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  1. #1

    Default The opening or the drydown?

    Tig's post about Wanderlust got us to discussing fragrances with a frightful or difficult opening but a wonderful drydown, and those with a wonderful opening but a nightmarish or not-so-great drydown. We were pondering which is worse (or better).

    I know I prefer the *perfect* fragrance -- stunning from start to finish, and if someone says "smells better after it dries down"... that's kind of scary to me. By the same token, however, gorgeous opening but cloying on drydown is kind of scary, too.

    I think, if I had to choose, I would choose gorgeous opening. I could possibly refresh to keep those topnotes out there, or I could (hopefully) wash it off or even overspray with something else. A terrible opening (or development) can often be quite "painful" -- headache- or nausea-inducing, needles up the nose (and I'm not that patient or brave!) before it gets to the good part.

    Of course, there are those fragrances that have a beautiful opening and drydown, but something in the middle before it fully develops is quite annoying.

    What say you? If you had to choose ... beautiful opening or beautiful drydown? Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions!


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Too far south of the Mason Dixon line

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    I'm the opposite. I feel like when I put on a scent, I'm in it for the long haul and a beautiful opening and horrid dry down is just a big let down foe me....The opening notes are short lived.....the dry down lasts for the majority of the life of the scent. I can ignore bad opening notes and know they'll be gone soon. I just don't sniff for the first 15 minutes or so. but know I'll have hours of ecstacy if I am just patient and get through the malevolant beginning [smiley=thumbsup.gif] I can't help thinking of sex as an anology. I'd prefer a bad start and amazing finish rather than a fantastic start that in the end never delivers and is a big disappointment [smiley=wink.gif]

  3. #3

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Good point, BG! I sure don't mind those fragrances that start off a little *slow* or a little unpleasant. For myself, I'm talking about really bad beginnings. I just can't think of one at the moment. [smiley=undecided.gif]

    I like your analogy. Makes good sense. [smiley=wink.gif]

  4. #4

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    I would probably be more apt to put up with a bad beginning than a poor ending as I just can't stand anything long-lingering that doesn't work with my body chemistry. *However, I have to be honest: *if there is even one thing I don't like about a fragrance, I usually won't buy it anymore. *Of the ones I've bought in the past and not loved everything about, I find I don't wear them. *I have to love it through and through to make it my own.
    Scent is such a lovely, simple pleasure!

  5. #5

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    For me.....I think it would have to be the dry down..... When I don't like the dry bothers me...
    If I know the opening is going to wear off in a little's o.k. if there's a gift at the end.....

  6. #6

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    When I first spray it, Bakir's beauty absolutely takes my breath away... but the final dryout or development really gets to me. Then I'm faced with either trying to wash it off and applying something else, or re-applying to experience and enjoy those top notes again. I found myself re-applying Une Fleur de Chanel frequently the other day -- just to enjoy the opening. I guess I'm a top notes junkie. [smiley=shocked.gif]

    I just remembered a fragrance for which the drydown turned out to be worth the wait, even though I hadn't intended to wait for it: Keiko Mecheri Scarlett. I reviewed it last summer. This one was rough-going and I was about to wash it off when a phone call interrupted me. To my amazement it turned into a lovely, soft rose scent which was still soft and lovely the next morning. Even though I say the drydown is worth the wait, I'm not sure I want to go through that every time, so I still haven't bought a bottle of it.

    Such interesting points about drydown though! [smiley=dankk2.gif]

  7. #7

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    To me it's definitely the drydown that counts. Top notes are usually fleeting and soon gone but the drydown will stay. If the drydown is good enough, I can stand even not-so-good top notes but I draw the line on discomfort and pain: if the top notes give me headache or nausea, no drydown can make it up for me.

    I've NEVER liked the top notes of Coco (and it's a scent I have worn for 20 years!!!) and it is a slow developer (it takes at least half an hour to get pass the top notes) but the drydown makes it all up to me. [smiley=smiley.gif]
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  8. #8

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Has to be the drydown for me. I own a few fragrances where I disliked the top notes. Sacreblu for one I dislike fruity and that is how it starts. Love the drydown so I know if I just ignore for 10 minuites all is well.

    There should be a law against fragrances which start wonderfully and then turn nasty in the drydown.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Nashville, Tennessee

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Hum, good thread Loney. I'm sitting here mentally going through my collection, and I think I would have to conclude that I am willing to wait for a dynamic dry down. Nahema comes to mind as one with a somewhat rough beginning, but the initial rose blast eventually evolves into a beautiful, wearable fragrance. I'm just grateful for a scent that doesn't dry away completely. I am presently trying to find the beauty in the opening of Attar Bazaar's Sumatra Vetivert, a struggle indeed, and a tribute to my determination to arrive at what is, hopefully, an enjoyable ending. I never thought I would be saying this but a little unscented lotion may need to be part of this mixture.

    BTW, Buffalo Gal, love your analagy. [smiley=2vrolijk_08.gif]


  10. #10

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    When I first started visiting and posting on Fragrance discussion boards, I remember literally cringing the first time I typed the word 'drydown': even though I understood the concept on a fundamental level, I thought the word was just too.....precious, coy.......hi-falutin'. Now, if there's a single 'learning' I'd want to share with a fragrance newbie, it's to pay attention to the changes that occur between the top notes and the drydown.

    In my case, I think the drydown is much more important than the opening. So many scents I bought over the years (and hated and never wore) smelled good for the five minutes I had sampling them in the store. It wasn't until I got them home and tried wearing them out to dinner that night or to work the next day that I realized that most of them ended up smelling cheap, 'metallic' or sour on my skin. I gave away my first bottle of Habit Rouge simply because I thought the top notes were loud and vulgar. It wasn't until much later, when a friend sent me another sample and I dabbed it on out of a sense of obligation, that I managed to skip most of the top notes, and had the chance to enjoy the long, lovely drydown.

  11. #11

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    What amuses me is how many people whine about SL wax samples, complaining that "they only give you a picture of the drydown, not the top notes". [smiley=rolleyes.gif]
    "Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."

  12. #12

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Another voice in the majority opinion, its all about the drydown.

    The most obvious example of this for me is Santal Noble. The opening is very strange and almost fecal on my skin, but it passes so quickly that the payoff of the drydown (which is exemplary) is easily worth a few minutes of slight nose cringing.

    Two others for me are Happy for Men and Tommy T. Yes, inexpensive designer scents, but I do enjoy them both and consider them favorites. They both have an over the top obvious synthetic profile upon first application, but in about 15 minutes, it fades and becomes what I adore about each scent respectively.

    As BG said in the analogy with sex, its all about the grandiOse finish!

  13. #13

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scentsational
    Another voice in the majority opinion, its all about the drydown.
    Absolutely agree. *It simply HAS to be. *For myself, I'm just speaking of fragrances in the "if only" category... if only the opening weren't so horrendous/whatever or if only the drydown weren't so powdery/whatever, etc. I could buy/wear this fragrance. *In the end, for me, it's the whole composition with the drydown being critical. *Still... if those topnotes cause discomfort or don't draw me in, or if that top to mid development repulses me, that drydown better part the ocean or rope the moon for me or else I'm most likely not going to buy the fragrance. *Using BG's analogy, it better be an "amazing" or "grandiose" finish or else... don't call me; I'll call you. *But that's just me. * [smiley=wink.gif] *[smiley=beer.gif]

  14. #14

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Of course a perufme SHOULD be beatufiul from start to finish, and there should be an aesthetical connection between the different phases (wheather a contrast or a subtle link).
    Keep in mind that the base notes although more prominant in the end or the dry down stages can be smelled in the opening notes along with the top notes and heart notes (only that they are played in the background).

    However, personally, the dry down is most improtant for me. But of course - if the opening is head ache inducing - I will not get through it and miss on the dry down, no matter how great it is.

    I feel that the dry down is like the core or the true self of the fragrance, so this is how I judge most fragrances. If the drydown is no good I will most likely loose interest in the fragrance very fast. The opening is meant to catch the attention and attract you to explore and discover the rest of the composition (bear in min dthat top notes do not last more than a few seconds to several minutes - so this is really a short term relationship).
    I get extremely disappointed with perfumes that have a stunning, sprakling opening and that have a sickening or very non impressive dry down. For instnace - I really liked the opening of Dolly Girl. It trigerred an immediate memory and a feeling, but dried down very fast to something un memorable and not remarkable at all so I lost interest...

  15. #15

    Default Re: The opening or the drydown?

    Quote Originally Posted by Artisankey
    However, I have to be honest: if there is even one thing I don't like about a fragrance, I usually won't buy it anymore. Of the ones I've bought in the past and not loved everything about, I find I don't wear them. I have to love it through and through to make it my own.
    Very well said. I am with you on that. I am also trying to get rid of all the ones I don't 100% enjoy and this way have more time to the ones I absolutley love and can't live without. As we all know - there is so little time and so many beautiful perfumes - better spend it with the best ones, the ones that really speak to your heart and capture your senses - the ones that you really love.

    It's also good for your pocket LOL.

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