One of the simpler ways to check to make sure your bottle of perfume is the real deal is to reference the serial or lot number (or code) that most–if not all–perfumes bought and sold in North America should have. The location of this code can vary depending upon the manufacturer or fragrance house. Some niche and independent perfumers do not include lot numbers on their fragrances, however, most mainstream perfumes have these codes and it is a good practice as a perfume user to be able to find these codes as an extra precaution against accidentally using or owning a counterfeit.
Checking lot codes for anti-counterfeit purposes is easy but not a foolproof way to determine a fake. This is only one of the many things you can do to protect yourself from counterfeit goods. What you should do when you purchase a bottle of perfume and want to check its lot/serial code is by first located the code on the box the perfume came in. Often this code is printed near where you might find the fragrance’s ingredients list. This code varies in digits depending upon the manufacturer but most often the code won’t exceed six digits. Very often they are four or five digits and can contain only numbers but oftentimes will be a mix of numbers and letters. After you’ve located the code on the box, locate the code on the bottle itself. The two codes should match. If they do not match then take it back.
After having said that, your code can be printed or affixed to the bottle of perfume in a variety of ways. Many manufacturers choose to go the sticker route with the lot code inked onto the sticker. This sticker is often affixed to the perfume bottle. Sometimes (such as in the case of most Chanel fragrances) the lot code is etched into the bottle’s glass itself and is located in a different place than the general information about the perfume (ie. how many ml/oz, concentration type, perfume house’s address, etc.)
Sometimes these codes or numbers may even be filed off because it was acquired through a grey market retailer who wanted to prevent the tracking of the bottle. This is a shady, but not illegal practice, and a filed off serial is not always indicative of a counterfeit.
It is important to check the lot codes on both the perfume bottle and the box to make sure they match when you purchase the perfume and before you throw the box away. Sometimes these lot codes are referred to as serial codes, serial numbers, or lot numbers.