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  1. #1
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    Default Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    I see a lot of people discussing a scent's "linearity" as a negative factor. Sure, we can all agree that complexity in a scent is more interesting and may have greater artistic value. But, why is linearity always discussed as though it is a bad thing? Isn't there, sometimes, a certain beauty in simplicity? I hold the notion that complexity vs linearity does not determine what is a better scent or fragrance. Feel free to share your thoughts.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Linearity isn't a bad thing (I love many linear scents), but it does require that the perfumer creates an aromatic profile that won't become tedious or cloying.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooks Otterlake View Post
    Linearity isn't a bad thing (I love many linear scents), but it does require that the perfumer creates an aromatic profile that won't become tedious or cloying.
    agreed
    Currently wearing: Bel Ami by Hermès

  4. #4

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    I also agree. What good is a scent that has individual stages and complex transitions if it ultimately smells like a dumpster fire?

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Concur with others. Nothing wrong per se-what matters is that the perfume is good.

    Though I want to make sure we mean the same thing for linearity. I take linear to mean that a perfume smells the same from beginning to end (ie there is no pyramid). But the perfume itself could be extremely complex. for instance, many orientals are very complex, but they are mostly linear. (eg old Opium)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Ambra Aurea is linear but lovely. Turkish Leather is also.

    It’s not a bad thing.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by cacio View Post
    Though I want to make sure we mean the same thing for linearity. I take linear to mean that a perfume smells the same from beginning to end (ie there is no pyramid). But the perfume itself could be extremely complex. for instance, many orientals are very complex, but they are mostly linear. (eg old Opium)
    That's what I was thinking.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Not necessarily a bad thing at all. If something smells great out of the nozzle and holds its shape til its dying breath with little to no change, I'm happy. If it starts out boring and doesn't evolve, I'm less than thrilled. Plenty of great linear scents out there, also a bunch of boring ones too.

    Complexity can be fun to experience, but is by no means the single deciding factor regarding whether or not something is enjoyable. I've smelled my fair share of unpleasant complex fragrances.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Not so much, if it is the linearity of a note already good per se and also credibly rendered
    Currently wearing: Zino Davidoff by Davidoff

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brooks Otterlake View Post
    Linearity isn't a bad thing (I love many linear scents), but it does require that the perfumer creates an aromatic profile that won't become tedious or cloying.
    Exactly my thoughts. If the frag has great top notes, why not keeping them til the base? (ie Gucci Guilty Absolute)
    That said, sometimes, the opening is great, but one would expect some developement, and nothing happens, thus a feeling of "unacheived"

  11. #11

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Andy the frenchy View Post
    That said, sometimes, the opening is great, but one would expect some developement, and nothing happens, thus a feeling of "unacheived"
    Absolutely. If a fragrance starts well but just fizzles out into nothing

    No fragrance is ever 100% linear unless it's an experimental fragrance made of a single molecule. Molecules break down at different rates. So when we describe a fragrance as linear, we usually don't mean that there's absolutely no development, just that it doesn't have dramatic changes.

    If I've ever complained about linearity it's because I found the fragrance was too tiresome to be wearable or because it felt unfinished and needed additional complexity.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Not for me.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    I've seen the term be used in two different contexts. It's already been mentioned above but one description can mean that the initial opening remains consistent throughout, from start to finish. And yeah, that can be a good thing. I have several that act this way, GG Absolute being a good example that was mentioned.

    It's also used to describe a scent that has no complexity or a lack of nuance, which isn't quite the proper use of the word, IMO
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  14. #14

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    It is if you’re not crazy about how a fragrance smells out of the shoot...
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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Not necessarily. My favorite linear scents have an aroma profile that I love and I want that to hang around for as long as possible rather than changing and evolving. Does that mean I don’t want any scents to change and evolve? No way, but there’s a place for the linear as well.
    Besides, as mentioned by others, even linear scents have some evolution and progression. It’s just the way this is handled. I don’t necessarily need big contrasts and dynamism all the time.
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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    It is a bad thing if you find the prevailing scent monotonous, one dimensional or flat. However if instead you find it pleasurable then linearity is a bonus. For instance I like the way Beau de Jour smells. Its relative linearity works in its favour.
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  17. #17
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Nope. It would only be bad if you didn’t like the smell, which is the same potential issue with any fragrance.
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    A so-called linear perfume is never truly linear per se in perfumery.
    To maintain linearity while making sure it is not perceived as boring and doesn't become tedious, a lot of work goes into such a formula.
    The key is what facet or part of this accord does the perfumer want it to persist in? Then, the aim is for its evaporation curve to be extended and enhanced by adjuvants, e.g. musks and ambroxan are crucial.

    Does it matter if it is three tiered classic composition, two tiered, inverse of a 3-tier (base-notes smelled first), a chypre, a fougere, a simple solifore… it doesn't.
    What matters is do you like it or are you looking for perfume evolution, something new to emerge down the line (and thus disappointed), or perfectly happy for the top notes to linger and linger. How often one wishes for the hesperidic (citrus) notes to stay on as sharp and bright but they can't because of their inherent chemistry and composition, also inbuilt long term decay.

    To merely say because it is linear and thus not to my liking, is perhaps a bit strange. If it was a classic tiered perfume, it would be equal to saying ignore the (linear) first 10 minutes.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    Quote Originally Posted by IsoESuperman View Post
    Not necessarily a bad thing at all. If something smells great out of the nozzle and holds its shape til its dying breath with little to no change, I'm happy. If it starts out boring and doesn't evolve, I'm less than thrilled. Plenty of great linear scents out there, also a bunch of boring ones too.

    Complexity can be fun to experience, but is by no means the single deciding factor regarding whether or not something is enjoyable. I've smelled my fair share of unpleasant complex fragrances.

    Well said!

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    It depends on preference, some individuals might prefer for something much more complex while for others something linear or simplistic is good enough.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    The difference between enjoying a Jolly Rancher, and enjoying a Gobstopper. One stays the same flavor until the end, and one changes several times. I happen to like both.
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Is Linearity Such a Bad Thing?

    I tend to call a scent "linear" when the composition contains an overdose of a single powerful aromachemical or combination of AC. Although many people value the performance offered by these AC, and even like wearing them straight up, as Escentric Molecules, I don't enjoy their monotonous persistence on my skin or clothes. I really love the way that my vintage perfumes dry down and then gradually fade away, with lovely lingering traces of scent. The overall balance of the scent is the key: when used with restraint in a well-designed perfume, the presence of a modern potent AC is fine with me.
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