How to Tell if Your Perfume Is the Real Deal

Fake fragrances won't last as long, and they might cause allergies.

With the growing market for men’s perfume comes knockoffs. While imitation scents are cheaper, they usually leave much to be desired when it comes to quality. So how can you determine if your perfume is a dud or the real deal?

“Luxury is in the details, and this is reflected in the fragrances, from the box to the bottle,” advises Kimi Abapo, brand manager of Luxasia Philippines, the exclusive Philippine distributor of premium fragrances such as Jimmy Choo Man Ice. Her first tip: Look at the logo. It will usually be embossed on the box and possess vibrant details. “On the box of Jimmy Choo Man Ice, in particular, you can see that the silver border shines in the light. The texture of the box is also inspired by the crocodile skin of Jimmy Choo leather bags, so any box that would be flat to the touch or dull in color would be counterfeit,” she says. Next, smell, inspect, scrutinize—everything.

Here, more tips from the perfume pros.

How do you spot a fake fragrance just by looking at it?

The logo would definitely be a giveaway. Logos of the fashion brands should not differ from the ones on the fragrances as they are of the same fashion house. From afar, you can already determine the authenticity of the product based on the logo. Correct spelling and font, proper layout and spacing, and standard colors are used. For example for Bulgari, the U would be spelled with a V as it is an Italian brand. 


What should you expect from an original perfume’s packaging?

Boxes would definitely use high-quality materials, and you can feel it just by touching the box. Once you open the box, most luxury brands would make sure that the bottles are nestled snugly inside— if there are no proper partitions inside the box following the shape of the bottle, then the product is definitely fake. Original bottles again have higher quality. You will see this in the color of the bottle, the lacquer, the weight of the glass, and even the cap. Most luxury brands have details on the caps—Jimmy Choo Man Ice has the crocodile skin leather detail on the cap.

How much is the average price for real perfumes? 

Big bottles (between 65ml to 125ml) would range from P4,500 to P7,500 in the Philippines. The average suggested retail price (SRP) of an original 100ml bottle is P5,000 when bought from legitimate channels such as department stores and brand boutiques. There are definitely unauthorized distributors such as those found in small malls, bazaars, or even online. These can carry a mix of fake and authentic perfumes (the authentic perfumes are generally bought abroad and smuggled here). For customers that are not fully knowledgeable about distinguishing fake scents, sellers give them the counterfeit versions. These imitations allow prices to be lowered to even more than half of the SRP of authentic fragrances. But, as a general rule, anything lower than P1,500 for a big bottle would most likely be fake.

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There are knockoffs that can really pass off for the original in terms of looks. What should we look out for? 

Some manufacturers of counterfeit fragrances are able to recycle the boxes and bottles of the original ones, so it is the scent that will determine its authenticity. Avid customers of the fragrances would know immediately when the scent is fake since the notes are different. When the counterfeit imitates an authentic scent, it will be a diluted version as there is less concentration of essential oils, which means it will not last as long as authentic fragrances.

How long do fake scents last compared to original ones? 

Assuming the fragrance is properly stored and used and the user has normal skin acidity, eau de toilette generally lasts up to four hours and eau de parfum lasts up to six hours. Fakes that can mimic the scent would be made of more alcohol or water, in which case it will only last an hour or so. 


An authentic Jimmy Choo Man Ice is housed in a high-quality box with croc skin details—just like a Jimmy Choo bag. The third iteration of Jimmy Choo Man smells like a mix of lemons and orange with a musky undertone.

Can fake scents be dangerous? 

It is possible for counterfeit fragrances to cause allergic reactions since these are not made of high-quality materials and ingredients. There is also no assurance about the environment in which they are made, as opposed to authentic luxury fragrances that are manufactured by certified perfumers and companies that follow stringent quality protocols. Standard packaging would indicate where the products are from. For example, Jimmy Choo Man Ice is manufactured in France by Interparfums. Thus, customers are advised to look for these indications on the packaging as well as distributor stickers that also show manufacturing and expiration dates.

One more tip?

Customers should buy from legitimate sellers (usually department stores and boutiques) to ensure the products’ authenticity. Official retailers provide quality customer service. They have trained staff that can talk about the products and provide testers for trial. Illegitimate sellers do not have clear policies on return or exchange and complaints, so if anything happens, the seller will not be liable.


Jimmy Choo Man Ice (P5,098 for 100ml) is at Rustan’s, SM, Landmark, Robinson’s Malls, and the Jimmy Choo boutique, Shangri-la Plaza Mall

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