At a fragrance blog I referenced in a post here not long ago, the blogger had this to say:
“…for the first two minutes of wear, the plum is beautiful. It [Acqua Fiorentina] smells sweet, delicate, full of complex stray notes that stretch from ‘grapey’ to ‘pear-like,’ and back to full-on plum once again. It’s a short and decidedly wonderful ride.
Then the plum exits, stage left. Enter synthetic, fresh, rosy-woody Calone notes. I’ve smelled this before, a supple, nondescript, airy modern cologne, edged with expensive aroma chemicals, but banal nonetheless. Hints of cedar, dry citrus (grapefruit?), and a lightly spiced floral backdrop – presumably carnation – all comprise a silvery-grey sheen that is as forgettable as can be.”
Because this blogger is apparently angry with me, I will cite the source this time:
I have nothing against this person and in fact complimented his enthusiasm. I merely pointed out that his reviews are of limited to use to me, because we don’t seem to appreciate fragrances in the same way (I try to avoid most of the top notes). By contrast, he thinks of me as fragrance “dunce,” which of course is fine, in that people are entitled to such opinions. What I don’t understand is why he provides so much evidence from his own experience that contradicts his belief that top notes are somehow of crucial importance. Implicit in this notion is the thought that everyone must enjoy fragrances in exactly the same way. He doesn’t seem to think it is possible that there are many people like me in the world, or he thinks that my use of fragrances is somewhat not “legitimate.”
But let’s get back to this particular quotation. I’ll point out first that I understand that top notes can be enjoyable. For some reason, if I breathe in too much of the top notes the experience is not pleasant, but even if this was not the case, I would not pay anything for two minutes of a nice fruit rendition (or perhaps any olfactory rendition), and in fact would view it as more of a “tease” than something pleasant. There’s another reason as well, which is that I like to eat at least one piece of fruit each day other than the banana I eat every day. I also usually eat some raisins and a “fig bar.”
Interestingly, over the last few years, I have come to dislike the smell of most cooked food. Bakery items are fine, at least for a short period of time, but most food just doesn’t smell right to me, and I think it’s because my mind is now “wired” to evaluate scent in a different way. These days, the act of eating is necessary to really enjoy food. Just smelling it means little, or is actually irritating. Most smells coming from restaurants smells awful or somehow wrong to me now. Anyway, getting back to the point of this post, I enjoy the overall fruit-eating experience, which includes the scent, but with fragrances I enjoy complex blends with notes that have some contrast. Smelling a strong fruit accord doesn’t generate too much enjoyment. In fact, it will soon become cloying unless there is something to balance it out. On the other hand, eating fruit involves “mouth appeal” (which is a complex combination of factors resulting in our sense of taste).
Is it that some people, or even almost everyone, try to evaluate fragrances by using gustatory standards? For me, there is a very sharp distinction between eating and enjoying fragrances, and in fact when I eat, if the fragrance I’m wearing is still going strong, it hardly “registers” until I finish eating. Now keep in mind that though I’m not a huge fan of strong citrus notes in fragrances, for example, I have nothing against such notes if the fragrances is blended well. Top notes are not about complexity or balance, but the opposite. They are meant to draw you in to the rest of the fragrance, at least historically. However, it seems that most fragrances today are “loaded up” with strong top notes, the idea being to conceal a weak or generic (and cheap) base. This is the way most of the reformulated 1980s men’s fragrances have been composed, in my experience. And that doesn’t mean they must smell “bad,” just that they are not what I’m seeking.