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Reverse Engineered/Generic Perfume

Facts about Reverse-Engineered/Generic Perfume

Reverse engineering may be a new or foreign-sounding term, but you’re probably quite familiar with the word “generic”, particularly in reference to medicines (mainly those that are only dispensed if prescribed by a medical doctor).

In latter day South Africa, government legislation and medical aid societies strongly encourage the use of generic medicines in preference to the original branded formulation, which would have been approved for medical treatment purposes by the relevant authorities in the drugs’ countries of origin and the South African Medicines Control Council.


Generic drugs and other products are said to be exact copies of the original branded medicine/product and also have the same effects, but are much cheaper, because the research, development, testing, and primary approval process does not apply, since this has already been conducted by the original brand owner. The two terms – reverse engineered and generic – are closely allied, but the meanings are somewhat different.

Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is similar to, but the opposite of developing a new formulation. It’s often the method used to produce copies of well-known, popular branded medicines and perfumes. According to Google, reverse engineering is “the reproduction of another manufacturer’s product following detailed examination of its construction or composition”.

Working Backwards

This is also the method used to determine the formulation to be used in generic products, such as perfumes, for their subsequent production. In other words, generic formulae are obtained by working backwards to identify and analyse the original perfume’s components, instead of beginning with the idea of a new fragrance and going through all the steps, tests, and trials to develop a new fragrance from scratch.

Producing a reverse-engineered perfume is generally far cheaper than the original process, particularly because modern science, technology, and methods, such as gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, are used to identify the branded formulation’s largely natural, more costly ingredients.

Inferior Quality

Expensive, original branded fragrances are usually composed of top-quality organic or natural ingredients in optimal strengths or proportions. This is, however, not always the case. Sometimes, these perfumes are more expensive purely for the fact that they need to cover their exorbitant marketing and packaging costs. The more affordable generic perfumes often consist of synthetic ingredients or natural components that are of comparative inferior quality or strength – possibly even “cheap and nasty” and a waste of good money, despite selling for much less.

Synthetic ingredients are used to keep costs low and are, for example, used in products like washing detergents and toilet sprays. Generic fragrances can, however, be created using synthetic or natural ingredients, or a combination of both. The more natural ingredients there are in the perfume, the more expensive it will be. But, you should always test the perfume, as an all-natural perfume does not necessarily guarantee longevity! All generic perfumes are also not equal. Even if they are inspired by the same original fragrance and contain the same ingredients, they will not result in the same perfume. This is true for how they smell, as well as how long the fragrance lasts.

Poor Reputation

Poor quality perfume ingredients create an inferior fragrance, which in turn, creates a poor reputation for many generic, reverse-engineered perfumes, and a negative public perception of generic scents. Although it is not easy to change people’s perceptions, not all affordable reverse-engineered fragrances are in any way poor in quality, strength, performance, and staying power – not if you trust in and rely on a generic manufacturer that is passionate and obsessed about perfume quality.

Passionate about Perfume, Obsessed about Quality

Papillon prides itself on the top-quality, mainly natural ingredients that are used in all the fragrances that we produce. We only source the best ingredients and compounds, from the best international laboratories who conduct the best analyses and fragrance comparisons currently available in the perfume industry.

At Papillon, our reverse-engineered, generic fragrances are inspired by well-known original branded perfumes, without being “wannabe” cheap copies. Each one of our 69 perfumes is an enduring, inspired perfume of top-quality at a remarkable affordable price, because Papillon is obsessed about quality, passionate about perfume, and determined to keep costs affordable.


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