Fragrance Reformulation: The End Of the Greats

Many perfume lovers seek out vintage fragrances because too often their favorite scent has been reformulated.  Sadly the reformulated version will pale in comparison to the original. 

The big question is:  Why do the perfume houses reformulate popular fragrances?  

There are a couple of reasons why a perfume house will reformulate a beloved scent.  The number one reason is the ban on ingredients and oils by the IFRA.  There is a growing list of ingredients and oils that have been used in perfumes for years that are now flagged by the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) as allergens, therefore causing them to be banned.  In compliance with this ban, perfume houses will substitute the ingredient for a similar ingredient or remove it all together.  The difference in smell can be subtle but often it is not.  


With the threatening ban of the oak moss and tree moss ingredients (used in many popular fragrance) many perfume greats such as Chanel No. 5 & Chanel No. 19 are in jeopardy.  As the list of banned ingredients grows, there is no telling what other greats will become endangered.  


Vintage Chanel No 5 Extrait

Vintage Chanel No 5 Extrait


Vintage Chanel No 19 Parfum

Vintage Chanel No 19 Parfum


Another reason for reformulating is cutting the cost.  When a large company acquires a smaller company the goal is usually to trim the cost.  This is done by watering down the ingredients or substituting ingredients with cheaper synthetic ones.  Sure this saves a few dollars but the beauty of the fragrance is lost.  

Lastly a reason to reformulate is an attempt to stay current in an ever changing market.  This means going along with the changing trends instead of sticking with what is classic and timeless.  

Whatever the reason is, this change can be devastating to perfume lovers.  Unless you have the great fortune of finding a vintage, pre-reformulated version of your favorite fragrance (that is where I step in) you may just find yourself settling for the synthetic, watered down version of a former great. 


Has your favorite scent undergone a reformulation?  Which one?  When did you notice?  I'd love to hear about it.

  • January 01, 2016
  • Rachal Prince