Something, something, la, la, la… Zino.

The other day at the FromPyrgos blog appeared yet another post that makes little sense, and seems more like evidence for obsessive-compulsive disorder to me than anything else! It’s not even an entertaining read, and the “information” provided is not helpful. I’ll try to sum it up here and then state some points I think are worth mentioning. It seems that because this author doesn’t smell any significant difference between what others think are two different formulations of Zino (presumably related to the bottle design), then that must mean everyone else should have the same perceptions. Also, we are told about some molecule created to render a sandalwood-like note (before Zino was released), as if that was significant.

Now indeed it may be significant, but if this was a criminal investigation I don’t think that would rise to the level of “person of interest,” whereas the author thinks that means the suspect has been arrested, tried, convicted, and executed! And there are claims about top notes in older bottles, which is irrelevant to the sandalwood note issue. What he needs to do, if he wants to be taken seriously by those who have some knowledge about fragrance creation, is what blogger Andre Moreau has, that is, to have a scientist with some understanding of these concoctions to compare the liquid obtained from the different bottle designs. He has cited a study of Old Spice that did just this, so not even mentioning this point suggests what I consider intellectual dishonesty. There may be more “something, something, la, la, la…” in the post but I don’t want to burden readers with any more of it.

As to my points, the first one is that people like myself are simply reporting our perceptions. I took the caps off the two different bottle designs of Zino I once owned and smelled them, and no matter how I did it (which order) the one with Zino Davidoff in all script smelled liked it has a strong sandalwood note whereas I didn’t detect one in the other bottle. I also found it difficult to wear the newer design as the first hour or so was harsh and unpleasant. So, at this point that’s all there is for me, until a GC/MS study is done or until the people who formulated Zino make public relevant documents. One can present all the supposed anecdotal evidence one wants, but that is meaningless to those who feel they know what they want and who make their fragrance purchases accordingly.

I think it’s also worth pointing out that one kind of anecdotal evidence he uses can be used against his claim, I’d say in a more convincing way than anything he says in his post. That is, if we assume he is correct in that there are more people who think Zino has never been reformulated significantly, and that some sort of “democracy” is in effect here, then what do we have to say about the huge amount of claims about the significantly different batch variations in Aventus, not to mention other Creed scents? They must be correct too! But if there are such huge batch variations in a recent release, why is it so difficult to believe that whomever created new batches of Zino decided that fashions had changed (or it would be cheaper) and so it would make sense to remove or diminish greatly the sandalwood note it contained? One reasonable explanation is that those who don’t detect the Zino sandalwood issue are “top notes people,” and the Aventus batch variations are obvious in the top notes, at the very least.

Why do we need to know about sandalwood and various synthetics? I’ve never said I can detect Mysore sandalwood or even any natural one. All I know is what smells “natural” to me (and I almost always use that term in quotation marks or say natural-smelling). I can’t remember anyone saying they know for sure that Zino once had Mysore sandalwood or a natural one. And if one person did say it, we have yet again arrived at an exception proving the rule situation. What I have said is that in some cases there appears to have been a reformulation of this or that scent (usually ones from the early 90s or prior) which rendered it “synthetic” smelling, or lacking in depth, complexity, balance, etc. And I’ll just mention here that I have heard claims that some newer scents seem to have been reformulated into a weaker version, and my guess is that this was done with Rochas Man, based upon a few bottles I’ve owned.

One of my favorite “sandalwood scents” is Barbara Bui Le Parfum (2004), which I assume has no natural sandalwood. Another favorite is the first formulation of Heritage, which has a complex, dry, particulate, sandalwood note that I assume is at least partially due to natural sandalwood of one kind or another. Sensitivities do change significantly, at least for some people, and at one time the Barbara Bui scent was too strong for me, but what I’ve learned is that when I read reviews it’s important to distinguish between “top notes people” and those who are able to get a clear sense of the drydown. For example, a “top notes person” might say something like, “this is great for about an hour and then I can hardly smell anything, just a fuzzy and generic nothing scent.”

Now this might be accurate, but I read what others say, look at the notes, consider the “house” that released it, and consider any other piece of information that might be of use. It’s also true that due to sensitivity differences, one person’s soft/generic/fuzzy drydown might be another’s deep/rich/complex one! And though I’d never want to be without a bottle of many vintage formulations, I enjoy variety – that includes many “super cheapos.” I have no axe to grind, though I do point out that if a company reformulates a scent significantly it seems appropriate to give it a new name. The new formulation of Z-14 is quite interesting, and I may wear it more than the first formulation simply due to personal preference (which in this case may involve variety being a high priority to me), but I don’t understand why it couldn’t be called something like “Z-14 Now.” I don’t think it’s fair to sell this to people who may have worn it twenty or thirty years ago and have no reason to expect to smell what’s in the new bottles.

NOTE: The bottle pictured above is what some of us believe is the poorly-reformulated Zino, though as I’ve said more than once, even if this is accurate, it’s possible that some older batches of liquid were put into bottles with the new design, or that some extra older style bottles were filled with a reformulated liquid.

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Filed under Criticizing the critics.

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