I’ve read many threads over the last few years where people argue about various aspects of fragrances. One that comes up at basenotes.net often involves the authenticity of Creed’s historical claims. I’m more interested in the actual smell, however. I really wouldn’t care if Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar wore Selection Verte, or whatever their more ridiculous (IMO) claims are. Another popular thing to argue about is whether or not a fragrance is close enough to a much more expensive fragrance to warrant buying it and saving money.
Clearly, if you are rich it doesn’t matter, as only a few fragrances sell for more than a few hundred dollars for a large bottle. A 100 ml bottle, for example, can provide up to 1500 sprays, roughly (it varies because atomizers can generate significantly different amounts), which will last most people a very long time. One popular discussion not long ago (at BN) concerned fragrances that smell like Aventus (or don’t, depending upon your perceptions). I was able to sample both Aventus and a fragrance (actually two) that smell at least somewhat similar, and the point I’m going to make here is that it may matter but then again it may not.
The crucial pieces of information here, I think, are how often you use the fragrance, and also why you are wearing the fragrance (and possibly skin chemistry). Some people don’t seem to notice much beyond the top notes, while other focus on the drydown, so there several possible variables here alone. That is the top notes and drydowns can be similar or both can be different. Or one can be similar while the other is different (I’m assuming that assessment is “objective” for the sake of argument here, but that’s yet another factor, meaning that a person may be more sensitive to a particular note, or conversely, may not perceive it at all).
What I’ve found is that the more often I use a fragrance the better is must be. Also, if the fragrance is different from what I usually wear and is worn rarely, it can be at least somewhat inferior without any loss of olfactory pleasure, as far as I can tell. So, back to Aventus. I have a fragrance called Gold by Zara (marketed to men), which begins with a similar and strong “smoky” pineapple. With my skin chemistry, this opening lasts a long time, and persists as a trace for many hours. The base is rather generic, some sort of “woody amber” that supplies a bit of “structural support,” but nothing more.
Zara also released a men’s fragrance called Sprint 9.58, which doesn’t seem to have as much of the smoky quality, but I can’t say for sure (since I swapped off my bottle). For me, Aventus didn’t have a base that was exciting enough to warrant spending hundreds of dollars for a large bottle, in light of the similar opening that Gold furnishes. I also knew I wouldn’t wear it very often (once a month would be the maximum, though probably once every two months). Others might like the Aventus base for some reason, or they might find a subtlety in the opening that I haven’t detected because it is so different from what I usually wear and worn so rarely. There is no “right” or “wrong” here, just whatever works for you. I’m quite content with the fragrance bottles I now possess, and if I never acquired another one, I’d likely be “set for life” (I know that I have more than enough in terms of volume, so the only issue is if I need more variety).