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Thread: A Newbie's Tale

  1. #1

    Thumbs up A Newbie's Tale

    *WARNING: VERY LONG, MEANDERING STORY AHEAD!*

    Hello all,

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I've only really been 'into' fragrances since Christmas 2011, when my father bought me a bottle of Penhaligon's Blenheim Bouquet as a surprise gift. As I'd never really talked about aftershaves with him, other than pinching a spray of Creed from time to time, it was a big surprise (and quite a big gamble, as I was quite picky, especially when straying away from the safe ground of fashion house fragrance.) At first I hated it - it smelled, to me at least, like a strong bathroom cleaner - and was a world apart from the Le Male and Boss Bottled I'd worn for the majority of my adult life. It took me a couple of weeks to work up the courage to wear it, partly so if my father ever asked I could at least say I'd used it. After a few days I was in love. Until that point, my nose had become so used to the 'samey' smells of high street fragrances (with the notable exception of Chanel Allure Homme Sport, which I absolutely adore) that the Penhaligon's scents felt unusual, exciting, different. I remembered back to when I turned 19 and my parents gave me a bottle of Creed Original Vetiver. I kicked myself for not learning more about fragrances back then (6 years ago) and trying to see it for more than just a 'ridiculously expensive aftershave' and more a work of art.

    This year, I've tried to educate myself on fragrances, and have picked up numerous bottles over the past 12 months, from more Penhaligon's (LP No. 9, Racquets) to the 'fancier' Tom Ford Private Blend (Tobacco Vanille). I've remained glued to this forum for most of that time, the wealth of knowledge here is truly staggering, and there's no doubt that it's heightened my appreciation for fragrance in general.

    After compiling a list of what I felt would be my favourite fragrances (going solely from reviews here on Basenotes), I decided to put my money where my mouth is and try them. Among my list were Fahrenheit, Terre d'Hermes, Dior Homme, Cool Water (an oldie but a goodie!) anything by Jo Malone, and finally, Creed Aventus and Silver Mountain Water.

    They say you shouldn't try more than a couple of fragrances in one go or your nose will become fatigued, so thankfully I enlisted the help of my girlfriend's nose. I didn't make notes after smelling each one (and I wasn't able to find a sample bottle of Cool Water or Terre d'Hermes anywhere) but I managed to try most on my list. For all the praise Fahrenheit receives, I must say it didn't really do it for me. It smelled heavy, very intense and dark. There's no doubt some men could pull this off with ease, it smells intimidating , strong and dangerous. Jo Malone was different; zesty, spritzy, fruity, very pleasant but still not really 'me'. I'd tried, by the end of the day, almost 20 different fragrances, and by this point my nose was well and truly comatose. I managed to try a few unexpected delights which weren't on my list though, like Serge Lutens (amazing, by the way) and Tom Ford's Private Blend (amazingly expensive, by the way), but still hadn't found anything I'd want to make my 'signature fragrance'.

    I knew at the very least I wanted to smell Creed, but in all honesty didn't think I'd buy a bottle. Yes, Original Vetiver was nice, but so are dozens of other fragrances that cost a quarter of the price. I battled my way through the men literally drenching themselves in Green Irish Tweed (much to the distaste of the sales assistants) and set about smelling Original Santal, Original Vetiver, Himalaya. All very nice, but I couldn't justify their price. Bois du Portugal, Millesime Imperial, Silver Mountain Water. Again, very nice scents, but their price still put me off. Virgin Island Water, Tabarome, and finally, Aventus. Oh my god.

    After the best part of two hours smelling everything in sight, Aventus struck me immediately, even to my untrained (and fatigued beyond belief) nose, I got great waves of pineapple and grapefruit. For some reason I can't understand, I'd come to expect Creed to produce heavy fragrances, green and mossy. I know that's crazy, every fragrance is different, but there was something that tied Creed to those attributes in my mind. Perhaps it was the assumption that all Creeds smell like Original Vetiver, I don't know. Aventus was the polar opposite of what I was expecting. I bought a bottle there and then.

    During the course of the year I've been interested to see how people react to different fragrances I wear. In my overexuberance of a new bottle I'd be expecting the compliments to come flooding in, but I can honestly say over the past 12 months I've received a handful of compliments at most, and all of them without exception were for Blenheim Bouquet (although it should be noted the compliments were given right after I'd applied it, unfortunately it dies down alarmingly quickly on me, and is imperceptible after only an hour or two). I'd even take to reapplying fragrances at work, hoping a colleague would catch a sniff and ask. Even heavy scents that I feel project well (like Tom Ford's Black Orchid) didn't get so much as a look or a sniff. I started to think maybe my work colleagues weren't the complimentary type.

    When I got home I applied Aventus to the back of my hand, and to my alarm it had completely vanished after an hour. I couldn't believe it! After finally breaking down and parting with a not-insignificant amount of cash, I'd been left with an hour of a great-smelling fragrance. Sure, I could re-apply it a few times during the day, but for £150 for a bottle, should I really have to?

    As such, it sat in my cupboard for the first three days of this week. I was agonizing over what to do with the bottle. Should I try and return it? Sell it? Enjoy it in the knowledge that I'll have to use a lot of it if I want it to be noticeable? I wore my Black Orchid (not really an office scent to my nose, but I love it all the same) and was ready to write off Creed completely.

    This morning I decided to wear Aventus. I don't know why, maybe I didn't see the use in having it sit unused for months on end, and the sooner I finish the bottle the sooner I'll feel justified buying another expensive fragrance.

    As expected, by the time I got to work (around half an hour after applying it) it was almost gone. Or so I thought.
    After around half an hour (so an hour after I'd applied it) somebody stopped me in the corridor. "Excuse me, but what aftershave are you wearing? It's really nice." I was back footed. Not only was this the first time a 'stranger' had complimented a scent I was wearing (although she is a colleague, she works in another part of the building and I've only spoken to her a couple of times in 18 months) but it was for a fragrance I'd thought was un-smellable! "Oh, right, thank you, it's Creed Aventus" I replied, genuinely pleased that somebody else had smelled it. I gave my hand a sniff, and I still couldn't smell it. I continued on my way.

    Fifteen minutes later, another female colleague asked what I was wearing. Again, I couldn't believe it - how can everybody smell this great scent but me! After 18 months of absolutely zero compliments in the workplace, within an hour of wearing a new one I'd received two! I'd read on the forum that Aventus was commonly complimented by others, but took it with a pinch of salt. I can now safely say the claims are true.

    So where does it leave me? Well in all honesty, relieved and surprised. Relieved that Aventus is still noticeable by others (even if not to me), and surprised that it's nice enough to elicit compliments from others who have never even noticed any of my other fragrances. It's amazing how far a compliment can go to changing the way you feel about something. It reminds me of Fleur du Male, which I received years ago. I couldn't stand to wear it - it really did smell to me like the perfume an elderly lady may wear, far too floral for a young man with a beard. But I noticed each time I tried wearing it, people commented. Maybe not strangers, like with Aventus, but family members and friends would say how great it smelled. I persevered, and can honestly say it's now one of my favourites. The opening still feels like a faceful of flowers, but after fifteen minutes or so, it calms down into a very smooth, enjoyable scent.

    My journey in scent is just beginning; I have an awful lot more to learn and a long way to go, but I'm having so much fun already. I've always been one to learn the intricacies of a subject, and then start a collection (my first love is watches) and I'd never really thought it applied to aftershaves or perfumes, I just assumed some smelled nice and some didn't. But like many subjects, scent appeals to the heart and not the head, and is tied strongly to your emotions. Logically, I should be happy so long as I don't reek of body odour, but increasingly I've found myself looking forward to selecting a fragrance for the day ahead, to match the weather, my mood, or my surroundings. It feels just as important to match my scent to the occasion as it does my clothes.

    I hope this hasn't been too long a ramble, I'd initially set out to write exclusively about Aventus, but got slightly carried away with my first post.
    Thanks for reading!

  2. #2

    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Gratz! Welcome to the wicked corner! You made some wise decisions which I believe might NOT of been the case if you had not been lurking on BaseNotes, lol! Well Done!

  3. #3

    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Welcome and congrats on the compliments. All hype and subsequent bashing aside, Aventus is a great fragrance that simply has an outward appeal. Of all the great fragrances I've ever tried or owned, it's easily my wife's favorite on me. I also commend you on taking the time to sample so extensively and ultimately let your nose decide what it likes. I hope you continue to enjoy your journey and that the compliments keep flowing for you!

  4. #4
    Sound Scents
    drseid's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Quote Originally Posted by fit&frag'd View Post
    Welcome and congrats on the compliments. ... I also commend you on taking the time to sample so extensively and ultimately let your nose decide what it likes. I hope you continue to enjoy your journey and that the compliments keep flowing for you!
    Agree on this part of the above and also welcome you to BN. I definitely enjoyed reading your post and think you are off to a tremendous start. Now you just need to find a scent that you can smell and enjoy yourself. :-) Best of luck in the continuing quest.
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady original formula (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage/V.I.P. for Men (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

  5. #5

    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Having not tried Aventus, I can't comment either way on your choice but I would also like to welcome you to basenotes. I hope to see you back often with word of new purchases and opinions on the many topics being discussed here at any given time.
    Current Favorites:
    1. Le 3me Homme - Caron
    2. Yatagan - Caron
    3. Van Cleef & Arples Pour Homme
    4. Dolce & Gabbana pour Homme
    5. Kouros - YSL
    6. L'Anarchiste - Caron
    7. Xeryus - Givenchy
    8. V.I.P. Special Reserve - Giorgio Beverly Hills
    9. The Dreamer - Versace
    10. Nobile - Gucci

  6. #6
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    southerngardens's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Welcome to Basenotes and congratulations on starting your scented journey! You are in the right place.
    I'm not OLD...I'm VINTAGE!

  7. #7
    Dependent bigsteve's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Nice post, and quite interesting. Keep smelling good, bro!

  8. #8

    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    It's always good to see someone coming to a greater appreciation of fragrances. Given the gifts you've received from your parents it sounds like they probably know a thing or two as well. Not many people would get a niche bottle from relatives! Very lucky, that.

  9. #9
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Welcome and Congrats!

  10. #10

    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Thanks for the kind words and welcome everyone. In a way I'm quite pleased I didn't like Fahrenheit, despite the amount of praise it receives on BN. In my mind (and I hope this makes sense) if I'd liked it, then it would've meant that it was the 'correct' choice, that somehow in fragrances there are 'right' and 'wrong' answers, and if a perfume receives high acclaim on BN then it's a forgone conclusion that everyone will love it, and vice versa. The BN site and forum have been invaluable in directing me to try new things, a couple of months ago I'd never even heard of Serge Lutens or L'Artisan Parfumeur - it really is very exciting.

    It's always good to see someone coming to a greater appreciation of fragrances. Given the gifts you've received from your parents it sounds like they probably know a thing or two as well. Not many people would get a niche bottle from relatives! Very lucky, that.
    I'm very lucky that my father has always appreciated things like fragrance, watches, pens, cufflinks etc. It's a crying shame it's taken me until my mid-twenties to actually take an interest in these things too!

  11. #11

    Default Re: A Newbie's Tale

    Actually, you provided a detailed account of NOF (newbie olfactory fatigue). I decided to try and avoid most of the top notes and sure enough, I was able to smell the drydowns much better.

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