Here you need no more than a few basic watch points, augmented by common sense.

Firstly, remember my food metaphor: use itup! Don’t leave it in the wardrobe for high days and holidays that never come. Would you do that with the lobster mayonnaise? Enjoy it while it’s fresh and at its best, and while you love it. Your taste will change slowly but continuously so once you have picked the perfect perfume, wear it. Then choose again.

Keep all fragrance away from light and heat, period. Artificial light is less harmful than sunlight but it still doesn’t improve the product. Avoid storage in rooms that fluctuate in temperature – the bathroom, maybe.

Retain the bottle in its box, in a drawer of cupboard, out of the light and in a constant lowish temperature. Don’t immediately chuck out the packaging: it has been thoughtfully designed for a good reason. In my experience, it is the light more than heat that’s the real killer: and the fresher, crisper, more delicate the scent the quicker and more ruinous will be the damage. If you intend to build up a collection of fragrances you need to be especially vigilant at keeping them in peak condition.
Incidentally, that is something to watch out for when shopping: remember in these brilliantly lit stores, the testers may not always be as fresh as they might. Another reason to check the product with an experienced sales person.

If you are using splash-on bottle, keep the cap tightly closed when not in use, and make sure your hands are clean before application to avoid contamination of the liquid.

There has been a vogue recently for storing fragrances in the fridge, and very delicious they are too, served chilled on a hot day. This method can work well, but there’s no actual NECESSITY for it, and remember not to have the fridge set too high, which can as it were paralyze the molecules: wine-cooler temperature is perfect.

Despite all these fearful warnings, fragrance has a long life expectancy if you keep to the rules: up to and beyond five years for most perfumes; some will last considerably longer, even decades, and will actually improve with keeping as natural oils macerate. As with all other areas of perfume collecting, let experience and experimentation be your guide.

Written by James Craven, LES SENTEURS’s nationally quoted fragrance archivist and expert chronicler of all things culturally fragrant, lends his invaluable service to the business as it continues to guide customers through its unparalleled collection of fine fragrance and scented accessories. Please visit Les Senteurs here: