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  1. #1

    Default How to differentiate smells?

    Everyone has been really helpful on these boards...I hope you can help me with this question! I have been trying on a zillion perfumes. Some are horrid on me (but really nice on the paper) and some smell really great! I'm trying to figure out what I like and don't like about each one. But I don't know how to distinguish between the scents! Some people write reviews that go into how they can smell each thing. Well - I don't know what Sandalwood smells like to know that I'm smelling it! How do you learn what these things smell like? Where can I go sniffing? Is this some talent that you are either born with or now? I'd like to start refining my nose...but have no idea how to start!


  2. #2
    Joel_Cairo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Cambridge, MA

    Default Re: How to differentiate smells?

    practise practise practise.
    When you notice that Frag A reminds you a bit of Frag B, look them up in the directory and see what notes, if any, they share in common.
    Some would recommend getting a set of essential oils, so you can get an impression of unadulterated Sandalwood or whatever, but I've never gone that far.

  3. #3

    Default Re: How to differentiate smells?

    Hi Michelle,

    Don't worry too much about which notes you can pick out in scents and which you can not. A good way to get familiar with what for instance sandalwood smells like, is trying out the essential oil. Certain health stores will have many different oils for you to try or buy.

    Also, when you're sampling a fragrance, look up the notes in either the Basenotes directory or . Perhaps you will find this helpful in teaching you which notes are used and clearing up what exactly you're smelling. However, not every note is as prominent. If there's jasmine listed but you hardly get anything floral, it might play just a very small role in the composition. Smelling every single note listed is not likely to happen. Have fun and keep us posted!
    "Perfume is the dream that carries me."

    There is always the sky to look at

  4. #4

    Default Re: How to differentiate smells?

    Thanks everyone...I'm starting to keep a log of what I like and what I don't (outside of my wardrobe) so I can easily sort on things to see the similarities.

    Another question...I notice some scents are listed as a top note and a middle note. Does that have anything to do with how much of that scent is in the mix? For instance...

    The Cinnamon in Lolita Lempicka's "L" is listed as a top note. Yet in Dior's "Dolce Vita" it's listed as a middle note. Does that mean there is more cinnamon in Dior's "Dolce Vita"? Or does it just mean cinnamon can waft between the top and middle notes?

    One last thing - I notice some differences between osmoz and basenotes in the top, middle and base note listings. Are these the "official" notes? Or just some expert giving an "educated guess"?

    Thanks again!


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Re: How to differentiate smells?

    top middle and base notes refer to what you smell when; the top notes are what you smell first, then after awhile it fades into the middle notes and then the basenotes.
    *thumbs up* for dolce vita though... i love that stuff

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