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  1. #1

    Default On perfume columns

    Dear all,
    I would like to commend on the BASENOTES article on Chandler Burr. I think that it is extremely smart of The Times to host such a column and Chandler must be a smart piece of ass. I keep on wandering though about criticizing perfumes, artistically, knowledgably, or instinctively. OUR perceptions of perfumes change radically according to so many parameters at any given time.
    It can be our mood, our memories, and a temporarily intense smell predisposition (smelling a city sewer before going to a perfume lab!?), socio-cultural prejudice, the weather (humidity levels...), and so on.
    The point I want to make is that a perfume is as lively and interactive as are our senses, skin and intellect. So when trying to criticize a perfume one should maybe use different ways (perfume ways) to not rate it but talk about it. Of course there are the factors of longevity and complexion and whatever technical terms are used, but there always remains the important notion of the human body, its warmth, its natural odours...
    A perfume may fade away flat and boringly on one's and linger intriguingly on someone else's body and soul. So what I would expect from a perfume critic is to invent a language of perfume "criticism," within which the critique is a narrative of circumstances. So maybe one-perfume longer review per time is preferable!
    The bottom line is that if someone out there would like to give me a try as a perfume critic for a while... go ahead! Then we can see how well I can implement the above! I am sure it is going to be harder than I think.
    Last edited by michailG; 13th January 2008 at 07:19 PM. Reason: mistake

  2. #2

    narcus's Avatar
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    Mar 2005
    Königl. Preussen

    Default Re: On perfume columns

    Several perfumes have meant different things to me in various stages of my life. But take three steps back, and the ones that were most precious to me at one point, are still precious to me now. Then there are a lot which didn't matter much after one season, or two. None from this second group have suddenly grown to something great for me. If differences were noticed over time, it was a matter of degrees, and there were no real u-turns. Luca Turin who has been writing reviews for more than twenty now has also been fairly constant in his assessments, no matter whether it was done in a few lines or filled the page in a book.

    I see the problem somewhere else: there are perfumes that meet my standards and taste, and there are all the others which I either disliked almost instantly, or which I did not get at all. I only know a few persons who sense the special quality of a perfume, even though it appears to be a stranger, or even violates their personal taste. If a perfume critique discards a whole family of masculine fragrances as 'horrible, just suitable for hairy chested machos' (woody chypres for example) then I begin to worry if he can ever be fair to his readers, even in respect of other fragrances.
    Last edited by narcus; 13th January 2008 at 09:07 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi č un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  3. #3

    Default Re: On perfume columns

    I basically agree with Narcus; however, there are perfumes that grow into me and others that don't, plus tastes I believe change. Why suddenly eau(s) have become sooo popular and people do like them. I believe in the social construction of taste, at least partly. That's why I propose a different language in the perfume critique; a more narrative one and less "critique like." And your example provides me with a very good argument already.

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