If you've ever bought a new bottle of your favorite fragrance only to be taken aback by the smell, you're not alone. There are a bunch of reasons why it might smell different, and you should always trust your nose when it tells you that something's up. Some differences in a scent are red flags that you should return the stuff immediately, and some of them more likely mean that the version of the scent you liked has actually been eliminated by its maker. To see the ways you can figure out what's up, and the reasons fragrances change, just keep reading.
- It's been reformulated. This is one of the fragrance industry's best-kept secrets. Most fragrances that have been around a while (even classics like Shalimar or Chanel No. 5) get reformulated every decade or so. This means that although it's supposed to be the same fragrance, it isn't. So if you happened to love the 2000-2010 version of your perfume, but there's something different about the 2011 version, this could very well be it. Unfortunately, if you can't learn to love the new formulation, your only recourse is to try and find a bottle of the previous version.
- It's an eau de toilette or parfum. This is another one most people never find out about. Not only is an EDT or "pure parfum" a different strength than the usual eau de parfum, they're sometimes actually separate fragrances. Famously, several Hermès scents' formulas are different in their EDP and EDT forms, so if you decided to try a lighter or more concentrated version of your perfume, you may have wound up with another one altogether.
- It's from another country or region.Yup, the same fragrances are altered for sale in different areas of the world. So if you bought your last bottle in Rio or Shanghai, the US version is unlikely to be the same perfume, and you'll have to hit up a duty-free store the next time you're traveling in the area if you want your precise scent back.
- It's a limited-edition version. This one can get confusing because, especially online, retailers sometimes overlook the fact that holiday or warm-weather-versions of scents are often different. Most of the time, they're advertised as having a special bottle, but you might also accidentally have bought a "special" variant of your fragrance.
- It's old. Was it on sale or at a discount department store? This could very well be your problem. Perfume ages, more so if it's sitting out for a long time, and "deals" on a scent often just mean that a store had to get rid of it. This sometimes happens when you're paying full price, too, so if you suspect the bottle is past its prime, don't hesitate to make a return.
- It's damaged. This is another instance in which you should always return. If it smells funky and you suspect that it was previously opened or fooled with, take it right back.
- It's counterfeit. This is, unfortunately, very common with "bargain" sites and stores, even at some off-price retailers. If you're certain you've landed a fake bottle, file a complaint with the Bureau of Consumer Protection, and return the stuff immediately if you can, alerting the store management (politely, because they probably had nothing to do with it) to the fact that they may be stocking fakes.
- It's from a bad batch. Just as some cars are lemons, some batches of perfume just don't come out right. Most companies employ rigorous testing, but it still happens once in a while. If you bought straight from the brand's site or a department store and it smells off, definitely return it and let them know. The store will probably be grateful for the heads-up.
Source: Flickr User lilszeto