What Descriptions/Comparisons in Fragrance Reviews Annoy You or Leave You Clueless?

Jul 20, 2017
No one knows what everyone else has had experience smelling or if they will understand the way in which it’s described, so you do your best to explain in a way that someone else might get it. Knowing your audience helps but that’s no guarantee. If I say a fragrance has a manzanate note to a particular Basenoter they will know the smell because I know they know what that smells like. Someone else may not so if I know the person has grown up in the UK I’ll say Robinson’s Orange Squash and chances are they will likely know. Being annoyed about it seems unnecessary.
 
Jul 20, 2017
This was not only amusing and fun to read, but also very helpful, as it explained me why I smell cinnamon in all these fragrances when it's almost never listed. Now I know.
It's interesting as I don't remember carnation flowers smelling like cinnamon though their scent is hard to describe except dusty/almost spicy but not quite. When I think about it, I can imagine how it can take the impression of cinnamon or clove in a perfume.

;)
It’s a glorious scent. More clove than cinnamon but so much more than either.
 
Oct 13, 2019
Smell is an incredibly subjective sense, so nothing really annoys me when describing a particular scent. The personal experiences could all be valid, even when I don't smell the same things. What does annoy me though is the use of the word "juice" to refer to products. It feels entirely disrespectful when talking about scents, as if it were an attempt to sound "cool" but in the mean time trying to hide that you don't know what you are talking about.
 

rum

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Mar 17, 2011
None of it annoys me. All people are trying to do is to use a word to describe something that can be described 50 different ways.


Two people talking about a fragrance...

Jim - ..but it smells flowery.

Mary - Flowery? Flowery how? You’re not being specific enough. Like a Rose?

Jim - Like Carnation.

Mary - How does that smell?

Jim - Like cinnamon. No actually like cloves. Well actually a little of both.

Mary - Well what do cloves smell like?

Jim - Ermm. Spicy but sweet.

Mary - Like liquorice?

Jim - No. Do you remember Dentyne chewing gum?

Mary - Oh yes! Why didn’t you just say so?

Jim - Because I’m a f—king human being and I can’t read every other tw-ts mind to know what they associate with what!!

Classic. Absolutely classic. Couldn't have phrased this better myself. And carnation was a very good example to use.

This was not only amusing and fun to read, but also very helpful, as it explained me why I smell cinnamon in all these fragrances when it's almost never listed. Now I know.
It's interesting as I don't remember carnation flowers smelling like cinnamon though their scent is hard to describe except dusty/almost spicy but not quite. When I think about it, I can imagine how it can take the impression of cinnamon or clove in a perfume.

Carnation is an amazing scent. It can go spicy, bitter or sweet. Same with cinnamon. As a cooking ingredient it can go with sweet or savoury (at least, in some parts of the world).
 

rum

Moderator
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Mar 17, 2011
Smell is an incredibly subjective sense, so nothing really annoys me when describing a particular scent. The personal experiences could all be valid, even when I don't smell the same things.

Exactly. Our experiences in life (childhood, growing up, etc) mean that different people associate different scents with one or more different things (even the word 'things' is subjective here and I used that word on purpose).
 

van

New member
Jan 5, 2019
I find the use of the term reformulated the most annoying. Most of the time I feel it is used to convey that the reviewer (who is of course a perfume god) knew the scent before everybody else and the rest of us (coming to late to the party) have to make do with the destroyed remnants of it.
And why does it never (that I’ve read) happen that reformulation actually improves a scent?
 

PStoller

I’m not old, I’m vintage.
Basenotes Plus
Aug 1, 2019
I find the use of the term reformulated the most annoying. Most of the time I feel it is used to convey that the reviewer (who is of course a perfume god) knew the scent before everybody else and the rest of us (coming to late to the party) have to make do with the destroyed remnants of it.
And why does it never (that I’ve read) happen that reformulation actually improves a scent?

It has nothing to do with being "a perfume god." In the early years of the 21st century, the EU began hammering on various ingredients (as purported toxins and allergens) that had long been deemed beneficial if not essential to perfumery, negotiating with the industry group IFRA to restrict and/or ban them over the course of several sets of IFRA guidelines and EU laws. Fragrances based on these ingredients were reformulated in order to remain legal—in most cases, suffering because the substitutes couldn't achieve the same effects. It's also the case that some fragrances are reformulated because some ingredients have become scarce and prohibitively expensive.

There are a few fragrances that have emerged relatively intact, and some even arguably improved, but that's rare.

There are, of course, other ways to make fragrances, and that's what most modern perfumery is about, if only out of necessity.
 

Bavard

Wearing Perfume Right Now
Moderator
Basenotes Plus
Jul 20, 2015
who is of course a perfume god

This seems like something that should autocorrect to “geek.”

The question about why reformulations never improve a scent is a tough one. It’s a matter of taste. I would love to be able to list examples of reformulations that improved on the original. Mostly I’m happy if the reformulations are a lateral move, where they are arguably just as good. Sometimes a reformulation can be really bad.

That’s if we’re comparing a reformulation to the original.

It does happen all the time that something that was reformulated and ruined gets reformulated again and gets better. Tracking these changes is a lot of work, though, and few people even on here care to do it. They’re not really that geeky. A bunch of demigeeks.
 

ToughCool

More Cool Than Tough
Basenotes Plus
Jun 12, 2008
“Pipe Shop” or Tobacco-y

Honestly my idea of tobacco smell or a pipe smell is a cigar tobacco note or a sweet pipe smell. It’s not that I hate the description, it’s the fact that I’ve yet to find a scent that has the notes I’d find to be tobacco or pipe smell. When I first got into this I found a shop with Santa Maria Novella Tabacco Toscano and was taken aback by what that idea of tobacco was. So overall I have a distrust of a scent if I see this description

Many others here have covered the usuals and I actually get urinal cake and comet. I don’t get “expensive hand soap” and the ones explained that was usually are medicinal to my nose.
 

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