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Tragedy. When perfumes turn

Tragedy. When perfumes turn 8 years ago
My bottle of Alahine has gone off…turned, rotten little worm. Only eighteen months old and kept in a cool dark cupboard.
Has anybody got any stories to tell?
8 years ago
Commiserations! It's always the special ones, isn't it? Never the cheapo bargain bottles you bought on a whim and don't really care for anyway.

My own tragedy involves a bottle of Joy pure parfum that I bought duty free on my first overseas trip back in the late eighties.
Rather an unconventional choice for a leather-wearing rocker in her twenties but it was love at first sniff and I doled out half a week's wages for it.
It was duly stored in its box and eked out in carefully measured drops so it would last.
Well, last it did not. Eighteen months later the top notes had turned and I assumed it was no longer wearable. Should have splashed it on when I had the chance!
Funny thing is, I kept the little ribbed bottle and pulled it out a couple of years ago. There was still some perfume in it, now dark and viscous. Still smelled bad from the bottle but after I applied it and the top notes had burned off, it was lovely. Probably sells at $20/ml for the vintage parfum these days.
I always regretted not buying the EDP spray - I hated having to dab the concentrate on with my fingers. Don't know if that hastened its demise but I've heard that pure parfum can turn more quickly as it contains less alcohol to act as a preservative. Good reason to keep drinking maybe...
8 years ago
Yes, the top notes are destroyed but it carries something of itself a bit later on, my Ancient Mariner of a fume, the albatross around the neck.
8 years ago
Triffid:
Commiserations! It's always the special ones, isn't it? Never the cheapo bargain bottles you bought on a whim and don't really care for anyway.

My own tragedy involves a bottle of Joy pure parfum that I bought duty free on my first overseas trip back in the late eighties.
Rather an unconventional choice for a leather-wearing rocker in her twenties but it was love at first sniff and I doled out half a week's wages for it.
It was duly stored in its box and eked out in carefully measured drops so it would last.
Well, last it did not. Eighteen months later the top notes had turned and I assumed it was no longer wearable. Should have splashed it on when I had the chance!
Funny thing is, I kept the little ribbed bottle and pulled it out a couple of years ago. There was still some perfume in it, now dark and viscous. Still smelled bad from the bottle but after I applied it and the top notes had burned off, it was lovely. Probably sells at $20/ml for the vintage parfum these days.
I always regretted not buying the EDP spray - I hated having to dab the concentrate on with my fingers. Don't know if that hastened its demise but I've heard that pure parfum can turn more quickly as it contains less alcohol to act as a preservative. Good reason to keep drinking maybe...

I still push the wrong buttons. Back to the point…No joy with that one..what a blow. You are right of course, it's the air getting in thats the problem. I did notice that the cap had lifted on the bottle of Alahine and thought nothing of it: I just pushed it down again from where it had blocked the spray nozzle, but this may have been the culprit. Thank your for commiserations and your loss was greater than mine. Joy, what's not to love?
8 years ago
"Joy, what's not to love?"
Indeed! I have to be content with the reformulations these days but I'm not complaining.
Regarding the 'air to perfume ratio' I sometimes suspect that once the bottle contents have passed the half way mark, the perfume's on borrowed time. Though when I think about it, I've got some quarter full bottles that have been that way for a couple of years and are fine. Maybe it's the luck of the draw?
I do wish it was economical to buy multiples of smaller bottle sizes: say, two 50ml bottles for the same price as a 100ml. Would help a lot with preservation.
8 years ago
Spray a good 40 times or so. So all old perfume is gone from the sprayer and the little tube.
Then try again: chances are the perfume is fine after that Smile
8 years ago
Guusje:
Spray a good 40 times or so. So all old perfume is gone from the sprayer and the little tube.
Then try again: chances are the perfume is fine after that Smile

I've noticed this too. The plastic in the tube must be reacting with the perfume somehow, but the "juice" in the glass bottle is "being safe". For the same reason it might be better to use glass bottles for decants and samples, especially if you want to hold on to them for a long time.
8 years ago
Guusje:
Spray a good 40 times or so. So all old perfume is gone from the sprayer and the little tube.
Then try again: chances are the perfume is fine after that Smile

I have done this, but not 40 times. I will try again with more abandon and hope that it clears. Thanks a lot
8 years ago
Can't say I do, Omni. All my little babies are behaving. The oldest is 36 years old.
8 years ago
I've been lucky. Everything is good. I'll agree that using the sprayer a number of times for some odd reason makes the perfume seems to smell better. I've only had to do that with one bottle of perfume that was dated from 1992, and it worked. The first few sprays seemed minimal at best, until I used that trick. Then afterwards, the perfume was good as new. It was as if the perfume fairy had blessed the bottle again and a miracle had happened. Definitely a trick to remember!
8 years ago
I follow that trick too with one of my Miss Dior Cherie bottles. The first two sprays are sour, but then the ones after that are fine.
8 years ago
Hayven:
I follow that trick too with one of my Miss Dior Cherie bottles. The first two sprays are sour, but then the ones after that are fine.

I've noticed this too with some of my "now vintage" perfumes (because I acquired them before reformulation). Better to spray into the air before applying if the bottle is older...
8 years ago
I've got quite a few vintages that the top notes are pretty unpleasant, but once they burn off, not usually more than 15 minutes, the character of the scent is there in all it's vintage splendor.

I will say though, that I bought a vintage Vol de Nuit EdC and I'm not certain that it has it's original character at all anymore. That was an expensive mistake.
8 years ago
Danieq:

I will say though, that I bought a vintage Vol de Nuit EdC and I'm not certain that it has it's original character at all anymore. That was an expensive mistake.

I got an older bottle of Vol de Nuit EdT and it was a bitter disappointment for me as well. If only the new extrait wasn't so damn expensive...
8 years ago
Epimedes:
Danieq:
I will say though, that I bought a vintage Vol de Nuit EdC and I'm not certain that it has it's original character at all anymore. That was an expensive mistake.

I got an older bottle of Vol de Nuit EdT and it was a bitter disappointment for me as well. If only the new extrait wasn't so damn expensive...

I asked for a spray of Diorissimo at a counter recently, and it was off. It's hard to tell an eighteen year old SA that when demonstration bottles go off it doesn't serve the seller or the customer
Off Appearance 6 years ago
I have a bottle of Chloe's Fleurs de Capucine that is actually growing a milky residue. Fortunately, it is replaceable for a reasonable price. I got it as a trade so I can't say how it spent the first part of it's life, but it's been stored in a dark cool cupboard for the past year. It smells O.K....I think-but white milky floaters spells an easy way to get MRSA infections to my Microbiologist-Mind. Not worth it. So sad, it's still nearly full. Any one else have a visual deterioration issue?
6 years ago
Flavorite, that's a bad scene. Milky Floaters. I'll be damned, never seen anything like that, it's bad enough to lose the thrill. And in spite of everything negative regarding perfume there's still that little thrill. My brother commented on my perfume when I was wearing Annick Goutal's Passion the other day. It's quite old and is still great, thank goodness
Shalimar - I apologize 6 years ago
Not until today did I appreciate how much a perfume is/can be affected by age. Since becoming a perfumista, I've scratched my head about all the praise of Shalimar. I had two vintage versions--one a mini and the other a decant. They both smelled terrible--unctiously sweet and just plain icky (no relation to Jicky).

Today had to be the most thrilling day of my perfume life so far. By a near-impossible series of coincidences (i.e., a miracle), I found myself at a Guerlain counter with unexpected money to burn. Expecting the worse, I told the salesclerk I might as well sniff their current Shalimar. He sprayed it on a card. Holy Moses! What was this? Not the stink from my vintage bottle, not the mess from my decant. Something lovely wafted up to my nose. And it was the current EdT. I couldn't believe it! Unfortunately, it was out of stock. Did they have an EdP? Yes, as it happens they did. I'm wearing it now. Now I know why everyone's in love with Shalimar! Me, too! I'd already sent off for an unopened vintage in hopes of discovering what all the fuss was about. Fingers crossed it's not completely ruined, too. If I'd smelled the vaguest hint of the scent now gracing my hands and arms (I got carried away), I would have been a Shalimar devotee long ago.

Again and again fainting threatened as I smelled these beauties! Jardins de Bagatelle. WHY doesn't my decant smell like that? Champs-Elysees. The same. Vol de Nuit. The same. Heritage. The same. Cruel Gardenia. The same. Or at least I think so. Tomorrow I'm sitting down and comparing them, sniff to sniff, to be sure and I'll report back. Are a lot of the decants we pay good money for off?

All I know is this was an amazing day, which left me fully prepared to worship at the feet of Guerlain. Off thanking the universe for my miracle.
6 years ago
I really commend Wasser for his work on the old classics. He has returned many to their old Glory starting back in 2014. The Shalimar from 2009 was a shadow of what it should be, but the current formulations are amazing. I wish Chanel would do the same. The current #5 is complete and utter rubbish.
6 years ago
Thanks, Briarthorn. I thought his reformulations weren't circulated, only shared with bloggers and such and available for sniffing at Guerlain boutiques. I'll get up to snuff on the various versions as I start the Guerlain sniff fest in earnest. Just waiting for one more to arrive. Also reading Roja Dove's fabulous The Essense of Perfume and trying to scare up more info about Pierre-Francois. Can't believe so little is readily available about the founder of, arguably, the most famous perfume house in the world.

Briarthorn:
I really commend Wasser for his work on the old classics. He has returned many to their old Glory starting back in 2014. The Shalimar from 2009 was a shadow of what it should be, but the current formulations are amazing. I wish Chanel would do the same. The current #5 is complete and utter rubbish.
Nerval Musk Perfume Oil 6 years ago
I know that Nerval perfume oils are 20-30 years old now, but since people often write the oils' fragrance preserves well, I spent 100 Euro for a "Wild Love". Today I got it and I am very, very disappointed. It smells like a concentrate of ordinary soap. No magic, no special fragrance. Someone who had the same experience with "Wild Love" or any of the other Nerval musk oils?
6 years ago
Perfume oils will go rancid with time. So use them and only buy small size.Keep in dark cool place not on display.
4 years ago
Triffid raises whether the air in a spray bottle that enters to fill the space vacated by the liquid is significantly deleterious to the 'fume. I doubt it, as I doubt that even if ^all^ the oxygen in 50ml of air were to oxidize fragrance molecules in 50 ml of 'fume, it would do more than a negligible damage - or even 90 to 10 - or perhaps even 95 to 5. Perhaps not but when there is literally a trace in the bottom will the oxidation be significant; especially as, if uw were to analyse the air in a bottle of 'fume, it would probably transpire that it had nearly the full complement of oxygen (@bout 20.95%), wherefore that only a small fraction of it had been spent oxidising fragrance molecules. This is what I like about spray dispensers - only the minimum quantity of air required to fill the volume vacated by the 'fume enters the bottle. (If uw are still concerned, uw could enforce a discipline of only ever spraying it from beneath an argon-arc welding hood so that only argon enter (please abide my little sarcasm - it is not meant maliciously!).) This is as opposed to bottles with a stopper that is removed whenever uw broach it, so that a fresh draught of air enters each time, and a large proportion if the air, or perhaps nearly all of it, is replaced.

Actually, now that I consider it more carefully, this last argument about stoppered bottles is inconsistent with my adduction that only a small fraction of the oxygen in a spray-bottle is used up. Still, I have always had an ¯eingefühl¯ that spray bottles are greatly superior to stoppered ones in this regard. Maybe my argument is misproportioned as a whole.

Actually, I'm beginning to see now that it's quite a complicated question: because if only a small fraction of the oxygen is used up, there will not be much difference between a spray bottle & a stoppered by reason that the fresh draught of air entering the stoppered bottle will be little different from the (slightly) oxygen-depleted air that was in it before its being opened; whereas if a significant fraction of the oxygen is consumed oxidising fragrance molecules, there will be a significant reduction of pressure in the spray-bottle, and the volume of air entering when the valve is depressed will greatly exceed the volume of liquid that departs.

Oh no! It's really furunculating complicated! Well, thank-uw for prompting me to consider the matter more thoroughly anyway!

But, also, this whole argument concerns oxidation only; and I think there is ^no possible doubt^ that spray bottles are superior apropos the matter of evaporation.

Maybe I ought to consider the welding-hood trick for real!
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