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  1. #1

    Default The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I recently wrote up a blog post on this issue. Some seem to think there are no differences or that new formulation are actually superior, and obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinions. However, you can't hold both positions simultaneously, though some of these people don't seem to realize that! LOL.

    What I noticed, going back more than a few years, is that many smaller companies sell their licenses to a major one, and then this company tries to create a cheaper scent that is more of a "crowd pleaser." Often, sandalwood or oakmoss is removed or greatly diminished. We've had these discussions before, especially with Zino, but perhaps we should think about the Zinoization of scents at this point. It's not just that something like an excellent sandalwood is removed, but that the scents are made denser and fuzzier, with less note separation/contrast and dynamism. I have perceived this with Cool Water, Minotaure, Santos, Bijan for Men, Lapidus Pour Homme, and Grey Flannel (and perhaps some others I don't recall at the moment). With others the reformulations were not good or even awful, but in different ways (such as the "synthetic mess" I now consider the new Acteur to be).

    I'm not sure how far back the Zinoization trend goes (or if Zino was the first scent to get this kind of reformulation), but I want to get the word out that perhaps we should be as clear as possible when we post about how we think a scent has been reformulated. In the case of Zinoization, there seems to be a crass view that all the consumer needs is a "fuzzy nothing" that smells remotely like the original in order to get the public to continue to buy what appears to be the same product. As I remember someone saying on an old TV commercial: "Beware of cheap imitations!"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    There will always be people for whom reformulations are important in deciding whether to purchase a fragrance or not and others
    like myself where the consideration is not. Every individual assigns his own importance to this which is as it should be.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Interesting that you also noted that Sandalwood has been removed in most designer fragrance reformulations. Most reformulations are either bad, or watered down versions of the originals, I have yet to see a reformulation which is an improvement.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    There will always be people for whom reformulations are important in deciding whether to purchase a fragrance or not and others
    like myself where the consideration is not. Every individual assigns his own importance to this which is as it should be.
    Right, this thread is for those who are interested in the various formulations and want to categorize them. I welcome insights into other ways scents have been reformulated.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    In the scheme of things, reformulation is usually not that detrimental. I do, however, steer clear of reformulations that alter the basic character of the underlying fragrance like when Floris removed sandalwood from its namesake sandalwood fragrance or when Penhaligon's began using such poor quality rose oils in Hammam Bouquet that is now "Bugspray" Bouquet. I would advise that anyone who is reformulation weary try the new before they condemn it--if the new formulation does deserve condemnation, than by all means, condemn away.

  6. #6
    Basenotes Junkie FullCollapse's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I think reformulations should be viewed as making a xerox of a xerox of a xerox and so forth. Eventually the end product is unrecognizable from the original and also becomes much more faint. However, this is all subjective, if you find a reformulation that you enjoy without knowing what the original is like, the old saying "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind and makes me wonder if you should even spend the time or cash to seek out the original, if its even possible. But I do agree with you Bigsly, as I have yet to find a reformulation that I enjoyed more than the original, with the exception of Zino! I honestly can tell the difference between the two! I think strongest differences between originals and reforms come when banned ingredients are removed and replaced with synthetic ones, such as Chanels Cuir de Russie or frags with Oakmoss in them.

    Very interesting thoughts Bigsly, and Im glad to see an actual discussion topic on the boards besides Aventus batch variations and "What should I wear to this event".

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by bokaba View Post
    In the scheme of things, reformulation is usually not that detrimental. I do, however, steer clear of reformulations that alter the basic character of the underlying fragrance like when Floris removed sandalwood from its namesake sandalwood fragrance or when Penhaligon's began using such poor quality rose oils in Hammam Bouquet that is now "Bugspray" Bouquet. I would advise that anyone who is reformulation weary try the new before they condemn it--if the new formulation does deserve condemnation, than by all means, condemn away.
    Well to me "reformulation" implies you do detect a difference. Otherwise, it just may have been a slight change to the packaging. Also, any time a new batch is created it's possible it will smell a little different to at least some people (Aventus, anyone? LOL), even if it was not intentionally reformulated to be different in some way. An example is Boss #1, which used to be Boss Cologne. I haven't done a side by side comparison but I didn't detect major differences when I wore the two formulations, so I am by no means condemning anything with the appearance of a reformulation. I think at some point I'll write up a blog post about the different ways I think scents have been reformulated.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by FullCollapse View Post
    I think reformulations should be viewed as making a xerox of a xerox of a xerox and so forth. Eventually the end product is unrecognizable from the original and also becomes much more faint. However, this is all subjective, if you find a reformulation that you enjoy without knowing what the original is like, the old saying "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind and makes me wonder if you should even spend the time or cash to seek out the original, if its even possible. But I do agree with you Bigsly, as I have yet to find a reformulation that I enjoyed more than the original, with the exception of Zino! I honestly can tell the difference between the two! I think strongest differences between originals and reforms come when banned ingredients are removed and replaced with synthetic ones, such as Chanels Cuir de Russie or frags with Oakmoss in them.

    Very interesting thoughts Bigsly, and Im glad to see an actual discussion topic on the boards besides Aventus batch variations and "What should I wear to this event".
    That's part of my point about Zinoization, in that they seem to "amp up" other notes to prevent you from noticing that the more expensive ones are gone. However, there was a reason for those notes to be there in the first place, so the reformulation can seem unbalanced and lacking in dynamism. The vintage greats were often quite complex, but not necessarily dense, and certainly not muddled or fuzzy. It may be that I have higher sensitivity than most people, using only one spray most of the time and also detecting notes that others don't seem to be able to just by taking the cap off the bottle, but since I've noticed my sensitivity changes somewhat over time, this may be true for others as well, and one day you may notice the differences that you don't now.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    A few years ago my friend came up to me and said "smell" showing me the back of his hands. I smelled a faint fragrance but I had no idea what it was. It was Obsession for Men! This was one of my first "Obsessions" in the fragrance world and I know it a mile away. It was not even close to the original. I still have a sample of the original which to me is similar to Trumper's Sandalwood.
    Another one of my friends received Fahrenheit. It is similar to the original (which I have) but much lighter.

    I guess the whole point of mentioning reformulations is that the fragrance police are neutering some of our old favorites.
    Try before you buy. Your old favorite may now suck!

    P.S. DHI (new) is fantastic - reformulation or not - and Polo is still great.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I can think of a number of reasons for reformulation:

    1. Swapping natural musks for synthetic. Real civet isn't banned, but the publc at large apparently prefer not to have it in their perfumes.
    2. IFRA / EU restrictions on ingredients.
    3. Unavailability of ingredients in sufficient quantities, e.g. Mysore sandalwood.
    4. Greed, plain and simple. Swap expensive ingredients for cheaper ones. The big houses are culpable of this, but I don't see it affecting their sales.
    5. Feedback from market research, changing tastes etc.

    Recently I dug out all my No.5 samples ('30s, '50s, '70s, '80s and current) : the changes are, predictably, drastic.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Reformulations always happened, but not in brutal, drastical way until 2000.
    In that year the first "restiction laws" were applied (less oakmoss, less musk, less civet etc.)
    Later, in year 2009-2010 there was a one-two combination, due to 2nd group of laws entered in force (much severe restrictions) plus the economical crisis that forced to completely re-design all fragrances, using cheaper ingredients.
    Since 2010 almost all frags are near to unacceptability.

    This described above apply for 99% of fragrances, that's why I strongly suggest to buy perfumes produced before 2000 or, at least, before 2009.

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrè Moreau View Post
    Reformulations always happened, but not in brutal, drastical way until 2000.
    In that year the first "restiction laws" were applied (less oakmoss, less musk, less civet etc.)
    Later, in year 2009-2010 there was a one-two combination, due to 2nd group of laws entered in force (much severe restrictions) plus the economical crisis that forced to completely re-design all fragrances, using cheaper ingredients.
    Since 2010 almost all frags are near to unacceptability.

    This described above apply for 99% of fragrances, that's why I strongly suggest to buy perfumes produced before 2000 or, at least, before 2009.
    That sounds at least roughly accurate (Halston's 1-12 is a good example) but it doesn't address how they changed the formula, in terms of what kind of impression it will make on the wearer. In the case of Nicole Miller for Men, for example, the sandalwood seems to have just been removed. The scent begins in a promising way but it's like the base was diluted and sandalwood removed. It's not denser/heavier, and is not fuzzy or muddled. I just find it interesting that for some very popular scents, the idea seems to have been to go with Zinoization.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 3rd April 2013 at 01:00 PM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by gandhajala View Post
    Recently I dug out all my No.5 samples ('30s, '50s, '70s, '80s and current) : the changes are, predictably, drastic.
    No 5 is an excellent example since it's been around forever, and yes: it's been changed a lot over the years.

    I opened a new soap today, and it seems like they have recently changed the fragrance in this too. The soap used to smell a bit like vintage parfum with waxy aldehydes, beautiful florals and skanky musk, but this has changed into a sharper more generic kind of "clean".

  13. #13
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    ... they seem to "amp up" other notes to prevent you from noticing that the more expensive ones are gone. However, there was a reason for those notes to be there in the first place, so the reformulation can seem unbalanced and lacking in dynamism....
    This certainly seems to be the case with the new Eau d'Hadrien. The lemon note is amped up but the oakmoss is lacking (and maybe the cypress too) and to me the whole composition seems unbalanced as a result. However, some have said they like the new version more, so clearly the vote is not unanimous on whether the scent was ruined.

    Speaking only for myself, I have yet to find a reformulation this past decade that I like better than an earlier version I owned or smelled (which itself may have been a reformulation, since the process of tweaking formulas has been going on basically forever.) I'm open to the idea that someday I may find a reformulation I prefer, but knowing myself, I will probably only like it if I haven't smelled its predecessor.


  14. #14

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    That sounds at least roughly accurate (Halston's 1-12 is a good example) but it doesn't address how they changed the formula. I.
    By sobstituting the molecules with cheaper ones. One of the most famous example is the "amber". Initially it was the legendary "Ambergris" from whales, then the synthetic "Ambrox" (Ambroxan), very good and very expensive; then Ambrocenide, Ambrate, Amberwood, Cedramber, etc, and more and more cheaper ingredients. Then you can add some "Iso E Super" (good for everything), then you can remove entirely some expensive components, then.... ..... ......

  15. #15

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I personally find all Guerlain reformulations--for which I have tried vintage and modern--to be excellent and of very high quality. So my respect goes to the house of Guerlain for doing its best with these new restrictions.

    I own vintage + modern reformulations of many (Habit rouge ; Derby; Vetiver) and I like each of them for what they are although I do perceive differences.

    I think that reformulations have to be taken on a case by case basis; some respectable noses prefer, for example, recent to vintage Fahrenheit, recent to vintage DHI, recent to vintage Derby.

    Although the case is admittedly and regrettably rare, a reformulation, if done right, can be an opportunity rather than a liability.

  16. #16

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I don't think it is possible to lump all reformulations in the same boat, or even discuss them all as if they are alike. It's like renovating a house: sometimes a reformulation is nothing more than a fresh coat of paint; other times they add a whole new wing; other times they just knock the thing down and start over, at the same address.

    For example, we all know about the DH and DHI reformulations. They happened simply because Dior wanted to own all the rights to the formulations, and it apparently did not have the rights to the originals. Dior sought to mimic the original formulas, and by nearly all accounts, was pretty successful; most people detect little difference, and even those that do generally like the current versions.

    On the other hand, in my opinion, Halston scents are pale shadows of their former selves -- 1-12 smells vaguely like it did, but now is very unpleasant to my nose (and it was a favorite of mine in the '80s). Of course, people have compared the ingredient list, and many of the original's listed ingredients no longer show up on the current list. And the price point is different, too; the price is probably a quarter of what it was (which, considering inflation, means really that it's even cheaper).

    As an aside, I also think that a lot of us are too quick to think a fragrance is reformulated based solely on our noses (not always a reliable guide), sometimes confirmed by comparing a current bottle to an old, possibly mis-stored and definitely changed-over-time bottle. Even if the formula for Chanel No. 5 had not changed, for example, I wouldn't expect a bottle from the '50s to smell anything like a bottle today.
    Current Top Five:

    1. Creed Green Irish Tweed
    2. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino
    3. Hermes Concentre d'Orange Verte
    4. Bond No. 9 New Haarlem
    5. Creed Original Vetiver

  17. #17

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I'm up and down with the whole reformulation thing. I agree with the view that a lot of fragrances have been destroyed by reformulation / cost cutting (ie. Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme) and I also know from experience that it's neither easy or inexpensive to discover the truth about reformulations of a particular fragrance. This is especially true the older they are because, as Barclaydetolly points out above, time and storage conditions have a huge bearing on certain fragrances. Even whether the bottle is a sealed sprayer or sometimes poorly sealed splash bottle of the same aged fragrance can make a difference. I have bought 3 bottles of Oscar de la Renta pour Lui in order to discover the alleged brilliance of the 'vintage' formulation. The first, a vintage spray, smelled great for 5 minutes then turned strange in the drydown. Not unpleasant enough to call nasty but strange and sweaty. This made me think twice about wanting to own this classic fragrance until I happened upon a cheap bottle of the latest formulation which smelled great and I still regard as a favourite. When I recently had an opportunity to buy another vintage bottle (which I believe to be older than the first) I reluctantly splashed the cash and, what would you know, it's wonderful!! Admittedly it's not EXACTLY the same as the latest version, the older one is more blended and softer in the drydown whereas the new version is prickly and sharp softening much less as time goes by. I love both versions and they're both CLEARLY the same fragrance.

    Zino Davidoff is another one which has caused me to question my sense of smell!! I sampled a vintage spray whilst in Venice on holiday. I then unwittingly bought a reformulated ('Davidoff' in bold type) bottle not realising that there were different formulations and was very happy with the smell and the longevity. After reading many a diatribe about how terrible the new formulation was I bought a vintage spray bottle (still in the original box complete with product information etc) and, frankly, I don't get the same power or longevity as the newer one!! The drydowns are very similar and the older one smells denser and slightly richer but this becomes blurry and undefined after several hours.

    In conclusion I think the reformulation issue is more an issue for the more scientific and analytic amongst us - the enthusiasts who are more interested in the science and ingredients rather than the way a particular scent makes us feel or the image it helps portray. I suppose I fall into both camps to some extent but I love fragrances for the way they make me feel, the memories they invoke and their interaction with history. If you love a fragrance and know its every nuance it can be very disappointing when it suddenly smells different but as for how much time and money you are willing to invest in it depends on the individual and how important it is to your life.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Wow, such stimulating conversation here! Reformulation will always be a contentious issue with fragrance fanatics. I am guilty myself of coveting older formulas simply because I assume they are always "better". This can be costly in terms of money and time. Clearly each and every fragrance will have fans and detractors, where one nose loves a new formula and the next hates it. However, I guess the old adage "try before you buy" is the golden rule here.

    I think what concerns me most is not a changing of a scent - as has been pointed out here many times that a new formula can be superior - but rather a weakening of projection and longevity. I don't pay good money for a skin scent or one that projects well for 2 hours. Just my $0.02.

  19. #19

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    ...
    I'm not sure how far back the Zinoization trend goes (or if Zino was the first scent to get this kind of reformulation)...
    I disagree with you. I think Zino is actually remained relatively intact and similar enough to the vintage. Actually, I cannot even tell the difference to be honest. My vintgage is not extremely old, but it is a vintage bottle ( with the signature font and very few indgredients on the box)

    Quote Originally Posted by barclaydetolly View Post
    I don't think it is possible to lump all reformulations in the same boat, or even discuss them all as if they are alike...
    Yes, I feel this is what the OP is doing and I also don't think you can do it

    That all being said, reformulation can be bad ( Dunhill Edition, Bijan for Men, Azzaro pour Homme with too much anise in the current form....etc)
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Nicole Miller (vintage), Opium pour Homme, Oxford & Cambridge...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of Jil Sander Feeling Man, Cacharel Nemo, Bijan for Men EDC, Lanvin for Men, Giorgio VIP, Il Lancetti and other old school frags ....etc. I have samples to swap.

    More HERE
    Please PM me !

  20. #20

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Surfacing View Post
    I disagree with you. I think Zino is actually remained relatively intact and similar enough to the vintage. Actually, I cannot even tell the difference to be honest. My vintgage is not extremely old, but it is a vintage bottle ( with the signature font and very few indgredients on the box)

    Yes, I feel this is what the OP is doing and I also don't think you can do it

    That all being said, reformulation can be bad ( Dunhill Edition, Bijan for Men, Azzaro pour Homme with too much anise in the current form....etc)
    No, I specifically said that I wanted this thread to be about different ways scents are reformulated. I guess I will have to be as explicit as a human being can here: reformulation is not "one size fits all." Is that clear enough? If not, I have no idea how to make it clearer.

    One poster said Guerlain has been very good, and I agree, but Samsara's reformulation is a joke, IMO, obviously, but I bring that up because it's "claim to fame" is the sandalwood note. From what a few people on this thread have said, they seem to lack awareness of the sandalwood note entirely, and that may be what leads so many to think that Zinoization is perfectly fine in most if not all cases. In fact, all I had to do is to take the caps off the Zino bottles and in the older one there is a clear incense/sandalwood which is mostly if not totally missing from the other version I had, which is apparently a newer formulation (block letters for "Davidoff" on bottle).

    Also, just remembered, Catalyst for Men has also been Zinoized, IMO.
    Last edited by Bigsly; 4th April 2013 at 03:52 AM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I am on the same boat with everyone else when it comes to reformulations. I understand the whole safety of ingredients but if you are going to reformulate then reformulate as close as you can to the original. Heck I believe if you have to reformulate work on making it last longer and blend it better than the last. Not the other way around. Fragrances that I think were hurt by reformulations? Zino,Fahrenheit, Polo, Aspen, Stetson, Royal copenhagen, Joop homme,Halstom Z 14 , just to name a few. There are instances where reformula may make it better. Sung homme is one of them, Giorgio by beverly hills, Lapidus Pour homme, I have to note that I never had smelled the vintage of these but I guess that falls in the category of if I have never smelt the vintage don't seek out vintage lol in other words Sung homme and lapidus to my nose are awesome.There strong, last awhile on my skin and I have no desire to seek out vintage.

  22. #22

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Personally I don't think much about reformulations, bcoz, I buy whatever i like after testing. Only time I will think of reformulation will be when I am running out of a parfum that I own, in which case, I check the current batches from The Bay / Holt Renfrew or other parfum stores in Toronto GTA, Canada. If its niche or a classic parfum house, I request samples from Naz @ Theperumeshoppe or MinNY or Guerlain / Hermes / Chanel boutiques in Toronto to check out if current batches are good. If the current batch is similar to what I owned, it'll be a buy, if not I will not.

    Reformulation is basically out of my control (or anyone on BN), the parfum house does this from time to time for whatever reason, so I don't worry abt things not in my control...

    I was lucky to get good batches on Fahrenheit / Eau de Hadrien / Lapidus PH to name a few, so from what I own, the only complaints are with the HOUSE OF GREED / AKA CREED. Many from the Creed's I own are $ I wasted, so I have stopped buying from this house.

    I am jumping into niche / lesser known niche houses totally that are good on longevity with decent / good / excellent projection that suits my dry skin. Slumberhouse / Nasomatto's / Andy Tuer's / sonoma scent / nejma / lutens fall in this category. these to me are not 2 bad on ur wallet, compared with malle / kilian / amouage / ramon monegal etc as they serve my needs.

    Guerlain / Amouage & Gantier's houses are in my top 10 all time, so i end up buying theirs irrespective of reformulations and irrespective of their longevity / projection.

  23. #23

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Not 100% on topic maybe, but I believe that Guy Robert's Caleche was first very seriously reformulated in the early 1990's when the 'soie' version came out and has now become quite unlike the original - which I have known since the very early 1970's.
    (I actually did some extensive 'side by side' testing of my collection of various bottles of this late last year, prior to disposing of the less good bottles).
    Last edited by lpp; 7th April 2013 at 01:47 PM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    No, I specifically said that I wanted this thread to be about different ways scents are reformulated. I guess I will have to be as explicit as a human being can here: reformulation is not "one size fits all." Is that clear enough? If not, I have no idea how to make it clearer.
    I found it hard to figure out what you're saying in your OP, and the discussion you wished to spark, so I'm not surprised this thread is relatively amorphous. That's because you didn't really make any provocative statements or ask direct questions.

    I do agree that there are many reasons for, types of, and reactions to, reformulations. Reformulation is a fact of the industry that is on the rise and will be for the foreseeable future. It is possible that in a few decades, we could have atomic/molecular-level 3D printers, aka "makers," for which we might be able to download vintage formulae to produce in our homes. Not to mention future technologies that could stimulate the brain's sensory centers directly, without the intermediation of volatile substances. Until then, we have to put up with what industries make for us, and seek out old stock where we can. I can deal.

  25. #25

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I own both current and vintage Davidoff Zino script font bottles and cannot believe people saying both versions smell alike?!
    I wonder if they all did some decent side by side comparisons to come to this conclusion?!

    To me they are almost two complete different frags in smell. The newer is lighter, has a powdery smell, hardly any patchouli compared to vintage, less sandalwood, more vanilla and lasts 3 hrs max on my skin. Not a bad smell per se by the way if you never smelled the vintage.
    The vintage is loaded with patchouli, smells more dirty, is not powdery, has more sandalwood and has more of an incensy vanilla which is pretty subtle. The vintage lasts 6-8 hrs at least.

    Only the difference in the patchouli already makes these completely different.

    Maybe there is an overlap in vintage to newer bottle design, so that script font logo bottles contain the newer juice already otherwise I cannot explain that people consider them the same in smell (or they didn't do a proper side by side and in their memory it is about the same). I know there are are many people who consider them completely different in smell, depth and longevity (see threads and reviews).

    Regarding Zinoization I think that besides the obvious bans on oakmoss and other ingredients in the early 00's, the manufacturers make frags for the masses and not for BN'ers so to speak. 99.999% of all the frag buyers never heard about perfume debate forum sites. Who knows besides BN'ers that Cool Water smells different than before? Almost noone! The companies all make sure that in current releases the top notes are good smelling as that is the main reason one chooses a frag nowadays (talking about 'the masses'). What happens during heart and base they do not care nor know about. Production costs of most frags are minimal and profits are huge! I'll leave my opinion at this as this discussion is pretty endless.

    Here some good and worse reformulations I can think of now:

    Good reformulations imo:


    - Quorum
    - Antaeus
    - VC & Arpels PH (leaf pattern box which is sheer excellent!)
    - Tsar (leaf pattern box which is also excellent!)
    - Giorgio for men
    - Oscar pour lui
    - Egoiste
    - Gillette: Cool Wave aftershave
    - Caractere edt
    - M7
    - Insense (2nd version)
    - Esencia
    - Lapidus ph (still almost too strong and very rich imo)
    - Tabac (original)

    Bad reformulations:

    - Kouros (a good frag on its own supposing it would have a different name but a disgrace to Kouros itself)
    - Dolce&Gabbana ph (enough said about this one)
    - Cool Water
    - Joop! Homme
    - Paco Rabanne ph (smells still ok, but not comparable to older versions not to mention the real vintage stuff)
    - Azzaro ph (once you smelled vintage or Intense, u'll know)
    Last edited by Slayerized; 7th April 2013 at 01:26 PM.
    My Top 10 : (In no particular order)

    - Dolce & Gabbana: Pour Homme (vintage)
    - Paco Rabanne: Pour Homme (vintage)
    - Loewe: Esencia/Pour Homme
    - Guerlain: Homme L'Eau Boisee
    - Pal Zileri: Cuoio
    - MPG: Santal Noble
    - Guerlain: Vetiver
    - Amouage: Jubilation XXV
    - Dior: Homme Intense
    - YSL: Kouros (Fraicheur)

  26. #26
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Listen to Slayerized above. I've found this guy knows what he's talking about.
    Especially agree with him about the current VC&A PH. This reformulation is excellent. The vintage can't have been better than this.
    ----- People laugh at me because I'm different.... I laugh at them because they're all the same -----

  27. #27

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by bigsteve View Post
    Listen to Slayerized above. I've found this guy knows what he's talking about.
    Especially agree with him about the current VC&A PH. This reformulation is excellent. The vintage can't have been better than this.
    Thanks Steve

    I am afraid though that the vintage of VCAPH is better though as it had more oakmoss, castoreum and was a tad deeper (I own a mini of the stuff). Regarding Tsar I can say that the vintage is way longer lasting than the last formulation which smells very similar nonetheless. I guess this must be also the oakmoss. I read in a review that vintage Tsar is like an edp and I agree. Close to the skin but lasting a long time (little like Heritage edp).

    But if this is true how can it be that the latest leaf pattern box of pour homme lasts 12+ hrs easily! without too much oak(tree)moss and no castoreum...........?! (same counts for reformulated Antaeus imo)
    My Top 10 : (In no particular order)

    - Dolce & Gabbana: Pour Homme (vintage)
    - Paco Rabanne: Pour Homme (vintage)
    - Loewe: Esencia/Pour Homme
    - Guerlain: Homme L'Eau Boisee
    - Pal Zileri: Cuoio
    - MPG: Santal Noble
    - Guerlain: Vetiver
    - Amouage: Jubilation XXV
    - Dior: Homme Intense
    - YSL: Kouros (Fraicheur)

  28. #28
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    +1, bigsteve!

    Slayerized, my friend. Excellent and well-stated. I concur fully about acceptable and even good reformulations. I will say that Vintage Oscar Pour Lui and Giorgio for Men are definitively better, though. Oscar Pour Lui is still good, but not as truly wonderful as before. Giorgio for Men - there is a debate on this one. Personally, I like my Vintage bottle and will not buy current (although it is not a scent I wear that often)/

    Oakmoss is so essential for so many classics as we all know. So, farewell to those that we loved - enjoy our precious Vintage juice.

    Tsar's longevity is still very good - true. The base has a nice tonka bean/amber/musk with some very good, woody vetiver and smooth leather. The reformulation I have is not "current", so there is still the .1% of Oakmoss (max amount allowed) and a nice amount of tree moss in there as well. But, the base is very nice, warm and uses the trio of notes mention above - which will keep a scent going.

    I also concur that Original Zino Davidoff is dramatically different. I wrote in-depth on this and find the current juice as a nice blend of top & heart notes while the Vintage is just...wonderful. Wearing them together (layered) is a nice way to enjoy the scent. I could not ever say that I 'know' Zino Davidoff, unless I smelled the Original/Vintage juice. I think that makes my point rather clear.

    Regarding entire houses, Guerlain and Caron have done well in keeping their juice very good. I commend them. Calvin Klein's Original "Cologne" bottlings of Calvin, Obsession for Men, and Eternity are something to behold...so, for those of us who know & care, it is worth seeking out.

    I could continue discussing this for another week, but will leave it alone. My passion is deep for Vintage fragrance - and I know that not everyone cares...especially the millions of you who are so obviously allergic to the evil Oakmoss that IFRA banned to protect you.

    Cheers - enjoy the good stuff (what you enjoy) as life is short...

    ericrico

    Quote Originally Posted by bigsteve View Post
    Listen to Slayerized above. I've found this guy knows what he's talking about.
    Especially agree with him about the current VC&A PH. This reformulation is excellent. The vintage can't have been better than this.
    “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

  29. #29

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    ...is best left to the anoraks.

    It's so subjective. It's all speculation as changes/reformulations are rarely disclosed by the Houses. Even then, how much detail is ever really divulged that is not open to interpretation? It's not like there's a formulae database, historical & real-time, that could unquestionably signal any changes/reformulations. Assuming that was real... it would not answer the question as to why the change was done OR whether it had a greater, lesser, or neutral effect.

    Paying much more than a passing interest to (and acting upon) such untestable conjecture wears on my enthusiasm. If I were some sort of super-nose perhaps I'd feel differently. I used to wonder whether many here were actual super-noses and how many were just kidding themselves... chasing phantoms, i.e. perceiving ingredients, notes, or changes that are not there, etc. I quit wondering because it really makes no difference either way. With our varying capabilities come varying predilections. To each his own.
    Simplex Sigillum Veri

  30. #30

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    If you can't admit or detect that the sandalwood and/or oakmoss is largely or entirely missing from so many of these old greats then yes, they do probably smell the same or nearly the same to you. But beyond that, the new formulations, such as with Bijan for Men, have this heavy and fuzzy/muddled quality that is very irritating. I wore the original Bijan the other day and was surprised at how well behaved and yes, "light," it was, relative to what I usually wear.

  31. #31

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Here on basenote's reformulation grows into paranoia that "SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT... OHHHHH...NOOOO.... NOW I NEED TO GO OUT AND BUY 15 BOTTLES!!!" Most of what your going to smell different, if there is a reformulation, is going to be in the top notes which is the most fleeting part of a fragrance. In reality how different is the fragrance? 95% the same 75%. One thing I do know is the price sure isn't the same.

  32. #32

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentrich View Post
    Here on basenote's reformulation grows into paranoia that "SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT... OHHHHH...NOOOO.... NOW I NEED TO GO OUT AND BUY 15 BOTTLES!!!" Most of what your going to smell different, if there is a reformulation, is going to be in the top notes which is the most fleeting part of a fragrance. In reality how different is the fragrance? 95% the same 75%. One thing I do know is the price sure isn't the same.
    For me the openings are usually similar enough, and it's only when I developed an olfactory fatigue technique that I began to really understand the base notes and notice that there were huge differences. However, if you enjoy the new Bijan for Men, for example, then by all means spread the olfactory love, as you certainly will with that one!

  33. #33

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    For me the openings are usually similar enough, and it's only when I developed an olfactory fatigue technique that I began to really understand the base notes and notice that there were huge differences. However, if you enjoy the new Bijan for Men, for example, then by all means spread the olfactory love, as you certainly will with that one!
    I probably would like the newer version since it is an 80's fragrance. Most of the newer reformulations have the same notes, but they just tone it down a bit, or tone down specific notes (Dior Homme). Regulations controlled the reformulations on those fragrances. Today profit controls the reformulations.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    If you'd loved the original Ubar and tried the recent formulation, you'll understand why reformulation is such a thorny issue. To dismiss a reformulated scent based on 'fleeting top notes' is misguided. So is generalizing most reformulations as affecting top notes alone.

    If one can't smell significant differences between 2 formulations, I say 'Congratulations'. But it doesn't mean others can't. It's pretty much like hi fi. Not everybody can hear the difference when system components are changed but experienced ears can and will tell you exactly which part is different.

  35. #35

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentrich View Post
    I probably would like the newer version since it is an 80's fragrance. Most of the newer reformulations have the same notes, but they just tone it down a bit, or tone down specific notes (Dior Homme). Regulations controlled the reformulations on those fragrances. Today profit controls the reformulations.
    Well this is not the case at all with the Bijan, which is loud and crass in the new formulation. The original wasn't that far from Patou Pour Homme, by contrast.

  36. #36

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I'm completely against reformulations on any level I believe that fragrance creations are works of art and are created perfectly as they are for what they are. If a company decides to make "crowd pleasers" they should just come out with a NEW scent reminiscent of that original and leave the current formulations alone. It is so upsetting and frustrating to not be able to get the original scent. Everything has changed, it's all diluted and different from the originals...sad and tragic really; nothing smells the same anymore!

  37. #37

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by peachply View Post
    I'm completely against reformulations on any level I believe that fragrance creations are works of art and are created perfectly as they are for what they are. If a company decides to make "crowd pleasers" they should just come out with a NEW scent reminiscent of that original and leave the current formulations alone. It is so upsetting and frustrating to not be able to get the original scent. Everything has changed, it's all diluted and different from the originals...sad and tragic really; nothing smells the same anymore!
    I just finished a new blog post that I have yet to "publish" in which I ask, why not just call the new formulation something like Homage Zino or Cool Water Today, or Bijan Moderne for Men if you are going to change it significantly? And with the regulations of today, how many of these older scents can be reformulated without significant changes?

  38. #38
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I just finished a new blog post that I have yet to "publish" in which I ask, why not just call the new formulation something like Homage Zino or Cool Water Today, or Bijan Moderne for Men if you are going to change it significantly? And with the regulations of today, how many of these older scents can be reformulated without significant changes?
    I assume youre joking right? So they should change the name of a fragrance to satisfy 10 people who arent even going to buy the fragrance anyway?
    *BASENOTES SPLITS*
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  39. #39

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    The wonderful reformulation debate....

    I was also going to mention Caleche and also Cabochard here. These are ghost cousins of their originals, but I still like the Cabochard for being actually quite wearable post reformulation. The original 1959 was a superb monster of a perfume, fat and powerful with huge basenotes of smoke and leather. Its lesser new cousin is a gentle but still sultry creature by comparison and she certainly doesn't smoke or drink. Modern youth for you.....

    I am obviously a fan of the originals being a keen collector of many vintage fragrances. I do feel any reformulation should be marked in some way on the bottles with batch numbers or the like so that one is left in the know about whether we have version 3 or 33. This would satisfy me enough to not mind. It is only the lack of choice in the matter that irks.

  40. #40

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    I assume youre joking right? So they should change the name of a fragrance to satisfy 10 people who arent even going to buy the fragrance anyway?
    Pretty much what I think every time I read another "Oh my God, they just reformulated..." thread.
    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

  41. #41

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    I assume youre joking right?
    How did the tallest trees begin their lives? Moreover, it's now "the internet age," and word can get around very quickly. But beyond all that, there is a desire to get the word out to enthusiasts, even if it never makes it to the "mainstream." In general, that is one of the major functions of a site like this.

  42. #42

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    How did the tallest trees begin their lives? Moreover, it's now "the internet age," and word can get around very quickly. But beyond all that, there is a desire to get the word out to enthusiasts, even if it never makes it to the "mainstream." In general, that is one of the major functions of a site like this.
    The problem with that is the information has to be factual. With reformulations there are very few facts so most of it is very subjective. For example you brought up Zino. I have a vintage decant of it and I can't tell the difference from the new stuff. Smells the same, projects the same, and lasts just as long on my skin. Unless a reformulation is an absolute disaster or a big improvement on the original it's probably not going to be talked about much.
    Last edited by silentrich; 8th April 2013 at 03:36 PM.

  43. #43

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I would agree a re-naming when reformulating. Let's be honest about it if it's new and different from the original let the people know. A reformulation IS something NEW and DIFFERENT, it's not the same, not the original. It is something else and that's a fact.

  44. #44
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    How did the tallest trees begin their lives? Moreover, it's now "the internet age," and word can get around very quickly. But beyond all that, there is a desire to get the word out to enthusiasts, even if it never makes it to the "mainstream." In general, that is one of the major functions of a site like this.

    Stuck inside the Basenotes Bubble again? Honestly there are maybe only 10 people in the entire world that have strong concerns about reformulations and they will never have any influence on gigantic companies that make these fragrances.
    Most people agree that reformulations do exist, but the current products are usually good enough. I like the original formulas of some frags and that makes hunting them down one more fun aspect of this hobby.
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    *BIG SALE- Chanel, Dior, Creed, Mona di Orio, Puredistance....
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  45. #45

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    The wonderful reformulation debate....

    I was also going to mention Caleche and also Cabochard here. These are ghost cousins of their originals, but I still like the Cabochard for being actually quite wearable post reformulation. The original 1959 was a superb monster of a perfume, fat and powerful with huge basenotes of smoke and leather. Its lesser new cousin is a gentle but still sultry creature by comparison and she certainly doesn't smoke or drink. Modern youth for you.....

    I am obviously a fan of the originals being a keen collector of many vintage fragrances. I do feel any reformulation should be marked in some way on the bottles with batch numbers or the like so that one is left in the know about whether we have version 3 or 33. This would satisfy me enough to not mind. It is only the lack of choice in the matter that irks.
    I generally agree with the idea of indicating the version (it need not necessarily be a numbered version e.g. 3, or 3.3 or 33) but batch numbers are rather clumsy (see all derision over checkcosmetic.net and other websites). Companies should be less secretive about dating their production batches. I would be happy just to see a year of manufacture; such a practice would reasonably and conveniently let users know how old their bottles are. Unless major reformulations occur within a single year, this would be good enough to let people have the choice in buying bottles made in specific years.

  46. #46

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I can see how if you've not been exposed to an original then it's not going to affect your sense of purity of what the scent really is...this division seems like a generational thing. If you've only known the reformulation then that's all you know, you don't feel cheated. I'd say there are many people who feel very disappointed when their beloved scents are changed, they are just not using their voices to be heard.

  47. #47
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by silentrich View Post
    Here on basenote's reformulation grows into paranoia that "SOMETHING IS DIFFERENT... OHHHHH...NOOOO.... NOW I NEED TO GO OUT AND BUY 15 BOTTLES!!!" Most of what your going to smell different, if there is a reformulation, is going to be in the top notes which is the most fleeting part of a fragrance. In reality how different is the fragrance? 95% the same 75%. One thing I do know is the price sure isn't the same.
    I am little amazed that members since 2008, 2009 talk about reformulations in 2013:-) , obviously top 5 most widely used basenotes materials are synthetics and can not be used real stuff as they were used pre IFRA or until they were available( indian sandalwoos).....looks like some of you just woke up now:-)

    And those who can not smell the difference, between reformulations:-) should consider themselves blessed because the future is all yours lol

  48. #48

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    It is quite possibly a subject for 'anoraks' (aka 'oldies', maybe), but if more people knew the originals they might be disillusioned too

  49. #49

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    That's me.. an oldie anorak!!!! As I know some of the originals. It doesn't stop me loving new perfumes in the slightest. Quite the contrary. It just makes me appreciate the superbly blended modern ones all the more for their limitations and makes me less tolerant of terrible flyspray in beautiful boxes. It makes the whole thing so much more interesting in the search for the grail.

    Year of manufacture would be lovely on the bottle preferably. It could go a long way towards increased sales by encouraging collectors to have more than one bottle as the reformulations happen. Change the design slightly too and there is suddenly a collectable range. It may however not be applicable much longer because there are precious few ingredients left in that bag.

    Please note that it is only relevant if the perfume house is signed up to the rules. The free are still free..... so far anyway.

  50. #50

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    EXCELLENT THREAD
    It isn't until I smell the vintage version that I realize the negative impact of a reformulation.
    MISS DIOR and L'HEURE BLEUE. I guess that's why I like vintage perfumes so much.

  51. #51

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Good Reformulations (better than the originals IMO)
    Hermes Bel Ami
    Chanel Egoiste

    Neutral Reformulations (Meh...)
    Dior Homme Intense
    Dior Fahrenheit

    BAD reformulations
    Ungaro III
    Versace L'Homme
    Dior Homme EDT

  52. #52

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by iivanita View Post
    I am little amazed that members since 2008, 2009 talk about reformulations in 2013:-) , obviously top 5 most widely used basenotes materials are synthetics and can not be used real stuff as they were used pre IFRA or until they were available( indian sandalwoos).....looks like some of you just woke up now:-) ...
    I don't understand what you are getting at here ? How do you know those members have not discussed or were concerned about reformulations in prior years? There is also alot of valuable information in the Basenotes archieves and reviews that are helpful ( sadly, I think alot of that information was somehow "disappeared".
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Nicole Miller (vintage), Opium pour Homme, Oxford & Cambridge...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of Jil Sander Feeling Man, Cacharel Nemo, Bijan for Men EDC, Lanvin for Men, Giorgio VIP, Il Lancetti and other old school frags ....etc. I have samples to swap.

    More HERE
    Please PM me !

  53. #53

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Old Moustache, new Moustache, reformulation horror, imo. There are several others where I can only suspect that the original versions smelled less thin and cheap.

  54. #54
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    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I tend to take all reformulation woes with a big pinch of salt. Sure, reformulations happen but I reckon age plays a huge factor in widening the discrepancy. I think most older, 'vintage' bottles have ingredients that have changed or possibly spoiled. My older bottles initially smell a bit strange but once the top notes fade, it's back to regularly scheduled programming. When you compare this with a newer version which has been altered slightly, the differences would appear to be much bigger than they really are. Just a hunch.

    For this reason, I find it very difficult to trust comparisons until I actually do them myself so I can evaluate for myself. Ungaro III has supposedly been altered beyond all possible recognition. I love the current version so much I fear I may not like the vintage formula as it may emphasize/de-emphasize parts of the fragrance I dislike/like.

    I'm not denying that some fragrances have been altered beyond recognition. But DHI for me is still more of the same. Seems to have more Iris now but it's still largely the same to my nose.
    Check out my Fragrance Review Blog

    Wishlist: Byredo Pulp, Creed Aventus, Montale Black Aoud, Original Santal, Dior Jules, Invasion Barbare, Pure Distance M

  55. #55

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Critic View Post
    ...I'm not denying that some fragrances have been altered beyond recognition...
    Very few have been reformulated in that way. Instead, there is an attempt to make it smell very similar at first. In some cases, such as the new Grey Flannel and Cool Water, it smells similar but is heavier/denser, with a fuzzy/muddled quality. And the top notes of old scents are not what I'm talking about when I say that I will not wear a reformulated one because I try to avoid most of the top notes anyway (as I've been saying for years here). Instead, the biggest issue seems to be cheaper base notes, and my guess is that some people simply can't detect ones that have been replaced, especially sandalwood. The problem for them is that if they do detect it at some point they will likely feel "ripped off" by the reformulation.

  56. #56

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    In some cases, such as the new Grey Flannel and Cool Water, it smells similar but is heavier/denser, with a fuzzy/muddled quality. .
    I have to agree about coolwater. Loved the stuff back in the day but I tried wearing it as of present and just could not do it.

  57. #57

    Default Re: The Great Reformulation Debate.

    I would like to chime in about reformulations; as of now as consumers we can vote with our wallet! simply not patronizing fragrances that were poorly reformulated is the way to this; no income from certain line =discontinue

    Yes, maybe some are romantics chasing the glories of the past vintage perfumes but for me what is important is the NOW. My principle on this is move on, move forward find the "new" fragrance that will give you that ecstasy. It is worth remembering and acknowledging the past but we do not live in the past we live for today.

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