Ask The Guru: what’s the best way to look after fragrance?

Two of the questions I’m often asked about fragrance are: “how do I look after it’ and “how long will it last”. And with economic times more trying than ever, looking after your investment has never been more relevant. So I asked James Craven, Perfume Archivist at Les Senteurs in Belgravia so his advice.

“The answer to the first question is very simple,” he says. “Keep the fragrance in the original packaging, and keep that box in a cupboard or drawer out of the light and at a constant cool temperature. Stored like this, perfume will last for years. But there again, don’t save it for those ‘special occasions’ which so rarely come – use it up, enjoy it and buy another bottle.”

And the answer to the second question? “If stored correctly (as above) a fragrance will last for years,’ he says. “Lighter, citrusy and flowery scents tends to decay quicker as their oils are more volatile. Oriental, woody, chypre scents mature and macerate with time, possibly even improving.”

He also points out that  scents with atomisers will last better than splash-ons. “The latter are more vulnerable, on account of removing the stopper inevitably admits air and dust and corruption – if the stopper is used in the traditional manner to apply scent to the skin there is even further room for contamination.”

He’s quick to point out, though, that fragrance is for wearing not for hiding in cupboards so protect  your purchase, by all means, but only hoard if you have to!

Illustration kindly supplied by Chris Jones. Check out his work at

Grooming Guru Essentials: Geo F Trumper Block of Alum

Like the wheel, the hamburger and the Wonderbra there are some inventions that are a true gift to mankind. The Alum block is one of them. Used by man since Egyptian times as a cure for cuts, nicks and razor burn and popular with traditional barbers for hundreds of years, it’s now something of a grooming curio, having fallen out of favour with the advent of aftershave balms. But believe me, you’ll never have a more useful grooming tool. Moistened with cold water and rubbed on the face after shaving alum acts as a natural antiseptic, calming irritation and redness, and also as a styptic, stopping bleeding and helping heal nicks a cuts. It’s simple, cost-effective and, frankly, pure genius.

To buy Geo F Trumper’s Block of Alum click here

Grooming Guru Essentials are the products I genuinely love and have used as part of my own routine.