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  1. #1

    Default Developing/Educating a Nose

    This may more properly belong in the Starting Out discussion (noob here), but after reading so many articulate, passionate, and inspired deconstructions of fragrances on this board, and in the reviews section, I have to ask: How did you all learn to "read" the individual notes in a complex fragrance? Does that come with long experience, much sniffing, training? I can detect the most obvious levels - the smoke in Fumerie Turque (pretty obvious, that) - and some secondary ones - amber in Gris Clair - but I'm far from gettting the hay in Chergui (maybe it's been too long since I've been around freshcut hay. . .) or the oregano, let alone the ashes in Gris Clair.

    I'd be curious to hear your experiences, and any tips would be welcome.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Developing/Educating a Nose

    It just takes some time to getting used to. The longer you are around and smelling different things the more you will find new respect for scents that you may not have liked as much before. Along the way you will learn to pick up certain notes and stuff. It don't take "schooling" to learn to pick out these scents. Just some time and effort.

  3. #3
    zztopp's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    the Dirty South

    Default Re: Developing/Educating a Nose

    You have to do two things to educate/develop your nose:

    1) Try lots of fragrances
    2) Interact on a fragrance board and carry out discussions, read reviews, and form your own opinion.

    The most economical way to test fragrances is via samples or decants. Spend time with them, trying to identify notes and the overall flow and construction of the fragrance. If you cannot, or if you have some questions, visit the discussion board, dig up old threads (theres a useful search function here) and see if your questions/doubts have been answered. If not, post a new thread, and start a conversation - lots of Basenoters will be willing to provide their input and opinion.

    Thats how you will develop a nose - with experience and fruitful discussions.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Developing/Educating a Nose

    The posts above are all very good and helpful. I'd like to add though that if you get a chance to go to Sephora, they would be happy to provide you with a "Fragrance Wheel". A Fragrance wheel is divided into four families and sub families. Floral notes, Oriental Notes, Fresh Notes, and Woody notes. This helped me a lot in compartamentalizing each notes and familiarizing myself with each one. It's a wonderful olfactory world out there so good luck and welcome!
    "A great perfume is a work of art, it can lift our days, haunt our nights and create the milestones of our memories. Fragrance is liquid emotion. And that never goes out of fashion. " MICHAEL EDWARDS

  5. #5

    Default Re: Developing/Educating a Nose

    For a start I would recommend to choose a scent (sample) of which you can simply find the notes. The Basenotes Fragrance Directory is perfect for that. Testing a scent with the notes in your head gives you the opportunity to recognize, to understand their interaction. After some time you will recognize certain notes without reading them first. Sometimes I still use this approach when I have a scent that does not appeal to me at first. Reading about the notes make me 'understand' that scent better, single out the notes I love and sometimes understanding it makes it possible for me to really appreciate the complexity and beauty of a perfume.

    Edit: not being able to smell the ashes in Gris Clair?!? Lord, I wish I had your bodychemistry! After twenty minutes wearing this I smelled like I had rubbed a full ashtray on me. Horrible experience.
    Last edited by Riannon; 30th October 2006 at 07:29 AM.
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