I remember people using the phrase, “what is the meaning of this?” when I watched some comedies as a child. The idea was that a comical character was doing something outrageous. The person saying the phrase was calling attention to the “unacceptable” behavior. But lately, I often find myself asking this question, as people make claims that aren’t even internally consistent! On a Basenotes.net earlier this year, a thread was started with this post:
…I’m quite surprised that my bottle of LADDM has a pretty weak performance considering all the reviews that speak of 12-24 hours longevity. I get the spicey opening and after not even 4 hours it is GONE! Does anyone else have similar issues with this fragrance?
No, it’s not “gone,” unless this person bought a fake. However, others started to make claims that are not related to this statement, such as to quote a reddit post, which is:
I contacted Andy Tauer directly and he replied:
‘It has not been reformulated. Nor has its concentration changed. People compare old batches stored for a long time, matured, with newer batches.’
So there you have it from the man!
First, this could be fake, something the person just made up for whatever reason, but let’s assume that this is what Andy Tauer believes, hypothetically. A batch variation is not going to affect longevity is a significant way, though a reformulation certainly could. Speak of reformulations, someone posted this in that BN thread:
…I do wonder if all this talk of reformulation is our noses simply adjusting to newer interpretations of scents that we already know such as LADDM and ACDD.
Well, wonder no more!
Reformulations of classic fragrances happen all the time, and because of industry secrecy, consumers simply discover on their own that the new bottle of their favorite perfume smells different. Sometimes the reformulations are by necessity. For example, birch tar was banned by IFRA (The International Fragrance Association), so Guerlain had to eliminate it from their formula for Shalimar. Perfumes are often reformulated to cut costs, using less expensive ingredients than in the original. In other cases, some perfumes are tweaked to conform to prevailing styles.
Whatever the case, Givaudan perfumer Jean Guichard recently made a confession that the perfume industry has never owned up to before: Perfumes do in fact get reformulated. He confirmed what every perfume lover who has ever picked up a new bottle of an old favorite and failed to recognize it already knows. “Consumers know their perfume better than any expert,” Guichard said. “We say nothing to consumers, but they notice when their fragrance has been changed.”
From the book, “Scent & Subversion” by Barbara Herman.
So, what is the meaning of talking about batch variations in this context? Clearly, there is a desire to argue a position for a different issue. And another person who posted to that BN thread made this clear:
So, the whole “let it sit and it will get stronger,” argument must have some truth to it after all. And this is not only coming from a perfumer, but from a trained chemist.
Well, if you are a perfumer and a “trained” chemist, you should be able to explain to us exactly how one of these concoctions can get a lot stronger yet smell the same! That would mean that more of the same molecules would have been created, a kind of chemical version of “spontaneous generation.” And one would think that a professional chemist could have a GC/MS study conducted to show a “before and after,” in terms of the dominant (or some of the dominant) aroma chemicals. I am willing to pay for such a study, but only if I am wrong. If I am correct, then I expect someone (like the people who made the posts above) to pay. I have no expectations that these people would take me up on my offer and “put their money where their mouths are,” but some might even say, “well I don’t care what the study says, I know what I am smelling.” No, you know what you are perceiving, but you do not know what aroma chemicals are involved. You are mistaking perception for physical reality and don’t seem to care about the “laws of nature!”
I would like Tauer to address this issue on his web site, and why not include a statement on the fragrances or boxes? Tell us when the “best if used by” time is! What does he mean by “maturation?” On the Frederic Malle site, as I’ve quoted before, it is stated that maceration, for example, is only applicable for large batches and is hardly ever employed any longer (mostly gone by the 1980s), so it is crucial for Tauer to tell us if maturation means maceration, or something else. Generally, a fragrance does not “mature” but gets worse, in terms of being less and less as the perfumer intended. Some of us may not mind (such as myself, since it’s more an issue for certain top notes and I’m not that concerned with these kinds of fleeting notes). My guess is that whomever answered the email, if it was real, didn’t want to say anything too committal but also did not want to tell the person that his or her notion was totally wrong.
And I’ll mention another example here, which involves Gentleman Givenchy Parfum. This 2018 release is a simple scent, with official notes of “black pepper, lavender, orris, patchouli and black vanilla.” Clearly, it is Givenchy’s take on Dior Homme/Dior Homme Intense type scents (and a whole bunch of Fragrantica reviewers point this out), but some reviews say things like:
Performance is good
There is absolutely no similarity with DHI
What is the meaning of that? If it’s not close to DHI then what is it? Close to Cool Water? Totally unique? My point here is that most reviewers see that there is quite a bit of similarity but it’s not a “clone.” To say there is “absolutely no similarity” is simply ridiculous, with clear notes of iris, lavender, and something sweet/vanillic/ambery. Moreover, they both have a “high end designer” type composition. If you say there’s nothing in common, you are actually misleading people, so I wonder why. Is it that you think DHI is so far “superior,”‘ for some reason, that you need to “defend” it. Or do you possess a “broken nose,” as many like to say these days? Yes, the Givenchy is more casual and a bit different (I happen to prefer it), but when you make a claim like he did, what are you trying to say? That Chanel No. 5 is as close to DHI as this Givenchy is? Let me know if you have any idea what he was trying to say by leaving a comment.