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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    So - I've recently been inspired to research perfumes more in depth than I have so far. All this talk of notes and quality has really set my inner elitist thinking
    My current project is to train my nose to start recognizing the most important notes in perfumes - BUT where to start? I really want to get to distinguish notes like vetiver, amber, musk, patchouli, oakmoss; they seem to be included in almost every perfume and I must have smelled them by now. To get the pure, unadultered scent of them, however, I've only found very niche, exclusive and elusive perfumes that I can't seem to locate anywhere near me. Ideally, I'd want to create something like this for my own - but with more mainstream scents, initially.

    So I challenge you: "mainstream" fragrances that would clearly convey to a beginner what one particular note is all about.

    Suggestions on where to (cheaply... :s ) obtain more niche samples are very welcome too.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    For about $100 you can get a notes kit that is designed for someone like yourself. Go to:

    http://store.perfumersapprentice.com/beginnerskits.html

    Not knowing about this at the time, I decided to get cheap examples of the different genres, so I got frags like:

    Francesco Smalto, Jovan Sex Appeal, Pino Silvestre, Cuba Gold, etc., after reading a lot of reviews about them.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    *Swoon*
    That's just what I needed. Thanks! So any tips on other perfumes that do a good job encapsulating a single note?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    I like my Vetiver de Puig for the vetiver so much that I bought three, but I now realize that I won't use that third one for a loooong time, which is why I have one listed for sale or swap. Gourmands can vary quite a bit, but I like Animale Animale (not Animale), because it's chocolate and there's a patchouli base, so there you get a 2 for 1 deal of sorts. Cuba Red is like musty cedar, which is similar to the drydown of more expensive frags. Strong sandalwood bases are in Le Roy de Soleil and Jovan Ginseng NRG. I don't like it, so I've got both for sale or swap. An excellent and cheap skin musk is Samba Red and Viva. I like Red more so I've got Viva up for sale/swap. Fubu Plush is a slightly powdery suede, which I don't like much. Corduroy, which I like, can be found at discount stores at very low prices. Some have described it as a cross between old and new, and I largely agree - it took some time for this one to grow on me. One thing you should consider is how you deal with the top notes. At first, I was mostly influenced by them, but now I'm more interested in the drydown - don't care too much if the top notes are lousy. Montana (red box) is a nice spicy musky frag, and is cheap on sites like eBay now, just be patient and wait for a good deal. Pino Silvestre is a good, cheap reference frag (herbs and pine).

    One thing I'll ask for those who read this thread: what do you consider to be the best really cheap chypre?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    Well, that kit of 50 notes would be a really nice start - I might pick it up myself to acquaint myself with the synthetics despite having no desire to use them in my own frags.

    Alternatively, or in addition to one of those kits, you could go to a source like Liberty Natural - http://www.libertynatural.com/classes.htm - and order a handful of oils/absolutes (the oils are found in the Essential Oils section, while the absolutes are found in the Botanicals section). They're quality is good - great even - especially considering their price. Considering that you'd want to dilute any oil to 10-20% before using, you'd effectively be getting 5-10 times the amount of post-diluted mix, so it's justifiable to buy the .02 or .08 oz sizes (59ml and 2.31 ml respectively) as that will give you plenty to train your nose with.
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  6. #6

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    I've also read the suggestion here of going to your local supermarket spice rack and smelling some of the various spices that are used in fragrances.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    And to your local natural grocery, Whole Foods or the equivalent, to smell many of the essential oils that are used in perfumery. They can be muddy if the quality is not great but it gives you some idea of what you might like.

  8. #8
    Hoos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    Not sure about the Antilles, but a lot of folks sell essential oils/frags very cheaply at flea markets on the weekends. You're probably not getting the "best" stuff, but it gives you an idea of the note. I've sniffed a few at a nearby flea market for some education. But the kit linked above is intriguing. But the money! The money! I will retire someday. Perhaps as the best smelling homeless man in SF?
    Brent

    Catherine Deneuve: "You should put scent where you like to be kissed."


  9. #9

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    I was recently in a store that sold the small glass vials of essential oil, and I asked if I could open them up and smell them. They let me do it, and I found that most had little scent if any, so I'd be careful about doing this. Based upon my experiences, I'd say to get the quality cheapos and learn from them. Lomani, for example, is a classic Italian barbershop scent, and it cost me less than $7 for a full bottle, so unless you are poor, I'd say this is the way to go. Just find an online store that sells all or most of the ones you decide to get, and then you will likely get free shipping, because that is the policy of most of these stores. Also, I think that a decent quality cheapo that represents at least a light chypre is Adidas Sport Field (not sports fever), and I've seen full size bottles of that for around $6.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    Essential oils having little to no scent? Well, they must have been of poor quality or extremely diluted, then, as a full strength essential oil should be almost overpowering/nauseating in its aroma. The thing about essential oils is you really have to dilute them before you can appreciate their smell - they smell far different diluted than in full concentration. And just like frags, they need to be worn on the skin to really be evaluated properly.
    ***For sale:

    Iris Pallida 50ml

    Ungaro I 75ml

    and more!
    - http://www.basenotes.net/threads/301...n-Man-and-more

  11. #11

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    Eden Botanicals

    US$2 per sample, except for ambrette seed which is US$4 (but out of stock anyway).
    Great service, sample pack for their amber, resins and oil blends.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Training my nose/expanding my nasal vocab

    Great suggestions, all! I'll keep working at it

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