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  1. #1

    Question Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Ok. This is going to sound so strange, but I have to ask! Allow me to start with a simple story. (If you wish to skip the intro, look for the smiley)

    I became interested in perfumes at a very young age, starting around the age of seven. During my childhood my mother and I would always pick up a bottle of perfume at the duty free when going on holiday, sampling as many as we could muster. Her signature scent was Estee Lauder's Knowledge, and back then it was only available at the airport.

    I'm no Nez, no expert. The reviews I post here are merely my opinions alone. Sometimes I am able to pick up on the individual notes, but usually if I do it's a badly blended fragrance. I do love to experience a fragrance as a well-blended whole. I love perfumes because of the memories they can carry, and the memories they bring back.
    At the age of sixteen I fell in love with a lovely petite girl. She always wore Cacharel's Noa, and whenever I picked up that scent I thought of her. I wanted to be able to have a scent infused with the memory of me, just like her. It was then that I decided to find my signature scent, and my quest began.

    I tried so many perfumes. Slowly graduating from the sloppy artificial concoctions to being able to detect and appreciate more complex and well put together, well thought out fragrances. Sadly, none of them niche. It's surprisingly difficult to find here in the Netherlands, and I need to testdrive a scent for a week at least to know if we match.

    Now this is where the trouble begins.

    You see, anytime I would fall in love with a perfume, I would testdrive it. During this time the most bizarre thing happens: the perfume would affect my personality. Yes, I actually start to behave very differently. It's funny, in an eery way, but no joke. It's not that severe, but it really feels as if wearing perfume makes it impossible for me to be myself.
    There is a lot of talk about perfumes having "personalities", and the funny thing is that it almost feels to me as if most perfumes are imposing their personality onto me.

    To give a few examples:
    Alien by Thierry Mugler makes me very cold and distant
    Sun by Jil Sander makes me behave like a spoilt brat
    Don't even get me started on Dior's Poison..

    Am I just oddly synesthetic, or do some of you also experience this "Perfume Personality Disorder"?


    There are two perfumes that do not have this affect on me (oh! bliss!)
    Rose by Paul Smith and Juicy Couture's signature scent.
    They've both been described by some on basenotes as "lacking personality", "inoffensive", "safe" etc. Personally I find them to be more like the olfactory version of Sofia Coppola's movies: highly boring to most, but deeply beautiful in an infinitely sensitive, truly fundamentally human way. (I know, I got carried away there..)
    Whatever your opinion on these perfumes, would you have some suggestions for this oddbal?

  2. #2
    Tarheel Golfer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Welcome to Basenotes. I can't really say any fragrances have "changed" my personality. But I do see where you are going with your examples.

    I will say that I do feel more confident when wearing certain frags, and also a bit self-conscious if I've accidentally over applied something.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    I like Sofia Coppola's work. She managed to kick away the critics who said she was riding her father's name.

    As for smells, it has inherently effect on my moods. I see them as memory carriers. For each smell, I have people, events, places connected to it, that instantly come back to me whenever I smell it. And it will influence my mood at that moment, infusing it with my moods from all the other times.
    Wanted: a cap of Bvlgari Thé Vert

    Wanted: L' Artisan Timbuktu or Fragonard Concerto

    Feel free to visit Polderposh - a young up & coming Dutch fragrance blog!

  4. #4
    Markx's Avatar
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    United Arab Emirates

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Just amazing, It sounds like my life story. At the age of 4 my mom let choose my very first perfume and from many I chose Lapidus Pour Homme.

    It was my pleasure to read this amazingly well thought and well put thread, Thank you very much.
    Currently listening to: Blue - Sorry seems to be the hardest Word, Outlandish - Walou, MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS - PRIMADONNA
    Currently wearing: Thé Noir 29 by Le Labo

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Great story. This needs to be written in much greater detail if you ever have the time. My guess is that you are more closely attentive and more profoundly affected by something that affects most of us. I would love to see this topic reposted on the female board where it would get more attention. Really interesting, thanks!

  6. #6
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    Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stereotomy View Post
    As for smells, it has inherently effect on my moods. I see them as memory carriers. For each smell, I have people, events, places connected to it, that instantly come back to me whenever I smell it. And it will influence my mood at that moment, infusing it with my moods from all the other times.
    Yes, that's the way it is for me, too.

    It's funny - when I saw the title of your thread (which is great, btw), I was hopeful that they might have decided upon a diagnosis for all of us perfumista types. Not that I would seek help, or even consider it necessary or desirable.... Just perhaps in the hope that the world might be caring about fragrance in a second-hand sort of way.

    I would say that we're all strongly influenced by fragrance here, though at the same time, I think that your way and my way aren't quite the same. But it's still great to hear your particular story, and I think it's wonderful that you are that way.
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
    / blog:// / raging for the machines

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    I don't make such associations. thankfully. I do find that if I'm not relaxed I don't enjoy frags nearly as much. Part of the reason is that I have such a large rotation that I think any associations are lost from memory by the time I get around to wearing it again. I haven't been interested in frags since I was a child, though (just the last couple of years).

  8. #8

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Well…I can’t actual say any particular perfume has giving me any type of personality disorder, or that I’ve ever encountered any one who has this conundrum.

    Whether this story is true or not, it is funny. Sorry.

    I can see this working as a romantic comedy.

    You’ve got an interesting premise.

    What if a nice average (or dare I saw ugly) guy who has the worst luck with women went to the mall one day, and tried on some type of magical cologne. As he walks out of the mall every female he passes falls instantly love with him because the aroma of this exquisite masculinity is so titillating that women just can't help themselves.

    Now, this is starting to sound like a bad AXE commercial.

    But, I'm too tired to plot out the rest.

    Regardless, I thoroughly enjoy this thread.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Last edited by hammersj; 6th December 2009 at 06:56 AM.

  10. #10
    Diamondflame's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    I've heard of the analogical 'scent wearing you instead of you wearing the scent'...but this is bizarre. Either you should avoid perfumes altogether until you're certain of your own personality or find one that gets the best, most positive reactions out of you.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    It works the other way 'round for me (as probably with most BNers) - I find that rather than using perfumes to modify my mood, I tend to wear what I feel in the morning (though I also try to take into account what I'm doing the rest of the day).

    Plus I like some of Sofia Coppola's works - in fact I took an online quiz* once about "Which director will direct a film about your life" and it turns out the answer is... "Sofia Coppola"

    *: Because online quizzes are the fount of truth, right?
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  12. #12
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    Redneck Perfumisto's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    I can see this as a valid personality disorder (no offense intended by calling it that). In fact, it would have to be one of the milder ones. Basically a person telling themself "I am what I'm wearing." I mean, to a certain extent, I do it, too. I clean up, put on a more "elegant" or "sophisticated" scent, some nice clothes, go to a nice event, and basically play the role. Next day I go spray on something clean and sporty and go do some kind of exercise and voila - jock mood, jock mode. Build up some associations like that, or just accept the ones on the packaging and in the ads for a starting point, and you've got a direction of mood already set. Then it just builds up. After a while, perfumes put me back in the mood they're associated with.

    Now perfumers DO perform a bit of emotional trickery, difficult as that is, with scent. There are probably some average emotional responses to different fragrances, based on cultural exposure to different scents. So you have that, too, influencing how people respond to a scent. But I'm sure that the greater part of the response is purely personal.

    Bottom line - what you are telling yourself has a huge effect on how you feel, and that is probably going to change when you wear different scents. At the extreme (like almost anything), it could probably be regarded as a personality disorder.
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
    / blog:// / raging for the machines

  13. #13

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Wow, I had the exact same issue! It took me a whole year to find the fragrances I liked... I was so picky because I wanted to find the fragrance that just made me feel like "me." It took a long time but I found it. Now I wear different fragrances depending on what kind of mood and personality I want to convey. Cool thread flinterdun.

    I know of a few fragrances that I love, even if they kind of lack personality. They include: Gendarme, L'Homme by YSL (it's pretty unisex if you ask me), Erolfa, and L'antimatiere.
    Last edited by L'Aventurier; 19th October 2009 at 02:46 AM.
    Sales thread here

  14. #14

    narcus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Perhaps more sensitive than the average person but certainly no personality disorder in my books! I find that people sometimes ignore secondary influences a fragrance may have on them or others in their neighborhood - to their own disadvantage.

    I agree that a weeks wearing is the minimum period required to learn if a new perfume leaves my inner harmony intact, or keeps interfering in a negative kind of way. A perfume I do not wear for special effects must behave modestly to become a good, steady companion.
    Last edited by narcus; 19th October 2009 at 10:20 AM.
    '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.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    I can see this as a valid personality disorder (no offense intended by calling it that).
    I don't know Redneck, that seems like a rather bold diagnosis to make when you've never even met the person in question. People express themselves in different ways, there's language barriers, the limitations of conveying meaning through text, cultural notions of identity & self... just seems like an oddly definite conclusion.

    Flinterdun: you've come to the right place if you're looking to find larger samples to help your purchasing decisions. Fellow members may help you out or point you towards decanting businesses where you can buy small amounts of a frag, allowing you to test drive them for that week. Or more.
    It is known that there are an infinite number of worlds, simply because there is an infinite amount of space for them to be in. However, not every one of them is inhabited. Any finite number divided by infinity is as near nothing as makes no odds, so the average population of all the planets in the Universe can be said to be zero. From this it follows that the population of the whole Universe is also zero, and that any people you may meet from time to time are merely products of a deranged imagination.

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  16. #16

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    I don't think what the OP is talking about is so bizarre. Aromatherapy wouldn't be such a thriving business if people didn't believe scent affects them. I have an incense-y fragrance that I like to wear when it gets colder (which it is right now) because it feels "warmer" to me, somehow. But I swear, when I wear it at some point during the day I end up crying over something. And I keep wearing it! I don't know if that makes me sick in the head or what, but I think scents can have an emotional effect on us.

    Instead of the perfume taking over your personality, perhaps it's subconsciously bringing out parts of you you don't normally deal with.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    Guess it depends on how you experience personal fragrance. I'm not one
    of those for whom perfume evokes scenary or eras, but adjective lists that make up a kind of personality are inevitable. My deal is the flip of the OP; I cannot adapt and feel uncomfortably like a fraud trying to wear perfumes that don't "fit". This is the case regardless if a perfume smells good to me and on me; as it is a separate issue from mood. It's about a core character that either meshes or does not.
    Last edited by leffleur; 1st November 2009 at 09:22 PM.

  18. #18
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume Personality Disorder?

    flinterdun, very interesting post. I'm just finishing Diane Ackerman's [ame=""]Natural History of the Senses[/ame]. She has a chapter on synesthesia. Besides the usual associations between colors and sounds, she includes some stories of writer's who get into the mood needed to write a book by reading the right material or listening to the right music. Besides perfumes, do any other smells affect your moods? Or does the smell have to go on for the week that you test drive a perfume? Good luck in your search for the right perfume, or perhaps a set of perfumes for different moods - energetic, contemplative, intellectual, loving, ...

    ElizabethSimmons, rent the movie Love Potion Number Nine, one of Sandra Bullock's earliest, perhaps the earliest.

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