Fragrance descriptions - A short Essay

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MySoapyHeart

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Sometimes I feel getting fantastic fragrances is like the lottery.
I have to rely on description, reviews and sometimes just dumb luck to be able to get any fragrance oils that I love.

Testerbottles are out of the question because shipping to Norway is so insane, that it is better for me to take a chance and just get a big bottle right away, and hope for the best.

Most of the time this works out great. I spend a lot of time back and forth, reading descriptions, undertones, reviews etc. And even though I feel the description can sometimes be so way off that the fragrance should be renamed completely, I still may like the scent. Either for myself or for someone else. No biggie!

Sometimes it also depends on the skills of the company who offer the scents and the descriptions.

Sometimes the descriptions makes a scent smell a certain way in my head. Intrigueing, tempting, creating images, painting pictures.

But then you get the bottle in hand, and you just don`t know what these guys have been sniffin` lately, to be able to come up with descriptions that isn`t even close to what I smell.

I have often found myself reading a colorfull description of a scent, totally making me feel I need it in my soaps.

This scent will be the scent that fixes everything, filling the big gap in my collection that have been so empty, for so long.

I need Champagne HotTubParty in my life (totally made up name, btw...)

After waiting 4 weeks I get the bottle in the mail, take one sniff, and think to myself - Uhm, excuse me?

Then I remind myself to never judge a scent untill it has been soaped, cut and cured.

So I do the steps, let the soap go through a long cure before deciding anything. Scents can morph. They really can.

I lift up a bar and my eyes get this surprized look of disbelief. Well, I can`t be completely sure, I don`t usually stand in front of my hallway mirror the very first time I take a whiff of a new scent.

But in my head I have this look.

I start to think; This is what champagne bubbles, snow and fresh air are supposed to smell like? On what planet? Did fry from Planet Express deliver this package by mistake? Should it had been delivered to Mars and someone else got my fragrance?

I sniff again.

Where are the undertones you promised me?! *shaking fist at the description, who knew this was coming and hid under the couch, shaking, and dripping with lies, deceit and false promises*

Where are the bubbly untertones of a soft waterfall, Tiare flowers and golden citrus?
Where is the tartness from Carambole and softness from the white musk hiding? Under the bed?
And exactly where did the powdery notes from the newlyweds of Patchouli and sweet vanillabeans go? Were they held up in customs?

I shake my head.

Where can I find this soft air that was going to stroke my nostrils, whilst taking me back to the summer evenings of my dreams, with floral dresses, blond highlights, no lovehandles, and classy flip-flops from Prada? Were they arrested for trespassing? Will they show up later, at least?

All I can smell are those... hanging, fake, green plastic grapes that hung by the window in my childhood home in the 70`s. The ones that became so soft and squishy in the warm sunlight, whilst oozing the familiar scent of old plastic and flaky green paint. Ah memories...

Also pinching my nose like an uncomfortable itch, are the undertones of over-ripened pinapples dripping with brine, 2 big pieces of Hubba Bubba chewing gum, Vicks VapouRub, a crumbled cookiemonster, 1 pine tree set on fire while holding a cinnamon stick, and finally rounding everything off with a lingering undertone of a cheap rubberststamp.

Champagne HotTubParty - you lied to me. We can`t be friends.

But then again, it all could be just my nose...
 
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Soapmaker145

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LOL! I can sympathize. Descriptions are very deceiving. I can't figure out if they are written by marketing people or the fragrance developers based on what notes they know are in the oils (supplemented with a great deal of imagination).

Just a suggestion: often FO notes get muffled or obscured when combined. Adding a little sandalwood, musk or patchouli can "unmask" them. It worked for me for a number of FOs. I do that when FOs keep changing every time I smell them. It is worth trying before dumping an FO, particularly since it is so hard and so expensive to ship them to you.

We're going to have to figure out how to ship some FOs to you. Now to find the right person at the post office who knows what paperwork to fill out! It's probably easier to find those elusive fragrance notes that seem to exist only in the descriptions.
 

Arimara

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I'm sorry the FO was a lie. that was a very descriptive review for a scent I probably would have passed over anyway (champagne = aldehydes of a fruity, sparkling kind which tends to smell fruity and will strengthen some scents to where they become offensive to the nose. Not all of them are bad though or Chanel No. 5 would not be a classic).
 

nsmar4211

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"1 pine tree set on fire while holding a cinnamon stick"

This part just made me scare the cat!!! Although that does sound interesting in a weird way....

Thanks for the essay....true and hilarious! My best example is Lust (which has its own thread). It can repel King Kong I think...no warning of THAT!!!
 

CaraBou

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Ah, your prose paints ordinary windows over mystical stained glass, and the truth is revealed. I rarely buy FOs anymore without smelling them first, or distilling the list to those with very few nouns, adjectives and adverbs. The more I smell, the more I gravitate to a short list of EOs. Now if only I could ignore the intrigue of creating a novel blend, I could truly reap the lessons you and I have both learned.
 

cerelife

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Thank you for this post!!! I just snorted Diet Pepsi through my nose because I was laughing so hard :)
But I DO feel your pain! With the RE sale coming up I decided to give some of the FO's I bought last year a try and I made tarts with this one tonight since I was sooo enamored with the name!
http://rusticescentuals.com/White-Pumpkin-Lilac.html
I honestly have never figured out what I was smelling OOB and still can't figure it out in the tarts. It's not unpleasant, but kind of mixed up to my nose. I asked my husband to give the tarts a sniff and tell me what he smelled and his opinion was "Maybe vanilla and incense...what is it supposed to smell like?" When I told him the name, he was like "What the f*** is a White Pumpkin?" :)
Yeah, I sooo get sucked into FO names...
 

penelopejane

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MSH - too true!

Don't buy *Men's super fantastic number 1 best seller* it's also a dud!

I feel your pain USA>Oz postage is horrific and those mail centres are a joke. Still 10 x 30ml testers will be better than 1 x 100ml disaster.
 

Rusti

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Ah yes. I experienced this just the other night with WSP's new Sweet Corn FO. Here I'm reading the description and thinking of how the cornfields smell on a cool wet night, or freshly shucked sweet corn before it's boiled.

Nope.

I don't know what sweet corn these folks have been smelling but I think it was rotten. I nearly gagged sniffing the bottle. I can smell what might have been sweet corn, but it's got corn earworms for sure! Yuck!
 

MySoapyHeart

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Thank you for the feedback guys! And for sharing your tips and advice, and similar experiences you had!

I am so happy... err, ok, I am not happy that you all have the same experiences, but that you could recognize the issue of those, sometimes overly colorfull descriptions. Some of which makes the fragrance sound so awesome that you feel you should really expect them to pop out of the cupboard, do the grocery shopping and fill up the car with gas.

"Life is like a bottle of fragrance.
You never know what you are going to get.
"

~Florist Grump
 

galaxyMLP

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I've been disappointed many times as well. I now stick with scents that sound simple or other people have sung praises for (the only exception being pink musk from WSP that I had to try from the description [this is one of the few scents that really was fantastic]).

I almost never can tell the difference between whipped cream, marshmallow and plain vanilla scents. And in soap they all smell the same... I fell for the naming trick with REs "cornucopias and gourds" and "corn husk". I thought it would smell like fall (whatever that even smells like). I've been floored with some scents I've taken a risk on but the list is few and far between.

The more fragrances I acquire, the more scrutinizing my nose becomes.

Edit: also, "Florist Grump" is amazing.
 

TDS

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Hahah, I love it! I so sympathize with your pain, as recently I purchased "First Love". It has no smell, fragrance, whatever that I can tell. Mistrusting my nose, I had my husband sniff it, he agrees, it has no scent. Ordering FO's is like a box of chocolates, oh wait.........

Trish
 

MySoapyHeart

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I'm going to name a blend Champagne Hot Tub Party. Just FYI. :)

Oh please do!

Btw, it was funny you should mention that, I was in my cabinet earlier, trying to come up with a blend that could fit the bill, and then make soap with it. `Cause even it was just a silly name I came up with, it suddenly got stuck in my head ( '_' )

I even know the colors...

Seriously, I should go to bed, and not think about these things now.

Tomorrow I may, or may not make the soap (totally will) so we`ll see then *cough*
 

IrishLass

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:lol: Lots of the scent descriptions I've read are so way 'out there' that I often wonder if the people who make them up aren't in actuality students sitting in a creative writing class who, for extra credit, are given the name of a scent and asked to write a description about it, but without ever having smelled it. lol

That's why I rely so heavily on sites like the SSRB before purchasing a scent. Not every FO scent is listed, but it's been a huge resource that's helped me to be able to avoid buying many a dud that I had been considering for purchase.


IrishLass :)
 

MySoapyHeart

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:lol: Lots of the scent descriptions I've read are so way 'out there' that I often wonder if the people who make them up aren't in actuality students sitting in a creative writing class who, for extra credit, are given the name of a scent and asked to write a description about it, but without ever having smelled it. lol

That's why I rely so heavily on sites like the SSRB before purchasing a scent. Not every FO scent is listed, but it's been a huge resource that's helped me to be able to avoid buying many a dud that I had been considering for purchase.


IrishLass :)
Yes, I have seen that site too, sounds great. But they do not allow anyone to register with free emails (Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, Live, and others) but only with paid email accounts, so I am excluded from being able to register.

Also the site
is old and haven`t been updated in a long time? Or are there perhaps secret boards you get access to after logging in?

What I do now is google the scent in question and whatever info I can get on a scent will pop up. But a scent can still smell vastly different between my nose and the reviewers, so I have just take whatever comes and try and make it work anyway, and usually I mix it with something else to take the edge of.

I would love to be a "fragrance-writer"! But I may be a bit overly creative for the companies that actually want to sell their oils.

"This fragrance has undertones of old feet that has walked a thousand miles in the same shoes. But after saponification has happened it will turn into a soft and sweet vanilla type of scent that just graduated from bakery-school, and decided to turn into a Cinnamon bun rolled in brown sugar and sprinkles.
Will discolor to a light pink, similar to sore feet
."

See? I got it bad, and there ain`t a cure for it...
 

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