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  1. #1
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    Default cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    First of all, caveat: This is not fact written in stone. It's MY OPINION.

    I'm not trying to be a niche-head or an elitist here, but I'm not going to let the fear of being called names like that stop me from expressing my honest opinion.

    I think in many cases, you get what you pay for. Most fragrances that you could get for $50 or less are not really good quality. I'm not saying fragrances above $100 are all worth the price either, because that's the niche priceline and niche fragrances tend to make hate-or-love fragrances that are peculiar and challenge people to expand their tastes. So, even if you spend $250 on a niche fragrance, you may hate it. But the chances of finding something you really really like above $100 is much greater than at under $50

    I find, that the best priceline regarding the quality you get versus the amount of money you pay (for a regular size bottle, around 100ml) is $50 to $100. This is the price line of Dior, Hermes, Chanel, Mugler, and other quality houses.

    The more under $50 you go, the more your chances of buying an amazing fragrance approaches zero.

    Under $40, there are definitely some good ones to be fair, but your choices are limited
    Under $30, maybe 1 or 2.
    Under $20, forget about it.

    The lower down you go, the more synthetic the notes are, the poorer the longevity and projection, the more generic they become, the more lack of artistic direction, and etc.

    I'll put it this way. If Rochas Man, The Dreamer and Body Kouros were $75, would you have bought them?

    So for those looking for an amazing fragrance for $30 or less, I would tell them to suggest, maybe saving up $30 or 40 more dollars and getting a really nice fragrance. Better than spending $25, not liking it, and then buying another cheapie. A fragrance is an investment, and likely, a bottle will last you years. If you live in a developed country, in a house with electricity, chances are you can afford ONE good bottle.

    Just my honest opinion.

    Agree or disagree?

    Let me know your opinion.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    The stance you take is of the elitist one. You start by saying that this is your opinion. Yet you close implying that people can afford ONE good bottle of something you subjectively think is "good". Saying it like that is already implying that your stance is correct. I disagree.

    You are here on a fragrance forum where people have an above average knowledge of fragrance or at least an interest or else they wouldn't be here. What are you expecting to get back?

    Now to the masses of people (read: consumers) they absolutely love cheap fragrances, especially when slapped with a designer name because more than likely the scent appeals to the masses and is cheap. These people also are more than likely to never stumble upon a forum like this. Keep in mind perception of what smells good is entirely subjective. The masses of people more than likely have never smelled "non-synthetic" ingredients and even if they did would scoff at the price. Immediatly liking the cheapie because of the value of it.

    Buy whatever you like.

    Most people outside of here don't care about what you smell like as long as it's no offensive.

    The price point your willing to pay for a product is what it's worth to you.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I'll simply and respectfully disagree with the OP without further comment.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I appreciate your enthusiasm to comment, but part of disagreement is understanding what you are disagreeing about. Please make a distinction between a dogmatic assertion and a recommendation.

    There are going to be some people on here who have several $20 fragrance that they love more than niche, but I suspect that there are more people who would feel otherwise.

    I'm not saying you can't find a fragrance you love for <$30. I'm just saying your chances are MUCH lower than finding one you like for $60 or 70.

    Also, some people may see many of the cheaper fragrances as obsolete once they smell the more expensive stuff. It's a point you did make, and that further reinforces mine. You may think the cheapies are amazing, but once you smell stuff around the upper-designer price range, there's definitely a lot of room to reconsider.

    I'm not arguing in all cases, but it's just the general trend as you move up the price range: a greater willingness to take risks and make something unique, and therefore a greater artistic direction.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I don't equate quality and price anymore. Designer and niche companies are going to price their product as they see fit. Just because they price it at $300 a bottle doesn't mean it smells better or is higher quality than an $80 bottle. Could be just the opposite and unless you can analyze all the chemicals in it and break down the amount spent on ingredients, it's really a moot point. I agree with you that there's not a lot of great fragrances at the low end of the price spectrum, but snubbing your nose just because it's inexpensive isn't exactly the right way to go about it.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I don't equate quality and price anymore. Designer and niche companies are going to price their product as they see fit. Just because they price it at $300 a bottle doesn't mean it smells better or is higher quality than an $80 bottle. Could be just the opposite and unless you can analyze all the chemicals in it and break down the amount spent on ingredients, it's really a moot point. I agree with you that there's not a lot of great fragrances at the low end of the price spectrum, but snubbing your nose just because it's inexpensive isn't exactly the right way to go about it.
    Currently wearing: Avant Garde by Lanvin

  6. #6
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    An excellent point. Well written. Thank you.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I am disagreeing about the subjectivity of your argument. You are also biased in this argument. I also think its funny to ask a forum of fragrance enthusiasts if they think its harder to find a good fragrance that is less than 30$. Seriously?

    What many people think smells like dog shit another can think is amazing. For references see What Fragrance was so bad you had to wash it off

    This is a subjective hobby and your trying to bring objectivity to it which there really isn't. We are a small teeny tiny part of the fragrance industry. The masses are what matters. What smells nice to them is what they buy and what they cater to. Slientrich mad an excellent point as well. Niche companies also price products high to keep other customers out of the market to make their customers feel exclusive.

    Now for some objectivity.

    According to fragrancenet under the best sellers #1 and #2 can be had for under 30 dollars.

    Sephora and Macy's both list aqua di gio as the best smelling fragrance for men. A 1oz can be bought for under 40$.

  8. #8

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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I agree with you - under $50 it is extremely difficult to find very good stuff. There are exceptions, but they are it. Most of them simply smell too synthetic and rough. After $50-100, the correlation decreases. There are expensive niche houses that smell gorgeous, but also expensive stuff that smells bad.

    cacio

  9. #9

    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Here's my stance, as I neither agree nor disagree with the OP: I tend to have higher expectations of fragrances I purchase for more than $50 and, therefore the chances of disappointment also increase. You very specifically list the projection and longevity as metrics by which you measure how "amazing" a fragrance is, along with the minimal use of synthetic ingredients for more expensive natural ingredients. Well, you're wrong in thinking that amazing fragrances have great longevity & projection because that's not the measuring stick everyone uses; each person has their own criterion for what makes a fragrance "amazing". If you're trying to make the point that fragrances purchased for $50-$100 tend to have longer longevity or better projection, than at least that's a testable hypothesis. And just so you know, there are some super, marathon fragrances (probably more than you'd ever think) that can be had for less than $25. Now, would I wear most of them? No. That's a whole different topic.
    Spring/Summer Rotation:

    Versace Pour Homme
    Kenzo Pour Homme (vintage)
    Dolce & Gabbana Pour Homme (vintage)
    D& G Masculine
    Christian Dior Dune
    Guerlain Homme (EDT)
    Bond No9 Riverside Drive

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by LiteEmUpGood View Post

    Sephora and Macy's both list aqua di gio as the best smelling fragrance for men. A 1oz can be bought for under 40$.
    In the interest of objectivity, I'll point out that original poster listed the target range at $50-100 for a 100ml bottle, not a 30ml bottle (1oz). Acqua di Gio is $75-90 retail. I think you may have unintentionally proved his point.

    [
    Last edited by jadelotus; 9th January 2013 at 06:42 PM.

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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I'd disagree too. First, "quality" and "best" are not universally understood/agreed terms here.

    But more to the point, price has little to do with whether a perfume works for me. Yes, there are relatively few cheap perfumes that I like. But there are also relatively few very expensive perfumes that I like. Just how it is.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by jadelotus View Post
    In the interest of objectivity, I'll point out that original poster listed the target range at $50-100 for a 100ml bottle, not a 30ml bottle (1oz). Acqua di Gio is $75-90 retail. I think you may have unintentionally proved his point.

    [
    Unless the smell changes in the 100ml I dont think so. If your lookin to cheap out you still can. 50-100 is the MSRP for most new fragrances on the market. In the future due to inflation this same bottles will run 100-125?

    You can get your hands on what may be the best smelling cologne to the masses for under 40$.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Disagree.
    Prices change following sales. A presumed great scent can be sold at 100 dollars or euros today, and at 25 after a few months. Some Guerlains sold at 50 euros/65 $ for a 125ml. /4.2 oz bottle.....

    More, some scents launched without any advertisement -and sold in supermarkets and small stores- have a very low price and real good quality. Animal Oud sold at 10 euros/ 13 dollars, and it's impossible to find in stores the next day. You have to buy it immediately.

    More, old perfums are sold at a very low price because there is no room in shelves for newst products...

    price and quality are pears and orange

  14. #14
    Basenotes Institution sjg3839's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Noirdrakkar man I respect you bro. A lot of basenotes don't have the guts to come up with threads and blogs like you do. Even though you know you will catch a lot of flack for these threads you continue to push the envelope and express yourself regardless of the attacks you may receive. The whole point of this website is to compare, give our opinions and ask questions about the fragrance community. Much respect. Keep doing what you do bro!

  15. #15

    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Some of the fragrances that are cheap now did cost more when they were released. When it comes to new fragrances that are really cheap, they can be a bit hit and miss and there's some proper cheap, terrible stuff of course, there are quite a few though I find very enjoyable. Sure you can spend £100, £200, etc, more and there will be/should be a difference in quality but just as one doesn't only listen to Beethoven all day everyday but also pop songs or trashy sounding indie tunes, one can enjoy different things at different times.
    Last edited by Rüssel; 9th January 2013 at 08:04 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I agree half way with you.
    I admit that cheap scents are never going to be masterpieces or really great ones,
    But some cheap scents are so close to niche ones that hardly ever can anyone determine the price range of it very correctly!

  17. #17

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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    Noirdrakkar man I respect you bro. A lot of basenotes don't have the guts to come up with threads and blogs like you do. Even though you know you will catch a lot of flack for these threads you continue to push the envelope and express yourself regardless of the attacks you may receive. The whole point of this website is to compare, give our opinions and ask questions about the fragrance community. Much respect. Keep doing what you do bro!
    I agree with this sentiment, although I don't think anyone's actually attacking anyone. Lively debate isn't a bad thing.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    I agree with you - under $50 it is extremely difficult to find very good stuff. There are exceptions, but they are it. Most of them simply smell too synthetic and rough. After $50-100, the correlation decreases. There are expensive niche houses that smell gorgeous, but also expensive stuff that smells bad.

    cacio
    Cacio articulated my point perfectly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    I'd disagree too. First, "quality" and "best" are not universally understood/agreed terms here.
    Can you name any adjective in the entire dictionary that doesn't require some degree of arbitration?

    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    Noirdrakkar man I respect you bro. A lot of basenotes don't have the guts to come up with threads and blogs like you do. Even though you know you will catch a lot of flack for these threads you continue to push the envelope and express yourself regardless of the attacks you may receive. The whole point of this website is to compare, give our opinions and ask questions about the fragrance community. Much respect. Keep doing what you do bro!
    Thanks man! I feel like I was born to speak the unspoken.

  19. #19
    Basenotes Institution sjg3839's Avatar
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    True. Maybe criticism might be a better word. Nothing wrong with that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    I agree with this sentiment, although I don't think anyone's actually attacking anyone. Lively debate isn't a bad thing.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Just to address common arguments:

    But cheap fragrances are selling really well and casual consumers love them

    I'm not denying this at all. In the end, they are casual consumers and they just want to smell good for a low price. If they were to get into fragrances and sample more houses, they would find that most of the celebrity scents just don't compare.

    But there is a $25 scent that I love far more than many $300 scents

    There are definitely plenty of cases. Though assume that there is a group of 100 test subjects and they had to test 200 fragrances: 100 of them cheapies (under $50) and 100 of them more expensive (fragrances from $50 to $100). I would bet that the most of the people would prefer the more of the latter over the former. I can't prove it, but I would bet on it.

    Prices are not decided by quality, but by other factors

    Notice that I kept fragrances above $100 out of this discussion as niche houses do tend to charge more money mainly for the restricted supply - not to say it isn't because of the quality also.

    I agree there are other factors such as advertising, release date, what company makes it, etc and due to the large profit margins any scent at any price COULD be good. But there's just an overall correlation. Other than saying "Why can you get an 8 oz bottle of Grey Flannel for $12?" there's nothing I can say to scientifically prove there is a direct link.

    ---

    Also, keep in mind that people are more friendly to the underdog. While I do rate fragrances according to value, there is a difference between best and best value.

    Yeah, you can get a bunch of fragrances for $25 each, but I doubt those are the ones you'll enjoy wearing the most. For most, not all of you.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    I'll simply and respectfully disagree with the OP without further comment.
    As much as I would like to comment, I am with you on this one.

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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    OP i disagree because the perception of "value" and "good" are very subjective. You state your subjective opinions as facts and take a stance that those who don't agree with you are wrong. On top of that you look to further establish a point by asking fragrance enthusiasts what they like better. Its like me going to home Miami Heat games and asking people how many are heat fans. Then come back and say WOW other teams have no fans because whenever i ask people they all say the Heat and they only talk about the Heat.

    Now is the spirit of my HS teachers...

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    Just to address common arguments:

    But cheap fragrances are selling really well and casual consumers love them

    I'm not denying this at all. In the end, they are casual consumers and they just want to smell good for a low price. If they were to get into fragrances and sample more houses, they would find that most of the celebrity scents just don't compare.
    your opinion

    But there is a $25 scent that I love far more than many $300 scents

    There are definitely plenty of cases. Though assume that there is a group of 100 test subjects and they had to test 200 fragrances: 100 of them cheapies (under $50) and 100 of them more expensive (fragrances from $50 to $100). I would bet that the most of the people would prefer the more of the latter over the former. I can't prove it, but I would bet on it.
    your opinion

    Prices are not decided by quality, but by other factors

    Notice that I kept fragrances above $100 out of this discussion as niche houses do tend to charge more money mainly for the restricted supply - not to say it isn't because of the quality also.

    I agree there are other factors such as advertising, release date, what company makes it, etc and due to the large profit margins any scent at any price COULD be good. But there's just an overall correlation. Other than saying "Why can you get an 8 oz bottle of Grey Flannel for $12?" there's nothing I can say to scientifically prove there is a direct link.
    your opinion

    ---

    Also, keep in mind that people are more friendly to the underdog. While I do rate fragrances according to value, there is a difference between best and best value.

    Yeah, you can get a bunch of fragrances for $25 each, but I doubt those are the ones you'll enjoy wearing the most. For most, not all of you.
    again your opinion and then you tell other people what they would prefer

  23. #23

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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    It is true that the cost of materials is often a tiny part of the overall cost of a frag. But I think the situation is similar to that, say, for clothes. There are simply too many limitations when something is very cheap - quality of materials, construction, time spent refining, and so on. One can find great clothes for little, but it's usually very simple stuff, like t-shirts or the like, and you really have to look for them. So in perfumery there's always the Green Flannel or the like, but they are the exceptions that somehow manage to pull off very synthetic and simple accords.

    Or you can have knockoffs of good stuff (Zara, say, for clothing), though the quality of materials usually suffers. In perfumery there's less of this because current taste goes in directions different from complex perfumery.

    cacio

  24. #24
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Playing with your metaphor, what I would ask the Heat fans next is how many of them gave other teams a chance.

    Moreover, read the very first line of the first post of this thread. And then read it a second time.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    Playing with your metaphor, what I would ask the Heat fans next is how many of them gave other teams a chance.

    Moreover, read the very first line of the first post of this thread. And then read it a second time.
    I read that, its great to have your opinion but it turns into your belief being correct and telling others that they are wrong. And thats wrong.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I searched the word "wrong". Ironically, it came up 5 times but none of them were from me.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I'm not exactly sure why the OP is deriving so many ad hominem attacks for expressing his opinion here.

    I think the original point is a bit oversimplified but holds true to a degree. I tend to be a bargain hunter and have found if I'm patient I can sometimes find rare gems at low prices and there are a few perfectly enjoyable fragrances I can get cheaply, while I covet some that I will never get to price point with.

    If I drew a graph of average price to my estimate of quality TO ME, I would not get a completely random scattergram, nor would I get a clear diagonal line. But...more of the ones I thought were higher quality would be toward the expensive side and more of the ones lower would be cheaper.

    The problem with the logic is that this graph has no predictive value. It will not tell you that you will like the next expensive fragrance you try nor that you will dislike the next cheap fragrance you try.

    So for me, I will still sample a cheap one once in a while, hoping for the diamond in the rough, while sampling the pricier ones too.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    Quote Originally Posted by noirdrakkar View Post
    I searched the word "wrong". Ironically, it came up 5 times but none of them were from me.
    Don't ever get married man, because that little statement will get you a week of sleeping on the couch.
    Currently wearing: Avant Garde by Lanvin

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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    ^ haha damn

  30. #30
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    Default Re: cheap fragrances are rarely the best

    I find I'm much more likely to have an adverse reaction (headache, throat irritation, nausea, etc.) to cheap fragrances.

    That said, there are a couple cheapies that I LOVE (and wear sparingly, because for some reason, they tend to be STRONG!!!)

    I do notice a distinct difference between the cheapies that I love and the more expensive frags that I also love. I wouldn't say that the more expensive ones are necessarily BETTER- because it depends on what you're going for. I would say that (some of them at least) are worth the price...

    I wouldn't pay $100 for BBW Sea Island Cotton. But do I love it? HECK YES I do!!! (I also love a much more expensive version of that theme...but I do not want to pay $50+ for something that smells, essentially, like a freshly washed T-shirt.)

    By that same token, though, I'll gladly pay $100 a bottle for Trish McEvoy, even though Philosophy is MUCH cheaper and smells very, very similar- because the Trish version lasts MUCH longer.

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