dry in there, which it usually is.
I actually think refrigeration is good for fragrances if you have a large collection and need extra space, or if you have any vintage fragrances you care about oh-so-dearly and want to savor until the last drop.
Otherwise, I feel a fridge is unnecessary.
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Storage of fragrances in a refrigerator does not = crazy. I have been doing it for years now as an archival storage method and will continue to do so.
I see no need to store fragrances in a refrigerator personally. But if you want to, go for it.
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Just as audiophiles become hyperaware of recording quality and playback, olfactophiles are often people who have become very critical of fragrance condition, and very aware of deterioration. I think that's why vintage buyers are so prone to refrigerate.
I sometimes marvel at the differences between audiophiles and non-audiophiles. My buddies will buy very hard-to-get tech, pay top dollar for it, and then open the damn box up and solder in new electrical components to make the sound even better. I, on the other hand, am happy if I can hit the dashboard in my truck and get one of the speakers to come online for a scratchy country station.
None of my buddies would even think of refrigerating a cologne.
I'd like to make one last observation on this thread, on cost vs. benefit of getting a fridge.
Our mini fridge, at $169.99, cost me considerably less than my bottle of L'Artisan Fleur d'Oranger 2007, which I consider rather perishable (having found the top notes damaged in a store tester that was exposed to ambient light at one time, before being relegated to a basement, after that store stopped selling L'Artisan.)
And that is just one bottle!
I've spent a lot of money on my perfumes over the years. That is probably true of most of us on BN. To me the fridge is all about protecting my investment-- it's relatively cheap insurance.
If you are someone who isn't worried about your perfumes going bad, who perhaps has never had his perfumes go bad, then don't bother with a fridge. But if you are concerned about this, then it is not a lot to spend for a bit of peace of mind.
One caveat: Get a big enough one for your collection. You don't want to be knocking bottles to the floor while trying to reach in the back for a hard to reach bottle.
I used to keep my scents in a small refrigerator and never noticed a difference. I have a bottle of Yatagan that is at least 30 years old and it has never been refrigerated. Among the various versions and vintages of Yatagan I own, it is the best smelling one.
To echo 30 Roses, if storing your scents in a refrigerator gives you peace of mind, then by all means do so. Do what feels right for you and your collection.
I store mine in a wine cooler set at 50░F for most fragrances and 44░F for citrus fragrances.
I went to buy a wine cooler today as summer temps in Perth can get to 44 degrees, and I am already growing concerned as we hit 36 today and my art studio/ office (where my frags are stored) is stinking hot.
Unfortunately the model I wanted was not in stock. It had a good variable temperature control.
Might have to do some shopping around...
I have a danby silhouette that works great
So i've been on this forum for around 3-4 months during which time my collection has considerably grew and i'm now at the point when I need some sort of organisational system. So how exactly do you store your fragrances and where do you store them? I'm also particularly interested in sample storage...so samples you use and samples you dont use and the same for decants. Do you group them together, keep the most commonly used ones out etc.? Don't really know how else to put it other that, how do you keep your entire fragrance collection (bottles/decants/samples) stored and organised?
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I keep mine in a dark and cool store room. Just a small point, you seem to have "angel" down as one of your frags.. Are you aware that's actually the womans fragrance? Looks like you may have it incorrectly listed. What you're after is A*Men.
I think Angel can be worn by men.
I don't see the point having smelt them both. They're extremely similar. I would personally NEVER wear a womans fragrance (and in my eyes that includes Dior Home!) What would you do if somebody asked you what you were wearing? I'd be completely embarassed!
Personally I don't have any qualms with wearing women's fragrances. I have a couple in my wardrobe. Now I can understand why you might not want to tell somebody what you're wearing if it's marketed towards women, but I've never had anybody ask. And why would I forgo a good fragrance just because it does not say "Man"/"Men" on it?
For the same reason that you wouldn't wear a bra that you thought looked pretty.
Wearing a bra when you don't have anything to put in it is not the same thing as wearing a fragrance because it smells great on you. Qwertyop, you may or may not be comfy with bucking the marketing machine, but other don't believe in Homme and Femme designations dictating what we like. Kind of big brotherish to me. I LOVE Dior Homme
Mervin, I use a large entertainment center with closing doors to store my frags. For samples, I have a large box of untried, and a smaller one for tried. I've also not quite figured out the best way for samples. They seem to multiply like bunnies.
I use a cellar walk-in vault for storage. It's dark and cool and it holds my 1000+ full bottles. Don't have any samples.
Anyway, my collection is small enough to fit in to two medicine cabinets. One "stock" and one antique wood with etched glass doors. I have my opaque bottles in the glass door one since my bathroom gets pretty bright, and transparent in the normal cabinet that is dark inside. So really it's all practical. Tall bottles on the tall shelves, short bottles on the short shelves. Since quitting smoking, I have my samples in (nice) ashtrays, kind of sorted by house.
Yeah, so you probably won't be stealing any ideas from me storagewise, but hey, I'm just widening your sample size.
I bought a stand-alone medicine cabinet for around 40 USD, and keep 'em in that. Those that are out of my rotation/on the trading block are in a shoebox situated in a dark bureau drawer.
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Since i started working in perfume retail ive become abit of a enthusiast for perfume. I got my first perfumes from Scentessence.co.uk and i found this great page to start me off, 'hints and tips' it doesn't tell you how to organise anything, thats up to you really and the space you've got.
SalePerfume have a decent page on storage too, it tells you the best way to store perfume to stop it from going off.
I admit it. I am a storage fiend. I set my husband endless challenges on how to house a multitude of my things. Comes from having been a librarian, and having a love of order.
Like many others, my cosmetics and perfumes used to crowd my dressing table, and present me with a dusting nightmare. Enter the woodworking genius with his simple solution. A multi-shelf cupboard with doors that is attached to the wall. Everything is out of the way, and the perfumes are kept in darkness.
Mark III is about to built. It needs more space for my growing perfume collection. Now it will have to house those pesky little vials and sprayers containing samples.
Well that was easy too. A small offcut of wood, a drill press and a small forstner bit. And 5 or so carefully drilled holes to hold the samples. I can now classify my samples according to type and find them pretty easily.
The new cupboard will have two adaptions. The first will be mini shelving that can be adjusted to hold the little rectangles of wood with the samples. At the moment they take up way too much space to be justified. A light shelf of 3 ply will probably do the job.
The second adaption comes via my new bottle of Montaigne which is enormous. So some of the 100ml bottles just won't fit the existing design.
Pity I can't show you pictures, for indeed, a picture is worth a thousand words.
I have mine in a wine cooler at a controlled temperature of 13 degrees celsius.
PS: The door is not clear anymore. It is now with silver tint to protect it from sunlight.
Volley - that is some storage - I love it.
My storage is the humble cardboard box ( or 3 )in a cupboard - all cool and dark . All my fragances are kept in their boxes unless I had to throw out packaging whilst travelling.
@mimi: Thanks! A bit worried though...collection still growing (honestly, I thought I would stop) and I'm afraid I will run out of space in my cooler. I don't want to buy a bigger cooler.
@ volley : I showed my husband the picture of your wine cooler and he thought it was fantastic. I think if your collection grows- you may have to honestly face ,having to buy another one of those coolers. I think it's lovely.
@mimi: I am actually at the stage of editing my collection. Just getting ones that I really love. I have bought many that didn't really use at all. Hence, I have sold them right away. At my loss of course - at a cheaper price. Some, gave to my friends.
@lilib: some people don't agree with the ref/cooler thing. For them just in a cool, dark place, absent of light would be enough. For me personally, I just feel more at peace if I have them in the controlled temperature chillin' in my cooler. Well, to each his own. =)
Here it is open:
PS: This is the unupdated collection.
Last edited by volley2; 29th April 2011 at 03:20 AM.
When you all talk about light, does the type matter?
My collection is under florescent light.
Is it IR and UV that kill them or anything from the whole spectrum?
^Regular visible from fluorescent lighting can affect frags - especially in non-tinted bottles. There have been plenty of cases of bottles in stores changng color due to fluorescent lighting in their display cases or shelves when unboxed. Granted, that's just the dye, but it shows you what can potentially be happening to the frag itself.
I have some minis that I bought new 13 to 16 years ago (when I was barely out of childhood!) that have been stored properly and smell as good as new.
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Hi so the past few days were really hot here, actually more humid which is more destructive to cologne shelf life than heat from the sun.
I found an old cooler bag in my basement and was thinking of using it to store my bottles inside and if it would be safe. It looks kinda like this
I don't know exactly how coolers work but i know they keep things inside at a cooler temperature than outside of it on a hot day.
However the inside of the cooler feels like it can get moist very easily and if say the humidity here is so extreme that it penetrates the cooler bag, then the humidity will stay inside for longer since i plan to keep the bag zipped closed, so the heat will be trapped inside with little airflow inside the bag.
So has anyone tried this storage method for their bottles? I don't want to have my whole collection ruined by doing one simple mistake lol.
I think your concerns are justified.