Gone To Pieces – The Hopefully Impermanent Drama Of Frapin 1697

I am devastated. Everybody who reads this blog regularly knows that I am very, very taken with a perfume I found this winter – Frapin 1697 by Bertrand Duchaufour.

I hadn’t worn it for a while since the weather got warmer, but recently I longed for its boozy embrace, but when I sprayed it I was in for a nasty surprise.

Frapin 1697 totally disintegrated on me, it fell into vaguely unpleasant pieces and so did I.

Has the perfume gone off? Is it the heat? I had never experienced such a temperature-related difference before. I wrote to my best friend in blogging and fellow Frapin admirer Dee and lo and behold – her experience was exactly the same as mine!

We both stored the bottle in its original box in a cool closet, we did nothing wrong…

I am resolved to wait until fall and hope to get my beloved Frapin back when the temperatures are cooler. Now I see Victoria’s review that I didn’t understand at all at first, in a new light. If her experience with Frapin 1697 was anything like mine a few days ago, she couldn’t have written anything else.

What about you? Has anyone else had a similar occurrence with Frapin 1697 or another perfume? How are my chances that the perfume returns to “normal” in the colder season?

I am hoping for your input!

Update: According to perfumer Bertrand Duchaufour, the “falling apart” of Frapin 1697 is unfortunately not only my experience. He blames the somewhat unstable batch of davana essential oil used in the first version (absolue de Parfum) of 1697. The EdP version available now should no longer have this problem.

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49 Responses to Gone To Pieces – The Hopefully Impermanent Drama Of Frapin 1697

  1. deeHowe says:

    I really hope that someone will chime in with good news for us, because I am currently still horrified; the idea that it may have actually gone off is still forefront in my mind, because, as you say, I’ve never met a perfume that changed so dramatically under varying weather conditions.

    There is a tiny flicker of hope, nonetheless, that 1697 is NOT as fragile as it currently seems, and will return to my favorite cosily intoxicating feel-good scent in the fall… fingers crossed!!

  2. Sandra says:

    So sorry to hear about your experience. I am only using it on the cool nights and it is just as delicious. I hope you will love it again in the fall.

  3. I’ve smelt this only on paper..The beginning seemed wonderfully boozy and rich , but after that it didn’t smell like much..I remember another perfumista who was also in the store and she said the drydown reminded her of chewing gum or something (I forget the exact comparison- sorry)..I live in Southern California- which is pretty warm so maybe that (temperature) is indeed the explanation..*crossing my fingers for you and dee*..
    I am not too surprised by the temperature related differences, though- I find perfumes smell different in different temperatures, even different during different times of the month and on different parts of my arm…:) Try spraying it on somebody else (like the patient husband) and see if it smells off? Sometimes it is easier to judge fragrances on others..good luck!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      The “patient” husband is chuffed you call him so, but his patience does not extend to actually letting me spray him with perfume. :)
      My other winter scents are not as fragile, I never experienced such a difference, not only is it smelling different, but it smells totally off, destroyed somehow.
      Thank you for your words of encouragement!

  4. taratamarisk says:

    Nooooo!!! What a horror! I know this perfume has an extra special place in your heart so this is shocking news. I unfortunately got the same disappointing reaction as Victoria, what with the sour fruit. I still wonder if it’s just me disliking davana but now, who knows? I’m pretty sure I tested it in warm weather so I’ll now keep my sample and test again in the autumn.

    All I can say is I’m sure it has not gone off in such a short period of time and stored in perfect conditions, so I am positive it will return to the scent you adore in cooler weather. What an agonising wait for you, though. Please report back when all is well, I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  5. Ines says:

    Hmm, I only tried the sample you sent and it seemed fine in the beginning, but unfortunately my attention was somewhere else so I didn’t follow through.
    Though, I did think that it’s a good thing I didn’t buy a bottle as I didn’t fall in love, it felt a bit watered? perhaps. I’ll go try it again now.

  6. So sorry for this experience… I have never had a 180 on a perfume. Temperature sure plays a big part but that big….?

    I have never smelled this one but I have tried all the others from this house and to tell you the truth I have always thought that although they have a “rich”, as in “this must be expensive” vibe, they are a bit too fruity for my tastes.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I was wondering too, that seems to be too big a change for just temperature to be the cause…
      The other Frapins are not really my cup of tea either, 1270 and Caravelle Epicée are nice, but 1697 was an enterily different league in my opinion.

  7. angie Cox says:

    Get better kisses for that heart . I can imagine if my beloved and hard to find Mystere had done this mine would be in a 1000 fragments.

  8. Marla says:

    I immediately tried mine, and it’s fine. But I have a small bottle made by the perfumer, and I think it may not be the final version of the perfume. So it’s got differences, perhaps. During my move to the tropics, it was exposed to heat and air and who knows what else (falling coconuts??), but stayed the same. It seems like something may have happened between perfumer’s recipe and mass production of bottles?? I know some naturals can change radically over a few months, some for good and some for ill. You should definitely contact BD and Frapin to let them know, since you’re certainly not the only one it happened to….

    • Olfactoria says:

      I was hoping to hear from you, Marla!
      So yours is okay – good news, but it is not the same batch – bad news.
      I will think about contacting them.

      • Marla says:

        You know, this perfume seems to have been cursed, doesn’t it? Legal problems, sourcing problems, endless delays, now a possible formula breakdown, ACK! Please do contact them–you have an excellent nose and can tell them how it’s changed, and you can send them a decant from your bottle. I’d be really curious what they say. I re-read Victoria’s review (another sensitive and talented perfumista) and it was like reading about a completely different perfume. Hey, it’s for perfumery science, we need to know right? As an example, I put together a perfume today based on Indian shamama attars that was composed by a friend, it needs at least 3 months to “fall into place” he says. They really can change over time. I make a yummy bay rum cologne (learned how when I lived in the Virgin Islands), but it must be kept cool and used up in a couple of months or it turns into total gherkin juice, yuck!

        • Olfactoria says:

          I was thinking the same thing! The perfume’s history seems unlucky indeed! I was thinking mybe it didn’t have enough time to settle and mature, but then again the postponed launch speaks against that, doesn’t it? It was no rush job…
          I will write to Frapin, you are right it is for perfumery science after all and I don’t want my beloved perfume to be gherkin juice. ;)

  9. lady jane grey says:

    Sounds scary !!! In fact, after using up my sample of 1697 I put it on the list “forwarded” to my husband (lil’ones write to Santa – I do so to my husband… – a sort of “just in case you’re near to a perfume shop and thinking of me…” list). Clearly, there are some scents out there they show quite a different on hot days (i.e. Dzonghka, or Vetiver Sacre on me) – but they’re just different, putting the accent on other notes, than they do in winter and I’ve never had that disintegrating feeling yet.
    I really hope it’s just temporary – I knew how you felt for 1697, and I fully understood that feeling.
    Keep me infomed about the development, please.

    (p.s. BTW, I ran amok at Esbjerg today, with Penhaligon’s minis… – but after all, I think I made a good deal. Or at least I comfort/excuse myself with the thought…)

    • Olfactoria says:

      I will sure keep you up to date, I would be very cautious buying it now. :(

      Good for you, do you know I have never been at Esbjerg, always want to and always forget…
      Did you buy Orange Blossom too by any chance? I love it these days, sadly my sample is almost gone, I have put it on my Christmas list.

  10. Lyubov says:

    Oh, sounds critically appalling!
    I have the same experience with Eau des Merveilles but in winter! It gives me discomfort and annoying feeling in the cold. In summer it is simultaneously refreshing and stylish. That’s why it’s my strictly “hot-days” spray!
    Don’t give up this Frapin! Leave it for the cold!

  11. Suzanne says:

    I’m testing mine (I have a decant from TPC, not a full bottle) and, very happily, I can say it smells the same to me. So sorry to hear that you are not having the same luck. If you suspect it really has turned, I would agree with Marla: write to the company. It’s one spendy perfume, so I wouldn’t hesitate to write to them if I were you.

  12. Vanessa says:

    I am not familiar with this scent but had just this experience with MDCI Rose de Siwa. Its inexplicable mutation after an interval between wearings prompted a similarly anguished response – at a time like this you feel so alone because the goalposts appear to have moved, and you can’t remember what they were in the first place, and you are not sure you know anyone who does!

    Love the illustration too…It’s an ill wind!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I am so glad Dee had the same experience, since it shows that I am not crazy, but it worries me that the perfume might really be “kaputt”.
      Did your Rose de Siwa get back to its initial state or was the mutation permanent?

  13. Tara says:

    Hmmm, after reading all the comments I am starting to worry that it is an issue with the formula too. I think you’re right to contact the company. Your nose it second to none so it’s looking like there is more to this than different weather conditions. Hope you get a quick/helpful response.

  14. annemariec says:

    I wonder how often this has happened to us in reverse and we have not realised: we have smelled a fragrance out of its ideal season or conditions and it has not made sense, and so we pass on.

    And then there are the fragrances other people can smell but which we cannot, for some reason. I can hardly smell Tauer’s Vetiver Dance and Reverie au Jardin, but I’m desperately hoping that in warmer weather – or something – they may come together for me.

    But in this case of the Frapin it sounds like a formula problem. I’m really sorry this has happened. All the best.

  15. :(
    I haven’t had any perfumes “turn” other than Annick Goutal which I have read doesn’t haven’t the longest shelf life (or didn’t, hasn’t that been resolved?)

    I’m hoping this is just an “off” scent for warm weather and not something else.

  16. JoanElaine says:

    Oh no! I really hope that was a “one-off” experience,
    I had a similar experience, but with jewelery. I had bought a few pairs of Ayala Bar earrings and during the summer, despite being stored properly, the beads and findings just slid off the surfaces. The earrings I wore to my wedding were in pieces.
    I was heartbroken – just like you are now. Hopefully, you won’t be for long. I hope your next spritz will be the Frapin you know and love.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh, Joanne, I am sorry to hear about your jewelery! Was it possible to repair it? I will try 1697 tonight, it is really cold outside, so maybe I am lucky. If not I’ll write to the Frapin folks.

  17. Elisa says:

    I had the opposite experience with Private Collection Tuberose Gardenia — ordered a decant in the winter, tried it then and didn’t like it at all. (I didn’t order unsniffed, but had only tried it in stores previously.) The gardenia note kind of flipped my stomach. Didn’t touch it again for several months, and in the heat of summer, it’s simply wonderful. I hope you get the scent you remember back in a season or two!

  18. Jan says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that! I understand your sadness because it is one of my favourite scents too. Mine seems to be fine however. Do you think there are different batches, being it such a limited number of released bottles?

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Jan, I am glad yours is fine. I don’t know whether there are more than one batches, Marla has a slightly different, earlier version directly from the perfumer. Meanwhile I have tried it again in the unseasonally cold weather we had last week, and it was back to normal. It must be really sensitive to temperature changes, or else maybe my nose went crazy! ;) Anyway, I am relieved the formula does not seem to have totally broken down.

      • Undina says:

        Was it completely back to normal or are you doubting yourself and trying to persuade (again, yourself) that it is back?

        • Olfactoria says:

          I am very wary to make any definite pronouncements now, but I don’t doubt myself about the fact that it smelled totally off, was “fractured” somehow and smelled actually bad on me. The other day it was back to normal, but I am not yet sure whether it will remain like that. I know what I smelled, I am not sure why that is though.

          • Marla says:

            You know…each time I became pregnant, the very first sign was that I smelled certain things in a completely different manner. Anything with coffee, fish, or alcohol smelled utterly repulsive to me…uh oh!!

          • Olfactoria says:

            Nooooo, impossible! I am quite done. :)

  19. Jan says:

    Hm, I wouldn’t want to start rumours here, and far from my intentions to doubt the genius of Mr Duchaufour, but do you think that maybe this possible formula “weakness” may have something to do with the delayed release of the Mon Numéro collection (three of those have even been delayed until end of this year!)?

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