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  1. #1

    Default Beginner w/ Colognes

    Hey everyone,

    I recently delved into the world of colognes and I find myself enticed, I love everything about the different smells and such. But I had to admit I'm not very adept at identifying the different notes in each smell.

    How does one become better at finding these things (it seems kind of like a sommelier for wine)? Does it come from experience? Is there a guide? Anyways, I'm just here to learn, have fun, and hopefully use it to my advantage.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Beginner w/ Colognes

    Hello and welcome to basenotes.

    I have found that experience will get you closer to identifying specific notes. I'm not the best at it but I've gotten much better since I've first started. There are kits to get each different note but I don't use those. I don't know about a guide but there are scent pyramids in the directory that show the makeup of the scent. You can compare the notes there to what you are smelling and hopefully learn what each note smells like...

  3. #3

    Default Re: Beginner w/ Colognes

    Be careful about learning off of scent pyramids. They are a very rough guide to a basic outline of a scent - they are not a comprehensive recipe. Is there another way to learn? No, not really. You just have to take the pyramids with a grain of salt and don't be confused if the same "note" comes out completely different in 2 different scents. Time and lots of testing is the only guide I know.

    Of course you could buy small vials of essential oils. This probably works very well, but when you smell all those things in isolation you miss out on thier interactions. For example - I think pure musk (synthetic, of course) smells vile - but there is musk listed in the pyramids of almost every scent I own (and almost every scent period). If I avoided scents that listed musk I'd be skipping most of my favorites.

    Good luck.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beginner w/ Colognes

    Scent pyramids are also sometimes very misleading marketing tools. Flashy fancy notes, boring juice. I guess this can be very frustrating for beginners, or people basing blind buy purchases on pyramids. I would suggest to just keep smelling, finding stuff that you like, and some of the notes stuff will come to you by reading the forums. For instance, people discussing how Allure Homme or Burberry Brit has lots of nice tonka.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Beginner w/ Colognes

    I have bunches of scents now, but I'm still learning this, too. Along with all those excellent suggestions, here's one easy, cheap thing that helped me... I went to the local health food store, where they have a collection of essential oils, and testers for each one. This allows you to sniff one note at a time. Obviously, some smells may be better quality than others, but it's a start, and I had fun.

    There are usually lots of them, and it may be advisable to bring a piece of paper for writing down impressions (I didn't do that, so I "forgot" some scents). And if you don't want to look like a freeloader, you could buy a couple favorites! You can overdose when doing this, of course, rendering you unable to absorb more smells. Some fragrance counters have coffee beans to sniff when you want to "cancel" a smell and "clear the palate". You could bring your own beans.

    Getting samples and decants from BN members is a way to do this with the actual colognes. Good luck!

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