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  1. #1

    Default Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    I was told by a fellow BNer that I might not like the YSL M7 decant I'd like because it's "not good for the hot weather" in Australia now. I of course appreciated his advice, but was puzzled by that remark and thought about it.

    I believe this is based on the premise in the West that something perceived as lighter like Aquatics or Aromatic Fougeres are for warm weather and that heavier like Orientals or Woody Orientals are for cold weather.

    But isn't it ironic that the perceived-as-heavy notes like frankincense, incense, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, or gourmandy like vanilla etc. originated and are worn in hot regions like the Middle East/India/SE Asia? So if those people can wear it OK, and they have to live with it everyday, why do we call them "warm weather scent?"

    As such, the cold-weather vs warm-weather dichotomy is simply a cultural fragrance construct in the modern West and nowhere else?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    Whether you wear a certain scent in the cold or warm weather, or not, is a very personal choice. Many people have summer / winter scents (like me) and many do not.

    I think the advice about the M7 was most likely based on the personal experience of the person who gave you the advice - as a word of caution. However, you're going to have determine whether it applies to you or not.

    Just yesterday I was speaking to another Basenoter about Booster by Lacoste, a scent we both own and love. He said it wore particularly well in the cold weather where he lives - and I mentioned that I never wear it unless it's Summer. For a second, I questioned my reasons why I thought this. So, I marched over to my wardrobe and sniffed the cap and instantly I knew why I don't wear it in Winter. Because it just doesn't FEEL RIGHT to me.
    Last edited by mikeperez23; 21st January 2009 at 12:15 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    It's a subjective thing, but I think there is some logic to it. Warm weather scents are usually light, citrus/green, have a tonic-invigorating quality. Maybe even a cool aspect.
    Cool weather scents are heavier, spicier, richer. They generate a kind of heat and cozy quality that is pleasant in the cooler weather.
    An issue of balance, yin-yang.
    All that being said -- spicy-hot food originates in warm climates. There, the attitude is: push the envelope to the max and the body will then compensate with its own balancing mode. Heat + more heat = cooling.
    As Oscar Wilde allegedly said, "nothing succeeds like excess."
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  4. #4

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    Quote Originally Posted by GourmandHomme View Post
    But isn't it ironic that the perceived-as-heavy notes like frankincense, incense, amber, patchouli, sandalwood, or gourmandy like vanilla etc. originated and are worn in hot regions like the Middle East/India/SE Asia? So if those people can wear it OK, and they have to live with it everyday, why do we call them "warm weather scent?"
    Firstly, just because these types of fragrances originated in warmer climates doesn't mean that these are the only types of fragrances that were available to people in these areas.

    Secondly, do S.E Asians or people from the sub-continent or the Arabian peninsula have to live with these fragrances everyday? I don't think so. There are many member of BN from these areas of the world that have access to everything that we in the West have access to (and more). Seeing that the art of perfumery has a long history in the Islamic world, and the technology for extracting flower essences was developed by Islamic scientists, I find it hard to believe that the heavy frags that you mention were the only perfumes available to people of these areas in past eras.
    Last edited by surreality; 21st January 2009 at 03:37 AM.
    Seek not the favor of the multitude; it is seldom got by honest and lawful means. But seek the testimony of few; and number not voices, but weigh them. - Immanuel Kant

  5. #5

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    Quote Originally Posted by surreality View Post
    Firstly, just because these types of fragrances originated in warmer climates doesn't mean that these are the only types of fragrances that were available to people in these areas.

    Secondly, do S.E Asians or people from the sub-continent or the Arabian peninsula have to live with these fragrances everyday? I don't think so. There are many member of BN from these areas of the world that have access to everything that we in the West have access to (and more). Seeing that the art of perfumery has a long history in the Islamic world, and the technology for extracting flower essences was developed by Islamic scientists, I find it hard to believe that the heavy frags that you mention were the only perfumes available to people of these areas in past eras.
    Now I see why I didn't make any sense: I completely made a mistake in referring to rich patchouli/Oriental scents as "warm weather scents" in the last paragraph of my post.

    What I meant was those rich Oriental fragrances are called "cold weather scents" in the West but originate from the hotter climes of the Mid/Near East.

    I'm an SE Asian myself - and I know that a lot of the all-natural Indonesian beauty potions/poultices ("jamu") that the women wear pretty much smell like all those heavy scents we consider Oriental here in the West. Of course, many modern Indonesian women have now bought Western beauty products and gain Western tastes and funnily enough, they like Citrusy/Water scents.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    To my mind, the humidity of the climate matters as much as the temperature when talking about heat. I've often been moved to try on oudh, sandalwood spice-heavy scents in the hot, dry-as-bones weather we get in October in my part of the world. I don't think I'd want to wear them so much on sticky muggy days. I have in fact worn M7 on dry autumn days of 75 degrees Fahrenheit and above. I loved it.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    IMHO the issue about weather and scents is an "environmental" one, peculair to the climes of whoever has an opinion on it. I live in tropical Nigeria, where the weather is hot and humid most of the year, and harmattan-dry for 2 months. This has never affected the kind of frags we use. We just follow our noses.

    I have traveled all over the world and experienced all the different weather conditions. I was not influenced regarding my choice of scent since i didnt (and still dont) have the (neccessary?) sensitivity, weather/frag-wise. On the other hand i may have been oblivious to olfactory offences caused to other people.

    Vive la difference of the diverse cultures of the world
    ointments and perfume delight the heart....

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  8. #8

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    Sorry dudes, but Chocolate and Vanilla are native to Mexico. I bet that is why we have a serious problem with diabetes

    My main reason to separate fragrances according to seasons is not directly related to notes or geographical locations, but strength. Hot climates make scents evaporate faster and they seem stronger. A heavy fragrance (generally orientals & woody scents) are not very good for summer because they can become cloying. Conversely, light scents may seem boring or go unnoticed in cooler environments.
    Last edited by irish; 24th January 2009 at 10:46 PM.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    I generally don't go by the weather for my fragrances- I wear what I like whatever the weather! I think it comes down to personal taste. The weather won't stop me ! : )

    Having been in SE Asia recently- I know they don't stock the heavier oriental fragrances as much as in the West. SAs there have said the heavy patchouli laden type or incensey , amber type scents ( eg. Opium - not carried by the store ;Magie Noire - I asked a Lancome counter how many bottles they have at the moment- three was all ! ) are not as popular as the light and floral stuff.Dept stores there seem to think they won't sell well because it is generally hot in SE Asia.
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 25th January 2009 at 11:33 AM.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    I have to agree with mikeperez23, I wear what I wear in a given season because it feels right to me. I think, just as what we all like, that means different things to each of us and to try and generalize that experience is unlikely to be successful.
    I've worn citrus scents on single-digit temperture days and heavy orientals on 90 degree 90% humidity days. Because those were what I felt like wearing on those days.
    More writing on fragrance by me to be found at http://www.cafleurebon.com/

  11. #11

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    Quote Originally Posted by mysticknot View Post
    I generally don't go by the weather for my fragrances- I wear what I like whatever the weather! I think it comes down to personal taste. The weather won't stop me ! : )

    Having been in SE Asia recently- I know they don't stock the heavier oriental fragrances as much as in the West. SAs there have said the heavy patchouli laden type or incensey , amber type scents ( eg. Opium - not carried by the store ;Magie Noire - I asked a Lancome counter how many bottles they have at the moment- three was all ! ) are not as popular as the light and floral stuff.Dept stores there seem to think they won't sell well because it is generally hot in SE Asia.
    True, like I said, my female cousins like weak watery/citrus. Which they occasionally then buy for me as presents ("No! me no likey likey anemic, anorexic scents!")

    I think there's also a function of culture than just hot weather or genetics. Eg ask a native but well-traveled Asian how they view perfume or smells in general - and ask them would they wear things differently even in winter in the West- you'll find their perception is for all seasons.

    Someone like me who's not as much inculturated in Asian values and raised in the more warm regions in the West has a different scensibility...

    PS Opium is evil - not because it's strong but because its users tend to overapply it in general.

  12. #12
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    Wink Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    "To thine own self be true..." Wear what you like when you like.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    Good comments so far; agree with most of them. Would like to add that I do believe there is a mixture of things going on: part cultural, part marketing, part individual preference.

    The spicy/oriental preference of scents in hot weather is most probably a cultural aspect of certain countries where spices were used to mask the taste of food on the verge of spoiling (that's why a lot of hot countries have a lot of "hot spicy" dishes) - and where incense was (and still is) burned indoors and in religious circumstances. The way fragrance is used in those countries has also been slightly different from Europe, say. In Europe, the skin would be fragranced with fresh cologne that feels cooling as the alcohol evaporates. Having light citrus scents present makes sense there as the cologne may be re-applied several times a day to get the cooling effect. Whereas in other hot countries, the scents may have been applied to the surroundings, clothing and hair, or in oil form.

    Anyway, interesting topic.

    Coming from Finland where it is fairly cold for several months of the year, I do seem to feel that there is a bit of a preference for "warmer" (spicy/oriental) scents during most of the year, or maybe it was just a sign of the times back when I still lived there.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Challenging the cold-weather vs warm-weather scent perception

    I tend to follow my moods, too, in my selection of fragrance year round, but then I spend much of my life in an artificially heated or cooled environment. When I do spend any amount of time outdoors, I find I enjoy the fragrances of nature better without my own perfume - a spring garden, hyacinths, the way junipers smell on a cold wet day, the odor of wild honeysuckle in summer, blackberries, mown grass. Body perfumes often interfere with that enjoyment.

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