A Reviewer's Rant (or Check Your Facts Before You Mock)
by, 31st July 2014 at 08:46 PM (5033 Views)
I usually steer clear of the discussion boards, as I A.) seem to be a human lightning rod for flame wars, and B.) have a weakness for getting sucked into the most uncivil exchanges. However, a current thread (certainly not the first, nor the most mean-spirited,) bemoaning the apparent elitism and bias toward obscure niche scents at Basenotes caught my attention. I was particularly struck with one sarcastic remark made in the context of innocent teens receiving recommendations for astronomically priced niche scents or vintage rarities. One wit chimed in with “I recommend Mario Vaentino’s Ocean Rain.” The quip might be funny, were it not for the fact that Ocean Rain is readily available online, and at relatively reasonable prices. ($38.50 US for a 1.7 oz. bottle on Amazon, for anyone who’s interested.) The same holds true for Rochas's superb Globe and Jacomo’s Anthracite pour Homme. The fact is, that aside from some vintage Guerlains, vintage Patou pour Homme and Yohji Homme, and Feu d’Issey, there are still plenty of relatively affordable discontinued gems out there, ripe for the picking. (Bowling Green, anybody?) Check your facts, people, before you mock.
I have to say, I’m puzzled at the complaints about esoteric fragrance discussions at Basenotes. If you don’t want to be able to read about interesting and unusual fragrances, what are you doing on Basenotes to begin with? If not Basenotes where else? There are plenty of places to discuss fragrance on the internet. There are relatively few that are friendly to aficionados and connoisseurs. (I number myself only among the former, by the way. I leave connoisseurship to better-educated noses.) What bothers me most about these periodically recurring bash-the-reviewer/bash-the-forums/bash-Basenotes discussions is the intolerant, mean-spirited tone that seems almost inevitably to overtake the conversation.*
The Basenotes Directory is vast, and includes thousands upon thousands of reviews of both designer and niche fragrances, offered from a diverse array of perspectives. The forum is equally wide-ranging, and contains a tremendous wealth of historical wisdom. Even a cursory glance back through the various forums will reveal numerous, extended discussions of designer releases, as well as niche and independent offerings. The idea that either niche or designer fragrances have an exclusive claim to value is ridiculous to maintain in such an environment. I find it hard to believe that in this same environment, there is not room for simultaneous discussion of all sorts of fragrances, in a civil and respectful manner. It’s one thing to be lazy. It’s quite another to be mean or intolerant. Again I say, check your facts before you sling that fistful of mud.
There. Now I'm done ranting and will crawl back into my hole.
*One of the reasons, incidentally, for my withdrawal from Basenotes a couple of years back.
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