Originally Posted by achidna101
Joop Nightflight, Mugler Cologne, Iceberg Twice and live Jazz.
These were the scents I prioritised to smell this week. Two of them (Nightflight and Iceberg) are impossible to locate, and I really have been everywhere. Nonetheless in the last few days of shopping and meeting friends in central london I have smelt some wonderful fragrances. I am still learning to distinguish certain notes.
I have two questions. Mainly, and the reason for this thread is I want your opinions of the fragrances I have mentioned. Do you like them, do you own them, what would you say about them?
Secondly: how do you know what some notes smell like? Not stupid notes like 'Iced vodka' but recurrent notes such as 'tonka bean' or 'Cardamom'. I feel that most basenoters have learnt from experience, but without smelling the raw material, are you sure you know what you are smelling? Are there any places where I can smell the raw materials?
To admins - I appreciate you may find this a newbie question but I feel that this belongs in the 'male fragrance discussion' community as my second question concerns even the most developed noses.
Mugler Cologne is the only one of the four I know well. I owned it but gave it away to a cousin who needed a scent. I think it's a good, general, all purpose, "I smell clean" scent, made for the market that comes after reading or hearing a lady say, "I don't want a man in cologne, I just want one who smells clean." MC is that clean smell. Almost an anti-cologne in this way. It fits in and is very nice. It isn't that I disregard it because it fits in--I mean that as an observation and light praise.
I've got Live Jazz too but back deep in the collection and I've never wanted to wear it. I got the bottle cheap and it seemed good enough to experiment with it, but I never followed up. Wish I could weigh in on it for you, sorry. Nightflight and Iceberg Twice I know even less. Sorry again.
How to get familiar with the notes. It's tough and there are only a few I think I understand. It's been a gradual process for me, and it comes from reading many posts on the site, smelling many scents that claim the same element, and especially scents said to be primarily one element. Vetiver. Sandalwood. Amber. Patchouli. Rose. Jasmin. I make a special effort to smell ones named those names or said to be primarily those scents. I never know with certainty if I'm right. I make educated guesses, and well informed ones. I can't list a dozen things I smell in a single scent, but I might be able to pick out three that drive it. Basil, jasmin, vetiver and citrus in Eau Sauvage. I can pull those all out, and mostly because of experience in my kitchen and experience smelling many scents.
Carnation and many flower notes I've picked up by visiting florists. Great way to learn a floral note--buy a bunch and bring them home.
In the kitchen it's possible to get pith, peel, juice and syrup smells of citruses and purchase fresh herbs. Easy to become familiar with mint that way, taragon, and one of my favorites, marjoram. Marjoram is almost like aldehydes, which is a note I seldom pick up right away, but one that Basenoters have pointed out in scents and I've been able to say, Oh yes, they must be talking about THIS quality I smell/thing I smell.
It's possible to smell or get small vials of essential oils at health food stores, and I've gotten a few just to see what they're like. You can certainly learn a lot of notes this way, but I've been satisfied with how I've done on my own so far.
Plenty of notes I don't know. Cardamom, and exactly what tonka bean is. I don't get those very well, even after using cardamom pods in the kitchen. I shrug and let the more knowledgeable here tell me those elements are there, but I have a general sense that tonka is a light sweetener to a smell, not quite vanilla like. I've got a general sense that cardamom is a dense dry smell I can't describe well because, like I say, I don't really know it.
The wood smells--cedar, fir, pine, vetiver, others--come with time smelling a lot of things. I could probably get a lot of notes quicker if I went to the health food store and got some of the oils. I don't smell the raw material, so there's always a risk that my calling a note something might be wrong, and that's okay. I try my best and try to be helpful. When I write about scents I try to write impressionistically about them, and not about all the precise elements or their layers or parts in the dry down. I try to write about scents in the way they make me feel or the things they make me think. Maybe it succedes less, maybe it gives something different to write about scents that way.
Hope this helps,