Originally Posted by SculptureOfSoul
I totally agree RP. And I'm not saying I'm above being influenced - positively or negatively - by branding, marketing, bottles, etc. My love of things like Davidoff Adventure, The One Gentleman, Play and even Play Sport!, and others, are at least indicative that I've come back from my old niche-is-obviously-superior mentality. I used to find - in first year or two of sniffing - that most designer scents DID smell the same to me although not because they actually did smell the same, but instead because of the niche snobbery I had then that would cause me to find only a single link of commanality between two disparate scents (say, an aquatic note) and instantly write them off as clones. I wasn't open to experiencing the scent because I had already decided it was inferior, and thus I truly didn't
experience the scent, at least nowhere near fully, and it was my loss because of it.
Agreed about the anti-niche snobbery too, and I know I'm guilty of it sometimes. I'm not anti-niche as a whole, but I tend to have a knee-jerk reaction whenever I see people espousing the oft-repeated lies that have become a sort of accepted common wisdom that niche is inherently better, or that you need to spend > $X to really get a decent scent, or that a $200 scent is inherently higher quality than a scent 1/4th its price.
Speaking of scents that should not be the color blue: Azzaro Visit. Just.. wtf. Really? Who thought to make a dry dry dry woody, spicy nutmeg/cedar/guaiac, and color it blue?
Just some great points, SOS. One of the things you've really got me thinking about now is how the similarity of contemporaneous designer fragrances - an evolutionary result of the competitive environment - affects those who study it. This is kinda strange, but hear me out....
People who study fragrance basically come out of an initial environment where they view only a small part of smell-space - the part that they get in the familiar, narrow, closely-spaced competitive environment. That IS the world - or maybe their little solar system.
BAM. Niche happens. The scale is mind-boggling, and you realize how much nobody told you. It's like discovering that - whoops - there's a galaxy. The unspoken message: "Hey - you didn't NEED to know." Reaction? "LIAR! You never told me about this. And this new crap is WONDERFUL!"
The old solar system of designer scents looks puny. But it takes a while to realize that it's not. Grab your Feynman, and bonk yourself over the head, because you realize the real truth, that (forgive the horrible bad ways that you can take this) "there's a lot of room at the bottom
". (Told you it sounded evil!
) But get serious, because it's saying that the real place to find the new and exciting stuff isn't off in G_d-knows-where - it's DOWN in the hot mix of crowded stuff right in front of you. If we go back into the HOT solar systems of similar designer scents where all the action is, we realize that there's a good reason people view the fragrance universe through such a distorted lens. The most valid solutions are globbing up near each other, and differentiating THOSE is where the big questions really are. Yes - there are valid questions about why Eau de Sawdust is palatable to all five Norwegian BN niche-heads, but not to the members of the New England Creed Appreciation Club. But the billion dollar question is what time-frame is needed to get cheap-n-girly note Y into macho pit spray X as a way to excite the market without losing it fan-base. And still make next year's juice 5% closer to truly fine fragrance than the year before, because that's the way it's all going. Yeah, one can say it's "the bottom", but personally, I think it's a vastly more exciting question.
I realize that this may actually be the most esoteric defense of designer redundancy ever made, but hey. Somebody had to do it!