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  1. #1

    Default Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I was thinking about this once again today.

    Do we sometimes get so into the individual notes and this note doesn't blend well into that note or just the minutia of breaking down a fragrance that we miss the bigger picture of, hey this just plain smells great if you step back from it.
    It's like looking up close at an oil painting and seeing the brush stroke et al and then you take a step back and see the bigger picture and you have a better liking for it?
    I thought of this when I sometimes just catch a waft of someone walking by.
    Are there any scents that when you analyze it with a magnifying glass it's just okay, but the bigger picture is you love it?
    Last edited by neal; 24th August 2010 at 12:40 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest from the trees?

    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.
    Last edited by Suppressor; 24th August 2010 at 03:13 PM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I have run into a tree because I was too busy looking at the forest.
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  4. #4
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    mikeperez23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    Oh I imagine all of us do this at one time or another.

    I think a common thing that I am guilty of is when I am disappointed in a fragrance, instead of saying 'I don't like it' I instead try to describe the notes in it I don't like, the blending, etc. Most of the time because it becomes automatic, but also sometimes because I'm prompted to by other BN members.

    I think this could easily be perceived as not looking at the big picture. But then again, if I wanted to read and peruse people only talking about 'the big picture' then I wouldn't be enjoying this website as much.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I've wondered this, but I've decided that I want to enjoy things as a whole, but it's also important for me to be able to examine them closely. Sometimes, this gets me into trouble (I enjoy Millessime Imperial as a whole, but I'm turned off by the synthetics if I sniff too closely or overthink it), but more often, it allows me to appreciate a scent on more levels, being impressed by the minute details as well as the whole picture (as an example, I love the whole smell of New Haarlem, but if I sniff closely, I'm even more impressed that it's a gourmand over a wood base and I'm entertained by the slow interplay between the burnt caramel and the cedar).
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  6. #6
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I don't think so. I either like or dislike a scent once I smell it in totality. Some fall in between like and dislike, but analyzing the fragrance only comes when you are trying to describe or review. You have to know the notes/accords to accomplish that.

    If you are real-time sampling ( like in a mall), dissecting the scent isn't important. It smells great or it doesn't. Later on you may want to analyze it.....and that's great.....but bottom line is....great....or not so great.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by rogalal View Post
    I've wondered this, but I've decided that I want to enjoy things as a whole, but it's also important for me to be able to examine them closely. Sometimes, this gets me into trouble (I enjoy Millessime Imperial as a whole, but I'm turned off by the synthetics if I sniff too closely or overthink it), but more often, it allows me to appreciate a scent on more levels, being impressed by the minute details as well as the whole picture (as an example, I love the whole smell of New Haarlem, but if I sniff closely, I'm even more impressed that it's a gourmand over a wood base and I'm entertained by the slow interplay between the burnt caramel and the cedar).
    what he said

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    Not really. If I like the big picture I try to see what works in its favor, and vice-versa if I happen to dislike the big picture. While you can't always dissect every fragrance note by note, I don't think you'll have any forest without the trees. For me at least, it's always the forest first and then perhaps the trees (or the monkeys). Lol.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I know that Luca Turin called Boucheron Trouble a "soup," a jumble of scents notes all mixed together.

    I happen to enjoy Trouble, a vanilla citrus oriental. I can even consider this unisex, as some here have found it.

    Notes in a scent can intrigue, but, in the end, I buy based on the finished product.

    Foods (and even music) are often this way. Odd flavours (or different musical notes and instruments) mixed together. Who would have thought peanut butter and chocolate would be a favourite candy bar? Or the Japanese shakuhachi flute and the Irish harp? (The music of Lisa Lynne.)
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I agree with Aromi. It does come down to a like or dislike of a scent. However, there are certain scents where a few of the topnotes are so captivating that it is worth having the scent for that alone (I love the citrus, herbal blast of Eau Sauvage and wished it lasted a lot longer) whereas other times it is the basenotes which grab us (Yatagan and Bel Ami have truly wondrous drydowns). Having said that I do like all the scents mentioned in their entirety and would not do without them.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Not really. If I like the big picture I try to see what works in its favor, and vice-versa if I happen to dislike the big picture. While you can't always dissect every fragrance note by note, I don't think you'll have any forest without the trees. For me at least, it's always the forest first and then perhaps the trees (or the monkeys). Lol.
    What Diamondflame said.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    Very good point! This is the very reason I have to test a fragrance over a number of days AND contrast it with something else in order to get the "picture" of what is trying to be presented. Sometimes when I smell to "close" to a fragrance I can dismiss it as boring, synthetic etc.. but when, as you say, I step back from it, many times it is actually a great deal better than I first thought.

    One that sticks in my mind is Sonia Rykiel for men. Up close this smells so boring and generic but when worn and appreciated from a distance, it is a wonderful fragrance! The same goes for Sander for Men. Up close this is also boring but from a distance is fantastic! So much so that when I was looking for a friend in a Manchester club, I actually sniffed him out! LOL! Seriously, Sander for Men has never really been sold in stores in the UK so it really stands out!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    No, I just "let it happen," and whatever happens, happens. I usually give a frag at least 3 samplings, spread out over at least a month's time, unless I hate it at first sniff. Even then, sometimes I try to make it wearable by diluting it with vodka (as I did with Kouros and One Man Show). If a frag has anything going for it, I don't give up on it for a while. However, I'll add that I try to avoid top notes, which I think helps prevent a feeling of repulsion that I know I'd feel for more than a few frags if I did breathe in those topnotes.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    In 99,99% of the cases, it's the big picture, rather than the individual notes of the frag which turn out as the defining factor

  15. #15

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    To follow up on KR's post, there was a time, not long ago, that I hated licorice and lavender notes. It was some sort of sensitivity issue. I had a lot of frags with those notes featured prominently. Instead of swapping them all off, I kept the ones I thought were good frags, and now I am enjoying them again. However, these days I really dislike the cedar wood note (the supposed "pencil shavings" of Gucci PH 1, for example). I never wear these frags now, but I intend to keep a couple of bottles of the ones I consider best, in the event that I can tolerate them at some point in the future.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I'm sure this is one of those threads that makes worth being around here.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I tend to most enjoy the fragrances which are complex enough to produce a "symphonic olfactory chord". I listen, first in this manner. After my first listen, I may begin to think about what is working, what isn't, etc. My favorite fragrances tend to be close to impossible for my amateurish nose to analyze at all.

    This aesthetic tendency of mine extends to music and other art forms as well.

  18. #18
    Dependent pluran's Avatar
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    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    After years of discerning them, notes generally bore me. It has become tedious, like sex without lube.

    I'm concerned with the quality and how it makes me feel, and those are easy to define.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    Quote Originally Posted by pluran View Post
    After years of discerning them, notes generally bore me. It has become tedious, like sex without lube.
    .
    ...thats painful lol


    I care about notes in the sense that i know i like certain ones. For example, i'm more apt to like vanilla-based fragrances, so i try to find what has that note. I do get excited when i can identify notes, for example i realized what blood orange and blood mandarin were. I sprayed JOOP! Go for the first time in awhile and i instantly remembered 1 Million's opening. Looked up both and they had that same, sweet orange note, but i noticed they were different, but only a tad. Same deal with patchouli, i smelled A*Men and Ice*Men and noticed the same note, and that it had an earthy feel: patchouli.

    But do i break down every single note? hell no. It's the same with music. I feel music theory destroys enjoyment of music because youre forced to deconstruct and analyze, not feel the music and emotions coming from it. So yes, i do use notes to find what i like, and i do look up notes to again find common interests. But overall i just smell the fragrance for what it is. I tried being a note-analyzer and it just wasn't for me. I tried it with A*Men, and i dissected the hell out of it. Eventually i couldn't even enjoy it because it no longer was a chocolate smell, it was vanilla blending with patchouli. No caramel either! (my favorite note/candy ever!) I gave that up and its back to that chocolate gourmandgasm that i love

    Appreciate the smell and don't ask why because sometimes ignorance is bliss!

  20. #20

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    I'm a forest guy, not a tree guy.

    The overall experience is what I'm interested in. Individual notes and understanding the details of a composition don't interest me that much. About the only time I really put much into dissecting a fragrance is when I do a review on Basenotes, and that hasn't happened but a few times. My main emphasis is on wearing a fragrance and enjoying it, an approach more suited to a hedonist than a scientist!

    noggs

  21. #21

    Default Re: Do we sometimes miss the forest for the trees?

    This is such a good thread I thouhgt I would bump it back to the top and add my opinion (please don't they cry).

    I nurtured my fragrance hobby, sniffing for fun, or so I thought. It the begining it was so easy, spray it, like it, buy it and them wear it. Then notes arrived, top, heart and base. I discovered that groups were olfactive and then individual notes arrived, some claiming to be things that were not even labelled on the bottle!

    It was so easy when I could just see the forest. However it is more interesting to have a look at the trees as well for the sake of curiosity. I seek to keep the whole fragrance hobby 'fun and enjoyable'.

    A friend of mine is a musician. He cannot listen to a piece of music without deconstructing it into component parts. Like a negative synergy, I find that saddening, and don't want to do that with fragrances.

    What do you think?

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