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  1. #1

    Default Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oils!

    I'm new to fragrances and I realised some funny phenomena.

    Some YSL fragrances smell nearly the same as our cheap traditional scents (which cost about 2 or 3 dollars in my country)..

    I'm not joking. These scents are so similiar! And they have been widely used for hundreds of years in my country.




    First I tried Body Kouros.. And I was shocked. The scent was nearly the same with a cheap oil called "haci yagi". The meaning is "pilgrim's oil" or "haji oil" in English. It is named this way because this oil was brought to Turkey by Muslim pilgrims who visited Arabia a thousand years ago.

    You can find this oil for a few dollars. It is considered too heavy. New generations and young people who like modern perfumes usually hate it (especially girls)


    I thought it was just a coincidence. But when I tried Opium... I started laughing!

    It is so similiar to a traditional cologne, namely "tobacco cologne".

    Traditionally, Turkish people widely use a kind of citrus cologne for a feeling of refreshment. This not used as a perfume, the purpose is not smelling good for hours. It is just a momentary pleasure. The scent is usualy gone within minutes. The only ingredients of this cologne are distilled lemon and pure ethil alcohol. It is sold for 1 or 2 dollars.

    There are less popular varieties of this cologne, namely tobacco cologne and lavender cologne. Again they have only a single ingredient. Most people hate tobacco cologne because it is more persistant than the lemon or lavender colognes. It smells harsh tobacco for hours.

    The Opium is nearly the same with this tobacco cologne. I admit it is better. It is a bit "tamed". It is less oppressive. Yet it is nearly the same scent!

    Right now I'm smelling these two side by side, and I wonder if it is just a coincidence?
    Last edited by Brightblade; 2nd September 2012 at 08:54 PM.

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    I'd like to think it's a coincidence.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Knockoffs come in all shapes and colors, and, apparently, smells too.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Brightblade View Post
    I'm not joking. These scents are so similiar! And they have been widely used for hundreds of years in my country.
    There's not even a sliver of a chance that anything smelling vaguely of body kouros, opium, or whatever the other one you mentioned existed multiples of hundreds of years ago in Turkey or anywhere else in the world. It's just not possible, the chemistry wasn't around then. Not to mention, that both of these fragrances are fairly complicated from a formula standpoint, they'd have to be produced by a sophisticated factory so to speak, even if they were eventually widely distributed.

    I'm gonna go with option b, which is that you are smelling fairly modern imitation oils which are marketed as traditional oils in your country under traditional names, but are really just designer knockoffs. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    I'm pretty sure that the oil that is similiar to Body Kouros has not changed for the last century. Because my father, who is 70 years old, likes its smell and he liked it when he was a boy.

    I do not say they are exactly the same. Body Kouros is more delicious, less oppressive, refined.
    The oil I'm talking about is more crude, too dense.. It is like a poor imitation of Body Kouros.

    But still they are really very very similiar.

    I know that chemistry used in the production of a modern cologne like Body Kouros is complex.
    However most of the ingredients are still natural.


    It is quite possible that they used the oil that I have been talking about as a starting point. And refined it, made it more versatile.
    Because even if most people hate it nowadays, this scent was tested for hundreds of years, used by millions upon millions of human beings who knew no other perfume.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    I do believe that there is a cross-inspiration between traditional Arabic and Western perfumery. Now, I don't know how well-trained your nose is, but it is possible that you may be smelling common notes or accords between them, but not realizing the important nuances that distinguish them from each other. I used to, when I started "studying this art", see similarities between fragrances that I now perceive as completely different.
    That said, the perfumery culture of Arabic-influenced countries is amazingly rich and varied in ingredients and smells, so a lot of the notes present in many Western perfumes may be present too in Arabic perfumes in some form.
    Kurt smells like Teen Spirit

  7. #7

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Actually my nose is not trained at all. Until a few months ago I either used davidoff cool water out of habit, or used what my girlfriends wanted me to wear.
    So, yes I may be just missing important nuances..

    But to my nose the similarity is striking.
    Especially with Body Kouros.

    The source of this haji oil is Arabia of Middle Ages and I assume it may be just a source of inspiration for YSL. I'm sorry if I talked as if Body Kouros is only an imitation.

    I just wanted to say that you can smell quite similiar for 1 or 2 dollars... and the scent of this oil will not go away for days even if you take a shower

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Brightblade View Post
    Actually my nose is not trained at all. Until a few months ago I either used davidoff cool water out of habit, or used what my girlfriends wanted me to wear.
    So, yes I may be just missing important nuances..

    But to my nose the similarity is striking.
    Especially with Body Kouros.

    The source of this haji oil is Arabia of Middle Ages and I assume it may be just a source of inspiration for YSL. I'm sorry if I talked as if Body Kouros is only an imitation.

    I just wanted to say that you can smell quite similiar for 1 or 2 dollars... and the scent of this oil will not go away for days even if you take a shower
    Sure, but you can also eat a pizza from the supermarket instead of eating one at Naples' best pizzeria. It will still be pizza.
    Kurt smells like Teen Spirit

  9. #9
    Basenotes Junkie Wheatstraw2's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    The expression "there's nothing new under the sun" comes to mind. Perfumery has been around a long time. Thousands of years ago, there were probably dudes all over the world digging up roots, snapping open pieces of tree bark, picking flowers, hollowing out fruit rinds, all thinking to themselves, "If I rub some of this on me, it's gonna get me some chicks." Or, "I love this smell, it relaxes me." Over time, I would think that the process of discovery, of appealing scent, was more or less the same in every part of the world.

    You're probably focused on the predominant notes in the contemporary, western civilization stuff you've discovered and if you find those "new" products to be simply adaptations of stuff you grew up with, I tend to think that you're right. That's probably all they are. There's nothing new under the sun.

    Besides, Saint Laurent grew up in Algeria. I know that's a long way off from where you are, but the idea that both he and the maison he built had some non-european influences going into the creative mix is a well-accepted idea.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheatstraw2 View Post
    The expression "there's nothing new under the sun" comes to mind. Perfumery has been around a long time. Thousands of years ago, there were probably dudes all over the world digging up roots, snapping open pieces of tree bark, picking flowers, hollowing out fruit rinds, all thinking to themselves, "If I rub some of this on me, it's gonna get me some chicks." Or, "I love this smell, it relaxes me." Over time, I would think that the process of discovery, of appealing scent, was more or less the same in every part of the world.

    You're probably focused on the predominant notes in the contemporary, western civilization stuff you've discovered and if you find those "new" products to be simply adaptations of stuff you grew up with, I tend to think that you're right. That's probably all they are. There's nothing new under the sun.

    Besides, Saint Laurent grew up in Algeria. I know that's a long way off from where you are, but the idea that both he and the maison he built had some non-european influences going into the creative mix is a well-accepted idea.
    Very much agreed!

    To the OP -

    I'm betting that you're spotting the predominant natural components in these fragrances and quickly mapping them to things you already know. Good job!

    If I recall correctly, Body Kouros is rich in benzoin, which is a very old component. My guess is that you're smelling the benzoin. There are a lot of new, interesting synthetics in Body Kouros which change it to what it is. I know there is an odd, modern rubbery note that I doubt is the benzoin.

    A lot of perfumery is about familiarity. That's why regional market is so critical. What smells like a cleaning product in America and Japan is not always the same thing. Even here, there are scents that smell totally novel to me, that smell really dumb and old-fashioned to my Japanese wife, because they smell like typical incenses used in various religious contexts. Things that smell exotic in one culture can smell cheap in another.

    We have a several very sharp Turkish noses here. They may be able to speak even more specifically about what you're smelling.
    * * * *

  11. #11

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    What we really need is an oil that smells like Kouros though. Still, if I see Haci oil, I shall give it a try.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    I wish I could find the thread but I remember forum member Saripatates who is also Turkish mentioning some traditional oils bearing a remarkable resemblance to some modern perfumery. For someone with an untrained nose you've certainly done a good job of identifying commonalities, well done!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    the drydown of body kouros smells exactly like nag champa incense, which has been used for a very long time, so I am not surprised it was used by pilgrims.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    sometimes things smell similar because your brain picks out a familiar element and excludes everything else. When you experience more smells, you often go back to the two things you at first thought were similar, and then realise they are very different.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    LOL, this not really bad news, at least not to me, because some of the cheap traditional oils actually smell good.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Body Kourous and Opium are two of the most revolting scents in the world - real or knock-off.
    Seasonal favorites:

    1. Creed - Pure White Cologne
    2. Creed - Aventus
    3. Tom Ford - Grey Vetiver
    4.
    by Kilian - Straight to Heaven
    5. Clive Christian - 1872
    6. Montale - Aoud Legacy
    7. Xerjoff - Nio
    8. Neela Vermeire - Bombay Bling
    9. The Different Company - De Bachmakov
    10. Chanel - Allure Homme Edition Blanche

  17. #17
    Basenotes Member vortex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    Quote Originally Posted by Brightblade View Post
    Actually my nose is not trained at all. Until a few months ago I either used davidoff cool water out of habit, or used what my girlfriends wanted me to wear.
    So, yes I may be just missing important nuances..

    But to my nose the similarity is striking.
    Especially with Body Kouros.

    The source of this haji oil is Arabia of Middle Ages and I assume it may be just a source of inspiration for YSL. I'm sorry if I talked as if Body Kouros is only an imitation.

    I just wanted to say that you can smell quite similiar for 1 or 2 dollars... and the scent of this oil will not go away for days even if you take a shower
    You really need to train your nose to make a positive comparison.

    For example, I used to drink lots of Absinthes. By taste, I could tell which was which. I would sometimes share some with friends who would always say that they all taste the same (which is not true). They just never evolved to the point where they could taste the differences.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    The problem is simply lack of olfactory vocabulary. Which is very common. I have mentioned this before in another post.

    Quote Originally Posted by sarıpatates View Post
    Every youngster in Turkey, who does not have a large vocabulary about fragrances, define smells in certain large categories.
    haci yagi (pilgrim oil), kolonya (cologne), tutun kolonyasi (tobacco cologne), gul suyu (rose oil), sweet, fresh, bitter, and nice.
    If you want to sell anything to them, it better be in the categories of sweet, fresh or nice.

    the pilgrim oil thing is a blanket term for heavy duty fragrances that were once brought back from arabia, hence the name pilgrim. they were either kept in small bottles with swipes, or more often carried around in silver/gold snuff boxes with a piece of felt inside, saturated with the oil. one would press on it with their finger, and rub it on their necks and wrists.

    because of the old man association, oud, patchouli, animalic musks, indolic jasmine etc. are all frown upon. Same goes for simple eau de colognes and fragrances with large amounts of rose in it.

    funnily enough, some of those "pilgrim oil"s are in fact non-alcoholic and heavily concentrated versions of some vintage fragrances, most of them marketed towards women. fragrances like perle noire, cabotine, youth dew, massive oakmoss chypres etc.

    when I sampled knize ten, my wife implored me to never wear it, because it reminded her heavily of the fragrance his grandfather wore and kept in his snuff box. I don't doubt her olfactory memory.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Bad news for Body Kouros and Opium fans! They are nearly the same with our cheap traditional oil

    i doubt whenever someone says one fragrance smells exactly like another, because in every single case i've tested this theory, it was wrong. Many fragrances are very similar, but no two different fragrances are identical.

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