Question pour les "Parfum Mavens"

How long will a good quality parfum or eau de parum last once opened, if stored in a cool, dark place?
All original content property of

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 United States License.

Stay in touch

Sign up to be notified of new posts and updates from une femme d’un certain âge.

Affiliate links in posts may generate commissions for See my complete disclosure policy here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. A long time. Probably years. People get all crazy about “My perfume’s gone off!” but in reality it doesn’t happen all that much if you take care of the juice and keep it tightly closed. It may change color, but that doesn’t mean the smell has changed. Pourquoi?, if you don’t mind my asking.

  2. The perfume bar truism is a year, but that might be like the ‘dry clean only’ tag in a cotton shirt. I’ve had some that have not degraded in another year.

    Better to buy the smallest bottle than a big one.

  3. Just read Style Spy’s comment. Sprays last longer than bottle. If you put your finger on the neck to get to the perfume, eventually the perfume gets dirt and oil in it. (Like my bottle of eye makeup remover than I tip onto my thumb.) I have a few bottles going on 3 yrs but it does not have the character it had in the first year for sure.

    A really good trick: Buy a bottle of “Private Preserve”, an inert gas aerosol sold in wine stores to preserve opened bottles of wine. Decant your perf into a small vial and spray large bottle very gently and quickly with the gas. It lays down a blanket and preserves your big bottle indefinitely. (This is what many of the online sellers of decants do.)

  4. A long time. I’ve had bottles for around 10 years and they are still the same. I keep mine in a drawer where it stays dark. If they still smell the same, keep them.
    Like style spy said, sometimes even the color will change but it still smells the same. I have had bottles of parfums in flacons that you open and close a lot with a stopper that have gone bad sooner but it was only one out of a lot of bottles.

  5. I would say years, depending on how you keep it. The best is out of light and heat. It all comes down to testing it though, if it smells fine, it’s fine. You’ll know when the perfume goes bad, believe me! But I’ve had come Chanel 5 for over 4 years now, but because of how I keep it, it still smells fantastic!

  6. I have 2 spray bottles that are going on 2 years. But they are almost gone. I rotate 3 scents, depending on the season. I did have one scent that I kept for 7 yrs, only because it was discontinued. I was a miser using it only because I knew I couldn’t buy anymore.

  7. Decades, depending on the fragrance. You should bear in mind that some notes ‘hang on’ better than others. Resins, chypres, they get deeper and a little stinkier (but some of us like that!). Musk too. Rose will generally powder down some. If you are lucky it’ll get a little skanky. Anything that used to be ‘sparkling’ or had white flowers may go more soapy or get kind of thin.

    Important to remember that you can’t gauge a frag going off by the top notes necessarily. You’ll lose the top notes first, and they may even smell burned or bitter, but generally that will pass within ten or fifteen minutes and leave the glorious heart and drydown. I lucked into a full bottle of My Sin at a vintage shop, top notes are harsh but within five minutes it turns into this glorious stuff that has folks subtly sniffing the air around me and made my son throw his arms around me and say I smell “nummy!” I also lucked into Caron’s French CanCan via ebay, hasn’t been produced in a looooong time, and it is glorious.

    Light is the enemy. I can turn a bottle of great perfume into garbage in a month with the right windowsill. Perfume bottles on the windowsill (or on a dresser below a window) make me want to cry.

  8. I may not know about the scent, but one thing i do know, is that a good campaign can linger in the air for a long time.

    for one i found myself slowing and stopping in front of the saks window this morning watching the new chanel no. 5 with audrey! it was delicious. i think it’s pared down grandeur (as opposed to nicole’s take) is more fitting for the perfume itself!

  9. Keep them in a cool dark place and they can keep for years.

    * Never buy a bottle that has been sitting on display where there are those hot display lights !
    Makes me so mad when I see shops and department stores do that.
    They know better!