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  1. #1

    Default The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    I believe the vast majority (99%+) of purfumers know what they are doing, and by the time they have a fragrance ready to sell they have achieved the creation they intended. Based on this assumption, there are two basic judgments for the fragrance reviewer or connoisseur to share:

    1. a judgment of the reviewer’s personal enjoyment of the fragrance, or
    2. a judgment of the perfumer’s success in creating the fragrance s/he intended.

    Based on my first premise (that the perfumer knows what s/he intended and has accomplished it), commentary on the second point above is really not helpful to me.

    However, the first judgment is helpful because if the reviewer enjoys the fragrance then s/he will be more likely to distil, in charitable terms, the nature and related sensations of the fragrance with an understanding and appreciation of the perfumer’s intent.
    Last edited by vonMises; 1st March 2010 at 07:22 PM.

  2. #2

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    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    A thoughtful and upbeat take on reviews.

    A potential flaw, though, is that the perfumer might not have been able to achieve what s/he intended because of economic considerations. That is, the boss might have dictated the use of inferior ingredients that the perfumer would have bypassed. In that case, a frustrated perfumer and, quite possibly, an inferior fragrance.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    This is a stimulating topic.

    I see at least one other area to consider. I will put it in similar terminology:

    3. A judgment of the extent to which the actual fragrance reflects the marketed product.

    This may be consistent with the perfumer's intent, or it may be an embellishment or caricature of the perfumer's intent. I doubt it is always a 100% match.

    I tend to value negative reviews, if they state why they dislike it. It doens't necessarily dissuade me, but it helps me develop a perspective. Actually all thoughtful reviews help me develop a perspective.

  4. #4

    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    I value negative reviews as well, but usually not as much because they often are more indicative of the reviwer's preferences; if I know a reviewer does not typically like sweet fragrances, but likes one particular sweet fragrance then I might presume that particular fragrance is especially unique.

    But I had not taken into consideration the possibility that substitute, different, or cheaper ingredients might be used that the original perfumer had not intended. Not knowing the cost range between the most expensive to the cheapest ingredients, it is difficult for me to judge the motivation for cost savings vs. the risk of ruining a great recipe.

  5. #5

    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by vonMises View Post
    I value negative reviews as well, but usually not as much because they often are more indicative of the reviwer's preferences; if I know a reviewer does not typically like sweet fragrances, but likes one particular sweet fragrance then I might presume that particular fragrance is especially unique.

    But I had not taken into consideration the possibility that substitute, different, or cheaper ingredients might be used that the original perfumer had not intended. Not knowing the cost range between the most expensive to the cheapest ingredients, it is difficult for me to judge the motivation for cost savings vs. the risk of ruining a great recipe.
    It's rarely that a great recipe is ruined but instead never even formulated. Perfumer's are given budgets to work with right from the beginning and have a rough idea of what chemicals/oils/absolutes will be possible to use, and which won't. I can only imagine what kind of amazing perfumes we'd have if we gave perfumer's unlimited budgets. We'd have far more scents of the Amouage/Malle/vintage MPG caliber.
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  6. #6

    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    I tend to read both favorable and negative reviews. I find that favorable reviews tend to be better because the reviewer will often state specifically what notes they're getting that please them. Negative reviews tend to not be specific and along the lines of "Smells like Raid", which I assume they don't mean literally and don't tell me anything. Similarly, a favorable review along the lines of "Smells heavenly. This gets me tons of compliments and will be my new signature scent" is equally useless. I guess I shouldn't be so harsh since I haven't contribute a review yet...

  7. #7

    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    I find both types of reviews - positive & negative equally entertaining.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews


  9. #9
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    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    ^ I suppose it makes sense that abstract language would skew perceptions in either direction. Any literature teacher could tell you that. Saying, for example, that a fragrance smells too strongly of indoles for your liking just doesn't have the same effect as saying it reminds you of dog poop fermented in stale prune juice.
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 1st March 2010 at 10:41 PM.
    "It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."

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    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    I don't believe reviewers generally question a perfumer's professional competence as much as their creative judgment. Only the perfumer knows if we are criticising his creative vision or a compromised manifestation of it.

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    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by vonMises View Post
    I believe the vast majority (99%+) of purfumers know what they are doing, and by the time they have a fragrance ready to sell they have achieved the creation they intended. Based on this assumption, there are two basic judgments for the fragrance reviewer or connoisseur to share:

    1. a judgment of the reviewer's personal enjoyment of the fragrance, or
    2. a judgment of the perfumer's success in creating the fragrance s/he intended.

    Based on my first premise (that the perfumer knows what s/he intended and has accomplished it), commentary on the second point above is really not helpful to me.

    However, the first judgment is helpful because if the reviewer enjoys the fragrance then s/he will be more likely to distil, in charitable terms, the nature and related sensations of the fragrance with an understanding and appreciation of the perfumer’s intent.
    That first assumption is a huge one, and one that might not correalate with the realities of the perfumer's work. The creation that the perfumer intended to create and the fragrance that ended up being marketed may not be the same thing. Perfumers are constrained by material costs, the brief that they are presented by the customer, the availablity of the raw materials, talent, and time (among others).

    On point 1: What happens if the reviewer does not like the fragrance? Isn't it better that the reviewer be honest and to write a negative review than to pander to a perfumer, appeal to the principle of charity and write a positive review? Writing a positive review when a bad fragrance calls for an honest assessment of its badness is really dishonest. We wouldn't excpect a restaurant critic to review a bad restaurant favorably, or a movie reviewer to give a good review to a a bad movie; why should fragrance be any different. And if a perfumer cannot handle an honest assessment of her work then one should not be putting one's work infront of the public eye.

    On point 2: How do we know what the perfumer intended? We do not have privledged access to the perfumer's intention during the creative process and most of us do not have access to the perfumers to ask what the intention behind fragrance "x" was.
    Last edited by surreality; 2nd March 2010 at 01:07 AM.
    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

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    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    Apart from budgetary constraints, what is finally released to the market may not be the perfumer's first choice, esp. if he/she is working for a large corporation. They have focus groups, test groups, etc. not to mention the final approval from the 'boss' or 'creative director'.

    But vonMises, I do follow your line of thinking though I must point out that interpretations are often subjective and correspond closely to individual tastes, with the likelihood of certain reviewers waxing lyrical over a scent for reasons other than what the perfumer originally envisioned.

    However, if the perfumer has 100% control over the creative process, and communicate the ideas behind each creation, then the process of aligning your experience with that of the perfumer's vision would be much easier as I found last Dec when I sampled 17 scent creations by indie perfumer Laurie Erickson of Sonoma Scent Studio. Even then you tend to interpret them through your own life's experiences...
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 2nd March 2010 at 01:44 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: The reason I prefer to read favorable reviews

    vonMises, I would have to disagree with that observation. An analogy would be to movie making. How many badly made movies are out there? Most of it is merely due to the poor taste of the maker but it could also be due to several other reasons like budget constraints, deadlines, etc.

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