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  1. #1

    Default Hacking Cheap Scents? anyone tried?

    Hacking Cheap Scents? anyone tried?

    Long Prologue and Appreciation:

    Discovered Basenotes last year: I was up for a temporary office job and felt that I needed to mask my stale cigarette smell with something light and hopefully respectable.

    My sense of smell is not only untutored, but destroyed by years of nicotine abuse: my only previous experience with men's scents had been a disastrous experiment with a "natural" evergreen mix in my youth (smelled like pine trees, burned the skin), a small decanted bottle of what an ex-girlfriend claimed was Lagerfeld, a garage sale bottle of Perry Ellis (pronounced "suitable for funerals" by another woman friend, a garage-sale bottle of Polo with a few spritzes left in it, and a 20 year old bottle of Blue Stratos (judged "Gone Off, Toss it!" I didnt).

    Not a good start..

    With the help of Basenotes reviews and an Ebay binge, I now have some Bowling Green- which turned out to be a nice office scent, as well as Ulric Varens' Man-Tea-Tobacco and Absolute Musk for evenings. Of course, I spend too much on ebay and bleed on the shipping, so I can only indulge once or twice a year. This year's indulgences are Grey Flannel and Davidoff's Zino (sold cheap because the ebay seller listed it as FINO (hah!) Couldnt have done it without Basenotes! Many many thanks!

    But there were also mistakes and near misses...

    The huge 8oz bottle of Tabac (too soapy!)
    The Halston Z-14 (huh? what is this smell?)

    And then there were the funny dollar-store knockoffs (Heh.. They are a buck)

    The white and black "BOOS" (Hugo Boss knock offs: synthetic, but almost worth something - funny BOSS bottles with BOOS embossed on them!)

    The Horrible "JP" Polo and obsession knockoffs (urinal puck & cat box)

    The "Q fragrances" obsession and polo knockoffs (simple, a bit too sweet, not vile but obviously cheap, why do they always go for obsession and polo?)

    And finally, some made-in-India copies (Unique Edition brand) of 1960's after-shaves: all menthol and lavender: these smell better than the Tabac.


    I have been reading the DYI forums and I'm impressed as all heck, but fear that I dont have the nose, access to materials and patience to concoct a personal scent.

    But I am extremely curious about the possibilities for "hacking" and inexpensive existing scent. Has anyone tried this?
    It seems it would be easier then starting from scratch.

    Dump a few drops of Vetiver essential oil into something and stand back..
    Maybe some artificial leather?
    Sweetgrass? Nothing can compare to the smell of a sweetgrass basket!
    Pipe tobacco smell?
    Something citrus?
    Maybe pepper -like?
    Musty basement?
    Crab, Tiger & Almond?

    little 5ml vials of essential oils are under CA $3.00 ea at: fragrance_oils_list.asp AKA: fragrance_oils_list.htm
    ALSO essential_oils.asp the exercise is affordable.

    The recommended pages at essentials1.html
    and catalog/essentialoils.asp
    are fascinating

    This place is so detailed with synthetics it is scary: allodor.html

    Then there is gasoline, turpentine, lemon oil, creosote, linseed oil, etc..
    Ok.. sound crazy, but its hard to argue that they are not MANLY smelling.

    Gotta do SOMETHING with that 8oz bottle of Tabac: the shipping was murder on it!

    So once again, the big question: Anyone try anything like this?
    Some advice from veterans would be good before I go off and make a mess.
    Please post. And apologies for the long spiel.

    And in any case, thanks to the whole Basenotes community for the help already!

    (In Windsor On. Canada; where ebay shipping is a killer
    and it's Sears and the Bay for men's scents.. Bleh!)

  2. #2

    Default Try layering!


    Instead of "hacking" something by pouring more things in, try layering, e.g. do the "hack" directly, by applying the fragrance + whatever you choose to add, right on your skin. Dilute any essential oil in some sort of carrier oil, because some can be really irritating at full strength.

    Many people layer even high quality fragrances in order to obtain a specific result; it has the advantage of allowing you to experiment with infinite combinations.

    I've never tried "hacking" a fragrance in the way you describe, but if there are fundamental problems with something, you can't really cover it up, regardless of whether it is of a poor quality or just doesn't work with your chemistry.

    Price is no guarantee of quality, but in general the unusually/suspiciously cheap are not a great bet, and the most carefully crafted offerings tend to run expensive.

    Ultra-cheap essential oils are seldom any good; find a reputable firm and stick with them. If your budget is small, go with less expensive selections (e.g. citruses, certain neutral florals such as lavender) rather than low-end versions of things that--when authentic and of good quality--cost the equivalent of an organ transplant.

    As for expensive failures... well, try RE-Baying them

    Finally: Unless you like having collections of amusingly bad knock-off bottles containing unwearable juice, buy from sellers with good reputations (there is a thread for this on Basenotes); also, try before you buy, you can order samples from luckyscent (3 US$ a pop) or the like... you needn't buy from the place where you did your testing, after all.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Hacking Cheap Scents? anyone tried?

    KLS, is your office in Antarctica very cold?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Hacking Cheap Scents? anyone tried?

    uH: to Wedge2: ooops... busted!
    To mysteriousmongoose: layering is a good tip.. As for your cautions on cheap scents-- darn & tanstafl! I finally got the time to sit down with a pile of tissue paper and the pile of cheap knockoffs.. the more I combined, the worse it got.. Didnt know urinal puck could have so many subtle variations. Only thing I could discover was that the cheap knockoffs have very little in the way of bases. A tragic waste of perfumers alchohol. I have a new appreciation for TABAC, even though it's just not right for me, it blasted through the knockoffs.

    I still plan to see what happens if I drown the knockoffs in something strong, though it might be a waste of good perfumer's oils to try.. Maybe "Leather" (synthetic), sweetgrass, violets and a touch of linseed oil and 1oz of vodka and be done with it.

    In the meantime, there's always Ebay, but thats a different thread..
    Regards & thanks

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