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  1. #1

    Default Small experiment

    I did a small experiment today. I prepared 20 paper strips scented with different fragrances. After about 3 hours, I asked three female 3rd-year college students (let's call them A, B, and C) to rate them with a score between 1 (bad) to 5 (good), guess the market segment (masculine/feminine/unisex), and give some notes (suitable age, notes, whatever). Sorry if some of the notes offend you.

    The results are quite surprising. The top 5 based on the average score are: Lanvin Vetyver, Guerlain Habit Rouge EdT Legere, YSL Kouros, Kenzo Power, and Guerlain Vetiver. They agreed that they, except Lanvin Vetyver, should be marketed as feminine scents. The favorite scent for A was Hiris, while B and C picked Habit Rouge EdT Legere.

    The bottom 5 based on the average score are: Guerlain Mitsouko EdT, Serge Lutens Chergui, Chanel Egoiste, Lalique pour Homme Equus, and Guerlain Shalimar Light.

    Full results:

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?k...=0&output=html

    I also showed them the bottles. Suprisingly, they considered some bottles marketed as masculine scent to be feminine looking, e.g., Guerlain Vetyver, Kenzo Power, and Lalique pour Homme Equus.
    Last edited by zliang; 8th June 2010 at 05:33 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    I just looked at the spread sheet.... very interesting indeed. I'm tempted to design a mini experiment of my own. I like the "note" column.
    Last edited by MFJ; 8th June 2010 at 05:41 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Small experiment

    was it the new or old vetyver by lanvin?
    Tell Hugo, he isnt boss anymore.
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  4. #4
    Cartoonish Royalty Le Grand Duc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Interesting indeed..!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewfoo View Post
    I just looked at the spread sheet.... very interesting indeed. I'm tempted to design a mini experiment of my own. I like the "note" column.
    Quote Originally Posted by Le Grand Duc View Post
    Interesting indeed..!
    Yes, I plan to do it again with different scents/people. Please let me know if you have suggestions on how to improve it.

    Quote Originally Posted by yrk View Post
    was it the new or old vetyver by lanvin?
    It was the new one. It's quite surprising that they considered it as a masculine scent, whereas Kouros was feminin/unisex and described by one as floral.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Very interesting, but with one major flaw, they've tried these on paper...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Zgb View Post
    Very interesting, but with one major flaw, they've tried these on paper...
    True, but I really have no idea how to get them try 20 scents on the skin and wait until the drydown.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Small experiment

    It should be no suprise that Kenzo Power would be seen as a feminine fragrance. A masculine floral? Yeah, whatever.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Love it! Maybe that'll help some people that are married to gender marketing reconsider. :P

    I have to say - I laughed when I read the notes on Rien - Hospital... Aromatherapy... Corpse. HA
    I'm a colognosaurus. Rawr!

  10. #10

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Zliang, fantastic work ! And thanks for the speardsheet. I think this was a pretty cool idea you had. Thanks.
    Seeking: Bottles/decants : of Feeling Man, Gucci pour Homme, Essence of John Galliano, Nicole Miller (vintage), Opium pour Homme, Oxford & Cambridge, Concentré D'Orange Verte...etc.

    Seeking decant/sample of Jil Sander Feeling Man, Cacharel Nemo, Bijan for Men EDC, Lanvin for Men, Giorgio VIP, Il Lancetti and other old school frags ....etc. I have samples to swap.

    More HERE
    Please PM me !

  11. #11

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by zliang View Post
    Yes, I plan to do it again with different scents/people. Please let me know if you have suggestions on how to improve it.



    It was the new one. It's quite surprising that they considered it as a masculine scent, whereas Kouros was feminin/unisex and described by one as floral.
    Thank you for posting this, Zliang! A lot of time and effort. Perhaps use different age groups as well as both sexes. I presume the young women have only exposed to what is currently marketed--"the average college woman."

    Keep up the great research.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by zliang View Post
    True, but I really have no idea how to get them try 20 scents on the skin and wait until the drydown.
    Indeed, that is a predicament. The only way is to make them try only two or three, then the next day two or three. It would be much more time consuming, though.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Darn interesting!

    Regarding fragrances targetted to men and described as femenine, I gave one of my female students a blotter with Play Intense on it, given to me at a parfume shop's entrrance right before arriving to college. I told her that she might want to try it for her boydriend... she did no tknow what it was, though. She smelt it and looked at me with a weird face, for she thought it was a scent for women. She told me she liked it for her, but she could not imagne her boyfriend wearing that. Analogous thing happened to me with Dior Homme; Cabochard was unknowingly described by my sister-in-law as masculine, JHL was the reason I was told the women's version of Opium mixed perfectly with my skin and Magie Noire was found by my wife as a masculine scent.

    As PetrruciJ said, perfumes have no genitalia.

    Interesting to see that ELDO's Rien es described as medicinal.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I would find the results more compelling if you repeated it, with the same students, but with the order changed, so that you could see if the order in which they smelled the frags made any difference.

  15. #15
    Basenotes Junkie CX827's Avatar
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Thanks zliang!
    Look forward for the next experiment

  16. #16

    Default Re: Small experiment

    No offense intended, but the gentleman "A" thought Kouros is unisex?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by jrd4t View Post
    Love it! Maybe that'll help some people that are married to gender marketing reconsider. :P
    Doubtful. I am sure they will still think that their pee-pee will fall off.
    Please feel free to check out my Swap Thread - Patou pour Homme, L'Instant de Guerlain PH Extreme, Dior Homme Intense, Pure Malt, Pure Coffee and many more! Click Here For My Swap Thread

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by HammerFist View Post
    No offense intended, but the gentleman "A" thought Kouros is unisex?
    More interestingly, persons A, B, and C are ladies, and the latter two identified Kouros as feminine and "fresh". : D

    I really am tempted to conduct a test now using some of my "Macho, manly man" scents. I suspect I may get some surprising results.

    Thumbs up, Zliang. Very cool experiment.
    Last edited by MFJ; 9th June 2010 at 05:41 AM.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Another time it is proven that women have horrible tastes in fragrances.
    Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by trapper View Post
    Another time it is proven that women have horrible tastes in fragrances.
    Joke right?

  21. #21

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I found this results even more amusing in terms of "niche vs mainstream" battle. Or "impact per buck" battle.

    Chergui is the best example, while Rien and Carthusia gave controversial results... Anyway - everyone wears perfumes for oneself, so no worries.

    Thanks, zliang, for your time well spent!
    Vetiver The Great!!!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by petruccijc View Post
    Doubtful. I am sure they will still think that their pee-pee will fall off.
    Hilarious! I'm with Petruccijc!
    That girl, that bottle, that mattress and me.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Also one could mention favourite base notes for Indonesia - vetiver, cedar, amber and patchouli.
    And not-favourable too.
    Vetiver The Great!!!

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Zgb View Post
    Very interesting, but with one major flaw, they've tried these on paper...
    Indeed. Let's repeat the experiment using 20 strips of human skin next! Any volunteers??

    Btw, to compare 20 scents in one go is a challenging task even for the experienced nose. Perhaps you could group them by genre just to factor out genre-related biases. Interesting findings anyway, zliang. I knew Lanvin Vetyver has something going on...
    Last edited by Diamondflame; 9th June 2010 at 08:38 AM.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Great idea, and, also I tend to agree with what Primrose, Mathewfoo and others have pointed out, both on this board and on several other occasions:

    the limitations of a frag being masculine, feminine or unisex is a very recent habit of the perfume industry, while the borders between a fragrance and its intended consumers are much more "fluid", since I can imagine almost any man wearing e.g. No. 19, while e.g. Guerlain Vetiver or Habit Rouge have an awesome unsiex potential and the list of frags of such kind may go on indefinitely

  26. #26

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewfoo View Post
    Joke right?
    Ofcourse, it's an exageration.
    Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I agree with regards to Kenzo Power. Would be perfect on my dear mother
    There is no love in modern life
    There is no hope in modern life

  28. #28

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Also Body Kouros...I'm happy to smell like a businesswoman! Ouch
    There is no love in modern life
    There is no hope in modern life

  29. #29

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Blatant plug for the 'Real Life' experiment that I've been running for several weeks -

    HERE

  30. #30

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by trapper View Post
    Another time it is proven that women have horrible tastes in fragrances.
    Quote Originally Posted by matthewfoo View Post
    Joke right?
    I certainly hope so... trapper's skating a fine line here amongst the BN women if he wasn't joking! (Come on trapper, use those emoticons to clue us in to the real meaning behind your comment, or some of us Basenotes Womenfolk are likely to come after ya with swords drawn! )
    Actias luna's fragrance reviews | Now blogging with AromiErotici, Carrie Meredith, Mimi Gardenia, Sugandaraja, Asha, bluesoul, shamu1, Redneck Perfumisto and Daly Beauty at Il Mondo di Odore
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    - along with some impromptu "performance writing" here on Basenotes!

  31. #31

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Out of those top 5, I've only smelled Kouros and Power. I can understand Power being appealing to college chicks, but Kouros? Which leads me to this question, are you sure these girls were in college?

  32. #32

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Very good work. thanks!
    Its interesting the note given to Kouros.....mmm, i have to give it (another) chance.....

  33. #33

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I'm glad to see the responses. As some of you noted, the results show that there is no absolute difference between feminine and masculine fragrances. Although some "masculine" scents like Kenzo Power are often considered as leaning toward feminine in this forum, much fewer would consider YSL Kouros as feminine as the results indicate. Hence, gender perception is very subjective, irrelevant to the marketing labels. This point was indeed one of my motivation in conducting the experiment.

    I think I should give more info about the experiment. In the experiment, I laid the paper strips in groups of five and they sniffed the strips in any order they liked. The participants were indeed college girls and actually my students. I don't think they had much experience with fragrances or brand names which was good as I'd like to see the perception of "general audience" although of course, the results could not be generalized.

    At the beginning, I was thinking of a pair comparison test for scents sharing a theme. You can see that I included Shalimar & Habit Rouge (orientals), Mitsouko & Numero Uno (chypres), and Hiris & Kenzo Power (iris). In the last minute, I decided to include more controversial scents such as Kouros. I didn't expect that they'd like it at all (and as a feminine scent!!!).
    Last edited by zliang; 10th June 2010 at 04:14 PM.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Kouros sprayed on paper really is an entirely different beast than sprayed on skin. On paper, it's fresh, aldehydic and floral...in other words, Rive Gauche. It's not until it warms up on skin that the whole KOUROS! thing comes galloping along.

  35. #35

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Am I the only who who isn't surprised at all that Kouros was mistaken for a feminine?

    The dominant accords are florals, honey and incense. Examined apart from its reputation as "the galloping Kouros thing," it's a rather pretty scent. It's surprisingly well-behaved on paper and skin for me.

    I think Kouros' reputation developed solely as a result of the topnotes.
    Last edited by LiveJazz; 14th June 2010 at 10:45 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."

  36. #36
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by zliang View Post
    True, but I really have no idea how to get them try 20 scents on the skin and wait until the drydown.
    Spray on your neck and have all of the women smell your neck.

  37. #37

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Keep experimenting like this and keep it as scientific as is practical.

    I remember accidently applying a woman's fragrance -- the women loved it -- so did I!

    Happened again recently and it didn't work out well.

  38. #38

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Indeed. Let's repeat the experiment using 20 strips of human skin next! Any volunteers??

    Btw, to compare 20 scents in one go is a challenging task even for the experienced nose. Perhaps you could group them by genre just to factor out genre-related biases. Interesting findings anyway, zliang. I knew Lanvin Vetyver has something going on...
    no, lets just test fewer number of scents, 3 by 3. Sure the project will last much longer, but it'll be more accurate. Example - I tried Prada Amber Man on paper and it was a girl frag to me, then I sprayed it on skin and it was damn good - not overly masculine but the impression was completely different!

  39. #39

    Default Re: Small experiment

    This is interesting as different cultures will perceive scents differently and this research kinda proves that....

    hmm i'll need to sample women's fragrances one of these days :P

  40. #40

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I saw this thread when i read the "Male 'female fragrance wearers'......be honest"-thread. I would like you to take on the Chanel catalouge with girls and guys if that is possible.

  41. #41

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Thank you so very much for that experiment Zliang.

    I am also glad to know that the ladies noses were right on track, specially interesting because of their notes: Shalimar light was mentioned to be "cake" which is something i have always thought.

    And even more interesting to notice that the clove component of Égoďste was found to be "medicinal": the reason for this i think is because clove is used in dentistry as the main ingredient in Eugenol, which gives the typical "clinic smell" that most dentists offices have.

    And I'm inclined to say that the mitsouko edt is the new reincarnation of it, hence, "new book".

    Thanks again and I hope you will continue doing this type of research!

    cheers

  42. #42

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Very cool experiment. Thank you for sharing!

    Now, I have to say here: your audience sample size is a bit small for statistical accuracy. I'm not saying that to be critical, but I would like to point out that the results of this survey are not project-able to the world at large. One would have to survey a much larger group to move into the realm of an accurate sample size.

    I should confess: in my day job I spend a lot of time studying marketing research.

    I'm sure Zliang's intention here is not to suggest that "these women said this, so all women think this." But there's often a tendency for readers of research like this to interpret it in that way. Just be careful about how you use this infomration.

    Regarding the specific results you've listed, I do feel somewhat business-womanly in Body Kouros. Whenever I wear it I find myself checking frequently to make sure I don't have a run in my stockings.
    Last edited by mrcologneguy; 25th September 2010 at 09:35 PM.

  43. #43

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I'm surprised how much do this few words and letters speak about people's personalities.
    In fact, I'm tempted to say it's more about analyzing the specific person than, say, common perception, popular prejudice, etc.
    Thank you for sharing indeed!

  44. #44
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Great effort on the experiment. Just a suggestion for your next experiment. Try different notes on men (record their age and race as well), such as jasmine, pine needles, roses, civet, musk, etc. Don't use a commercial fragrance. Just use the essence itself, properly diluted, of course.

  45. #45

    Default Re: Small experiment

    I like your scientific approach. Are you controlling for “group think” (i.e. Have them individually test, away from peer influence)?
    For those about to stink, I salute you!

  46. #46
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    I think they should record their responses individually. From my research, I really don't think that an average man would tolerate wearing most essences that are included in feminine perfumes. He enjoys smelling them on a woman, of course. But wearing them is another matter. Otherwise, most perfumes would be sold as unisex and generate more profit. In reality, that will result in bankruptcy or fragrance discontinuation. I do know some men will wear female perfume and some women will wear, etc, etc, etc. But I only interested in the scientific side of it.

  47. #47

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Thank you, Guys. Obviously, it was not conducted in a rigorous scientific approach, so the results can not be generalized. I was simply curious about people's perception on note preference and relation between scents and gender. We find the topics discussed here, but often we end up just pushing our own ideas. So, why don't just do an experiment? As I was running a small class, I had the chance to get a small batch of answers.

    Now, can we still say that there is a universal association of gender to certain notes? Can we rely on the gender labeling on fragrances? I'd like to think that there is no such a thing, but of course, you're welcome to do your own experiments (please share the results in the forum) or just stick on your own perception.

  48. #48

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Stinky View Post
    I like your scientific approach. Are you controlling for “group think” (i.e. Have them individually test, away from peer influence)?
    They were able to read their friends' comments on the blotter, but it did not stop them from giving contradicting comments.

    Quote Originally Posted by squatter View Post
    I think they should record their responses individually. From my research, I really don't think that an average man would tolerate wearing most essences that are included in feminine perfumes. He enjoys smelling them on a woman, of course. But wearing them is another matter. Otherwise, most perfumes would be sold as unisex and generate more profit. In reality, that will result in bankruptcy or fragrance discontinuation. I do know some men will wear female perfume and some women will wear, etc, etc, etc. But I only interested in the scientific side of it.
    I don't think unisex concept will drive the sales up as many people are not yet comfortable with the idea. Many men would prefer to keep to men's fragrances. It is interesting that some fragrances are available only in some regions which may be related to the gender association based on different cultures/climates/etc. I just don't see enough evidence to say such association is universal.

  49. #49
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    Default Re: Small experiment

    Your input is the best I've heard in a long time. All of my research indicate that men do prefer to use men's fragrances. Of course, men's fragrances are different across cultures. I don't think there is a universal association between gender and fragrances, because gender is culturally defined.

  50. #50

    Default Re: Small experiment

    Even when the design of the experiments (like this) are lacking in some standard scientific concepts, they are still experiments. Keep it up.

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