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  1. #1
    Hollandaze's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    Oakland, California
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    Default Smelling Notes...Am I Getting This Right?

    I've been posting and reading this board for about 6 months. I'm starting to identify some notes based on descriptions on what I've worn. I've tried about 60 scents in that 6 month span after wearing....Axe or nothing at all for years. Now, I'm confused with how a fragrance is layered and I kept thinking the top and middle notes are always sticking around and I almost could never get to the coveted basenotes. To my surprise, it's happened a few times with only 4 fragrances (Touch, Le Male, TM Cologne, and D&G PH) to my nose. Oddly enough, that was my OLD rotation when I started.

    Touch would turn from floral/violet to soft and woodsy. Le Male went from somewhat minty and creamy smooth to bold, dirty, and sweet. TM Cologne went from grassy vetiver with a hint of citrus to earthy and soapy. Then D&G PH went from sugarfree lemonade to smoky and woodsy. These, for some reason, took several hours for my nose to find, pretty much near the end of the life of the scent. I like how scents do a 180 from what they were hours ago. Could be for the better (soft woods from Touch) or it could be for the worse (really REALLY dirty ass vanilla from Le Male one time).

    However, with everything else. I spray it, get the initial alcohol or whatever it may be. Then a minute or two to dry and that's pretty much what I get the rest of the way. I'm not sure what the hierarchy's like with the stuff I wear. I'm trying to understand what I have on and get past just the general "this smells nice". Or maybe my skin just hyper speeds through the notes and gets to the basenotes in minutes. I don't know how to process this in my head to look out for certain things and break it down. For example, Terre D'Hermes, which I've worn 4-5 times already because I liked getting samples of it at Sephora. When I spray it on, I get dried orange. Then a few minutes later after the alcohol soaks in, I get some kind of warm, spicy note, but the dried orange is still there.

    Anyway, maybe I get the impression that on a lot of fragrances, whatever it is on my skin after 10 seconds, that's pretty much it the rest of the way. Or maybe I'm expecting too much of a change from what it is initially and didn't take into account the subtle notes that pop up minutes after application. Possibly I'm already in the basenotes Nirvana and I never noticed it or could remember the note pyramid for most of the stuff I've worn. With that said, I've been describing everything I've worn in just one sentence in my Excel sheet notes and for the life of me, majority of the time, I can't write much more than that and break down the notes. It's like eating a bowl of stew and in my head, "It tastes savory and the vegetables are tender." but I really wanted to know how to write, "the beef is braised in the stew sauce until it breaks apart. I can taste the red wine, sweet onions, cracked pepper, and bay leaves. The carrots are still sweet and tender. The potatoes add a starchy richness to the bowl." and what not.

    Sorry about the lengthy post and writing what seems to be longer than what the intended message was, which is actually, "Hey guys, what the hell am I smelling and how do I smell it?"

  2. #2

    Default Re: Smelling Notes...Am I Getting This Right?

    Well I think your description of the notes is right. Also from your signature I read that you have somewhat linear fragrances (Except for varvatos and Crave) It helps if you spray the fragrances somewhere else, leave the room and come back later. The change in notes is more dramatic that way.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Smelling Notes...Am I Getting This Right?

    What I do to really investigate a frag is to spray it on a piece of archival paper, suspended in the air (just bend the two ends of it). If I can, I come back and smell it every several minutes or so. If I think I will like it (unlike Kouros, for example), I'll spray once to the inside of my leg, below the knee. That way, I can cross my legs and smell it once in a while. If you spray on your chest, you can get olfactory fatigue from the top notes. If you spray on your wrists, you don't get the same effect as chest sprays, and you also have a tendency to get your nose too close to the skin, which you can't do even if you wanted to when you spray on the chest. To identify notes, try to find a notes pyramid for the fragrance and experiment with it (paper spray, chest spray, leg spray, and wrist spray). Also, come back to a frag now and then, and you'll likely smell things you didn't the last time (I'm amazed at how much I missed when I was a total "newbie").

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