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A friend told me that it is better to buy perfumes and/or cologne in Europe as opposed to the United States.

Her reasoning is that perfume/cologne that is sold in the US is water-based and contains more alcohol (by mandate) while a fragrance's European counterpart would be oil-based; producing richer scents that stay with your skin for a longer period of time. Her advice is to purchase from a duty free shop before heading back into the United States or at an EU department store.

For example and clarity: If I was to buy Terre d'Hermès at Saks Fifth Avenue in NYC does that bottle have the same formula and ingredients as Terre d'Hermès sold at Liberty in London?

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about perfume and its potential variation based on geography. While the answer might influence if you buy perfume while traveling, it isn't about travel per se. –  Kris Dec 28 '13 at 21:33
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This question appears to be on-topic because most people buy stuff to bring home, especially stuff not obtainable at home. All travel guides include this kind of information. –  hippietrail Dec 29 '13 at 3:06
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@Karlson: I challenge you to put your reputation where your mouth is and post the question on the chemistry site without changint it to a different question. I am sure it will be closed. It seems clear to me that, at least after editing, the OP is asking if they can get "genuine" versions of name-brand perfumes in Europe that are not available in the US. Where "genuine" means the original formula containing volatile oils that seem to have been banned by government mandate in the US and replaced with a water base. –  hippietrail Dec 29 '13 at 6:20
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The Guinness and tequila comparison is right on track. That is what I am trying to get to the bottom of: are fragrance producers required to change aspects of their products ingredients based on where it will be sold? The question is tagged "duty-free" because that is where many people shop for fragrances when traveling. –  Quinsak Dec 29 '13 at 15:03
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@happybuddha But that's not really what the question is about. At the very least, it would be interesting to know if products sold under one name by major brands are typically identical in the US and Europe or not. If not, there could be some consensus among experts about the merits of different solvent/formulations/whatever or maybe some general rule of thumbs that are not entirely subjective. OTOH, if all this really is entirely subjective and down to the individual brand and personal preferences with no general rule then knowing that is a valuable answer. Either way, it's a valid question. –  Relaxed Dec 29 '13 at 18:55

1 Answer 1

Ok. Let's forget for the moment that we don't know if we are comparing EDT to EDP to Parfum itself, but let's assume that we are actually comparing Apples to Apples.

Speficically when it comes to Terre d'Hermes it has been reformulated due to restrictions imposed by IFRA on ISO E Super. So if you bought it before the restriction and after you will definitely be buying a chemically different product.

There is no indication that there is an en masse difference between perfume products sold in Europe and the US.

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