I find the aging of perfume quite interesting.
I have quite a few samples of perfumes that have been stored in various boxes for a number of years now. This weekend I dug out a sample of Montale's Black Oud. There was just enough left in the vial to smear on my wrist and what struck me was how much this sample has changed in the four years I've had it. I used to find Black Oud a too-powerful perfume that simply didn't develop on my skin. Once the medicinal top notes faded, all that was left was a very strong oud-rose combination that lasted for hours and hours, with very little change. When I tried it this weekend, the medicinal top notes had gone. I expect it is the age of the sample and the fact that a vial is probably not the best storage medium for a perfume. Instead, Black Oud presented itself in a much more mellow way. For the first time I detected the more woody base notes and patchouli, with the rose (which I used to find a bit shrill) very much a bit player. It's a shame I've finished the sample because it smelt amazing.
As I write this though, I can't help but feel a nagging doubt, that informs me that perhaps it isn't the perfume that has changed much, but rather it is I who has changed. Perhaps my nose is more sophisticated and developed than it was four years ago. Perhaps this time round I was just in a more perceptive mood. Perhaps my skin chemistry is different. Perhaps I have now been exposed to so many more perfumes, styles and in particular, scores of oud and rose combinations, that I can appreciate this more.
The fact is, who really knows. What I do know is that the perfume definitely smelt different to me and I am fairly convinced that the top notes had gone.
This is not the only perfume I have experienced such a changed perception with. It's happened with quite a few perfumes where I have samples from about four years ago. Another case in point is Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier's Route de Vetiver, where for some reason the vetiver smells tamer somehow and the fruity top notes more pronounced. In this case I am more inclined to think that this is a change in my ability to detect notes, but I can't be sure.
Are there any perfumes you can think of where over time you have noticed a substantial change (and I'm not talking about reformulations here)?