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Thread: "Synthetic"

  1. #1

    Default "Synthetic"

    Take JPG and CdG and their embrace of synthetics and un-natural scents as worthy of perfume itself (to one degree or other and to very different ends - JPG capturing "80's Camp" and CdG going for Neo-Modernist Abstraction) - it is in many ways its own aesthetic within a world obsessed with "natural" smelling things.

    I think CB I hate perfumes is kind of in this camp - trying to evoke an emotional experience - and L'Artisan - And flirting with it sort of with things like Dzing! replicating the experience of going to the circus?

    I guess the question - are synthetics properly used - worthy of appreciation in their own right and as their own medium?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: "Synthetic"

    I remember reading an interview with Christopher Brosius (owner of CB I Hate Perfume) and he said that so many women who he met in his shop, who talked to him about ideas for a new scent, always mentioned they wanted him to do a scent based on the smell of gasoline fumes. They remarked that when they were pumping the gas at their local gas station, the smell was always one that was unique, sharp and slightly comforting. I never forgot that story and I (of course) always think of it when I'm pumping gas in my car. I think it shows that synthetic notes are very worthy of appreciation.

    I, personally, have had very strong emotional responses to synthetic notes, as well as natural ones. Both can affect me very deeply. At the Beach 1966 by CBIHP has a particular note in it, that smells like Coppertone suntan lotion, the way it used to smell when I was a kid. The first time I wore ATB, I sat there for a few minutes and let the waves of memories come over me, of being a kid at the beach in Naples with my family and older brother. This is one of the main reasons why I love and wear fragrances.

    Of course, the synthetic 'style' can be a little overdone (CdG has made it into an art form, I must admit) but then...perfumers have overdone the natural 'style' also (just look at Aveda). As a fragrance enthusiast, these types of things really don't matter to me at all. What matters is the juice.
    "The beginning of freedom is the realization that you are not the "thinker." The moment you start watching the thinker, a higher level of consciousness becomes activated. You then begin to realize that there is a vast realm of intelligence beyond thought, that thought is only a tiny aspect of that intelligence. You also realize that all the things that truly matter - beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace - arise from beyond the mind.

    You begin to awaken"

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  3. #3

    Default Re: "Synthetic"

    Iso E Super gets alot of hate on basenotes, but I could care less about whether Iso E Super is in a frag or not if it smells good to me. Ex. Isfarkand Pour Homme, Escentric 01, Jaisalmer - CDG....the list is long.
    I have never had someone come up to me and say... You smell wonderful!...oh, Is that Iso E Super in your frag? Sorry, I take that back, you smell like sh*t.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: "Synthetic"

    Quote Originally Posted by Bromo33333 View Post
    ...I guess the question - are synthetics properly used - worthy of appreciation in their own right and as their own medium?
    In my opinion? Absolutely.

    Ultimately, if a note is well executed and smells right in its context, I don't give a hoot where it came from. On the other hand, a poorly blended or unpleasant note can just as well be natural as synthetic. Yes, there are certain natural notes that are of exceptional quality and smell it (good oudh, Mysore sandalwood), but there are others where my admittedly fallible nose can't discern a difference. So much so that when I review or discuss a scent I use the phrase "synthetic smelling" rather than the word "synthetic." I don't pretend to know where a molecule came from by smell alone, but I do know when a note, no matter what its origin, smells like something I concocted in my undergraduate organic chemistry lab.

    Is the fruit note that crops up in the heart of Dior Homme natural? I don't know, but then I don't really need to. If it is natural it still smells like a Jolly Rancher candy to me, and so ruins my experience of an otherwise pleasant scent. Likewise with the sweet fruity note in the new Le Dandy.

    Some puposefully syntetic scents are artful, enjoyable, and succesful on their own terms. CB I Hate Perfume Burning Leaves, plus a few of the Comme des Garcons and Etat Libre d'Orange scents come to mind. In other cases the results are repugnant, without necessarily having the intended shock value. That's where I'd place stinkers like Secretions Magnifique, Skarb, and a host of the Demeter concoctions.

    Bottom line: it's not always where your compounds come from, but how you use them.

  5. #5

    Default Re: "Synthetic"

    One thing to remember about synthetic materials-- they can be just as difficult to work with as any natural material. The perfumer still has to be very skilled to get the proper result. Sometimes there's a perception that synthetic fragrance chemicals come from the laboratory smelling like fully formed colognes. Not true. Some of them are nasty and intense on their own. Some, like hedione and iso e-super may smell good in and of themselves, but usually this isn't the case. Go smell a vial of straight up aldehydes and it might knock you out. Calone might be essential to Aqua di Gio and all the frags of its ilk, but it's only one part of the equation-- there's much more to it that that.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: "Synthetic"

    Quote Originally Posted by Indie_Guy View Post
    ...Sometimes there's a perception that synthetic fragrance chemicals come from the laboratory smelling like fully formed colognes. Not true. Some of them are nasty and intense on their own. Some, like hedione and iso e-super may smell good in and of themselves, but usually this isn't the case. Go smell a vial of straight up aldehydes and it might knock you out...
    Well said - as I can attest from my time in the organic chemistry lab.

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