While some indeed may reside in Los Angeles, I don’t think that is the case for the author of FromPyrgos blog (http://frompyrgos.blogspot.com). In his latest post, he discusses a thread on Basenotes.net about the possible significant reformulation of Epic Man by Amouage. I have yet to sample this scent and did not post to this thread, but I think it’s important to point out that this author is mischaracterizing the thread. Before you proceed further, I suggest you read it for yourself:
Overall, the tone seems to be one of anger, disappointment, and most importantly, agreement with the person who started the thread and thinks the scent is “off” and considerably weaker (with a few people being quite dismissive, despite undeniable evidence to the contrary, which is cited below). One person who commented to the contrary, “Surfacing,” has consistently disagreed with my posts about what I consider to be the most obvious and worst reformulations I’ve encountered, so what should I make of this thread? Clearly, exactly the opposite conclusion that the author of FromPyrgos has! Furthermore, he states:
Don’t take anyone else’s word for it. Trust your own nose only. And if you feel there’s hyperbole or exaggeration in regards to other people’s sentiments, demand real tests, blind comparisons, and the opinions of impartial people.
Does this mean I shouldn’t pay any attention to a person whose reviews I’ve found to be in accord with my own assessments? If I had an unlimited budget and all the time in the world, that would be fine, but in the “real world” it certainly makes more sense to buy vintage and be “safe,” unless of course the price is much higher. And this notion of demanding supposed objectivity is just laughable, suggesting that anonymous people on the internet would never lie about such things! Perhaps most importantly in this context, I could argue that I don’t even trust myself, so how can I trust anyone else? That is, my sensitivity is not constant, and because of that certain notes or accords will come across stronger or weaker sometimes. Usually, once I’m fully awake, I have a feeling that I can handle a strong scent or that I should go for something more subtle, but I’m not always right about this, that’s for sure !
And here again this author contradicts himself, cheering on those who don’t think Epic Man was reformulated while at the same time telling us not to take anyone’s opinion seriously unless they tell us they did rigorous, “blind” testing. On another thread about Zino’s possible reformulation, I asked a skeptical Basenotes member if he thought he was good at detecting sandalwood notes, but he did not reply. That is the kind of information that may be useful if you decide to give weight to a person’s opinion. And as I’ve pointed out there before, even if it appears that changes in bottle designs are indicative of significant changes in formulations, isn’t it possible that some of the old fragrance was put in new bottles or vice versa (to save some money, presumably)? The point is that this is all “guesswork,” but it has been very helpful to me overall (I’d say that my guesses as well as those who seem to “know what they’re talking about” have been over 90% accurate).
Fortunately, certainly for my wallet but perhaps also for my sanity, I’m not actively seeking any particular scent, and in fact often find myself more interested in “back up bottles” than something new, but what I’ve seen with some of the latest reformulations (for example, 1-12 Halston) are fuzzy, nondescript scents with obvious “laundry musk” and a bubble bath type soapiness. Such formulations would have been “laughed out of the building in the “old days.” In the case of 1-12, I have a box made for EA Fragrances that lists oakmoss and tree most, but the newest formulation lists neither! In response to Surfacing’s skepticism about reformulations, another person cited a Basenotes thread created by perfumer Chris Bartlett, which you can read at:
Mr. Bartlett listed what the latest IFRA ingredient restrictions were, and then someone asked about the use of oakmoss, to which he responded:
I can’t say how much [oakmoss] was in Channel Pour Monsieur but I can say that when I’m making a masculine fragrance to a commission and don’t need to worry about the standards I will typically want to use in the region of 1%. So ten times as much as is now permitted…
This suggests to me that any scent with appreciable oakmoss has indeed been “ruined” if reformulated within the new guidelines. I suspected this would be the case and went on a “vintage hunt” for such scents (mostly “feminines”) beginning about a year ago. From what I understand, 1-12 was never an especially expensive scent, ingredient-wise, so this seems to be an excellent example of one that many will regard as “ruined” due to the newest IFRA regulations. For me, calling the latest formulation 0-12 would make the most sense! Seriously, from everything I’ve read the only reasonable conclusion seems to be that from now on most releases will either be pale reformulations, generic/redundant scents, or “chemical nightmares” (I seem to be particularly sensitive to Iso E Super, for example).