Thoughts On The Reformulation Of Silences

Silences has always been the ultimate chypre for lovers of green scents. I own an older formulation of it from back when Jacomo sold it in a grey box, and the bottle had a cap to cover the atomizer. I've also worn the reformulation in the glossy black box where bottle, cap, and atomizer are fused into one piece. Between the two, I prefer the first version. It smells a bit softer and better blended than the stuff being sold right now, although the reformulation is not much different. Both are unmistakably Silences; both formulations are remarkably good.

Now comes news that Jacomo plans on reformulating Silences yet again, only this time there is a major overhaul planned. The new Silences will feature a hint of pear and may contain more overtly floral notes than the original. Reactions to the news have not exactly been welcoming, and some folks seem to think that this will be a flanker, not a reissue of the original. This is untrue: Silences is being reissued, not flanked. The stuff of 2012 will soon be the only Silences one can buy.

There's a question as to why Jacomo would take something that isn't broken and try to fix it. The answer to this is always the same - money talks. Evidently sales of the current formula have been flagging, enough to prompt the company to revalue the Silences brand. Sniffing Silences today, I can see how this would happen. It's a very, very, very green perfume. Not fake postmodern green like Green Irish Tweed and Sung Homme. This is classic, true green, galbanum-infused 1970s chypre leaf green. Bitter, chalky, powdery, with understated floral notes running muted pinks, yellows, and purples under a solid mantle of grey-green. It smells like a spring morning in some botanical garden. It's gorgeous, but a lot to take, and definitely not in sync with today's styles.

I can't say I'm looking forward to smelling fruit notes in Silences, and wonder if pear will ruin the timelessly mature ambiance of the scent. But the idea of amping up the floral notes has appeal. With a defined rose, iris, and narcissus holding the heart and base together, the scent will inevitably smell more feminine, less unisex, and perhaps a bit more sexual, less aloof. This has its good and bad points, but if it smells good to the man on the street, then women will buy it, and Jacomo's bottom line will be happy. In which case, we won't have to worry about another reformulation of Silences for a while.

Let's not panic, and see what happens.


  1. I'm officially upset: I had a plan to buy a bottle of it eventually... Now I feel preassure to do it rather sooner than later.

    I wish somebody tried to launch a class action lawsuit against one of the perfume companies that reformulated perfumes without telling consumers. In general, I do not care if a perfume even gets better: I'm against the idea of not knowing which Miss Dior or Silences I'm buying.

    1. In this instance, consumers are being told ahead of time. Identifying which version you're getting is easy, too - the packaging and bottling is changed in obvious ways with every reformulation of Silences. But it is distressing nonetheless that consistency is constantly under threat in this world. I take it as further evidence that perfumery is not an art form, but rather something much more malleable and commercial. The only reason this ever happens to an older fragrance is that it isn't making enough money, and needs an update. Sad but true.


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