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  1. #1

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Question Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    In her 11/11/06 post describing notes in Must II, Riannon points out the difference between "notes" listed on BN and on OsMoz. I find the same is true - but not quite so disparate - for Hermes' Eau de Merveilles.

    What's a poor novice to do? Who has the final say?
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    I have also found differenses between osMos and Basenotes, for the notes of several frags, and I have asked this question before - without any reply, so far. This is very confusing for an amateur!

    I would very much want to know which is the most reliable of osMos and Basenotes.
    Faves right now: Chanel No 19, Stella Rose Absolute, L´Heure Bleu, Elixir de Merveilles, Samsara.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Yes, I agree this is very unsatisfying. Maybe to some extent it comes from the fact that just a few notes (out of hundreds??) are listed, I don`t know.
    I hope for more replies!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Quote Originally Posted by musse
    Maybe to some extent it comes from the fact that just a few notes (out of hundreds??) are listed...
    That's it! Besides, let your nose be your guide. I sometimes feel something totally different than the "official" listed notes, and wearing the same fragrance again and again only strengthens my suspicions. Rose-growers (Hi, Shy!) will tell you that the same flower has different nuances of smell during the day, and I am not even touching the subject of diferent regions and years: fruity, buttery, powdery, deep, incensy, etc. Citrus may be hard to classify, too: lemons, grapefruits, oranges, mandarin, tangerine, limes, bergamot, kumquat, the list is endless, and all will have the different degree of tang and zest. So is vanilla, jasmine, sandal...

    When analizing the notes, I am also using ScentDirect and designers' sites, and the result is not two, but often times four sets of notes.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    I write both lists down, then I choose the three main notes that I, myself, smell from both of them. After all, many fragrances are made from synthetics which smell "like" real things, but the imagination of the wearer is what defines them.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Twolf, you have certainly helped me, for instance, if it says wood or patchouli, it's like who knows until you smell them. I like to get a round about picture of what the notes are, but then make sure and smell them for sometime, because boy can they differ. Also on some sites, the scents will be listed as a floral and then on another an oriental, then on another something else. And what further complicates things is how the fragrance will react to your skin.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    When I already own a scent, it is just fun to read the notes from different sites (and I use the sites of sellers as well). Kind of 'I was right all the time' experience, when you discover that what you thought you were smelling, is indeed there, and not a trick of bodychemistry. But when I choose my samples, I use the various lists as a guideline. Something with a large dose of violet or iris usually will not work for me.

    But I think there must be notes that are so prominent in a scent that they simply stand out and it is most confusing when two excellent lists like Basenotes and OzMoz have a different point of view.
    Sometimes you get a carded sample and they have been so kind to write down everything from topnote to drydown. Often I looked in amazement at the notes given by, say, either BN or Ozmoz. They even don't agree with the people who made the stuff!

    And many times I read after writing a review, or simply mentioning notes: "hey, those notes sound really great, where can I get a sample?".
    So our choices are certainly guided by the given notes.

    To be honest, I don't think there will ever be an agreement. People (experts!) don't even agree about scent families. So what are we expecting? Like Twolf said: "let your nose be your guide". The lists of notes can be helpful, but they are not carved in stone. That much I learned by now.
    The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp

  8. #8

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Many thanks all y'all! Good to have one's "suspicions" confirmed. (Guess we all need - um - validation!) One is always treading the fine line between being unique and "one among many".

    If we all had the same responses - everybody would like broccoli! :bounce:
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Part of the confusion is the recombination of synthetic or single aroma chemicals on your skin or in your nose.
    I don't have a deep understanding of the technical process, but if the menthol isolate from Peppermint, Menthyl Acetate, is used in a fragrance, it can, depending on the amount and juxtaposition, be called a menthol note, or a mint note. One person's nose might read it as mint, another as menthol, or if the note combines with a different single note chemical, it might strike someone as a peppermint patty.
    The creator might call it a mint julep fragrance, with peppermint notes, while someone else might have memories of mentholatum.
    An interesting site explaining the complexity of combining aroma chemicals is:
    http://www.perfumersworld.com/
    Click on "flowers" on the left and it will take you to the Jasmine page, where they discuss the varieties of chemicals, some of high quality, some not, of reproducing this fragrance artificially. The Hedione they discuss is actually quite lemony, and is a way to get a long lasting lemon-like undertone. So when they market this, do they call it a jasmine or lemon note? They can go either way, I believe, depending on what they are trying to achieve. But it doesn't mean our nose will cooperate with their intentions!
    My explanation of this is quite amateurish, I'm sure, but you get the idea why it can be marketed with differing note lists. When you break fragrances down into single notes, then recombine them in different ways, it plays much more to the imagination.
    And of course, part of the game is to lure the buyer without disclosing *too* much. So there are many other notes in there to be teased out. My nose is very sensitive to opopanax. I can smell it in a fragrance in very small doses, rarely given on the ingredient list. So if opopanax is used in levels high enough to be considered a marketable note, it's already way too strong for my nose. I think that partly accounts for why one person will consider a fragrance a strong rose fragrance and another will say she didn't smell any rose in it at all.

  10. #10

    TaoLady's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Quote Originally Posted by flathorn
    An interesting site explaining the complexity of combining aroma chemicals is:
    http://www.perfumersworld.com/....My explanation of this is quite amateurish, I'm sure, but you get the idea why it can be marketed with differing note lists. When you break fragrances down into single notes, then recombine them in different ways, it plays much more to the imagination.
    Wow! Great explanation and fascinating site. Many thanx! Will help me trust my nose and my inclinations (and my attitude!):bounce:
    "The world is ruled by letting things take their course. It cannot be ruled by interfering." Lao Tze

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Quote Originally Posted by flathorn
    My explanation of this is quite amateurish, I'm sure, but you get the idea why it can be marketed with differing note lists.
    Eehh "amateurish"???. You make me feel like a blundering amateur! Thank you for that great post and wonderful site. It went straight to my 'Favourites'!
    The bird of paradise alights only upon the hand that does not grasp

  12. #12

    Default Re: Fragrance "notes" - which is the "authorized" definition?

    Quote Originally Posted by flathorn
    And of course, part of the game is to lure the buyer without disclosing *too* much. So there are many other notes in there to be teased out.
    I have foud this to be very true -- often the maker's site is the least informative, probably because the marketing people are trying to shoehorn any given scent into the profile of current fragrance trend forecasts. Ever notice how wildly different two Guerlain fragrances with similar profiles on the Guerlain site can smell?

    Thanks again for the great post!

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