Research reveals people wear fragrance to convey who they would like to be.

by Grant Osborne, 18th February, 2010

David Pybus of Scents of Time has published some research on his website, linking Myers Briggs personality types [link] with fragrance choices. Pybus, who as well as the founder of Scents of Time, is also a co-founder of fragrance consultancy Pandora and has worked in the industry for over 30 years.

The research reveals as far as fragrance choice goes it’s a case of not who you are, but who you would like to be. Though different personality types do have some different persuasions:

In terms of names, Traditionalists and Thinkers do go for classics such as Chanel 5 and Beautiful. Artistics favour more esoteric names such as Rock ‘n Rose and Tabu, whilst Beautiful and Chance are high on the Practical group list.

The full report can be found on the Scents of Time website. (click on the What's Going On link)

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    • Mimi Gardenia | 18th February 2010 22:47

      Very interesting article on the website - thanks ! :)

    • Primrose | 19th February 2010 00:32

      Thank you for the link, Grant!

    • BayKAT | 19th February 2010 00:44

      I"m sure a lot of time and effort went into the piece, but I think perfume preferences are way too complicated and can not be captured so simply. But I'll read the article for amusement purposes, which I"m sure is the intent.

    • Primrose | 19th February 2010 01:51

      After reading the article and having time to reflect, I agree with BayKAT on this.

      The use of scent is too simplistic to be dismissed by a simple matrix.

      I know some people who wear a scent simply because a celebrity is fronting it, or because it is expensive.

      With that said, this leave the likes of Basenoters out because we defy categories!

      All in all, I like the ideas of Scents of Time, perfume based on research as well as the expertise of a perfumer. I truly dislike "faux history" under the guise of marketing.

    • SculptureOfSoul | 19th February 2010 02:18

      I'd love to see this research taken further, as I do think the MB typing works quite well and has proven to be very accurate with myself and everyone that I know that I've gotten to take it.

      I think the perfume categories may need to be shifted to a greater level of granularity instead of merely saying 'florals, soft florals, etc' - perhaps looking for common notes or accords that may feature prominently in the favorites of others.

      I'd love to see BlueSoul or another data-fiend set something up on Base Notes that probes this issue further.

    • michailG | 19th February 2010 10:00

      The article is indeed very interesting... but as ScupltureOfSoul writes above, it would be great to see more research on the subject of tastes, representations and aspirations of perfume wearers. Contemporary culture is multifaceted and so many parameters intervene when we chose a scent. Parameters such as environment, social position, education, background and childhood experiences, personal traits and desires, sexuality, and so on. A fellow student during the late 90s did her thesis on the power of smell and some of its applications in design. Smell is one of the senses that although hugely exploited (primarily commercially) is still under-researched. Having said that it gains more and more research interest (Google-books gives 894 titles with the word smell, 881 with the word scent and 664 with the word perfume).

    • GourmandHomme | 19th February 2010 10:37

      Wow. All that shows is that pretty much all women like florals, soft florals, and woody orientals. Coincidentally, the top-10 or top-20 best-selling feminine-marketed perfumes are in these categories.

      Another one of those "No s__t, Sherlock" study eh?

      (from an INTJ guy) :P

    • HDS1963 | 20th February 2010 08:04

      This may work for the average Joe Public who maybe has a handful of fragrances at most.

      Most of the regulars on Basenotes have 50 fragrances plus.

      On a personal level I have a collection covering every category of fragrances which I wear according to whim, clothing choice, the weather and mood. In this regard, my fragrance choice is not based on who I want to be, but who I am at a given time. Then there are times when I just wear a fragrance for the sheer enjoyment of wearing it if it's one that I admire the structure and evolution of.

      It is interesting though, I do grant you that.

    • Aiona | 20th February 2010 17:51

      Heh! I guess I wanna be a cinnamon stick.

    • luvs_perfume | 20th February 2010 19:18

      I was enlightened by the article, quite avant-garde for David to study the correlation between M-B and fragrance choices.

      Yup, I have to say that based on my M-B profile my natural tendency is towards Florals. However, I do have a wide array fragrances from all olfactory groups because fragrance for me is about exploration, appreciation and delighting myself into new scent directions.

    • bargepole | 21st February 2010 01:41

      Scents of Time seems fun. Didn't Diptyque do something similar with the opopanax-y Eau Lente?

      But the Lost Perfume of Pompeii is open to debate. (I'm writing about Pliny the Elder, who died in the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79 which obliterated Pompeii, so I'm reasonably up to speed on the subject.) Two things are questionable. Pompeii probably had nothing like 40 brothels, as Prof. Mary Beard discusses in her book "Pompeii" (2009); and the erotic Catullus poem quote in the description (click on the PDF link) is much more likely referring to, er, the, um, _natural_ perfume of his girl. How the hell you recreate the fragrance of an expertly-aroused >2,000-year-old girl I don't know. (Except that there's no place for dihydromyrcenol, for sure.) My father always claimed that Elle Elle (Lucien Lelong) smelled EXACTLY like... no. Let's not go there. But I need to smell this stuff, no question.

    • dmoran227 | 23rd February 2010 14:03

      "Except that there's no place for dihydromyrcenol, for sure."

      Literal LOL

    • jen77 | 24th February 2010 13:02

      yes, this is very interesting - it depicts our cultures desire for fantasy and idealism in our identities this subject could be expored indefinitely - scienceuticals

    • musse | 3rd March 2010 18:13

      Interesting reading. I couldn´t help but thinking that the persons interviewed here over all are not that much into perfume. I doubt this would be applicable on B-noters.

      On the other hand, I believe most things we do, like how we dress, express ourselves in different ways, what kind of people we prefer to be with (= which group we wanna belong to) etc, reflects who we wish to be, and that it gives us more self confidence to put these parts together until we are satisfied.

      It´s all about appearance; heard it before? :D

    • jacquia | 6th March 2010 15:32

      After buying the scent of times fragrances, I gave them away, very cheap smelling and unsophistcated. This man's comments are not really what the basenotes perfumistas are all about. The scents he has too offer are certainly not in the top end league of Serge Lutens or Editions.