The Fougère Project, part 4

(Feb 17, 2014) Christos MemoryOfScent said:
Bryan I think we all perceive the same notes but focus on them differently. I have read your post on how Grey Flannel is a precursor to Cool Water and although I can see your point of view, I tend to associate Grey Flannel more with Narcisso Rodriguez for him. For my own personal reasons I seem to focus more on the wet cement note than on anything else.

I think we need jtd's intervention because we have hijacked this discussion completely :)
Forgive me jtd

(Feb 17, 2014) jtd said:

Hijack away, guys! This is just the discussion I've been looking for, and is actually the reason that I couple it (eventually) with a discussion of the fougère. In many respects, because the basic recipe for a fougère is so simple, it is a good practical way to look at notes, aromatic substances and what we make of them.

@ Bryan. I agree with your 10% thought. We know that the chemistry of perfumes is 'hard' in that it is measurable and repeatable. Here’s part of the power that perfumers hold over bloggers and critics; they know the science and we, even if we're chemists, don't know the proprietary secrets of perfume making. Where we fumies are on a more equal ground with the perfumers is that everyone is leary of pointing to the objective not of the perfume, but of our sensory experience of it. Not our aesthetic, interpretive experience of it, but the objective sensory.

We give more credence to Pantone 2247-C or 261.6 Hz, middle C, than we do methyl inonone gamma 80, yet the relationship of the stimulus to the sensory perception effectively the same. I see green and you see green. Our language is based on the fact we perceive the same color. The same objectivity, and the assumption of its reproducibility should apply to the olfactory, but our language doesn't support objectivity, even though an adehyde by any other name should smell as sweet. We work with the false assumption that if an aroma molecule smells like pine to you and like lemon to me that each of us is correct because the olfactory is entirely subjective.

Here’s where we should stop. You have to be taught what is cobalt blue and what is chartreuse, why should we not be taught how to recognize scent and use it similarly? Interesting note. A nasty spore-forming bacterium called clostridium difficile causes a particular diarrhea that any hospital nurse learns to identify. Multiple studies have shown that nurses' nose identify the bug as well as or better than the standard diagnostic test used in most hospitals. That smell might register differentlly to each of us nurses, but we can spot it an name it effectively.

@ Christos. Christos, I don't think the above contradicts what you say about a bottle that contains number of aromachemicals registering differently to a number of people who experience it. Once we're beyond the point of sensory identification there are other processes at work in the mind/brain. If you and I see the same tone of red, it is a shared perception, and we could both probably identify it again within a few seconds if shown it again.. If we each see the same glowing red light, you might think, 'stop the car' and I might think, 'we're in the prostitution district.'

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