On a recent Basenotes.net thread, someone asked about a “note” he thinks is causing him problems. Some responded by pointing out that it may be an aroma chemical that is not listed as a note. Thinking about this thread, I realized that it’s important to mention that even if you have a liked a particular “note” in the scents you’ve tried, you may not like other aspects of the scent. I decided to write up a blog post on this topic after sampling Mr. Blass for the first time recently, because while I recognize some of the same notes in Terre d’Hermes, the overall impression was quite different. My Fragrantica.com review of Mr. B is:
Well I will disagree slightly with the previous two reviews, in that Tiffany for Men is much stronger, with powerful oakmoss, patchouli, and sweet/amber/vanilla. And it’s also not like Aramis, in that the leather isn’t as strong here and it doesn’t have the clear floral elements either. This is more of a light ambery scent, at least after the opening subsides. I get a kind of orange tint, which I’m assuming is the bergamot listed, as well as spice and wood/incense notes. However, everything here is quite mild and soft, relative to what you would expect looking at the listed notes. Fortunately, there are no obnoxious musks, no iso e super overload, and none of the usual suspects that can make a scent smell “synthetic” or “chemical” (calone and the rest). Nor is it obviously sweet. If Dirty English was too sharp for you (and Terre d’Hermes way too sharp), then you might want to sample this one. If you blind buy it I suggest the 125 ml bottle (not sure of other sizes) because you might have to spray more than usual.
UPDATE: Over time, this gets drier and woodier. I can’t argue against anyone who would claim there is no “wow factor” here, but at current prices it’s a very good buy if this is what you seek.
According to Fragrantica.com, the notes for Mr. B are:
…bergamot, nutmeg, cypress, amber, vanilla, vetiver, leather, incense and musk.
For TdH, the listed note (from http://www.parfyym.pri.ee) are:
…orange, grapefruit, pepper, vetiver, benzoin, geranium, patchouli, and cedar.
Of course, much as been said about a “mineralic” or “flinty” quality to TdH, something Mr. B certainly does not possess. In fact, I’d say that Mr. B is “basic,” meaning that there is no attempt to “dress up” the scent in any way. Instead, it’s more like an illustration of restraint in the art of perfumery, perhaps with the intention of making it wearable for the largest number of people possible. Was the perfumer afraid of “making a mistake” in that context here? Another one like this (and equally inexpensive) is Royal Secret for Men. though that is about a mild rose note rather than spices. Do some perfumers deliberately avoid creating a scent with a “wow factor” while others feel they must have one? I wish I knew! What I do know is that I generally find “wow factor” scents unwearable, though they often smell good on a smelling strip if you just take a quick sniff.
The point here is that the notes for these two scents are similar, and indeed one can smell some clear similarities, but the aroma chemicals used in these two generate very different impressions, at least to me. However, let’s address current reviews of these two. TdH is often described as being sharp, or even acrid, and some go so far as to call it sour (I have may at one time, and certainly would not disagree with that idea). By contrast, Mr. Blass seems to have impressive top notes but then some feel it is too weak or nondescript. TdH supposedly contains large amounts of the iso e super molecule, whereas I don’t think Mr. B contains much if any of it.
Finally, I’ll provide my answer to the question that is the title of this post. No, I doubt it would work. If you diluted TdH with perfumer’s alcohol I doubt something like Mr. B would result, either in terms of the top notes experience or the drydown, even if we leave aside the differences in notes listed and just focus on the similarities. If anyone would like to try this and tell us what happens in the comments section, I’d be curious to know. Since the iso e super is so strong in TdH, and because I find it so irritating, I don’t want to attempt this little “experiment.” However, the point of this post is that if you are a “newbie,” remember that while it can be helpful to know the notes involved, the aroma chemicals used to enhance them may lead to very different opinions on the scent’s character and wearability.