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  1. #1

    Default Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Please permit me to pick your brains. I'm carrying out some research for an article that may or may not appear here on Basenotes, and I'd really appreciate your help.

    My question is this: how important is 'the story' behind a perfume or a pefume house? Is your enjoyment of Chanel No 5 increased by the possibility that it may have been created by accident? Do you appreciate Andy Tauer's work more because you know it's all made by one self-taught individual weaving his magic in a house in Zurich? Are you intrigued by a firm like Grossmith because of the remarkable facts behind its recent revival? In other words, do these tales and near-myths matter to you? Do you think they affect the way you smell the perfumes to which they pertain?

    Please leave your thoughts as a comments on my blog (click here to be taken to the relevant post), or email me at persolaise at gmail dot com if you prefer.

    Thanks very much indeed!
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    I have very minor interest. However, if there is an article or interview that seems to contain some interesting information, I will likely read it. It won't influence my decision to even sample the frag in question (if there is one). That is determined by the notes and what others say about it, especially BN reviewers whose opinions I hold in high esteem.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Stories like these build up expectations and in the case of e.g. Grossmith the actual fragrances could not live up to mine. In the end my judgement/disappointment may then be more emotional. I think this can be one aspect of your question. I'm very intrigued by the images that are created in relation with Tabac Blond and my enjoyment of wearing it is probably strongly related.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigsly View Post
    I have very minor interest. However, if there is an article or interview that seems to contain some interesting information, I will likely read it. It won't influence my decision to even sample the frag in question (if there is one). That is determined by the notes and what others say about it, especially BN reviewers whose opinions I hold in high esteem.
    Bigsly, thanks for your comment. What's the sort of information that tends to grab your interest?
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Larimar View Post
    Stories like these build up expectations and in the case of e.g. Grossmith the actual fragrances could not live up to mine. In the end my judgement/disappointment may then be more emotional. I think this can be one aspect of your question. I'm very intrigued by the images that are created in relation with Tabac Blond and my enjoyment of wearing it is probably strongly related.
    Larimar, I'm intrigued by what you say about the final judgement being "more emotional". Do you mean that 'the story' diminishes your objectivity?
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Yes, I think it can have an influence, mostly in the sense of appealing stories and the actual fragrances that can't/don't live up to these expectations. So, your disappointment can diminish your objectivity.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Larimar View Post
    Yes, I think it can have an influence, mostly in the sense of appealing stories and the actual fragrances that can't/don't live up to these expectations. So, your disappointment can diminish your objectivity.
    Thanks.

    Can you think of a specific example when a story affected your objectivity?
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    I mentioned Grossmith. I was somewhat disappointed with the cologne-like feel and quietness (high quality ingredients don't necessarily scream).
    I can only recall now Bandit or Cabochard. Both seem to create a certain expectation when you eagerly procure samples, vintage purse sized sprays or whatever after having read many reviews and others' opinions. I felt Cabochard smelled like an old woman I must have smelled when I was a child (nothing sexy, butch or whatever... good heaven no, certainly not! ).

  9. #9

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Persolaise View Post
    Bigsly, thanks for your comment. What's the sort of information that tends to grab your interest?
    I guess I'm mostly interested in technical issues these days, for example, natural ingredients in a mostly synthetic frag. One question I have is, how much extra does it cost to avoid the synthetic/chemical effect, at least in the common genres (fougere, oriental, etc.). An interview that contained such information would definitely interest me.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Bigsly and Larimar, thanks again for your comments.
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Hi again everyone.

    I just wanted to say that this particular project hasn't been abandoned. I've put it on the back-burner for a while, but I hope to return to it soon... or maybe combine it with another idea that's floating around in my head.

    In the meantime, thanks again for all your ideas.
    ---

    I am a Jasmine Award winning fragrance critic, amateur perfumer, Basenotes contributor and regular columnist for Esprit Magazine. My perfume guide, Le Snob: Perfume, is published by Hardie Grant. Click on its title for more info.

    For giveaways, reviews of new perfume releases and thoughts on all sorts of scent-related matters, please visit Persolaise.com or find me on Twitter or Facebook.

    Many thanks.

  12. #12
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Persolaise View Post
    My question is this: how important is 'the story' behind a perfume or a perfume house? In other words, do these tales and near-myths matter to you? Do you think they affect the way you smell the perfumes to which they pertain?
    Honestly the story behind a perfume isn't at all important to me as it pertains to whether I purchase a fragrance or not. However sometimes it's mildly interesting.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    In my case I can attest as to perceptions related to the scent's relation to my family members and the notes I can identify as per those used by them. In this case, my appreciation of scents is very closely related to memory.

    For example, Caron, Le Galion and Guerlain were favorites of my Grandmother so I am interested in their scents because of this. Others I relate to my Mother, for example, Bandit, Metal, Calandre, Diatchema, First, Mystere and Opium. Others bring back memories related to my sister: Pino Silvestre, Paco Rabanne pour Homme and Jovan's Musk; others of my Father: Signoricci 1 and Signoricci 2. I can even mention my past life: Rochas Macassar and VC&A pour Homme. In the case of my Grandfather, I cannot recall particular scents he wore because he died when I was an 8 year old kid, but, surprisingly, I can get notes that will remind me of him, like those of Habit Rouge, the neroli top notes in Rochas' Lui and the base notes of Lanvin's Arpege pour Homme. Every one of them recalls precise moments of my life and the way they were involved with it.

    As you can see, I am not into stories related to the houses, or the houses in themselves, or even the noses behind the scents. In my case, perfumes are a way to recover past times, impressions of those that are not among us, or just the spirit of times gone by. And my hobby is, to some extent, a search for life's past nuisances, which when summed up help me reconstructing feelings and emotions, a dimension were rationality does not have any role at all.

    Hope this helps!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    I think there are cases where the story can limit the realms of possibility of your perception of a scent.

    Let me use a parallel - reading a novel vs watching a film adapted from the novel. If you read the novel first, you create your own version of the story's imagery in your head. If you watch the film first, you've been fed the Directors imagery. Even if you read the book later, the chances that you will create your own imagery have been diminished or even possibly lost.

    Now think of Penhaligon's Sartorial. I first tried it after reading the story of Nortons and Sons Tailors inspiring the scent. I smelt the oily metallic note and thought "yes, that's the scissors they mention in the story".

    The question is, if I had smelt Sartorial without first reading the story, would I have created my own imagery for the metallic note, or would I still have thought of scissors?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Your Help Needed For An Article On Perfume Stories

    Persolaise, as much as the scent itself is ultimately the most important, I think the marketing and inspiration is part of our overall enjoyment, as is the bottle design.

    An inspiration is fine: a cool breeze (Vent Verte), a starry sky in the City of Lights (Midnight In Paris), the elegance of the mounted man on horseback (Habit Rouge), etc. These are all fanciful notions that inspire fragrance. Nothing wrong with that.

    On the other hand, the origins of the house are very important to me. I intensely dislike faux origins of the history of companies who make up "creative" lineages to promote their line, holding these fictions out as fact to prospective customers. I feel like I am being duped. Happily, the likes of companies like Guerlain have no need to conjure up fancy histories; they are an old, established company. They know it, and they are proud of their products. No need to push invented "histories" to improve their image.

    Luca Turin has already researched the House of Rance 1795. See his blog on page 396 for more information on the house.

    As for the house of Parfums D'Orsay, ditto. A fanciful tale intermixed with sparse historical facts.

    Luca Turin's blog

    The house of Parfums D'Orsay makes claims to these dates for its origin: 1830 (actually stated on the boxes), 1865, and 1908. We know the house was founded in 1908 and used an aristocratic-sounding name for the company and company logo. At least three books on perfumes bear this out. The namesake never was a perfumer but it made for good ad copy, along with a "secret mistress," and a whole soap opera love story. (In truth, the Comte d'Orsay used a good deal of perfume --eau de Cologne, eau de jasmin, and orange flower water--but was never a perfumer.)

    Also, please read this blog article on perfume house origins by our own the_good_life:

    http://perfumedpolitics.blogspot.com...-pasts-of.html

    Knowing of the false, invented "past" of fragrance houses makes me think less of them and, although it does not ruin my enjoyment of a scent, makes me unhappy.

    Why the hype?
    Last edited by Primrose; 20th May 2011 at 12:06 AM.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

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