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  1. #1

    Default sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    My sense of smell is very strong (I tend to react strongly to scents) but I've never trained myself to pick out which scent is which in terms of multiple scents overlapping the way they do in perfume. I don't know if that made sense or not, but basically, it means that while I'll react very strongly to perfumes, I can't translate a written description into a practical understanding.

    So, anyway, I've decided to give wearing cologne another shot (many years after a failed experiment involving girlfriend, Calvin Klein's Eternity, and nausea). I keep running into the same problem with every scent I try: they all smell really chemical (for lack of a better term), like to the point where I have to spend 10 minutes in the bathroom scrubbing away with soap to get rid of the stench or I wind up with a headache.

    For a specific example: I got two samples of Hanae Mori EDT (one black, one white). From what I've been able to gather, the black was men's, the white was women's. They both had similar qualities to the scents, but while the women's smelled divine all day long (alot like cookies actually), the men's version started smelling really chemically and gave me a headache.

    I think the women's HM may be a bit too feminine for me, but I was hoping someone might be able to help me figure out what it is in all these men's fragrances that's driving me up the wall, and maybe point me in the direction of a scent that I can not only survive wearing, but also enjoy it.

    Sorry for the long rambly post, but any suggestions would be incredibly appreciated.

  2. #2

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    Welcome! It might be helpful if you told us what else you have sampled that gives you this "chemical" feeling.

    For what it's worth, I too find Eternity headache-inducing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    I've got three sets of samples from Geo F. Trumper, Trueffit and Hill, and Taylor of Bond Street, all of which have that nasty chemical tang to them, even their sandalwood scents, which is a smell I normally love, but they've done something to it which makes it unrecognizable.

    Unfortunately I didn't think to write down the names of the fragrances at the perfume counter that I didn't like. They did give me a few samples though, I've got Chanel Allure Sport, DSquared wood, and Azzaro Chrome. Those three actually weren't that bad, the chemical portion wasn't too strong, but definitely was there.

    I do have an aftershave balm of Burberry's The Beat which I like, but it doesn't last long... is there some checmical process involved in making cologne specifically as opposed to that balm that would create this chemical scent? I did try the Beat cologne, but I wasn't that impressed with the scent, but I will admit that it didn't give me a headache.
    Last edited by meebl; 9th May 2010 at 04:17 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    after reading your first post I thought I could recommend using oil based perfumes.
    it may in fact be the alcohol itself that gives you the "chemical" feeling.

    to be a complete smartass, I should mention that everything is chemical, and chemicals don't have a common tang or scent to them.

    see if you can try an attar.
    in fact there are many eternity replicas that can be found in "halal" perfume shops. It's worth a shot.
    I could find one in ebay: 110529716862

  5. #5

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    You're absolutely correct about everything being 'chemical'. I wasn't really happy using that as a description, but I couldn't think of a better way to describe it... maybe I mean that it doesn't smell natural... sort of medicine-ish... I'm not sure. I wish I could be more specific for you guys, but I just don't have the vocabulary. I definitely do notice the alcohol in the fragrances, but that tends to go away pretty quickly, so I don't think that's what's bothering me.

  6. #6

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    I'm kinda new here and I see people using the term "synthetic" for what I presume you mean.
    I don't like it either. Un-natural, medicine-ish are better.

    I am guessing what people mean by synthetic is discord. Like, when you strum a complex accord correctly, it sounds good and natural, but make one of them sharp, and everyone, musician or not would say, there is something wrong.

    I still think trying oil based perfumes may be a good idea. Then there are always essential oils...

  7. #7

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    I'm trying to think of reasonably available fragrances that don't do the headache thing to me, on the theory that you may be reacting to the same thing that I do. Bvlgari Black is one, and in fact it may be worthwhile to try several of the Bvlgari line.

    L'Artisan Parfumeur may be hard to find at a store, but they have a decent sampling program - seven vial samples for a reasonable price. If you liked a vanilla scent, try Tea for Two.

    CB I Hate Perfume, Christopher Brosius's line, seems particularly un-conventionaly-perfumey (hence the name). He sells oil-based "travel size" bottles big enough for a few wearings, or you can buy sample packs from The Perfumed Court.

    That might give you enough data to help you figure out the next thing to try.

  8. #8

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    Why not try a few more women's scents, or at least some unisex ones? A lot of men's scents seem to be purposefully a little harsh, almost as if that metallic or acrid component is what proves they're manly. Not only does the ladies' half of the store not have this problem, the selection there is bigger. You should be able to find a green or citrus or leather or fresh or what have you that's humane without making you think of primroses and pink bunnies.

  9. #9

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    Look for sources of samples like local department stores, or sites like theperfumedcourt.com. Get samples and test a lot of stuff to see what affects you negatively. Perhaps it's just stronger frags.

    Another thing I have noticed after getting very serious about fragrance is to buy some essential oils and some grain alcohol to make single note perfumes. I have found that getting to identify various ingredients/notes, I have broadened the horizons of what I appreciate. When I wasn't able to identify any of the ingredients, I found I disliked many more fragrances. Perhaps your nose just needs an education.

    Then there is the chance that you are indeed sensitive to certain (or many) fragrance ingredients.

    Also, after applying fragrance, don't put nose to skin until well after the alcohol has evaporated. You may just want to spray, and then walk away from the area in which you performed the application. That way you will inhale little or no raw alcohol.
    Last edited by JonB; 9th May 2010 at 04:38 PM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    I just looked at the Perfumed Court site... WOW!! I didn't know you could buy samples... I guess I thought only stores got those. That's so cool! It's added a whole new dimension to this shopping journey. I hope I can reign in my collector's instinct (those $4-$5 samples will add up fast if I'm not careful).

    I like the idea of and oil based perfumes. Would that mean they don't have the alcohol component? How do you know if a perfume is oil based or not?

    Thanks again for the great ideas, guys. I can tell already this is going to be a lot of fun.

  11. #11

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    xposted from a slightly similar thread on the men's frag forum:

    Quote Originally Posted by foetidus View Post

    OsMoz also provides a lot of information: http://www.osmoz.com/Encyclopedia/Olfactory-groups
    +1 on that site... it's helped me many times when I thought I knew the scent but couldn't put a name to it!
    [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/fragrancereviews/38140"][B]Actias luna's fragrance reviews[/B][/URL] | Now blogging with [i]AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty[/i] at [URL="http://aromierotici.blogspot.com/"][B]Il Mondo di Odore[/B][/URL] [URL="http://www.ebsqart.com/Artist/Kathleen-Harper/3794/Art-Portfolio/1/"]
    [B]Art[/B]: Actias luna's other hobby[/URL] - along with some impromptu [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/threads/268480-Why-Mouchoir-de-Monsieur-Act-III-Resumed"]"performance writing"[/URL] here on Basenotes!

  12. #12

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    You might want to try all-natural brands of fragrances e.g., Honore de Pres, Ayala Moriel, etc.

  13. #13

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    Yeah, I'd agree that you may need to find all (or mostly) natural perfumes... but given the HM experience, I can ditto the ICK and synthetic nature of the men's EDT.
    [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/fragrancereviews/38140"][B]Actias luna's fragrance reviews[/B][/URL] | Now blogging with [i]AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty[/i] at [URL="http://aromierotici.blogspot.com/"][B]Il Mondo di Odore[/B][/URL] [URL="http://www.ebsqart.com/Artist/Kathleen-Harper/3794/Art-Portfolio/1/"]
    [B]Art[/B]: Actias luna's other hobby[/URL] - along with some impromptu [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/threads/268480-Why-Mouchoir-de-Monsieur-Act-III-Resumed"]"performance writing"[/URL] here on Basenotes!

  14. #14

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    Quote Originally Posted by meebl View Post
    I just looked at the Perfumed Court site... WOW!! I didn't know you could buy samples... I guess I thought only stores got those. That's so cool! It's added a whole new dimension to this shopping journey. I hope I can reign in my collector's instinct (those $4-$5 samples will add up fast if I'm not careful).

    I like the idea of and oil based perfumes. Would that mean they don't have the alcohol component?
    Yup. The carrier is oil instead of alcohol.

    If you are into the "notes" exploration you can get a kit from The Perfumers' Apprentice (perfumersapprentice.com I believe) that has pre-mixed (in oil) notes for the education of the perfume enthusiast. That might be a good way to see what does and does not induce an icky reaction and if that is caused by the alcohol.
    [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/fragrancereviews/38140"][B]Actias luna's fragrance reviews[/B][/URL] | Now blogging with [i]AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty[/i] at [URL="http://aromierotici.blogspot.com/"][B]Il Mondo di Odore[/B][/URL] [URL="http://www.ebsqart.com/Artist/Kathleen-Harper/3794/Art-Portfolio/1/"]
    [B]Art[/B]: Actias luna's other hobby[/URL] - along with some impromptu [URL="http://www.basenotes.net/threads/268480-Why-Mouchoir-de-Monsieur-Act-III-Resumed"]"performance writing"[/URL] here on Basenotes!

  15. #15

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    I just ordered a bunch of samples from The Perfumed Court, I'm so excited. The CB I Hate Perfume line sounds amazing, I can't wait to try it. I'm also picking up the Bvlgari Black along with a few others that I've heard good things about. I looked at the Ayala Moriel oils, but I think they're a bit out of my price range.

    Those Perfumers' Apprentice kits look really interesting, too.

    Thanks a bunch for all the great suggestions guys. I really appreciate it.

  16. #16

    Default Re: sensitive but unsophisticated nose

    Quote Originally Posted by Renaissance_Man View Post
    You might want to try all-natural brands of fragrances e.g., Honore de Pres, Ayala Moriel, etc.
    Great suggestion for one route to try, natural scents. They are not the only answer, but they are well worth coming to know. And I can endorse Ayala Moriel's scents, in fact there is an article about her, a recent article in the Basenotes article section.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

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