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  1. #1

    Default An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    I was at work today and one of my buddies came over and asked me what I thought of his fragrance, it was something by Nautica.

    I was truthful with him and said to me it smelled ok but very generic and forgettable, just like a hundred other scents on the market.

    He laughed and said of course it smelled generic to me, I've smelled so many scents that after a while many of them would sort of blend together, where as he only owns 3 or 4 and doesn't smell new ones that often, so to him every scent he smells is new and different.

    It was something I'd honestly never thought of in that way before. Alot of times I dismiss and dislike a scent because it's not very original or smells like something else, not because it's good or bad. I think alot of posters here do this too, and perhaps we are limiting our potential enjoyment of fragrances by our own experience.

    Does this make any sense to anyone else?


    From now on, I am going to take a new approach to fragrances for 2009 : I am going to smell every scent as if I have never owned a fragrance before in my life. I'm not going to say fragrance X smells like Y so it's boring, I'm going to pretend Y never existed and evaluate X completely on it's own merits. This level of objectivity is going to be very, very hard for me but I'm going to give it a shot, and as a sort of experiment I'd like to encourage other posters to join me in this. Because while innovation should be praised and fragrances should strive for it, sometimes I think I get caught up in the expectation that every scent should reinvent the wheel.

    Now, that's not to say I'll buy a fragrance if it smells like something else in my collection already, no need to waste money moreso than I already do lol! But when approaching a new scent, I won't hold the fact it smells similar as a strike against it either!

  2. #2
    exquisitely me's Avatar
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    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    I think that's a very good point! I'm a very new perfume fanatic, so everything's new to me, and I love many more perfumes than the reviewers for that very same reason. I think too much experience can be limiting for all of you super-sniffers. The "reinvent the wheel" expectation is only going to hinder your enjoyment.

    Good luck with your resolution! I hope it will give you new-found appreciation for all the other frags out there.

  3. #3

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Quote Originally Posted by scentseeker View Post
    ...From now on, I am going to take a new approach to fragrances for 2009 : I am going to smell every scent as if I have never owned a fragrance before in my life. I'm not going to say fragrance X smells like Y so it's boring, I'm going to pretend Y never existed and evaluate X completely on it's own merits. This level of objectivity is going to be very, very hard for me but I'm going to give it a shot, and as a sort of experiment I'd like to encourage other posters to join me in this. Because while innovation should be praised and fragrances should strive for it, sometimes I think I get caught up in the expectation that every scent should reinvent the wheel.
    I think there is a lot of merit in what you are saying, scentseeker.
    I think that part of the evaluative process should include a real openness and appreciation to the thing itself.
    However, we can't escape the comparative process. It is how we understand things. Even if you completely bracket out scents, you will still be comparing the SOTD to known elements: lemon, amber, cloves, etc. How well does it evoke those notes, and handle them?
    It is when we are confronted by a really unusual, unknown note (for North Americans, this might be oud) that we approach being a tabula rasa. But even then, we compare the distinctive oud note to things we know (rubber, acetone, etc.)
    So, I'm not dissing your approach, in fact I agree with it to a point. It is a good discipline all reviewers should consider.
    But I do think the comparative aspect is inevitable and also important and informative. We seek quality, so if scent X is a pale and shallow version of scent B, I'd rather save my $$ and get B.
    But thanks for raising this issue, it is something for us to think about.
    odysseusm

    "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas

  4. #4

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    A really good observation, scentseeker. And how good natured of your work buddy to take it so in stride and understandingly.

  5. #5

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    It`s something to think about, scentseeker

    I could understand your buddy with 3-4 perfumes on shelf.
    Try to imagine how to prolong this way of thinking in any kind of manhood activity and that approach could sound not-so-right and even silly!
    Like - I read only 3-4 books, so I find every paperback as brilliant literature.
    Or - I eat only potato and rice, so every carrot is a fabulous gift.
    Or - I drink only cognacs and every glass of beer is something new and different.

    Why people could want to limit themselves for the better pleasure?
    Something to think about too...

    I also agree with odisseumsm - as any kind of education is based upon previous experience and knowledge.
    Vetiver The Great!!!

  6. #6

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Another thing: for him, the topnotes may be all he really pays attention to, so it's possible that they smell very different, whereas we tend to be more attune to basenotes as well (which are often "generic"). Some, like myself, tend to actually avoid topnotes as much as possible.

  7. #7

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Absolutely correct. If it's been a long time since you tasted (say) a carrot (and my point would be made even clearer if you had, in fact, never tasted a carrot), the smell of a freshly cut carrot is or, at least, other things being equal, can be just as astonishing, and astonishingly beautiful, as the most artfully human-crafted fragrance. It's an issue with direct relevance to the topic of another thread, on "weirdness in a scent." "Weirdness" is newness, a puzzle for your brain, something for you to work through until you get to a point where either you think, "I've got it," where 'getting it' means "I like it, and I like it all the more because I like it in a way I didn't even know it was possible to like anything," or else you think, "I'm never going to 'get' this, by which I mean I definitely don't like it, and all the trying in the world isn't going to get me to the place where I like it." If you have literally never, ever, tasted a carrot, it's quite likely that the first time you do, you'll think, "That's weird," even if it's just for a moment.

  8. #8
    kumquat's Avatar
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    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    I look at this new interest as a journey. We all take it at a different pace and it has to be self-taught. Your friend offered you Oreo cookies when you are becoming familiar with chocolate mousse. You can't account for someone else's taste. All you can hope is that it doesn't offend, he didn't pay too much, and he enjoys it so what's the harm? My best friend thinks my Serge Lutens frags are really off the wall (I thought they were too odd & strong at first, too) but she won't say it. She likes Juicy Couture. Go figure.
    Last edited by kumquat; 14th February 2009 at 07:19 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Scentseeker: Oh, no, don't do that and ignore your previous knowledge. That's what your experience is for!
    =============
    Parallel: I watch a lot of live stand-up comedy (there's an annual comedy festival in town). Not only that, I also used to do stand-up comedy myself and get to hang around with guys and gals that are nationally famous here. Basically, I've heard a lot of comedy, and not only that, I know how it is made.

    One night backstage, I was listening to a relatively new pro comedian onstage. He was good, but I thought, "If I hear another bait-and-switch joke about Catholic priest & child abuse I'm going to puke*."

    The point is, I'm not offended by the subject of that joke - but the problem was - that kind of jokes tend to lack originality and gets delivered via a comedic tactic called bait-and-switch. To me, hearing a "Catholic priest child abuse via bait-and-switch" is is like me smelling Yet Another Generic Masculine Aromatic Fougere.

    And you all know what, I haven't even smelled 1/10th of the perfumes that a typical veteran BNer have sampled; and I start to think a lot of things start smelling the same. When I smelled Dior Homme at a department stores it smelled so unlike any other as I was just struck that it's a frigging soft floral gourmand marketed for men.

  10. #10

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Trying to work out the subtle differences is actually a great exercise for my nose. I like it.

  11. #11

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    It might sound crazy, but non-genericness and genericness, fragrance passion, even fragrance fanaticism versus indifference towards frags are highly subjective topics, exposed in almost any individual case and individual personality to factors changing almost from second to second. Of course, there are also long-term/lifelong patterns regarding one's fragrance passion, no matter how many new scents are being released and tried

  12. #12

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    I actually think your friend has a point.

    Sometimes, when you've smelled hundreds of fragrances, it's easy to fall into the trap of not being objective with the fragrance itself.

    Take my experience with Bleu de Chanel for example.

    I found it to be a disappointing release - but this is because I was expecting something great from Chanel, hoping that they were going to release something great and distinctive.

    But if I analyse that response, it's based on the fact that I have smelled so many fragrances that my experience tells me that it's actually not that great and left me feeling disappointed that Chanel had, in my opinion, chosen a safe option aimed at making them a lot of money as opposed to something like Egoiste which was not pandering to any particular fad.

    However, were I judging the fragrance purely on it's own merit, I'd have to be honest and say that, if I only had a couple of fragrances, that I wouldn't be disappointed in it. It smells nice, it's inoffensive has decent longevity and sillage.

    Ironically, they say a little knowledge is dangerous - sometimes too much can get in the way.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  13. #13
    fountain
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    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    'i'm going back to being a virgin', is a line delivered by a female character in the bbc comedy series keeping up appearances. in my humble opinion, that seems probable to achieve in the marvellous world of perfume. an interesting thread, scentseeker.

  14. #14

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    This is a wonderful and thought provoking thread, scentseeker. Thank you!!

    I have smelled thousands of scents, and when something is wonderful it still smells wonderful. My nose isn't jaded because I have exposed myself to many scents. When something smells "generic" to me, it's not because I've been smelling too many scents; it's because the scent is generic. I can smell something remarkable like Vega a million times and it still smells outstanding to me.

    I think just like with anything, the more exposure one has to fragrances and the more educated one becomes, the more one's tastes become refined; but exposure and education don't necessarily make for a cynical outlook on something. Just my opinion.

  15. #15

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    I think I disagree with the conclusion that ignorance enables more objectivity when it comes to fragrances. I think its the other way around. The more you know and have experienced with fragrance, the more objective and clear headed you can be when you smell something new. Whenever I ignore my past fragrance knowledge I end up purchasing stuff that I later regret buying.

  16. #16

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzlepuff View Post
    I think I disagree with the conclusion that ignorance enables more objectivity when it comes to fragrances. I think its the other way around. The more you know and have experienced with fragrance, the more objective and clear headed you can be when you smell something new.
    +1

    Plus a better idea of what you like and don't like. I can't see this working with, for example, vetiver fragrances if you've always disliked the note.

  17. #17
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Interesting thread and the novice's point of view seems to work for him.

    I certainly wouldn't want to go back in time in order for me to be enthralled by scents that, at the present, bore me. Experiencing all the fragrances I have has changed my perspective and exorcised my olfactory.

    His point is valid however. He has no desire to make fragrance a serious hobby, so naturally the little he does experience will seem either good or incendiary.

  18. #18

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Olfactory exorcism? I literally LOL'ed!
    ***My SALE thread***My TRADE thread***
    Frag addicted? Join the support group We are too but dam we smell good!

  19. #19
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsta View Post
    Olfactory exorcism? I literally LOL'ed!
    Oh yea......there's nothing in life equivalent to performing repetitions at whatever it is you're focused on.

  20. #20

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Exercised is what I think you were going for there.... What you spelled out, exorcism, is a catholic ceremony for removing demons from a possessed person. That's funny... olfactory exorcism! Out! Out! I command you in the name of Jesus, out of his nose!!!
    ***My SALE thread***My TRADE thread***
    Frag addicted? Join the support group We are too but dam we smell good!

  21. #21

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    People who review only mainstream/dept store scents perceive a much keener differentiation between them than we who dismiss them all. I wouldn't trade the great breadth of my collection in return for their ability to split hairs, however! No way!

  22. #22

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Elitests of all kinds love to ruffle thier plummage for the "lesser animals" to adore. It's nice to pull it back a notch or three and help engage someone in following their bliss without any sense of condescending pedantry.
    Your nostrils, which will dilate immesurably in unspeakable contentment, in motionless ecstasy, will ask nothing better for space, for they will be full of fragrance, as if perfumes and incense; for they will be glutted with complete happiness, like angels who dwell in the peace and magnificence of pleasent heaven.
    (From Maldoror by Comte de Lautreamont)

  23. #23

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    The new Chanel is an interesting case in point. I think being open minded enough to evaluate something on it's own merits rather than immediately lumping it in with other examples of the genre for the simple reason that it feels familiar or recalls something you have already experienced is an asset.

    Just ask the guy at Decca who turned up his nose at the Beatles and didn't sign them because 'guitar bands are on their way out'

  24. #24

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Quote Originally Posted by mr. reasonable View Post
    The new Chanel is an interesting case in point. I think being open minded enough to evaluate something on it's own merits rather than immediately lumping it in with other examples of the genre for the simple reason that it feels familiar or recalls something you have already experienced is an asset.

    Just ask the guy at Decca who turned up his nose at the Beatles and didn't sign them because 'guitar bands are on their way out'
    Bleu, Guerlain Homme, Voyou, are a few examples of excellent scents which I love that have been trashed by quite a few people whose main complaint is that they are too ordinary. I personally find each of them extraordinary.

  25. #25

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Quote Originally Posted by mrclmind View Post
    Bleu, Guerlain Homme, Voyou, are a few examples of excellent scents which I love that have been trashed by quite a few people whose main complaint is that they are too ordinary. I personally find each of them extraordinary.
    I think what I was getting at earlier is that my knowledge of the fragrance market set up an expectation and a desire which the fragrance didn't match.

    Without that background I probably would have accepted it at face value as a pleasant scent, even though after five minutes it's identical to Davidoff Champion. In another world I would buy Bleu de Chanel over the Davididoff simply because the idea of buying a fragrance shaped like a dumbell in my mid-forties is too ridiculous to contemplate.
    In a world where people smell bad, it is the personal responsibility of every Basenoter to improve the world one SotD at a time...

  26. #26

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    Quote Originally Posted by HDS1963 View Post
    I think what I was getting at earlier is that my knowledge of the fragrance market set up an expectation and a desire which the fragrance didn't match.

    Without that background I probably would have accepted it at face value as a pleasant scent, even though after five minutes it's identical to Davidoff Champion. In another world I would buy Bleu de Chanel over the Davididoff simply because the idea of buying a fragrance shaped like a dumbell in my mid-forties is too ridiculous to contemplate.
    And for me, without my experience I wouldn't have been able to tell the huge differences between Champion and Bleu and may have written it off completely.

  27. #27

    Default Re: An enligtening conversation I had with a non scent fanatic friend

    I can truly say that many times I miss how I used to think about scents. The OP's collegue nailed that feeling. I knew nothing about this craziness until I googled some things, found this place and then went on an adventure. It has been enjoyable and I love this place but overall I'm more lost than ever. I used to wear one scent...one. Whatever it was... Lauder for Men, Cool Water early 90s, Armani Mania, AdG when it came out, Broosk Brothers and D&G Light Blue. I always knew it smelled good on me and I always was confident in what I sprayed on. The old me would have walked into Macy's, full of glee that I was getting something new and probably picked something like The One Gentleman or Bleu or The Man and been quite content. But now I'm always trying to find the next best thing. The last 2-3 weeks I've been wearing TdH quite often and I love it on me and am confident in it. Between it and London, I've thought of just wearing these and then going back to the days of testing something and buying it. But I'm afraid there is no going back once you've seen the differences.
    "As you walk down the fairway of life you must smell the roses, for you only get to play one round."
    --Ben Hogan

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