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  1. #1

    Default Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    we get so many questions about notes and accords I was curious what you guys think.

    a great article appeared on the Now Smell This blog this past Sunday and I read it shaking my head yes-yes

    here's a snippet from this article

    On lists of fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    "The lists of fragrance notes you see here and there on the internet are usually provided by the public relations department of the perfume house in question. They are meant to give some general idea of what the fragrance "contains", or at least, what the PR department thinks it smells like (or perhaps more accurately, what they think describes it most alluringly to potential customers), but that is all."
    Last edited by fredricktoo; 19th March 2008 at 11:08 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Thanks for the link, Fredrick! My respect for Robin is rising fast. It's the third article from this author/editor of NST worthy of the here and now of perfumery. This kind of demystification is what we need most. A lot of perfumes smell good enough, so I can face the bare facts of how they are actually composed. Turin started to unveil some of the secrets, and Burr has recently demonstrated a similar intent as a reporter. What I now hope, is that experts do not put the newest chemicals and their creators on old pedestals instead. Jasmine, Citrus, Oudh and Lavender have a charm of their own, and have been proven to be safe for the environment and for wearers in thousands of years. No national or supranational agency can warrant the same for the new molecules. I am ready to pay more for a perfume that contains mainly organic fragrant material, even if that means I cannot buy a new bottle each quarter. That does not mean blossoms would still have to be plucked in Grasse. The Jasmin de Grasse (or what's left of those fields) is only being harvested for the image of Chanel anyway (Jacques Polge).
    Last edited by narcus; 19th March 2008 at 01:04 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
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    For a relative newbie to scents, that article was both informative and affirming. Thank you for the link. I very seldom get the same notes/accord a scent is supposed to have, nor do I get the same experience that other users report (most recently with Hanae Mori H.M. - it ended up being more of a spicy floral/cedar on me than the sweet concoction many have reported), but am learning how to figure out what will work from me from the information that is made available and from other users' descriptions.
    Last edited by Hoos; 19th March 2008 at 01:48 PM.
    Brent

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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Coincidence - I'm wearing a Nasomatto fragrance today, and this line does not list the notes in their fragrances. It's slightly frustrating, but it's also allowing me to call upon my own experience with notes and just enjoy the scent as it unfolds.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Conversely, another complain I have about listing the notes of a fragrance is that once it is on the pyramid, people swear it smells like X note, when a lot of other people never really perceive it

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Thanks for a very enlightening link. I can't say it surprissed me much, but it's very clear and succinct.

    I was reading recently that a kilo of hedione (synthetic jasmine-like note) costs a perfumer approximately €37, whereas a real jasmine absolute from Grasse cost over €22,000 (prices cited in 2005). It's no mystery they list the notes the way they do.

    The real challenge for us is to become more knowledgeable about how perfumers build their accords and simulate various natural materials no longer used because of their cost, toxicity, or allergenic nature.
    Yr good bud,

    JaimeB

    "Why spend life seeking that which does not satisfy? Why remain a slave, when freedom waits? Let your life shine; illumine the world with your truth!"

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  7. #7

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    I sorta think the pyramid being all PR is much more an issue in designer fragrances. A lot of the smaller, niche houses don't use loads of synthetics and you can really smell notes they list. They tend to use the patchoulis, roses, ambers, etc rather than "fresh accords" or "aquatic notes."
    I'm a colognosaurus. Rawr!

  8. #8

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    what amazed me was that by changing molecular structures you can reach an accord of something wild like wood, mint and peach. So you list them. Knowing the molecuar weight roughly tells you where on the pyramid they appear.

    anonymous to Yves Saint Laurant " How much of your business income is derived from fragrance. *83.5% was the response." this is a billion dollar company. It's all so carefully crafted and I have nothing but respect.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    I've always suspected that the "notes" are just what they want you to think.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Quote Originally Posted by SirSlarty View Post
    I've always suspected that the "notes" are just what they want you to think.
    After reading the notes' pyramid for some scents.. I agree.. i've felt the same way as you


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  11. #11

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Quote Originally Posted by fredricktoo View Post
    we get so many questions about notes and accords I was curious what you guys think.

    a great article appeared on the Now Smell This blog this past Sunday and I read it shaking my head yes-yes

    here's a snippet from this article

    On lists of fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    "The lists of fragrance notes you see here and there on the internet are usually provided by the public relations department of the perfume house in question. They are meant to give some general idea of what the fragrance "contains", or at least, what the PR department thinks it smells like (or perhaps more accurately, what they think describes it most alluringly to potential customers), but that is all."
    Another bulls-eye article by Robin, very very excellent post.

    Sometimes self-bestowed connaisseurs get easily carried away by getting into details of the pyramid ("wow, ITALIAN Bergamot, that must be really good") but in fact they are just another victim of a very creative marketing department.

    It's all about perception anyway. Great article, gets your head out of the clouds for a while and then you float right back in.

    Also have a look at this article:

    http://perfumemaking.blogspot.com/20...-perfumes.html

    and the illustrations from it below:



    =



    Some people tend to think: "wow, they list patchoulis, roses, tea... there must be real patchoulis, roses and tea inside"! Erm, no. There is no such thing as a 'patchouli molecule'. As illustrated above, fragrances are comprised of many different kind of molecules and the trick is to combine them and give you a very convincing perception of a certain scent.
    Last edited by Stereotomy; 19th March 2008 at 10:48 PM.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    My computer is messed up, not spacing paragraphs, and a variety of other things, so hopefully this comes out right.
    There may be hundreds of ingredients in a fragrance, but the pyramids are often often relatively accurate anyway. The notes may come from, be enhanced by or modified by any number of things, but they often smell very similar to what you see in the pyramid. You would think niche houses would give you a better idea about what they're actually using, but that's not necessarily the case at all. It is interesting to see Malle listing some of the high quality synthetics he often uses. Traditional chypres are pretty straightforward and difficult to deceive. When you start throwing in all kinds of popular fruits and various oriental features (particularly in designer mainstream scents), it gets blurry, and who knows what the hell you might be smelling.
    The point Turin makes is that many fragrances contain similar notes but what matters is being able to describe the overall feel of the thing. He uses uses very few adjectives. Rather, he conveys the scents through imagery and perceptive analogy. As he puts it, "...what's the f*cking tune?". Scentemental desribed Turin's writing style well: "A prelude to being able to explain the world metaphorically--the most immediate, compelling and powerful form of comprehension--is the ability to grasp the word and its complexity metaphorically. This is Turin's strengh as a writer."
    Obviously, the more fragrances you've smelled (all kinds, masculine and feminine), the better able you are to do this. Either way, I've seen a few people on this site who do it extremely well.
    Last edited by pluran; 20th March 2008 at 12:31 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't

    Gotta love the second half of the discussion in the comments section of that article...
    -

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