Where does “hype” originate?

Recently, on Basenotes.net, there was a thread about there no longer being “hype” for Musc Ravageur:

QUOTE:  …if 50% of the people who try musc ravageur hate it it doesnt mean that the other 50% who love it are being deceptive or “hyping” out of some other motive. They like it or even love it and want to share that experience with like minded individuals. And that I think is the key. Like minded individuals. I used to base my purchasing habits on whatever was being talked about the most. But people who love musc ravageur are not the same people who are wanting a bottle of 1 million. But I dont think the people who were pushing musc ravageur were trying to deceive anyone or lie and didnt really like it. I think the people who liked it were vocal about it. But so were the people who didnt. But its the individuals choice on which opinion if any they are going to allow to influence their spending. All i know is if I buy something based on the opinions of others and I dont like it, the hype if any exists, I created myself.  UNQUOTE.


First, I agree that one wants to think in terms of the comments of like-minded individuals, but that’s not always easy to determine.  It takes quite a bit of research, if one hasn’t read quite a bit of the recent posts, and even then the people may be more flexible in their tastes.  For example, I prefer gourmands, orientals, and complex vintage scents, but there are some “fresh” or warm weather scents I enjoy once in a while, such as Blenheim Bouquet.  Most of the “fresh” fans, however, are seeking more “modern” scents of that type.   Moreover, some sites may be much more oriented towards certain kinds of scents, and even then, that might change over time.  Basenote.net seems to have been more niche-oriented when I signed up as a member, back in early 2008, but now it’s considerably more diverse, and the “fresh” scent fans seem to be a lot more numerous.  Even so, there was a time when Terre d’Herme was “all the rage,” I guess because it was viewed as a fresh scent for those who wanted something “‘unique.”  Perhaps it would be best to regard it as a sort of “fresh niche” at a time when there was a lot less from which to choose in the “fresh” category.

Next, I think the statement about those who like MR not being the same people who like One Million is interesting, because while that may be true for most, I’d guess there is a sizeable percentage of aficionados  who would wear either, including myself.  There’s also the issue of whether someone is more of a top notes or drydown person, but perhaps just as important is how much experience the person has with certain kinds of scents, if any!  For example, to me MR’s drydown was too in line with other “niche amber” scents, and I already owned a bottle of one that I rarely wore (Etro’s Ambra).  And this is where the “hype” might be most problematic.  It goes like this: hype begins to build for a scent like MR, in the “old days” because the “niche samplers” were talking about how great it was.  That then led to the much less experienced (if not newbies) to buy a sample or bottle, and then the hype really got going, even though it may have been the case that the vast majority had never smelled a scent with a similar drydown!  Fortunately, I already owned Ambra and so swapped of my MR bottle for something I preferred, while not feeling at all “deprived.”

And this is where I disagree with the person quoted, because only certain kinds of scents seem to get the hype treatment; “cheapos” hardly ever get it, and when it does happen it’s usually because the scent is similar to an expensive one, often niche (as in all the “Aventus clones”).   I think this is because the cheap ones are said to be generic, derivative, unexciting, etc.  How many times has someone said that Animale Animale for Men was derivative of A*Men (which I don’t agree with) or that Individuel is derivative of Creed’s Original Santal, despite being chronologically false?  And then when a scent is rather unique, such as Phoenix by Keith Urban or KISS Him, there may be a few good reviews, but hype never seems to develop.  What if either of these scents was released by a company like ELdO?  The scent in question seems to require the mark of specialness, which always seems to  involve a non-cheap price tag, despite most of the hypsters probably knowing the liquid itself rarely costs more than a couple of dollars, even in the case of niche scents.

These days, my attitude is, “what could the scent possibly be like that I would feel the absolute need to own a bottle?”  I’m more interested in layering than new releases, because that way I can control the notes and composition (I still seek out “cheapos” with apparently interesting notes or compositions to “blind buy”).  Of course, to do this requires owning quite a few scents, or else your options are limited.  And I think this leads to a major difference among aficionados, hobbyists, or whatever you want to call such people, including myself.  That is, some treat it as a “luxury item” proposition, whereas there is clearly no need to do so,  because these are just smells and you can get 75 ml bottles of ones that are fairly good at the dollar store.  For some reason, a few people seem to become irrationally irritated by how others “pursue this hobby,” for example, criticizing the points I’ve made about very cheap alternatives to very expensive scents.

Obviously, if it “works for me” that doesn’t necessarily mean it will for you – everyone already knows that!  And if I prefer a “super-cheapo” which appears to contain a fair amount of ambroxan (Berlin by Playboy), and enjoy it, why shouldn’t I mention that I prefer it to an expensive scent that seems similar but costs a lot more (Sauvage)?  Readers can figure out for themselves if this advice is likely to help them or not.  They don’t need others to tell them how they should enjoy these concoctions (or how much they should spend, or how many bottles they should acquire, etc.)!  When I read something that suggests hype (whatever the motivation may be) I am curious to see if the person actually speaks to the smell itself, and if so, how important the top notes appear to be.  If someone says, as is common, “it smells great but has terrible longevity,” that usually means the person has difficulty with drydowns (unless the scent is likely to be short-lived, but I tend to dislike those scents anyway).  Thus, one doesn’t have to dismiss out of hand a “hypster,” because there might be something useful stated.






Filed under The basics.

3 responses to “Where does “hype” originate?

  1. Surfacing

    Good post and I’m glad you wrote it. I have thought about this before and as someone who does take note of the forums on BNs, I figured you would post about this.

    I mean, what is hype ? Sometimes you, I or people want to discuss a fragrance. What amount of threads or posts mean a fragrance is hyped ? There may be some exceptions, like remember Pure Malt a few years back. Or Aventus ( since its release). But sometimes when people mention hype or accuse others of hyping something, I really feel they misinterpret the forums. Perhaps things are different on YouTube. But forums are made for discussing. Far too often, a fragrance has been around for years, yet barely any mention to its actual smell !

    • There are a few things I don’t like, one being if the person seems to want to sell the item. For example, one BNer apparently purchased a bunch of Carven Homme bottles and tried to sell them, but at least he only “hypes” in his sales thread (for those who don’t know, 50 ml bottles have been selling for around $20 or less total for a long time now). The other is the newbie who doesn’t realize that the scent may be good to him, but that there are so many scents out there and so few he has tried, that it is simply silly for him to write up hype posts (but how do you explain this to such a person?). And there are the “veteran members” who don’t seem to understand (or allow emotion to overcome them) that while they may enjoy a scent like Terre d’Hermes, it sickens others due to perhaps the “iso e super overload.”

      • Surfacing

        Yep, that Terre and it’s Iso E Overload. I just couldn’t deal with it back in 2009. The scent is apparently changed a tad, but even then, I am cautious. I’ve tried all kinds of “Fog Horns” and load scents, but scents like Terre can grate on me. There are a few in this category. Thankfully Yardley released Citrus & Wood, which I like and can easily handle.

        Newbies gotta know that they need to sample more. Or just be cautious. If I love Kouros, I am gonna say it and say why. But then for a newbie to be all like ” OMG, I GotZ KouRoZ…..iZ sTiiiiiKz ! WhyZ YouZ hYPe Diz thinG !”…..well, that would be their responsibility to do their sampling or due dilligence. Plus I’ve bought many scents that just did not work, even if I liked them alot at first and sampled them.

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