Fresh is what we're conditioned to want by the media.
Thread: Is fresh what we naturally want?
I have been taking a closer look at my current wardrobe and I clearly see how I have shifted my taste from citrus/fresh/aquatics to more complex stronger fragrances. (orientals, chypre, gourmand etc).
In general terms men tend to like fresh fragrances it seems to be that by nature we associate fresh with clean. It is easy to wear and does not fail, you cannot go wrong (well you can but..)
I guess what I am trying to say is that most people will take Eau Savage over , lets say, M7. (obviously we, basenotes do not qualify as "most people"), This, leads me to think that fresh is safer, easier, a logic and universal olfactory sensation that will appeal to most people. Yet, thankfully , houses keep creating wonderful innovating fragrances that deviate from the fresh stereotype.
Do you agree that fresh, clean cut fragrances are the natural scent that the public in general feel most attracted to?
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
Think about it from a scientific perspective. Fresh smells of things that we'd naturally take to, water, fresh greenery, fruits, it evokes a primitive response from our lower brain. We're intrinsically motivated to seek out things that won't harm us and provide us with good rewards. Fresh for life!
And yeah, the media wants us to smell fresh and beware of commies!
Last edited by Sokkou; 12th March 2009 at 06:56 PM.
are you sure is by the media only? I think there is something else, not just cultural.
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
I think people won't wear what they don't understand. I think Basenotes is a lot different because we can look up the "notes" (or whatever we're told are the notes) and have lots of opinions from others on what fragrances smell like.
fresh as intendend and implemented by most of on the market juices is the olfactive translation of politically correct and socially acceptable, thus a boring cage.
Last edited by Magnifiscent; 12th March 2009 at 07:41 PM.
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The predominance of "fresh" scents, particularly in the male designer market, is a relatively recent phenomenon. Before about 1990, most successful men's scents beyond the classical Eau de Cologne-type formulae were anything but "fresh." This leads me to suspect that "fresh" is not an ingrained predilection, but a cultural phenomenon.
I love fresh, clean citrus fragrances on most occasions, even if some variations are heavier, I would like to own and wear more and more citrus scents in Eau Sauvage- style.
I don't think I can add anything of real merit to the conversation, but I would like to say that I for one prefer fresher scents, they tend to be comfortable easy to wear in most situations, and uncomplicated. Sometimes that's what you want, right?
AdP? Eau Savage? GIT?
The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.
My natural inclination is toward spicy scents, from a purely natural attraction void of any fragrance knowledge.
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What I've found lately (now that my chemical sensitivity problems are gone) is that I like strong but "soft" frags. Kretek is a good example, though I''m mostly layering with it to make it more complex and thus interesting. Frags with strong/sharp lavender, anise, geranium, and sandalwood are out !
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Fresh seems like such an unnatural smell for people... the polar opposite of natural human scent. I associate it with cleanliness, someone well-groomed, and generally civilized... that makes it safe, and approachable, particularly for women.
Whether or not it would be considered "attractive," in every sense of the word, is debatable.
Last edited by exquisitely me; 12th March 2009 at 10:03 PM.
Last edited by jathanas; 12th March 2009 at 10:03 PM.
I guess I don’t understand what fresh is. It seems arbitrary to me. I’ve seen things like Azzaro PH and Paco Rabanne PH described as fresh, so what does that mean? Is something like Aqua de Gio, which I also see mentioned a lot in this context, representative of what is considered fresh? I’ve never smelled it, so I wouldn’t know.
What constitutes a fresh fragrance anyway?
Basteri, I'm wondering what has drawn you away from fresh scents towards stronger scents? Is it the loss of natural impulses as you've become interested in artifice. Or is it more like the natural progression of tastes in food: little kids who are growing brains need tons of sugars and they're drawn to hummingbird food: high sugar, high starch. Older people become interested in stronger flavors: bitter, tart, etc. I think there's a case to be made that this progression is itself a function of how the brain works. We may eat the sweet stuff first but then we start monkeying around to see what else it edible, how it can be prepared, etc. We're even willing to risk poisoning for the sake of variety. If this tendency isn't genetic, why do we progress in this direction--usually, anyway, with perfumes? This inclination seems to take us away from the dominant message of fragrance marketing and towards something else. Basenotes peer pressure? I don't think it's just that.
Last edited by Strollyourlobster; 12th March 2009 at 10:59 PM.
What you're asking is an anthropological question, and the answers you're likely to get on a forum like this are likely to be highly colored by the biases of people with a special interest in perfumes.
I'm not convinced that fragrance history is a reliable guide to the evolution of fragrance marketing and preference, somewhat because the technology to produce what we consider "fresh" aromas that could be sustained over the wearing cycle is relatively recent. The desire, though imperfectly articulated by the public and perfumers alike, may have always been there.
Moreover, I suspect that changing tastes in fragrance is not entirely marketing-driven, although it's a factor. More likely, it's probably an interaction of marketing, demand, and the evolution of what is considered desirable in fragrance. As Dolly Parton once wisely said, when her last CD bombed, you can market something all you want, but at the end of the day if people don't want it, they won't buy it. Similarly, we can harumph all we want about the vulgarity and ignorance of the masses, but it might be wise to at least entertain the notion that it isn't the masses who are out of touch.
The role that I believe marketing plays in the mainstream fragrance arena, is to compete for business *within* a range of evolving tastes and preferences. Granted, a great and innovative fragrance can *create* a demand, and change the course of fragrance history. I think the niche houses play an important role in this regard. They have a lot more freedom to experiment, in fact it's what is expected of them.
Has the mass availability of a product that was once rarified and expensive driven fragrance evolution to a point of no return? Is it completely mature, or close to it... and are we witnessing the emergence, in the preference for "freshness" in popular taste, of a sort of fragrance consensus that lay dormant in human nature from the beginning? Or is this just another phase, only to be supplanted by something unexpected in the next? I suspect that within this dynamic (as strollyourlobster suggests) is an evolutionary curve that leads a percentage of fragrance consumers to progress beyond popular taste.
I, for one, have very little anxiety that the emergence of a dominant preference in culture will erode the existence of all others. That doesn't seem to be how it works. Evolution is additive. Television did *not* make movies obsolete, as was once feared. In fact there are more movies now that ever. Let a thousand flowers bloom. I'm sure they always will.
The same way that catchy pop tunes are considered "mainstream" music, and things like post-rock, ambient, and a host of other genres have more niche audiences, there are fragrances that are more universally appealing from the initial spray, because they are harmless and non-polarizing, they do not really require any analysis and critical thinking to enjoy, and they more rely on reaction than response (though this could be said of any sensory input).
there's a definite science to making catchy music. (western) music tends to prefer certain time signatures, beat patterns, and melodic scales/chords (minors, for example, are excellent for lending subconscious emotional weight to music, a darker/sadder sound) and as such, it is perfectly reasonable that there are certain smells, sights, and other sensory sensations that would be more universally appealing. I LOVE fresh scents. I LOVE aquatics. I think there is something to be said for the phrase "if I have to work to acquire the taste, is it really my taste?". I dont mean that people shouldn't expand their horizons, but there is no reason to dismiss fresh/clean/aquatic scents as artless. It is akin to minimalist decor versus ostentatious victorian furnishings, or gilded statues and marble fixtures. It gets a little tacky after a while. And when you go to a party, the guy getting the most compliments on his cologne is most likely NOT wearing something extremely heavy.
I agree with Basteri.
I think vastly more are drawn to fresh, natural, light and clean scents than any other type.
I don't think it has to be this way, but is due to a void of heavy and spicy scents which are timeless and understated enough to have mass appeal in the new millenium. I think this will change, but not like much of the western niche perfumers with their wave of retro type scents which mirror the "self aware joke statement" type of retro fashion. Even Tauer's Marocain and Divine's Sage Homme I think fall too much into inferior nostalgia.
I think whereas most french and western perfumers are incredibly adept at making clean light "fresh" and yes "floral" scents, and have been for nearly two centuries, they have yet to do spicy or heavy in a way that I would consider truly timeless. Yes this includes BdP, Heritage, Habit Rouge, Santal Noble, the heavy L'Artisans and Lutens' syrups. There are many great western "heavy scents" that I would say are "classic" that I admire much, but almost none which I would consider "timeless", and deem necessary in my wardrobe. That void for me will be EO mixes until a perfumer achieves something higher than existing orientals, incenses, and wood scents.
The mention of palettes risking poisoning for increased pleasure/diversity-of-pleasure is a good one, and I tend to think perfumery is still in the infancy of this side of it's quest, whereas the culinary equivalent is more accomplished and aware.
Last edited by DULLAH; 13th March 2009 at 01:46 AM.
Then why is my preference for orientals then?
I have a fair few "fresh" fragrances but the one which I find freshest is Hermes' Un Jardin Sur Le Nil which is hardly a zesty citrus.
I like spice, musk and blatant shag-me scents over all.
In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...
Fresh is too vague a category... Are we talking watery scents like Cool Water? Are we talking marine scents? There are florals that are fresh... There are orientals that are fresh... There are green scents that are fresh...
Personally, I've never gotten the "fresh out of the shower" craze... If you wan't to smell clean, well.... take a shower!
If I were to look at my time during pre - basenotes, I was just wearing fragrances like Acqua di Gio, JPG le male, CK Eternity, Jovan musk etc...and these were the frags that worked for me round the year...
Post Basenotes, the scenario has changed completely. My wardrobe is substantially lob sided towards heavy & dark fragrances....I try really hard to like some 'fresh acquatics' but somehow it doesn't work for me...Basenotes has changed my perception of a good fragrance and has altered my taste.
Till today, if I wear Chanel Egoiste or Tobacco Vanille, my gf would not really appreciate it. She'd usually use the expression as it smells like 'ittar'.....'Ittar' is a term used in India for these perfumes that come in little bottles and are really concentrated. You just use a drop of them on your wrists or at the back of your ears.....Most of the times she would really like musky & light fragrances.
I guess that for most normal people who don't delve much into perfumes, it's natural for them to like stuff like ADG, L'eau D'issey etc....I think that 'other darker fragrances', is acquired taste....Citrus frags are always associated with 'cleanliness' & make most people feel 'brighter', when worn..The affinity towards 'fresher' fragrances is normal, I think.
Men and women did like to apply a classic cologne, like Farina's during the whole of the nineteenth century and to some extent also today (Acqua di Gio pH!) But for perfuming purposes s o m e wanted better lasting and more unique waters contained in the first Eau de Toilettes for men. They were mainly for the upper crust, dandies, and Hollywood later. Up until the 1960ies, EDTs for men were not commonly bought, I would say, except maybe in the big cities. For me, EDT's used to be part of a more formal attire, by far not a daily routine before the 80ies. The elder generation applied more democratic, widespread things like Mennen Skin Bracer, Palmolive and Old Spice (America) and perhaps French fougères in Continental Europe. Up until the seventies, London perhaps provided the biggest choice of good smelling things for Gentlemen.
Furthermore, men seem to have long had a desire for most subtle, soft, and intimate fragrances as added to facial creams and lotions, and not to forget: as contained in course to our shaving foams! These are never discussed here but the powdery smells of the Gilette or Nivea cans are a very important part of my daily routine! it's only on hot summer days that I reach for the briskness of some mentholated or citrus foam.
Last edited by narcus; 13th March 2009 at 03:11 PM.
'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.
No, I don't think fresh is what we naturally want. But I do think that natural freshness is what we naturally want. There is not anything inherent in fresh smells that makes them more desirable. But, fresh fragrances smell good and they offset body odors very efficiently so they are an easy choice for those not too familiar with what is possible in fragrance.
What's not to like about the fresh ozonic air after a rainstorm? Clean citrus scent or light florals smell great. Fresh aroma chemicals help to recreate these naturally clean smelling experiences. The closer to a natural experience the scent is the more likely we are to want it.
all about the marketing spin
I like spicy, musky powerhouse frags. They were my "point of entry" juices when i started my fragrance journey in the late 70's. I have read a lot about people saying their tastes change over the years. I may be handicapped because my tastes seem to have remained the same. If i have a "fresh" frag today it is because i like the scent, not because it is "fresh".
On the other hand, in spite of the views aired on this thread and others, it seems IMO that the majority of people (the demographic as recognised by the fragrance marketing industry) generally tend to favour the kind scents they were "baptised" with. Nowadays it is the "fresh" concept. And lately (and progressively so over the years) more and more people are becoming exposed to scents, as well as buying/sampling them, for the first time. It would therefore appear that "fresh is it".
Fashions always change, though. Trends are very mobile goal-posts, hard to nail down. "Fresh" may not be what we naturally want (speaking for myself maybe) but any current trend has the power of indisputable numbers behind it, and one of those trends today is "fresh".
Please pardon any formlessness in the above.
ointments and perfume delight the heart....
My "easiest" loves are florals, rich, creamy and naturalistic, followed by spice fragrances. I've had a troubled relationship with citrus and a bad relationship with aquatics. I honestly only want citrus when it's really hot, usually.