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  1. #1

    Default Perceptions of scents

    My SotD today is Palais Jamais. I was sitting by my girlfriend and she told me that I smelled "really sweet" (add weird "you smell too sweet" face here). Well, it's the first time I've ever worn it, and I'm still making up my mind, but I know one thing: it is NOT sweet. Maybe a little in the base, but this was within an hour of application. It was rubber and smoky tea!!

    The day before I was wearing New Haarlem, which actually IS sweet and edible, but I smelled "great" that day. :-?

    I get these kinds of conflicting opinions all the time. Someone told me Pi Fraiche was "woody...there is a lot going on there". It's one of the most simple, woodless scents I have! My roommate told me M7 smelled like "his mom". I want to know what mom wears M7. To me, it is the epitome of a manly scent.

    What is going ON here??? Maybe different peoples' brains register scent perceptions differently. I can understand slight disagreements about notes and small nuances in frags, but mostly we agree on broad categories like woody, sweet, gourmand, etc. Is it because of our "training"?
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    If a person has tasted strawberry candy but never tasted raspberry candy, I'll bet the first time they taste raspberry they will think that it tastes like strawberry. Or you could substitute Midori/watermelon schnapps, or clove/cinnamon, or lard/butter, or vanilla/tonka. I don't expect people to know what tonka bean smells like. I do think we get more out of scents than most people just because we're even AWARE of the constituents. I don't mean this in an arrogant way at all. I'd expect that jazz fans have this same issue- people around them always comparing their favorite obscure musician to something totally different.
    It's easy to get caught up in the 'art' of smelling, but that can get dangerous when other people think you smell like urinal cakes instead of Kouros (which we, the enlightened, know to be composed of nectar and the breath of angels). I guess sometimes you just need to stand back and ask "what would a person think of this if they had never smelled it before?"


    -ben
    Nihil Obstat Ben


    My Wardrobe

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    I think we all have a little different interpretation of things. I know that if I smell vanilla in a fragrance, I think is sweet and often too sweet. If the sweetness is something other than vanilla, I wonder why others complain about it being sweet.

  4. #4
    Basenotes Plus

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    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    This is always an interesting topic. Perhaps another person picks up on a frag mid-drydown and starts off smelling it at a different point than the wearer who has some topnote odor(s) in their nostrils. This would affect the overall drydown perception in a different fashion than the wearer would experience. Perhaps someone meets you when the frag is at a basenotes point. They might say something is sweet, woody, floral etc. when your perception as the wearer would be totally different.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    I recall a contribution in a previous incarnation of this forum from someone who said he worked in the fragrance industry -- not selling them, but making them. He wrote (and I'm paraphrasing, the exact number may have been different, but it was something very similar): 'Ninety-five percent of it is in your head'.

    Roxoff


  6. #6

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    Quote Originally Posted by stuigi
    This is always an interesting topic. Perhaps another person picks up on a frag mid-drydown and starts off smelling it at a different point than the wearer who has some topnote odor(s) in their nostrils. This would affect the overall drydown perception in a different fashion than the wearer would experience. Perhaps someone meets you when the frag is at a basenotes point. They might say something is sweet, woody, floral etc. when your perception as the wearer would be totally different.

    I hadn't even thought of that, stuigi. Good idea!
    Nihil Obstat Ben


    My Wardrobe

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    I think this is mainly due to the fact that people upon first sniff of a fragrance that they have never smelled before, will instantly connect it to the closet relative of something they have smelt. These people just dont have enough experence in diffrent smells and why it is easy fo them to relate it to something that to us "enlightened ones" dosent make sense.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    I agree that the whole thing is very weird. One time I was wearing Laguna and someone told me I smelled like Roses. I feel like brain has more affect on one's perception of a scent than skin chemistry does. Even us "edumacated" folk can have huge disagreements over what something smells like. Kouros is one of the best examples. I will leave the issue surrounding Kouros at a mere mention because I think we all know all to well the different opinions here.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    Am I the only one that notices the strong piney note in PI? It does smell sorta vanillic, but I think it smells like a piney tangerine. It's just my perception of how Pi smells to me.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Perceptions of scents

    Stuigi mentioned something that I have indeed been testing for quite some time. We all know that if you wear a fragrance over and over you begin to "get used to it", where it takes a heavier application for you to smell urself without outwardly shoving ur face in ur shirt.

    Now I believe that this olfactory block happens on multiple levels, from your first application you begin to block out certain notes before others. So what we call drydown I believe is a combination of the fragrance settling and reacting to ur skin and your nose filtering out what it doesnt want to smell.

    I came accross this when I was shopping with my wife at a mall department store. She was smelling some male cologne and took a whiff of Kenneth Cole Reaction. She made me spray it on (I have to test the scent of course). And my intial thought was that it smelt fruity, delicious, not something I would particularly wear, but I did like it.

    Well a couple hours go by and I am smelling my wirst a few times and I turn to my wife and say "This is a no go, after an hour it smells like every other cheap cologne out there". And thats what it smelt like to me, cheap synethic typical drydown. My wife takes a whiff and says "Smells the same as it did in the store".

    So after that debacle I started thinking about all those scents that I felt "just dont smell good after an hour" maybe its really ME that just cant DETECT everything about the scent.

    Same thing with Geir, I wear it on my neck and all I get is the sweet light warm oriental smell. When I am at work and I have to do something that increases my body tempature quickly I smell the "fresh" wetwoods that always drew me to Geir. The same wetwoods that my wife claims she smells the entire time with the stuff.

    So what does this mean to me. I FHFIUSDFING give up basically. I wanna wear scents for me, but also for other people, but it seems to be impossible to balance the two when what I smell at the SAME moment in time is different then what someone else does.

    So Frusterating

    This also explains the many differing opinions on YSL colognes. (Smells like piss but my girl loves it)

    Or

    "Smells the same as Brut, nothing new, oh crap why is this girl hanging from my neck by the teeth"

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