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  1. #1

    Default Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I just wonder how many of you who have obviously done a lot of sampling think that you may be missing out on actually enjoying frags. LT himself said he wore New York for a decade. Perhaps he meant that he wore it on most days, though he still sampled others, possibly on paper strips. I've gone back and forth on quite a few frags, and if I would have given up on them I'd be missing out on the enjoyment they provide. Some BNers seem to rifle through samples, and if the frag doesn't impress the first time, it's out. I'm really glad I persevered with frags that had notes that I initially didn't like, such as oud and jasmine, which I can now appreciate. I'd like to hear how others feel on this subject. This is not meant to be a criticism. You are allowed to experience this hobby any way you like. It's possible that I need more time than most others, for example, which is why I ask this question.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I find that sometimes I get different things out of scents on different days. Other times, my notes and impressions are very consistent each time I try a fragrance. Once in a while, a scent I did not like at first I come to appreciate later. And my vocabulary and scent memory increases as time goes by. So I certainly find that I always have things of interest, both in new scents and in old favorites.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I rifle through fragrances on my first sampling, and put away those that I didn't like immediately. I always come back to then in time and hope that something changes ( and sometimes it does).

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I have loads of samples of ones I want to try in my samples box, I spend time with each one, going back to them if I wasn't impressed initially, I don't like to write things off straight away.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    Good point there...

    I have to admit that I pass through many scents quickly without giving them a fair go. However, I usually come back to revisit them now and then, even to scents I initially had a negative reaction to since "turnarounds" happen to me now and then. (Some examples of dislike to like: Cuir Venenum, ELDO, Montale Aouds, etc)

    Some scents I just give up on though -- but only if I feel they deserve it. I don't think I'll be missing out much by not "enjoying" stuff like Antonio Banderas Spirit, Brut, or Himalaya. (yea yea, the drydown)

    By the way, I can't imagine wearing New York for a decade. I've given it 3 full-wearings and still, the sparks didn't fly. Boring and overrated in my book.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I TOTALLY miss the forest for the trees CONSTANTLY! So I often go back to fragrance samples a few months later. I used to just give away samples I didn't like, but as a fragrance addict sampling a new fragrance a day, it's really important to go back on things since you're tastes may change drastically from week to week.

    For example, I used to hate Chergui, but I've turned around to it these days (still not a masterpiece though ).
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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    So many fragrances...so little time!

    I just know that somewhere out there exists my 'Perfect' scent, that dead-center olfactory bolt, the one that rings all the bells and blows all the whistles at the proper time. Somewhere..
    Last edited by kbe; 15th March 2009 at 10:24 PM.
    'Those who grow too big for their pants will be exposed in the end'--anon

  8. #8

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I need more time than others in that seasons come and go, things change.. situations change, the people around me change.. and all of those things impact our senses.. preferences.. in one way or another.

    The only time I think I've completely closed the door to a fragrance is when it is remarkably similar to another fragrance (or a handful of others) I already enjoy/have enjoyed, and don't currently use. I'd rather be put off by a fragrance than be thoroughly bored by it.. honestly, the ones that are most difficult to rate out of 5 stars are the ones that hold some potential.

    I have yet to experience Montale, PG, MPG, and.. well.. dozens of other lines. Some I haven't experienced to their fullest as I've become caught up and infatuated with one house and overspent buying all sorts of them (Creed or Villoresi).

    I think we hold onto certain core ideas of what we find to be wearable. Like others I can admire the beauty in a fragrance and am now seasoned enough to realize, despite its beauty, it's not "for me".

    Provocative post, Bigsly. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I just wonder how many of you who have obviously done a lot of sampling think that you may be missing out on actually enjoying frags. LT himself said he wore New York for a decade. Perhaps he meant that he wore it on most days, though he still sampled others, possibly on paper strips. I've gone back and forth on quite a few frags, and if I would have given up on them I'd be missing out on the enjoyment they provide. Some BNers seem to rifle through samples, and if the frag doesn't impress the first time, it's out. I'm really glad I persevered with frags that had notes that I initially didn't like, such as oud and jasmine, which I can now appreciate. I'd like to hear how others feel on this subject. This is not meant to be a criticism. You are allowed to experience this hobby any way you like. It's possible that I need more time than most others, for example, which is why I ask this question.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    Bigsly, this is an excellent observation. I've had this nagging feeling that I was missing the Forest of Fragrance Enjoyment because I was concentrating on making sure that I sampled the next tree. My old, pre-BN habits, like wearing the same fragrance for a week, are gone. Perhaps some part of the old forest - namely missing out on certain exquisite trees - wasn't so great. But before I joined the Basenotes Army, I never felt the duty to sample. Now, I may wake up wanting to wear some designer frag that I wore the day before, but I end up wearing things that I need to wear, for this intellectual reason or that.

    Rubbish! I need to start wearing what I want - when I want - whenever I want. I'm glad that I'm not alone on this.

    Aiona was wearing one particular scent all the time, and while she had more personal reasons for wanting to do that, I see that those reasons, or my own, are just as valid as anything else. It's just like you say - we are allowed to experience this hobby however we want. Maybe, like you say, some of us do need more time. Like the others have mentioned, I have needed to return to old samples many times to finally and truly appreciate the fragrance. Several old "mehs" are now "loves" because I returned to them. But I may want to take my time with some fragrances. Maybe even a whole week. Well, the next time I get that urge, I'm gonna do it.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I have been thinking the same thing over the last few months. Very rarely will I have the chance to enjoy a fragrance without one or both of my arms being covered in various samples. Having found and bought an awful lot of stuff that I adore, I am not finding the time to enjoy it in the manner that it was meant to worn. My intention is to only sample on certain days and leave myself the rest of the week to enjoy the fruits of my labour.

    Nah.....I am screwed like the rest of you

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly
    I just wonder how many of you who have obviously done a lot of sampling think that you may be missing out on actually enjoying frags.
    That's exactly why I sample a lot! Something I may not like on first skin test I may like a month or two down the road, perhaps once I'm able to put that fragrance in proper context. I used to not like any white florals, and the various such samples I acquired would just get filed away. I'm constantly going through my samples and picking out fragrances I haven't tried in a while, and now I'm going through and finding all these great white florals I didn't used to like but now really appreciate. Similarly there's a value into holding on to some bottles, if you can afford to, that you don't like at first because you may end up liking them as your nose develops and tastes change. I almost never give or trade away my samples because I never know when I'm going to want them later (I swap decants, not samples), thus they are never 'sniffed once and discarded'.

    My SOTDs are never my tester-samples (1.5ml or less), but rather my bottles and large decants. If I have a bottle or decant it means I've already sampled the fragrance to the point I know I'm going to like wearing it. I don't want to waste a SOTD on something I don't like.

    The other sampling 'raison d'etre' so to speak is precisely because I enjoy fragrance, and the only way to really expand knowledge is via experience. If you want to learn about say.... the chypre genre.... you can buy one chypre and wear it, OR you can get samples of 20-30 chypres and come to understand the parameters and subtlety of the genre. While Bisgly brings up the anecdote by Turin that he word PdN NY for years, he obviously also spent a lot of time sampling and learning as well, whether it be on paper strips or on his arms or whatever. Ultimately knowledge - as with any interest or hobby - comes via experience, and in perfumery that experience is smelling different things (sampling).

    Where I think people may be missing out on enjoyment of fragrances are those who may pre-judge a fragrance because of its origin, its notes, cost, gender-marketing etc. and decide something isn't worth trying. Sometimes it may be worth trying some random cheap drug store release - or conversely it may be worth spending $10 on a 1ml sample... who's to say? It's all about trying new things. The only way to find out is to try! Two fragrances with identical pyramids could smell completely different, but you'd never know until you sample them - plus the more fragrances from the same genre one samples the better you can wrap your head around the genre and grasp subtle differences between perfumers, materials, houses, time periods, etc... two 'similar' fragrances can teach you a lot in the aspects that aren't similar.

    To sum up my approach so that I don't fall into the trap Bigsly describes: SOTD is for enjoyment, sampling is for learning.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I think it is good to go back to samples that failed to impress from time to time as there are many factors that affect our impressions including:

    mood
    weather
    maturing discernment

    Usually I don't migrate from "hate" to "love", but sometimes I migrate from "puzzled" to "like" (or "dislike"). Regardless, it is good to get multiple impressions over time.

    The chief challenge is time!

    And balancing sampling vs enjoying the frags that you already love. That is what is really tricky to me.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I allow myself to change my mind, whenever I want, when it comes to wearing my SOTD.

    Sometimes I plan on sampling something, then when I walk up to my wardrobe to get it, I see a bottle of mine that I want to wear - so I wear that instead. Vice versa.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    I find that I can't force myself to sample things, as if I'm not in the proper mindset.. if I don't really want to wear that sample that day but am instead thinking "I'd really like to wear one of my comfort scents today, like Fleur Du Male" or something, I simply won't enjoy the sample regardless of how good it is.

    I've ordered or received samples from people that I was enthused to try, but then for one reason or another, didn't (or haven't) sampled them for weeks or even months. Again, this is primarily because on most days I like to wear something I know I'll enjoy, so I return to one of my full bottles. This is also the reason I want to keep my wardrobe relatively small (< 30 bottles or so).. a collection of my favorites from various fragrance categories that I always know I'll enjoy, and then a few special purpose frags.

    The other thing I refuse to do is to write off a sample before giving it a full SoTD wearing. Yes, it is almost necessary to skin test more than one frag at a time when first acquanting oneself with a bunch of samples, but until you really wear and are surrounded by the aura of a frag for a full day in a SoTD context, you can't judge it fairly.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Are you missing the forest for the trees ?

    Sampling too often and too many scents at a time could actually stop me, as expected, from, getting the big picture, since, instead of settling down for one or a few scents, I'm always testing and re-testing more and more perfumes, concentrating on too many individual notes and features and these and comparing them far too much with each other, with respect to quality, style etc., often failing to settle for one or the other scent for good.

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