Powdery

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
Been thinking about this for a while..

Could we discuss the use of the word “powdery” as a perfume descriptor?

“Powdery” pops up pervasively in our discussions. From what I can gather, some people use it to mean “flowery” (and especially with reference to purple floral accords based in ionones such as violet, heliotrope, or iris), some seem to use it to refer to sweetness, some apply it to aldehydic florals, while still others, strange to tell, seem to use it for clove-y, ambered barbershop scents.

The meanings of “powdery” seem so various and disparate that I find the word tells me rather little about what a perfume smells like.

So what does “powdery” mean to you in reference to perfumery? Exactly what kind of powder do you have in mind?

To me, baby powder is probably the most immediate referent, but baby powders do not all smell the same. In the US, many people will think of the scent of the original Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder, originally a combination of violet, coumarin and musk but even Johnson’s Baby Powder is now available in many different scents. Others may think of the Italian Borotalco, which I’ve never smelled but seems to combine citrus, floral notes, and vanilla and has been compared to Shalimar. I also think of vintage makeup powders which often contain orris. And orris and the variously recreated scents of iris flowers seem to be aligned with “powdery scents” for many. A classic example of vintage makeup powder is Coty’s Air-Spun Powder which used to be available in all of the vintage Coty scents, including Chypre, but is still being sold with a version of the L’Origan scent.

But makeup powders are often creamy or even waxy in texture; thus, they are a form of powder that is not especially powdery, rather paradoxically. And perhaps “powdery” is better understand as more of a textural effect than a scent, suggesting astringent and dry powdery materials such as silica, alum, chalk or talc? Some aldehydes and white musks convey this kind of dryness to me.

And yes, we’ve discussed this before, as always. Some previous discussions of this topic here:

https://basenotes.com/threads/powdery-notes.234344/

https://basenotes.com/threads/powdery-notes-what-are-they.213437/

https://basenotes.com/threads/your-favorite-powdery-scent.314932/

Looking forward to your responses!
 

Jean-Sté

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Jan 1, 2021
Very interesting question, @grayspoole ! By reading the beginning of your text, I was thinking that "powdery" doesn't remind me anything floral, until you said:

And perhaps “powdery” is better understand as more of a textural effect than a scent, suggesting astringent and dry powdery materials such as silica, alum, chalk or talc?

That's it ! Exactly this way: something mineral, dry, even dusty sometimes.
 

ClockworkAlice

Cakesniffer
Basenotes Plus
Jan 3, 2019
To me powdery is not about the smell itself as much as about texture. It's dry, stuffy, pulverized, lingering in your nostrils, although it can be softly powdery too. Could be sweet and marshmallowy like D&G Pour femme, or could be completely unsweet and musky like Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez, or chalky like Habanita by Molinard. As for ingredients, scents including heliotrope, iris, certain style of musks can feel powdery, so I guess there is a connection to florals but not all of them. Although polleny is probably adjacent to powdery in a way?. Lipsticky to me is an adjacent smell/feel to powdery just smoother and more waxy.
I feel like my vocabulary is slightly lacking to talk about this topic well. I know what I mean and what I hear when I or someone says powdery, but when I talk about it it loses meaning. Like how marshmallow tastes like? It tastes sweet and white and chewy and ... powdery?

I haven't smelled baby powder or scented face powders at all tbh. (But face powders do smell powdery... As in dry and grainy?)
 
Dec 16, 2018
grayspoole, what a great topic to choose.

The word powdery in perfumery is a textural-scent, and very few accords get close to that feeling. Certain animalic (castoreum) when mixed with birch-tar come close to that somewhat similar scent-feel, like that of animal-musk-heat. Not deer-musk, for it has that indole-jasmine-musk, which feels cool, always a tad distant, not tactile like birch-tar animalic combos or powdery.
However, what is a ‘powdery scent’ is ALL about cultural references, and some are almost universal.

  • Johnson and Johnson baby powder is so ubiquitous in the world, that one may have to go to Papua New Guinea to find someone who doesn’t know this scent or associate it with powdery. And the formula is secret, so secret, that one can count the folks involved on one hand who are allowed access. However, head-space tech has found some clue, it’s a combination of rose, vanilla, coumarin (tonka bean) and violet + ? hint of blackberry.
  • Use of Orris root in lipsticks, talc powder (now cornstarch), and especially compacts. That is where the powdery scent was imprinted on majority of our minds, beside our mothers’ knees, smelling that scent—unless your mum didn’t wear any makeup.
  • Along with orris root, violet and heliotrope are also used to generate the same feeling.
  • Another powdery is a combination of sweet vanilla, coumarin with hints of a sandalwood base; the pinkish powdery at its best. This combination was fairly generic, and used a lot until real sandalwood almost disappeared.
Miller Harris’ L’Air de Rein is remarkable in how specific that baby-powder scent is but to meld it with cigarette smoke! As much as I like it, there is a feeling of ‘loss of innocence’ in it.

But, ask perfumers or anyone involved with perfumery about ‘what is a powdery note’, and what I heard were many descriptors but consensus was that there is a mineralic, dusty, almost faded quality to this scent. It almost makes you want to swallow, as if your throat is dry. And there is a soothing feel to it.
 

Cook.bot

Flâneuse
Basenotes Plus
Jan 6, 2012
And orris and the variously recreated scents of iris flowers seem to be aligned with “powdery scents” for many. A classic example of vintage makeup powder is Coty’s Air-Spun Powder which used to be available in all of the vintage Coty scents, including Chypre, but is still being sold with a version of the L’Origan scent.

Yes, face powder like Coty's is generally what I'm thinking of when I assign the descriptor "powdery" to a perfume. I've occasionally run across something that smells like classic baby powder too, but those have been quite rare.

I agree with Alice, too, about it sometimes denoting a texture more than a smell, usually when something seems chalky to me. All these just make me ponder how impoverished our vocabularies are for discussing scent experiences.
 

Ken_Russell

Basenotes Institution
Jan 21, 2006
From a personal viewpoint alone, while also fully seconding the previous posts and opinions mentioned above, always considered powdery as a mixture of indeed talcum, but also some creamy, sweet gourmand as well as sweet/soapy floral notes.
Ideally most or all of these notes/hints at once, with a both recognizable and somehow calming effect.
 

teardrop

Basenotes Institution
Sep 1, 2010
For me, "powdery" is mostly a textural descriptor, suggesting a dry, fuzzy, enveloping scent that could be suffocating if overused. And like others here, l think it's reminiscent of Johnson's Baby Powder (some of which l always have in the house, & doesn't seem to have changed all that much since my childhood) or cosmetic powder compacts. Having said that, it does seem to incorporate notes like iris, certain musks & also heliotrope.

l'd say a perfect example of this is Villoresi's Teint de Neige.
 

metanoia

Super Member
Oct 7, 2021
For me the combination of dry texture and a faintly floral and musky smell is what I would refer to as powder. I don’t think I have ever smelled baby powder, Johnson’s nor other. But I have smelled various body powders and talcum powders and you’re quite right, they all smell different. But so do lipsticks these days….? 🤔🤔
 

philosophe

Super Member
Sep 15, 2019
To me, different scent accords can give a powdery effect, because it isn't a scent so much as a synesthetic experience akin to "fuzziness" or "olfactory static." Iris (orris) is a good example of a scent that produces this. Certain amber accords heavy in labdanum, and certain other notes, such as cumin, various musks, or tonka, can produce a similar effect in slightly different registers or frequencies, if that makes any sense. I don't really get this effect from any floral notes though.
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
I think this is an instance where a word is sufficient enough to cover a variety of meaning, like 'citrusy' covers a gamut of scents.
Come to think of it, many scent descriptors refer to a variety of scent - 'woody' and 'fruity' are yet another

All these just make me ponder how impoverished our vocabularies are for discussing scent experiences.

‘When it comes to matching words to sensory experience, the struggle is real. Describing smells is pretty hard, colors aren’t easy either. My mother is legendary in our family for issuing requests such as “I don’t want a greeny green, or a green green, but just a touch of green.’

All we can do is strive for some specificity in our references,
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
To me it means smells like "J&J body powder".

I think powdery is like talcum powder (e.g., Johnson and Johnson's Baby Powder, now discontinued).

For me, "powdery" is mostly a textural descriptor, suggesting a dry, fuzzy, enveloping scent that could be suffocating if overused. And like others here, l think it's reminiscent of Johnson's Baby Powder (some of which l always have in the house, & doesn't seem to have changed all that much since my childhood) or cosmetic powder compacts. Having said that, it does seem to incorporate notes like iris, certain musks & also heliotrope.

l'd say a perfect example of this is Villoresi's Teint de Neige.

‘Agree with all of this. We can just use the shorthand of J&J for this kind powdery (jk, jk).

I am wreathed in Teint de Neige as I write this, because I wanted check again to see if it really smells like J&J baby powder. It does. (I have an older container of J&J Baby Powder around.) The scent of the baby powder vanishes quickly, but it is possible to pick up the vanillin and the ionones without inhaling the powder which, lord knows, we don’t want to do. TdN marries some aspects of the J&J scent profile with a dense and penetrating sweet musk. It’s the tenacity of this musk that makes TdN unwearable for me and gives me almost a suffocated feeling, but I wouldn’t say TdN is powdery in texture to me.
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
something mineral, dry, even dusty sometimes.

To me powdery is not about the smell itself as much as about texture. It's dry, stuffy, pulverized, lingering in your nostrils, although it can be softly powdery too. Could be sweet and marshmallowy like D&G Pour femme, or could be completely unsweet and musky like Narciso by Narciso Rodriguez, or chalky like Habanita by Molinard. As for ingredients, scents including heliotrope, iris, certain style of musks can feel powdery, so I guess there is a connection to florals but not all of them. Although polleny is probably adjacent to powdery in a way?. Lipsticky to me is an adjacent smell/feel to powdery just smoother and more waxy.
I feel like my vocabulary is slightly lacking to talk about this topic well. I know what I mean and what I hear when I or someone says powdery, but when I talk about it it loses meaning. Like how marshmallow tastes like? It tastes sweet and white and chewy and ... powdery?

I haven't smelled baby powder or scented face powders at all tbh. (But face powders do smell powdery... As in dry and grainy?)

But, ask perfumers or anyone involved with perfumery about ‘what is a powdery note’, and what I heard were many descriptors but consensus was that there is a mineralic, dusty, almost faded quality to this scent. It almost makes you want to swallow, as if your throat is dry. And there is a soothing feel to it.

To me, different scent accords can give a powdery effect, because it isn't a scent so much as a synesthetic experience akin to "fuzziness" or "olfactory static." Iris (orris) is a good example of a scent that produces this. Certain amber accords heavy in labdanum, and certain other notes, such as cumin, various musks, or tonka, can produce a similar effect in slightly different registers or frequencies, if that makes any sense. I don't really get this effect from any floral notes though.

I find all of these explorations of scent texture so fascinating, and I have been digging into these for a while. How can scent have a texture? But they do, they do.

Smoothly textured like a stick of chalk or a block of talc or alum seems a bit different from “powdery” to me. The galbanum and exceptionally high quality iris in vintage No. 19 make me think of these textures. The feeling of a smooth piece of porcelain. I have never thought of Habanita in this way, Clockwork Alice, but I may try to see if I can.

Fluffy, sweet, sticky marshmallow-y is another great referent. I made the mistake once of trying to make homemade marshmallows from a Martha Stewart recipe. Clouds of cornstarch and, confectioners sugar everywhere. I generally don’t think of this sticky sweetness as powdery but I can see how one can.

Pollen-y” is another great and more specific alternative to “powdery.” Definitely “adjacent to powdery” Many perfumes seem to have the dense florality of pollen-heavy blossoms. Mimosa notes always suggest pollen to me.

Grainy, fuzzy, static-y, buzzy...I typically get these sensations from dry woody and musky aromachemicals, not so much from natural labdanum. I can see how cumin notes can feel rough.

Wonderful reflections everyone! Thanks!

Now I am thinking about the differences between powdery and soapy...and then there’s powdery vs. dryer sheet.
 
Dec 16, 2018
All these just make me ponder how impoverished our vocabularies are for discussing scent experiences.

Our language is not worth anything to describe the world of odours.
~ Patrick Suskind

PS: When I'm on BN-- I remind myself to only post something of value or meaning. So, to write the 401th post, I couldn't have asked for a more perfect prelude than Cook.bot's spot-on comment.
 
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Zenwannabee

Super Member
Sep 15, 2009
What a fabulous thread. I think for me it’s both smell and texture (and if I’m being honest a bit of talc nostalgia). When I think of scents I admire that I consider “powdery,” those with pronounced heliotrope or violet do come immediately to mind (Jaipur, Joop!, Grey Flannel), but also those with aldehyde florals (Tabac, Black Suede, Old Spice, Chanel No. 5—even Quorum), or vanilla/lavender and iris (Shalimar, Obsession, Dior Homme Intense, Wild Country, Clubman, Valentino Uomo). The smells of course are central to this definition, but also a certain rich, waxy quality which I associate with the drydown of each and that anchors them and makes them so remarkable and enjoyable to me.
 
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grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
To continue our coversation, I was lurking on the DIY Forum and saw this most interesting chart of musks, posted by Paul Kiler in this thread https://basenotes.com/threads/musks-choosing-purposes.449222/

ADB9F966-AA08-4E5C-94B7-E5B4064CB473.jpeg

As you can see, “powdery” is opposed to “metallic” on the x-axis. I do find that certain perfumes feel “metallic” in a good way— especially smooth, cool, slippery. But then there’s an unpleasant metallic sensation that I associate (rightly or wrongly, I don’t know) with synthetic vetivers and shampooey floral musks that makes me feel as though I am chewing aluminum foil…

In any case, “metallic” does seem to be the opposite of “powdery” for me, with respect to texture.

What do you think?
 

lfc1892

Basenotes Junkie
Dec 12, 2021
To continue our coversation, I was lurking on the DIY Forum and saw this most interesting chart of musks, posted by Paul Kiler in this thread https://basenotes.com/threads/musks-choosing-purposes.449222/

View attachment 286033

As you can see, “powdery” is opposed to “metallic” on the x-axis. I do find that certain perfumes feel “metallic” in a good way— especially smooth, cool, slippery. But then there’s an unpleasant metallic sensation that I associate (rightly or wrongly, I don’t know) with synthetic vetivers and shampooey floral musks that makes me feel as though I am chewing aluminum foil…

In any case, “metallic” does seem to be the opposite of “powdery” for me, with respect to texture.

What do you think?
Synthetic Vetivers do little for me. I think vetiver acetate is a common one and it doesn’t sit well with my nose
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
Papyrus moleculaire is dry and powdery on me

‘Never tried this one. Papyrus as a note interests me though. Found this useful post by Julian35 here...

From nstperfume.com : Cypriol: an essential oil derived from the roots of Cyperus scariosus, aka Indian papyrus, aka nagarmotha grass. The term cypriol is sometimes used interchangeably with papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) in lists of perfume notes.
I have nagarmotha oil and it reminds me of another woody grass...vetiver.
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
Synthetic Vetivers do little for me. I think vetiver acetate is a common one and it doesn’t sit well with my nose
They really do nothing for me either. I love the complexity and earthiness of natural vetiver though.

But I must add...vetiver is never “powdery” to me, at least in the vetiver scents that I favor. It may be in other compositions.
 

thrilledchilled

All Is Beautiful
Basenotes Plus
Nov 17, 2018
The most powdery experience I recall was a few years earlier, keeping in mind my scent journey only started in 2018.

It was one of Russian Adam’s creations, maybe War & Peace…but initially it was the most powdery experience and I hated it. A year or so later it is magnificent. It needed to macerate for a bit.

I find scents such as Musc Nomade by Annick Goutal to be powdery due to the musks and the blending of kind of bland notes together. Iris can be powdery If it is blended to be bland.

All these rambles to say that I now recognize powdery and to me it is musky and bland.
 
Aug 17, 2013
Collecting texture-related descriptors from the quotations below, I think I'm seeing:

a cluster related to dryness and the air all around, possibly linked with suspended particles and difficulty breathing:
  • dusty, almost faded quality to the scent. It almost makes you want to swallow, as if your throat is dry
  • dry, fuzzy, enveloping scent that could be suffocating if overused
  • soft, sweet, diffusive, and dry
  • I wonder if grayspoole's powdery-adjacent idea of 'pollen-y' leans toward the experience of seasonal allergies?
a contrasting cluster related to comfort or tranquility and perhaps solidity or liquidity and also cooler temperature:
  • soothing
  • calming
  • minerallic
For me, outside the context of all those musks with which I am not familiar, metallic and powdery don't seem like antipodes. Rather, metallic and powdery can overlap exactly in that area that grayspoole distinguishes as the feeling of a smooth piece of porcelain. (For the record, I have yet to reconcile this conception of metal with the sensation I recognize immediately in grayspoole's phrase 'chewing aluminum foil'.)

Putting most of that together, and at the risk of psychoanalysis, I am reminded of these aspects of my experience with talcum and other cosmetic powders:
  • initially powder typically feels cool, and then depending what I do with it, the sensation can switch abruptly to neutral or warm
  • at a pre-scientific level of my consciousness, powder violates the distinctions among solid, liquid, and gas
  • powder does promise to be soothing, and also to choke; if it would stay exactly where I put it, I know it would be soothing, but it never does
  • the typical fragrance added to powder evokes 'clean' and 'soft' and 'safe', while the behavior of the material is chaotic and out of control
  • when I was a child, my mother and grandmother used powders on me and on themselves in a nurturing context, but I was not allowed to pick them up or manipulate them
So I'm thinking that my most definitely 'powdery' experiences of scents involve contradictions like safety-danger, eternity-corporeality, cool-warm, and perhaps most fundamentally the confusion of states of matter that leaves me uncertain whether I can stand on it, swim through it, inhale it, or just need to run from it. (This last aspect might apply to perfume in general...??)

And that confusion is temporary. It's not unusual for me to smell something new and think 'powdery'. But I don't have any perfume I consider powdery. I suspect that's because the confusion loses its impact as the scent becomes familiar.

This happened to me in particular with the first perfume I experienced for the first time from a blotter (all at once, full-force and with total attention and intention), and which I now wear regularly: Apres L'Ondee (not sure how to render diacritical marks). I remember vividly the cool-powder-waterfall-floating-sugar-more water-levitation in mid-air sensations evoked by my first sniff. Now, when I pay attention to the perfume on my body, I sense notes, even if I don't always have words for them, and powder is not one of those notes. As I go on with my day and perceive the scent from oblique angles, sometimes I get moments, maybe they're even flashbacks, more like that first sniff. And then if I think about what I'm feeling, those sensations resolve once again. No more powder.

I'd be curious to hear about the persistence or ephemerality of other folks' experiences of the 'powdery' in perfume.

But, ask perfumers or anyone involved with perfumery about ‘what is a powdery note’, and what I heard were many descriptors but consensus was that there is a mineralic, dusty, almost faded quality to this scent. It almost makes you want to swallow, as if your throat is dry. And there is a soothing feel to it.

From a personal viewpoint alone, while also fully seconding the previous posts and opinions mentioned above, always considered powdery as a mixture of indeed talcum, but also some creamy, sweet gourmand as well as sweet/soapy floral notes.
Ideally most or all of these notes/hints at once, with a both recognizable and somehow calming effect.

For me, "powdery" is mostly a textural descriptor, suggesting a dry, fuzzy, enveloping scent that could be suffocating if overused.

Smoothly textured like a stick of chalk or a block of talc or alum seems a bit different from “powdery” to me. The galbanum and exceptionally high quality iris in vintage No. 19 make me think of these textures. The feeling of a smooth piece of porcelain....

Pollen-y” is another great and more specific alternative to “powdery.” Definitely “adjacent to powdery” Many perfumes seem to have the dense florality of pollen-heavy blossoms. Mimosa notes always suggest pollen to me.

For me, powdery in perfumery means soft, sweet, diffusive and dry.
As you can see, “powdery” is opposed to “metallic” on the x-axis. I do find that certain perfumes feel “metallic” in a good way— especially smooth, cool, slippery. But then there’s an unpleasant metallic sensation that I associate (rightly or wrongly, I don’t know) with synthetic vetivers and shampooey floral musks that makes me feel as though I am chewing aluminum foil…

In any case, “metallic” does seem to be the opposite of “powdery” for me, with respect to texture.
 
Mar 26, 2022
FWIW, according to Arctander the classic powder accord is a mix of frankincense, cinnamon, cinnamic alcohol, nitromusks and coumarin. Like all true accords (for example "cola" which is also a mix of five primary materials) the combination of materials creates a synergistic, distinctively recognizable note that is more than the sum of its parts and which obscures the individual qualities of its components.
 

ambergeese

Basenotes Member
Sep 7, 2022
Fascinating topic, Grayspoole!
And perhaps “powdery” is better understand as more of a textural effect than a scent, suggesting astringent and dry powdery materials such as silica, alum, chalk or talc? Some aldehydes and white musks convey this kind of dryness to me.
This is exactly what I mean by powdery, personally. It's a texture. Dry, dusty, chalky, finely-ground. It does make me think of baby powder and makeup powders, but the images I conjure up are more theoretical than precise examples of baby powders and eyeshadow palettes that I've definitely smelled. I do find that there's a similar texture among the numerous disparate notes I think of as powdery, at least to me.

Iris, orris root (but only really sometimes, or perhaps in a different, more buttery way?), certain almond notes, aldehydes and white musks, certain very dry sweet notes, finely-powdered floral soap smells... all of these feel powdery to me, texturally speaking, most of the time.
 

Bonnette

Missing Oakmoss
Basenotes Plus
Jul 25, 2015
...perhaps “powdery” is better understand as more of a textural effect than a scent, suggesting astringent and dry powdery materials such as silica, alum, chalk or talc?
This is about 50% how I think of it, combined with 25% memory of Johnson & Johnson baby powder as it smelled in the 50s and 60s - or loose face powder in a compact - and 25% the generic dusty base of what passed for scented bath powder in that same era. Everything conveyed the idea of softness, something to take the edge off a sharp smell or prickly feeling; enveloping but unobtrusive, redolent of comfort.
 
Aug 16, 2022
Granular and white. Some things just smell like solids or liquids, and "powdery" is always solid. It's not charcoal or wood or something colorful, so it's powder, I guess.
 
Mar 26, 2022
It has the texture of talcum powder imo as well as the fragrance of products that traditionally contain talc or fatty/fine particles. It's smooth and perfumey like cosmetic powders or corn starch, not so much granular which implies a coarser texture, nor dusty which implies a certain dryness and airiness. Powder is smooth, brilliant, with a floral sweetness and a heavy quality which is not at all dusty. There's an overlap with the qualities of orris, and orris notes can be a component of powder, but it doesn't have the texture of orris materials except maybe orris concrete, which is fatty as well as having an extremely fine texture and diffusion vs "orris" aromachems.
 

grayspoole

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Feb 4, 2014
FWIW, according to Arctander the classic powder accord is a mix of frankincense, cinnamon, cinnamic alcohol, nitromusks and coumarin. Like all true accords (for example "cola" which is also a mix of five primary materials) the combination of materials creates a synergistic, distinctively recognizable note that is more than the sum of its parts and which obscures the individual qualities of its components.

I had not seen this discussion in Arctander until now—thanks. This specific definition of “powder” seems to be one of the older ones, and I think it’s the source for many perceptions of warm, spicy scents as powdery. I‘ve noticed people frequently say that spicy barbershop colognes such as the original Old Spice are powdery. Within my own personal perfume lexicon, warm and spicy notes such as cinnamon, cloves, and coumarin do not register as “powdery” but, as this thread amply attests, everyone’s mileage varies.
 

Diddy

Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Oct 14, 2015
After reading through the thread, I’ve got a brain freeze worse than from eating flavored ice! I believe “too powdery” in the real world would always need further description. And I think we would automatically do that if we were talking with someone and trying to describe the way something “feels” versus the way it “smells”. If you randomly walk up to people and ask them what “powdery” means to them, I’m betting they would ask you a question or two before giving their definition. Since we are talking about describing fragrance, if you tell me that you believe a fragrance smells “powdery” I am not going to assume that it smells like a texture. What does a texture even smell like? I’m going to go through my mental scent Rolodex (and now you know I’m no spring chicken) and use memories of things classified as smelling powdery to get an idea of what you’re trying to convey. For some people, that will be the smell associated with scented talcum powders while others could be associated with deodorant or Aunt Sally who wore too much makeup (no offense to any real Sally’s reading this). My point is that, since, universally, ‘powdery’ smell can be quite different because of one’s experiences, the author/speaker/presenter has a responsibility to do better than just say something smells powdery. I will make sure I do better going forward so that people can understand my meaning of the type of powdery smell I refer. ‘It smells like an intense version of grandma’s Chantilly body powder.”, as example.
 

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