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  1. #1
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    southerngardens's Avatar
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    Default Why notes matter and why they don't

    We get so many questions about notes and accords I was curious what you guys think
    about a great article that appeared on the "Now Smell This" blog a few years back and here it is:


    On lists of fragrance notes, why they matter & why they don't
    I'm not OLD...I'm VINTAGE!

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    Interesting article. Personally note different notes in men's scents but they never influence my purchases.

  3. #3
    Super Member Picassoutine's Avatar
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    Thanks SoGar.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    No problem!
    I'm not OLD...I'm VINTAGE!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    The only reason I have ever looked at the notes of a particular fragrance is to find similar ones to it. Unfortunately, this fails every single time.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    Interesting piece, SG. Thanks. Two thoughts:

    1. I think lots of perfume enthusiasts tend to get too caught up in notes and forget the point of the fragrance. It's like listening to music and only being concerned about identifying all the instruments. Some of the discussion around the Untitled project was like this, and it drove me bats. There's a balance to be struck, and I think reviewers like Katie Puckrik tend to get it right.

    2. Having said that, I agree with MikeJ in that sometimes you know you love tuberose and so you want to find another tuberose fragrance. But even when that's the case, it's not the note list of the perfume I look at - it's the reviews. I trust you guys (or certain of you guys) to tell me what a perfume really smells like. Which is often very different from what you'll ascertain from that list.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    Quote Originally Posted by Kagey View Post
    Interesting piece, SG. Thanks. Two thoughts:

    1. I think lots of perfume enthusiasts tend to get too caught up in notes and forget the point of the fragrance. It's like listening to music and only being concerned about identifying all the instruments. Some of the discussion around the Untitled project was like this, and it drove me bats. There's a balance to be struck, and I think reviewers like Katie Puckrik tend to get it right.

    2. Having said that, I agree with MikeJ in that sometimes you know you love tuberose and so you want to find another tuberose fragrance. But even when that's the case, it's not the note list of the perfume I look at - it's the reviews. I trust you guys (or certain of you guys) to tell me what a perfume really smells like. Which is often very different from what you'll ascertain from that list.
    I agree.
    I'm not OLD...I'm VINTAGE!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    I often read up on what notes are contained in a fragrance that I may be considering. That is because I am aware of certain fragrance notes that I cannot tolerate or find to be offensive. I therefore try to avoid fragrances which contain them.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    This is like anything. The blurb of most books are written with the express intention of convincing you to buy said book, and the trailers of most movies are made - often very deceptively and at great expense - to make you want to see the movie, but it doesn't mean it isn't worth reading blurbs or watching trailers. I see a note list in much the same fashion. It's good to start with the general, and work up to the specific. Reading the note list followed by reviews for example can be helpful, but sometimes there is no need to go beyond the list. As it can often give you a good idea of what the fragrance won't be even if it can't tell you exactly what it will be.

  10. #10
    Overcome By Fumes
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    Excellent article. Thx for sharing.

  11. #11
    Lifelong Sniffaholic
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    An interesting article with many good points, but if a tester is unavailable, we need something to help us decide whether it's worth spending time or money to obtain a sample. As the author points out, the list of notes (and the description) is all we have to go on.

    When testing in stores, I actually find that the notes/description are a pretty good indicator of fragrances I won't like. They are much less useful in helping me to find fragrances I will like.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Why notes matter and why they don't

    I agree with Kagey. A detailed breakdown of notes isn't all that helpful when ultimately it is the whole fragrance you end up wearing. And what is detectable in sillage/projection is also a variant of what you smell at the nose-to-skin level.

    I suspect some people look at the list of notes (what I'd call the cheat list) and try to match it to their experience. A note may not even be remotely detectable but as it is listed, the brain inadvertently gets 'primed' and leads a person to believe it as something he is able to detect in a sample wearing. It takes a conscious effort by the reviewer to pause and consider if this is in fact happening during a review process.

    A better & more objective approach would be to test a fragrance blindly without any prior research on it, or even reading comments in a forum about it. Unfortunately there is still some tendency to describe a fragrance in a manner that is more in line with those of one's peers. We are for the most part social creatures after all.

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