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  1. #1

    Default Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    I usually always test a perfume before buying especially if it is an expensive ones. It not only must love the scent but it must have great sillage. Four times this has happen to me where the perfume gets delivered and I spray it and it is either very weak or I get this waterey alkahol smell. I complain to the seller and then the next day it smells great with good sillage. this has happened with Bond New haarlem, Sisley Soir de Lune Burberry Women and D and G Light Blue. The light blue was nothing till I sprayed it about 7 times then all of a suden it was the wonderful scent I knew and loved. Any Thoughts why this happens?

  2. #2
    Basenotes Institution 30 Roses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    I've had fragrances that smelled "off" until I'd sprayed 6 times or so.

    I assume the bit of fragrance that was in the plastic straw was affected by being surrounded by the plastic of the straw. After a half dozen sprays, all the fragrance that was in the straw had been discharged.


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    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    That's a good theory. I'll buy that.

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    Super Member srellim1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    I have had this happen. The first time it scared me as it was an Amouage (paid full retail). It came around slowly. First after 6-8 sprays, but it took a few weeks before it 'matured' into its full rich Amouage splendor.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    I am so glad to hear this has happened with others. And I like the theory. Some of mine still seem watered down, but a few have gotten so much better after a few tries.
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Sure, I have many scents that were very weak upon the 1st/ 2nd spray and after an hour I was rather ashamed (spryaing myself frantic all over) with the resulting sillage :-o

    Just wait a little bit....

  7. #7

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Oh, good to know this has happened to others. This occurred with two fragrances I bought, and I always just assumed it was mental illness/unreasonable paranoia of buying fakes online, lol!

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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    'Shake the bottle before use'.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    When this first happened i thought perhaps it was the barometric pressure that day or myabe it was sinuses causing this. This never happened to any of my used bottles so it has to do with new bottles, so this theory sound good. Since a lot of these tubes go way down to the bottom of the bottles maybe somethings happens to the oils in that tube and you are leftwith just the alkahol. With the light Blue having to spray it so many times, well it has a long tube so I guess it had a lot of bad scent to come out first.

    Oh and Diamondflame , shaking the bottle doesn't help because I have done this and it doesn't help the straw/tube theory sounds good to me.
    Last edited by Rizack; 14th April 2012 at 08:59 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    I don't think the 'straw/tube theory' is valid. There's no way for any significant amount of liquid to enter the tube since getting anything inside requires the force of vacuum/suction which is created when you press the atomizer mechanism. Whenever I first use a brand new, virgin, fresh out of the sealed package perfume it always takes 3-5 presses on the plunger before the atomizer starts to spray. Anecdotally, this seems to indicate that the tube was empty and I had to draw perfume into it before the atomizer would actually dispense. At the very least, it indicates there wasn't a whole lot of liquid in the tube to begin with and certainly not enough to account for a weak mixture of fragrance.
    Diamondflame, I don't know if you were serious about shaking, but you bring up something I've always wondered: to what extent is there settling in perfumes? Do ingredients separate or come out of suspension in perfumes? Chris Bartlett, where are you?!
    Last edited by Symphonies; 15th April 2012 at 10:50 PM.

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    Basenotes Institution 30 Roses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Some perfumes seem to need more priming than others, though.

    Is it possible that a bottle shipped by air, in the lower-atmosphere environment of an airplane hold, might be sucked up the straw a bit due to the lower air pressure?


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    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    I think the initial weakness is from lack of oxygen. I've often found that, especially with vintage bottles, if I let it "breathe" by opening the bottle up for a bit (like a vintage wine) the fragrance just pops. The same thing happens with a spray bottle. If it is an unused bottle, it will take several plunges to get the liquid to spray (as noted above), bringing the contents into contact with the atmosphere (it is a syphon effect). After that, oxygen can get to the ingredients, as with an open splash bottle. Shaking the bottle may have some of the same effect. Ask a chemist why this happens, but my guess is that it takes oxygen to get the essential oils to react in a way that you can smell them, just as with wine (where smell is actually at lot of the taste).

  13. #13

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    If I'm about to provide information that's incorrect I'll gladly take my comeuppence Using the wine analogy, simply opening a bottle of wine to "let it breathe" isn't really effective since so little surface area is exposed to air. Decanting wine is effective because you not only expose more wine to air but there is also the agitation of wine and air. Would there be a similar decanting effect shaking a sealed bottle of perfume? I don't have a clue...
    I'm still not buying the tube theory. Even if there was perfume in the tube what would cause it to be a lesser concentration? That's why I'm curious to know how well perfumes stay in suspension.
    Last edited by Symphonies; 15th April 2012 at 11:33 PM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Actually i know what you mean by priming the bottle but the ones mentioned I did not have to prime them then readily sprayed out. So for whatever the reson is was not because of my nose.

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    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    If I'm about to provide information that's incorrect I'll gladly take my comeuppence Using the wine analogy, simply opening a bottle of wine to "let it breathe" isn't really effective since so little surface area is exposed to air. Decanting wine is effective because you not only expose more wine to air but there is also the agitation of wine and air. Would there be a similar decanting effect shaking a sealed bottle of perfume? I don't have a clue...
    I'm still not buying the tube theory. Even if there was perfume in the tube what would cause it to be a lesser concentration? That's why I'm curious to know how well perfumes stay in suspension.
    Yeah, decanting is the classic method, especially with "claret" as the English say. Letting wine breathe in the bottle takes a couple hours, which is what I found with a bottle of fragrance. I don't think perfumes are in suspension. The oils are dissolved in the alcohol, which is another reason I think oxygenation is involved. This is all organic chemistry.

    Edit: I looked it up and apparently the "breathing" process in wine exchanges the carbon dioxide that builds up in the closed bottle for oxygen. Probably a similar process with fragrance, so the initial blast from a new bottle would have a lot of CO2 in it.
    Last edited by BurgundyMarsh; 16th April 2012 at 12:03 AM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by BurgundyMarsh View Post
    I don't think perfumes are in suspension. The oils are dissolved in the alcohol, which is another reason I think oxygenation is involved. This is all organic chemistry.
    BurgundyMarsh, thanks for straightening me out on this point. So if oils are dissolved then is it possible for them to come out of solution in the bottle? Not very science literate when it comes to this so I hope I'm using the proper term now: solution?
    The whole idea of oxygenation is interesting since, for instance, I notice a considerable difference trying fragrances from an atomizer as opposed to trying them directly from a vial. It always seems the sprayed fragrance develops more and has a wider range of notes and nuances.
    Rizack, perhaps I'll see if we can entice Chris Bartlett to weigh in on this since your thread has generated lots of questions. Chris is very good at supplying facts when it comes to this sort of thing. You've probably run into his posts...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    This happens even more with oils like bpal..... I don't know if the same things might be true for edp or edt, etc.. But many people think the oils get "travel shock" in the mail because of being shaken and bumped while being shipped. Many people let the oil rest for a day or two before even testing it, or if they test it right away they say "this is right out of the mailbox so keep that in mind". *shrugs*

    I personally think it has more to do with our perception of the scent. Trying it in different surroundings might have a lot to do with how we perceive any particular perfume. Or at different times of the day, etc. I'm not even talking about individual skin chemistry or anything like that....I really think 2 people can smell the same scent and get different impressions of it.

    If I'm testing something I like to walk outside, change the environment, etc. and I know that something will smell different to me if I'm wearing it at home or going out. I don't have any scientific proof to back this up, it's just a feeling.

    Sorry for the long reply! : O

  18. #18
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    BurgundyMarsh, thanks for straightening me out on this point. So if oils are dissolved then is it possible for them to come out of solution in the bottle? Not very science literate when it comes to this so I hope I'm using the proper term now: solution?
    The whole idea of oxygenation is interesting since, for instance, I notice a considerable difference trying fragrances from an atomizer as opposed to trying them directly from a vial. It always seems the sprayed fragrance develops more and has a wider range of notes and nuances.
    Rizack, perhaps I'll see if we can entice Chris Bartlett to weigh in on this since your thread has generated lots of questions. Chris is very good at supplying facts when it comes to this sort of thing. You've probably run into his posts...
    If perfume were a suspension, elements would settle out when a bottle sat still, like oil and water separate out after being shaken together. If perfume were a colloidal dispersion, on the other hand, you would be able to see a beam of light as it passed through the bottle, like a lighthouse beam going through fog. So perfume must be a solution.

    I don't think the essential oils would come out of solution without a chemical reaction going on, e.g., evaporation, boiling, introducing other chemicals, etc., none of which usually happens when a perfume is shipped in a box. It is my understanding, though, that essential oils are extremely complicated organic compounds that react to and with all sorts of things (this must be why perfumes are so complex). Add to that the neuro-chemical process that creates the sensation of smells, individual psychology, etc., and you get even more complexity. Things like body temperature, atmospheric humidity, air pollution, etc., must all play some sort of role.

    This is in the realm of organic chemistry, a subject which I have not studied. I do know that aerating some wines, which are somewhat similar to perfumes, does enhance the aroma. I too have noticed differences between spraying and dabbing fragrances. To me, dabbing produces a much stronger smell and also seems to emphasize different notes. I've also read that rubbing fragrances into the skin changes their chemical composition and their smell.

    Presumably, the perfumers have to keep all of this in mind when designing a new fragrance. Which gives me a lot of respect for perfumers who create great fragrances.

    I also think bottle age has something to do with it, again like wine. There has been a huge controversy over whether or not the Guerlain Vetiver was reformulated when it was reintroduced in the early 21st century. Guerlain has always insisted that they did no such thing and implied that people were just sniffing a less-aged product. This would make sense if, at the start of a reintroduction, large quantities of product were shipped at the same time and sold soon after. This would be different from the usual manufacture-to-user experience when a fragrance can sit on a shelf for months before being sold and used.

    I'm always amused by those Basenote reviews that judge a fragrance (often very harshly) on a ten or fifteen second wrist spray. I find a good fragrance is always changing in some way or other and it takes a number of wears before I feel I start to understand it. My understanding that is that the chemistry of essential oils is still not very well understood and that therefore it is hard to understand what is going on with perfumes.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    BurgundyMarsh: so going back to Rizack's question of why a fragrance might smell weaker or have less development doesn't to seem have this as an explanation because the concentration in the bottle or the tube should be similar. Although we are getting into some interesting areas of what happens to perfume in its aging process. On another note, I remember reading in Luca Turin's Guide that rubbing fragrances is only a problem when you create enough friction and heat to cause chemical deterioration. Rizack, I hope you don't mind that your thread is going beyond the scope of your original question

  20. #20

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    BurgundyMarsh: so going back to Rizack's question of why a fragrance might smell weaker or have less development doesn't to seem have this as an explanation because the concentration in the bottle or the tube should be similar. Although we are getting into some interesting areas of what happens to perfume in its aging process. On another note, I remember reading in Luca Turin's Guide that rubbing fragrances is only a problem when you create enough friction and heat to cause chemical deterioration. Rizack, I hope you don't mind that your thread is going beyond the scope of your original question
    I don't mind a bit, this is very interesting, I don't understand it all but still very interesting.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Very interesting topic.
    I also think that a one time sniffing itself is not enough to evaluate a fragrance
    Although after one test spray of Soir de Lune I knew I had to have it....
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  22. #22

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    This is such an interesting thread & I've learnt lots reading the posts.

    Does the perfume in the sprayer tube, mature at a faster rate than the perfume in the bottle, especially freshly bottled perfume?

    The perfume in the bottle goes through the tube & straight onto the skin when you first open a new bottle of perfume. With the next application there would be a certain amount of perfume already in the tube so if the tube aged/matured more quickly, that could make the perfume smell stronger & more like the aroma you were expecting (similar to sample or store tester).

  23. #23
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    BurgundyMarsh: so going back to Rizack's question of why a fragrance might smell weaker or have less development doesn't to seem have this as an explanation because the concentration in the bottle or the tube should be similar. Although we are getting into some interesting areas of what happens to perfume in its aging process. On another note, I remember reading in Luca Turin's Guide that rubbing fragrances is only a problem when you create enough friction and heat to cause chemical deterioration. Rizack, I hope you don't mind that your thread is going beyond the scope of your original question
    I am by no means a chemist, but I think the concentration of oils in the bottle would be uniform once the original solution was made (i.e., once the oils were dissolved in alcohol and mixed). I don't think shaking would make much of a difference in mixing the liquid, as it would in a suspension like salad dressing. I think it must have something to do with oxygen (or just air) getting to the fluid.

    When you think about it, air is the medium on which all smells live because scent is molecules wafting their way in the air and into your nose. Adding air would cause alcohol to evaporate more quickly, releasing more molecules into the air, and increasing the strength, projection, and sillage of the scent. The same thing would happen when your body temperature warms up: more scent molecules get released into the air, adding power to whatever fragrance you are wearing.
    Last edited by BurgundyMarsh; 17th April 2012 at 03:35 PM.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Has this ever happen with your perfume purchase?

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    I don't think the 'straw/tube theory' is valid. There's no way for any significant amount of liquid to enter the tube since getting anything inside requires the force of vacuum/suction which is created when you press the atomizer mechanism. Whenever I first use a brand new, virgin, fresh out of the sealed package perfume it always takes 3-5 presses on the plunger before the atomizer starts to spray. Anecdotally, this seems to indicate that the tube was empty and I had to draw perfume into it before the atomizer would actually dispense. At the very least, it indicates there wasn't a whole lot of liquid in the tube to begin with and certainly not enough to account for a weak mixture of fragrance.
    Diamondflame, I don't know if you were serious about shaking, but you bring up something I've always wondered: to what extent is there settling in perfumes? Do ingredients separate or come out of suspension in perfumes? Chris Bartlett, where are you?!
    Sorry to have taken so long to pick up on this one - business has been very busy lately and I have loads of messages to catch up on . . .

    This is an fascinating problem however, so let me see if I can deconstruct it a bit:

    First, there is no question that perfumes change, often quite substantially, as they age. This does not require access to air or, more specifically, oxygen but just as with wine exposure to air can increase or change the reactions of certain components. I donít think that is relevant here though as we are talking about new bottles and a change between a few sprays. What tends to happen with newly mixed perfumes is that reactions between the ingredients start immediately and take a few days or weeks to get to a stable-ish state. After that further change is very slow unless you do something silly with the perfume like put it in sunlight or keeping it in very warm / hot conditions. Half empty bottles will often deteriorate faster than full ones - some perfume ingredients are routinely stored under nitrogen before mixing to keep them from oxidising - but again that does not seem likely to be a factor with new bottles.

    Perfume is a solution, not a suspension so gravity isnít a factor. Thatís a very bald statement and there are some circumstances in which it might be slightly more complicated in that you can have what are called micelles present in the liquid, which are like microscopic bubbles of one liquid suspended within another, however unless there is some further chemical action these donít fall out of solution and are evenly distributed within the liquid. In most cases perfumes are fully miscible liquids and one of the things you have to ensure as a perfumer is that that is indeed the case and nothing will Ďfall outí of your perfume in use. In practice that isnít that hard as most things will dissolve in ethanol even if sometimes they need some helping along with another solvent. So I donít think the fact that the tube is pulling up liquid from the bottom of the bottle is relevant either.

    Reading through the thread it appears there is a significant fact though:
    Actually i know what you mean by priming the bottle but the ones mentioned I did not have to prime them then readily sprayed out.
    In the ordinary course of events every bottle should need those first few sprays to get it going. Every one. Thatís because when you fill the bottle (or rather when the production machine fills it in most cases) the tube isnít in it yet, and when the tube is then inserted it is full of air. When it goes in the air will compress a bit and a small amount of liquid will enter the bottom of the tube, but thatís it. Nothing that happens to the bottle after that, including air freighting or thunderstorms, will change that: if the pressure is reduced the liquid may go a bit further up the tube, but as soon as it increases again it will retreat, because it is (or should be) a closed system. And if it wasnít a closed system that would mean the bottle was leaking and youíd soon have no perfume to speak of at all.

    So what can be causing the observed effect?

    It seems to me there are only two possibilities:

    1) the person making the observation is experiencing anosmia resulting from deeply sniffing the much desired new perfume the moment it is sprayed on when new, which then wears off as they begin to despair of smelling what they hoped for and they can thus again smell it.

    2) the tube was, for some reason discoverable only by examining the production process, filled with pure ethanol before it went into the bottle, perhaps as a result of a sterilising stage in the process.

    My money is on option two in this case.

    Hope that helps.
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