Swap-Shaming and Aging Gracefully

I was slowly getting curious about the new releases when I was swap-shamed!

It happened like this.

I was, as I said, getting back in the new release-mojo when I read that Guerlain had a new perfume out in the L’Art et le Matière series called Joyeuse Tubéreuse. I wanted to test it, and when I saw that a woman, Dimitra, at Parfumo was ready to swap 5mls, I initiated a swap.

I want to tell you the story as to thoroughly warn you of this person, but it also serves a higher purpose than to merely shame the swap-shammer.

I send the small swap parcel containing one ml of L’Heure de Nuit and 5ml Spiritueuese Double Vanille (SDV) as well as several samples. Then I heard nothing for 16 days, although I enquired, since normally the post from Denmark to Germany takes 5 days at the most, and often 2-3 days only. After just over 2 weeks, she said she had received the swap, but the SDV had turned and was completely black, that she had compared it to the one in the Guerlain shop and it didn’t smell the same and that she had sent my end…

I then wrote that I was terribly sorry and asked what I could do to rectify this, that to the best of my knowledge it hadn’t been off when I last wore it, and whatever touched my skin when I decanted (by pipette) had not made me suspicious, but that I would check again using the sprayer.

Back to SDV; You see my photo here and the perfume has certainly darkened, (if not exactly blackened!) testing it with the sprayer, I found that although it hadn’t turned, which is an acidic disgusting and absolutely unwearable smell, it wasn’t fresh anymore, and it had definitely changed and now smelled like it was aging/ perhaps starting to go off. Even if after 15-30 seconds this stage was over.


SDV in the middle, the ‘black’ juice.


One of the reasons it would never have occurred to me that what I decanted could be questioned to its quality, was the fact that it was a Guerlain and a very ‘oriental’ one at that, so much less likely to turn than a lighter fragrance. I like my vintage fragrances, and so far, have not come across a turned perfume from Guerlain, even if I have many vintage bottles, some are even just decants and samples as old as 50-80 years and still pristine, aged but certainly not turned. Even my Chamade extrait (known to be problematic) is superb.

Could my, probably 10 yr old bottle of SDV already be turning? And I saw a complaint from someone whose Guerlain perfume in bulb atomizer had started flaking. I’ve not read anyone complaining about SDV before, so, am I just unlucky or is this the new future of perfume? Will there be no ‘vintage’ from 1990s-2017 for people in 2050 to smell?


Jessica Lange, with a little help. (both actresses born 1949)


Sigourney Weaver as nature intended

This did make me think how contemporary fragrances no longer have time to age,and no longer made so that they can in fact age gracefully. The newmolecules get used before anyone knowsif they are stable ( I remember a case of Frapin over at Olfactoria’s) Again, and again, vintage lovers are told that the perfumes they worship were meant to smell different intheir day, yet many smellfresh, and the best ones smell divine. The materials used might age, but stored properly they rarely go completely off. It made me think of the difference between aging gracefully and plastic surgery.

Perhaps a harsh comparison, and after all most people DO use up their perfume, and do not hoard collect like perfumistas.


Take another fragrance of mine and compare these two: Fath de Fath 6 yrs old approx. and Fath de Fath from somewhere between 1946-1949! Vintage still fresh, and look at the flaky stuff of the new one…

Fath de Fath new and old, see the flaky stuff?

It saddens me to see so many new fragrance launches and thinking that most of them will probably not stand the test of time. The way I unearth an old sample of Djedi, and still get to time-travel and experience a bygone era, will that be a possibility from today’s perfumes? Storing your most loved contemporary fragrance for 50 years, would you still have a fragrance worth wearing?

Getting back to my unhappy swap experience. A month after that last message from her, and many messages (from me,) later a parcel finally arrived, and I couldn’t wait to rip it open, only to find: everything, even extras, returned to me, except 1 ml missing from the SDV and the sample of L’Heure de Nuit, which she had kept. I got: No message, no explanation, no Neroli Outrenoir as thank you for the L’Heure de Nuit perhaps, even no parcel at all had been better than this awkward and petty reaction. And just like that, I had been swap-shamed by Dimitra of Stuttgart!


Have you ever experienced contemporary perfumes turn? Have you been swap shamed?