When I was quite young I remember being frightened by that “In Search of…” show hosted by Leonard Nimoy. Looking back on it, the music likely was largely responsible, because I didn’t understand much of what was being claimed. And I was a rather trusting child, so I don’t think I understood that there could be absolute nonsense broadcast on a “major network.” Nor did my parents explain to me that it was meant to be entertainment, though they probably should not have allowed me to watch it at all. However, there is clearly a percentage of the population that become “true believers,” and it doesn’t matter what argument you make or what evidence you present to them. Fortunately, I entered graduate school at a young age and learned about how to assess evidence – that helped me avoid spending a lot of time “chasing ghosts.”
Speaking of which, on a recent Basenotes.net thread, a rather strange claim was made about a sealed Green Irish Tweed bottle:
When I got this bottle, there were a couple other people on BN complaining that it was extremely weak and light juice, no longevity at all. I didn’t have this experience, I’d wear 2 sprays and it would last around 6 hours. However, months later and my lord, my juice has matured a TON! Only one spray (and from a distance at that, i couldn’t even wear a whole spray) is CRAZY potent.
I pointed out that in a sealed bottle, there can’t be an incredible surge in strength without the smell being different, but one person who seemed to think he had a scientific explanation, made this claim:
If the precursors that they originally mix aren’t as strong smelling until after oxidation, then in that respect there are MORE of the strong-smelling, oxidized molecules (and fewer unoxidized molecules) post oxidation. In other words, if A –> B, after a while there will be more B and less A. If B has a stronger scent than A, then the result will be a stronger smelling perfume.
What I find especially humorous about this notion is that if this was the case, perfume companies would have figured this out long ago, and then they would be able to use less ingredients to create the same effect. In any case, this was my response to that statement:
Nobody is contesting that, though. The point I’m making is that A is not going to smell the same as B but much stronger. One molecule that is likely in GIT in fairly large amounts is linalool [I could have also mentioned dihydromrycenol, etc.], for example. It has two forms, and they smell clearly different. So, even with a molecule that has a mirror image, so to speak, the scent is different. At that point it doesn’t matter if it seems stronger or not because it does not smell the same. My guess is that you are not as aware as you think you are, in terms of either psychological effects or an ability to detect various aspects of a scent. For example, if you spray two similar scents on your ankles, and after smelling one you smell the other, what happens is common notes are “knocked out” and you smell mostly the notes, accords or aroma chemicals that the two do not have in common. If you want to make a claim about putting certain molecules in a sealed bottle, such as linalool, then letting one sit in the light after being sprayed a bit over the course of a couple months, or something along those lines, and then finding that is smells like the control (which hasn’t been sprayed and has been kept in cool/dark conditions) but is much stronger, go ahead and make it. But there is no “magic molecule” in GIT. The ones responsible for the vast majority of how it is perceived by people are not going to get much stronger but smell the same.
What I find so interesting, though, is how easily people can be convinced, or can convince themselves, that something “magical” has happened. I’m now wondering if the FromPyrgos author’s claim about GIT needing some room to “bloom” over the course of a few months is a factor here (in terms of the idea becoming disseminated online). This is his notion:
Green Irish Tweed is a rather weak perfume. It smells very green and crisp, but has limited longevity, and almost no sillage. But if you notice, Creed bottles aren’t airtight. They’re actually very poorly made. My last bottle of GIT used to leak from the atomizer base. That means air is getting inside the bottle, and mingling with the fragrance. It also means alcohol and water is evaporating out.
After a few wearings, let a bottle of Green Irish Tweed sit for six months. Then come back to it. When you spray again, you’ll be blown away by its strength. Suddenly, this perfume is an eighties powerhouse…
For those who don’t know, this person also made this claim:
Air in the bottle will change things, ever so subtly at first, but given enough time and a combination of other natural factors, like temperature, humidity, and exposure to sunlight, will eventually ruin the perfumer’s idea, and create a fragrance very different from that which he formulated.
What does one of the most famous perfumers, Guy Robert, have to say on this subject?
Once you have opened the bottle, a light oxidation process takes place inside. If you forget to close the bottle after you have used the perfume, this will only speed up the process. The fresh, fleeting top notes of the fragrance will tend to “calm down” a bit; it’s true that this will not completely ruin the fragrance, but it will change the initial impression you get from your perfume.
Note that it sounds like he is referring to a “splash” bottle here. However, at least we have something here to work with that seems “real.” That is, we first need a leaky bottle of GIT that the person doesn’t know leaks because it only had its seal broker after it was placed upright (and the person would have had to never turn it upside down for more than a short period of time). Then the top notes might get substantially weaker, though this is highly unlikely for a bottle that is a few months old or younger. Then there would be the psychological effect this would have, meaning that the person would not experience much olfactory fatigue at this point, and the drydown would seem to be quite a bit stronger, though the smell might be perceived as being the same. Is Big Foot sounding more plausible to you now? If so, are you wondering if it would appreciate the super-charged Green Irish Tweed?
Finally, the BN member I believe to be the FromPyrgos author decided to post to the thread in question with this:
Bigsly’s main fallback for when he doesn’t know what he’s talking about: “cite some evidence for your claim.”
How about everything tensor said. The truth behind the claim is owning and wearing GIT for years, and starting with new bottles. Unless you’ve been doing the same, I doubt you know what you’re talking about in this regard. Sorry, man.
So for him, science is trumped by perception? Isn’t the reason why science is so important precisely because impressions, bias, etc. need to be put aside in order to let the evidence speak for itself?