When I test fragrances, I don't search for individual notes. I always try to look at the bigger picture and how it takes changes in the drydown. And yes, I think you are very right that some people miss the forest from the trees.
I have that with l'Air du Desert Marocain. When I apply this to my arm and I sniff it in close range, I smell a beautiful complex fragrance that makes me drool.
But recently I decided to give it a full application for a big party, in order to see how it performs there (trying to see the forest). When I got whafts of it, all I smelled was sweet spicyness, the complexity was totally gone, which was quite a letdown. I have analysed LdDM to death now and it still keeps hunting me though. I hope that when my sample runs out, I will fully understand it.