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  1. #1

    Default Question about poorly stored perfume ...alchemy?

    Hi, first time poster, long time reader.

    I have a rather strange question to ask. Please bear with me as I have no idea of what I am about to ask...

    So a few months ago, I ordered a couple of random samples. I have tested them all and made my judgments, which ones I like and which ones I dislike. I use the samples I love, the rest I don't even give a second thought, so I store the vials in a box and leave them on top of my book shelf, away from sunlight.

    Today, I decided to write reviews of them just to start up my background in perfume experience. Of course, since I didn't think I could wear the bad samples ever again, I didn't care to properly store them. I pop the vials open and immediately noticed the contents have changed for the better; the ones that I initially was repulsed of now actually smell quite pleasant, despite it's now obvious alcohol concentration.

    So now, this 'change' has me confused. Should I like the perfume for it's original scent, or should I appreciate this serendipitous mishap? Forget about the reviews. I feel like this mishap is a perfume faux pas, something that shouldn't have been done in the first place - in lack of better terms.

    Has this ever happened to anybody here? If your perfume had gone bad, but somehow transformed into something much better than the original... what would you think? What thoughts would run into your mind, as someone who is seasoned passionately, loyally by the nose? Normally, I wouldn't think master noses would be as so careless to store his or her perfume in an unstable temperature room like myself... but... this is how cheese was invented, no?

    I'm not looking for tips on how to properly store vials, but just if anyone has run into something like this by any chance, and what did you think of the experience. Any discussion or input into this would be appreciated.
    Last edited by Islands; 8th June 2009 at 09:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Heartwood's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    SF Bay Area
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    Default Re: Question about poorly stored perfume ...alchemy?

    If your samples are stored in a box at room temperature out of direct light, they are not improperly stored. I have bottles of perfume that are about 10 years old and have been stored in their original box in a dresser drawer for ten years, and they smell the same as they always have.

    I don't think it's the juice that's changed, especially if they've been in the box only a few months. It could be they smell different to you because the weather has changed, or your appreciation of scents has changed. There are some rich, resinous fragrances that are too lush to wear in warm, summer weather (even though I love them); and some delightful, lightweight florals that seem completely ridiculous to me when it's 40ºF and raining outside. And sometimes I'm just not in the mood for something, and that might last for a while, before I fall in love with it all over again.

    And I nearly forgot-- Welcome to Basenotes, Islands! :wave:
    Last edited by Heartwood; 8th June 2009 at 09:38 PM. Reason: added welcome
    Eddie: Sweetie, what are you drinking?
    Patsy: Oh, this? Chanel No. 5.
    -- Absolutely Fabulous

  3. #3
    odysseusm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Edmonton, Alberta

    Default Re: Question about poorly stored perfume ...alchemy?

    I agree with oud_girl. Your perfumes have not gone bad. You have stored them correctly, and perfumes are not so fragile that they usually do "go bad" anyway. A bit of evaporation does not radically change the profile of a scent.
    What has changed are things other than the perfume itself, primarily you. You are reacting to the scent in different ways. It could be the weather, your mood, or your growing understanding of scents.
    There have been several scents which I initially dismissed, and which later I came to appreciate.
    So welcome to BN and the learning experience!

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  4. #4
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
    Rochester, NY
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    Default Re: Question about poorly stored perfume ...alchemy?

    Welcome, Islands!

    I think you should go ahead with your plan of writing reviews of all these samples. Review them as they are now but also include a brief note about how they originally seemed and about how long ago that might have been (cold weather, late last summer or whatever).

    p.s., I'm hoping I'll get more enthusiastic about aromatic fougeres in time.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Question about poorly stored perfume ...alchemy?

    What may have changed is you, if you are a female and you go through menopause, or have had a child. Certain medications effect the way you are chemically and can effect the way you interpret fragrances, and the way they smell on you.

  6. #6

    Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
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    Feb 2008
    Spiritually, Kansas
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    Default Re: Question about poorly stored perfume ...alchemy?

    I agree with everybody - much more likely over a short time that your perception has changed.

    Perfumes do change over time, but the times generally need to be very long, or the conditions very extreme (like leaving a bottle in a burning hot car trunk for a month, or by a sunny window for a year or two). I have found that, because my perception changes almost daily, due to so many factors, I need to let things average out to perceive the differences. The day-to-day variations in my perception can be similar in magnitude to a long-term change. But you are right - perfumes can change, and it can be like cheese.

    I had some old bottles that sat out in the light all the time, a long time ago, before I became a BNer. They did change in a positive direction - for a while. Maybe mozzarella di bufala? The musky notes became very beautiful in one of them. A bit more noticeable - maybe a bit edgier and more powdery. But when they went "limburger", I was crushed. The juice was simply unwearable. It took a knowledgeable SA to wise me up to the nasty effects of light.
    Last edited by Redneck Perfumisto; 13th June 2009 at 04:47 PM. Reason: spelling and grammar and that that double word thing
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