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

Yuzu Man – my favourite summer fragrance for 2011

Every year companies spend a fortune releasing summer versions of their top-selling fragrances but you don’t have to blindly follow the pack to Debenhams in search of Joop! ‘Sexy in Pink’ et al. Why not opt for something like Yuzu Man – the new fragrance from legendary fragrance house Caron?

Fresh, sparkling and citrussy (but not in a traditional way) it’s originality stems from the use of a note derived from the Japanese yuzu fruit, which is a bit like grapefruit or orange but different from either. There’s also a sweet hint of fig and a clean, crisp lemon grass note in there too making it absolutely for perfect for summer – should we actually have one.

Yuzu Man is available from Harrods, Les Senteurs and selected perfumeries priced £59.50 for 125ml eau de toilette.