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  1. #1

    Default Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    How do we objectively judge the quality of a fragrance as good or bad independent of our personal biases? In other words, how do we step aside from simply saying, "I don't like this therefore it's bad." Are there generally recognized, objective standards that can applied to fragrances?
    For example, I recently posted a review of Omnia Onice. I didn't care for the fragrance for myself. But I couldn't ignore that it was a fragrance of high quality and unique creativity. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to state objectively what those qualities were. As a musician I'm accustomed to recognizing and being able communicate, on an intellectual level, why a piece of music is "great" even though it may not speak to me personally. Most of the time, if I don't care for a piece of music, it boils down to my emotional response rather than an intellectually quantifiable objection.
    Is it possible to discuss fragrances seperate from our subjective, personal response?
    Last edited by Symphonies; 18th March 2012 at 04:24 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    How do we objectively judge the quality of a fragrance as good or bad independent of our personal biases? In other words, how do we step aside from simply saying, "I don't like this therefore it's bad." Are there generally recognized, objective standards that can applied to fragrances?
    For example, I recently posted a review of Omnia Onice. I didn't care for the fragrance for myself. But I couldn't ignore that it was a fragrance of high quality and unique creativity. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to state objectively what those qualities were. As a musician I'm accustomed to recognizing and being able communicate, on an intellectual level, why a piece of music is "great" even though it may not speak to me personally. Most of the time, if I don't care for a piece of music, it boils down to my emotional response rather than an intellectually quantifiable objection.
    Is it possible to discuss fragrances seperate from our subjective, personal response?
    First of all, welcome to Basenotes, Symphonies!

    People here can discuss this question for hours - and they have! While some people here might encourage you to search for old threads discussing the topic, I think you will enjoy it more by looking for current threads where people are discussing fragrances. You will see that many of us share a certain respect for certain aspects of fragrances, and I believe that the exact nature of that respect leads to the answer to your question. Indeed, while I respect all fragrances as being able to capture *somebody's* love, there are fragrances which capture the love of many people (somewhat like pop music), and others which capture the love and respect of the connoisseurs and aesthetes (perhaps more like critically acclaimed music). There are fragrances which cater to those who love the avant garde (perhaps like very abstract composers and cutting-edge musical artists), there are older fragrances which appeal to those that are known as "vintage lovers" (classical music), and there are modern fragrances in older styles, that cater to people we have amusingly called "retroscentuals" (neoclassical, perhaps?).

    The fact that fragrance finds analogy in music extends well beyond terminology (notes, accords, compositions), and is surely evidenced by the number of musicians we have here. There are threads in "Off Topic" where our musicians have discussed this. You simply must meet another friendly new member, Lionheart, who is actually a professor of vocal music. I hope he finds this thread.

    I know that your question deals more with the objective standards of critics and aesthetes, but you will find that there is even some disagreement there. But I must *highly* recommend that you start with the guidebook by Turin and Sanchez, formerly known as "Perfumes: The Guide", and now called "Perfumes: The A-Z Guide". There is a book which condenses most of the greats out of that one, with minor updates, called "The Little Book of Perfumes: The Hundred Classics". Turin's standards of criticism are apparent after reading him, and are actively discussed here. The relative objectivity or subjectivity of them is something you will have to decide, because we love to disagree even about that.

    I could try to give you an answer about objective standards, but I'm a bit of a fragrance relativist, and thus I would say that there are common and shared standards, that many people perceive in common and agree upon to varying extents. Words like complexity, balance, linearity or dynamism, and others are used for many agreed-upon abstractions, and the fact that these are valid is simply evidenced by how useful they are to communicate and be understood. On the other hand, many other words are used - generally with more personal meaning for the individual - and they translate to greater or lesser degrees. Often we find that we need to understand how an individual has commented about other fragrances, to understand precisely what they are saying about the one in question. But the very fact that this works, demonstrates that communication about abstractions of fragrance is both possible and useful.

    I hope that you will join the discussion. Perhaps you can help us to extend the analogy of music to fragrance by your own thoughts on this!

    Again - welcome to Basenotes!
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Standards are difficult when one is dealing with something that is designed to evaporate into nothingness. Novelty is key, so the possibilities are endless.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    As for any art, I'd say there is no absolute criteria and that things can be a little fuzzy, but still, some things are masterpieces, for various reasons, and some are crap. Personal response of course varies and determines what one loves or not. Certain pieces are important masterpieces but we need not be interested in listening to them over and over. Similarly, certain perfumes are important milestones, but we need not want to wear them. In addition, personal response is not an innate phenomenon - it's usually mediated through years of study and learning.

    Redneck perfumisto has highlighted some possible criteria (and I also agree that Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez are great critics, though sometimes divisive). Luca Turin suggested once that perhaps the two most common criteria are a striking, novel but after that instantly recognizable structure, and some relation to pleasant and living things.

    cacio

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    As for any art, I'd say there is no absolute criteria and that things can be a little fuzzy, but still, some things are masterpieces, for various reasons, and some are crap. Personal response of course varies and determines what one loves or not. Certain pieces are important masterpieces but we need not be interested in listening to them over and over. Similarly, certain perfumes are important milestones, but we need not want to wear them. In addition, personal response is not an innate phenomenon - it's usually mediated through years of study and learning.

    Redneck perfumisto has highlighted some possible criteria (and I also agree that Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez are great critics, though sometimes divisive). Luca Turin suggested once that perhaps the two most common criteria are a striking, novel but after that instantly recognizable structure, and some relation to pleasant and living things.

    cacio

    Thanks! That's just was I was trying to figure out how to say.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    First of all, welcome to Basenotes, Symphonies!

    I could try to give you an answer about objective standards, but I'm a bit of a fragrance relativist, and thus I would say that there are common and shared standards, that many people perceive in common and agree upon to varying extents. Words like complexity, balance, linearity or dynamism, and others are used for many agreed-upon abstractions, and the fact that these are valid is simply evidenced by how useful they are to communicate and be understood. On the other hand, many other words are used - generally with more personal meaning for the individual - and they translate to greater or lesser degrees. Often we find that we need to understand how an individual has commented about other fragrances, to understand precisely what they are saying about the one in question. But the very fact that this works, demonstrates that communication about abstractions of fragrance is both possible and useful.

    I hope that you will join the discussion. Perhaps you can help us to extend the analogy of music to fragrance by your own thoughts on this!

    Again - welcome to Basenotes!
    Thank you for your kind words of welcome as well as the extensive reply. And thanks for the beer, too!

    I think musicians are drawn to the world of fragrance because we are used to dealing with an art that lacks specificity in everyday language. Since humans are so visually oriented we possess a vast common language that includes geometry, science and mathematics which allows us to speak in terms of specific shapes, units of measure, etc. But there isn't a common language of specifics for sound and smell. How loud is a trumpet playing forte or how "loud" is a 70's powerhouse fragrance? Even musicians don't speak of volume in terms of decibels no more than reviewers on BN speak of "loudness" in parts per million concentrations. Musicians say things like "ear splittingly loud" while perfumistos say things like, "acrid and headache inducing."

    After I read your response it occured to me that judging a perfume may be analogous to critiquing a live musical performance. As BN'er Kevin Guyer responded to this thread, "one is dealing with something that is designed to evaporate into nothingness." He's right, we're assessing the ephemeral performance of a perfume and not (as much as we'd like to believe!) critiquing objective qualities of a perfume's formulation. Similarly, when critiquing music we are also judging an ephemeral performance. The notes only last a second or two and they're gone. Rarely do music critics judge the underlying formulation or musical score which contains more objective information.

    The big difference between music and perfume is that musicians do have access to the formulation of a piece of music in the form of the original score. No such luck studying the "original score" for Shalimar. While musicians might disagree about how to apply what the score says, one can still discover the technical reasons why a piece of music works on an emotional level.

    Just a bit about myself: I earn my living as a musician with an orchestra here in the US. But nothing snooty about that, though.. the best music in any genre, classical to pop, compares to great music in any other genre.

    Sorry to drone on... as musicians often say about verbose conductors: "Music is like sex. if you have to talk about it that much it can't be all that great."

    I'm just glad it's so rewarding talking about fragrance.
    Last edited by Symphonies; 19th March 2012 at 04:29 AM.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Just as with movie reviews (or any other kind) every one has their own criteria, though few disclose those criteria, apparently because they don't want to be held to their own standards! Some like unbalanced fragrances while others like balances ones, and so there is no "good" or "bad," so long as the reviewer tells you what he or she prefers (if judgmental language is used). What I've found now is that I can appreciate frags even if I'm not a huge fan of the predominant notes. I think that once you get to that level you are in a position to "objectively" judge, after disclosing your criteria, of course.

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Unlike music notes where a 'G' is a 'G', fragrance notes are less specific. Different noses often 'perceive notes' differently. And on different skin, under different ambient conditions, fragrances perform differently. How then can one be objective when reviewing fragrances? I say it's next to impossible, even within a set of well-defined criteria. But I rather enjoy reading 'subjective' reviews especially if the reviewer reveals some of his/her prejudices or expectations up front.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    As much as I try to be objective I'm coming to the conlcusion that perfumes work just like sexual attraction. There's something in an individual that chemically attracts you. Something you can't always explain. Sometimes you're perfectly aware of what it is, sometimes it's just a "je-ne-sais-quoi" that turns you on! Not everybody is attracted by conventional beauty. Same is for music. There're people who prefer dissonant accords to armonic melodies...


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  10. #10

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    One of the most interesting threads I've seen on here lately. Been thinking about this myself quite a lot...

  11. #11

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    As much as I try to be objective I'm coming to the conlcusion that perfumes work just like sexual attraction. There's something in an individual that chemically attracts you. Something you can't always explain. Sometimes you're perfectly aware of what it is, sometimes it's just a "je-ne-sais-quoi" that turns you on! Not everybody is attracted by conventional beauty. Same is for music. There're people who prefer dissonant accords to armonic melodies...
    I agree with this 100%, but I'd hasten to add that a lack of chemistry or attraction doesn't mean the person or fragrance in question is of poor quality, or is cheap. Also, there are of course masterpieces about which almost everyone seems to agree, but in my opinion, they should be a bit polarizing and controversial, more provocative than pleasant. But it's all very subjective - one man's masterpiece is another man's cliché. I don't think one can really be objective about it because perfume is completely about personal perceptions and tastes, that je ne sais quoi that alfarom mentions, and it's far more impressionable and elusive, so somewhat less measurable than music or a painting.

    That said, you'll see critiques all the time in which people are claiming a certain perfume is simply cheap, and I sort of think that's a cheap and easy way of slamming a fragrance without really knowing how to explain why you don't like it (unless it happens to be an inexpensive perfume, then it's simply the easiest way to let everyone know you think money = quality.) It doesn't say anything about what the perfumes smells like - what makes it smell poorly made, or cheap? Just like other very broad generalizations you see, like "old lady." I'm not suggesting that it's never true, but without explaining further it's just not very helpful. Bigsly and Diamondflame expressed this idea better - just let us know what your specific criteria/prejudices are upfront if you're not even going to attempt authentic objectivity.

    My grandmother used to say to me, in all sorts of situations, "If you like it, it's good!" That's how I feel about perfumes. I guess I don't worry too much about the supposed "quality", or lack there-of, of the ingredients because it's only the final result that matters...does it move you? And I've seen incredible and breathtaking art made of concrete and chalk.
    Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. ..Carl Sagan

  12. #12

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Evangeline View Post
    I guess I don't worry too much about the supposed "quality", or lack there-of, of the ingredients because it's only the final result that matters...does it move you? And I've seen incredible and breathtaking art made of concrete and chalk.
    Quality concrete and chalk I guess?

  13. #13

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    ^^ There are undoubtedly those that would make that argument.
    Science is not only compatible with spirituality, it is a profound source of spirituality. When we recognize our place in an immensity of light-years and in the passage of ages, when we grasp the intricacy, beauty, and subtlety of life, then that soaring feeling, that sense of elation and humility combined, is surely spiritual. ..Carl Sagan

  14. #14

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Lots of good stuff here, and I'd only add that perfume is only now coming to be seen by more and more people as a legitimate art form, right along with literature, film, painting, music, etc. Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez probably did a lot to help that along by writing a book that's so accessible to even non-perfumistas. The internet has undoubtedly contributed too.

    So I guess informed and educated criticism is coming along and improving as well. There are some great sites out there, including Bois de Jasmin and the folks at Perfume Shrine.

    There will always be debate, but I'm really interested in the idea that a perfume, just like a movie, could be judged not only by whether I liked it, but by the context in which it was created, the skill of the perfumer, the techniques involved, the use of particular ingredients, etc. I could watch and enjoy Citizen Kane knowing nothing about movies, but my appreciation is improved when I know just what makes it so groundbreaking. We could say the same about Angel as a perfume.

    It makes me wonder about companies like Etat Libre d'Orange, which seem to be creating smells for a purpose other than popular appeal. It seems to me there's a sense of humor there, an interest in sparking conversation. But it would be great to read more debate about it from knowledgeable people.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Evangeline View Post
    That said, you'll see critiques all the time in which people are claiming a certain perfume is simply cheap, and I sort of think that's a cheap and easy way of slamming a fragrance without really knowing how to explain why you don't like it (unless it happens to be an inexpensive perfume, then it's simply the easiest way to let everyone know you think money = quality.) It doesn't say anything about what the perfumes smells like - what makes it smell poorly made, or cheap? Just like other very broad generalizations you see, like "old lady." I'm not suggesting that it's never true, but without explaining further it's just not very helpful. Bigsly and Diamondflame expressed this idea better - just let us know what your specific criteria/prejudices are upfront if you're not even going to attempt authentic objectivity.
    Evangeline, this is at the heart of my original question. Many reviews resort to cliches and stereotypes that are simply a dead end of likes and dislikes. I was hoping to find some sort of common vocabulary to help me understand why a fragrance is considered "good" even though I might not care for that scent. I don't like being opinionated and dismissive on the basis of what may be my limited experience. As I've learned from your responses, writing about a perfume is like writing about a musical performance which is different than judging the music itself. The best music criticism balances both sides of the question.

    Ultimately, I want to expand my palette of scent so I can appreciate a wider variety of olfactory experiences, just as I've grown to "develop a taste" for new foods and music. Even in my short time on this forum I grown to trust the knowledge and views of many you. Thank you for being so open and sharing!

    One last interjection on this thread then I'll give it a rest... well, maybe. Someone mentioned reviews of other art forms such as movies and how it's all matter of personal taste. I would never criticize another person for adoring a movie or a novel purely on an intuitive, emotional level. Live and let live! But when giving your view in a public forum you want to have some substance for your opinions. For instance, if people generally dislike a movie or a book you'll usually find it lacking in fairly objective standards such as being clearly written or creating a storyline that has a clear architecture from beginning to end.

    Now, I don't mean imply that all art should follow a conventional form or framework or that something is of poor quality because it doesn't follow convention. But most fragrances fall into certain genres. As difficult as that may be to convey in language, I'm always surprised at the unanimity of opinion in BN reviews when a fragrance doesn't work in respect to its genre. Even art we think of as being avant garde relates to some kind of form and space. Whether it's a Dada urinal in an art gallery or how others relate to us and our surroundings when we wear a particular fragrance.

    Thanks again for this wonderful discussion!

    PS: Kagey, wonderfully put! Thanks!
    Last edited by Symphonies; 19th March 2012 at 03:38 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    I was hoping to find some sort of common vocabulary to help me understand why a fragrance is considered "good" even though I might not care for that scent.
    I would imagine that a common vocabulary may not quite be possible in the language sense, due to each individual having many ways to describe even only one perfume....

    However a 'good' perfume composition follows some common rules, whether pleasant or not.
    It should enter the nose without a rankling argument.
    Be a fulfilled and fulfilling creature from beginning to end.
    Be telling it's story all the way through from start to finish, succinctly, without pauses, gaps or jarring notes.
    Must flow seamlessly through it's perfumed tale and leave the wearer feeling that the journey has been worthwhile even if it may be one not to be taken again.
    To be able to see what the perfumer was intending and has succeeded at.

    Like a superb piece of music really. There is a great deal of difference in a good tune, well executed but not to ones taste, a fairly bad tune, but well executed and a good tune badly executed. It's all a matter of opinion of course.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Can I suggest reading Tania Sanchez's brilliant essay, How to Connect Your Nose to Your Brain; it's the introductory chapter to The Guide.
    Last edited by Kevin Guyer; 20th March 2012 at 03:21 AM.

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    As much as I try to be objective I'm coming to the conlcusion that perfumes work just like sexual attraction. There's something in an individual that chemically attracts you. Something you can't always explain. Sometimes you're perfectly aware of what it is, sometimes it's just a "je-ne-sais-quoi" that turns you on! Not everybody is attracted by conventional beauty. Same is for music. There're people who prefer dissonant accords to armonic melodies...
    Well said. I totally agree. It also helps others to know if there are certain notes the reviewer just doesn't care for. It would be unfair for me to call a scent with lavender in it crap simply because I don't like lavender. Otherwise it's a biased review.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    There always going to be a biased judgement imo

  20. #20

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    The very fact that there are many different reviews here on the same perfumes is probably the nearest you can get to consensual opinion on a scent because of it smelling very different on one skin to the next. The collective opinion gathers the judgement in a non biased way by accommodating all biases.

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    The collective opinion gathers the judgement in a non biased way by accommodating all biases.
    So true.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    As RP and others have already mentioned, the introduction to the Turin/Sanchez book has some excellent things to say on this subject. The mere fact that you're coming at it from the perspective of analyzing music as art means you already innately understand. The frustrating part for those of us first starting out is that really understanding criticism (and eventually, I suppose, producing meaningful criticism) requires that you know what you're talking about. It definitely does not mean you can't enjoy it (just like with music), but to really understand deeply the common set of values that people use to judge fragrance requires considerable education.

    This being an Internet forum, of course, you will find that many people are happy to respond to any call for critical opinion with "Aventus by CREED" and consider that a perfectly valid contribution.
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 20th March 2012 at 02:36 AM.

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    You are all talking about adults judging scents. In this group here gathered at Basenotes, there are perfumistas, people educated in perfume appreciation.
    What about children, young children ? Their noses are very fine. Their opinions will be fresh and straightforward, like "out of the mouth of babes".
    Does a child's opinion count as unprejudiced ? I mean not influenced by advertisements surrounding the scent that create an image ?
    I was wearing Al Haramain Attar Al Kaaba (roses/oud) and my son's comment was: "Lemon meringue pie". I suppose, good.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
    You are all talking about adults judging scents. In this group here gathered at Basenotes, there are perfumistas, people educated in perfume appreciation.
    What about children, young children ? Their noses are very fine. Their opinions will be fresh and straightforward, like "out of the mouth of babes".
    Does a child's opinion count as unprejudiced ? I mean not influenced by advertisements surrounding the scent that create an image ?
    I was wearing Al Haramain Attar Al Kaaba (roses/oud) and my son's comment was: "Lemon meringue pie". I suppose, good.
    Most of us were just trying to explain how it's possible to formulate something approaching an objective judgement. Certainly there is an incredibly wide, amusing, wonderful array of responses.

    You could take children to galleries in Chelsea and probably gain a very fresh perspective on some of the art you find. But they're not going to be of much help separating what is atrocious from what is good. Their responses might be inspirational, but they do not have the education and language to talk about it in depth.

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Let me state it in another way: Are you sure to be able to form an objective opinion, totally free from being influenced with what the advertisements clothe the scent with an image of a fantasy ? Or, the reputation of a perfumer ? Or, the reputation of a house ?
    Are you saying that you are beyond all that ? Able to really judge a scent like scientists ?

  26. #26

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Ursula View Post
    Let me state it in another way: Are you sure to be able to form an objective opinion, totally free from being influenced with what the advertisements clothe the scent with an image of a fantasy ? Or, the reputation of a perfumer ? Or, the reputation of a house ?
    Are you saying that you are beyond all that ? Able to really judge a scent like scientists ?
    I am not beyond any of that. I am not really beyond the level of having mere responses myself. I definitely do not have the background to be an opinionmaker in the area of fragrance. But I enjoy reading posts from people who do have that background. And I hope if I stick around long enough that some of it might rub off!

    I would like to think if you gave people like Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez unlabelled samples of scents ("blind tasting" as we call it in the wine world) that they would still be able to talk in great detail about characteristics that make them interesting works of art (or not).

    Returning to wine for a moment: I have been enjoying wine for the last 20 years. I have been paying very close attention to its structure and characteristics for the last 10. Only in the last 2 years did I feel I comprehended it well enough (i.e. advanced amateur with some practical knowledge) to begin my collection and have some confidence that--based on how I taste and understand something today--that it will blow my socks off in another 20 years.

    I expect that fragrance has a very similar type of learning curve. But that doesn't mean I haven't gotten immense pleasure from all I've drunk in the last 20 years or that I'm not having a really fun time with fragrance now.

    It just means I'm not an authority on the subject. I'm just grateful that other people are.
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 20th March 2012 at 03:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    As RP and others have already mentioned, the introduction to the Turin/Sanchez book has some excellent things to say on this subject. The mere fact that you're coming at it from the perspective of analyzing music as art means you already innately understand. The frustrating part for those of us first starting out is that really understanding criticism (and eventually, I suppose, producing meaningful criticism) requires that you know what you're talking about. It definitely does not mean you can't enjoy it (just like with music), but to really understand deeply the common set of values that people use to judge fragrance requires considerable education.

    This being an Internet forum, of course, you will find that many people are happy to respond to any call for critical opinion with "Aventus by CREED" and consider that a perfectly valid contribution.
    You've made some excellent points. I agree that knowing what we are talking about is important, and must remain our goal to really communicate effectively, but I likewise hope that nobody feels like they can't contribute right away, because I get some of the best criticism from the n00biest of n00bs *when they are being open and honest*.

    One of the best things that has happened around here in the last couple of years has been the willingness of people to speak honestly about loving various categories of fragrances that often got chilly responses in the past - super-mainstream men's, cheapies, overly artsy fragrances, non-classic feminines, etc., etc. Likewise, when people feel that they can go against the hype on fragrances here, without having to defend themselves, discussion really rises to a meaningful level. I think this level of honesty is essential for valid criticism to emerge. In fact, I feel that (when we're not just asking what fragrance will get me laid ) we have some much better criticism lately, because people DO feel like they can speak honestly about fragrance. (Creed still being a bit iffy, I am forced to admit. However, we should be thankful that the days of the Pro-Creed Inquisition and the Anti-Creed Pogroms are quite behind us. Those were not the greatest of times.)

    If I had to reduce all I have learned so far to one rule, it would be to report honestly what one experiences, and that includes a deep description of *why* something is appealing. Even if one doesn't really understand the "expert lingo" for a standard, a personal and honest expression is sometimes even more powerful - filled with feeling and nuance. This is why Diamondflame and I love those highly subjective reviews that go off the deep end in a whimsical or romantic way - they really provide multiple channels into the person's experience. Three cheers for Naed Nitram! But even somebody with no experience reviewing fragrance can say what a more experienced person would, and sometimes in a more valuable way. True, the n00b might take a paragraph, where the more experienced person would do it in a brilliant and memorable phrase - but there is a level of authenticity and honesty in the n00b's version that is compelling and useful. Some of my most valuable insight here was basically the work of some teenager describing something that then "clicked" for me. And when a newer poster has a way with words, then - damn it - to hell with experience! Dazzle me with honest metaphor, and screw the technical standards!

    I really want to encourage the "n00bs" to not hold back! Learn, yes, but please don't be afraid to contribute your honest thoughts right now, when you feel them with all your heart. One may have to honestly admit "I think that lipstick-like note was iris", and after 10 posts of arguing, somebody with the facts will chime in that it's the synthetic iris note that perfumer Blah leBlah is known for, but that's OK. Admitting what we don't know is good. I have actually started to become much less specific in talking about citrus notes in fragrance, simply because the citrus components are almost always mixtures, and are not even completely natural. If I smell lemon, lime, bergamot, cedrat, or whatever, I'll say it, but if it's just "citrus", it's just "citrus".

    Your honest thoughts are never wrong, and I for one want to hear them. I took pleasure in your honest thoughts about Aventus, and encourage you to keep it up.
    * * * *

  28. #28

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    One of the best things that has happened around here in the last couple of years has been the willingness of people to speak honestly about loving various categories of fragrances that often got chilly responses in the past - super-mainstream men's, cheapies, overly artsy fragrances, non-classic feminines, etc., etc. Likewise, when people feel that they can go against the hype on fragrances here, without having to defend themselves, discussion really rises to a meaningful level. I think this level of honesty is essential for valid criticism to emerge.
    You set an excellent example here, and I do not necessarily. Trying to learn this lesson, esp. wrt putting people in a defensive position.

    I'm going to read a little into this and suppose that the "niche backlash" (is that incorrect?) you're having comes from the "chilly responses" (i.e. snobbery) that people might have on here. As someone who has become a big nichehead in a short period of time, may I also point out that 1) I got burned by several designer/cheapy buys when I first started out; 2) walking into Bergdorf Goodman or Aedes de Venustas and making a successful purchase is much easier than doing so at, say, Sephora when you're a noob like me; 3) making successful mainstream buys is a skillset that some of us simply don't have yet.

    Might I suggest that you host a workshop in Vegas called "Designer for Incorrigible Nicheheads" or something along those lines?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    In fact, I feel that (when we're not just asking what fragrance will get me laid )
    But isn't that a terrific metric? At least in its measurability and objectiveness? When somebody says they love Aventus because it gets them laid more often, it's hard to argue with.

    (Imagining much more challenging Vegas workshop...BUT TOTALLY METRICS-BASED, of course!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    If I had to reduce all I have learned so far to one rule, it would be to report honestly what one experiences, and that includes a deep description of *why* something is appealing. Even if one doesn't really understand the "expert lingo" for a standard, a personal and honest expression is sometimes even more powerful - filled with feeling and nuance.
    I will try to keep this in mind, even knowing that Francis Kurkdjian is watching and thinks I'm a horrible perfumista for blathering an inexpert opinion in silly ways.

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    هذا العطر يحتوي على دهن العود الأصيلة، على الرغم من الكتابة على التسمية في اللغات الغربية
    كنت على خطأ. هذا العطر يحتوي على العود الاصطناعية
    Last edited by Beranium Chotato; 20th March 2012 at 05:15 PM.

  29. #29
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  30. #30

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    كنت على خطأ. هذا العطر يحتوي على العود الاصطناعية
    Well we were talking about instruments I suppose!

  31. #31

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Asaskian, your reply was wonderful I really do hope you restore it. I was in the middle of a reply but it was unfocused and I scrapped it. I'll probably write a more interesting and expository reply later but the basic summary of my point is that as I've spent more time w/ the hobby I've actually gone back to embracing my subjectivity. It is like the old zen idea of white belt -> black belt -> white belt. After you've got some mastery of the 'objective elements' of it all, go back to the beginner's mind. Put the white belt back on. It'll let you sniff things anew.

  32. #32

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    Might I suggest that you host a workshop in Vegas called "Designer for Incorrigible Nicheheads" or something along those lines?
    Hi Brian. Here's a link to a very educational old thread on this subject:

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/187...very-long-post
    Click to view my swap thread (L'Occitane and Tam Dao products going):

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/277...mp-body-lotion

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    It is probably difficult not be subjective when examining and judging a scent. Based on all experiences beforehand in the path of discovery of perfumes, the opinion is just as good, or as poor, as past experiences permit.

    Add to this inexperience the extra buzz that advertising purposely radiates to influence the consumer. Add to this dilemma of feeling inadequate when relying on what is presented by a House, for example, Montale.

    I am pasting a link to a current thread about Montale's problems, and how some people feel deceived. They feel deceived because they made a personal intimate connection to a brand.

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/289...pany-disbanded

    If they had been able to judge only objectively what is inside the bottle, they would not now feel deceived. That other lively discussion would not take place.

    I am not saying that from a "high horse" because I myself was also taken by the marriage between French glamour and the oriental ouds. I was taken aback by this latest drama.

    It has opened my eyes and put me back down to earth. Now I just try, and I have said that repeatedly, that I will remain unperturbed and, if I like the scent, will continue to order those metal bottles with those well-made scents from LuckyScent, much like shopping in a supermarket, and buying a sack of potatoes.

  34. #34

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by WillC View Post
    Hi Brian. Here's a link to a very educational old thread on this subject:

    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/187...very-long-post
    I'm going to have to finish reading that when I get home from work, but THANK YOU! That is a fantastic thread.

  35. #35
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  36. #36

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Asaskian View Post

    And I told myself, no more posts A....
    But reading RP and BC's very candid comments, has prompted me to write one last time.

    BC, you (very politely) chewed out lady Ursula but what she was referring to, was that an honest, innocent, unadulterated reaction of a child (or say a perfume novice) to a perfume, a painting, a piece of music ... can make you see an aspect, a certain angle, a precise point which might have escaped, eluded one otherwise.
    As an example, the reactions of children in my life on being exposed to the vintages are unlike their reaction to designer modern scents. They get a dazed expression esp. with Femme, Vol de Nuit and Jicky (all vintages, mind you).
    Femme... 'what's in it, can I eat it'. (the gorgeous plum accord)
    Vol de Nuit... 'what place does this smell come from, is it another earth?'
    Jicky.... 'It is funny... cold, and hot and just funny. I like it and I don't like it'.
    Thank you for restoring this. I had read it on my phone and was disapointed that I could not respond.

    First of all, Ursula, I didn't quite mean to chew you out. Sorry if it came across that way. I agree with both you and Asaskian about the value of a naive response. Not only can they inspire us to look at a scent differently, but I suspect, if ignored, they can snowball into a formidable force for change against an established way of evaluating fragrances. (Actually, I think this is already happening with some of the indie houses that are springing up.) Having said that, it is not without merit to say that objectively there can be good perfumers and bad perfumers as well as good perfumes and bad perfumes. We feel very passionately about these words, though, so what if we substitute "poet" for "perfumer" and "poetry" for "perfume".

    Is the following at all controversial?

    The passing of time has a way of elevating some poetry and leaving other poetry behind. We celebrate some poets and forget about others. This is not to say that every literary critic agrees on what is good and what is bad or that some poets haven't been unfairly overlooked. But some sort of mysterious consensus does evolve over time about which poetry will stay with us and which will be left behind, about who was influential and important and who was derivative and uninspired. Sometimes the values used to judge poetry do not even seem fair and whole new movements rise up and strike down the established ways of thinking. But were it not for some way of making these distinctions, we would be awash in bad poetry and, as an art form, poetry would be lost.

    I totally hear you and agree with you. I just don't think we can value every response equally or we would risk being awash in bad perfume!

  37. #37
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Even the most dedicated perfumers still have to "pay the rent". Perhaps some among them make concessions as to their renditions of beauty and of what sells. We, the consumers, whether educated in perfume appreciation or not, are elemental in deciding which scents sell, by choosing them ...

    So, we can say that only the nose decides, unhampered whether for example the house Montale falsified the truth (see that other thread, Montale-Company-Disbanded) or whether we buy whatever is dished out in front of us, amplified by advertising.

    Among the scents ... some are advertised, other fly under the radar ... whether they be mediocre or excellent, by a process of elimination, some will eventually become classics, by word of mouth.

    Word of mouth is discussions in such a Forum as here with like spirits.

  39. #39

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Very very interesting thread!
    I recently wrote a review of Mukhallat Dahn Al Oudh Moattaq by Ajmal.
    I have a bottle of it (gifted from a generous Basenoter) and had never heard of it before, had never tried real Arabian ouds before, didn't know anything about the brand. It's so hard to write a positive review and be completely uninfluenced by others. I kept needing some kind of approval saying that my nose was right and this is a good fragrance! Actually, a great fragrance!
    I guess it comes in time, it's all about confidence. One person's trash is another's masterpiece.

  40. #40

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Asaskian View Post
    Although, I do agree there is a "certain criteria" for good and bad in every aesthetic-art form, and one doesn't arrive at it in one generation or even a century; specific cultivation of human mind in regard to a specific art form can take a lot of time.
    Perfumery is just getting that curtain of smoke and mirrors pulled away from its fragrant facade, for years it was/ and still is a secretive occupation, a somewhat elusive profession...
    Spot-on!

  41. #41

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Asaskian View Post
    Ah, the poetry comparison is on-dot.
    But, does it matter to you that Professor X is warbling about the amazing E.E. Cummings but you don't get it. You finish your English literature masters, and you still don't like him.
    Poetry, like music, like perfume (si') is very much a culmination of our personal likes or dislikes, our own expression, our experience and our 'brand' of knowledge. You can say, he has quality x, y and z but I still don't like him; he just doesn't speak to me...

    Although, I do agree there is a "certain criteria" for good and bad in every aesthetic-art form, and one doesn't arrive at it in one generation or even a century; specific cultivation of human mind in regard to a specific art form can take a lot of time.
    Perfumery is just getting that curtain of smoke and mirrors pulled away from its fragrant facade, for years it was/ and still is a secretive occupation, a somewhat elusive profession.

    And I do think perfumers, and well educated critics should talk about why is a certain perfume considered a good construct and why another one is not? Although you can hear this chorus of (knowledgeable) voices trying to gain leverage over one another, but still trust your 'nose', for it will tell you.
    There have been so many interesting replies I'll wade back into the Fracas. Thank you especially to Asaskian. You expressed my thoughts so poetically.

    Sorry if I repeat myself... like everyone else, I'm guided by my nose and my personal tastes when it comes to the fragrances I choose to wear. I'm not looking for ice cold, logical answers to this question. Fragrance is art and all that ultimately matters, as with any art, is our personal relationship to it. The only time I intellectualize about a fragrance choice is when I have to calculate the difference between my bank account and my next purchase.

    But if we consider perfume as a form of art then, as Asaskian says, there is the implication that perfumes have met some sort of collective standard as art. Yes, there have been movements in the arts which challenge accepted standards or try to create art that stands alone without form. Most notably this ocurred through a good portion of the 20th century. And you can see the continuing influence of those avant garde movements in the posts for this thread. We have a need for the mystery of intuition and raw emotion unfettered by convention. We crave novelty. But when it comes to recognized forms that are used in literature, visual art, cinema, poetry and music all have criteria that are fairly easy to grasp. For example, just about anyone can understand and take part in a discussion of how structure and character work to create the emotional impact of a novel. A decent high school education will suffice. Now, the novel may not speak to you, you may not even like the novel, but you can recognize the creative genius of the author.

    Many of you have mentioned Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez's books which I've read. But coming to fragrances as a musician I found Jean-Claude Ellena's book, Perfume: The Alchemy of Scent to be informative and educational without all the hyperbole. I think his approach of linking creative movements in perfume to the widely recognized movements in other arts is a good way to set the stage for clearer discussion and criticism. His suggested categories: Baroque, Classical, Abstract, Figurative, Narrative and Minimalist. Hopefully I haven't kicked the JCE hornet's nest...

    Finally, it's interesting to find that perfume criticism seems to be in it's early stages. It's exciting to know that BN is playing a part in the overall discussion that will become the standard.

    Asaskian, thanks for bringing up Bjork and Jaqueline du Pre, two of my favorite performers. Bjork is the perfect example of a performer who I love purely on a raw, emotional level. The Icelandic version of Tom Waits. And just thinking about du Pre's Elgar brings tears to my eyes. I'm sure one day I'll remember a particular perfume so fondly.
    Last edited by Symphonies; 21st March 2012 at 10:45 AM.

  42. #42
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    As I waited my turn today in the Apple store, I thought that my laptop dying, before I could post further on this thread, was some kind of terrible injustice. Now, however, I know that it is a blessing. I type this now on my horrorshow backup machine - unworthy of doing my daily work, let alone responding to these great posts. But trust that when I get my "instrument" back, I will play sweetly in response to all your wonderful thoughts. Thus, the promise that this thread *must* continue into next week - a blessing indeed.

    Thank you, all.
    * * * *

  43. #43
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Wow. One of the more compelling threads I've seen here in a long while. Particularly like the comparisons to other art forms/styles, though it again questions the objectivity in evaluating abstract art forms. If this thread goes on the way I hope it will, it deserves a sticky, perhaps under a collective 'Ruminations of fragrance geeks' thread that post links to similarly thought-provoking discussions on BN.

  44. #44

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    This a very interesting topic and not one where I think there will be a 'resolution' to the question, as such, which is fine. Personally I look for an 'informed' opinion or review as opposed to an 'objective' one as a rule when it comes to art.

    One would hope that an informed review would draw on objective facts as far as available information and technology allow. It's possible to analyze ingredients to a reasonably specific extent and that can be helpful. Provenance can be determined and can certainly have a bearing on how one might assess a piece, including (amongst other things), when it was created, where it was created and the canon of work of the actual perfumer. Then there are other less obvious factors that can help such as prevailing market trends, the style of the house, the positioning in the market - price point, target demographic, marketing budget and 'the brief' and subsequent research and budget - i.e. how many cooks (really) and what did the perfumer have to work with. And if the perfume has been around a while you can also throw in units sold and whether it influenced a new trend etc. etc.

    If you want to dig a bit all the above are quantifiable, verifiable 'facts'. But really, I would just call them collectively "context".

    Knowing the context of a piece of work can help in offering an informed review, and commenting on the quality of the perfume given the context, but save a point by point list of these items, which would be a dry thing, not a review, a review by nature requires opinion, in my view.

    Maybe this is all just splitting hairs, playing with semantics - I dunno. Personally I respond to intangible things with perfume, as with music. I have spent 30 years of my life in recording studios and I think I can unravel a recording of a piece of music with probably much the same finesse as some here might be able to analyse a perfume, but at what point do you cross the line from an objective analysis to a subjective opinion? I think the two go hand in hand.

    There are plenty of hits out there in different genres with bum notes, bad time - stuff recorded on lousy gear with el cheapo instruments that are towering masterpieces because something happened.

  45. #45

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Redneck Perfumisto View Post
    As I waited my turn today in the Apple store, I thought that my laptop dying, before I could post further on this thread, was some kind of terrible injustice. Now, however, I know that it is a blessing. I type this now on my horrorshow backup machine - unworthy of doing my daily work, let alone responding to these great posts. But trust that when I get my "instrument" back, I will play sweetly in response to all your wonderful thoughts. Thus, the promise that this thread *must* continue into next week - a blessing indeed.

    Thank you, all.
    addicted much? ur so funny

  46. #46

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Asaskian View Post


    Although, I do agree there is a "certain criteria" for good and bad in every aesthetic-art form, and one doesn't arrive at it in one generation or even a century; specific cultivation of human mind in regard to a specific art form can take a lot of time.
    Perfumery is just getting that curtain of smoke and mirrors pulled away from its fragrant facade, for years it was/ and still is a secretive occupation, a somewhat elusive profession.
    I think you may be confusing criteria with conventional wisdom. My own sense (which could be mistaken) is that for any art form, only a very select few people have nailed down any sort of criteria for good or bad, and there are even differing camps among the most knowledgeable. The rest of us just take for granted that some things are good but we really don't know why. We depend on the conventional wisdom, what we know from our peers, what we were told in school. Sometimes we even decide for ourselves what we like.

    For example (and I tend to go with movies as an example because it's where I'm more comfortable), you ask 100 people if they think Citizen Kane is a good movie. Of those who say yes, how many of them are applying any recognizable criteria that could be considered robust by people who consider themselves experts?

    Your point about cultivation of the human mind in regard to a specific art form taking a long time strikes me as questionable. Does it really? Can a human mind really not comprehend or appreciate a piece of art independently, without this "cultivation" that you say requires a generation or a century or more? Did you really need the books to get those Chardin paintings? Or did you mean that it takes a long time for enough people to say loudly enough that something is good or bad and have that accepted as "right?" In which case, why does it have to take so long?

  47. #47
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    "Love is in the eye of the beholder" -

    I THINK that it is extremely hard to judge something objectively when the love for perfumery is based on feelings. The judgment is tainted by lack of training, clouded personal experiences and the extra effort to pull down the media hooplah of advertisement praising the object, the perfume.

    To have equal standards with which to measure, those standards have to be established first.

    Bear with my simple choice of words when I refer to law. There is basic law which is applied in judging, and then there is the law that is constantly living and evolving by the precedents.

    Since the art of perfumery is constantly moving and evolving, the judgment cannot be static either. It has to go with what is modern, after what was built on tradition.

    Complicated ? No doubt. Whoever wants to take the job to "write" the first set of standards, will be opposed by others who believe that different "standards" should apply.

    That struggle continues. But it also leaves an area of freedom of space within new creation can take place.

    And, the whole idea of enjoyment should not be missed:

    "Freude schoener Goetterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium, wir betreten feuertrunken Himmlische Dein Heiligtum.
    Deine Zauber binden wieder, was die Mode streng geteilt.
    Alle Menschen werden Brueder, wo Dein sanfter Fluegel weilt."

  48. #48

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Just realized that I've been using the words "standard" and "criteria" like there's some book of rules. Ack! Sorry! Not what I mean at all! As others have pointed out, over the breadth of human creativity almost all art seems to fall into a set patterns and emotive/intellectual constructs whether we intend it or not. This occurs even when art is created naively or intuitively. It even happens when we try to avoid the "rules." It's just part of being human. Either that or humans are really good at rationalizing and pigeon holing...

    One of the best aspects of art is that it creates a communal understanding that unites and inspires. But it can also be plied to divide and stratify. There's a whole new thread for a discussion of how that relates to perfume.

    Geez, I'll try to stop with my constant blather. Forgive me...
    Last edited by Symphonies; 21st March 2012 at 11:48 AM.

  49. #49

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Profumo has been challenging this very concept of art and appreciation of a perfume recently in his caravan project. The perfume began a journey through a collective group of perfumistas and then the form of the perfume was governed by their responses and feelings towards it. The result was not one, but a group of three perfumes documenting the olfactory journey and in themselves being a piece of performance art.

    My take on any perfume designed with careful deliberation, is perhaps each one is a piece of performance art and it depends from where you are standing on how you appreciate it. Each person has a different angle and no-one has the same view.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Symphonies View Post
    Just realized that I've been using the words "standard" and "criteria" like there's some book of rules. Ack! Sorry! Not what I mean at all! As others have pointed out, over the breadth of human creativity almost all art seems to fall into a set patterns and emotive/intellectual constructs whether we intend it or not. This occurs even when art is created naively or intuitively. It even happens when we try to avoid the "rules." It's just part of being human. Either that or humans are really good at rationalizing and pigeon holing...

    One of the best aspects of art is that it creates a communal understanding that unites and inspires. But it can also be plied to divide and stratify. There's a whole new thread for a discussion of how that relates to perfume.

    Geez, I'll try to stop with my constant blather. Forgive me...
    Symphonies, could you start that new thread and elaborate, and begin the next inspiring discussion ?

  51. #51

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    Profumo has been challenging this very concept of art and appreciation of a perfume recently...documenting the olfactory journey and in themselves being a piece of performance art.
    Love this, wearing perfume as a performance.

  52. #52

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    From a brilliant 2 part interview with Francis Kurkdjian at http://persolaise.blogspot.com/2012/...ords-from.html

    "I think it’s really time for people to understand that perfume is the mirror of our days and our lives. No 5 was a reflection of the 20s, in the same way that Miss Dior was a reflection of the late 40s. We are so nostalgic about perfume nowadays. We say that now we have too many trends. But there were trends in the past too. There were many perfumes like Miss Dior at the time, there were many perfumes like No 5, for two reasons. The first one is that perfumers were looking at each other’s work. The second is that the number of raw materials was so limited that the chances of doing the same thing were much higher than they are now. We now have much more diversity. But we keep thinking that things were better before."

  53. #53

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    How relevant can that really be when you consider the longevity in years of No 5 for instance? Is this just a justification of stripped modernity and if so, it has to have some quantification.

    Is it possible that limited ingredients limit creativity to produce similar perfumes? Surely the perfumers had access to better quality ingredients before. No frag is ever free of copies if it has rewards by the making of it. Plus there is always the charitable aspect of pure admiration to consider rather than just vulgar imitation.

    There are so many frags of such a diverse nature, both from those eras and now. Do you think there can be a mirror of any time? I can vouch for frags being much better before where some reformulations are concerned. I have hundreds of vintage frags and I can honestly say that their compositions are very often incomparable with current modern chemical frags for reasons of molecular complexity rather than just conjecture.

    I think there was excellence then and there is excellence now, but you have to look hard for the real treasures.

  54. #54

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by mumsy View Post
    I can vouch for frags being much better before where some reformulations are concerned.
    I totally agree; the majority of reformulations are almost always about budget cuts. But when it's about replacing banned materials, and there is a good budget, you can have excellent results. No 5, Mitsouko, Jicky, for instance.

  55. #55

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Guyer View Post
    Love this, wearing perfume as a performance.
    Kevin, I couldn't agree more! If there is anything all of you have so patiently helped me to understand it's that wearing a perfume really is a kind of performance! When we wear a scent we create a performance space around ourselves. We are inviting an "audience" to a gallery, stage, novel, movie theater etc. that is created in scent. Depending on the perfume our stage can be an entire room or contained in the brief encounter of a handshake. But in that space we have become a character based on scent. Yet it goes beyond just the character. Not only is the audience's perception of us changed so is their perception of the space they're occupying. And we're not only creating a performance in the present. As nearly every post has touched on, perfume has the ability to resurrect the past which, in turn, creates a unique performance in the memory of each audience member.
    Last edited by Symphonies; 21st March 2012 at 04:41 PM.

  56. #56
    Guest05
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    ...
    Last edited by Guest05; 22nd March 2012 at 01:57 AM.

  57. #57

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Continuing with the performance, wearing the perfume is not the only part of the show, nor is the perception of it by the audience. In the process of wearing a particular fragrance, the wearer is also transported to an internal place which influences their own behaviour too. The whole show is both influenced by the perfumes effect externally yet is also created by it internally. A very neat chicken and egg syndrome.

    To choose a different scent would mean by default that the same show would definitely be different.

  58. #58
    Dependent heperd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by moore View Post
    Summarizing: good raw materials are objective; how you like them is subjective.
    My favorite post so far, but to be honest i didnt take the time to read all of them....... I dont have time to stay up all night looking up all the references on wikipedia so i can understand what you guys are talking about.

    I am able to smell something and say "I dont like it but i can see why others might." I could not care less about the house, bottle, perfumer, history, ingredients,name, blah, blah, blah, blah.

    There are only two perfumes i can think of, Serge Noir and Le Labo Patchouli, where i cannot understand how anyone would want to stink like that.
    Last edited by socalwoman; 22nd March 2012 at 03:51 PM. Reason: f'ing whim
    *BASENOTES SPLITS*
    Creed Green Irish Tweed, Millesime Imperial, AVENTUS
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/289345-
    *CRYSTAL FLACON SPLITS*
    Creed Green Irish Tweed, Millesime Imperial, AVENTUS
    http://flacon.ambaric.net/viewtopic.php?p=927#927

    *BIG SALE- Chanel, Dior, Creed, Mona di Orio, Puredistance....
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/383...re#post3178152

  59. #59

    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by heperd View Post
    There are only two perfumes i can think of, Serge Noir and Le Labo Patchouli, where i cannot understand how anyone would want to stink like that. They are fucking terrible! Hows that for poetry.
    I'm going to take that as a suggestion for Serge Noir. Because I love to stink like Patchouli 24.

    (The first time I smelled it, however, I did think it was repulsive.)

  60. #60
    Dependent heperd's Avatar
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    Default Re: Objectively judging the quality of a fragrance as good or bad

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Chambers View Post
    I'm going to take that as a suggestion for Serge Noir. Because I love to stink like Patchouli 24.

    (The first time I smelled it, however, I did think it was repulsive.)
    I like BBQ Lays potato chips as much as anyone, but i dont want to smell like them.
    I also dont want to smell like carne asada tacos with grilled onions and cumin.(Serge Noir)
    *BASENOTES SPLITS*
    Creed Green Irish Tweed, Millesime Imperial, AVENTUS
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/289345-
    *CRYSTAL FLACON SPLITS*
    Creed Green Irish Tweed, Millesime Imperial, AVENTUS
    http://flacon.ambaric.net/viewtopic.php?p=927#927

    *BIG SALE- Chanel, Dior, Creed, Mona di Orio, Puredistance....
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/383...re#post3178152

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