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  1. #1
    Super Member Mr G's Avatar
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    Default What's happened?

    I've recently come back to the fragrance game after about 6 or so years. Suprised at a couple of changes that have taken place and would welcome your comments:

    1. Everything seems to have been reformulated and is now different and/ or weaker. Recently bought GIT decants from two different, but wholly trustworthy, guys and the stuff smells like a memory of the original stuff. Lucky to still have about 30ml of my 2011 batch but devastated that it looks like this will never be available again. Same applies to my Chergui, LIDGE (yeah I know it's discontinued), Reflection, etc. Has IFRA completely destroyed most older fragrances? Does this also mean perfumers will struggle to create new fragrances that are unique and long lasting?

    2. Clones everywhere. Seems like every Youtuber I watch is suggesting buying these. I can't remember this being ubiquitous as it is now. Do the youtubers get incentivised by these companies or are they actually worthwhile? I've tried 3 from a UK company and wasn't overly impressed.

    3. Basenotes seems to appear quite low down in search results. I now have to add "basenotes" to my search to get results. Misremembering this or has there been a change? Fragrantica always appears higher.

    4. Finally I'm really glad to see some of the most knowledgable reviewers and commentators still here providing invaluable advice and guidance. As someone who is still learning so much I'd like to thank you guys for spending the time educating the rest of us. I'm sure a lot of the other guys on here feel the same.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr G View Post
    1. Everything seems to have been reformulated and is now different and/ or weaker..

    Like yourself, I am lucky that my entire collection was created before 2009. I am a survivor.
    Currently wearing: Black Aoud by Montale

  3. #3
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Hi - that's an interesting opener and some good thoughts there. Very brief responses:

    1. Time provides great perspective. I would try Rogue perfumery for a house whose entire purpose is to thumb its nose at IFRA.

    2. Personally I would avoid clones, as I would avoid most youtubers who talk about fragrance, many of whom I also suspect to be clones.

    3. Wouldn't know but I guess there's a reason.

    4. I also benefit from the same.

    Cheers.
    Currently wearing: No. 88 by Czech & Speake

  4. #4
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Usually if a search a fragrance, basenotes still comes up second or third. But a lot of that is based on your search history, isn't it?
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  5. #5

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Welcome back!

    While not fully qualified nor informed to have complete and substantiated responses to the questions/points 1-3 (but also grateful about all vintages or even just barely older scents owned), glad that point 4 is luckily still fully represented here and the influx of quality BN contributors, both newer ones or simply returning after certain hiatuses remains strong-both as absolute figures, but also in terms of knowledge, insight and enthusiasm.
    Currently wearing: Marbert Homme by Marbert

  6. #6

    Default Re: What's happened?

    If everything is being reformulated to be weaker, then that means the market wants weaker scents.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Re: clones, there are some houses (e.g. Al Haramain), aside from doing their own original work, have found a huge market for cloning scents. As someone who has owned both the originals and the clones themselves, I would say these houses have pretty much exposed the bigger names inflated prices. When a house can reproduce a scent 90% of the way there and sell it at a fraction, and I mean a fraction (I'm looking at you, Tom Ford) of the original pricing, there's no denying the discrepancy in pricing. Some are indeed "cheap," but I'm referring to scents that are still in the $50 - $100 range as opposed to $200-250 range. It's a question each person needs to answer for themselves, whether than 10% difference is worth the more than 10% additional costs. For some, it's not an issue at all. Nevertheless, I wouldn't outrightly dismiss them as inferior as many people believe the 10% difference, whatever they may be, actually improves on the original.
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    Currently wearing: Journey Man by Amouage

  8. #8
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    3. Whoever is running the show at Fragrantica is most likely better utilizing SEO (search engine optimization) than what's happening at BN at the moment.
    "Once you label me, you negate me." --Søren Kierkegaard

  9. #9
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Welcome back

    1 - I would recommend focusing on bottles from the Pre-IFRA era if you want to have better quality of Classic scents. Most of the newer releases are difficult to appreciate sadly.

    2 - I don't recommend youtube as a source of knowledge and reviews. You're better off with Basenotes and Fragrantica.

    3 - If you type in base notes into your google search it shouldn't be an issue at all.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr G View Post
    Everything seems to have been reformulated and is now different and/ or weaker.
    Luckily hasn't affected me regarding my collection.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Welcome back! Indeed the youtubers really like to create some hypes. Ocassionally they may be helpful, but generally they're here more for the beginner crowd. A lot of reformulations and discontinued or soon to be discontinued frags like Dior Homme, for instance. Albeit not discontinued yet, it is expected.
    Currently wearing: Luna Rossa by Prada

  12. #12

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Welcome back!

    Well you can look at the market now with more positive outlook for starters, clones aren't a bad thing! There are big houses making higher quality of cheaper hits eg. Roja, houses making cheaper offerings inspired by expensive hits for those on a budget like Rasasi, even houses that take inspiration and make a better version but also for a better price like Terenzi, in the end this competition even makes the original offering itself more competitive by having better reformulations or getting discounts to keep up.... Clones aren't bad, at least not for us the consumers.

    I also do not find the reformulations of the past few years as big a deal as some others make it, specially with so many niche and indie houses making new unique offerings by the day, it's harder than ever to sweat on an old vintage, new molecules in recent years have paved way for new waves of original innovations... I'm sure you'll also find many new loves whatever your taste is like.
    Currently wearing: Antaeus by Chanel

  13. #13

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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Welcome back1

    Mostly agree on 1. But I must say that the biggest wave was around 2010. Now you actually hear of re-reformulations that improve things relative to earlier in the decade (sometimes among the big brands like Chanel, Dior, etc).

    I have not noticed 2, at least here in the US. If any, I see less in stores. I don't follow perfume reviews on youtube, so perhaps marketers have just shifted to that medium.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Lots of chemical soup niche over the last several years, but if you like them just wait for the clones of them to be released! LOL.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Lol @no.3. Yeah, back in 2009 when I first joined BN, a search for fragrance reviews almost always have BN’s entry at the top of page 1. Guess it’s fallen far behind since in SEO rankings.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr G View Post
    3. Basenotes seems to appear quite low down in search results. I now have to add "basenotes" to my search to get results. Misremembering this or has there been a change? Fragrantica always appears higher.
    Last night, I searched for today's SOTD (Patchouli Intense) and the BN entry didn't show up on the first page, so I searched again with the added "Basenotes" and the Fragrantica entry was still the top result!!!
    Currently wearing: Fume by Hendley Perfumes

  17. #17

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr G View Post
    LIDGE (yeah I know it's discontinued).
    It is not! https://www.guerlain.com/fr/fr-fr/pa...ain-pour-homme

  18. #18
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by GoldWineMemories View Post
    If everything is being reformulated to be weaker, then that means the market wants weaker scents.
    How can this be?
    Currently wearing: Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford

  19. #19
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bangkok Hound View Post
    Last night, I searched for today's SOTD (Patchouli Intense) and the BN entry didn't show up on the first page, so I searched again with the added "Basenotes" and the Fragrantica entry was still the top result!!!
    Frustrating.
    Currently wearing: Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford

  20. #20
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr G View Post

    1. Everything seems to have been reformulated and is now different and/ or weaker.

    2. Clones everywhere.

    3. Basenotes seems to appear quite low down in search results.

    4. Finally I'm really glad to see some of the most knowledgable reviewers and commentators still here providing invaluable advice and guidance.

    1. It would be more accurate to state that it seems to SOME people more often than others.

    2. Should a frag be similar from start to finish to a previous one, I'd rather see them as alternate takes, that (for some) result in being improved versions to my nose. But a single similarity is not enough to define it as clone imo (the presence of rasperry/leather accord alone is not enough to define it as clone of TF Tuscan Leather, nor is the presence of pineapple accord alone enough to define it a clone of Ferre for Men).

    3. Yes. Because Fragrantica is esthetically more attractive, and my guess is that it scores more new members than BN recently. (Thus it appears more "dynamic" in search engines - not to talk about the paying side of things to appear in top results).

  21. #21

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceRF View Post
    How can this be?
    Greed.
    "I drank what?" -Socrates
    Currently wearing: Oud Wood by Tom Ford

  22. #22
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr G View Post
    I've recently come back to the fragrance game after about 6 or so years. Suprised at a couple of changes that have taken place and would welcome your comments:

    1. Everything seems to have been reformulated and is now different and/ or weaker. Recently bought GIT decants from two different, but wholly trustworthy, guys and the stuff smells like a memory of the original stuff. Lucky to still have about 30ml of my 2011 batch but devastated that it looks like this will never be available again. Same applies to my Chergui, LIDGE (yeah I know it's discontinued), Reflection, etc. Has IFRA completely destroyed most older fragrances? Does this also mean perfumers will struggle to create new fragrances that are unique and long lasting?

    2. Clones everywhere. Seems like every Youtuber I watch is suggesting buying these. I can't remember this being ubiquitous as it is now. Do the youtubers get incentivised by these companies or are they actually worthwhile? I've tried 3 from a UK company and wasn't overly impressed.

    3. Basenotes seems to appear quite low down in search results. I now have to add "basenotes" to my search to get results. Misremembering this or has there been a change? Fragrantica always appears higher.

    4. Finally I'm really glad to see some of the most knowledgable reviewers and commentators still here providing invaluable advice and guidance. As someone who is still learning so much I'd like to thank you guys for spending the time educating the rest of us. I'm sure a lot of the other guys on here feel the same.
    1) There was a massive IFRA initiative in 2011 that made using oakmoss almost untenable without severe (expensive) filtering the big players don't want to pay for. Furthermore, market forces and economic developments have shifted profit strategies of perfumers towards optimizing cost/profit per unit on perfumes since they have in recent years become the main seller of design houses (over clothing or accessories). This means make them cheap as possible, and sell them high, which has given rise to "masstige" and tons of "nouveau-niche" which is really niche in name alone to capitalize on manufactured exclusivity. Tl;dr the beancounters have a stranglehold on perfume now. Artisanals make up a lot for this massive creative gutting and ingredient restriction, but a lot of them play up on the fear of missing out frenzy, making would-be fans jump through hoops to "catch" a purchase of something, when their actual perfuming skill or ingredient integrity can be suspect too.

    2) Clones and their proliferation are the result of so much growing economic inequality but people's thirst for "luxury" not declining to match it, plus the abolition of the drugstore brands of old, since they carry a plebeian stigma. People have less money than ever but the "good stuff" costs more than ever, so this leaves lots of opportunities for clone outfits to get "close enough" to iconic and clout-wielding niche or high-end designer brands. In other words, more people now than ever are willing to get a perfume that "smells like Tom Ford" rather than just buying something humble but well-made like the Revlons, Avons, or Cotys of yore. In particular, a lot of Middle Eastern houses that aren't technically clone operations and formerly stuck to attars have entered the Western perfume game by making clones of popular designers, niche, and luxury fragrances that you just can't easily get there, while sellers here import those as lower-cost alternatives to the big names. Al Rehab, Al Haramain, Armaf, Rasasi, and AsGarhali are all examples of that phenomenon.

    3) I can't really speak with authority on this one but if I had to venture a guess, I'd say it's a combination of things. First. Fragrantica has more big-money backers and is for-profit with how it collects revenue, has paid staff, and works to secure exclusive content with industry insiders, making it the perfume site "for the masses" where the biggest designers and most-hyped niche are focused on almost exclusively. By comparison, Basenotes started as a men's grooming and fragrance site run by one person, then organically grew but always remained more of a community and hobbyist-focused site built on conventional but aging technology still mostly managed by one person, which puts it at a disadvantage with the SEO rankings especially in regards to keeping up with directory updates since more fragrances release now than one person can reasonably add to a website without making it a 24-7 activity.

    4) There has been a slight calcification of the longtime user base here, and the bit of orthodoxy that tends to create making it less-friendly to newbies than it could be, but I mostly agree. Combined with a lot of the longtime favorite reviewers literally just poofing into thin air (then having their off-site blogs poof too, which is extra sad), and it sort of feels like anymore that the YouTuber review talking heads are becoming the source everyone trusts, and we know how a lot of them are bought and sold with free boxed product by houses looking for influencer hype. I like to think people still here talking the talk and walking the walk about honest perfume opinions and advice are the folks just sick of all that hooplah, particularly in men's fragrance where everything is hellbent on hype, compliments, performance, and mass-appeal to the detriment of everything else.
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  23. #23
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    1. Plenty has been reformulated and if you have some old faves you haven't tried in awhile, it may be the case. I think there is still plenty of good stuff out there. I am also wary of "scent memory." I often wonder if our memory of a scent is sometimes misleading.

    2. I haven't paid enough attention to clones to really note if they have grown or not. I'll take your word for it that there are more. Zealot Crusader may be right on this one.

    3. Not sure if money is a factor or not, but if I search a frag, usually Fragantica review appears first. But the Basenotes review isn't so far away that it's difficult to find. I have noted that with many newer and especially some of the very pricey frags, there are often no reviews for awhile in Basenotes, when there may be a few in Fragantica.

    4. What I love here at Basenotes is there is a fairly large core of people who have been here for years, and whose user names and avatars are like old friends. Many respected reviewers whose I opinions I don't always agree with, but I am clear they are very pure of thought and passionate about scents.
    I'm probably a semi-shallow Basenoter fraghead, but nowhere near as vapid as my perception of some I see in other sites.
    Currently Loving:

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    New York Intense
    Patchouli Intense
    Naxos
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    Clubman/Canoe/Wild Country/Azzaro Pour Homme
    Currently wearing: No. 89 by Floris

  24. #24

    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Zealot Crusader View Post

    2) Clones and their proliferation are the result of so much growing economic inequality but people's thirst for "luxury" not declining to match it, plus the abolition of the drugstore brands of old, since they carry a plebeian stigma. People have less money than ever but the "good stuff" costs more than ever, so this leaves lots of opportunities for clone outfits to get "close enough" to iconic and clout-wielding niche or high-end designer brands. In other words, more people now than ever are willing to get a perfume that "smells like Tom Ford" rather than just buying something humble but well-made like the Revlons, Avons, or Cotys of yore. In particular, a lot of Middle Eastern houses that aren't technically clone operations and formerly stuck to attars have entered the Western perfume game by making clones of popular designers, niche, and luxury fragrances that you just can't easily get there, while sellers here import those as lower-cost alternatives to the big names. Al Rehab, Al Haramain, Armaf, Rasasi, and AsGarhali are all examples of that phenomenon.
    Good points. The rise of the luxury clone at mid-market prices has been an interesting development to watch. In the past, if you wanted a clone or "inspired by" fragrance, your options were to hit either the dollar store or Walmart and spend between $1 and $15. Naturally, one couldn't expect too much at those price points. But when (mostly Middle Eastern) houses started putting out clones of high dollar fragrances in the $40 to $70 price range, people could start to get their hands on some pretty solid stuff.

    I picked up the Al Haramain clone of Tobacco Vanille, and I think it smells fantastic. I haven't smelled the Tom Ford one in years, but I'm very happy with the version I got at $50 or so. Even if it isn't an exact duplicate, I think it stands on its own as an excellent scent. I just picked up their version of Baccarat Rouge 540 as well; I have never smelled the original, but at least I know if I don't like this it won't be because the ingredients used are total garbage.
    Currently wearing: Kumkat Wood by Mancera

  25. #25
    Dependent PrinceRF's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shiny Beast View Post
    Greed.
    From a company perspective, I agree. But from a market demand perspective? Do consumers want weaker scents?
    Currently wearing: Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford

  26. #26
    Basenotes Institution freewheelingvagabond's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceRF View Post
    How can this be?
    Quote Originally Posted by Shiny Beast View Post
    Greed.
    CREED

  27. #27
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by PrinceRF View Post
    From a company perspective, I agree. But from a market demand perspective? Do consumers want weaker scents?
    I want chocolate bars to be the size they used to be. That I still buy them does not mean I agree with their diminution. Sadly there are no "clone" bars of similar quality but larger size. For "market demand" read "what the producers think they can get away with".
    Currently wearing: No. 88 by Czech & Speake

  28. #28
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Welcome back Mr G

    1. I don't think so (MFK, Amouage, Montale/Mancera are testimony to this), it may be weaker due to the ageing process or maybe you are perceiving the lack of depth and complexity as weaker, which you could blame IFRA/EU for. In any case, there are still great new fragrances coming out (mostly by independent/niche perfume houses) that have great depth and great longevity.

    2. The YouTubers usually get free bottles and gifts, not only from clone houses but mainstream companies too. I wouldn't pay too much attention to them. However, there are some great clones out there that are cheaper and just as good or even better than the originals, Rasasi La Yuqawam vs Tuscan Leather, Parfums Vintage Emperor vs Aventus, Thomas Kosmala No.04 vs Baccarat Rouge to name a few.

    3. The search result issue depends on the amount of traffic that website or webpage receives, regardless of how many SEOs are in place. Fragrantica has a much much better layout and system of reviewing fragrances than Basenotes, the strength of Basenotes is in its forums (which have less popularity with people) but even the forums layout is outdated. If Fragrantica created a decent, modern forum, it would spell the end of Basenotes.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Quote Originally Posted by Funwithfrags View Post
    For "market demand" read "what the producers think they can get away with".
    Gotcha.
    Currently wearing: Tobacco Oud by Tom Ford

  30. #30
    Super Member Mr G's Avatar
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    Default Re: What's happened?

    Thank you to all who have welcomed me back and provided your thoughts. Some very enlightening responses and brillant suggestions. Cheers!




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