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  1. #1
    Dependent Akahina's Avatar
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    Default What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Is it a particular note or accord? Sillage or projection? Longevity? A general feeling you get such as "dirty", "sweet" or "feminine"? Curious about what challenges you.
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  2. #2

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Very dense scents. An example is Potrait of a Lady. The scents that people in their reviews say "the scent wears you, not the other way around" lol. I have difficulty with these because I'm primarily wearing scents to work, and even beautiful scents can be a challenge if their over-potent. Montales have same effect. Even Chanel Coromandel or Sycomore.

  3. #3

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    I give both a positive and negative meaning to the word *challenging* depending on the context and notes involved. I'm positively challenged by anything animalic, abstract, musky or avant-garde.

    I'm negatively challenged by woody-soapy rose notes, orange blossoms, huge doses of neroli and white florals in general with the only possible exceptions of certain tuberoses (Tubereuse Criminelle / Carnal Flower / Fracas) and jasmine.


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  4. #4

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    I find most aquatics challenging, L'Eau d'Issey would be my poison.

    But as Alfarom mentions challenging can also be used in relation to very animalic notes/scents. But in this case it is normally a positive aspect.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Challenging is perfumes overdosed with certain notes that are generally not pleasant like galbanum, civet, musk, feces, birch tar & tuberose.
    Perfumes with concentrated doses of them.

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  6. #6

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    In my opinion, it requires more than one answer, perspective, thought, idea etc. on this topic.

    On one hand, I consider not just a particular note/notes family/scent category challenging, but almost anything that "strays off the beaten path" of a, let's say, top 10 (or 40 or whatever) of male, female, niche, designer etc. bestselling fragrances.

    On the other hand, it does not even have to stand out as non-generic, unusual, experimental in the first place to be challenging for me. While aquatics, gourmands etc. are popular for both genders as of lately, a fragrance can belong to these note families, be manufactured/marketed/crafted by a comparatively famous house and still be challenging to me. Due to either reinterpreting a common notes family, a very familiar note in an unfamiliar way or being vintage/pre-reformulated and thus standing out for bringing a different interpretation to an apparently familiar style, product line and/or note and many other variables like that.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    For me, challenging means that there is clearly some sort of olfactory beauty - something created by the perfumer - that is fighting an uphill battle against components that are unpleasant or even off-putting. It's the olfactory equivalent of the art in Pulp Fiction.

    Tauer Incense Rosé is an example of a challenging fragrance for me, where I can overcome the challenge. The rose and incense are very nice, but there is a fecal aspect that is difficult to deal with. And yet, if my mind holds out long enough to keep all the pieces in context of each other, a very beautiful combination emerges, and I am happy I'm wearing it.

    Tauer Lonestar Memories is one where I get it, but ultimately cannot deal with the challenge, and the scent loses me. It's a beautiful smoky leather chypre, but the smoke is so acrid and the leather so raw and brutal, I can only admire it from afar. I have brief moments where I somewhat get it, but I am driven back by the sharp pieces, and ultimately say "not for me".

    Challenging fragrances always leave me with powerful scent memories, whether they ultimately win me over or not.
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    I will wear anything in my collection but Tuberose is a bit challenging as a note for me.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Aquatic/animalic notes can be very challenging for me.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Any fragrance that cannot be worn in most situations due to been too strong, floral,weird niche smelling (Serge Lutens I'm looking at you).

  11. #11
    Dependent Navyy8's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Vetiver...sampled Creed Original Vetiver on my wrist, could not get past the soapy note. Had to scrubb it off after 1/2 hour.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Fragrances that are overly smoky or smell like burning rubber or hot tar.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    For me, challenging means the scent is something I enjoy yet have trouble wearing because it doesn't fit my personality or style.

    Sombre Negra, by Yosh. It smells fantastic, but it's so brooding. I'm not a brooding sort of man. I love it, but I find it too challenging to wear.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Whenever a fragrance strikes me as compelling yet not readily wearable. MFK Absolue Pour le Soir, HdP 1740 and Dior Leather Oud are a few that came to mind.

  15. #15
    Basenotes Junkie Wheatstraw2's Avatar
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Tuberose and civet. Especially civet.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    I don't usually consider a scent "challenging", either it's appealing or unappealing to me

    Regarding the unappealing, I find majority of "dirty" fragrances unappealing in a sense that I have a hard time believing someone would like to smell like that or being associated with that smell. The concept of being a little animalistic sound nice on paper but when a fragrance takes it too literally then it makes no sense

    Take MKK by Serge Lutens, IMO, it's a dirty fragrance done right in the way that it takes a more abstract approach to the word dirty, you have a slight sweat smell but there are flowers and other things to cover it up and make it more artistic and pleasant. On the other hands, take the drydown of Gold Man by Amouage, it smells literally like some one who has not brush their teeth in months spits on you or Lonestar Memories by Tauer which smells like a combination of a dirty restroom and gasoline. I just cannot see the point of having those scents or even wear them in public

  17. #17

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Quote Originally Posted by Wheatstraw2 View Post
    Tuberose and civet. Especially civet.
    I feel ya on the civet.

  18. #18

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Checking this thread it seems to me 'challenging' could be replaced by 'don't like'?

    One man's meat, etc......

  19. #19

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    In the early days, vanilla. Just seemed too fem. Did get used to it.

    Later A*Men top notes, the burning plastic of Lagerfeld and the car freshener orange blossom of Altamir.

  20. #20

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Quote Originally Posted by alfarom View Post
    I give both a positive and negative meaning to the word *challenging* depending on the context and notes involved. ...
    Agree with this.

    Positively challenging: animalic, abstract, musky, avant-garde, BIRCH TAR!

    Negatively challenging: white florals, most rose, saffron (especially when combined with rose), soapy, powdery, amber-centric, AQUATICS.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    For me challenging means there's still hope but some notes are problematic or it varies per wearing (great, then something off).

    Derby epitomizes challenge for me. Somtimes great, others rough. But I can't give it up - too much good in it.

  22. #22

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Most notes appeal to me in different ways so I would say a soapy rose could be my downfall if I had to pick one. My biggest pet peeve is a great smelling fragrance that just doesn't go the distance. I feel I'm robbed for the remainder of the day. So longevity is a bigger issue to me.

  23. #23

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Civet and to a lesser degree castoreum.

    Anything fecal. I still can't figure out why someone would pay to smell like that, but clearly some people do. To each his own I guess.


    But is it really a challenge if I run away from it?

  24. #24

    Default Re: What makes a scent "challenging" for YOU?

    Never smelled fecal scents in frags, and I will actively avoid anything described as such. Can't even see the appeal of such a thing.

    Challenging, as in there's a slight possibility of it being worn because of other components, but probably not - calone (sneezy and stinky for a few minutes), heavy powder, cloves, iris, boozy, salty, tobacco.

    Very little outside of that, but that's because most of it would fall under fecal in the "not even gonna bother" pile. Petroleum products, burning rubber, totally not-burning rubber, blood, seaweed, and a bunch of other stuff that stinks and is the impetus for showers for everybody else.

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