Short-Lived Fragrances Aren’t A Bad Thing

Many fragrances of times gone by were short-lived.

It’s said that they were made like that, in order that wearers could change perfumes depending on occasion and time of day. Somewhat like we might change our outfits throughout the day.
Since perfume was largely limited to the wealthy in those days, it makes sense that this would be so.

These days, I find that many people are obsessed with finding fragrances that have monster longevity.
And, if it’s got less than 8 hours performance, the scent is denounced as being an underperforming piece of rubbish.
I do appreciate performance monsters, especially when they’re a scent to die for.
However, sometimes a high longevity is a double-edged sword.
Ever skin tested something and hated it? Then, you’ve gone to scrub it off and it simply won’t leave your skin?
It’s always the way with the ones you intensely dislike.

The first scent I ever reviewed, Moschino Toy Boy, was one of these.
It taught me that synthetic clove is the most offensive thing to my nose, and it taught me that because Toy Boy is a synthetic clove bomb.
Unfortunately for me, that fragrance would not scrub off. And it’s quite the performance monster.
Every time it wafted up to my nose, I got anything between repulsion to mild nausea from it.
Safe to say, it ruined my day.

I like the ability to change scents during the day, too.
It’s fun to layer a new scent upon the base of the last one; it can pose an interesting creative challenge, and sometimes a lovely new creation is discovered.
I find the Penhaligon’s range to be quite good for this; many of their fragrances last 4 to 6 hours. And they tend to layer well with each other. Though, at their price points, buying bottles of each isn’t really advisable.
To illustrate with a scent I do own, I’ll use Mr. Burberry, a Francis Kurkdjian creation. I love wearing that on a warm day, but I don’t see it as an evening scent. Nor do I see it as a dress up scent.
So, being able to wear that to work and change into a different scent with my evening outfit works well for me.

Burberry Mr Burberry EDP

There’s a definite notion of value associated between the price of a fragrance and its longevity, I’ve noticed.
I do understand that, being a uni student. Us people want to get the most for our money.
But I also think that the quest for longevity should be a bit more tempered by the quality of the actual smell of a fragrance, as opposed to longevity alone.

Case in point, Malik al Taif by Areej le Dore and Britannia by Roja Dove. Both are prohibitively expensive perfumes, and both last a maximum of 6 hours on my skin on a good day.
But they’re both damn heavenly scents, and I think they’re worth the price.
On a less expensive tier, Penhaligon’s Endymion echoes a similar sentiment in my mind. It’s a lovely scent, with only 4 to 6 hours worth of performance. But it’s a lovely part of the day, wearing it.
We also have a popular cheaper example in Dolce & Gabbana’s The One. It’s gone within 4 hours, always, and in both EDT and EDP concentrations. Yet, it’s still very popular because it smells damn good.

And it’s not such a bad thing to be able to change your scent without requiring a shower.
Only got a short time between getting home from work and going out to dinner, but don’t have time to shower? If you don’t want to wear your office scent to dinner, you’d best hope it’s not in the high longevity camp!

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With content features ranging from appearances on popular menswear hubs (The Rake, StyleForum, Put This On) to French perfume newsletters and university course readings, Sam is a writer, designer and enthusiast in the fields of menswear and fragrance.

3 thoughts on “Short-Lived Fragrances Aren’t A Bad Thing

  1. Hey Sam,
    Yeah. I’m a three fragrance a day person. Wake up, Afternoon and Bed. My preference is for maximum 7 hours fragrant.
    Having said that, there are times when I need a scent to last the distance on a hectic day and take me through different adventures with aplomb. There are a couple of them in the frag wardrobe too.
    Portia x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not quite at 3 a day, yet… just the two for me, most days.
      I agree it’s certainly handy to have a couple of all-day frags, bonus points if they evolve a lot as the day wears on. I usually wear mine when I’m working all day or headed out of town for the day.


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