Since the last post, nothing has changed, other than learning how to better deal with my olfactory situation. Back in 2008, I was dealing with severe hypersensitivity, so it’s not like these kinds of odd issues are new to me. I can still smell (for more than a short period of time) and appreciate some scents, vintage Kouros being one of them (and the other day Marbert Homme wasn’t bad). The main issue now is that most of the scents I can smell for a while are coming across as too crude or “chemical.” I wore Mitsouko EdP today (a recent formulation) and was able to catch some wafts on rare occasion, but my main response is, “yes, that’s somewhat nice, but I’ve smelled it before and it’s not doing much for me.”
Perhaps it’s just a “natural” progression with most hobbies of this sort. I have had other that I no longer pursue, and I can find interest or amusement in discussing those once in a long while. Fragrances aren’t that “far gone” for me at this point, but I do feel that to some degree it’s a “been there, done that” perception most of the time. This led me to pursue a somewhat similar hobby, red wine. In the mid-1990s I became interested in it due to the claims about the health aspects to drinking it. I didn’t want to drink too much, though, because the claims seemed to be “all over the map” (which seems to still be largely true today!), so I would drink a few tablespoons of an organic red wine with one or two meals a day. By about 2000, I had tired of it, and instead, drank white tea (other than water), though I “experimented” with other “teas,” such as Rooibos.
This time around, I had an idea in mind. I don’t think drinking more than small amounts of alcohol are healthy, so that was one criteria. One option is non-alcoholic beers or wines. The beers seem to be fairly close to the “real thing,” but that doesn’t seem to be the consensus on wine. Moreover, non-alcoholic wine isn’t cheap relative to alcoholic wine that isn’t “box wine bilge water.” Of course, I could drink fruit juice, or a combination, but I find them too sweet, too “thin,” and/or something else that is not appealing. I also don’t mind drinking filtered water. The key thing is that I was curious to learn about red wines and see what my perceptions would be like, given the situation with fragrances. So, I started doing research and watching Youtube videos on the subject, along with doing some tasting.
To make a long story short, as they say, I discovered that I enjoy dry red wine that have at least fairly strong tannins. As with tea, tannins generate a dry sensation, but there was a context. I found that there is evidence that such wine can be healthy, but for the alcohol:
A study conducted on a group men with heart disease tested the effects of regular wine, non alcoholic wine and gin (as a control) for a period of time. Of the three drinks tested, the men showed measurable improvement when they drank non-alcoholic wines…
Now when I said I like dry red wine high in tannins, I didn’t mean to drink “straight,” but rather to mix in with fruit juice (cranberry and orange, along with the dry red, seems to be one of the better combinations). In this way, the wine prevents the juices or juices from being too sweet and also imparts a “finish” to the beverage, which means the pleasant quality lingers for quite a while. The red wine makes up perhaps 25% of this beverage, and I can drink an ounce or so throughout the day. The wine contains around 12-14% alcohol, so if you “do the math,” you can see that very little alcohol is consumed this way. I plan on doing more such “experimentation,” and this has replaced my fragrance interest to some degree, though there is some overlap. For example, while it doesn’t mean much to me in the traditional wine connoisseur context, swirling the wine around and then smelling can be interesting. One time I got what seemed to be a violet note.
There are a lot of similarities between the two “online communities,” as you may have guessed. In both, you can spend a small fortune or find “super cheapo” deals that work for you (or me, at least). There are “experts” who people like to talk about, as well as arguments about quality deterioration, mega-corporations trying to buy everything they can, regulations, which Youtube reviewers are worth watching, etc. Fakes are also a major issue, though not for the “low end” wines the vast majority buy. And just as some use “bad” fragrances as room sprays, wine is often used in cooking. I found, for example, that combining ketchup, mustard, ground rosemary, salt, and dry red wine makes quite a nice dip (I usually dip cheese in it). On the other hand, I can’t remember when it was I last read about a fragrance that seemed like it would be of interest to me – with wines, though, it seems to be more about assessing them relative to notions of certain qualities.
By contrast, those buying fragrances often seem to be seeking something novel, and to some degree this does occur (new aroma chemicals are invented or used in much larger amounts). On a positive note, because I have so many fragrances (including plenty of samples I have yet to try), I do find it satisfying to see what my latest perceptions are, even if I don’t get the hours of enjoyment I used to on most days. Could this be a kind of expected “evolution.” After all, didn’t Luca Turin say that he mostly wears New York by Parfums de Nicolai? From his writings, I don’t get the sense that he wants to wear many other fragrances, but instead that he prefers to sample on paper. I don’t know if I would enjoy wearing vintage Kouros every day, but there could be personal variations, and I think I would enjoy wearing it every few days, if not more often. Of course, if someone paid me to sample a few fragrances on paper each day, I would be more than happy to accept that offer!