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  1. #1

    Default Struggling with the classics

    Hello all

    Am just starting to learn a bit more about perfume after being stuck in a rut for years. Think I naturally gravitate towards flowery orientals - I have Dior Addict & Flowerbomb -and have just ordered a few samples form Andy Tauer - L'air du desert Moroccain, Maroc pour Elle and La Rose chypree - which I like although maybe more on the base than top notes.

    But following all the advice to newbies, have been trying a few classics and am really find it hard to like. Was in an airport last week & tried Channel no 19 which I found very powdery, Shalimar which was like cats and Mitsouko which just smelled weird.

    I know these are classics that people rave about so wonder what I am doing wrong? Or is it just chemistry? Tend to find am mostly left with vanilla notes on my skin after a few hours and some scents like l'eau d'Issey and Kenzo flower just don't last long on me at all.

    How can I learn to love the classics or where should I start?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2011

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    Very much doubt it is skin chemistry.
    Maybe try again in a while in different conditions and see if you get the same feeling. If you do then maybe they really aren't for you.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Institution
    sjg3839's Avatar
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    Aug 2012

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    Sample as much as you can to determine what you like.
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26148387.html"><img src=""> Carven L'Eau Intense by Carven</a></div>

  4. #4

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    These so-called classics have probably been reformulated so many times that they're a shadow of their former selves. Even fragrances that are less than 10 years old get reformulated so imagine fragrances from even before that time. Don't force it. If you don't like it then that's your personal opinion and you shouldn't let reviews and others in the fragrance community try to guilt-trip you or shame you into liking something because they happen to feel that in order to be a "real" fragrance fan you have to like these so-called classics that probably smell nothing like what they used to but still have their legendary name attached to a reformulated product.
    Last edited by Ronin; 18th February 2014 at 01:08 AM.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2011

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    I completely agree with Ronin that your personal opinion of a fragrance is as valid as anyone's, and that you should trust your own sense of smell and not worry about what other people think.

    However, I will also say that some of those classics can be difficult to like at first: they don't smell like the popular fragrances that you're used to smelling, and the difference can be quite jarring. But they may grow on you. Keep an open mind, smell a lot, read more, and keep learning for as long as you're interested. Take your time. And you may then find yourself drawn to those perfumes you don't like now. I've been there - I hated Mitsouko the first time I smelled it. A few years later, I own several bottles of it and wouldn't be without it.

    So not to say that you're required to like anything, just that you should allow room for your tastes to develop and not rule anything out.
    Currently wearing: Naias by Sammarco

  6. #6
    Basenotes Junkie Mocha's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    I know that many fragrances smell different on different people. Frederic Malle's Une Rose smells like wine and roses on me, and any woody notes are buried, whereas other people hardly notice the rose on their skin but get a lot of the wood. That's why you really have to try any fragrance you like on your own skin.

    In addition, don't ignore the vagaries of personal taste. You will enjoy fragrances that others don't, and vice versa. For example, I love florals, which many find hard to take, whereas many oriental fragrances give me a headache and I just can't wear them.

    I also agree with Kagey that sometimes it takes time to get used to classic fragrances. Go back to Chanel No. 19, for example, over time, to see if your reactions have changed. That's a good one to use as a marker, because it is strong. And be prepared for never liking it, too. That's why they make so many different fragrances.
    Currently wearing: No. 5 by Chanel

  7. #7

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    Many classics come in various concentrations, so do sample the range if you can.
    But as others have said, it's silly to try and force yourself to love something (except in the case of No.5 - that's mandatory).

  8. #8
    hednic's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Reside in McLean, Va., Manhattan NYC, Manuel Antonio Costa Rica & Bzios Brasil

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    I'd keep trying a variety of different scents. One is bound to click with you and you'll find in time that you'll be able to appreciate the differences between them and in time will know what's right for you.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
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  9. #9
    Dependent danieq's Avatar
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    Jul 2013
    Southeastern Arizona

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    I had much the same experience as you are having so don't worry a bit. I began my journey with fragrance in earnest last July and in the beginning, I couldn't stand any of the 'classics'. However, I was intrigued enough by reading what others thought that I just kept trying lots of things. Within only a few months, my initial reactions had changed as my nose became more accustomed to distinguishing between scents. It's a journey and you'll go through all sorts of different stages.

    Don't feel obliged to force yourself to like anything, however, I'd also advise that you never say never as your nose very well could surprise you. It's a very happy surprise when something you previously hated becomes a true favorite. The key is to keep an open nose.
    I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

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    Currently wearing: Great Lady by Evyan

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Washington, DC

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics


    I agree with what other people said. First, it's a matter of taste, so there's no point in forcing oneself to like or not like something.
    Second, and most importantly, new things to which one is not used to often don't click, they appear strange. But then after the first time, they start growing. It's a bit like food- trying a new cuisine when one has eaten the same thing forever. Dishes may appear too spicy, or strange, at first. But then one will start liking things.
    So once you start expanding your horizons, you'll find yourself liking more things. Of course, not all of them - you may still appreciate the construction, the richness, etc., but some of the classics inevitably won't click. But others will. There are dozens of classics, all different.

    As for the specifics, Mitsouko is going through some changes - some recent batches weren't as good, but apparently Guerlain figured out a way to reproduce the old base with new ingredients, so stay tuned (still, as you say, Mitsouko smells bitter, abstract, mossy, not flowery or sweet oriental). Shalimar is the grande dame of orientals - there are two broad styles, one like Shalimar, sweetish, vanillic, smooth, and to many powdery, and the darker spicy deep (like Opium). Perhaps you're thinking about this second style. Chanel no 19 has a green top; vintage had a dry leathery drydown, current has a much lighter drydown.


  11. #11

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    The great thing about basenotes is that everyone gives such great advice!

    I am fairly new to the fragrance game myself, and I am slowly starting to appreciate the "classics". It was quite difficult at first because, growing up with the new modern scents that are labeled safe crowd pleasers, the classics had such character. It took a little time but after testing many, many fragrances, I really appreciated the craftsmanship behind them.

    I hope that with time the same thing happens for you!
    "All the best perfumes in history have something that smells like garbage in them; that's what keeps drawing you back."

  12. #12

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    I started my testing journey with classics or the best list or fragrances that changed the perfume landscape; most of them were not for me; I like my fragrances a bit more watered down and light.

    But testing the oldies helped me have some reference point on reading reviews and when they described something as oldy scent or old lady or grandparents time; I somehow understand where the review is coming from. Also, oldy fragrances have grand entrances which a lot of modern fragrances failed to deliver.

  13. #13
    Basenotes Plus
    FISS80's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Grovetown, GA

    Default Re: Struggling with the classics

    As has been mentioned by everyone else above, continue to test, and you will naturally gravitate to fragrances that work perfectly with your skin chemistry and interests. I asked myself the same question when I received a variety of fragrances from the Toronto Guerlain boutique along with my purchase of SDV a few years ago. I sniffed Mitsouko, Derby, Jicky, and Heritage. I did not find any of them wearable. I found them slightly pleasant but that is all. I revisited them last month, and although I appreciate them much more now, I still could not see wearing any of them. I have found by sniffing around that I am extremely partial to rose as well as lavender fragrances. Good luck!!!
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