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  1. #1

    Default OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    A simple trip to the department store can, indeed, turn into an olfactory fiasco if there happens to be present a rather extensively stocked male fragrance "wall." Yes, folks, I'm talking about confronting the proverbial (or maybe not so much) "Wall of Smell!!!" (In 3-D and, of course, Dolby Digital Surround!)

    My first impulse is to grab every tester and spray, spray, SPRAY!!! I've discovered, however, much to my chagrin, that this strategy is clearly flawed. You see, once you've rolled up your sleeves and chosen a virgin area of skin upon which to spray a tiny amount of tester juice, you have to wait a little while before the top notes dissipate and the dry-down begins. This might take some time -- like several hours. So you periodically sniff your left thumb's second knuckle in order to gage the first fragrance's progress while picking out a second tester with which to spray your right elbow. And so on.

    Now, if you're like me (and you're probably not), you'll try to remember which fragrance you've sprayed where, but you can't, of course, unless you've brought along a Sharpie to mark each section of skin that you've sprayed with the name of whichever fragrance you've sampled . . . or something. Oy!

    Meanwhile, the salesperson saunters by and asks, "Can I help you with anything?"

    "No, thank you," you reply. "There's nothing you can do until the dry-down."

    "Well," she (or he) continues. "I see you're sampling quite a few fragrances today. Perhaps I might suggest one for you."

    "No!" you exclaim. "I know what I'm doing, but I can't keep track of these bloody scents if you keep interrupting! Now, Piss off!"

    The salesperson smiles (maybe) and slinks away while you continue your maniacal quest for the perfect scent. However, while you've just sprayed your left shoulder (the only real estate available unless you pull down your trousers) with Hugo Boss, you realize you can't distinguish lavender from amber anymore.

    That's right, dear friends: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome!

    You throw down your Sharpie in disgust, purchase the worst scent of the bunch, and go home, leaving the salesperson to wonder, what the heck just happened?

    So, dear friends, when you go shopping for a fragrance, and you're confronted with the perennial "Wall of Smell," how do you go about keeping track of all the fragrances you sample, and what do you do to prevent OF & SOS?

    As always, I thank you kindly for your generous input.

    Cheers!

    Harry

  2. #2

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I try not to sample to many fragrances in one visit. I 'zero in' on several that I am interested in and give them my full attention on that day. You can always come back and select several others another day. You are correct that you will get olfactory fatigue by sampling to many too rapidly...It is hard to say no to all those testers though right? I know...from time to time, I still make the same mistake.
    Do a little research ahead of time and focus on just a few per visit. Oh.....don't let the SAs spritz you, always ask for the tester yourself. They will spray you in the wierdest places or start spraying and not want to stop....it is actually quite funny how they all spray differently. Some think by handing over that tester to you, they are giving up their freedom or something.

  3. #3
    JoNnY 4's Avatar
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Harry,

    Some time ago i too experienced the same problem. I had 6 scents on both my arms and wrist and not to mention about 8 tester card in the pockets of my jeans. After the 5th or 6th scent i sprayed on I couldn't differentiate what i was smelling properly. Luckily for me I already had in mind what i wanted to buy so OF and SOS didn't really affect me too much.

    I think the best way to overcome this Wall of Smell is to make a list of the scents u want to sample for the day. That's what i do and it has been working well so far. Usually to prevent OF and SOS i try not to spray too many scents on my arms..i think a maximum of 2 on each forearm will be okay.

  4. #4
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    Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I never sample more than I can distinguish, on paper, by scent alone. I keep the blotters with me as I move around, and sniff the whole series - shuffled again - each time I add a new paper. I try to use identical blotters, or at least two of each visually distinguishable kind, so that I am forced to distinguish by scent. If I get to the point that I cannot tell them apart any more, I'm done. I may do one or two more samples and make a decision to either (1) spray my top candidates on skin, (2) buy something, or (3) quit for that store.

    By maintaining the requirement of a high QUALITY of my testing, I never find the QUANTITY getting out of control. Moreover, my scent memories are usually very good, and suitable for making basic judgments, short reviews, or posts.
    * * * *

  5. #5
    Big Punisher's Avatar
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Umm how about you sample no more than about 6 per visit fool.

  6. #6

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I read basenotes, spot up to 2 fragrances and then go sampling.
    More targeted buy and sometimes a good one. I always want to know what I'll sample.

  7. #7

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I only experienced these sensations in a swank niche boutique, after more than 20 scents sampled.

  8. #8
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I sample only two scents per visit - one on each limb.

  9. #9

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Jock_With_Scents View Post
    I try not to sample to many fragrances in one visit. I 'zero in' on several that I am interested in and give them my full attention on that day. You can always come back and select several others another day. You are correct that you will get olfactory fatigue by sampling to many too rapidly...It is hard to say no to all those testers though right? I know...from time to time, I still make the same mistake.
    Do a little research ahead of time and focus on just a few per visit. Oh.....don't let the SAs spritz you, always ask for the tester yourself. They will spray you in the wierdest places or start spraying and not want to stop....it is actually quite funny how they all spray differently. Some think by handing over that tester to you, they are giving up their freedom or something.
    HAHAHA! "I can't give you the tester, sir. I'm not permitted to relinquish control of this fragrance. It's against the rules."

    Kinda like handing over the TV remote, am I right?

    We should call it "Tester-mania." The unbearably powerful instinct to over-spray those testers.

  10. #10

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by JoNnY 4 View Post
    Harry,

    Some time ago i too experienced the same problem. I had 6 scents on both my arms and wrist and not to mention about 8 tester card in the pockets of my jeans. After the 5th or 6th scent i sprayed on I couldn't differentiate what i was smelling properly. Luckily for me I already had in mind what i wanted to buy so OF and SOS didn't really affect me too much.

    I think the best way to overcome this Wall of Smell is to make a list of the scents u want to sample for the day. That's what i do and it has been working well so far. Usually to prevent OF and SOS i try not to spray too many scents on my arms..i think a maximum of 2 on each forearm will be okay.
    Excellent strategy! Thank you! Of course, waiting for the drydown and then remembering which fragrance you sprayed where is the key. Well done!

  11. #11
    JoNnY 4's Avatar
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I forgot...Another thing i do is writing down the name of the scent on each tester card. Spray on the arm and spray the same scent on the card. I don't use this method all the time. Usually only when i got 5 or more scents on the list to sample.

  12. #12

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    I never sample more than I can distinguish, on paper, by scent alone. I keep the blotters with me as I move around, and sniff the whole series - shuffled again - each time I add a new paper. I try to use identical blotters, or at least two of each visually distinguishable kind, so that I am forced to distinguish by scent. If I get to the point that I cannot tell them apart any more, I'm done. I may do one or two more samples and make a decision to either (1) spray my top candidates on skin, (2) buy something, or (3) quit for that store.

    By maintaining the requirement of a high QUALITY of my testing, I never find the QUANTITY getting out of control. Moreover, my scent memories are usually very good, and suitable for making basic judgments, short reviews, or posts.
    Interesting, RP. I like your strategy regarding blotter usage. Of course, the way a scent behaves on a blotter versus your skin is impossible to predict, but it provides you with an effective filtering process. Have you ever found a scent that failed the blotter test, but behaved beautifully on your skin? Or do you even bother with a skin test if it fails the blotter test?

    Thanks so much for your input!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Drinkwater View Post
    Meanwhile, the salesperson saunters by and asks, "Can I help you with anything?"

    "No, thank you," you reply. "There's nothing you can do until the dry-down."

    "Well," she (or he) continues. "I see you're sampling quite a few fragrances today. Perhaps I might suggest one for you."

    "No!" you exclaim. "I know what I'm doing, but I can't keep track of these bloody scents if you keep interrupting! Now, Piss off!"

    Harry
    You could ask her to write fragrance names on a few more areas of your body. E.g., your right arm if you're right handed.



    I always have a pen with me. I always write the fragrance name plus date and time on the test card. Sometimes I add more notes later.

  14. #14

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    When going fragrance shopping, I usually only test one on my skin, and I never test more than 2. On those occassions when I sample more than one frag, I spray one, walk around for an hour or so smelling frequently and then wash the area off with soap/water and then purell before going and testing the second fragrance. On rare occasions when I don't have much time I will test 2 frags at the same time, one on each arm, but I prefer to wear one fragrance at a time so I get the experience of the frag by itself for a decent length of time. Also, I never purchase a fragrance I have tested that day.
    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

  15. #15

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Punisher View Post
    Umm how about you sample no more than about 6 per visit fool.
    Thank you for your input, sir.

  16. #16

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by steve_123 View Post
    I read basenotes, spot up to 2 fragrances and then go sampling.
    More targeted buy and sometimes a good one. I always want to know what I'll sample.
    I study Basenotes religiously, too, but get so many varying opinions, I find that if I don't smell for myself, I might miss something that works extremely well with my body chemistry, but everyone else thinks it's horrible. And vice-versa.

    However, developing the discipline to stick with only two fragrances is something I've yet to master. Great thanks!

  17. #17

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_Russell View Post
    I only experienced these sensations in a swank niche boutique, after more than 20 scents sampled.
    And then, do you feel obligated to purchase something . . . anything? Kind of like an olfactory guilt trip, followed, of course, by olfactory buyer's remorse.

  18. #18

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    I sample only two scents per visit - one on each limb.
    Good thing you said "limb" and not "appendage."

    "I beg your pardon, sir, but what on earth are you doing???" the sales associate gasps in utter horror.

    "Just spraying the tester on my only available appendage, ma'am," I reply. "Would you mind giving this a sniff for me? I can't quite reach."

  19. #19

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by ECaruthers View Post
    You could ask her to write fragrance names on a few more areas of your body. E.g., your right arm if you're right handed.



    I always have a pen with me. I always write the fragrance name plus date and time on the test card. Sometimes I add more notes later.
    Or get tattoos like the guy from "Memento."

    You know, I keep forgetting to carry a pen with me -- a real must during these visits. Thanks, and cheers!

  20. #20

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by surreality View Post
    When going fragrance shopping, I usually only test one on my skin, and I never test more than 2. On those occassions when I sample more than one frag, I spray one, walk around for an hour or so smelling frequently and then wash the area off with soap/water and then purell before going and testing the second fragrance. On rare occasions when I don't have much time I will test 2 frags at the same time, one on each arm, but I prefer to wear one fragrance at a time so I get the experience of the frag by itself for a decent length of time. Also, I never purchase a fragrance I have tested that day.
    Now, that's what I call a disciplined approach! Excellent!

    Many thanks!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Drinkwater View Post
    And then, do you feel obligated to purchase something . . . anything? Kind of like an olfactory guilt trip, followed, of course, by olfactory buyer's remorse.
    Never!
    For sale: Armani Prive (Cuir, Jade), Yves Rocher, Artisan Ambre body cream http://community.basenotes.net/showthread.php?t=228894

  22. #22

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I'm new at this and it was my first experience but... I work in San Francisco. There's a huge makeup store called Saphora. Apparently it's normally even bigger but they're remodeling the normal store location across the street. They'll give you a sample to take home of anything they carry, which is a lot. I checked a bunch on the paper, wore two out (one on each wrist) and got samples of the others that I think are potentials. The guy helping me out was very cool, gave me a bunch. Every day I do a single elimination on each wrist, track it like a playoff series. By next week I should have the winner for the warm summer days ahead. Well, sorta warm, it is SF after all.

  23. #23

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    I like the sharpie idea for multiple testings.

    Could someone explain the deal with Sephora samples? I've been through there, but never stopped to try anything out.

  24. #24

    Default Re: OF & SOS: Olfactory Fatigue & Scensory Overload Syndrome

    Pretty simple. You say, "Do you have any samples of that"? They answer, "We can make you a sample of anything we carry". You say "That's awesome!!!". Then they take a tiny spray sample bottle and squirt it full of the fragrance from the tester. They put it in a little baggy and label the baggie with a sharpie. You can get maybe 1/2 dozen sprays from the sample depending on how full they make it. I may run out before I finish my summer bracket (below). I think it's probably bad form to ask for more than a couple, but I think that because me and the guy helping me were the only males in this vast store I got the "bro" treatment. I may have some of the versions wrong, I'm not looking at them. Saphora's not exactly bargain but I'll probably get something from them just for being cool.

    Allure Sport
    Allure Extreme
    Allure Extreme
    ?????
    Versace Pour Homme
    Dior Homme Sport (close race)
    Dior Homme Sport
    ?????
    Bvlgari Aqua
    Bvlgari Aqua
    Varvatos Artison
    ??????
    Aqua de Gio
    ?????
    Gucci (I forgot which, need to look)

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