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  1. #1
    Overcome By Fumes
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    Default Thoughts about reformulation

    While I do not have 95 theses, I do have a few cynical thoughts about reformulation.

    We read in this forum every day about vintage formulae, and discuss which fragrances may have been reformulated and how to identify the bottles likely to have the better and older perfumes, and lament the loss of great beauty to such reformulations.

    There is not really any doubt that reformulation takes place although it obviously occurs without fanfare from the perfumers. The assumption tends to be that while the perfumer would love to give us all the classic fragrance we may have come to love, times are hard, ingredients are hard to come by, and thus corners are cut and certain similar smelling but cheaper compounds may replace the original ingredients, or concentrations are reduced, resulting in a less wonderful olfactory experience. Rarely does one hear about a reformulation that actually improves a fragrance. Sad but understandable. I'd like to believe they are trying their best and margins are close enough that such action may be an unfortunate economic necessity.

    I'm reading and seeing so much of this so consistently that the whole reformulation process seems almost part of the original plan for some companies and I find that much less palatable. It does seem that some perfumes develop consistent following, not necessarily amongst us fragrance-whores who perfmiscuously sniff and collect all sorts of things, but in the general public where someone may buy the same bottle over and over again, comforted by the consistency, and having a scent signature. If as a perfume-maker, your hired nose can create something the public likes, with reasonable quality and affordability, to the point where people are willing to rebuy, then gradually remove some of the quality ingredients to gain an ever larger profit, then financial success can be assured, as long as enough of the skeleton of the original formula remains to keep the public at large ignorant of the details and willing to rebuy as long as the product is reasonably close enough to what was in the last bottle emptied.

    Although the end result may be the same, it is disheartening to think that the creators and marketers of beautiful fragrances would at some level have the intent to gradually darken the brilliance of the creations intentionally from the get-go.

    Am I wrong? Is there a solution? Thoughts?

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Only speaking for myself, I don't pay that much attention to or worry about reformulation. It is what it is. It's part of the industry and has been for a long time. Although 99% of my fragrances are original releases as I have been collecting for almost 4 decades non stop, reformulation has never affected my purchasing of a scent I've wanted in my collection.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Well said Hednic, I feel the same way. Dior Homme is one of my favorite scents, so naturally I stocked up when I heard about it being reformulated, but when I run dry I will have no problem buying the current version.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Different things may be going on here:

    1. A new formulation because of demand. In this case there is no way to know how close it will be to the original unless you actually smell it, and decide for yourself. However, my guess is that they reformulations are usually close, though from the various discussions of Creed batch variations, I have to wonder.

    2. A new formulation due to new restrictions. You can't necessarily blame the company for this one either, unless you think they also cheapened it up significantly.

    3. A new launch of a vintage scent. This could be done well but in my experience it's often "done on the cheap," in an apparent attempt to cash in on the name/reputation, though restrictions certainly can come into play here too.

    What I've often found with the reformulated vintage scents is that they "amp up" the lavender and amber, sometimes with a cheap wood note, iso e super, "laundry" musk, etc., and you no longer get things like quality sandalwood notes. If you don't care, then go for it. I do, and if the old version was not available I would not even consider wearing the new one.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Regrettably, I have to agree with you that companies are now trying to save cents on the formulas and rather invest in ads. But some of the top firms like Guerlain or Chanel didn't do that. Sadly, restrictions on materials are now causing these firms to ruin their masterpieces.

    cacio

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    It is so disappointing what is presently occurring in the fragrance industry with re-formulations. Dior, for example, tends to reformulate after a couple of years. Usually to save $$$ and earn a higher return. Even Guerlain, with its most recent reformulation of Guerlain Vetiver in the new bottle, has chipped away at quality.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    You don't think that the recent Samsara was a poor reformulation?

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Regrettably, I have to agree with you that companies are now trying to save cents on the formulas and rather invest in ads. But some of the top firms like Guerlain or Chanel didn't do that. Sadly, restrictions on materials are now causing these firms to ruin their masterpieces.

    cacio

  8. #8

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Rarely seen an industry reformulate for the better (meaning for the consumer). Like Senore01 said, they save money and earn a higher return. The consumer is the one that gets burned because we buy these frags (even though these frags don't cost a lot to make (compared to the profit these companies make).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    I have a few reformulations in my collection. Among the best are Quorum, which I think is actually more wearable than the original, and Fahrenheit, which isn't as green as the original and does have more of the signature petrol note, but is still a great fragrance in my opinion.
    Current Favorites:
    1. Le 3me Homme - Caron
    2. Yatagan - Caron
    3. Van Cleef & Arples Pour Homme
    4. Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme
    5. Kouros - YSL
    6. L'Anarchiste - Caron
    7. Xeryus - Givenchy
    8. V.I.P. Special Reserve - Giorgio Beverly Hills
    9. The Dreamer - Versace
    10. Nobile - Gucci

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Reformulations are, for the vast majority of fragrances, the "kiss of death" by those who know the original or earlier compositions.

    I will not labor away at discussing this in detail as I prefer to talk about individual scents, but I do have to say that it is about both money and the power IFRA has on the fragrance industry, banning key ingredients and limiting the amount severely of others. All in the name of profit.

    One comment to my friend, senore01: Guerlain has actually done, in my perspective, a noble effort with the latest release of their benchmark Vetiver. I find it to be a great expression of the root and, while more linear - a reflection back to earlier formulations that focused on nuances of the vetiver note itself throughout its evolution in the wearing. This starts of fresh, crisp and a bit "grassy" (dampened with bergamot) and ends up in a deep green, warm and rooty presentation. Rather remarkable, actually. An ode to the days of yesteryear, when less was more. "Simplicity is beauty...and Beauty is simplicity, nothing more, nothing less." ~ Oscar Wilde

    Cheers,

    ericrico
    “Some perfumes are as fragrant as an infant’s flesh, sweet as an oboe’s cry, and greener than the spring; While others are triumphant, decadent or rich; Having the expansion of infinite things, like ambergris and musk, benzoin and frankincense, which sing the transports of the mind and every sense.”

    ― Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil & Paris Spleen

  11. #11

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Unfortunately, Guerlain's Vetiver is a bad example for reformulation in my book. While I love the two older EdT versions I have, I find the new rather bad, synthetic and harsh. It's all about money-saving and material restrictions and using the latter as excuse for the former.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by ericrico View Post
    I do have to say that it is about both money and the power IFRA has on the fragrance industry, banning key ingredients and limiting the amount severely of others. All in the name of profit.
    Am I missing something? How does IFRA profit from banning ingredients? I think it's more of an overzealous attempt to ensure public safety, to which the perfume industry has been too lazy or too passive to respond.

    To the OP, I'd hate to think that perfumes are created with the intention of hooking people and then lowering the quality. I'd prefer to think they start with good intentions and then the economics gets in the way. But I wouldn't be that surprised to be wrong.

    Finally, like Hednic, I can't get too bothered about reformulation. I do understand what reformulation does to beloved fragrances; I happen to have very old vintage Chanel No 5 and Shalimar (left to me by relatives who've long since passed on). But there's so much good stuff easily available enough that I'm not going to torture myself over a few drops of something that I won't find again and that isn't coming back.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Lot of fuss over nothing.

    Of course new stuff smells differently to old stuff, it's new - and you're comparing it to something that was bottled years ago ... or worse, comparing it to what you think you remembered it smelled like back then.

    Just leave your 'new' stuff on a shelf for 30 years ... hey presto, it's now old stuff.

    Same thing happens with wine. Surprised no-one has made the comparison.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    Am I missing something? How does IFRA profit from banning ingredients? I think it's more of an overzealous attempt to ensure public safety, to which the perfume industry has been too lazy or too passive to respond.

    To the OP, I'd hate to think that perfumes are created with the intention of hooking people and then lowering the quality. I'd prefer to think they start with good intentions and then the economics gets in the way. But I wouldn't be that surprised to be wrong.

    Finally, like Hednic, I can't get too bothered about reformulation. I do understand what reformulation does to beloved fragrances; I happen to have very old vintage Chanel No 5 and Shalimar (left to me by relatives who've long since passed on). But there's so much good stuff easily available enough that I'm not going to torture myself over a few drops of something that I won't find again and that isn't coming back.
    Kagey,

    You and hednic have done a great job of summing up my feelings on the subject. Hell, I don't think I'll ever run out of any of the true vintage stuff I have right now anyway.
    Current Favorites:
    1. Le 3me Homme - Caron
    2. Yatagan - Caron
    3. Van Cleef & Arples Pour Homme
    4. Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme
    5. Kouros - YSL
    6. L'Anarchiste - Caron
    7. Xeryus - Givenchy
    8. V.I.P. Special Reserve - Giorgio Beverly Hills
    9. The Dreamer - Versace
    10. Nobile - Gucci

  15. #15

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Call my nose untrained and my fragrance knowledge limited, but in 9 out of 10 cases of a fragrance being acknowledged and heralded as reformulated, I hardly noticed the difference, not even being in denial about it. But simply, my senses were probably not as developed, as to recognize any significant change due to reformulation.

    That doesn't stop me to enjoy, own and further purchase vintage formulations, but not so much because they are pre-reformulation, often simply because they are a quite uncomplicated, effective and comparatively affordable way to come across some hidden gems amongst fragrances.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    It would be interesting to get some information from the guys being a little longer in the DIY section. I can imagine that if for certain reasons you cannot get some resources in an acceptable or in the highest quality as you wish, you might think about reformulating rather than lower the quality of the end product.
    Or the material is getting that expensive that you would have to raise the prices remarkably.

    Another point might be reformulation in order to adapt to the zeitgeist. Like brands re-designing their logos and corporate identities, or newly composed, ear stirring radio jingles.

    If Opium was launched today in the original formula – I don't believe it would be a bestseller. Possibly if it was labeled Tom Ford. In my perception mainstream fragrances nowadays are more transparent, cosy, delicious. But not challenging.
    Maybe that's the niche's task, to serve some peoples desire for olfactory adventure and commotion.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    It's all over bar the shouting.

    If the EU regulators push thru the latest round of allergen restrictions then even some of the current emasculated cordials will become collectors items.

    I don't doubt there are forces at work in the bigger corporations who might use the IFRA directed reformulations as an excuse to slip in a bit of cheaper stuff at the same time, but when you read Malle saying if these new restrictions go through it may force him out of business, and read some of Wasser's comments about the impossiblity of rendering some Guerlains 'as they were written' it becomes apparent that SOME of the people who matter actually want to deliver beauty and quality still.

    My bet is on an increasingly two dimensional chemical wasteland stretching out before us . . . if you haven't already, grab what you can while you can, folks. Turin & Sanchez were saying this 5 or 6 years ago and, sadly, they were right

  18. #18

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Intresting how so many on this thread and others think of reformulations as something that can be accepted and embraced. Fragrance is an art, it's a skill that one masters through scensory and imagination with the ingredients and notes that one posses. Take the art of a painter. He uses the imagination and the canvass that he posses and uses the brushes to create an art he can share with the world. Once the art is shared with the world like in an art gallery people begin to take notice. They look at it, they observe it, They experience the depth of what the artist is trying to say. They enjoy it for a few more minutes and they move on. Years can go by and one day they stumble across the piece they once enjoyed but as they continue to look inot the canvass they noticed something different. They notice that some of the colors have been tampered with and some of it's rough edges have been updated to look more modern. They stare at a piece of art mourning. Mourning not of the updates of the art but mourning the memories they shared together tied to it's original form. Fragrances are the same way. I think when connect to a fragrance we connect to its original form. The fragrance in a sense becomes part of our syc and in turn those memories we produce while wearing the fragrance are the things we hold onto so dear. In essence when someone complains on here and other sites about reformulation i believe there not complaining per se of the scent itself but of the change it went through because the memory nerves have been distrupted cause it can not recall the memories to it's original source. I remember wearing Fahrenheit in it's 2nd formula and loving. I remember recalling old memories of the good deal I scored on it and all the compliments I got from it and who I was with when I wore it. When I used it all up and allowed acouple of years to pass I decided to buy another bottle. To my surprise when I tested it I knew immediitely it had been changed. How? Because My sensory memory could not line up to it's original form. Sit me in front of a vintage or 2nd formula bottle and I could recall all those old memories that I cherished while wearing it. There was a big issue over here in the U.S. about a mona lisa picture that had been a replica of the original,. People complained that it stryed so far from the original that the replica should not have been attempted. Sadly, I feel that is how it's been with reformulations. We need to be careful on here when we criticize people on here for complaining about reformulations because there just stating the fact that there sensory memory has been interupted and memories are powerful and can bring joy and happiness to a different time we once knew even for a second. I also see it from the other side as well of being up to par with regulations and such but I am of the mind that if the reformula does not do justice to it's original form then they should not try to reformulate it. I would rather have a memory of an awesome scent that I enjoyed than to recall it later and be dissapointed.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    I loathe reformulations, wish it would stop, but recognize I'm powerless. Luckily, we are blessed with an ocean of options to choose from. If they ruin a favorite, I move on to another. Makes no sense to grieve. They lose my money if no one else's.

  20. #20
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    ericrico's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Powerful words, Bobster...

    I concur with a lot of your statements and, most of all, empathize. We all have lost what was dear to us in one bottle or another (and, for most of us, several and even...many).

    In life, we are guaranteed only death - let us live passionately with the scents that we relate to most, as we know them in "true form". If we surrender our morals, the corporate profit motive is victorious and we no longer have the same passion. I refuse to give in. Vintage and discontinued fragrances are out there...and we are one of the last generations who will know them from early on (even their initial release for many) until the day we pass on. Enjoy the moments...

    Your words ring loud and true to so many of us!!!

    All the best - cheers.

    ericrico


    Quote Originally Posted by Bobster View Post
    Intresting how so many on this thread and others think of reformulations as something that can be accepted and embraced. Fragrance is an art, it's a skill that one masters through scensory and imagination with the ingredients and notes that one posses. Take the art of a painter. He uses the imagination and the canvass that he posses and uses the brushes to create an art he can share with the world. Once the art is shared with the world like in an art gallery people begin to take notice. They look at it, they observe it, They experience the depth of what the artist is trying to say. They enjoy it for a few more minutes and they move on. Years can go by and one day they stumble across the piece they once enjoyed but as they continue to look inot the canvass they noticed something different. They notice that some of the colors have been tampered with and some of it's rough edges have been updated to look more modern. They stare at a piece of art mourning. Mourning not of the updates of the art but mourning the memories they shared together tied to it's original form. Fragrances are the same way. I think when connect to a fragrance we connect to its original form. The fragrance in a sense becomes part of our syc and in turn those memories we produce while wearing the fragrance are the things we hold onto so dear. In essence when someone complains on here and other sites about reformulation i believe there not complaining per se of the scent itself but of the change it went through because the memory nerves have been distrupted cause it can not recall the memories to it's original source. I remember wearing Fahrenheit in it's 2nd formula and loving. I remember recalling old memories of the good deal I scored on it and all the compliments I got from it and who I was with when I wore it. When I used it all up and allowed acouple of years to pass I decided to buy another bottle. To my surprise when I tested it I knew immediitely it had been changed. How? Because My sensory memory could not line up to it's original form. Sit me in front of a vintage or 2nd formula bottle and I could recall all those old memories that I cherished while wearing it. There was a big issue over here in the U.S. about a mona lisa picture that had been a replica of the original,. People complained that it stryed so far from the original that the replica should not have been attempted. Sadly, I feel that is how it's been with reformulations. We need to be careful on here when we criticize people on here for complaining about reformulations because there just stating the fact that there sensory memory has been interupted and memories are powerful and can bring joy and happiness to a different time we once knew even for a second. I also see it from the other side as well of being up to par with regulations and such but I am of the mind that if the reformula does not do justice to it's original form then they should not try to reformulate it. I would rather have a memory of an awesome scent that I enjoyed than to recall it later and be dissapointed.
    - - - Updated - - -

    No offense, Joe -

    But what has happened to the fragrance world in the last 12 years (since IFRA became the Illuminati of the fragrance world) - we have been given synthesized compounds and fixatives have been taken out to decrease the longevity of scents, so we use more. In the meantime, more money is spent on packaging and marketing. We are the last generation to truly know the difference.

    I understand your sarcasm, but the truth is, only age-worthy wines will be drinkable in 30 years (Grand Cru Burgundy, Top Growths from Bordeaux under the 1855 classification, fantastic rich cabernet from California and perhaps some Brunello from Italy). But, we are given today, the equivalent of a wine cooler. In 30 years, it will be worthless. Plus, who wants to smell like synthetic, reformulated piss-splattered toilet water that is being produced today in 30 years???

    You must start with something great initially...and then, patience is virtue! I am shocked you didn't make that connection...

    Cheers,

    ericrico

    Quote Originally Posted by joe mcclaine View Post
    Lot of fuss over nothing.

    Of course new stuff smells differently to old stuff, it's new - and you're comparing it to something that was bottled years ago ... or worse, comparing it to what you think you remembered it smelled like back then.

    Just leave your 'new' stuff on a shelf for 30 years ... hey presto, it's now old stuff.

    Same thing happens with wine. Surprised no-one has made the comparison.
    - - - Updated - - -

    Fantastic post, my friend.

    Echoes my thoughts loudly!

    Cheers and Happy New Year,

    ericrico

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    It's all over bar the shouting.

    If the EU regulators push thru the latest round of allergen restrictions then even some of the current emasculated cordials will become collectors items.

    I don't doubt there are forces at work in the bigger corporations who might use the IFRA directed reformulations as an excuse to slip in a bit of cheaper stuff at the same time, but when you read Malle saying if these new restrictions go through it may force him out of business, and read some of Wasser's comments about the impossiblity of rendering some Guerlains 'as they were written' it becomes apparent that SOME of the people who matter actually want to deliver beauty and quality still.

    My bet is on an increasingly two dimensional chemical wasteland stretching out before us . . . if you haven't already, grab what you can while you can, folks. Turin & Sanchez were saying this 5 or 6 years ago and, sadly, they were right
    “Some perfumes are as fragrant as an infant’s flesh, sweet as an oboe’s cry, and greener than the spring; While others are triumphant, decadent or rich; Having the expansion of infinite things, like ambergris and musk, benzoin and frankincense, which sing the transports of the mind and every sense.”

    ― Charles Baudelaire, The Flowers of Evil & Paris Spleen

  21. #21

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    Am I missing something? How does IFRA profit from banning ingredients? I think it's more of an overzealous attempt to ensure public safety, to which the perfume industry has been too lazy or too passive to respond.
    The IFRA doesn't ban stuff. EU regulators call for a ban or restriction and can impose it. Initially the IFRA 'self regulated' by cutting down on specific ingredients in an effort to hold back complete bans, but it seems there are some people employed by EU whose remit is to protect us all from ourselves and they clearly have decided to keep the gig as long as they can . . .

    Where this becomes a question of money for the IFRA is simple. Perfume companies are pressured to be IFRA compliant - if not they may be subject to lawsuits for foisting 'unsafe' amounts of some banned or restricted ingredient on the public that may cause a rash. So a culture of fear is introduced to the proceedings, further inflamed by people who don't like or can't afford 'fancy perfume' etc. Follow the rules or risk the ambulance chasers.

    The fact that so many of these ingredients have been used for decades without any problem is of no consequence it would seem - but for that you will need to read a lot more of the available information on this topic than I have time or knowledge to share here.

    No - the essence of the money argument is that the key members of the IFRA are the 'Majors'. Givaudan, IFF, Firmenich, Symrise et al - the aromachemical companies who compose and supply something like 60+% of the perfume you buy, even though it may have a fashion designer company or celebrity name on the bottle.

    And these companies also provide raw materials, new molecules, to the perfumers who may be designing perfumes for their own independent / niche lines.

    So - they are a wholesaler and a retailer, if you will, and also they are 'inventors'. It is in their labs that a lot of the aromachemicals are developed that find their way into perfumes (and washing powder, soap, shampoo etc) worldwide.

    So - if the natural essence of various plants and fruits etc. are deemed to be 'unsafe' what happens is that the suppliers, growers, orchardists, farmers are effectively put out of business and the ancillary industry of distilling the essences from the plants and flowers also take a hit.

    Quel horreur! What to do? No more oakmoss, citrus, heliotrope and a host of other flowers to put in our perfumes.

    Well, simple - use a synthetic substitute, naturally. And the IFRA labs are constantly looking to create chemical substitutes because they are not subject to the weather or wage disputes in far off countries, or shipping costs, or natural disasters wiping out a harvest etc. AND yes, they can sell them . . . coming up with a good smelling molecule is big business. You can put it in your own perfumes exclusively, or you can sell it to everyone in the industry if you have a hit on your hands, and you can name the price.

    So please forgive me if I seem naive but when you have an industry body that (a) dictates what anybody working in the industry may or may not use in their products, and (b) is made up of a handful of the leading manufacturers of the only 'permitted' substitutes for the things they tell you not to use then words like 'cartel', 'monopoly', 'conflict of interest' do spring to mind.

    The latest developments have thrown a spanner in the works because now even the IFRA is worried that the men in white coats working for the EU have gone too far . . . let's see what happens in 2013.

    I suppose it's easy for some people to be glib about all this, the 'so what, just buy something else' brigade and if that's a genuine, heartfelt comment then good luck to you. I am not losing sleep over this myself but I do find it rather strange after just a few years of taking an interest in this artform to be sitting here witnessing the end of the era of modern perfumery commencing with the Jicky period, taking off in earnest about a century ago with Jacques Guerlain, Coty, Beaux et al and now fizzling out into what looks to become an increasingly bland, cheap and almost completely synthetic facsimile of what it once was.

    Ultimately the companies making the stuff need not fear because within a couple of decades the public will have no idea what a true chypre, fougere or floral perfume smells like anyway, having been weaned on a lot of the shit for kids being pumped out as we speak

    P.S. looks we were writing at the same time, ericrico - no surprise, great minds often think alike AND at the same time. Thanks and all the best for 2013
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 29th December 2012 at 08:22 AM.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    For those who understand what's going on now, stock up on the "good stuff." I know I am. LOL.

  23. #23
    Basenotes Junkie Wheatstraw2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    You'd think that the synthetics would be so good at this point that you can re-create whatever you'd want without using the natural materials. But I'm no expert on the subject. Anyone have any thoughts on this? That's not an invitation to argue, it's a sincere question. Perhaps kind of a naive, rookie question, but a sincere one.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    So please forgive me if I seem naive but when you have an industry body that (a) dictates what anybody working in the industry may or may not use in their products, and (b) is made up of a handful of the leading manufacturers of the only 'permitted' substitutes for the things they tell you not to use then words like 'cartel', 'monopoly', 'conflict of interest' do spring to mind.
    Thanks for the clarification, Mr. Reasonable. Indeed, IFRA doesn't have the power to "ban" or to enforce a ban, but like you say, it "dictates what anybody in the industry may or may not use," which is effectively a ban. Otherwise, your explanation makes sense and doesn't seem the least bit naive.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheatstraw2 View Post
    You'd think that the synthetics would be so good at this point that you can re-create whatever you'd want without using the natural materials. But I'm no expert on the subject. Anyone have any thoughts on this? That's not an invitation to argue, it's a sincere question. Perhaps kind of a naive, rookie question, but a sincere one.
    This is where guys like Chris and David others who make perfume could help but I think it's fair to say that the number of molecules, substances, elements - call them what you will - contained in any given rose petal, sliver of sandalwood or virtually any other organic compound is so vast that the white coated boys and girls are still trying to identify them all.

    Obviously they have identified and can extract or reconstitute some of the molecules that create a key element of a 'smell' and play with these very creatively and convincingly, but it's the context that is missing - all the other elements that contribute to the experience of that smell that, to me at least, mean the difference between something 'alive' in three dimensions, or just re-created in two.

    Peel a lemon, then crush up some verbena and breath in. Now go smell Eau de Guerlain or Philtre d'Amour - you will experience the natural scent experience (supported by other elements, including synthetics, of course) but hopefully the scent will seem 'alive'. Now spray some Lemon Pledge, the furniture polish stuff. That, in a nutshell, marks a progression from naturals, thru modern perfumery (late 1800's till early 2000's) thru to what the future might hold. If you're cool with Pledge as your definition of citrus and verbena, then okeydokey

    I'm not, really.

    Or, walk into a florist, inhale - then hit the mall and try some of the Britney style tween fruity florals. Draw your own conclusions about how the new EU regulators would have us experience scents that exist in nature translated into wearable scents and see if you agree with them.

    That's not to say creativity is dead or that the aromachemical people aren't doing some amazing work, it's really just a question of whether we should have some choice about what we actually want to wear / buy etc.

    PS Kagey, thanks - I'm not losing sleep but I do get a little worked up over this, I didn't mean to sound antagonistic in replying to your earlier comment - I hope I didn't come off that way.
    Last edited by mr. reasonable; 29th December 2012 at 10:22 AM.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Unless the reformulation effect is obvious to me without doing a side by side comparison, I won't resist a reformulated scent purchase.

    That said, I think they shouldn't happen. It reminds me of when companies try to colorize classic black & white films as if the cinematographers wouldn't care about how it changes their film prints and techniques that they perfected for the original release as it was known in history.

    The original should be kept intact as long as possible and when changes must occur due to laws, then the scent preservation should be the priority, even if it means a more expensive alternative ingredient that passes on more cost to the consumer.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheatstraw2 View Post
    You'd think that the synthetics would be so good at this point that you can re-create whatever you'd want without using the natural materials. But I'm no expert on the subject. Anyone have any thoughts on this? That's not an invitation to argue, it's a sincere question. Perhaps kind of a naive, rookie question, but a sincere one.
    There are certainly "substitutes," but what I've found is that at best they lack richness and depth. As a newbie, I couldn't really detect these attributes so it didn't matter to me. If you stay as a "casual" scent wearer, then it may never matter to you (you may never detect any significant difference). However, the industry has been trying to replicate various notes for decades, with varying degrees of success. But here's another point; let's take any note, for example ambergris. If the formulation calls for a very mild ambergris a lot less people will notice a synthetic substitute than if it is the "star of the show." In the case of old scents with a lot of oakmoss, there is presently no way to replicate that due to regulations, but you can pay someone like Chris Bartlett to make you one (I think he said you have to sign some sort of legal waiver). I'd rather just buy on ebay, where I can get rich and complex vintage ones at very good prices (just have to be patient and do some research).

  28. #28

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Thank you for your kind words ericrico

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have a another interesting question. Are the regulations over in france different than the ones over here in the US?

  29. #29

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    With several reformulations of various colognes that I have in my collection, this may just be me, but I have yet to find one that actually smells better then the original. In most cases, for me, what has attracted me to the scent initially is gone, and substituted with something that does not even come close to the reason why I loved and bought the scent in the first place. They might as well just change the names since they are changing what is inside of the bottle. I understand a lot do this, and it just doesn't start and stop with frags, but seems that the price keeps going up higher for things of much lesser quality. I would not mind, and I do not mind paying way better then average prices to wear something as I remember it, but what I do have a problem with is paying such high prices for something that to me has lost its appeal by being reformulated. A slight tweak, in my estimation is not a big offense, as I own a bottle of DHI that is the slightly tweaked version, which I love, but trying to pass a frag off as being the same, when some of us can tell the difference, and in most, if not ALL cases, there is a difference should not be permitted without the name change to go with it!

    While I do understand there are some out there that prefer reformulations to the original, I think as long as when there are reformulations, if they can change the bottle, or the packaging, they need to have on the box or outside 1st reform, 2nd reform etc. This way, there are no guessing games to be played at the consumers expense. Especially with some of these "Niche" frags. There should be no reason someone should have to shell out some of these prices and have such inconsistencies are there are from batch to batch. I think this is absurd and ridiculous and should be NO reason for it!
    Last edited by djm; 29th December 2012 at 06:37 PM.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Recently purchased Paco Rabanne pour Homme and Givenchy Gentleman. Both were so vilely re formulated I was really unhappy. E mailed Puig and LMVH expressing my dissatisfaction and did not receive a reply. Went so far as to tell them it was unfair to consumers not to advise a " try before you buy" since it is not the same fragrance purchased the last time. They really don't want to admit to any reformulations and differences in previous vintages. Sad.

  31. #31

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by fraddicted View Post
    Recently purchased Paco Rabanne pour Homme and Givenchy Gentleman. Both were so vilely re formulated I was really unhappy. E mailed Puig and LMVH expressing my dissatisfaction and did not receive a reply. Went so far as to tell them it was unfair to consumers not to advise a " try before you buy" since it is not the same fragrance purchased the last time. They really don't want to admit to any reformulations and differences in previous vintages. Sad.
    I feel your frustration. I emailed Dior and asked them if they thought fahrenheit had been reformulated and they said it hasn't. Who are they kidding? Do these big companies actually believe they can fool us?

  32. #32

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    I think I have penetrated the linguistic subtleties of all this.

    Reformulation means changing the formula. The recipe. This might be changing rose for lavender, or apples for oranges.

    However, getting rid of the Taif Rose essence and replacing it with a nice new synthetic rose, or . . . when it comes to making a good Screwdriver, switching the pure juice squeezed from fresh oranges just off the plane from Italy for O.J from the supermarket fridge at the mall is not reformulation . . . the recipe has not changed, just the quality of the ingredients. And we decided to 'hold the vodka' a bit, so the quantity has changed a bit, too.

    Same formula, though

  33. #33
    Super Member farang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Can we get a list of the 'best' - or most important - fragrances which are most at risk for reformulation, so we can stock them up?
    Please, please!
    Last edited by farang; 30th December 2012 at 04:20 AM.
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  34. #34

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    Quote Originally Posted by farang View Post
    Can we get a list of the 'best' - or most important - fragrances which are most at risk for reformulation, so we can stock them up?
    Please, please!
    That is subjective! Obviously, the ones that are on the hypothetical list include Chanel No. 5, Shalimar, Mitsouko, etc., but when it comes to "men's" scents it's much less clear. Kouros might be one but probably most guys today would not even consider wearing it. Chanel Pour Monsieur might be as well, and a lot of people seem to think so because the prices are shooting through the roof on that one on ebay (likely due to oakmoss restrictions).

  35. #35

    Default Re: Thoughts about reformulation

    The ones I have been backing up which will take a hit if oakmoss is restricted further (or banned outright) include:

    Sous le Vent (Guerlain)
    Granville (Dior)
    Tiffany for Men

    I don't know about the Aramis line. These are such classic masculines and seem to still be pretty robust - but if you have a particular favourite it might not hurt to play safe. Dunno why these are still so good (relatively speaking). The Brasil Dream for Men from Lauder (same company as Aramis) is also excellent - where the hell did that come from? Slipped thru from the early 80's somehow . . .

    I am less familiar with the restrictions on key citrus elements which will affect bergamot etc. but I suspect stuff like Eau de Guerlain, Bigarade Concentree and other seriously good citrus numbers would be worth watching - this is pure speculation on my part, though.

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