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Does a perfume age well?

Posted by LVA on


A number of us view aging as a four-letter word. A thing to be not so much feared as lamented. The passage of time weighs heavy on us. And then there is wine.

A fine wine ages with grace. It becomes better, mature, more complex. We actually put some bottles in a dark, humid cellar and wait for time to do its work. We take glee in that.

Why does wine get the golden treatment while we wallow in our downfall? It’s a question as old as time itself.

One of the many questions we get asked — especially for those Les Vides Anges superfans who buy 50 ml bottles — is, “how long will the fragrance last and will it diminish over time?” There’s no set answer for this but in ideal conditions — like fine wine — perfume does take a certain trajectory as it ages.

As most of you know, perfumes are set in pure alcohol when in bottle. This not only makes it easier to disperse through the sprayer, it essentially fixes the fragrance and slows down aging. Just like the way whiskey takes years longer to age than a Burgundy, perfume in a sealed bottle will be very slow to age.

Most niche perfumes are designed to have little edges which make them stand out. These are the first things to be “smoothed out” over time. Take Fleur de Nuit for example. At first spray the sea notes are the most prominent, giving way to the sakura blossoms and midnight jasmine. But as it ages, the floral notes will take the fore as the beach elements melt into the jasmine. It may take 6 to 8 months to get there and when it does the complexity is heightened.

The key is really about storage. Like a fine wine, perfumes should be stored in a dark spot, free of wild temperature changes. That is, if it lasts that long to begin with.