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  1. #1

    Default fragrance categories - useful or not?

    what do y'all make of the fragrance categories? are they bunk? are they useful categorization tools? how can pink sugar be considered oriental? where do you get the categories from? michael edwards's thingy, the fragrance foundation? osmoz? based on my own wardrobe, i am trying to compile a spreadsheet, and i started to write down each fragrance family so i could get some statistics going. but then i started to wonder if it was actually truly meaningful. and then i wondered who actually decides anyway? is there some official thing? so many questions....
    Seeking: woods patchouli fresh tuberose


  2. #2

    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    I still consider them interesting and fun to use nonetheless.
    In general and in life, i am not a huge fan of any kind of categorization, but i can see the need for it ,and sometimes, they can help me get something i want , even if it's lead me there via the wrong direction.
    And other times, i just see stuff than i wouldn't have encountered otherwise by my own means, if you know what i mean.
    Is it truly meaninful you ask? only if you find them categories fun and somewhat informative.
    There is not one official ,regulatory, legal way to categorize the scents, but we can only rely on the info the house gives us in the sense of in what category they think the fragrance in question is and what their intention is for that kind categorization.
    In any case, i think it's very much a personal thing.
    If someone says "x frag" is an oceanic fourgère and another says it's really an aromatic hespéride, i would take note but i wouldn't say that one is more right than the other (at least not superficially) since everyone has different views and it's all very relative.
    Pink sugar considered an Oriental? IMHO, that's pushing the envelope, maybe just for the sake of being controversial, but we have to see what that person (or the company) considers and oriental to be like.
    My personal opinion would be something else, and ultimately the most important, at least to myself.
    Last edited by castorpollux; 19th January 2007 at 09:43 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by quinpus
    and then i wondered who actually decides anyway? is there some official thing? so many questions....
    Good question, I'd also love to know the answer to this!
    I'm in two minds about fragrance categories - on the one hand I do find having a fragrance category helps me to get a better idea of what the fragrance might smell like... but on the other hand I have sometimes been misled or confused by the fragrance categories and in those cases I think I would have been better off just reading a simple description of the fragrance and coming to my own conclusions.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    Fresh, green, floral, foody are fairly useful descriptions, but spicy and oriental seem murky to me, too far ranging.

    I liked your description of "womanly," quinpus, for some Rochas frags. I understand that categorization. Sometimes I say a frag smells French, which probably has something to do with its having aldehydes.

    I'd rather fragrances would be referenced with something like a musical key signature. Or, as in wine, you're given three variables: grape variety, alcohol content and residual sugars as indicators.

    The system does need some kind of overhaul.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  5. #5

    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    Absolutely, a good question.
    Michael Edwards is great for hair-splitting accuracy, but there are so many categories that it is hard to remember them all and make those minute distinctions between the sub-categories contained therein.
    H&G has a great flow chart for quick reference, but the definition within those categories is not specific enough.
    I use several different classifications at once.

    And then, I always ask myself, what three notes do I smell the most in this perfume? That way, I do not get overwhelmed by details. I think that the longer you do this, the more perfumes that you smell, the less you have to refer to classifications to find what you like. Artisankey just said to me today that she can intuit what perfumes will smell good on her because she has become so familiar with the notes. I wholeheartedly agree.

    Certain combinations, especially if they are the ones that are dominant TO YOUR NOSE in the fragrance, will almost always come out as a winner.
    For instance: rose + patchouli, galbanum + labdanum, myrrh + sandalwood. Whatever. You know yourself. Me? I'm a woody girl. Doesn't matter if it lands in the Floral category, or the Chypre category, or the Oriental category. It just so happens that many Woody fragrances end up in Chypre and Oriental, so that's where I end up. But if the wood is prominent enough, it draws me into Greens sometimes, with MOST EXCELLENT results. And I would be missing those fragrances if I simply avoided them according to the charts.

  6. #6

    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    Same with me, Purplebird - I like foody, fruity perfumes and have several, but two are floral, two are basically oriental and one is a woody chypre. I don't have an allegience to any particular family - I just like to smell delicious!

  7. #7

    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    I love woody orientals and gourmands so I just had to look up Pink Sugar and sure enough it's listed as an oriental in many places. It is getting much more confusing, but if I get some idea of the notes, I can then see if it is worth testing, for me.

  8. #8

    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    castorpollox, i agree. it's a bit like taxonomy. and like you said, it's fun to have little categories, and it elucidates the similarities and (sometimes unexpected) differences in frags.

    lalage and purplebird, like you, (and actually based on advice purplebird gave me when i FIRST found basenotes) i have found that knowing the NOTES is more helpful than the category. the notes give me more information about finding what i'm looking for than the somewhat vague category. still, i feel compelled to KNOW what category it is in.

    quarry, this is what i am driving at. foody isn't technically a category, and neither is womanly, or french, for that matter - but they manage to describe the fragrance in a better way than the "official" category. the edwards category system can SORT of hit on it, with the subcategories like RICH, or white flowers, but, for example, the very important "gourmand" distinction does not exist in this system.

    i guess i am just frustrated with what i feel is a somewhat inaccurate, arbitrary or incomplete system. but like tddanae said, i guess it's just most important to get the notes to have some idea of what you like.
    Seeking: woods patchouli fresh tuberose


  9. #9
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    Default Re: fragrance categories - useful or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by quinpus
    it's a bit like taxonomy.
    Yes! Wonderful analogy.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

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