Perhaps much of the art of perfumery has been lost after so many years...
For some reason, I have an affinity towards older fragrances - older as in vintage.
I not exactly sure why. I think much of it has to do with my belief that modern marketing and business has destroyed the art of perfumery and that most fragrances are on the market JUST for the sake of business. For example, what is most likely the number one style of fragrance to hit the market in the last five years? Fresh aquatics. There are so many of them. So many that copy originals. So many that copy copies. And copies of those copies exist too. It's hard for me to look at a fresh-aquatic fragrance released in 2005 and not see is only as a container stuffed full of business contracts, executives, lawyers, and money.
Money, money, money. I think my belief is also due the fact that there are so many celebrity (and the like) fragrances that are out. Heck, ANYONE can create a fragrance these days if they have money. JLo, Sarah Jessica Parker, Puff Daddy, etc. *Also, with the release of celebrity fragrances, the entire art of enjoying fragrances is partially degradated. (Some) People no longer purchase a fragrance because they like it - they purchase it so they can own the name printed on a glass container. What if JLo released a fragrance that literally smelled like cat feces? People would still buy it. They would buy it for the name, not the fragrance - thus, the fragrance is only a medium for her business to make money. It doesn't matter to them - if it reaps in cash, it's a-okay.
I know many great fragrances have been released in recents years and I, myself, enjoy many of them. *However, I still cannot help myself from believing that quality fragrances are of the past and that I must look into the past to find them. From Chanel's Pour Monsieur to Guerlain's Vetiver - these timeless classics will never 'grow old' and they are standards in which other fragrances are compared to.
I am also starting to look at niche fragrance houses with a wary eye. Creed - possibly the most popular niche fragrance house here - constantly brags of who uses their fragrance. "This person and this person and this person wears GIT! That means you should as well!" This entire marketing strategy just disgusts me. Instead of name dropping, they should be giving descriptions of the type of person who would wear this fragrance or what situation this fragrance is appropriate for - I'm sure they will make many more sales if they did that. *More often than not,
Sometimes I really hate the business end of perfumery. But I suppose in this day and age, it is business that is keeping the art of perfumery alive. It is business that spurs the growth and release of new and different fragrances. So I guess in every good, there is a little bad and vice versa.
I have no idea why I wrote this but, these are my two cents.
What do you guys think?
Perhaps much of the art of perfumery has been lost after so many years...
No offense, but this has always been the dirty little secret of cosmetics. They don't care about who your are, for the most part, they just want you to buy their stuff. Sure, you can probably give some counter examples of a few individuals, but for the most part the industry has always been set up this way. When you really think about it, the generally population really doesn't care, they just want to smell good for a reasonable price, and the fragrance industry is complying. The average person thinks, "who cares if I smell like everyone else? At least I don't smell like crap!"
And when it gets down to it, we're just like the average person. None of us here are all that original, we take advice from others and read reviews and wear many similar fragrances. If we truly wanted to be original, than we'd make our own fragrances and call it a day. There's nothing wrong with conforming, you know, and the industry is just responding to this.
The pursuit of philosophy is the hope that there is more to life than we realize. By philosophy, however, we come to realize that in fact there is less to life than previously imagined.
I do think that may of us a drawn here to look for something diffrent thats against the commercial grain so to speak.Originally Posted by Informer
We share information on the classics. And wear stuff the mass don't like Iquitos, Creed, Ungaro III, and countless others. Were a diffrent consumer base here at Basenotes.
I personally love it when I wear a scent and someone says ooh you smell good what are you wearing and I come out saying something like Kinze Ten and look back a me bizzare and you know their thinking does Macy's carry that???
Excellent post myaccolades. A man after my own heart.
Another problem that I have with Creed is that a lot of the time where they claim that so and so wore this and that scent, those people are mostly dead. There is no way of checking whether they did wear the scents. Hope it doesn't mean 'Wear Creed and die'!
People see the name Creed and think they had better wear it because it's trendy. They just buy the stuff so that they can say that they are wearing it.
Fine fragrance is alive; it breathes, unfolds and unravels with each passing hour....
Sorry, I don't think that a lot of the modern 'aquatic' or whatever is popular at the moment does smell good. It smells crap.Originally Posted by Informer
Fine fragrance is alive; it breathes, unfolds and unravels with each passing hour....
I just think the same. Except maybe Jlo part - nobody would buy the frag just for any name - it needs to be pleasing. Not masterpiece, but pleasing and market-oriented fragrance...
And I`m also dig vintages and niches - but any time check the chain store shelves: sometimes something good like Cologne TM, Gucci pour homme or Dior Homme appears...
Vetiver The Great!!!
Agreed 100% Whether you create a masterpiece or a watered-down copy, it still comes down to people buying it. And, most people seldom buy for quality - they buy to be in fashion.
I'm not sure because the number of times I've been to country clubs here I can count on one hand, but certainly they discuss fragrance every now and then and like the cars in the lot, they're not getting cheapo brands from cosmetic counters. Creed is right out front at Nieman Marcus and Saks.
I have one full fledged aguatic from Bvlgari and it wasn't expensive and I like it.
Ignore the large counter displays and...... well you can't ask the sales assistant anymore because rather than guide you as in the past, the training is how to move as much product as possible. Blame spreadsheet software. They can calculate how much they're making by square footage of the chain everynight and have a PowerPoint presentation for management in the morning.
I, too, have an affinity for older fragrances. I have worn Guerlain Vetiver for the past forty years. Recently I have discovered a number of vintage fragrances that I never had the chance to try: Knize Ten, Creed's Vinage Tabarome. But there are many recently made scents that are wonderful: Bvlgari's Black, the offerings of Serge Lutens, Fredric Malle, many of Bond #9 and many others. What is very discouraging is that the major players - Guerlain, Lanvin, Givenchy, Dior, Coty - have been producing very undistinguished scents. It isn't that they can't make good fragrances - as in the "exclusive" scents available through specific outlets - but that they seem to release the most unimaginative to "the masses". This sort of elitism is really disgusting. While Guerlain is releasing it Aqua Allegorias to the world they are keeping the Sous le Vent and Rose Barbare for their clients in Paris (and only at the flagship store on the Champs Elysees). Similarly the recently releases by Chanel - which got rave reviews from Luca Turin - are only found at the Chanel Boutiques while another variation of Allure is released to the rest of the world. And why is it that all these mass-marketed scents smell they same: they have no individuality whatsoever. Thank God for the Internet - the one place where you can get a huge amount of fragrance from all over the world. Virtually all my buying of scent is from the web: I can get things like the aforementioned Knize Ten, Jean-Charles Brosseau's wonderful trio, Creed's, Carven's Vetiver, Bond #9 Nouveau Bowery, Fredric Malle's Bigarade Concentree.
The unfortunate thing is that you have to be a real lover of fragrance to track down these scents. Forty years ago you could go into one of our department stores and the most popular fragrances were: Chanel #5, Guerlain's Shalimar, Caron's Fleurs de Rocailles and Bellodgia, Patou's Joy. The corner drug store were I lived carried: Coty's L'Aimant and Emeraude (in decent formulations), Du Barry's Seven Winds, Shulton's Friendship Garden and Early American Old Spice, Bourjois' Evening in Paris and On the Wind. Thus, while one can still get decent fragrances if you know where to look, the popular stuff foisted on the public has deteriorated beyond recognition. This of the difference: when I was a teenager a lady would walk by and a delicious trail of Lanvin's Arpege would trail after her. Now, the latest abortion by Givenchy or Dior reeks yards away from the wearer.
A discussion on elitism in the perfume business wont be complete without discussing Serge Lutens. That house and its main man actually proudly declare their "stuff" to be for the elite and very rich. It doesnt matter if you are living from paycheck to paycheck... wearing an SL frag (from a decant) or wearing a $70 lipstick will make your life that much easier to live ...
Last edited by zztopp; 30th April 2007 at 05:32 PM.
there are a few Creeds that can only be bought by the quart also. That makes it imperative for the hobbyist to buy decants of them. It's possible that the if the Creed saleman sees the Serge Lutens salesman in Niemans he'll threaten to pull the line. Barney's carries the Serge Lutens line and I'm willing to bet that if you're buying a new suit $3000 and up, up ,up per month, they'll figure a way to get the exclusives you want.
At least I love cologne
Last edited by fredricktoo; 30th April 2007 at 05:58 PM.
As a result of reading reviews here, my curiosity was piqued just enough to get me to sample other things I hadn't even known existed. That was in 2006. I tried what almost seem like the prerequisite Guerlains (easily available where I live) and found that they weren't my taste. But neither were the "new-aged fragrances."
So, I ended up finding things that smelled good to me, but that others weren't wearing. I find fragrance to be sort of like clothes. I feel it's kind of invasive/rude to wear the same fragrance as someone else, as it would be to show up to a dance or other formal engagement wearing the same dress as a friend who was looking forward to showcasing her own.
But I understand too that the majority of people just don't mind smelling the same as everyone else, as long as they think they're giving off a pleasing and not-offensive scent.
While we celebrate the classic and lament the blandness of many new releases, let us also acknowledge that some outstanding fragrances continue to be released each year. That we have to find them amid a heap of rubbish is one of the joys of our hobby.
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter. (Keats)
I also observed that recently launched fragances smell quite the same (usually unsuferable smells), and that my preferences are quite traditional.
I do have an answer as to why they smell alike: it is because of managerial logic. Managers are conservative, risk aversion is right when it comes to assure year's end bonuses. So, why developing new fragrances when recently launched ones proved succesful?
On the other hand, consumers crave for the latest fad, specially if there is a celebrity in between. This means launching celeb fragrances is the right move when fragances are percieved as positional goods instrumental to self expression benefits. AaMoF: I am sure it is not what most you people don't look in fragrances.
So be aware. I am positively sure big multinationals will be discontinuing old, traditoinal brands, or else, they will re launch the most succesful ones introducing changes with the intention of making these brands top notch brands. Niche companies wil be catering to specialists, and in the process, they will charge us, por fellows, premium prices.
LOL. you think perfumes were not full of marketing 50 years ago?
you'd be dead wrong. perfume has always been marketed like this....i don't think it's any different now-----except that multimedia is involved.
Its all about the money, honey.. and has been that way for the last few years.
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I can't speak for anyone else, of course, but I'm looking for a little olfactory bliss, and I don't care if Walmart sells it for $5 a bottle. In fact, I'd be happy if they did! However, the way it works for me is that I can't wear the same thing every day, so I have to find enough variety to prevent boredom or "fatigue." I haven't found any major difference in vintage and new, in terms of either epoch having significantly better fragrances. I'd guess that there is a larger percentage of lousy frags today as compared to 1935, for instance. On the other hand, there are more great frags today, as far as I can tell, also probably due to there being so many more on the market than in 1935.
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I agree with the viewpoint of Myaccolades but will interject. I DO NOT like older fragrances (aside from a few). 80% of pre 1990s fragrances come across as stuffy, bitter, and too macho (exemplifying much of what was wrong with men of that era). The hairy chested man who wont wash the dishes wont admit hes wrong and domineers over his wife. Exceptions? Sure - Habit Rouge, Pour Un Homme, Eau Sauvage, New West etc. For the most part I appreciate the use of gourmands in modern scents and the use of experimentation. I think the niche lines that have sprouted in the last decade showcase some of the best fragrances ever created. Ho Hang, Monsieur Givenchy, Aramis, Pour Monsieur, Paco Rabanne, Kouros? no thanks I'll chill with my bottle of Musc Ravageur and enjoy the 21st century.
If something's good to you, then it's good....period. It doesn't matter what era it arrived on the scene. The best frag I've worn yet is Patou PH. We all know it was made almost 30 years ago and discontinued. very difficult to find and very pricey when you do find it. A few other favs of mine are from the 80's, but I also know there are some good bottles of juice that are recent.
Whether $10 per bottle or $175, the only way you can find the "keepers" you're looking for is to sample.........and each era has gems.
I don't know about others, but the original version of Caron's Yatagan is heaven in a bottle. That being said, the current version is pretty good as well.
Joy was created after the economical crisis of '29 and the fall of Wall Street. Patou's most important customers were american and they started to buy less... So Jean thought how he could stop the loss of sales with something stopping the fear of the crisis pushing his customers to buy less: the reply came thinking about something exuding pure luxury, something that could make a woman totally forget about the cost and just think about the beauty of it, such an expensive juice to be literally a folie, an himn to joy of life, so Joy.
Nowadays the reply would have been lots of ad campaigns with maybe the star of the moment, and a juice concocted in less than 3 days based on what are the notes of the best sellers on the shelves at the moment...
By the way, in either way you look at it, it's still marketing. People who have a tradition in making perfumes use this in a marketing way too. It's a perceived thing that quality is in the past and still a marketing scheme. I suggest a book of David Aaker about branding, but I don't know how it's called in English.
I'd love to think that men are getting better but I doubt it. As children we're critical of our fathers, often for good reason. As historians, we're often more aware of the abuses of the past than of its virtues. Why? Because it's more fun to dole out advise than to take it? Because other people are hard to understand? And I'm not saying this is an entirely misplaced habit of mind. But while it may make good sense to discredit certain views of an 18th C person because he owned slaves, you have to be prepared to accept the judgment of history on your own life, no? We may all be dismissed as Carbon Polluters. Or maybe the future will judge us for not seeing some other ethical issue that turns out to be essential. Would a 22nd C person be wrong to think that we missed the point? and that missing the point sullies our accomplishments? I'm not preaching guilt here, just pointing out how people see the past. There's plenty to learn from those hairy 70's bastards. And fortunately they're still around, if a little less hairy these days.
To me it seems worthwhile to try to come up with versions of maleness that seems as free and well-rounded as possible. We've got all kinds of sides and needs and moods, us men, and sometimes the culture we live in makes the price pretty high for acting on some of them. It's not necessarily any easier to be a hunter than it is to be a ballet dancer, depending on the culture you grow up in. So, as to perfume in particular, I want as many moods as possible available to me in a bottle. And sometimes I want a big, musky, mossy, stinky floral that feels like a Led Zeppelin lead. Sometimes I want an austere, urbane 50's chypre, sometimes I want a big Lutens oriental with a feminine streak and lots to gossip about, etc. But I love that one of the things that can be perceived in perfume is the history of masculinity.
Take Puig... before it turned into the big multinational it actually is (As a matter of fact, they are a branch of the same corporation that makes TCL TVs) they marketed a limited range of brands, of which the most famous were Estivalia for women, Agua Brava for men, Agua de Lavanda Puig and Vetiver de Puig. What happened afterwards? They bought the rest of the big Spanish perfume houses (Myrurgia and Gal) and later developed a prestige line selling celeb's and designers fragrances.
What happened with the traditional brands? As times goes by, they are harder to find. Why? Making perfume is way inexpensive. Now, selling Estivalia won't make the trick, for they won't be able to charge you as much as they could. The solution,sell frangrances under a "big" name... presto! You can charge a hole lot of money.
I don't blame them, it is the right move for making money. However, don't expect much creativity out of this situation.