Thread: This is so terrible
Yesterday I came to a terrible realisation.
After giving up on Habit Rouge due to the intense 3 day long migraines it causes me, I figured out Heritage does exactly the same. This is devastating. I do like Heritage. The last 3 or 4 times I have worn it its done this to me.
And the more I think about it, when I wear Guerlain Vetiver my throat usually ends up feeling funny.
I got my three Guerlains from three different sources so it cant be a matter of the juice having turned.
I think I might be allergic to the house accord.
I hope its coincidence, I will give each of my Guerlains one more chance. But just the thought of wearing Heritage or Habit Rouge is stomach churning for me.
Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 27th September 2007 at 07:58 PM.
Can one actually be allergic to a scent? This strikes me as unusual. Maybe a particular chemical, but not a scent.
"Why not seize the pleasure at once?"
-- Jane Austen (Sun, and Mercury in Sagittarius)
That's not to say all synthetic notes are bad, but the ones frequently used by designer brands nowadays are favoured because they're cheap and readily available, but not always human friendly. Our noses smell them and think "what the *#&@ is this??". And then there can be problems, depending on the person. I know from personal experience that after wearing niche house fragrances for a while, most designer/department store frags make me gag or make my nose tingle.
Last edited by Maxwell; 27th September 2007 at 09:12 PM.
The same sort of thing happened to me with Acqua di Parma.
I used to wear it as a signature scent - I didn't even own other fragrances. For about two years, I sensed this vague cigarette-like smell, at times, overpowering. I'd keep asking people around me if they smelled smoke, and of course, they never did. I even did a course of tests with an ENT, but they were unconclusive.
As my own experiment, I stopped wearing fragrance, washed my clothes with baking soda instead of detergent - just to see if it was something environmental. As it turns out, it was the AdP. Somehow, my nose interprets one of the notes as cigarette smell.
This revelation actually led me to Basenotes and to collecting and using other fragrances, so I guess I should be thankful. So far, nothing else I wear has produced the cigarette effect (fingers crossed). And my Dad got an almost-full bottle of AdP in the bargain. Sometimes though, I just have to have a blast of it. I get about a half-hour of good smell until the cigarette smell takes over.
Last edited by Bakerloo Line; 27th September 2007 at 10:09 PM.
This is why I wear neither. While I wouldn't get a migraine, I would feel terrible all day. It has a nauseating accord that I don't like smelling all that much. Same with Burberry Brit for men. Just gross. Can't stand 'em...
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Yes Ruggles, I get the nausea too. Although the Nausea is more pronounced with Habit Rouge.
Maxwell, I reckon your theory flies in my situation. They smell glorious in the opening (Heritage an Habit Rouge) but towards the heart they smell so "junk" and synthetic. Its stomach churning just thinking about it.
Guerlain still has access to the highest quality ingredients and uses them in all of their fragrances. All great fragrances since Jicky (1889) use synthetics. Who knows what note or accord is affecting you. Heritage is the same as it ever was. Habit Rouge is slightly less rich and balsamic, not what it used to be but still very good. It's far from smelling genuinely synthetic like so many men's fragrances. The Guerlinade accord, as good as it is, can be offputting to some people. It's strong in many of the women's Guerlains. As for the vetiver, I have no idea what that's about, but it's not because of cheaper raw materials. The vintage EDT is pretty rich so I can see why some people may not get on with it.
"It isn’t even the norm. I was in an extremely elegant bastion of perfume recently — gorgeous and innovative, with surprising scents — when I complimented a woman buying Chanel No. 5 on her choice. And she said, “Yes, I buy Chanel scents because they’re made from 100 percent natural products.”
There is an almost universal misunderstanding about perfume. The fact of the matter is that not only do all Chanel perfumes contain synthetic molecules, but also, every great scent is built on them.
The secret of Dior’s Eau Sauvage, by the legendary perfumer Edmond Roudnitska, is a synthetic called methyl dihydrojasmonate, a molecule that smells beautifully of clean, pure light, almost as if it were water you were smelling. The heart of the 1912 cult favorite Quelques Fleurs by Houbigant is a synthetic called hydroxycitronellal. CK One’s engine runs on Dihydromercenol. Angel’s secret is the molecule ethyl maltol (which was isolated in 1969 and is the succulent sweet molecule you smell when you smell cotton candy). And the secret of Chanel No. 5? Molecules called aldehydes, first synthesized in a laboratory in France in 1903.
Prejudice against synthetics is like any other prejudice. There’s the entry-level misperception: “Natural materials are always good.” Wrong. A low-quality natural narcissus is going to smell like garbage, while a good synthetic heliotropin is an olfactory marvel, as if a tonka bean had somehow been crossed with a cloud. Second misperception: “Synthetics are cheap.” Are you kidding? The best synthetics, like the best natural ingredients, are extremely expensive. One terrific synthetic called Amberiff costs more than $1,200 a pound.
Then there’s the slightly more sophisticated level of ignorance: “A synthetic is more likely to cause an allergic reaction.” Wrong again. A natural is more apt to do that. Take Sandalore, a synthetic molecule that smells like sandalwood. It’s exactly one molecule: C14H26O. Use Sandalore to get your sandalwood note, and there will be only one possibility of an allergic reaction. Use a natural sandalwood, which contains hundreds of molecules — alpha- and beta-Santalol, Spirosantalol, beta-Curcumene, (Z)-Nucifero, etc. — and you’ve got hundreds of different possible allergic reactions. Moreover, synthetic sandalwoods are ecofriendly. The sandalwood forests of India are being destroyed at a terrible rate, and the price of natural sandalwood is skyrocketing (currently heading up to $800 a pound). One perfumer I know told me that because of this, he now refuses to use natural materials in perfumes.
"Synthetics are ‘modern’ and ‘American,’ and naturals are ‘French.”’ Completely wrong. There’s no French-er house than Guerlain, no more classic collection of perfumes, and Guerlain perfumers began the synthetics revolution in 1889 by pouring three synthetics into the soul of its great perfume Jicky. The classic L’Heure Bleue (1912) derives its beauty from methyl anthranilate; Mitsouko (1919) uses the very elegant synthetic aldehyde C-14 (which smells deliciously of delicate, ripe peach); and the immortal Shalimar (1925) has, among other synthetics, ethylvanillin and quinolines. The sleek and, in my view, underrated Samsara has Sandalore, and just a few years ago the perfumer Maurice Roucel put a really cool molecule — cis-3 hexenyl (it smells, by itself, of freshly cut grass) — into his modern classic L’Instant de Guerlain.
As all perfumers know, synthetics are the essence of modern perfume. Creating a perfume without them is like painting a picture without blues or reds. You could do it, but why? Synthetics give you range, from the amazing milky molecule lactone, which makes Gucci’s Rush the ingenious piece of abstract art that it is, to the gorgeous synthetic iris that the perfumer Olivier Polge created when he made Dior Homme. (It’s impossible for technical reasons to wring any scent from the flower.)
Synthetics are the stock in trade of many companies, but I was talking with Françoise Donche, the creative director of fragrance for Parfums Givenchy, about the sublime scents made by Firmenich, a Swiss materials company. “Firmenich,” Françoise cooed, “c’est la haute couture de la molécule!” And it is. It was Firmenich that introduced Mitsouko’s aldehyde C-14 to Guerlain in 1919, and in 2006 the company is giving perfumers — and us — some of the most wonderful new scents around.
Sure, some synthetics I hate. Top of my hit list: Dihydromercenol. To me, it smells like laundry detergent spilled on an aluminum counter. It exploded on the scene in 1982 in Drakkar Noir (at a jaw-dropping 10 percent of the formula), followed by Polo, Cool Water and CK One, where it worked nicely. But now that it’s been put in eight million masculine fragrances, it’s a boring cliché. But I hate natural lavender, too, for the same reason: natural or synthetic, a cliché is a cliché.
In the end, it comes down to this: There is a hugely successful perfume on the market. You know it. You may well be wearing it.
It doesn’t have a single natural component. Because of the irrational prejudice against synthetics, the house won’t let me name it, which is as sad as it is nonsensical. This perfume is brilliantly constructed, from 100 percent synthetics. And synthetics make gorgeous, innovative, surprising scents."
Last edited by pluran; 13th November 2007 at 07:01 PM.
Guerlain fragrances can contain upto 80% natural ingredients. Certainly, Guerlains old time noses were strong proponents of natural ingredients. I don't know how much Habit Rouge and Vetiver have changed in their composition compared to their vintage versions because I haven't tried the vintage versions but the current versions smell ok to me .. I don't detect any chemically synthetic harshness in any of them.
Last edited by zztopp; 28th September 2007 at 08:06 AM.
Yeah.. Eternity causes me a headache ALSO Carolina Herreras (1991) top notes can put me in hospital!!
Rompip, I bet application is the key in this case...
Try to give all these juices one more chance applying them far from your head and in points where they won't directly evaporate straight under your nose. In this way you could probably smell them but not to assault your so delicate olfact.
So for example, try spraying it not on your neck but for example on your wristles and elbows, or at max one spray on your chest under your shirt. try to avoid absolutely to inhalate the first rush it gives just sprayed. Hope this will help enjoying anyway these so nice juices.
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You're not alone. I have developed the same problem with Habit Rouge; and the current Guerlain Vetiver and Mitsouko are the only scents I know that makes me nauseous. Because of that I haven't purchased any more Guerlains that I like--I had been planning on L'Instant and Heritage, but now I'm afraid I'll eventually get a bad reaction to them.
are you actually having migraines? that head in a vise and they won't stop tightening till you feel you can't stand it any more and that banging your head against the wall would be preferable?
If you're getting migraines, not just headaches (not by a really long stretch), I'd see a doctor. They have meds that dissolve on your tongue. All my migraines till I got this med usually made me lose the contents of my stomach and left me weak and in the dark with complete silence for at least 24 hours.
You say the Guerlains are doing this to you?
The headaches I've gotten from a chemical reaction were 1/20 the stength of a migraine.
I have learned to avoid frags with certain basenotes, esp. tonka bean in high doses. (HEADACHE CENTRAL FOR ME.) Chocolate can have the same effect on me, esp. when strong (e.g., A*men).
Ambergris (and sometimes strong, sweet amber) can trigger some mild headaches for me, but nowhere near tonka and strong chocolate. More's the pity, too, about cocoa and tonka, as I personally like both notes in and of themselves.
Something in Versailles pour Homme by Jean Desprez used to give me splitting headaches, but I loved the frag so much that I would literally put up with the pain for the sheer pleasure of smelling Versailles. Now Versailles is discontinued, and I can't afford it often if ever, anyway.
Last edited by tvlampboy; 28th September 2007 at 10:43 PM.
Peggy: "Right now, we have to get to the mental institution. Something terrible has happened."
Peggy: "Brother Boy has tried to kill himself. He jumped out of his bedroom window."
Latrelle: "Isn't he only on the second floor?"
Peggy: "Yes, but he hit his head on a lawn gnome."
Fr. Sordid Lives: The Series
"Live, live, live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death."
Interesting stuff there Pluran.
At the end of the day if I wear Habit Rouge or Heritage I am finished. I really like Heritage and am fond of Habit Rouge. Im just upset that I cant wear them!!!
Is guerlinade present in all Guerlains?
Still, they are detectably Guerlains. Guerlain perfumes are in generel, vanilla or not, said to be inspired by the spiciness of the Orient (think Indian temples, think Middle Eastern bazaars, think Turkish delights, think Thai food). I guess that's why you can always detect a Guerlain when it's nearby.
Honestly, I think that most of the things being said about "cheap synthetic junk in the new Guerlain products" is pure myth. Most of the new editions are extremely well made and of the same high quality as before, if not better. They are often more potent and long lasting than the earlier editions due to customers (including Basenoters) always wanting more powerful scents, but they are not more "synthetic". For instance Shalimar which in it's current edition has such a powerful opening of bergamot that some people stamp it as "synthetic". No, it's just more powerful, it's heart and base as delicious and gourmand as ever.
Ok was wondering if Guerlinade may be the culprit.
I cant pinpoint Vetivers effect on me. The period when I was wearing a lot recently it was midwinter (winter in Joburg is quite cold with EXTREMELY dry air) and I was smoking almost 50% more than usual. That could easily explain the irritated throat.
I dont get ill when wearing Vetiver or Shalimar the way I do with Heritage or Habit Rouge.
So its not Guerlinade (I dont think.)
OK - so I wore Heritage this afternoon (I spritzed some on when I went home for lunch) and this afternoon at the end of the day I had a headache...
I sure hope I'm not getting the same allergic reaction that rompip and Ruggles got... 'cause I love Heritage. Will try again soon and post...
"Until you practice surrender, the spiritual dimension is something you read about, talk about, get excited about, write books about, think about, believe in — or don’t, as the case may be. It makes no difference. Not until you surrender does it become a living reality in your life."
-- Eckhart Tolle
Habit Rouge is the only Geurlain I've tried that I just can't take. Every time I test it, it's just a mess. Gives me a headache when I wear it long enough.
I think the Guerlinade accord negatively affects me as well
I get headaches from Vetiver and Heritage, which is why I had to sell them immediately...
People seem to be misinterpreting what I said about synthetics.
Pluran: I didn't mean that all synthetics are bad, by any means. Otherwise I wouldn't be buying and wearing fragrances.
I'm not talking so much about the aroma chemicals in a fragrance, but the stabilizers, preservatives, artificial colors and other chemicals added to modern perfumes to increase shelf life and longevity. These can definitely cause headaches in people. Aroma chemicals like the ones you quoted usually are not the culprits. It's the other material added to fragrances often cause reactions to people who are sensitive to them.
Also, like Tvlampboy said, there are certain notes like Tonka bean which are notorious head ache inducers. Tonka is actually a nervous system irritant (even in low-ish doses), which is why it has recently been restricted in certain perfumes.
I love certain synthetics in my fragrances. The synthetic ambergris in Rose 31 is fantastic. But I do have a problem with some of the junk (as I mentioned above) that's being added to the mainstream commercial perfumes these days. Too many people get reactions to them and now certain governments are talking about restricting public perfume use because of that.
Last edited by Maxwell; 13th November 2007 at 05:30 PM.
As a service to everybody and their health issues regarding Guerlian fragrances, I am offering my secure offsite storage/disposal/adoption facility for your abandoned Guerlains.
To go even a step further, I will gladly donate the shipping & handling costs involved in the rescue of these little guys.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, ...... I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost
Habit rouge often gives me headaches and heritage occasionally does.There is something in them which I react to, I could be wrong but I think it is a synthetic.
That piece is one of Burr's best, though I think he writes a lot of rubbish. I just loose all respect for him when he says he doesn't like lavender because its a cliche. That is bl**dy ridiculous.
Maybe someday we'll understand how to construct fragrances like nature does and get that "natural" feeling harmony even in mostly synthetic fragrances. As much as I love my frags with synthetics in them, the feeling I get from them compared to a real rose is very different... the former lack the complete harmony of the rose.
Last edited by Maxwell; 14th November 2007 at 06:08 PM.
Thank you for your fascinating post. Here we have a rational discussion based on facts rather than opinions.
To me, many people seem to suffer from this perception that natural equals good and synthetic equals bad. This is definitely not the case and you have explained it well in your post regarding perfume ingredients.
I am a doctor by profession and this “New-Agey” perception that natural things are always better permeates my world too, but concerning herbal preparations rather than pharmaceutical preparations.
Ivy is a natural preparation – but that does not stop it being a poison. Proof that a natural substance is not necessarily good for you.
Herbal preparations are often un-standardised and they are not subject to the same quality controls as pharmaceutical preparations. If you drank an infusion of foxglove in its natural form you might get either little benefit or a toxic overdose of digitalis. However a tablet of digoxin, which is the pharmaceutical equivalent, will give you a standardised dose of pure digoxin with no other contaminants or other pharmacologically active agents. And every time you take a tablet you get exactly the same amount of the exact same stuff. No variation.
Having read both the Luca Turin book and your book about the science of smells and the theory of shape being superseded by Luca’s theory of smell, I found the chemistry fascinating (the first time I have ever found chemistry fascinating) and your post regarding synthetics is enlightening.
There is something to be said for the ethical advantage to some synthetics, as well as cost and health benefits.
I am sure people can be allergic or intolerant of natural products as well as synthetics but let’s get away from the idea that because something is natural it has got to be better for us, or “healthier”, because that is just not true.