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    Default Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?


  2. #2
    zztopp's Avatar
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    The Dreamer gets 4/5 while both Dzing! and Dior Homme struggle with a 3 star rating ?

    Out of those three, I only sort of like Dzing!, but The Dreamer is nowhere near a 4/5.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    The Dreamer gets 4/5 while both Dzing! and Dior Homme struggle with a 3 star rating ?

    Out of those three, I only sort of like Dzing!, but The Dreamer is nowhere near a 4/5.
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by chris2005
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
    Yes but he should explain WHY a certain fragrance is getting a rating of 3 and not a 4 or a 5 - the reviews read like this:

    The Dreamer - incredible, superb, outstanding, genius: 4/5
    Dzing! - awesome, incredible, great: 3/5
    Dior Homme - drool worthy, stupendous, awesome: 3/5
    -

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    ...
    Last edited by pluran; 25th October 2006 at 01:15 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Well, how would he justify his ratings? He listed the things about The Dreamer that he liked, including its creativity. I dont see what else he could have written to explain why he liked certain scents. His tastes probably differ from some people. Thats expected. I do love The Dreamer though.

  7. #7

    Talking Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by zztopp
    Yes but he should explain WHY a certain fragrance is getting a rating of 3 and not a 4 or a 5 - the reviews read like this:

    The Dreamer - incredible, superb, outstanding, genius: 4/5
    Dzing! - awesome, incredible, great: 3/5
    Dior Homme - drool worthy, stupendous, awesome: 3/5
    Hmm: 3 terms of hyperbolic praise for the fragrances that get 3 stars, and 4 terms of hyperbolic praise for the one that gets 4 stars.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    To be honest, I find Burr's reviews no different than any other review from any other person. I've disagreed with is his recommendations (Clinique Happy) and disagreed with his dislikes (YSL M7.) And of course, we agree on some fragrances as well (Dior Homme, Dreamer.)

    So in the end, what makes him any different or unique?

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    Hmm: 3 terms of hyperbolic praise for the fragrances that get 3 stars, and 4 terms of hyperbolic praise for the one that gets 4 stars.
    lol awesome observation !
    -

  10. #10

    Exclamation Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    It's actually this thing below that has me confused....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/op...ewanted=1&_r=1

    T: Style’s perfume critic — like the advertising-driven concept for the glossy new real estate magazine — is part of The Times’s calculated effort to create new content and publications that will attract additional advertisers. The redesign of most of the paper’s existing weekly sections, such as Travel and Dining, has given them a magazine-like flair intended to increase their appeal to advertisers
    Is this supposed to mean that we are not going to see any really bad reviews by products porvided by advertisers any time soon?
    *screatching head*

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I'll say this with the disclaimer that I know nothing about the matters he has been talking about as a 'scientific journalist'. His book 'The Emperor of Scent' is very well written. It is an introduction to modern perfumery among other things, and this fascinated me enough to dig into dry and heavy details about smell preception (I also omitted pages and pages, but that has nothing to do with the way he wrote it). I later searched for more, and discovered articles about the gender thing (theories, science and politics): easy reading, and not a minute lost! Hermes and the Nile I also liked as a piece of lighter journalism despite his personal opinions about Hermes and their creations.

    Unfortunately , I cannot warm up to, or follow him on his ideas and preferences as a perfume critic. This is partly a difference in taste, and as such no problem. But I am not even sure if I can believe in his confessions and dislikes. I do often not comprehend why he likes, or happens to dislike, a brand I love. If we agree, I tick that off. If we disagree, I am not even disappointed.

    Very much in contrast, I do enjoy Turins reviews and other articles about perfumery. He is living proof that it takes more than a skill for journalism to engage me in a subject which he is completely dedicated to. When he disses something I happen to like, I get sad. I will consider his opinion nevertheless. It's different with Burr: No matter whether he praises or disses a perfume - I am never fully convinced. I sometimes even suspect that Burr is not quite honest with his readers. He may have enjoyed his insecticide formulation so much, he couldn't resist publishing it, even at the risk of loosing credibility.

    Take any of the present posters here - I feel their enthusiasm and disgust when they write about their recent shop visits and purchases, and I believe 90% - 100% of it! This is what gets me involved, this is how I found fragrances I now love but didn't like before. NYT could not have this effect, not with Burr stripping.
    Last edited by narcus; 23rd October 2006 at 09:42 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Commercial reviews like these are almost always corrupt. Certain reps from certain companies become your friend....they take you out for lunch, buy the best wine on the list...take you to sport, opera etc. There is often zero correlation between genuine quality and coverage. I have seen this in SO many industries, even if they start more honest, it soon starts.
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by hirch_duckfinder
    Commercial reviews like these are almost always corrupt. Certain reps from certain companies become your friend....they take you out for lunch, buy the best wine on the list...take you to sport, opera etc. There is often zero correlation between genuine quality and coverage. I have seen this in SO many industries, even if they start more honest, it soon starts.
    The force of circumstances cannot be ignored. We all have to accept that to a point. Unless he wants to dine completely by himself, or in company of his choice, I suppose free meals and champaign are part of Burr's basic income. His 'Jardin sur le Nil' was an essay paid for by Hermes. That's no secret. But it was a good essay, and a believable story. Marlen has just interviewed the man. He could teach him how to write (commercial) reviews that I can believe if I want to. But Marlen has something Burr has not shown yet: a sincere love for juices in general! This is why Burr may be the wrong man for the job. How would I enjoy Serpent to replace Burr! OK, S's favorite spice is vinegraitte, and it takes time te get used to that style. But if it could be tempered with a little more sugar, Serpent knows a lot more about the perfume business, and he always warrants great entertainment! Sorry Serpent, if I got carried away a bit. More people come to mind, but I promise to stop here!
    Last edited by narcus; 23rd October 2006 at 05:54 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  14. #14

    Question Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus
    I later searched for more, and discovered articles about the gender thing (theories, science and politics): easy reading, and not a minute lost!
    Hmmmm....someone had sent me this and got me wondering.
    http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conw...%207-12-05.htm
    I don't know what to think.

    I do get your point about the enthusiasm and dedication. In those Basenoters you mention it is very apparent and enjoyable to read.

  15. #15

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by helg
    Hmmmm....someone had sent me this and got me wondering.
    http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conw...%207-12-05.htm
    I don't know what to think.....
    Neither do I. It worries me to get the notion that he could possibly behave like quicksilver on matters that must concern him to the core. Trashing a few scents is harmelss, in comparison.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by helg
    Hmmmm....someone had sent me this and got me wondering.
    http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conw...%207-12-05.htm
    I don't know what to think.

    I do get your point about the enthusiasm and dedication. In those Basenoters you mention it is very apparent and enjoyable to read.
    Wow,
    That post does make some interestingly lurid reading, and if discussed, could get nasty very quickly.

    Regarding the other subject, who knows the extent to which Burr is being wined, dined, and 69'ed [did I say that?], but I agree with Hirch - the possibilities for corruption are considerable.

    I really envy Burr's new job... think about it... you simply give your opinion on something, and there's no possible fact-checking... no chance of a Jason Blair situation here! Your only limit is the possible need to coddle the advertisers. If he really savaged some big advertising in a review, it's likely his editors wouldn't let it see the light of day. Conversely, if someone gave him a lifetime supply of Maitres Des Poubelles et Galantines and free 3-star lunches ad infinitum, it would be easy to give them nice reviews.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by chris2005
    To be honest, I find Burr's reviews no different than any other review from any other person. I've disagreed with is his recommendations (Clinique Happy) and disagreed with his dislikes (YSL M7.) And of course, we agree on some fragrances as well (Dior Homme, Dreamer.)

    So in the end, what makes him any different or unique?
    Yeah, that's the same thing I think. There's not so much fun in reading them. There are possibly a lot of aspiring journalists who could do the same thing he does, or better.
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

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  18. #18

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by helg
    It's actually this thing below that has me confused....

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/op...ewanted=1&_r=1



    Is this supposed to mean that we are not going to see any really bad reviews by products porvided by advertisers any time soon?
    *screatching head*
    Chandler Burr does harshly condemn fragrances, but as yet not in the column.

    On NPR's On the Media, Bob Garfield asked Burr, "[H]as it occurred to you that it's a sort of a transparent gimmick to just get more fragrance advertising within the pages of the Times?"

    Burr responded: "Yeah. That it would be perceived that way, of course, has occurred to me. I actually proposed it to The Times. I proposed it because perfume is an art, and I believe that it needs, like all real arts, to have a legitimate critical apparatus applied to it. The question of is this done for advertising pages I think is going to be answered pretty dispositively in the second and third columns. In the second column, I take a perfume by Davidoff and I say, smelling this is like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell. In the third column I have a perfume from Azzaro, a brand that I hate across the board, and I say, this thing smells like a soulless assembly line robot. Now, you tell me what you think advertisers are going to respond to that." (1)

    In an interview on NPR's Talk of the Nation a few days earlier, Burr also criticized "the Antonio Banderas scent, which I understand was a financial success [...] It reminds me of a perfume that I actually review---I won't tell you the name just because it's coming out in the New York Times [...] and I said, 'this perfume is like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell." (2)

    Then a week later Lisa Cox Barrett of the Columbia Journalism Review has him saying "There's a perfume by Davidoff that I review in T: Men's coming out on September 17 that I describe as 'like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell.'" (3)

    Those of you who read the column will note, however, no such language appears there. (4)

    Indeed Burr has been deriding certain scents at least since January 2006, when he wrote, "Look at the Kenneth Cole scents or Z by Zegna: Smelling them is like smelling fresh insecticide while locked in an aluminum cell." (5)
    Last edited by d4; 23rd October 2006 at 06:24 PM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I have read most of his reviews and he's somewhat entertaining but lightly informative.
    I do believe his reviews for the paper have been less than satisfactory.

    I'd much rather read the reviews of my fellow basnoters.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Whatever else he may write and think and do aside, these reviews IMHO are useless. Too short to be substantial, strangely flat in their newsbyte enthusiasm, devoid of any transparent system of evaluation. It might help if he did just one perfume and got into more depth.
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  21. #21

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by chris2005
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...
    This is why there shouldn't be critics in the first place. This guy is going to single-handedly prevent people from considering perfumes that they might otherwise enjoy, especially since he's the only one of his kind.

    I'm guilty of the same thing with movies. If I read a particularly nasty review of something, I kinda don't feel like watching it. Luckily, with movie reviews, there are thousands of them, and you can usually find some kind of consensus. But with Chandler Burr being the only english language scent critic published in a major media outlet, there is no way to weed out a ranting negative review of a perfume that many others (here, for instance) find great.

    I'm not against him reviewing, and i'm sure his reviews are mostly going to be ok...there just need to be more like him for the sake of evenhandedness and comparison.
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 23rd October 2006 at 09:32 PM.
    "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."

  22. #22

    Question Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by LiveJazz
    But with Chandler Burr being the only english language scent critic published in a major media outlet, there is no way to weed out a ranting negative review of a perfume that many others (here, for instance) find great.
    To wit, he writes:

    Case in point: M7. The original provokes, more than any other release, the deep question: What… were they thinking…? Here are two of the most masterful perfumers on the planet, Alberto Morillas and Jacques Cavallier, under (in theory anyway) Chantal Roos and Tom Ford's artistic direction, and they create the smell of a smashed Fiat engulfed in flames in the emergency lane of the A6, an alarming chemical storm of burnt rubber, charred metal, singed leather, and a touch of hot polycarbon. This is not, actually, a criticism: It was (I mean this) a well-constructed, thoughtfully built car in flames.
    (1)

    Criticism or not, does anyone here agree with any of that description?

  23. #23

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I own a copy of the "Emperor of Scent" and it is a catastrophe of a book by a journalist. It is a one-sided, kiss up to Luca Turin. This is supposed to be an explanation of how scent works...the problem is that there are no interviews with other scientists. There are no dissenting views. There are no scientists that agree with the theories presented. In fact, the scientific theory by Turin wasn't ever accepted by his peers as valid. And yet, here is a whole book devoted to what? A theory with no believers? It's really just a big commercial for Luca and for Chandler. I have to admit though that I really like Luca Turin.

    As for Mr. Burrs reviews, they are fluffy icing with absolutely no substance. He has a well used thesaurus, for sure.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column

    Quote Originally Posted by d4
    To wit, he writes:

    (1)

    Criticism or not, does anyone here agree with any of that description?
    I was nearly shocked when I smelled M7. But I had to hide my displeasure because it was a gift from my syster to her husband and they both were very satisfied. And I find no problem with this situation whatsoever. Should I?

  25. #25

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    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by paintrman
    ....There are no scientists that agree with the theories presented. In fact, the scientific theory by Turin wasn't ever accepted by his peers as valid. And yet, here is a whole book devoted to what? A theory with no believers?
    Believe it or not, that's exactly what the book is about. And it is not about Journalism and not about the validity of belief! Look at it as a biography, or a zoomed in chapter of one. If you care to go into details, it is also a study of academic power structures in the UK at the turn of a century.

    As it stands now, the theory must be regarded as not sufficiently proven. But as long as there isn't a better one, it is still a valid theory. For more: Luca Turin / The Secret of Scent/Faber&Faber London, 2006 /ISBN978-0-571-21537-9
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    As it stands now, the theory must be regarded as not sufficiently proven. But as long as there isn't a better one, it is still a valid theory.
    Well, there is the theory that was recognized with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen
    Well, there is the theory that was recognized with the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:
    http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/m...004/press.html
    wow. thanks for the great link!
    "Don’t try to be original. Be simple. Be good technically, and if there is something in you, it will come out. ” - Henri Matisse.

    "Wear R de Capucci" - Hirch Duckfinder

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  28. #28

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    Interesting comments, all.

    I like Chandler Burr's reviews because in every case for those fragrances I have tried, I agreed with him. This naturally leads me to relax my level of skepticism for his new reviews; I'm more willing to take him at his word. That's normal, I think.

    I have read The Emperor of Scent and I can see how easy it is to make the mistake of thinking it is a cheerleading book for Luca Turin (who I think is great, as a perfume maven anyway), far from it. In fact, there are many references to how difficult Turin is as a person and even more so as a scientist. There are references to how the book was almost never finished several times in the course of writing due to violent disagreements between Burr and Turin. Turin doesn't come out smelling of roses, no pun intended.

    As for the scientific validity of Turin's theory of smell (it's actually not his per se), from what little I know of the sciences, I don't think it's too far-fetched. It's at least logical. The fact it's not widely accepted doesn't mean much as I only have to point to Galileo.

  29. #29

    Thumbs down Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    I have to say, I simply can't stand the guy. I have never read perfume writing more vague than his.


    In his last article, "Color Coded: Chandler Burr on the Fragrance Industry's Dirty Little Secret," (The New York Times Style Magazine Beauty Fall 2006) http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/22/st...=1&oref=slogin he repeatedly refers to Kenzo Amour as "floral." Nothing else. Not what color or family of floral, not what sort of character it has, and certainly no mention of any actual flower. And how are we supposed to differentiate it from "Flower by Kenzo, a well-constructed, lovely flowery scent?"

    Now take the descriptions from the sidebar with the actual "reviews" (which don't seem to appear on the online version): he describes Kenzo Jungle as nothing more than "spicy and strong." And how's this for oblique? Fragile by JPG is "a scent like an instantly recognized face passing through a gauntlet of flashbulbs. You glimpse the sleek black dress, and then she's gone." Of Chanel No.19, "[it] is rather a stunning ingenue," and here's my favorite for vagueness: "In Love Again is a star from a 1959 Technicolor film. Here is a perfume of saturated color, hot magentas and yellows and cool cyans bleeding onto celluloid . . . its hyperrealism making it a kind of gorgeous olfactory pornography." Great, Mr. Burr, but WHAT DOES IT SMELL LIKE?????

    And where are his editors?

    If the point of giving him an article is to regard perfume like other art forms and review it with the same respect and dignity as one would a film, a play, an opera, ballet, etc., they ought to send him back to journalism school to have it hammered into his head once and for all that the purpose of a review is not simply to rattle off personal opinions, nor to write flowery and nondescript advertising copy, but first and foremost, to inform the reader what they're in for if they choose to partake of the experience themselves. If the review has thoroughly described the experience for the reader, then, and only then, has the reviewer earned the right to pass their own judgment on its quality. On that front, Chandler Burr has absolutely failed, and I don’t understand how the staff at the Times Magazine lets this stuff get published.

    There are great perfume writers out there. I'm deeply disappointed that this is the writer who is going to represent the fragrance world to the mainstream public.

    I nominate Columbina of http://perfumesmellinthings.blogspot.com/ to replace him.
    Last edited by Turkish Hookah Dancer; 24th October 2006 at 01:13 AM.

  30. #30

    Default Re: Chandler Burr's new column: thoughts?

    YES! You are correct! I agree with you completely and laughed out loud about Mr. Burr's writing!

    Oh, I have a secret crush on Columbina (Marina) and read her blog daily. She has never steered me wrong. I ordered my bottle of L'eau de Navegateur blind because of her and she was 100% right about it. It is fantastic.

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