how recognizable is a common scent to common folks?


Well-known member
Oct 17, 2011
i had hesitation buying bleu EDP this weekend thinking "wow everyone wears blue", but I really liked the scent and thought a few things in conversation with the SA:

1. Chanel is still more expensive than most want to wear, so it has a level of exclusivity in price point even as a designer.
2. Chanel isn't sold everywhere where I live, especially not the EDP version of bleu.

The point is I think we are fragheads have assumptions that everyone knows what common scents smell like. and its possible there are small pockets of people (?college aged women who know what ADG or armani code smells like).

i think we overestimate what the general population recognizes.
I would bet 95% of people if you wore chanel bleu even EDT wouldn't know what you're wearing and if they thought it smelled good (which most people do this) they wouldn't say "oh theres another guy wearing bleu" like we might think.


Well-known member
Oct 25, 2007
Personally doesn't enter into my mind whether what I wear is perceived by others as a commonly worn scent or not. Just the way I think.


Well-known member
Feb 15, 2014
The only time I think this is ever and issue is if you are into clubbing which I am not. I'm the anti club person. But in that situation there are a handful of fragrances that make up a large percentage of what is being worn. So in that situation I would understand not wanting to smell like every other person in the room. There has only been 1 time in my life that someone knew what I was wearing and it was acqua di gio about 10 years ago. And the person really liked that scent so it wasn't an issue. I think we tend to get almost a "fragrance neurosis" where we think everyone around us cares as much as we do and they really don't.


Well-known member
Sep 8, 2013
I'd say that it depends on the fragrance and the person doing the sniffing...

Some of the hallmark fragrances that are almost unmistakable are:
1. Acqua di Gio
2. Le Male
3. Cool Water

You could say La Nuit, TDH, etc but they haven't been around long enough. The fact that the fragrances above have been around seemingly forever, and have remained popular, leads to their easy identification by a number of people of varying ages.
Jul 7, 2012
I think the average non-fragrance-enthusiast recognizes a few common smells, but not by name, and they lump any smell-alikes together the same way you or I would for light beer. Coors/Miller/Bud/Pabst... it's all the same, right? Pour one of those in a glass and hand it to me. I sure couldn't tell which it is, but I'd know it's beer. To the average person, AdG is the smell of "a guy wearing cologne." Bleu is becoming that too - the smell of a guy wearing cologne.

The easiest way to tell what is becoming ubiquitous is to pay attention near the checkout lines at a crowded grocery store, or Ikea, or at a crowded bar. It's easy to notice what's common because you'll smell it over and over again. You'll probably recognize many of those scents by name, but stop for a second and look at the person next to the guy wearing the scent. Is it his girlfriend? Is it his date? Maybe a coworker or friend who sees him a lot? They probably don't know the name of the scent he's wearing, but they notice it and it becomes a smell they know. Let's say you're single and you have a first date with someone. You're probably not the first guy to go on a date with her, right? You're probably not the first guy to wear a fragrance to smell nice for a date with her either. Are you meeting for drinks? She's probably done that with other guys too, just as you probably have with other women.

Let's flip the conversation a bit. I don't know anything about female fragrances. This weekend, I had a date with a woman who wore too much of what smelled like a generic cinnamon/vanilla bomb scent. I have no clue what it was, but to me, it was the generic smell of a woman wearing perfume for a night out, and I'm sure I've smelled it a bunch of times before.

That's why I always choose something unique for when I have a date - something she probably hasn't smelled before. That being said, there are no right or wrong ways to go. If Bleu makes you happy, go for it.

1. Chanel is still more expensive than most want to wear, so it has a level of exclusivity in price point even as a designer.
2. Chanel isn't sold everywhere where I live, especially not the EDP version of bleu.

To be fair, the EDT and EDP of Bleu are basically the same scent in different concentrations. I doubt anybody other than the wearer could tell the difference.


Well-known member
Apr 26, 2013
I think it's incredibly, insanely uncommon.The two exceptions, besides fragrance aficionados:
1. Some people recognize exactly one scent, and that's because their current or ex- boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife wears that one scent all the time. If their spouse does not wear scent, or rotates scents, then the vast majority of people recognize 0 scents, which means, most people won't recognize scents this way.
2. People who are daily in close contact, in a hormone-driven environment, will recognize some scents. Some high school and college kids, and people who club post-college, may recognize a few scents.

That's it. I'd bet on most days, you can splash on some Bleu de Chanel, and exactly 0 people will recognize it -- no one at work, no one at the grocery store, etc. Well, unless that one woman has a husband who only wears Bleu, then she will recognize it.


Well-known member
Jul 29, 2012
I estimate about 1/10 people have ever heard of Acqua di Gio, and out of those, only 1/5 can recognize its smell. That's 1/50 people who will smell you and tell you, "Hey, you are wearing Acqua di Gio!" 1/50 is still a significant amount which can still be a reason to avoid wearing AdG. In the US, slightly more people than that will recognize A&F Fierce. But other than those two, everything else is quite a rare smell to common folks. Yes, that includes Cool Water, Le Male, BdC, Curve, etc, common folks will not be able to tell you what they are called.


Well-known member
Jan 21, 2006
Blue is by far not the most commonly worn nor recognizable fragrance (at least where I live). The few fragrances I did recognize on others and on very rare occasions as well were ADG, Givenchy Gentleman, Fahrenheit, but even these, among a vast minority of both acquaintances and, at the same time, more or less frequent fragrance wearers among these acquaintances.

David Ruskin

Well-known member
May 28, 2009
Does it matter? Surely the only thing that is important is whether or not you like it. If you enjoy Bleu then buy it, and wear it with happiness. It's not a competition, is it?


People of Zee Wurl, Relax
Basenotes Plus
Dec 30, 2015
The only time I think this is ever and issue is if you are into clubbing which I am not. I'm the anti club person.

Amen and high five. I'd rather be at the DMV with paperwork I filled out incorrectly.

Good point though. Although I don't frequent them, clubs are the one public space where I picture fragrance-aware people being in close proximity to one another.


Well-known member
Apr 26, 2012
ive been thinking anout that for a long time. Like OP, i am considering buying bdc after ignoring it for 2 years after.being into fragrances. Tbh, i think ppl dont recognize scents as much.

I think i smelled CW twice and even then i am only guessing bc i own GIT.

Imo, if you like a scent, get it.


Aug 1, 2015
There's only one time that I smelled Bleu on someone else, and it was a friend's brother in law that was wearing it... after my friend's recommendation...

Acqua di gio I've smelled only on 2 other random guys, abd they smelled pretty damn good... while wearing Acqua di Gio some women have asked me if I'm wearing this Armani, but this not very common...

Still, everytime I've been asked if I'm wearing Adg, after my answer they always say how much they like the scent...

People can say whatever they want about how one should try to smell different than the rest of dudes, wear something that no one wears to be unique, and similar bla bla bla to feel special...

IMO, if you wear something different than the massive bestsellers in an effort to please people, you will be failing miserably... only thing you´ll accomplish is that you end up smelling worse than everyone else... and all these guys you bash for buying mainstream, smelling better than you...
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Well-known member
Mar 25, 2011
Amen and high five. I'd rather be at the DMV with paperwork I filled out incorrectly.

Haha, that's brilliant :D

I am not far off your mindset on this matter, clubs are terrible, I would rather have my heart pulled out and incinerated...

Regarding the OP's question, I think a lot of the most commonly worn scents here, are recognisable by th <30 crowd, with a good part of them also being recognised by 30<'ers (ADG, Le Male, Cool Water, Evil Million).
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Well-known member
Feb 29, 2016
Most people could not pick out Bleu de Chanel - similar to the light beer analogy used above. I've recognized AdG, Le Male, Sauvage, One Million, Eros, CK Reveal Men, and Cool Water (of course!) - only because I know what they smell like. I've never picked up on someone wearing Bleu.


Well-known member
Apr 30, 2013
I think your totally right OP, it's very rare that someone is gonna recognize a fragrance on you.

Unless, like you run into a woman who's hubby, BF or ex used to wear a signature scent that matches your SOTD like ADG, Cool Water or something super common for example.

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