I just looked at the spread sheet.... very interesting indeed. I'm tempted to design a mini experiment of my own. I like the "note" column.
Thread: Small experiment
I did a small experiment today. I prepared 20 paper strips scented with different fragrances. After about 3 hours, I asked three female 3rd-year college students (let's call them A, B, and C) to rate them with a score between 1 (bad) to 5 (good), guess the market segment (masculine/feminine/unisex), and give some notes (suitable age, notes, whatever). Sorry if some of the notes offend you.
The results are quite surprising. The top 5 based on the average score are: Lanvin Vetyver, Guerlain Habit Rouge EdT Legere, YSL Kouros, Kenzo Power, and Guerlain Vetiver. They agreed that they, except Lanvin Vetyver, should be marketed as feminine scents. The favorite scent for A was Hiris, while B and C picked Habit Rouge EdT Legere.
The bottom 5 based on the average score are: Guerlain Mitsouko EdT, Serge Lutens Chergui, Chanel Egoiste, Lalique pour Homme Equus, and Guerlain Shalimar Light.
I also showed them the bottles. Suprisingly, they considered some bottles marketed as masculine scent to be feminine looking, e.g., Guerlain Vetyver, Kenzo Power, and Lalique pour Homme Equus.
Last edited by zliang; 8th June 2010 at 05:33 PM.
was it the new or old vetyver by lanvin?
Tell Hugo, he isnt boss anymore.
Very interesting, but with one major flaw, they've tried these on paper...
It should be no suprise that Kenzo Power would be seen as a feminine fragrance. A masculine floral? Yeah, whatever.
Love it! Maybe that'll help some people that are married to gender marketing reconsider. :P
I have to say - I laughed when I read the notes on Rien - Hospital... Aromatherapy... Corpse. HA
I'm a colognosaurus. Rawr!
Zliang, fantastic work ! And thanks for the speardsheet. I think this was a pretty cool idea you had. Thanks.
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"No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.
Regarding fragrances targetted to men and described as femenine, I gave one of my female students a blotter with Play Intense on it, given to me at a parfume shop's entrrance right before arriving to college. I told her that she might want to try it for her boydriend... she did no tknow what it was, though. She smelt it and looked at me with a weird face, for she thought it was a scent for women. She told me she liked it for her, but she could not imagne her boyfriend wearing that. Analogous thing happened to me with Dior Homme; Cabochard was unknowingly described by my sister-in-law as masculine, JHL was the reason I was told the women's version of Opium mixed perfectly with my skin and Magie Noire was found by my wife as a masculine scent.
As PetrruciJ said, perfumes have no genitalia.
Interesting to see that ELDO's Rien es described as medicinal.
I would find the results more compelling if you repeated it, with the same students, but with the order changed, so that you could see if the order in which they smelled the frags made any difference.
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Look forward for the next experiment
No offense intended, but the gentleman "A" thought Kouros is unisex?
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I really am tempted to conduct a test now using some of my "Macho, manly man" scents. I suspect I may get some surprising results.
Thumbs up, Zliang. Very cool experiment.
Another time it is proven that women have horrible tastes in fragrances.
Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance.
I found this results even more amusing in terms of "niche vs mainstream" battle. Or "impact per buck" battle.
Chergui is the best example, while Rien and Carthusia gave controversial results... Anyway - everyone wears perfumes for oneself, so no worries.
Thanks, zliang, for your time well spent!
Vetiver The Great!!!
Also one could mention favourite base notes for Indonesia - vetiver, cedar, amber and patchouli.
And not-favourable too.
Vetiver The Great!!!
Btw, to compare 20 scents in one go is a challenging task even for the experienced nose. Perhaps you could group them by genre just to factor out genre-related biases. Interesting findings anyway, zliang. I knew Lanvin Vetyver has something going on...
Last edited by Diamondflame; 9th June 2010 at 08:38 AM.
Great idea, and, also I tend to agree with what Primrose, Mathewfoo and others have pointed out, both on this board and on several other occasions:
the limitations of a frag being masculine, feminine or unisex is a very recent habit of the perfume industry, while the borders between a fragrance and its intended consumers are much more "fluid", since I can imagine almost any man wearing e.g. No. 19, while e.g. Guerlain Vetiver or Habit Rouge have an awesome unsiex potential and the list of frags of such kind may go on indefinitely
I agree with regards to Kenzo Power. Would be perfect on my dear mother
There is no love in modern life
There is no hope in modern life
Also Body Kouros...I'm happy to smell like a businesswoman! Ouch
There is no love in modern life
There is no hope in modern life
Blatant plug for the 'Real Life' experiment that I've been running for several weeks -
Out of those top 5, I've only smelled Kouros and Power. I can understand Power being appealing to college chicks, but Kouros? Which leads me to this question, are you sure these girls were in college?
Very good work. thanks!
Its interesting the note given to Kouros.....mmm, i have to give it (another) chance.....
I'm glad to see the responses. As some of you noted, the results show that there is no absolute difference between feminine and masculine fragrances. Although some "masculine" scents like Kenzo Power are often considered as leaning toward feminine in this forum, much fewer would consider YSL Kouros as feminine as the results indicate. Hence, gender perception is very subjective, irrelevant to the marketing labels. This point was indeed one of my motivation in conducting the experiment.
I think I should give more info about the experiment. In the experiment, I laid the paper strips in groups of five and they sniffed the strips in any order they liked. The participants were indeed college girls and actually my students. I don't think they had much experience with fragrances or brand names which was good as I'd like to see the perception of "general audience" although of course, the results could not be generalized.
At the beginning, I was thinking of a pair comparison test for scents sharing a theme. You can see that I included Shalimar & Habit Rouge (orientals), Mitsouko & Numero Uno (chypres), and Hiris & Kenzo Power (iris). In the last minute, I decided to include more controversial scents such as Kouros. I didn't expect that they'd like it at all (and as a feminine scent!!!).
Last edited by zliang; 10th June 2010 at 04:14 PM.
Kouros sprayed on paper really is an entirely different beast than sprayed on skin. On paper, it's fresh, aldehydic and floral...in other words, Rive Gauche. It's not until it warms up on skin that the whole KOUROS! thing comes galloping along.
Am I the only who who isn't surprised at all that Kouros was mistaken for a feminine?
The dominant accords are florals, honey and incense. Examined apart from its reputation as "the galloping Kouros thing," it's a rather pretty scent. It's surprisingly well-behaved on paper and skin for me.
I think Kouros' reputation developed solely as a result of the topnotes.
Last edited by LiveJazz; 14th June 2010 at 10:45 PM.
"It's not what you look like when you're doing what you're doing; it's what you're doing when you're doing what you look like you're doing."
Keep experimenting like this and keep it as scientific as is practical.
I remember accidently applying a woman's fragrance -- the women loved it -- so did I!
Happened again recently and it didn't work out well.
This is interesting as different cultures will perceive scents differently and this research kinda proves that....
hmm i'll need to sample women's fragrances one of these days :P
I saw this thread when i read the "Male 'female fragrance wearers'......be honest"-thread. I would like you to take on the Chanel catalouge with girls and guys if that is possible.
Thank you so very much for that experiment Zliang.
I am also glad to know that the ladies noses were right on track, specially interesting because of their notes: Shalimar light was mentioned to be "cake" which is something i have always thought.
And even more interesting to notice that the clove component of Égoďste was found to be "medicinal": the reason for this i think is because clove is used in dentistry as the main ingredient in Eugenol, which gives the typical "clinic smell" that most dentists offices have.
And I'm inclined to say that the mitsouko edt is the new reincarnation of it, hence, "new book".
Thanks again and I hope you will continue doing this type of research!
Very cool experiment. Thank you for sharing!
Now, I have to say here: your audience sample size is a bit small for statistical accuracy. I'm not saying that to be critical, but I would like to point out that the results of this survey are not project-able to the world at large. One would have to survey a much larger group to move into the realm of an accurate sample size.
I should confess: in my day job I spend a lot of time studying marketing research.
I'm sure Zliang's intention here is not to suggest that "these women said this, so all women think this." But there's often a tendency for readers of research like this to interpret it in that way. Just be careful about how you use this infomration.
Regarding the specific results you've listed, I do feel somewhat business-womanly in Body Kouros. Whenever I wear it I find myself checking frequently to make sure I don't have a run in my stockings.
Last edited by mrcologneguy; 25th September 2010 at 09:35 PM.
I'm surprised how much do this few words and letters speak about people's personalities.
In fact, I'm tempted to say it's more about analyzing the specific person than, say, common perception, popular prejudice, etc.
Thank you for sharing indeed!
Great effort on the experiment. Just a suggestion for your next experiment. Try different notes on men (record their age and race as well), such as jasmine, pine needles, roses, civet, musk, etc. Don't use a commercial fragrance. Just use the essence itself, properly diluted, of course.
I like your scientific approach. Are you controlling for “group think” (i.e. Have them individually test, away from peer influence)?
For those about to stink, I salute you!
I think they should record their responses individually. From my research, I really don't think that an average man would tolerate wearing most essences that are included in feminine perfumes. He enjoys smelling them on a woman, of course. But wearing them is another matter. Otherwise, most perfumes would be sold as unisex and generate more profit. In reality, that will result in bankruptcy or fragrance discontinuation. I do know some men will wear female perfume and some women will wear, etc, etc, etc. But I only interested in the scientific side of it.
Thank you, Guys. Obviously, it was not conducted in a rigorous scientific approach, so the results can not be generalized. I was simply curious about people's perception on note preference and relation between scents and gender. We find the topics discussed here, but often we end up just pushing our own ideas. So, why don't just do an experiment? As I was running a small class, I had the chance to get a small batch of answers.
Now, can we still say that there is a universal association of gender to certain notes? Can we rely on the gender labeling on fragrances? I'd like to think that there is no such a thing, but of course, you're welcome to do your own experiments (please share the results in the forum) or just stick on your own perception.
Your input is the best I've heard in a long time. All of my research indicate that men do prefer to use men's fragrances. Of course, men's fragrances are different across cultures. I don't think there is a universal association between gender and fragrances, because gender is culturally defined.
Even when the design of the experiments (like this) are lacking in some standard scientific concepts, they are still experiments. Keep it up.