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  1. #1
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    slpfrsly's Avatar
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    Default If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    I'm sure this question has been asked before, perhaps under a different guise, such as 'the best fragrances one should try'; that said, I thought it might be interesting to ask it again, under a more specific notion of wondering whether we can create a canonical 'list', and/or approach, to perfume.

    Personally, I'm dubious about the notion of fragrance as 'art', per se, but I see many refer to it as such. Evidently there is something artistic about perfume, at the very least, and for all the 'postmodern' developments in perfume over the last, say, 20-30 years, where anti-perfume seems to be as popular or even more popular than the idea of creating something neo-classical, there is evidently a lot of love for what may be deemed the 'golden age' of perfume and the vintage fragrances that were created in that era. That's not to say that the list must solely be 'classical' perfumes, or comprised of vintage fragrances, but it surely has to be built upon the foundational concepts and creation of fragrance (or does it?).

    So, if we can all agree that there is at the very least something artistic about perfume, for the sake of argument: if there were to be an attempt to include fragrance in the canon...

    - how would you/we/whoever decide what is included, and the reasoning behind any inclusion/exclusion?

    - what would you choose to be included (and excluded), and why?


    Bit of a heavy one, I know, but hopefully something to sink your teeth in to if/when you have the time!
    “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
    Currently wearing: Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

  2. #2

    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    I've gone back about 35 years and they are all masculines. I think they represent either movements away from the norm and so are quite bold/daring or are very typical examples of what the big houses think will sell in astonishing amounts, so making them interesting for that reason alone.

    I don't actually like all of these, but, for me, they are all fascinating and should at least be tested and be included in any 'canon' of male fragrances. I have hardly touched any 'niche'.

    Versace - L'Homme (original)
    Rive Gauche PH
    Habit Rouge
    M7 Fresh
    Cool Water
    Fahrenheit
    Bulgari Black
    Jubilation XXV
    Derby
    1Million
    Bleu
    A*Men
    Terre d'Hermes
    Dior Homme
    Aventus

  3. #3
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    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    Well I'd tentatively add 4711's Eau de Cologne should be a good starting point. Hopefully for obvious reasons.
    “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
    Currently wearing: Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

  4. #4
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    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaern View Post
    Versace - L'Homme (original)
    Rive Gauche PH
    Habit Rouge
    M7 Fresh
    Cool Water
    Fahrenheit
    Bulgari Black
    Jubilation XXV
    Derby
    1Million
    Bleu
    A*Men
    Terre d'Hermes
    Dior Homme
    Aventus
    This is a good representation.
    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.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    I'll start with the letter A -


    Aramis EDC
    il_1140xN.2261667935_6gi9.jpg

    Azzaro Pour Homme EDT
    IMG_5875 (1).jpg

    Avon for Men Cologne
    1554203148399.jpg

    “Always do what is right. It will gratify half of mankind and astound the other.”
    ― Mark Twain
    Currently wearing: Polo by Ralph Lauren

  6. #6
    Basenotes Institution Danny Mitchell's Avatar
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    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    Alphabetical canon, that's a great idea. Good call.
    For modern canon, I'd include Acqua Di Gio.
    "Ducks eat for free at Subway."
    Currently wearing: Polo by Ralph Lauren

  7. #7

    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    I think fragrance has closer ties to fashion rather than art. Look at the 80s fashion which was brash, loud, garish sexuality, very much like the fragrances such as Poison and Jovan Musk.

  8. #8

    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    For canonical works, I tend to think of legendary fragrances that define a fragrance family or an era. For example:

    Jicky - the first modern perfume to use synthetics
    Mitsouko - reference chypre
    Shalimar - reference oriental
    Chanel No. 5 - reference aldehyde and probably still the most well-known perfume in the world
    Jean Patou Joy - legendary floral, marketed as the ultimate luxury in fragrance for decades ("costliest perfume in the world" etc)
    Opium - legendary spicy oriental evocative of the 80s
    L'Eau d'Issey - launched the aquatic trend
    Angel - launched the gourmand trend (bad Mugler, bad!)
    Currently wearing: No. 19 by Chanel

  9. #9

    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    Would most likely choose, at least for a masculine/unisex selection for an iconic fragrance canon, all the choices mentioned (especially by ZC but also by anyone else here on BN having contributed to this) on the BN thread covering some of the most iconic and/or historically significant fragrances ever.

    Also the ones on the thread about the BN awards/charts from different years, their significance and renditions on additional fragrance sites and within different communities as well.
    Along with the centralized grand total that especially of historically significant and/or iconic scents Claire V and many other BN contributors have put together as bigger picture of most if not all decisive, turning point landmarks in shaping the fragrance world, culture, industry, tastes, sensibilities that we currently know and have (more or less) gotten to appreciate.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    Bumping this to see if we can get some more replies?

    I'd be really interested in trying to create some sort of useful list for new(ish) people coming to the world of fragrance.
    “If it is not right do not do it; if it is not true do not say it.”
    Currently wearing: Beau de Jour by Tom Ford

  11. #11

    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    Guerlain Eau de Cologne
    Guerlain Jicky
    Guerlain Mitsouko
    Guerlain Shalimar
    Chanel No. 5
    Jean Patou Joy
    Caron Pour un Homme
    Hermes Eau d'Hermes
    Dior Eau Sauvage


    Perhaps lacking in some women's fragrances such as Arpege, but I've not had the pleasure of experiencing all the vintage femmes. I think that would be a good list to get someone through to the modern era of fragrances that started imo in the 1970's. I also think vintage Amouage Gold Woman should be on the list, even though it's from the 80's.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    For Moderns.....

    Kouros
    Guerlain Vetiver
    Acqua di Giò
    .....
    Kaern's list
    ......
    There is no beauty / That cannot be more abused / To beauty's effect.
    / blog:// https://cologniac.com / raging for the machines

  13. #13

    Default Re: If we were to create a fragrance 'canon', what would be included?

    I thought the origin of the word canon (taken from Wiki) is pretty useful:

    "The word canon is derived from ancient Greek κανών, kanṓn, meaning a measuring rod, or standard."

    So perfumes that set the standard for a genre or style, the measuring rod for all other perfumes. For me, I would think this could include either perfumes that launched a new genre, or those that perfected it becoming a references for the genre.

    So, there are the obvious vintages like Shalimar and No. 5. I'm not the most knowledgeable on vintage fragrances, so I'll suggest a few modern creations that I think have become canonical:
    Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady - gold standard rose patch and gold standard ideal of what modern niche can be
    Frederic Malle Carnal Flower - Fracas ofc was the original tuberose measuring rod, but I think Carnal Flower has replaced it as the new standard
    Creed Aventus - I hate to say, but there's no denying it launched a thousand fragrances and frag bros
    Dior Homme - maybe not as strong a case as the others, but I think it launched a new kind of masculinity and a craze for iris
    Bleu de Chanel - there's no denying it's the original and best in genre of blue designer fragrances (well maybe not THE original, Cool Water would get that)
    "I can't understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones."
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