Thread: Olfactory Fatigue
spray back of the neck and arms
As a relative newb, can someone explain what olfactory fatigue is please?
I keep seeing it in threads and I have no idea what it means.
Olfactory fatigue or adaptation is the temporary, normal inability to distinguish a particular odor after a prolonged exposure to that airborne compound. For example, when entering a restaurant initially the odor of food is often perceived as being very strong, but after time the awareness of the odor normally fades to the point where the smell is not perceptible or is much weaker. After leaving the area of high odor, the sensitivity is restored with time. Perfume counters will often have containers of coffee beans which tend to "reset" Olfaction
Same thing with a fragrance. Spray it on, a few hours later you can't smell it at all although those around you certainly can.
This is something to keep in mind when on smelling trips. You cannot really smell more than a few perfumes. The nose numbs down pretty soon, and the impression one gets will be quite biased. One may end up smelling only the stronger one, and the others will appear as almost non-existent.
Try to smell Complex by Boadicea The Victorious and you'll see....no kidding.
So, you read the reviews on here and you see "Longevity is rubbish" etc. You try a scent yourself and find it has moderate to good longevity.
Do we generally class anything we can't smell after a few hours as "poor longevity" or should we actually be thinking about it being more a case of Olfactory Fatigue.
The reason I'm curious about other peoples views on this is I have never had any longevity issues with any Creed scents I have worn. All of them last a long time and a couple last 20+ hours on me. MI in particular I can smell all day. GIT however I kinda lose after about 5-6 hours however I feel it is olifactory fatigue on my part as everyone I ask says they can still smell it.
I have the opposite effect with Lorenzo Villoresi Uomo, I can smell it after about 8 hours yet no one else can, however close they get.
Just interested to hear other folks views.
The Large Print Giveth And The Small Print Taketh Away
I think in addition to olfactory fatigue - which is common, especially as many people spray on their necks! - we have to take another factor into account... anosmia to various musks! Many modern scents are loaded with base note musks, and if you happen to be anosmic to some or many of them, surely many modern scents will seem to have poor longevity.
I don't think I'm anosmic to any of them, as I get 8+ hour longevity on everything I wear.
I'm not sure, I do think everyone is gonna be a bit different.
Dzing! for example, on me it'd last around 5 hours, and others say it's gone in half an hour.
Similarly, I bought Voleur de Roses for my ma for Christmas, and unfortunately, it disappears in half an hour or so, beyond subtle. So that sucks.
I think olfactory fatigue affects myself, I don't tend to have a problem with longevity as others say they can smell me, but on myself, I always thing my fragrances have gone really subtle. Anyway, it's not something I worry about
I'm not sure either. I think it's a combination of factors - olfactory fatigue, skin type, quality etc. Personally I don't have issues with longevity with most fragrances.
Longevity is an important factor for me when choosing to buy a bottle. No longevity, no buy. I'm aware that olfactory fatigue is sometimes an issue, when I can't smell myself and others do. Since I wear scent to please myself more than others, I don't wear too many scents that have olfactory fatigue to my nose.
I enjoy scents that I can still smell myself after 8 hours, and that's a short list. I'm not expecting to smell myself at all times, but I should get a whiff of myself several times an hour.
My short list of most often wears with true longevity are:
Richwood & Homme by Xerjoff
Absolue pour le soir by MFK
Oud Luban by Aftelier - for longevity this must be applied to hair
Rose Oud by By Kilian
Homage & Tribute by Amouage
Portrait of a Lady by Frederick Malle
This happens with any Creed that I try. Lots of folks say they have poor longevity. I find the opposite to be true, especially with their EDTs.
I used to think the hallmark of a good fragrance was its apparent (to me alone) longevity, projection, and sillage. After putting on GIT and losing its trace after 2-3 hours, only to be complimented by someone 4 hours after that, I'm not so sure. In that case it was clearly olfactory fatigue, but what about those of us who won't necessarily have someone around to detect our scent?
I guess my question is how can one even tell if a fragrance is weak or not? It could be just a case of fatigue.
Best test is to choose a place to spray that is far away from your nose, so that you can come back later and re-test.
That means if you are wearing it, use it some place like your belly, wrist, or hand. On clothing, nowhere near your neck or upper chest. On paper, keep it in another room between sniffs.
Then come back and smell it later. If you still get good whiffs, then it's just olfactory fatigue.
Another test, if you do wear it on your chest, is to open your shirt at the end of the day. You'll be able to smell it on both your shirt and your chest - from those you can assess the longevity on skin and on cloth.
So many complaints are really just fatigue, IMO.
Another reason to wear on the hand or wrist is so you can enjoy it yourself, whenever you want.
When someone esle can still smell it, but you can't - it's fatigue.
Olfactory fatigue happens to me only from when I spray till 5 minutes after it. And this is some times. Sometimes there is no olfactory fatigue like today. I sprayed my usual of Traversee du Bosphore about an hour ago and I've been smelling it non-stop.
So poor longevity is when you no longer smell the perfume after an hour after application.
I'm still trying to make sense of this technique :
The old coffee beans trick works for me. Even late in the day.
Here's a way to remind yourself of just how susceptible to olfactory fatigue we all are. Make a bag of microwave popcorn. PHEW! What a snell, right? Yum. An hour later, you won't notice it. Walk outside. Inhale / exhale. Ahhhhhhh. Walk back inside. "Oh, right... the popcorn."
Sometimes, the nose needs a reset.
I ask other people if they can smell any fragrance on me, if they can't and I can't then it's fairly certain that's because the fragrance has worn off. Refreshing your nose with other powerful smells can help, but really why go to the trouble when you can just ask someone else if they can smell anything on you?
I use a sibling/friend. If none are in a convenient geographical proximity, I test out longevity by spraying it on my wrist bone and periodically sniffing.
There is another curve ball to consider and this one can not so easily be ruled out. Musk/aromachemical anosmia. It is well documented that many people are at least completely anosmic to one or more musks, thus if one of these musks makes up a large portion of the base you will think the scent is gone while it may still be projecting strongly (and smelling much different than you think it does!)
The difficulty of course is that even if you ask others, they may be anosmic to the same musk, or perhaps they are anosmic to a different musk that makes up a good portion of the base. Thus, multiple opinions are needed. I think at least a few of the people here who have chronic longevity issues - especially moreso on modern releases which tend to utilize larger proportions of these modern musks - actually have anosmia or hyopsmia issues.
I am one of those with longevity issues. My skin, which is extremely pale and dry, seems to eat perfume and I can't smell much after 3-4 hours, often less, even of scents which others find quite strong. I've often wondered whether anosmia comes into it. But friends and family members agree that my scents really do fade away quickly, so I guess it's a physical, skin chemistry problem.
One technique I've found that helps is to spray some of the SOTD on to a small piece of cotton wool and wear it tucked into my bra. Obviously, some underwear isn't designed to do that with, so it won't work for everyone, and I don't know what the guys could do (better not to speculate).
But spraying on the cotton wool has proved to me that it's my skin and not the frag or my nose that's the problem. I can still smell the cotton wool the next day. I read somewhere (I think it was Chandler Burr) that perfume noses prefer to test their creations on people with dark skin, as theirs holds scent better than paler folks'. Lucky them, if so.
The coffee bean suggestion is great (i.e. smell some coffee for a bit, then come back and see if you can smell the scent). But in the absence of coffee beans (or similar), try sniffing the clothing in your elbow joint. Of course this assumes you have no scent on in that area. Sniff this area for a few seconds, i.e. bury your nose there, and then return back to the scent in question.