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  1. #1
    odioustoilet's Avatar
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    Default Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    I have come across some adds and also noticed the pyramids noting some "exotic" or "rare" fragrance notes but are they really in there and do some of the supposed "notes" really exist in the real world?

    I noticed one scent listing ebony, I thought, "wow, ebony has a scent to it?".

    So I looked up ebony essential oils and through the internet all I came across was that there is no essential oil of ebony but when it burns gives off a vanilla-type smell. So if it is a vanilla-type odor why list something as having an ebony note?

    Am I splitting hairs or thinking too hard on this?
    Thanks ahead of time for your input.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    It's mostly marketing. The world of cosmetics, and especially fragrances, is full of it. Really filled to the brim and overflowing.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Well, many synthetic accords are used in modern perfumery that have little to do with anything natural, and are either imitating something or creating something new. For example, all lilac notes in perfumery are "fake", as there is no lilac absolute available. Sometimes a perfumer makes an entirely synthetic accord and wants to give it a natural sounding name, hence "precious woods" and so forth.

    Rarely do any but a few all-natural fragrances note lists and pyramids have anything to do with what's in the bottle.
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 16th June 2010 at 05:44 AM.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Perfume advertisers have a de facto license to lie to you. As Sugandaraja said, never trust the note pyramids but also don't trust producers' claims of actual use in the product (even if the product is named after the ingredient like "Mysore Sandalwood" or things along those lines). My favorite fictional fragrance note is from Givenchy's PI website, Infinium, which is both a computer program and the name of various companies but nothing you can bottle.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    I believe that most of the notes in most perfumes are synthetic. I don't even consider this to be lying, unless they go a step further and talk about how expensive that ingredient is and how hard it is to distill, etc.

    For example, when "sandalwood" is in the notes list, I assume that it's synthetic, and that's fine. But if the advertising copy tells me about how pure sandalwood oil is the most expensive fragrance oil and it's distilled in the Emerald City of Oz with live steam and fairy dust, then I'm irritated. They still haven't said in so many words that their fragrance _contains_ any of that pure sandalwood oil, but they've very strongly implied it.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zizanioides View Post
    .... My favorite fictional fragrance note is from Givenchy's PI website, Infinium, which is both a computer program and the name of various companies but nothing you can bottle.
    Hee.... Alien is said to contain "solar note."

    There seem to be all manner of musk and jasmine floating around in fumeland, white, beach, absolu, sparkling, whatev. I asked about this and was told that the musks are all synthetic but the jasmines likely come from different places.
    Last edited by Sunnyfunny; 16th June 2010 at 05:04 PM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    The "jasmines" in commercial perfumes are almost certainly synthetic, too, as are the "roses", "gardenias", "tuberoses", and even the things that are cheap and plentiful as naturals like "citrus" and "lavender". Unfortunately, most people only know notes through the synthetic versions used in fragrance and flavorings. I have read that the majority of people actually prefer the vile-smelling synthetic "lavender" over the real thing because it's what they're used to smelling. I think it's safe to assume that any perfume note listed is synthetic unless explicitly stated otherwise. Don't get me wrong - synthetics are not a bad thing, I use them in moderation myself, but I see no reason to use them when a natural material would do the job better for a comparable or only slightly higher cost.

    And yes, there's a monumental amount of BS in perfume marketing. A lot of it doesn't even make sense, as many of the above examples nicely illustrate.
    Blog: www.perfumenw.blogspot.com
    Website: Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes http://orchidscents.com.

  8. #8
    Off-Scenter
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    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Fragrance pyramids should not be mistaken for ingredient lists.

  9. #9
    Hillaire
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    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Sun-baked Cannanite Sands, Atlantean Aquatic Notes, Hesperidic Clover Dew, Dawn-harvested Mangosteen, Celtic Sylph Tears...

    Those are real.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    ____Car Colors___

    I've had the same reaction to names of colors i.e. motor vehicles, nail polish, interior paint etc. It's one part marketing, two parts "Can't-call-it-red-so-I'll-call-it-Vampire Phlegm" from the designer. Synthetics allow room for poetic license I think, like "ebony", when the note is likable but not found in nature. It's a way of using words to describe scent notes; smells being incredibly difficult to explain since it is by one of the least objective senses.

    The whole synthetic vs. natural is a whole different thread. I will say this, any processing -- even via the CO2 extraction method -- VERY OFTEN alters the scent from what is found in nature. So "natural" is a point of view. I CERTAINLY would assume the notes described in a typical advertisement to be synthetic, unless the more natural ingredient is plentiful and cheap.

    Overall, I do think the profit margin in the fragrance business must be as ridiculous -- but not equal -- to, say, a Coca Cola bottler. Let's be straight here: a fragrance is mostly cheap alcohol, some synthetic absolutes, and a pinch of naturally derived oils. We as customers sometimes gamble on designers/houses as their products are often more stinkers than winners. From the designer point of view, it's cut-throat and risky; how does one create something that is unique, yet has mass appeal AND fits within a budget? Does one follow a trend or try to create one? Do you sell your soul and work for a celebrity-named fragrance that you know is garbage?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Yes, and no. I think its easy to tell when something is just marketing, but when they use a real note from something very real in nature, I think you can assume that is a legitimate scent. Take for instance John Varvatos' use of medjool dates or tamarind tree leaves - those are definitely not so esoteric as something like "ebony," ect.

  12. #12
    Hillaire
    Guest

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sensual View Post
    ____Car Colors___

    I've had the same reaction to names of colors i.e. motor vehicles, nail polish, interior paint etc. It's one part marketing, two parts "Can't-call-it-red-so-I'll-call-it-Vampire Phlegm" from the designer. Synthetics allow room for poetic license I think, like "ebony", when the note is likable but not found in nature. It's a way of using words to describe scent notes; smells being incredibly difficult to explain since it is by one of the least objective senses.

    The whole synthetic vs. natural is a whole different thread. I will say this, any processing -- even via the CO2 extraction method -- VERY OFTEN alters the scent from what is found in nature. So "natural" is a point of view. I CERTAINLY would assume the notes described in a typical advertisement to be synthetic, unless the more natural ingredient is plentiful and cheap.

    Overall, I do think the profit margin in the fragrance business must be as ridiculous -- but not equal -- to, say, a Coca Cola bottler. Let's be straight here: a fragrance is mostly cheap alcohol, some synthetic absolutes, and a pinch of naturally derived oils. We as customers sometimes gamble on designers/houses as their products are often more stinkers than winners. From the designer point of view, it's cut-throat and risky; how does one create something that is unique, yet has mass appeal AND fits within a budget? Does one follow a trend or try to create one? Do you sell your soul and work for a celebrity-named fragrance that you know is garbage?

    This is a very thorough and solid answer. Nice to read.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexbroPA View Post
    Yes, and no. I think its easy to tell when something is just marketing, but when they use a real note from something very real in nature, I think you can assume that is a legitimate scent. Take for instance John Varvatos' use of medjool dates or tamarind tree leaves - those are definitely not so esoteric as something like "ebony," ect.
    I think that you can assume that there's a note in there that smells somewhat like a real-world scent that fits that description, but you can't assume that that note is actually _formed_ from that material. For example, getting back to sandalwood, sandalwood oil exists, and has a smell, and can theoretically be used in perfume, but almost every sandalwood note that you encounter these days is purely synthetic, with no actual sandalwood involved.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Are manufacturer's/designers sometimes just BS'ing us?

    Eye of newt, tongue of dog, sperm of whale...hell, it's all magic.

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