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  1. #1

    Default Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    I brought this up in another thread, and was directed to

    http://www.leffingwell.com/h&rfragra...e_masculin.pdf

    The problem I found with it, aside from the many frags missing, is that it wouldn't help much towards blind buys. For example, Witness and Ungaro II are next to each other in the ambery oriental category. I wouldn't classify either one as ambery. KL Lagerfeld is in the spicy oriental category, yet that one blows me away with its ambery qualities. I'm thinking of a map like that, but possibly with lines drawn around similar frags. I'd also start with a map of the drydown stage only, because as it stands there's no way to know what is being compared, since some frags are linear and some have a lot of development. I'd also include a brief description of the key feature of the frag (or frags that are within the lines). Thus, I'd include Montana red box and Adidas Victory League in a spicy category (with lines "roping" them together), but I'd note that Montana is a bit musky and the spices have a West Indies quality, whereas patchouli dominates the AVL drydown, and that AVL is sweeter. I know the map would have to be huge, but that doesn't bother me, since it would all be done with software that can handle it easily.

    Thoughts?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Very good recommendation. But I think people who wants to work on this kind of map should be acquainted with:
    1-chemical structure of perfumes,
    2-As many as possible categorizations

    Also we can suggest Grant, to add a part for developing this kind of activities, which can result in a perfume expert system.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    I have been reading your posts with growing interest, Bigsly. This is a very ambitious project you are suggesting. The H&R map is in fact the best tool you can have for quick information about the character of any fragrance contained. But as you said, it's aoutdated by now. It was developed by H&R, Holzminden, Germany and has been part of their Book: >H&R Duftatlas<. All of the fragrances on that map are described in more detail in that book (last edition 1991 (!). What is special about their fragrance trees is that top middle and base notes are separately tagged in a similar manner as Turin-Sachez tagged their perfumes.

    Examples: YSL Opium (f): top note: aldehydic spicy; middle: spicy floral, base: balsamic, sweet, warm.
    KL Homme / Lagerfeld, in full detail: top: fresh, herbal (lemon, bergamotte, rosewood, lavender, orange, aldehyd); middle: floral woody ( carnation, jasmine, geranium, fern, cinnamon, rose, patchouli, sandalwood, cedar); base: sweet powdery (vanilla, benzoin, olibanum, musk, amber, civet)

    I am afraid it would be wishful thinking waiting for the book and/or the map to be updated. And I even wonder if it could or should be done at all. There are so many obstacles:
    1. new fragrant substances (synthetics) make it necessary to find better descriptions for what used to be violets, ambergris, civet, etc.
    2. There are new fragrance notes (new fruits, various smells of water, ozone, etc.) one didn't have in colognes before, which means we have new fragrance families.
    3. We no longer have two categories of fragrances, but three: m, f, & uniscents. Where do you place the latter? If you combine all of them on one map there will be a mess to sort out. Masculine and feminine fragrances do not have the same structure, and neither do the respective maps. Have you pondered a little on the approach Editions Malle have taken? I kind of like their way to graphically characterize their fragrances, and it is the only new approach I have seen so far.

    The great advantage of the H&R maps remains their historical order and (relative) simplicity. So I would be happy if Symrise, as H&R are now called, would just update what they had developed in the seventies.
    Last edited by narcus; 19th May 2008 at 11:39 AM.
    '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.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    Thoughts?
    Have you seen Michael Edwards Fragrance Directory site?

  5. #5

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    My thought is that it would be best to have several maps, so that it wouldn't become so huge as to appear daunting or intimidating. For example, one map could be "cheapos" that are high quality, and it would only focus on the drydown, so that the top notes are not considered at all. This could even be further refined, and there would then be at least three maps, one for highly blended frags, one for minimally blended ones, and everything else (moderate blending). I would also suggest focusing on perception, rather than things like the actual molecules involved, since the goal is to give potential buyers a sense of what they will experience. Frags could be color coded for longevity and sillage, with the first letter being colored for longevity and the last for sillage, for instance. If this approach resulted in several maps, as long as there was an indexing feature, allowing a person to find the frag he was looking for quickly, I think this would be the most useful way to organize frags for "quick reference" purposes.

    On a technical point, I know I could create such a map in a photoshop-like program, but I'd gladly let someone else do it who thinks he is a true expert. Another issue involves where it can be "parked" while suggestions are made by those who view it? Ideas?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    I was contacted by a BNer about the map idea, and I wrote:

    "The best way for this to proceed, I think, is to have people submit their ideas about which fragrances should be grouped together. Probably the best thing is to have a specific forum for deciding on the groupings before even trying to make a map."

    Again, the best thing to do would be to narrow it down as much as possible (for the first map at least). Thus, we could start with the less expensive frags that are still readily available online at least, that were designed to be for men, and we would focus on the drydown only. We could also focus on the more highly blended or the least blended. It would be a just be a "trial," to see whether it seems to be worth the effort.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    My thought is that it would be best to have several maps, so that it wouldn't become so huge as to appear daunting or intimidating. For example, one map could be "cheapos" that are high quality, and it would only focus on the drydown, so that the top notes are not considered at all. This could even be further refined, and there would then be at least three maps, one for highly blended frags, one for minimally blended ones, and everything else (moderate blending). I would also suggest focusing on perception, rather than things like the actual molecules involved, since the goal is to give potential buyers a sense of what they will experience. Frags could be color coded for longevity and sillage, with the first letter being colored for longevity and the last for sillage, for instance. If this approach resulted in several maps, as long as there was an indexing feature, allowing a person to find the frag he was looking for quickly, I think this would be the most useful way to organize frags for "quick reference" purposes.
    Your initial proposal has the potential to become an excellent and useful tool. It also has the potential to become an arcane unwieldy behemoth. Research H&R - find out what obstacles prevented them from keeping their map updated - were there technical problems in the initial design or was it purely economics?

    The biggest problem with good ideas is knowing when to stop 'improving' them.

    Don't scoff at simplicity, it is a far more elegant solution than complexity.

    My suggestions would be: Decide on a fragrance family structure. Have no more than two maps - Male/Unisex and Female/Unisex. Decide which fragrances to initially include on each map. Use Community input to position the fragrances in the same manner as H&R. Positioning similar fragrances close to each other would eliminate the need for distracting lines and boxes. Fragrance details would go into an attached index rather than clutter up the map.
    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: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Once we understand what this map is not, it is helpful. This map is not detailed. This is not information rich. Instead this map is a helpful grouping tool.

    To me, the ultimate but unweildy tool would be a database that allows one to sort all fragrances with particular top notes, heart notes and base notes.

    Finally, is Habit Rouge really an amber? It is a sweet oriental, but is it an amber?

  9. #9

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by studdg View Post
    To me, the ultimate but unweildy tool would be a database that allows one to sort all fragrances with particular top notes, heart notes and base notes.
    http://www.basenotes.net/directory

  10. #10

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Okay, I was talking to someone who suggested MSN groups, which would allow me a page (s) for explaining things, would allow for one or more forums for discussing changes or additions, and most importantly would allow for the posting of pictures (the "map" itself). I'd rather just stay within the BN orbit, so I guess a moderator should post here and tell us what we can do on basenotes, or if they would rather the "map" be done somewhere else. I can understand that the map (actually, the idea would be for a bunch of maps to eventually be constructed) might be too much extra content for BN, but I'll hold off on looking into the MSN group idea until I hear from BN management.

    In the meantime, there's nothing stopping BNers from creating their own maps, however incomplete they may be, because it will likely be useful in some way towards the goal of a much larger one.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Haarmann & Reimer's Genealogy is impressive, even considering its limited data set. Now known as Symrise, this is one of the companies that actually creates fragrances, so I would not dismiss its classifications so casually. The problem may not be that H&R's classifications are wrong; the problem may be that the user has a poor understanding of industry-specific terms of art such as "oriental," "ambery," and so on.

    On the other hand, categories such as "cheapo," "high quality," and "highly blended" are of little usefulness. Our map may as well be organized according to "blue bottles," "red bottles," "tall bottles," and "short bottles." In the same way, comparing base notes only, and ignoring top or middle notes, seems of limited usefulness, like having a pie contest and judging only the crust and not the filing.

    If we are serious about this undertaking, then we should consider it as two separate projects: First, what is our data source? Second, how are we visualizing our data?

    Rather than creating an entire data source out of whole cloth, the Basenotes Directory could be used as a starting point for the data. The Directory has fragrances (objects), and fragrances have "notes" and "tags" (sets). The Directory is not complete, it is true, but rather than creating a whole new database, maybe that is just incentive for us to add to the Directory's completeness.

    The data may be the easy part of the project. A map can only have two axes: What is the X-axis? What is the Y-axis? Alternately, we could use Venn diagrams, with the fragrances inside overlapping sets of notes or tags. Given the total number of notes, and the number of notes per fragrance, and the total number of fragrances, such a diagram may be impossible in two dimensions. Automating the process of creating the chart from the data would be very desirable. Are there any scientists amongst us who can weigh in on how difficult such a visualization would be?

    On the other (third) hand, Michael Edwards has already done all of this work already -- creating a taxonomy, creating a data set, and presenting it visually. Fragrances of the World may be a little expensive, but reinventing the wheel is also expensive in terms of time and effort.

    [Later that evening . . . .]

    To answer my own question, there is a Java application called VennMaster available here: http://www.informatik.uni-ulm.de/ni/...vennm/doc.html

    I whipped up a sample data set (which is a simple text file) of thirteen fragrances and ten notes. The resulting diagram was as complicated as the tax code. I imagine that thousands of fragrances with hundreds of notes would be indecipherable.
    Last edited by Advocate; 20th May 2008 at 01:52 AM. Reason: Add VennMaster information.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by Advocate View Post
    Haarmann & Reimer's Genealogy is impressive, even considering its limited data set. Now known as Symrise, this is one of the companies that actually creates fragrances, so I would not dismiss its classifications so casually. The problem may not be that H&R's classifications are wrong; the problem may be that the user has a poor understanding of industry-specific terms of art such as "oriental," "ambery," and so on.
    Either poor understanding, different perceptions, or both. I believe it's more than obvious that our minds register different things from something as complicated as a mix of smells.

    Threads that return frequently are
    - when someone is looking for a cologne 'similar to...'
    - when people believe to have discovered that X is just a copy of...
    Positive replies make me scratch my head occasionally because I cannot detect many of the similarities stated by other community members. And yet I believe that others are just as convinced to have smelled similarities as I am smelling the opposite. The best fragrance map in the world cannot solve the problem of subjective fragrance perceptions. While most of us can't, I find it easy to understand why Turin praises Calice Becker (Beyond Paradise, Tommy Girl). And yet his (and Sanchez') ignorance of the special qualities of perfumes made by Villoresi or Santa Maria Novella makes me speechless. The subjectivity of perception is the only explanation I have for such phenomena.
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoRoads View Post
    Your initial proposal has the potential to become an excellent and useful tool. It also has the potential to become an arcane unwieldy behemoth. Research H&R - find out what obstacles prevented them from keeping their map updated - were there technical problems in the initial design or was it purely economics?... Positioning similar fragrances close to each other would eliminate the need for distracting lines and boxes...
    The H&R maps have been designed for printing (book and posters). That is a limitation we wouldn't have nowadays. I am thinking of different views of one comprehensive database, with and without the time axis. If you eliminated time, similar fragrances - presently defined by families and their subs - would all be on the same spot. You could use the former time axis to redistribute them vertically by another meaningful property expressing proximity and distance (sub-subgroups?). Instead of an annex, I would see a window opening for each fragrance clicked upon, and allowing a look at the details. And imagine a light blinking next to any fragrance on your screen that contains sandalwood!
    I would be perfectly happy if Symrise just updated what they have, no matter how they treat uniscents, and let their data specialists and some graphics freak work out all the forms and queries for an attractive program to work with. A lot could be done, even on the basis of MS Access.

    p.s. It might be interesting to look at the similar fragrances wizard BN once used. Also Osmoz have something like that, I believe, and I wonder how they find alternatives to your favorite fragrances.
    Last edited by narcus; 20th May 2008 at 12:10 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.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by narcus View Post
    Threads that return frequently are
    - when someone is looking for a cologne 'similar to...'
    - when people believe to have discovered that X is just a copy of...
    This is an excellent point. Newcomers to any field generally try to understand everything in terms of how it is similar to what they already know. So, picking two fragrances that have only one thing in common -- sandalwood, say -- and saying that they are the same or similar, and ignoring the hundreds of other ways in which they are completely different. To put it another way, one could say that Raisin Bran and bread pudding are just the same because they both have raisins in them. Or that toast and cake are the same because they are both made with flour. No map will satisfy them because, look, X and Y are not next to each other when any idiot can see that they are identical.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by Advocate View Post
    This is an excellent point. Newcomers to any field generally try to understand everything in terms of how it is similar to what they already know. So, picking two fragrances that have only one thing in common -- sandalwood, say -- and saying that they are the same or similar, and ignoring the hundreds of other ways in which they are completely different. To put it another way, one could say that Raisin Bran and bread pudding are just the same because they both have raisins in them. Or that toast and cake are the same because they are both made with flour. No map will satisfy them because, look, X and Y are not next to each other when any idiot can see that they are identical.
    Isn't it easiest to just point them (as someone did to me recently) at the search facility n the fragrance.org site?

    I mean, at least that way they get an expert opinion.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Quote Originally Posted by bassplayerchris View Post
    Isn't it easiest to just point them (as someone did to me recently) at the search facility n the fragrance.org site? I mean, at least that way they get an expert opinion.
    Not to toot my own horn or anything (cause if I could do that . . .), but that was me. But to answer your question, the experts are obviously wrong or don't know what they're talking about or paid shills or something. In any field, there is no one quite so certain as a novice.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    I think that if BN doesn't want to get involved here, MSN groups might be a good idea for this endeavor, because several maps could be posted there, and there could be a forum created for discussion (and possible changes to) each map. It doesn't bother me if there are several maps, because it might be similar to the "two heads are better than one" idea. In fact, it might be easiest if we start off with several maps and see if we can "boil them down" into one, or at least a smaller number of them. For instance, the amount of blending is important to me, but it might not be to someone else, and so that person's maps will be different. I just don't see this as a disadvantage, but rather as an advantage. Obviously, if someone thinks it's confusing, he can just ignore it. In any case, I'll wait to hear back from BN management about whether they can provide the resources that creating a new MSN newsgroup would before I proceed further.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Narcus just asked a great question in another thread - what is the status of this ambitious and important project?
    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

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    I am continually amazed at the number of interesting threads I somehow failed to view when they were first posted. This is one. Thanks for the bump TwoRoads.
    'Those who grow too big for their pants will be exposed in the end'--anon

  19. #19

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    Sorry to bump an old thread.

    Is there any progress on this?

  20. #20

    Default Re: Anyone interested in working on a "fragrance map."

    I was thinking about this a couple of weeks ago, actually. I conceive it as a kind of "web" rather than a map. I think it needs to be three-dimensional, because there is just not enough room on a piece of paper to do it justice. In light of this, I've been thinking about classifications that can then be compared. For example, one category is the "Old Spice oriental." It's got at least some citrus up top, is animalic, has some clear floral element (but not lavender), has a powdery element (such as heliotrope), has some spice (obviously), and the base is a "creamy" sandalwood/patchouli/etc. with a vanilla/ambery element. Another is the Rochas Lui/Dunhill Desire/Cuba Orange one. So, if there are enough such classifications one can then speak of frags in terms of how they relate to them. An example would be one that is between these two but a bit closer to the Old Spice oriental. Of course some are quite unique but I think this "system" would still help to some degree. For example, Kouros is beyond my tolerance for animalics, but there is no way to really convey that with such a system. However, I think it would be much better than the simple fougere/oriental/chypre/gourmand/etc. classifications that exist presently. For me, the problem is that I want to enjoy frags and studying them this closely is not always compatible, which is why I prefer to just post about some ideas I have now and then.

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