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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Default Notes pyramid? Reality-based?

    At first I naively thought that the notes listed in the description of fragrances had something to do with the actual ingredients. Now I know better, of course but I wondered about those lists of notes. Where do they come from? Is it the judgement of fragrance critics, or the designer's concept or something like that? I must admit, it is nearly impossible to predict the effect of a fragrance just from looking at the pyramid. Sometimes I can pick out some of the notes if I look at the list while sniffing, but sometimes I can't make any sense of it.

    Then I took a closer look at the label of a recent purchase, Prada Man (Amber pour Homme). Embossed on the label, it says 'Resine de Labdanum de France, Feuilles de Patchouli d'Indonesie, Cardamome du Guatemala, Safran d'Espagne et Daim.' Are these actual plant materials in the juice, or are they just accords? There is still much about fragrance that is a big UNKNOWN to me! (But I love ApH!)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Notes pyramid? Reality-based?

    The answer to your question is that no one really knows. When a country of origin is given one might assume that the perfume contains an essential oil or other natural material (for example, French labdanum resin, Indian patchouli leaves, etc.), but it is also possible that the perfume contains a synthetic accord formulated to smell like the real thing. In some cases it is the real thing, in others the accord. Some manufacturers are more realistic and forthcoming than others in listing their note pyramids. Most note pyramids, for the sake of brevity, omit many of the accords, aromachemicals, or natural materials that go into the perfume, listing only what the perfumer or advertising copy writer wants you to pay attention to. I think the best overall strategy is to regard the note listings as a general guide to some of the odors that you might detect in a perfume if you consider it analytically, not the actual materials that go into its production. As you point out, you may not detect the individual notes at all because several of them fuse perceptually to form a new and unique odor. After all, that's what an accord is all about and what a successful perfume accomplishes on a larger scale.

    I think the bottom line is that each person smells something a little bit different in a given perfume, and everyone is "right", so trust your nose more than the note pyramid and enjoy your sniffing!
    Website: Olympic Orchids Artisan Perfumes

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Default Re: Notes pyramid? Reality-based?

    Reality based? I doubt it. There may actually be some of the listed essential oils, but I will also guess that they are greatly enhanced with aromachemicals. The pyramid is mainly to give customers an idea as to their subjective smell.

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