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  1. #1
    DeeOlive's Avatar
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    Default Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    Noticed for the first time - while doing the red bottle search, and this morning looking up notes for my Sotd that the 3 directories I have access to have contradictory, or different information.

    I haven't really paid much attention until now that the BN directory is difficult to access, and the pages logged in the Internet Archives Wayback Machine aren't up to date: http://web.archive.org/web/*sa_/http....basenotes.net.

    Notes listed for fumes also vary on shopping sites, and from the perfume houses and I was wondering if anyone knows where they come from? Press releases?
    It gets even more confusing when reading reviews on blogs and forums. Since my nose is not yet (and probably never will be) sensitive enough to identify more than some very obvious notes - I do use the directories and descriptions to guide me.

    Here's an example using my SotD today - Volupte, which I am very familiar with:

    OzMoz:
    http://www.osmoz.com/encyclo/marques...RFUM&LANGUE=en
    Volupte Oscar de la Renta
    Top note : Bergamot, Peach, Apricot, Violet
    Middle note : Orris, Rose, Lily of the valley, Heliotrope
    Base note : Cedar, Sandal, Benzoin, Tonka
    Floral oriental
    1992 Floral ,Rose Violet

    Michael Edwards, Fragrance Foundation Directory:
    http://www.fragrancedirectory.info/u...6E643D74727565
    Fifi Fragrance of the Year 1993
    Top: living osmanthus, living mimosa, living freesia, marigold, mandarin, melon
    Middle: jasmine, heliotrope, carnation, lily of the valley, ylang,ylang
    Base: amber, sandalwood, incense, patchouli
    Floral Oriental – Crisp Citrus Fruity

    Perfume Intelligence – The Encyclopaedia of Perfume
    http://www.perfumeintelligence.co.uk.../u/u5/v4p7.htm

    Volupte Oscar de la Renta 1992 In association with Sanofi Beauté, created by International Fine Fragrances;
    a crisp fruity floral-oriental parfum with top notes of osmanthus, mimosa, freesia, marigold, mandarin and melon,
    heart notes of jasmine, carnation,lily-of-the-valley, heliotrope and ylang-ylang,
    on base notes of amber, orris, sandalwood, patchouli, musk and frankincense.
    Presented in a flacon designed by Pierre Dinand,The advertising was unmistakably sensual

    Hmmmm.... there's a big diff between Apricot (OzMoz) and Melon (ME and PI)
    - "crisp" citrus fruity is not how I would describe Volupte - floral oriental is more like it.
    Musk is only mentioned in the encyclopedia.

    Just my musings. How many of you actually use directories?
    The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
    Chanakya

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    I usually take a peek at OsMoz, they are at least pretty good at naming the perfumer, and the olfactory group...
    When looking at a directory, I think you just get a *hint* about the notes in most cases, since it would be impossible in praxis to list all notes.
    Many times, when comparing notes from different directories, you shouldn' t think it was the same scent they described, and that makes me a bit frustrated.
    Everything passes. Everything changes. Just do what you think you should do.
    --Bob Dylan

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    Here's the situation:
    When the perfumer says "living osmanthus" what he/she means is that the scent is designed to smell like a live osmanthus flower. One can never bottle a living flower, only the essense derived from a tortuous process of killing the blossom by extracting the essense by steaming or dissolving the aroma out with chemicals, CO2, fats, alcohol, etc.

    To further complicate matters, natural materials can be the building blocks or models for making synthetics. Chemists make wonderful imitations of real flowers. Also, the molelcules of synthetic aromachemicals can be changed to accentuate the frutiness of the flower and exclude the woodiness and leafiness, while naturals will include all three characteristics.

    Here is the webpage of a company that sells aromachemicals (along with naturals) for perfumes and flavorings.
    http://www.thegoodscentscompany.com/allprop.html
    The names of the chemicals are long and complicated, so perfumers usually call the note what they smells like, but there are so many fanciful variations that it is hard to decide, which leads to names like "tactile woods" and "glacial citrus."

    The best aspect of the scent of osmanthus is that it smells like peach or apricot. Unless you buy an all-natural perfume, you can't be sure it is how much is real osmanthus absolute or concrete and how much is other (less expensive, or more stable, or easier to blend) fruit or floral notes supporting the natural ingredient.

    So, when Osmoz says "peach and apricot" they may be correct. Osmoz is probably analyzing the perfume with a specrometer and a gas chromatograph to separate the notes and identify each one. This is a combination of objective graph readouts and subjective human sniffing. Other than forcing a perfume manufacturer to reveal exact ingredients, it is the only way to identify the notes of a perfume.

    Here is what to do: Write the notes down from Osmoz. Write the notes down from the manufacturer. Write down the notes from users. Smell it yourself. Identify the three dominant notes that you smell in the perfume (using all three lists) and settle for that decision. You will never know who is right.
    Last edited by purplebird7; 6th January 2008 at 03:14 PM.

  4. #4
    DeeOlive's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    Thanks Purplebird! The "living" part was strange - now it makes sense.

    Is it true that different notes stand out differently on each wearer - or is it simply a matter of each person having different abilities to distinguish between and among notes - normal people - not trained "noses"?
    The fragrance of flowers spreads only in the direction of the wind. But the goodness of a person spreads in all directions.
    Chanakya

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    You're welcome.
    The end result is what matters--unless you get to the point, like I have, where you want to know what a "real" ingredient smells like. Then you must obtain naturals.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    Is it true that different notes stand out differently on each wearer - or is it simply a matter of each person having different abilities to distinguish between and among notes - normal people - not trained "noses"?[/QUOTE]


    I think it is both! Our individual chemistries and unique perceptions ~ excellent point!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    A little bit off-topic, but additional databases I refer to are:

    A very good encyclopedia:
    http://perfumeworld.net/


    Michael Edwards' fragrance recommendations -

    for masculine fragrances:
    http://www.fragrance-editions.com/fa...id=2139&type=M

    for female fragrances:
    http://www.fragrance-editions.com/fa...id=2139&type=F
    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

  8. #8

    Default Re: Perfume directories - scent notes - variances

    "Living" can also mean a headspace note, in other words, a molecule meant to mimic exactly the scent of some substance. For example, kyara agarwood is exceptionally rare and expensive, more than roses, jasmine, etc.. The Japanese have developed at least 2 headspace kyara notes, both really nice, one of which is proprietary to Shiseido. Yves Rocher uses quite a few headspace notes as well. Some are pretty excellent, others, yeesh.

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