I'd like to think it's a coincidence.
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.
I'd like to think it's a coincidence.
Knockoffs come in all shapes and colors, and, apparently, smells too.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
What we really need is an oil that smells like Kouros though. Still, if I see Haci oil, I shall give it a try.
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!
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.
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.
LOL, this not really bad news, at least not to me, because some of the cheap traditional oils actually smell good.
Body Kourous and Opium are two of the most revolting scents in the world - real or knock-off.
Current Fall Favorites:
1. Creed - Spice & Wood
2. by Kilian - Straight to Heaven
3. Brückner - Aoud 1
4. Creed - Aventus
5. Dior - Vetiver
6. Armani Privè - Cedre Olympe
7. Ermenegildo Zegna - Haitian Vetiver
8. Ermenegildo Zegna - Javanese Patchouli
9. AJ Arabia - I
10. Les Nez - Turtle Vetiver Back
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.
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.
The tobacco cologne made by Eyup Sabri Tuncer actually does smell very similar to Quorum (in the bottle it smells like a more pungent version of Tabac). That company has been making it since 1923, so it's no knock-off scent. Is it so unthinkable that Spain, where Puig is, and which had a history of Arabic involvement, has a scent history woven into the culture that runs right up to the creation of Quorum? Maybe, maybe not.
The above mentioned Turkish cologne has all the same fragrant chemical substances (citral, linalool, lyral, limonene, benzyl benzoate, hexyl-cinnamic etc etc) found in 99.99% of any other fragrance you can think of, cheap or expensive. This makes it easy to compare with classic fougere and chypres.