Love at first sniff vs. scents that grew on you

philosophe

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
I thought it would be fun to list some scents that were love at first sniff, and some that you either didn't like, or were ambivalent towards that ended up being loves after further testing.

For me, I can think of a couple that took a while to grow on me, including the one I'm wearing today. The first time I smelled Green Irish Tweed, I wondered why anyone would want to smell that way. Very "grassy," "soapy," and sharp green. It was only after I got a larger decant that I started to appreciate all the wonderful nuances of this fragrance, especially the base of sandalwood and ambergris notes.

Another is La Nuit de l'Homme. The first time I smelled it, I was a bit put off by the brown spice of the cardamom combined with lavender, which I thought smelled either too dated or dandy-ish for my taste, but after time away from it, and more sniffs, I just started to love it. Can't really explain why. Just love it.

Tuscan Leather - This one is now one of my favorites, but the first time I smelled it, I actually thought it was too femme for me. It was the raspberry and smoke notes that made me think of women's hair products and cigarettes.

Some love at first sniffs:

Ombre Leather - I think this is the one that started my fragrance addiction. Such a straightforward, photorealistic leather. So good.

Killian Straight to Heaven - Rum and cedarwood. It's like a sailing man-o-war in a bottle. How could you not love this?

Aventus - Well, yeah. It's good.

Gucci Guilty Absolute - This one to me is like the essence of a log cabin in the woods, with the smoldering embers of a fire adding smokiness to the scent of the aromatic softwoods from which it was constructed.
 

Varanis Ridari

The Scented Devil
Basenotes Plus
Oct 17, 2012
For me, things that had to grow on me include:

Sybaris by Antonio Puig (1988) - I just didn't "get" it at first.

Bleu de Chanel (2010) - I think when I first wore it, I was noseblind from something else, and thought it had terrible performance.

Terre d'Hermès (2006) - Smelled too "carroty" to my nose at first (it's the way the heart plays with the top), but then the patchouli "clicked".

Loves at first sniff:

Amouage Jubilation XXV: blown away

Kouros by Yves Saint Laurent: made me lose my shorts at first.

Montale Black Aoud: I was like "wow this is so witchy-bitchy good". Real Elvira vibes.
 

woodnotes55

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
The most obvious love at first sniff is ADP Colonia, magic in a bottle. Also Blenheim Bouquet, Declaration Essence, Woodcut.

One that grew on me is Bottega Veneta PH. i sprayed it on at their store and walked around all day kind of going "hmm". Next two or three wearings were the same and then it clicked and became a favorite. What's funny is an attractive young lady asked me later that first wearing what I had on and really liked it..... but it took me another 3 or 4 tries to get there.

Mandragore and Colonia Ebano also fit this category, but the first time I wore both of them it was what the hell is going on? Very unusual opening, and Mandragore keeps changing all the time. Have trouble seeing anyone loving Mandragore first wear, but anything is possible!
 

hednic

Well-known member
Oct 25, 2007
I thought it would be fun to list some scents that were love at first sniff, and some that you either didn't like, or were ambivalent towards that ended up being loves after further testing.
Love at first sniff - way way too many to mention. That I didn't like or were ambivalent towards that ended up being loves after further testing - None.
 

philosophe

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
Recently smelled ADP Colonia for the first time at their Disney boutique. Definitely a love at first sniff for me also, along with their Sandalo and Fico do Amalfi. Need to get some bottles. On the same trip, some other love at first sniff fragrances were Penhaligon's Babylon and Racquets.

Someone mentioned Montale Black Aoud - I haven't yet sampled any Montale fragrances, but I have a good feeling I will enjoy them. Love me some oud.

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speckmann0706

Well-known member
Mar 8, 2017
Hermes Terre D’Hermes EDT love at first sniff.

Chanel Allure Homme love at first sniff but don’t feel it has a place in my wardrobe anymore.

Ralph Lauren Polo love at first sniff.

Azzaro Pour Homme… this one took many many wears for it to click now it’s a favorite.

Givenchy Gentleman EDT Originale love at first sniff.

Guerlain L’Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme EDP after a few wears I knew it was special have many bottles of it now.

The rest in my wardrobe are there because they have made an impression on me and are staying in my collection!
 

Ken_Russell

Well-known member
Jan 21, 2006
Love at first sniff- probably too many to mention

vs. grew on me over time later on, often as acquired taste (s) - especially vintage Guerlain Heritage EDT and/or Creed Tabarome to name only a few.

While realizing objectively that their ingredients, quality and performance were spot on in a very gentlemanly style, each of these required nevertheless quite a certain adjusting time to fully learn and appreciate after not being fully impressed on a strictly personal/subjective level.
 

Aitchellsmell

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2017
Iris de Nuit by Heeley. After the first spritz I actually said “ewwww” out loud with a scrunched up face. My perception was strong, gnarly carrot. As the hours passed, it shook out and that aspect faded. After a few wears, I actually started to look forward to that initial nostril-flick of carrot greens and was in love by the time my sample was gone.
 

philosophe

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
lots of love at first sniff's

I find the growers a more interesting concept - ones that started off with a wtf but ened up with a love.

2 for me were knize ten, and gucci guilty absolute. both started as "are you mad" and ended up with a lot of respect!
GGA is interesting. It's polarizing to a lot of people, but for me it was a love at first sniff. Not yet smelled Knize Ten, actually.

Two more that grew on me were Aramis and Aramis Tobacco Reserve. The first time I smelled the former I thought the opening smelled like floral potpourri from an elderly woman's house. The drydown won me over first, then I came to appreciate the opening as well. The TR I initially found too green and powdery, but I've come to love it as well.

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Sheik Yerbouti

oakmoss fiend
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2017
Mousse Illuminee was love at first sniff. The eternal happymaker.

Viking took a while to appreciate fully. The bottle was brand new and the ingredients seemed a bit separate, just a bit unfinished. After a few months, when the materials had macerated it started to feel more like a well crafted spiced aromatic fougere. Now, about 4 years on, it’s moved into high gear and really grown on me. The patchouli and lavandin remind me of vintage Drakkar Noir (Plus).
 

Starblind

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 2, 2013
Usually, I lose interest in my loves-at-first-sniff after a while. It's those complicated, unusual, initially off-putting scents that become lasting loves for me: Iris Silver Mist, Yatagan, Eau d'Hermes, MKK, Cuir de Russie, etc.
 

Hugh V.

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2016
Love at first
Gucci Guilty Absolute
I knew I shouldn't love it, but I did.

Michael Jordan Cologne
As soon as I smelled this I was like, "damn, this smells great for a 90s middle school scent that's now sold for $10 at Ross." It's not as high quality as Eternity for Men and Drakkar Noir, but I find it the perfect blend of the two while being more versatile than both.

Paco Rabanne Pour Homme
I remember sampling this for the first time on the second floor of Bloomingdales. I was spraying a cologne from 1973 on a my wrist in an expensive department store in 2018. And that contrast just made that old school scent more magical. Bow Chika Wow Wow vibes. Instant love.

Grew on me
Vintage Halston Z-14
I couldn't smell what others were smelling. Basic lemony opening that dries down into a cinnamon base? That's like mixing toothpaste with orange juice. And then after several random wearings I was finally like, "Oh, wait...ahh, I get it." The opening evokes the scent of a fresh shave and splashing some aftershave on the face, then that aspect hits this sweet spot that a perfect mid-way point between light and dark, before turning into a cozy, warm, but tough, cold weather scent.

Grey Flannel
I originally thought it was this basic, soft, milquetoast-type of scent. Not a bad smell but nothing striking about it whatsoever. It took me a while to come around. Yeah, it has some dandy elements to it, but the top notes are on some macho ish, and that clean, soapy, mossy green elements to the dry down are what really makes this one stand out. It's one of my absolute favorite scents now. I even like the bottle design when I used to hate it.

Halston 1-12
Fantastic opening but then immediately turned into grandma's purse. What the hell? After reading people compare it positively to Grey Flannel I revisited it, and yeah, those elements started to stand out more to me. That soapiness started to stand out more, while having just enough spice in there to make it "pour homme." This one leans more unisex than GF imo, but at the same time, I view it as this timeless gentleman's scent.
 
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slpfrsly

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Apr 1, 2019
Good thread.

Orientals like Amber Absolute tend to wow me at first but pale over time.

Slower burns have been fragrances like Aventus and Layton - so often deemed simplistic 'mass pleasers' or whatever. I came to appreciate those two fragrances, for example, over a much longer period of time, which makes me think most of the scorn that is thrown their way is completely misplaced (and more to do with ankle biting the likes of Jeremy and/or anyone who deigns to show an interest in popular and distinctive fragrances; it's more to do with envy and social anxiety than any honest analysis of the fragrances).
 

N.CAL Fragrance Reviewer

Retired
Basenotes Plus
Jul 1, 2011
For the first, one example that came to mind was 2000's re-release of Guerlain Sous Le Vent. It was an easy like that I appreciated more once trying the original release from the 1930s.

For the second, one example that came to mind was Guerlain Mitsouko. The more I wore it, the more I appreciated the scent. I probably could the same with Vol de Nuit.
 

Miasma27

Well-known member
Jan 27, 2019
Noir 29- sometimes I want to get high on it but I don't think it's possible.

Oud mineral- in love instantly

CDG Kyoto- yes I love you,also alot of other CDG scents

Tuscan leather I will agree.

Memoirs of a trespasser- it's simple but I just like it that much

Oud 27- same as noir 29

It's changes you fall in and out of love..
 

Andy the frenchy

Well-known member
Sep 16, 2018
[...]
Tuscan Leather - This one is now one of my favorites, but the first time I smelled it, I actually thought it was too femme for me. [...]
After 5 wearing, I still think this one smells feminine. The sweet raspberry is a no-go for me. Would love on a woman though.

Aventus - Well, yeah. It's good.
[...]
First time I tried it, I asked the SA: "and? Is that it?". The guy laughed with a facial expression meaning 'I agree, but I cannot talk s**t, because it's my job'.
So, definitely not a love at first sniff for me. That said, I agree that the drydown is great, when I smelt it an hour later on my skin.


For me, no loves at first sniff, but a vast ajority of loves at first wearings. I will wear a fragrance fully, until the drydown to decide if I love it, and decide if I need to get a sample to confirm that feeling. It's very rare that my impression after my first wear diverged later.

Not liking a fragrance on first wear then later buying it, no, I can't remember that. That said, the opposite is sometimes true: I love the fragrance riht away and grow tired of it after a few wears of the sample, and delete it from my to-buy list.

But yes, a few fragrances that never disappointed me after the first wearing are

Gucci - Guilty Absolute
Dyptique - L'Eau Trois
Lancetti - Monsieur
Lorenzo Villoresi - Sandalo
Lorenzo Villoresi - Atman Xaman
Trudon - Mortel
Gres - L'Homme de Gres
CdG - Wonderoud
Kenzo - Jungle Homme
Guerlain - Vetiver
Guerlain - Jicky
Hermes - Eau d'Hermes
MPG - Santal Noble
Serge Lutens - Chergui
Serge Lutens - Vitriol d'Oeillet
 

philosophe

Well-known member
Sep 15, 2019
...
But yes, a few fragrances that never disappointed me after the first wearing are

Gucci - Guilty Absolute
Dyptique - L'Eau Trois
Lancetti - Monsieur
Lorenzo Villoresi - Sandalo
Lorenzo Villoresi - Atman Xaman
Trudon - Mortel
Gres - L'Homme de Gres
CdG - Wonderoud
Kenzo - Jungle Homme
Guerlain - Vetiver
Guerlain - Jicky
Hermes - Eau d'Hermes
MPG - Santal Noble
Serge Lutens - Chergui
Serge Lutens - Vitriol d'Oeillet

Chergui was actually another one of those where I was ambivalent at first. When I first smelled it I liked it, then when I wore it I found it too sweet and powdery, but over time my impression changed and I began to love the nuances of tobacco and leather. Maybe my tastes changed a bit. I have, for example, come to appreciate certain warm "brown" spices more, where I used to have more of an aversion to them in fragrances.

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Red Hawk

Well-known member
Dec 4, 2019
There have been a few "love at first sniff" . I buy fragrances either from a select few brands online, or from discount rack stores. So I usually don't smell them until after I've bought them, either receiving them in the mail or opening them in my car after purchasing. Nothing like opening something up and getting a blast of a beautiful, satisfying scent.

"Tobacco & Tonka Bean" by Banana Republic. Notes plum, pear, coconut, tobacco, vanilla, and tonka. Purchased it at Burlington, instantly blown away upon smelling it. Helped me realize that I'm a sucker for sweet tobacco fragrances.

"La Nuit De L'Homme L'Intense" by Yves Saint Laurent. Purchased at TJ Maxx A take on LNDL that scales back the spice and adds in iris and violet. It smells so classy though. I said out loud when I smelled it "Oh, that's date night weapon".:tongue:

"Wild & Botanic" by Hawthorne. Notes of cardamom, coriander, saffron, thuya, tolu balsam, vanilla, suede, sandalwood. Ordered online as Hawthorne's spring 2021 limited edition. And I loved it from the moment I got it, so rich and dark and deep. Great performance too. I guess Hawthorne is just my little secret since no one else seems to be talking about them!

And there are some scents that had to grow on me:

"17 Oud Mosaic" by Banana Republic. When I first got it I thought it smelled interesting, but a little "old". The rose and oud made it smell a little grandma-ish to me. But I found it interesting, and further wearings warmed me up to it.

"Silver Water & Birch" by Cremo. I was kind of meh when I first bought it. Again, not offensive, but smelled a little like Pledge and didn't quite click. Went for over a year without really wearing it, but I tried it again this summer and I'm enjoying it much better. It's my go-to gym scent now.

"Green & Airy" by Hawthorne. This was there limited edition for summer 2020. The top was great, but the drydown gave me this icky metallic spit vibe at first. But it grew on me and I've worn it some more this past summer.
 

LadyDragonFire

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jul 21, 2011
You know..I noticed this thread when it was first posted, and I kept thinking...this never happens! lol
I kept thinking.."no! I only ever buy a fragrance if I like it immediately at first sniff! I never buy a scent if I don't immediately like it! And..I don't think ones I dislike ever grew on me!"

But..I just realized that that's not entirely true! :D

Like..here's a good example!
I blind-bought Dana Love's Eau So Fabulous! a few months back from Walmart right?
And..TBH..a lot of the reason why I bought it is because I really love the bottles and the jewel-like colours of the Dana "Eau So..." line right?
I kept looking at them and thinking.."oh!! So pretty!" XD
And finally..since they're cheapies anyway I decided "oh! What the heck?" And I bought "Eau So Fabulous!", the one in the red/fuchsia bottle! Partly because I love the colour, but also because I loved the name too! :D I had not smelled any of them! I still don't know what the other four smell like! Mind you..I wear Dana Love's Baby Soft, and I love the way that one smells!
So..I have Dana Love's Eau So Fabulous!
And..initially...I really did not like it at first sniff! :/ It is not the same type of fragrance at all as Love's Baby Soft! And..probably not like Love's lemon Scent either..and I can't recall if I tried others like the Rain Scent for example..but that's probably not the same either.
Love's Eau So Fabulous is actually a very sweet amber-floral type of scent, with very noticeable tropical fruity notes when it's first spritzed from the bottle too!
My initial reaction at first sniff was "ugh! This is awful! Why did I ever buy this?? Oh no! Oh no!"
Oddly enough though..each time I smelled it after that first initial whiff, I found I liked it a little more each time!
And..when I spritzed it on and actually wore it I found that I actually enjoy the little perfume cloud scent it leaves in the air!
I'm actually wearing it again right now! XD
So yes..in fact I have found that sometimes a scent can grow on me if I give it a chance! XD It's not always necessarily love at first sniff for me all the time! :D
 

Opiate

Well-known member
Sep 19, 2010
Almost all of my favorite fragrances are ones that I didn’t like at first. 1 of them even made me gag and feel nauseous for the first year or so.
Almost all of the fragrances that were love at first sniff, I grew to dislike. Off the top of my head, there’s only 1 that I still really like and wear.

Funny how that works.
 

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