Perhaps some of the sweeter smelling flower (floral) ingredients used in fragrances are hard for me to wear.
I currently have issues with Vetiver, Iso E-super and Galbanum.
Vetiver and Iso are kinda the same issue, in that a) I'm sick of the two being used a synonyms by perfumers or the fact that some perfumers seem incapable of using one without using the other (this is especially prevalent among higher end designer frags and niches) and b) I sometimes find myself anosmic to both of them. I'm not talking about the mild anosmia caused by the fact that Iso is a large molecule which wears off after a while, I mean total anosmia for weeks at a time.
My issues with these two ingredients have made it next to impossible for me to enjoy two of my favourite perfumes, Terre d'Hermes and Encre Noire. To be fair I had this problem with EN from the start, most of the time it just smelt incredibly faintly of pencil shavings on me. Weirdly in the case of EN it seems that other people can't smell it on me either.
My issue with Galbanum is different, it's that I seem to have an odd sensory reaction to it. My nose detects it as having a very faint garlic-like or alium-esque character. Depending on the composition this can either be a sharp, nose tingling initial reaction which passes after time or it can be a lingering background which spoils the overall effect of the perfume for me and seems to crowd out other notes. Right now I'm testing a sample of Lyric Man which contains Galbanum as a heart note, and I can tell there's much more going on and keep getting the odd whiff of the real composition which is GORGEOUS but the weird Galbanum/Garlic thing keeps sneaking up towards the end of the olfactory experience and seems to prevent me from enjoying the full effect of this frag.
The overall effect of this Galbanum weirdness is that Lyric smells more like expensive herbal tea to me rather than the lush intense Rose/Sandalwood symphony it's billed as.
Am I alone in having these peculiar problems with certain notes? If not what are your note issues? And can anyone shed any light on mine? LOL
Last edited by Hilaire; 19th June 2012 at 05:51 PM.
Perhaps some of the sweeter smelling flower (floral) ingredients used in fragrances are hard for me to wear.
Hopefully the chemists will weigh in and those with more in-depth knowledge but these days if I see 'Cedar', or even 'Wood', mentioned I back off. I don't know if it's just a particular 'cedar/wood' note, perhaps in combination with Iso E, or the dreaded 'screechy woody amber', but I just read it as a bad varnish job on cheap plywood and it seems to be common in a lot of stuff these days. If anyone else can put their finger on the common thread running thru Straight to Heaven, L'Homme Sage and Ormonde Jayne Man then you know it - and these are basenotes darlings so I suspect it's just something I am very sensitive to. I also find it in lower doses in some of the 'sandalwood' blends out there, but usually at a much lower level - not immediately apparent but emerging in the mid to latter stages. I am aware of what Iso E smells like and it's not that in isolation (just a bit boring and relentless) altho perhaps it's often used in combination with a 'cedar/wood' to round it out - dunno.
Calone is the other one - I can smell it from across the room, it just wipes out anything it's in - altho I wonder if hedione is also at play with this one. It's like chewing tin foil for me.
That said, no big deal - I just avoid stuff with these in them.
Last edited by mr. reasonable; 20th June 2012 at 10:47 PM.
Oh yes vetiver, turns into Bog Body on my skin
Neroli just gets stronger and stronger and stronger
Saffron just plain horrid.
I've yet to find the beauty in "oud". Black Aoud is wonderful but for me the oud-explosion that followed is just a hype. BA is its masterpiece and completely sufficient.
Immortelle is a love/hate ingredient for me. In just the right dosage, it turns something that could have been pedestrian into magic. Witness Li Altarelli by Stephanie de Saint-Aignan, for instance. But then it can also be the bad fairy at the wedding, turning magic into maple syrup.
Lately I've been sampling Pohadka by Ys Uzac. I agree with Luckyscent's description of it as a "sheer" tobacco scent and enjoy that quality. But the immortelle factor is right at the tipping point and that makes it difficult to completely fall in love.
I think we all have our hypersensitivies or anosmias - they just differ from person to person.
Smelled side by side with Sycomore, I do find Encre Noire a little too synthetic, but I don't have particular issues with iso-e or vetiver per se. And I love galbanum-in fact many of my preferred perfumes contain it (I love green chypres, for instance). What's your reaction to Cristalle?
My hypersensitivity (as for reasonable) seems to be "marine", calone or otherwise. To my nose, it goes directly to swamp, decaying shellfish, brackish water. Perhaps my coast dwelling ancestors had to develop a sensitive sense of smell to avoid eating fish past its prime. I seem to be sensitive to "swampy" florals as well (Eden, Love in white, Bas de soie) - perhaps it's a similar molecule.
Certain gourmands, florals and spices (particularly cumin), but then again all the three categories also include fragrance notes I actually like.
Also something in Eau Des Baux comes off smelling like band-aids to me... anyone know what this is???
I actually find Sycomore really hard to smell too, I think I dismissed it in review as smelling like Terre d'Hermes EdT after having spent some time on the wing of a biplane. So maybe it's Vetiver I'm more anosmic too.
It's odd because the Galbanum thing is very recent. I've worn Cristalle for years without this problem at all (though in truth on me it smells more of Hycinth, Bergamot and Lemon than anything else, I've never noticed a prominent Galbanum note in it), but recently it's been provoking this Garlic sensation.
Tuberose, Rose, Oud, and sometimes Civet.
I'm sure there are others but I haven't learned to distinguish them yet.
I'm not much for vetiver. I smelled Chanel Sycomore in NYC last week and I did not care for it. Someone on my flight back home had on way too much Guerlain Vetiver and it about gagged me for two hours.
So, no vetiver. Also Tonka gets on my nerves some times.
I'm quickly figuring out that Vetiver is something I can't wear. Terre d'Hermes smells like bug spray on me. I'm only wearing 1 spray (of the EdT) today, but oof, it doesn't work on me.
IMMORTELLE ... eeeeeeeew!
Smells like straight up curry.
Should be forbidden by law!
Immortelle used in the wrong way - I LOVE it in Chypre Rouge, I hate it in Fareb (curry skin)
Cloves - the only two fragrances I have enjoyed thoroughly with this inclusion - Stephen Jones and Iris Silver Mist. If it is cold and medicinal then fantastic, warm like baking goods and it's a major no-go.
Aquatic Citrus unless something bewildering follows - which never happens.
And everything by The Different Company
Synthetic musk can be awful. It behaves differently in different fragrances, can go from sour to metallic.
I like vetiver, but I experience wearability issues with it. I love the smell of Sycomore, but when blended with my body chemistry, especially at the end of the day, I just smell like a sour barbecue grill. Shame, as it smells great going on.
Any kind of curry spices (cumin, etc.) I imagine that anyone who actually enjoys smelling like a desi grocery...has probably never shopped in a desi grocery, and really needs to get out more; then they'd realize that the smell, while not unpleasant, isn't something they should pay good money to smell like. Sorry. (for the record, curry is one of my favorite foods, but that doesn't mean I want to smell like my dinner)
Immortelle. Like an Indian buffet that serves pancakes in the morning. I don't think I'd even enjoy smelling this smell on the actual flower, let alone as a perfume note. Smells inherently stale to me.
Coconut. This one is purely cultural, as the smell is pleasant in and of itself. I will forever associate this note with car air fresheners that hang from rearview mirrors and cheap incense sold at craft fairs by people with dreadlocks who are not Rastafarians. Cheap and tawdry.
Yeah, I guess you call these 'issues'.
Neroli and Orange Blossoms get horrifying on my skin. There are VERY few fragrances cointaining these notes that I can actually stand.
I'm also developing a strong adversion to certain types of woody amber. I'm absolutely fine with it when it's not overdone but, fragrances such as Buxton's Wood & Absynth, Zizan by Ormonde Jayne or Paco Rabanne's most of the latest deliveries, destroy my nose.
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Not sure what the note/s is/are exactly, but there seems to be certain kind of sweetness in some newer perfumes that makes me feel like eating, which I find it rather annoying. E.g. in Bogart's Arabian/Riviera Nights, Breath of God.
Also I don't like the cedar/woody note you can get in some (often cheaper) fragrances, who can turn a bit nasty if smelled up close.
Else I'm slightly struggling with opopanax, though it could grow on me, I think. I enjoyed it more in Tonatto's Dama than in Lagerfeld Classic. Also I'm fairly certain it's in other perfumes that I enjoy, just not as dominant as in these 2.
This may be the problem for some of us: "Chemists will also argue that aldehydes have the effect of stimulating what is known as the trigeminal nerve..." See the end note for page 64 of "The Secret of Chanel No. 5" for source.
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Vetiver. Fragrances with dominant Vetiver note like Sycomore and Encre Noir just don't agree with my skin.
Datura (Flower), I almost faint from serious dizziness after I walk near it.
***My favourite from my collection***
-------- Amouage: Tribute Attar, Jubilation XXV, GoldMan
------ Serge Lutens: Chêne, Tubéreuse Criminell, Ambre Sultan
-------- Les Exclusifs de Chanel: Sycamore, Coromandel
------ Tom Ford Private Blend: Noir de Noir, Tobacco Vanille
------- Hermès: Terre D'Hermès Parfum, Ambre Narguilé
------ EDP Frederic Malle: Carnal Flower
-------- Neela Vermire Creations: Trayee
------ Parfum MDCI: Invasion Barbare
Vetiver is really pulling ahead in the issues stakes. I wonder why? It contains relatively high levels of Benzoic acid, which occurs naturally in lots of things, and is used as a food preservative. Benzoic acid is dangerous to humans at high levels but it is also used medicinally as an anti-fungal and antiseptic. It also contains Turpenen-4-ol which is the primary active ingredient of Tea Tree oil and is highly concentrated in Nutmeg oil. Nutmeg is toxic if consumed in large enough quantities (though whether or not that's down to Turpenen-4-ol I have no idea). It also has a bunch of sesquiterpenes too.
I wonder if to any degree the chemical characteristics of Vetiver (rather than mere taste issues) are at play? Perhaps some people have stronger reactions to one or other or some combination of Vetiver's chemical components.
Edit: Nutmeg's toxicity seems to be because it contains a chemical called Myristicin which as far as I can tell does not occur in Vetiver, which would suggest that any other chemical similarities between the two are not responsible for some people finding Vetiver unpleasant.