But what I have discovered of late is that there is another kind of 'offness' - where the perfume has undergone a sufficiently marked metamorphosis to not be remotely classifiable as itself anymore, while not necessarily smelling disgusting. A mild example of this phenomenon was my bottle of Diptyque Eau Duelle that I sold through a Facebook group only to have the buyer promptly ask for their money back. This was because the fragrance - like small children who will only eat pudding - had completely lost its top notes and gone straight to the base, which I would characterise as an 'Om-like', vestigial vanilla hum. Can you tell I do yoga now? ;) Albeit not the kind with chanting. This latest incarnation of Eau Duelle isn't unpleasant, but there is no light and shade and no development, that's for sure. It is indistinct and vague, like the olfactory equivalent of a smudged watercolour, and reminds me of the 'comfy jogging bottoms' stage of Penhaligon's Tralala (© Tara). So my Eau Duelle no longer qualifies as itself, but to my mind it has a pretty strong kinship with how it should be, as in being its own drydown at least.
So there was that, and then I encountered the very strange beast that is Le Labo's Labdanum 18, some 7 years after my bottle was first compounded - just for me! - not long after this event, which I wrote up in my then guest blogging capacity for Cafleurebon. Eyeballing that label, I see that the Best Before date (which is what I take 'Fresh until' to mean), was only a year after I got it. A year? The very how very dare they idea! Do they imagine I will bathe in it, like asses' milk? I have no idea when exactly Labdanum 18 went all funny on me, but I swear it can only have been in the last couple of years, so in hindsight the 'Fresh until' warning was breathtakingly conservative.
|So feeble and thin now that it has taken to bed|
And how does Labdanum 18 smell now? Hmm, well the opening is a thin, reedy and resinous vanilla spiked with anise, and as the scent wears on, it cycles through every nuance of liquorice in a box of Eponymous Allsorts. A note to which I am far from partial, so I was most taken aback by this unexpected mutation. The scent is not horrible by any means, and I have liberally anointed myself with it out of sheer astonishment quite a few times in the past week, but this version is a far cry from the rich, warm and enveloping barnyard vanilla of Labdanum 18 in its prime.
I would therefore have to concede that my Le Labo has well and truly turned, but NOT in our horrible alcohol-y way mentioned at the top of the post. This is almost a different perfume entirely, though I can detect the wan connection with balsamic vanilla. So in summary it has definitely gone, but gone out with a peculiar whimper, not a whiffy bang. Howver, it is so weak and so 'other' that I may have to subtract a few digits off it though, and recast it as Labdanum 6.25. They haven't got one of those in the line, I don't think.
Have you had any perfumes turn in ways that surprised you?