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  1. #1

    Default Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    This is just kinda a fun observation. I have been a wine enthusiast for years but am only recently becoming more serious about perfume. I find my affinity for wine has taught me to detect certain scents from a wine bouquet that are present in many perfumes. The funny thing is, wine drinkers may describe a scent in very different ways than perfume enthusiasts. For instance, Courtesan by Worth smells like Chardonnay to me with it's buttery spices.

    Are the scents between perfumes versus wine bouquets really so different or is it the way we think of them? Does the fact that wine is imbibed make an impact on how we sense it's aromas?

    Discuss.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    Good points about the similarity between the appreciation of the two. Smell is smell - so your ability to detect odors in wine should carry over to perfumes.

    But I do think that most of the scents are, or should be, different. What makes me want to put something into my mouth is usually different than what I want to wear for hours. Wearing something edible does not appeal to me (though the oceans of syrups in current mainstream perfumery suggest that it is for many), and I cannot think of a perfume I like that is fully edible. Typically, I want something poisonous to remind me it goes on skin. So even though a big part of wine drinking is purely the smell from the glass, in the end, the fact that it goes into the mouth is key to my appreciation of wine. To make the point, if I were to smell in a glass some of my favorite perfumes, like Bandit or Rien, I'd be horrified at the mere thought of the liquids approaching my lips.

    You also make a good point on the language we use to describe odors. Unfortunately, unlike for colors, our vocabulary is much more restricted than for smells. We need to find analogies. Wine experts find analogies in food and fruits. For perfumes, one can refer to the actual materials used - so usually the references are different. Though things like berry, fruits, tobacco and woods are common descriptors used also in perfumery.

    cacio

  3. #3
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    What makes me want to put something into my mouth is usually different than what I want to wear for hours.
    Feel the same.

  4. #4

    Default

    There's lots off overlap. Besides wine i'm also into whisky and cognac and I think if your into fragrance you should definatnly enjoy it. Its just another way to enjoy the sensory of smell. Lots more to explore!

    Just compare a fragrance review to a single malt like Talisker 10 year old, its like a fragrance you can taste and drink:

    "Color: Amber/dark honey
    nose:
    Some iodine, peat, slight bandaids, faraway smoke, sand, four blocks from the beach sea air, slight purple clover flower, nosing close it's a touch of sweet alcohol dryness like smelling a cognac
    body:
    Medium-light / oily
    palate:
    Pepper to start, bitter for a second, then alternates between slight sweetness and peat. More pepper. Salty. A bit of bite. Tingly white pepper.
    finish:
    Medium long, ending on pepper and a final crest of peat sweetness"


    Only downside is that its hard to combine the two(drink/tasting vs fragrance) because it clutters. So it's fragrance in the morning, drinks in the evening.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    Lol, thanks Adrem! It's clear you understand the controversy I'm referring to. with notes like "wet dog," "tobacco," "leather," and "peat," the uninitiated would probably draw negative connotations from a beverage described that way. A well developed palate can really be an asset though when venturing into perfumes. Sometimes it's just frustrating when a scotch drinker refers to a "tobacco" note, but it doesn't necessarily translate to the same smell a perfumer would describe as "tobacco," although both may be familiar with the scent and flavor of the original plant.

    As for flavor, I can certainly attest that some wines have scents that do not seem edible at all. Once you finish with the bouquet and move on to the flavor the sensation of the wine may change dramatically from say cut grass and flowers to sparkling citrus for a Sauvignon Blanc, or tobacco and tar to velvety cherries for a Cabernet. So I don't think it's just a matter of "I don't want something that smells like leather in my mouth." There just seem to be different associations.

  6. #6
    Frag Bomb Squadron XVII
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    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    Good post, cacio. I agree, people tend to draw analogies in their attempts to make sense of a new experience by bridging the unfamiliar (new experience) with the familiar (past experience). So we are likely to see chefs describing fragrances in 'food or taste terms', musicians in musical notes, painters in colors or paint strokes, wine someliers in wine-related comparisons, etc. I know it sounds a little too simplistic but you get the drift. A dog owner is therefore well within his rights to apply the term 'wet dog' if that's what a fragrance evokes.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    I've read somewhere about an experiment that showed that the very same molecule responsible for the same note in very different contexts (parmesan cheese and.... vomit, for instance) has been perceived as identical when devoid of context and alternatively yummy or disgusting when referred to its source.
    I guess one is always deeply rooted in the situation, while smelling, and the choice of the words (borrowed from other senses, generally) to describe what one is perceiving is conditioned by the final destination of the smell...
    And regarding Valkyriespacegirl's "with notes like "wet dog," "tobacco," "leather," and "peat," the uninitiated would probably draw negative connotations from a beverage described that way" I guess you could say the very same about certain perfume notes- sweat-cumin; faecal- indoles overdose; unwashed- certain musks; urinal- grapefruit...
    The sense of smell has been heavily neglected and even demonized in human history, for cultural, religious and psychological reasons (I could suggest a good book by French anthopologist and perfume expert Annick Le Guerer on the subject) and I believe, like Adrem, that there's a lot more to explore!
    "Your fragrance with a fume of iodine" L. Cohen

  8. #8
    Basenotes Junkie Curly11's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    Quote Originally Posted by iodine View Post
    I've read somewhere about an experiment that showed that the very same molecule responsible for the same note in very different contexts (parmesan cheese and.... vomit, for instance) has been perceived as identical when devoid of context and alternatively yummy or disgusting when referred to its source.
    I guess one is always deeply rooted in the situation, while smelling, and the choice of the words (borrowed from other senses, generally) to describe what one is perceiving is conditioned by the final destination of the smell...
    And regarding Valkyriespacegirl's "with notes like "wet dog," "tobacco," "leather," and "peat," the uninitiated would probably draw negative connotations from a beverage described that way" I guess you could say the very same about certain perfume notes- sweat-cumin; faecal- indoles overdose; unwashed- certain musks; urinal- grapefruit...
    The sense of smell has been heavily neglected and even demonized in human history, for cultural, religious and psychological reasons (I could suggest a good book by French anthopologist and perfume expert Annick Le Guerer on the subject) and I believe, like Adrem, that there's a lot more to explore!
    I came into this thread a little late in the conversation. Your reference to a book by a French anthropologist interests me. Is the book written in French? If not, I would like to know the title. I look forward to your reply.

  9. #9
    Overcome By Fumes
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    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    I'm with Val in her initial observation. Most flavor is actually smell as there are generally only 5 accepted "tastes" that can be appreciated in the mouth. Any chemical of appropriate shape and size that enters the nose may be appreciated although the other scents that surround it give it a context that allows us to appreciate it properly. Caproic acid may be present in some cheeses but without the other cheese scents, will smell of vomit or ginkgo fruits. The same kinds of olfactory analysis that allow one to appreciate the differences between wines are identical to those used to analyze fragrances. Scents that one may enjoy sniffing are not always ones that one would wish to taste and vice versa. I doubt I'd ever want to wear a bacon perfume nor would I wish to drink a wine that smelled like incense. Interesting observations, thanks.

    Ps. The book by LeGuerer is called "Scent" and can be read in English.
    Last edited by docluv45; 3rd January 2013 at 12:31 AM. Reason: Info

  10. #10
    Basenotes Member jadelotus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Perfume sniffing and wine tasting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Diamondflame View Post
    Good post, cacio. I agree, people tend to draw analogies in their attempts to make sense of a new experience by bridging the unfamiliar (new experience) with the familiar (past experience). So we are likely to see chefs describing fragrances in 'food or taste terms', musicians in musical notes, painters in colors or paint strokes, wine someliers in wine-related comparisons, etc. I know it sounds a little too simplistic but you get the drift. A dog owner is therefore well within his rights to apply the term 'wet dog' if that's what a fragrance evokes.
    This is a really excellent observation. I've been thinking about this a bit: many perfumes in my collection have the same notes, but are combined in drastically different ways for different effects. Sometimes the only way for me to describe them is in terms of mood or the "story" they tell. (It wouldn't surprise you then to learn I'm a writer.) Literature is my frame of reference. For example, Tom Ford's Black Violet I can only describe as a Victorian Gothic romance, which is far more telling to me than saying I smell violets and woods.

    Like wine enthusiasts and foodies, fragrance enthusiasts tend to be thinkers, which is why I enjoy Basenotes so much. As much intellectual stimulation as olfactory.

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