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  1. #1

    Default My Nose is Knackered....

    (apologies to Matthias son of Deutoronomy of Gath for the title)

    Hello All,

    Yes, first post. I have been just reading the site for a while, taking in other peoples opinions and suggestions, and driving my wife mad every weekend when I come home smelling of yet something else I had a test spray of in House of Fraiser

    I have been trying to 'train' my sense of smell, by smelling as many fragrances as possible (but only trying one at a time on my skin!), but I've come to the conclusion I may never 'get it'.

    Part of this is because a great many scents smell completely different on me than on the paper, so I can only try them one at a time. Really, I know many people mention they have strange body chemistry, but it is like my skin is unbalancing or unblending the frag.

    A good example of this is the mistake I made that led me to find BN in the first place... Allure Homme Sport. I've loved the smell of this one on the test strips for years, still do. Made the beginners mistake of not smelling it on skin before buying... first time I wear it, I cant really smell it, its become so subtle its not there, but my wife tells me she can smell something racid in the house... and it turn out its the Allure on me! I had to give it away, which made me very sad, because it still smells great on the tester strips

    GPH II does something very odd too. I can have it on a tester and my wrist side by side, applied the same amount and time, On the tester it smells delicious, the violet leaf thing I like, the spices, the sweetened tea. On my wrist, all I get is a less strident version of the GPH cedar note, plus a faint bit of Lapsang Souchong underneath - all the delicious bits have vanished. I notice Diamondflame's review of GPH II says similar things, but at least for him GPH II doesn't turn into cedar instantly.

    But thats not my main problem, oh no, my main problem is that my sense of smell seems to be oblivious to some notes, and overwhelmed by others! So not only is my skin unbalancing the fragrance, but my nose is too!

    Yesterday I went smelling L'Instant PH edt, Hypnose Homme, and L'Instant PH edp. And I've put them in that order, with the Lancome in the middle, because I was smelling one very pleasant thing on all of them, just at different strengths (too little, too much and just right). This one smell was very engaging and familiar, too familiar. I decided to spray my neck with the Hypnose so my wife could have a sniff when I got home and left House of Fraiser.

    10 minutes later, it hit me what all these frags had reminded me of - my wifes Le Baiser du Dragon! And I am aware that Le Baiser du Dragon is really strong on patchouli, and all 3 frags I had tried have it, so thats what must be going on, the reason why these 3 frags (4, if you count my wifes) that should be different all smell the same to me is because I can smell the patchouli and only the patchouli.

    At least I thought my wife would be sure to like the smell when I got home, but oh no, no such luck. She hated it. So I got her to put some Le Baiser du Dragon on, and let it dry down. Then I got her to sniff me, and then her perfume on herself, and she told me they smelt nothing alike. I tried, and again, dead ringers for each other!

    Can anyone suggest what is going on here? Am I a lost cause?

    Andy

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Hell of a first post, Andy. Welcome to Basenotes. I love your reference to Allure Sport Homme as the mistake that led you to Basenotes. May many more (happier ones) lead you back.
    As to the skin chemistry thing, and your anosmia or hypernosmia--whichever it is: how has your luck been with citrus frags that have little or no patchouli. Do you smell them in a balanced way if there's no patch in the mix?
    And one other thought. You could benefit science by suffering yourself to be properly lubed up with Parfums de Nicolai's new Patchouli Homme, which has seemed to some to lack patch altogether. Just in the interest of science, you see, and not to settle any personal scores. Beneath our dignity, of course.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Hi, Andy. Welcome to Basenotes!

    Maybe you're just a little hypersensitive to patchouli so don't be too hard on yourself. It's not uncommon; the same way some of us might be sensitive to Iso E Super or even anosmic to certain accords. I've yet to sample Le Baiser du Dragon or even Hypnose Homme so I can't really comment if they're indeed similar but someone else on BN here might be able to.

    I agree, however, that certain fragrances just lose their top notes almost instantly upon skin contact.
    For these types, I may consider spraying a little on fabric as a means to 'slow down' their progression. There are also scents which are less classically structured i.e. no distinctive top, middle, base layers but just one complex 'chunk'.

    Have you considered getting some small samples (e.g. from TPC) to explore at your leisure? I find sampling a bunch of similarly themed (e.g. patchouli-inspired or leather-based) helpful in identifying the nuances and differences between each scent. At least you don't need to worry about buying a bottle you might end up throwing later. And if your wife shares your interest in fragrances, even better!

  4. #4
    Pollux's Avatar
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    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Quote Originally Posted by andym72 View Post
    ... But thats not my main problem, oh no, my main problem is that my sense of smell seems to be oblivious to some notes, and overwhelmed by others! ...
    I am trying to retrieve a post on this issue but I can not find it. I remember reading that what you experienced is completely normal, for individuals react differently to aromachemicals, this including plain anosmia to certain notes and / or allergic reactions. I know it is annoying but that is the way things are - I came to realize this after blind buying M7, a scent known for its strenght, an attribute I could not perceive for it seems I am anosmic to some of its notes.

    As suggested by other fellow BNoters, skin chemistry issues and allergies can be solved applying scents to clothes. Be carefull since some fragrances stain clothes, specially dark-orange coloured ones. So, if using one of such kind, choose to apply on dark-coloured clothes.

  5. #5
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    If you are really interested in fragrances, just keep plugging away bro. Whether or not you are sensitive to certain notes, the more you continue sampling, wearing and reading, you will not only become good at this, your nose will eventually catch up to your head knowledge.

    Consistency in anything provides results. Maybe you need to start in a genre that's "light".

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Welcome to Basenotes Andy. Congratulations on an excellent first post. Looks as if I'm the first Brit to welcome you.
    Fine fragrance is alive; it breathes, unfolds and unravels with each passing hour....

    Roja Dove

  7. #7
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    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Quote Originally Posted by Prince Barry View Post
    Welcome to Basenotes Andy. Congratulations on an excellent first post. Looks as if I'm the first Brit to welcome you.
    Let me be the second one. Welcome aboard Andy. (Helluva debut by the way).
    Last edited by JON RODGERS; 29th November 2009 at 04:40 PM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Blimey, thank you everyone for the warm welcome, and the congrats. I just find it easy to speak my mind, get my thoughts down in words. So much to reply to....

    how has your luck been with citrus frags that have little or no patchouli. Do you smell them in a balanced way if there's no patch in the mix?
    They seem balanced, but then I have no way of telling if I'm smelling what I'm supposed to! My wife is obsessed with getting me to use Citrus fragrances (she keeps suggesting very similar frags over and over. I have an idea of another question about this, but I'll do that in another thread) so I have a couple and have tried many more. But yeah, Citrus frags seem to work ok.

    Its not just patchouli that I have some strange reaction to. I would say that I like violet leaf notes. Or at least, one particular violet leaf note - the one in Eau de Cartier Concentree, Paul Smith for Men, and in a less synthetic way, Bleecker Street. The thing is, in every violet leaf thread, someone mentions Narciso Rodriguez for Him. And I cant smell any violet leaf in that. What I can smell is the same as going to a farm that cultivates vegetables, and walking into a Polytunnel full of Tomato plants loaded up with unripe fruit. Yup, overwhelming unripe green tomato, thats all I can smell.

    May many more (happier ones) lead you back.
    Oh, the Allure incident might have been why I went looking for a fragrance website, but the info I've got from the community here has been invaluable, thats why its in my bookmarks. Without BN, I never would have known about Ormonde Jayne Frangipani, never would have steered my wife away from the jewellers in Bond Street into their boutique, and never would have seen her face light up like that. I found her 'Holy Grail' floral for her, she never found a floral she could get into before that.

    certain fragrances just lose their top notes almost instantly upon skin contact
    Yes, that could be a big part of whats happening, would explain my experience with GPH II. I went back and tried the L'Instant and Hypnose on paper again today, Could pick up the Bergamot and Mint on the Hypnose for about 10 minutes before the patch came in and took over, The lemon at the top of the L'Instant only fought the patch off for 2 minutes before it gave in.

    Today I tried a different experiment - back to House of Fraser. I put on a couple of sprays of Jaipur edt, then went to pick up my wife from work. First thing she said to me after sniffing was "Are you sure you picked up the 'pour homme' bottle, its very feminine" In particular, the Jasmine has come through really strong, all the sweetness of the Tonka and Benzoin has been defeated. Seems like another case of lost notes. Although just about now, the patchouli is fighting an 11th hour rearguard action

    You mentioned fragrances that are one 'chunk', maybe thats why I like Body Kouros, people moan that it doesn't develop... well from my point of view, very few scents do. You might be wondering why I'm trying out all these not so light fragrances. Well, its because everything I have at the moment is light, summery (partly my wifes fault), and I want to find something heading in the Gourmand/Amber accord direction for the cold months.

    Andy

  9. #9

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Welcome to Basenotes. Keep chipping away, you'll find you're way through. you'll see

  10. #10

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    It's part of the learning process, and it's a "good thing," I think. You have to allow time for your "mind's nose" to process various notes and accords. Eventually (if you keep at it), you will realize that while some are similar, there are also clear differences.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Quote Originally Posted by andym72 View Post
    Today I tried a different experiment - back to House of Fraser. I put on a couple of sprays of Jaipur edt, then went to pick up my wife from work. First thing she said to me after sniffing was "Are you sure you picked up the 'pour homme' bottle, its very feminine"
    There's Jaipur EDT which is 'femme' and 'floral'. And there's Jaipur Homme EDT which is powdery vanilla. So I gotta repeat your wife's question: Are you certain you got the 'homme' version?

    'cuz I had made a similar mistake before, sampling in the store with the Homme tester but mistakenly ended up with the 'femme'. Apparently all Jaipur Homme was sold out but they removed the 'femme' tester by mistake(?) leaving the 'homme tester' right in front of boxes of Jaipur EDTs. Now that I think of it, it could well be the work of an absent minded staff or a devious marketer...
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 30th November 2009 at 10:21 AM.

  12. #12

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    There's Jaipur EDT which is 'femme' and 'floral'. And there's Jaipur Homme EDT which is powdery vanilla. So I gotta repeat your wife's question: Are you certain you got the 'homme' version?
    Yes, easy mistake to make, they are all the same deep blue boxes.

    No, I'm sure I picked up the 'homme' version, the bottles are a giveaway, the femme is round, the homme is, erm, 'trapezoidal'....

    The bottle I picked up definitely had corners!

    Andy

  13. #13

    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    You have to allow time for your "mind's nose" to process various notes and accords.
    One thing this does mean is that I cant risk blind buying anything, and I have take along someone else to get comparison of what someone else is smelling. Fortunately, our local department stores have a pretty good selection and I dont live too far from London.

    Andy

  14. #14
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    Default Re: My Nose is Knackered....

    welcome Andy!!!

    Let me tell you this...I believe that depending on each ingredient or aromachemical every one of us has a different "perception spam" so when frags are very complex we find very different things. I am extremely sensible to Tonka, so in fragrances like Zino and Heritage I find TONKA extremely prominent, while some people tend to fin more patchouly and some others more juniper.
    Some frags are made to create a hole new Accord with a combination of various....thats when some ingredients are hard to tell and when you smell something that is familiar but impossible to aprehend.
    There are others, made in a very poetical way that seems to be made of layers or solid ingredients (or maybe a combination of two or three, but clearly detactable) Some times it is like one only igredient, in a very linear way. Some times there are variations of the same ingredient or many ingredients shown in succesion.

    I recommend that you try some samples of the latter group. This helps in a way to make consensus of what a particular thing smells like and to train the nose. These kind of frags make notes -that often are hidden in more abstract compositions- more noticeable.

    The case of layers is for me represented in almost every Annick Goutal frag: Encens Flamboyant, Ambre Fetiche, Sables, Eau de Fier
    The case of linear soliflores (or duo-ingredient predominant) is Diptyque: Tam Dao, Phylosikos, LŽeau Trois, Eau Lente.
    I also recommend other simple fragrances with predominant notes that are more impressionist than abstract. Like Caron Pour un Homme (Lavender Vanilla), Christian Lacroix Tumulte (Laurel Cedar), Bond No 9 West Side (Ylang-Ylang Sandalwood) Etro Messe de Minuit (Lemon franckincense, Honey-vanilla) Acque Allegoria Pamplelune and Mandarin Basilic, Hermessence Vetiver Tonka.

    Cheers!!!

    Pablo
    Last edited by Halo; 30th November 2009 at 04:02 PM.

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