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  1. #1

    Rosehavn's Avatar
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    Jun 2010
    Northern California

    Default My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    I really want to get good at recognizing fragrance notes, and the quality of the notes. I just received a sample of Amouage Jubilation XXV. I think it is a great fragrance, and it is definitely something I would wear. However, when I first smelled it, I thought it was very similar to Mugler's B-Men. So, I put the fragrances side by side on my arm, and my nose says these fragrances smell very similar. How could this be? I know there is so much praise for Amouage Jubilation XXV, and that many did not like B-Men. Is this a case of synthetic vs. quality real ingredients that a more experienced nose would notice? I've only been doing this for a few months. Any words of wisdom are appreciated. Thanks.
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  2. #2
    If not now, when?

    mikeperez23's Avatar
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    Dec 2006
    Miami, FL

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    I love Jubilation XXV too.

    I believe there have been many BN members who've suspected that JXVV has Iso-E-Super in it (a synthetic woody aromachemical used in loads of fragrances). Perhaps this is what your nose is smelling 'similar' in these two fragrances? I cannot say, I've never smelled BMen.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    As a "newbie," my sense of smell often focused on one note or accord, which I suspect is what happened in your case. It took me months to begin to "get it," and I spent a lot of time on it, so it's really up to you. However, as you have discovered, it does not pay to buy expensive frags at this point. Instead, only sample the expensive ones, and come back to them once a month (my suggestion), until you are sure you will use it often enough to justify the purchase. Good luck.

  4. #4
    neal's Avatar
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    Nov 2006

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    Practice. Practice. Practice.

  5. #5

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    Quote Originally Posted by neal View Post
    Practice. Practice. Practice.
    Agree. Just give it some more wearings. You will see how Jubilation shine. Bmen is sweet and woody and herbal. Jubilation is stronger. It is more complex and has so many faces.

  6. #6

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    I don't really believe in practice. This is fun, it should stay so.
    IF trying to unveil the fragrance is fun for you, sure do it. IF during the natural course of your enthusiasm your understanding of perfume changes (not necessarily improves) great.
    Whatever you do, don't try too hard to get things you are supposed to get.

    I also don't think there is a substantial difference between what people smell. Everybody definitely smells the first layer, which is the whole composition itself. Some can hear the bassist going crazy in the background and appreciates it.

    Not everyone has to appreciate classical music fully, not everyone has to like it even.
    The saddest thing is trying hard to appreciate, when you could be actually having fun.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    I know both fragrances, but I know Jubilation much better, as I own a bottle. B*Men is in the same family as JubXXV: woody-amber. Jubilation has an incense note which B*Men lacks, but they both share a certain, fruity sweetness. There's a transparency to the fruit and woods in JXXV that is a signature of its creator Bertrand Duchafour, B*Men was done by Christine Nagel, who is somewhat the Queen of Designer Orientals, her discontinued spicy oriental Theorema is considered by many to be a masterpiece.
    But to be quite honest, these days nether of these two rock my world much.

  8. #8

    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    I have given Jubilation XXV at least 3 or 4 full wearings (SotD) and I think it is very nice, but given the price tag rather generic and interchangeable. It's a very personal decision with regard to price value, but the only Amouage I put the big cash on the table was Amouage Lyric Woman (100 ml). I am eager to try the Opus I-III very shortly though

  9. #9
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    JaimeB's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    San Francisco, California
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    Default Re: My untrained nose...experienced BNers please help

    Jubilation XXV certainly is a good quality scent. I wouldn't say that B-Men wasn't, but frankly, when I sniffed it a long time ago, it left me so blasé that I barely recall what it smelled like.

    What I would like to suggest for making interesting comparisons is the idea that having notes in common doesn't always make perfumes equivalent. They may seem similar because some note or notes are prominent in both, but the questions of balance, proportion, supporting notes, and combination are more important in comparing two perfumes than their coincidentally having a few notes in common.

    You can make a nice perfume with a lot of fairly common notes in it; there are, after all, a limited number of perfume materials out there, and cost and supply considerations reduce that number in practice for most perfumers. Another "nose" can take a number of the same notes; nuance them differently by the choice of different supporting notes; source the same materials from other firms or growers whose products seem to fit in better with the overall composition; be more exacting in finding the proper proportions among the different notes; and finally end up with a masterpiece, even though a bare list of ingredients wouldn't show too much difference between the two.

    Really good noses are given more time and are permitted more iterations of slight variations to develop a perfume, until they feel they have it exactly right; that increases its final cost and delays the profits to the firm launching it. Making something decent with a much tighter bottom line means working faster and keeping cost down, and getting it to market quickly enough to satisfy the accountants. You can have some of the same materials in the finished products, but you don't have products of equivalent value or artistic merit.

    Training your nose to recognize notes is one thing, and a useful thing, too; but training yourself to recognize different perfume genres and their family resemblances can also be useful, as can studying how different perfumers achieve different overall effects even within the same genre. That can be a useful path to deepening one's appreciation of the subtleties of perfume construction.

    Another way to put it is that in comparing two scents that are somehow similar, it is usually more interesting to focus on detectable differences than on similarities.
    Yr good bud,


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