February 18, 2022 3 min read


If you’re an experienced perfume owner, then you’ll be aware of the reduced potency of your perfume or cologne over time. You may have even noticed that it’s suddenly started to smell a little “off.”

Well, the bad news is that that - yes, fragrances can go bad, and they do have an expiration date. However, there are ways to figure out the state of your perfume as well as ways to store your fragrance so that you can keep it in operating conditions for as long as possible. 

In today’s blog, we’ll be covering the fundamentals of perfume and cologne lifespans, how to tell if your fragrance has gone bad, and how to store your perfumes to ensure a longer life. 

How & Why Perfume Expires 


So, to answer the question you, no doubt, typed into Google - yes, perfume and cologne can go bad. However, it should be said that the lifespan of a perfume depends heavily on the chemical makeup of the scent. 

In many cases, a fragrance won’t have a definite expiration date, which is why you won’t see any expiration dates mentioned on the bottle beyond a batch code or POA (Period After Opening). However, some fragrances can start to decay as soon as one year after being bottled. In other cases, perfumes can last up to ten years after being bottled. 

Generally speaking, though, the average lifespan you can expect from perfume or cologne is around the three-to-five-year mark. 

Which Perfumes Last Longer? 

It’s commonly believed that perfumes with heavier base notes will typically last longer than average. This makes sense because the base note is the part of the fragrance that lasts the longest on the skin and is usually a fairly rich component in itself, with ingredients like amber and oak being good examples. 

In contrast, perfumes with a stronger emphasis on floral or citrus scents will have a shorter shelf life, as these typically tend toward top notes, which are designed to last only a relatively brief time. 

How to Tell if Your Perfume is Expired

The most obvious method to check if your perfume has gone off is to smell the perfume itself. Decaying perfumes will typically lose their aromatic luster and may even change in smell over time. Having a sniff of the bottle is easily the most efficient way to figure out if it’s gone bad. If the fragrance has a hint of vinegar to it, it’s probably past the point of no return. 

Another way to tell is to look at the color of the perfume itself. Usually, an expired fragrance will darken in color as the alcohol in the bottle dissipates, leaving a darker, more concentrated substance behind. 

Storing Perfume

For many perfumes, storage is vital to keep them alive for as long as possible. 

It is crucial to keep your fragrances away from areas where there are large fluctuations between hot and cold temperatures. So, while it's common to store perfumes in the bathroom, it's arguably one of the worst spots to store them when you have a shower. 

Keeping your perfumes away from direct sunlight is crucial as well, which can heat your perfume and cause the chemical structure of the fragrance to break down completely. Conversely, storing your perfume in a cold zone can be detrimental, as the fluctuation from cold to tepid temperatures can damage the perfume further. 

Instead, we’d heavily advise keeping your perfume in a stable, relatively cool, and dry space that keeps its exposure to sunlight and air at a minimum. If you have the original container or packaging, then try to keep the fragrance in there in between uses. 

That’s it for today’s blog, be sure to check back in the week as we delve deeper into the exciting world of luxury barrel-aged scents for the home and personal use.