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Way Off Scenter

About those reviews...

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For better or worse, I have decided to reinstate what remain of the 1,200-odd reviews which I originally wrote between 2007 and 2012 under the usernames “Vibert” (too pretentious!) and “Off-Scenter,” and then withdrew from the Basenotes Directory some two years ago now. Old-timers on Basenotes will recall that the reviews were withdrawn on one previous occasion – in that case, it was in order to re-edit the entire corpus once the review editing feature was introduced to the Basenotes Directory. My motives for the second withdrawal are not fit for discussion in a public forum, but I will say that when I removed the reviews from the Directory, I did my best to destroy all of the original text. The surviving reviews have been recovered from an old external backup drive, in the form of a few large archived HTML files, each containing hundreds of un-indexed individual reviews. I estimate that between 1,000 and 1,100 of the original reviews will eventually be recoverable.

In a world where Patou pour Homme and Yohji Homme can be reissued, I thought it somehow fitting that I “reissue” the withdrawn "Vibert" and "Off-Scenter" reviews. I had at first intended to re-post the reviews en masse, as quickly as possible, but in deference to current reviewers, I think I will limit myself to fifteen or twenty at a time, so as not to clog the bandwidth on the “Latest Reviews” pages. If it were possible to reinsert the reviews to their original chronological positions, deep under each fragrance heading in the Basenotes Directory, rest assured, I would do so. As it is, I will be happy to see them settle underneath the strata of newer reviews as today’s talented Basenotes reviewers continue to add their contributions.

I write about fragrance from the standpoint of an enthusiastic amateur. While I have an academic background in natural sciences (including organic chemistry and neurochemistry,) I am neither a perfumer nor an analytical chemist by profession, but a landscape architect and horticultural writer. My description of any given scent is based simply on the notes and accords I can smell and recognize. Floral and botanical notes are familiar to me from frequent exposure, and as an avid amateur chef, I recognize the contents of the spice cabinet in composed fragrances as well. I have, in addition, gone to the trouble of studying the fragrance note and aromachemical sample collections available to amateur perfumers/perfumistas, so as to familiarize myself with some of the more common or important perfumery materials.

The reviews being re-posted represent five years of work, and hence reflect evolving sensibilities. They vary in quality, as any unedited collection might, and in length, from pithy one-liners to extended meditations. In re-editing the reviews, I have opted for correcting any factual, grammatical, or stylistic errors I discover, while leaving the original spirit of each piece as intact as possible – without regard as to whether my opinion may have altered in the intervening years.

Over the years, many have objected to these reviews, often vehemently, and in public: “They’re too short!” “They’re too long!” “He said my favorite perfume smells like pooh!” “He hates designer scents!” “He hates niche scents!” “He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” To these criticisms I say: “All true!” Especially perhaps the last.

My advice? If you don’t like the reviews, don’t read them. Nobody’s going to force you to.* I can assure you that I did not write upwards of 1,000 fragrance reviews in order to win the unanimous approval of Basenotes readers. I did it largely to amuse myself. If somebody else derives pleasure from them as well, all the better. If they are an irritant to others, so be it - they are surely a trivial irritant at worst. I envy anyone who has nothing more grievous to complain about in life than my silly little fragrance reviews.

I may experiment with blogging on fragrance topics that interest me from time to time, but for now I will concentrate on re-editing and re-posting the old reviews. Once that project is completed, I may turn my attention to the two-dozen odd fragrance samples sitting in my desk drawer, awaiting trial and review.

Finally, to any who may have felt injured or insulted, either by the withdrawal of the reviews, or by their reinstatement, I offer my sincere apologies.

Way Off Scenter (a.k.a. “Off-Scenter,” a.k.a. “Vibert”)



* Though the image of some hostile Basenotes member, eyes pried open ŕ la A Clockwork Orange, in front of an endlessly cycling display of these reviews, fills me with vindictive glee…Mwahahahahah!

Updated 29th July 2014 at 04:20 AM by Way Off Scenter

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Comments

  1. lpp's Avatar
    Love them - many thanks indeed for your hard work
  2. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Thank you​ for the kind words. I hope you continue to enjoy the reviews as they come back online.
  3. iodine's Avatar
    Thank you, sincerely.
  4. mdclx's Avatar
    Thanks, I really like your reviews!
  5. cooby's Avatar
    dear Old dog!
    !you dont know how happy you made me that you can back!!
    i wrote few blogs answering what happened with you.
    together with Darvant and Alfarom .(and a couple of months i discovered the other italian guy ...i miss his name ...ah! Colin Molinard...) but for me ....you are in the top 3 rewiewers ever here....
    stay with us...for many like me you are important...very...you teach us...and, you know,like the Gran Sting sang..." be yourself..dont matter what they 'll say!!
    welcome back friend...it's a very pleassure to read you again!
    thanks for the lot of work!! cheers from Argentina!
    cooby (search what i wrote about you!!),
  6. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    This time they will stay up permanently. (That is, unless I get myself banned.) In the meantime, it's good to see some really insightful new reviewers making contributions these days. The more, the merrier - and the more comprehensive the Directory becomes.
  7. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Since seasoned reviewer jtd uploaded a large batch of (outstanding) reviews this evening, I figured it was "safe" to re-enter more than twenty recovered reviews. I couldn't even make it through the letter "L." Good news/bad news, depending on your point of view: there looks to be a total of over 1,200 reviews to "reissue."

    Dogs rule!
    Updated 19th June 2014 at 06:40 AM by Way Off Scenter
  8. Colin Maillard's Avatar
    I am too young (in Basenotes-age) to know about your past presence here but I totally enjoy the enthusiasm about your "return" - outstanding reviews! Keep them coming!
  9. teardrop's Avatar
    lt's great to have your reviews back again, thank you so much for taking the time & trouble to re-post them. And l do hope you'll stick around, too!
  10. RoRo's Avatar
    Welcome back. I really enjoyed your reviews.
  11. EricC's Avatar
    Sir, I am embarrassed to leave a comment here for you. I have only this week joined BN and in addition am only returning to using fragrances after over a decade of a break. You on the other hand are simply inspirational. How privileged we all our to be able to learn from your generosity and people like you on BN.

    Winston Churchill said it nicely when he said, "Never was so much owed by so many to so few"
  12. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Welcome to Basenotes! I hope you find these reviews useful, and that, like me, you will enjoy exploring the vast and wonderful resource that is the Basenotes Directory.
  13. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Done! I have finished re-posting all of the surviving archived reviews.

    The final tally (not counting the 19 recently posted new reviews): 1,070. By my recollection, that leaves at least 100 of the old reviews unaccounted for, and I assume that they are permanently lost.
  14. Kitchendancing's Avatar
    I am new to Basenotes and I wanted to thank you for your reviews. I find them interesting and immensely helpful in researching scents. If you don't like it, I won't buy it. Take care and keep up the wonderful reviews.
  15. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Kitchendancing
    I am new to Basenotes and I wanted to thank you for your reviews. I find them interesting and immensely helpful in researching scents. If you don't like it, I won't buy it. Take care and keep up the wonderful reviews.
    Thank you for the kind words, and I'm glad you're enjoying these reviews! Don't take my opinions too seriously, though. I'm just one guy, and I have quirky tastes. (There's a reason I'm "off scenter.") You may well discover that you enjoy plenty of scents that I don't care for!
  16. shadesofbleu's Avatar
    Welcome back and thank you for bringing the reviews back. As I wrote in one of the threads, they truly are treasures and we are lucky to have them on Basenotes.
  17. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by shadesofbleu
    Welcome back and thank you for bringing the reviews back. As I wrote in one of the threads, they truly are treasures and we are lucky to have them on Basenotes.
    I appreciate the kind thought - especially coming from someone who has been enriching the Basenotes community since before I was ever around!
  18. Ralph's Avatar
    I'm very pleased that your work is back on the site; its disappearance (coupled with the grim site redesign) meant that I all but quit using the site for months.
  19. Way Off Scenter's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Ralph
    I'm very pleased that your work is back on the site; its disappearance (coupled with the grim site redesign) meant that I all but quit using the site for months.
    Sorry to hear you ran into a rough spot with the site. I hope you're better able to enjoy it now!

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Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000