9/19/16

Preparing For Autumn In Connecticut With A Gorgeous Arsenal Of Rich, Woody Fragrances: Do You Find That Sexy?



A few weeks ago there was an unfortunate video posted by Daver of the YouTube channel "Fragrance Bros," which I've always enjoyed, in which the host criticized another Youtuber named Jeremy, who is known for his "Jeremy Fragrance" channel. Apparently Daver felt that outgoing single stud Jeremy was possibly reviewing fragrances for fragrance companies instead of merely commenting as an objective voice. Daver also seemed a bit nonplussed by Jeremy's fascination with equating fragrance to compliments and sex appeal.

He's not alone; these kinds of "reviewers" annoy many in our tight-knit community. In eight years, I've read on a daily basis comments made by brosefs about how much "chicks love" something they wore. Every Earth rotation brings at least ten or fifteen new ones to my desktop. There are men who shamelessly equate perfume with getting complementary apple pie, and they're quite vocal about it. Problem is, most of us aren't interested in what a drunk chick said about some faceless guy's Saturday night spritz. We've never met these people. Their singing praises about Aventus because it encouraged them to bump uglies has zero bearing on our lives.

I watched a few Jeremy Fragrance vids to see what got Daver so hot under the collar, and learned something: this guy is handsome and friendly. He's an extrovert, exuding confidence and swagger, his gelled hair and inviting, telegenic features drawing me in for more views with an effortlessness usually reserved for A-List Hollywood celebs. After fifteen minutes of Jeremy, I knew why Daver had posted his unnecessary vid. He's jealous of Jeremy.

As I said at the start, I've always liked the "Fragrance Bros," especially when Jer was on. Lately it's been a solo act, and although he's quite affable and knowledgeable, Daver lacks charisma. He's average looking, very scripted, and on substance he's disgustingly obsessed with niche and high-end designer, with what amounts to an allergic aversion to anything classical, "old-school," or vintage. I don't hold his love of niche against him on a personal level, but as a viewer seeking something of myself in the reviews made by like-minded folks, I resent that 90% of his reviews are for niche frags, stuff that really doesn't interest me, and the remaining sliver is for ubiquitous department store fare that I don't need Daver (or anyone) to talk about.

Jeremy covers a more designer-based range of products, and a fair amount of niche, and frankly I find his content even more lacking, but it's funny . . . He makes me want to watch. He's enthusiastic. He owns the screen. His powers of persuasion are far greater than most. When I was in middle school there was a poster hanging in the art room with a little wide-eyed, happy looking kitten that read, "Act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic." That's Jeremy in a nutshell.

But he does prattle on about female compliments. Oh lord, does he ever. Look, I get it. I love women. When they compliment me on my fragrance, I smile inside. I agonize over what to wear on dates. I'm always on the smell-out for whatever female coworkers are wearing. We all like and want sex. Our sense of smell is directly built into that. But if you're serious about fragrance - key word "serious" here - you get over it and talk about the millions of other more dynamic facets to the fragrance world. Serious fragheads don't wear fragrance to wow potential mates. We wear fragrance to wow ourselves. We hope that if we're impressed, others will be, too. We don't enjoy fragrance in a vacuum, but we're not single-mindedly focused on winning the prize every second of the day, either.

It's autumn in Connecticut this week, and you know what I'm doing? Poking through my collection for fragrances that wear well on crisp October days. Stuff like Zino, Aubusson Pour Homme, Mitsouko, Lagerfeld Classic, Pheremone, Z14, Azzaro Pour Homme, Witness, Furyo, Mesmerize, and Drakkar Noir are making the cut. I want to smell like I stepped out of 1993. Is that sexy? Is a 35 year-old single guy living in a 1950s ranch, buffing a 2003 Buick and reeking of pine, lavender, rosewood, and tobacco sexy? Only if I don't care about it. Women hate insecure men, and there's nothing more insecure than traipsing around nightclubs asking barely legal girls if they think the latest designer junkola smells sexy.

There's no such thing as a "sexy cologne." Alone, without their wearers, fragrances are just pleasant chemical mixtures. Royal Copenhagen or Aventus, it wouldn't matter; Pierce Brosnan could wear either one and elicit the same response from women. The man makes the fragrance. It ain't the other way around.




16 comments:

  1. Whaaaaat! So Aventus won't get me laid??? I want my money back!😤 Maybe I should try some Kouros or Sex Panther instead.

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  2. Ok, so I've heard so much about this Jeremy guy I had to take a look.
    Skinny, noisy little thing, ain't he?
    Sorry Jeremy, you're not this yoga pants wearing, blonde, happily married, mom of 2 (but still have abs & thighs of tempered steel), 4WD enthusiast (love my Toyota Hilux), art gallery owner, living in a Himalayan hovel, 49 yr old former California girl's thing.
    I'm sure Jeremy wouldn't be too thrilled with me either though. My husband's 7 yrs younger than me so I guess I'm a bit of a cougar. Rowwrrrrr!
    Oh well.

    I hear Clive Owen wears Pour Monsieur Concentree by Chanel and Lancome's Hypnose Homme. Now Mr Owen is more like my thing. He's about my age & happily married dad of 2 though. Lancome honks so I think I'll be buying dear husband some Chanel soon.

    Doesn't Sex Panther have chunks of real panther in it? I wonder if they make Sex Cougar for us ladies of a certain age?

    BTW Mr Ross,
    Did you see my comments & repartee with Mr Bigsly on his blog? The guy's an idiot, why do you bother with him? He thinks Sauvage is a marine fragrance & clearly doesn't know the difference between Ambroxan and ambergris. He 's still prattling on about Sauvage. Let him wear his Playboy Berlin with apples & cranberries in it that he thinks smells like Sauvage. What cranberries have to do with Berlin I'll never know.

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    1. NO! I HAD NO IDEA! Thank you so much for mentioning it, sorry I missed it! Bigsly doesn't publish my comments anymore. Thus I tend to forget he even has the capacity for them on his blog. I just read your exchange with him. A few things:

      - Finally someone just comes out and says it: Ambroxan and Ambergris are two completely different things. There is plenty of Ambroxan in Sauvage. Thus Sauvage smells like it contains Ambroxan. End of story.

      - I also never got a marine quality from Sauvage. I suppose maybe you could interpret some of the fresher mid notes as being "watery" but not in a marine way, more in a fruity way, if that makes sense. But I'm being gracious in saying that, because I agree with you 100%. There's nothing - not one single half of a molecule in Sauvage - that I interpret as being "aquatic" or "marine." So far Bigsly is the only person on the internet that I'm aware of who has described Sauvage in that way. I smelled a very spicy, conventional arrangement of woods and bergamot. To me the bergamot note was the star of the show, but I got a bit of a leathery vibe out of the drydown, to the point where I felt that I was sitting in a new luxury car with a bergamot air freshener dangling from the rear view mirror.

      I'm wearing vintage Kouros today, and actually the ambergris note in it is much more suggestive of the seaside than anything in Sauvage. And Kouros is by no means "aquatic." But at least older versions of it had a clear ambergris note, and arguably a natural rendition at that.

      - The whole Berlin argument would make more sense to me if I knew what Berlin smelled like. As I have only a fleeting interest in the Playboy line, I have yet to bother hunting down a bottle. But from everything I've read about it on Fragrantica and BN, I really can't find a strong connection to Sauvage. Again, Bigsly is the only one making the comparison. Can't write it off completely because I know that this sort of thing can happen between scents, but I wouldn't say it's a compelling scenario, especially given how cheap Playboy scents are. Sauvage is many things, but I wouldn't call it "cheap" per say. Maybe "generic." Maybe. Keep in mind, "generic" is a loaded term.

      - Lastly, I see he mentioned Guy Laroche's Horizon in your conversation. Are you familiar with Horizon? I am. I liked it and respected it but certainly didn't love it, and did not seek out another bottle after using mine up. It's one of those fragrances that lodges into your memory, and never gets forgotten. I smelled a maritime connection in that composition, with a distinctly briny, seaweedy accord laced through more conventional notes of flowers and woods. But again, it's miles and miles away from Sauvage.

      And I have to ask: what is a Himalayan hovel like? Good view? Sounds amazing. I want to hear more about that. Thanks again for the heads up. It was entertaining to read!


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    2. Mr Ross,

      On Ambroxan vs ambergris- That's why I keep saying I smell a "pared down" ambergris with an indistinct woodsy note. Real ambergris has nutty notes, woodsy notes, amazingly human-like human skin & dirty hair notes, & in the background is this tinge of fishy, salty, caviar & iodine notes that are marine. Ambroxan is a synthetic that smells ONLY like the woodsy notes in ambergris.

      I think it's the Szechuan peppercorns in Sauvage that Westerners find so brash & off-putting. Real Szechuan peppercorns were banned in the US until recently because it was thought they carried some sort of citrus canker so I don't think many Americans have actually tasted them. Go into a spice store or Chinese market & give them a sniff. You'll find they are very citrusy & have a unique nose numbingly harsh peppery note. It's not like the black peppercorns we Westerners are so familiar with in our kitchens, nor is it like any chili pepper you've ever tasted. If you put one Szechuan peppercorn in your mouth the sensation is like unsweetened lemon & black pepper flavored Pop Rocks candy - it fizzles, burns, numbs, and is quite unpleasant. They need to be dry roasted to use in food & are prized for this mouth numbing, burning flavor in Asian cuisines. I can see how a palate unfamiliar with Szechuan peppercorns would think they were a synthetic.

      I didn't read any of the ads nor notes before testing Sauvage. I did see Mr Depp's pic in the poster next to the display of the ad. I got a very dry, brisk, clean, minimalistic & masculine fragrance. That's what perfumer Francois Demachy said he was going for - "Sauvage is inspired by wild, open spaces; blue sky that covers rocky landscapes, hot under the desert sun." I though the composition was conventional for a masculine too, the Szechuan peppercorn paired with the bergamot in the opening notes was the only thing that really made Sauvage "new." (As in Szechuan peppercorns haven't been used much in perfumery before.) I'm trying to think of a masculine that has a lot of real ambergris in it. Most Creeds have a hefty dose of real ambergris in their base. (Real ambergris screams LUXE & EXPENSIVE to me.) Anyway, I think real ambergris would be too funky/animalic for the modern Dior customer so Mr Demachy used the "cleaned up" synthetic version- Ambroxan. Modern tastes are a bit generic- another result of globalization I'd say. No matter where you go in the world today everyone is wearing the same cheap generic Chinese made clothes too.

      Real ambergris is a natural product that will "grow" and develop over time when tinctured in alcohol as in your Kouros.

      I'm not familiar with Horizon, the notes sound like Aspen & Old Spice are combined & updated by a few marine notes.

      I suppose the basic Himalayan hovel would simply be bricks & sticks supporting a sheet corrugated tin roof being held down by a few rocks tossed upon it.
      I live in the upgraded concrete & rebar box you'll see all over the 3rd world. I do have the luxury of running water in the house, 2 indoor flush toilets, a solar water heater on the roof, and about 6 hours of electricity a day. No insulated double paned windows just crude handmade wooden framed leaky creaky things with hinged screens. In true 3rd world upscale fashion there is an 9 ft cinderblock wall surrounding our property with a large iron gate to accommodate vehicles & people. (These walls are necessary or the livestock (cows, goats, chickens, water buffalos, ponies, donkeys, sheep) & Nepalis will come wandering into your home. From the roof on a clear day I can see from Dhaulagiri to the Macchapuchre of the Annapurna range. For most of the year the mountains are shrouded in mist though.

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    3. Here's a post I did on my blog featuring the views of the mountains on a clear day. You can see our neighbors' concrete & rebar 3rd world houses in the background. I'm only using my phone camera & I have no training in photography so they aren't the greatest photos.
      https://calmlycookingcurry.blogspot.com/2016/03/somewhere-over-rainbow-way-up-high.html

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    4. Thanks for the photos! Lovely even with the phone camera quality. You're a lucky lady.

      In Bigsly's defense, Neiman Marcus does list Ambroxan in its copy for Sauvage, and quotes verbatim exactly what Bigsly wrote in his response to you - a "vivifying" description if ever there was one, so he's right in the sense that there is a bit of ad copy out there that suggests (ever so loosely) that there may be a marine element in the fragrance. I have a feeling he deliberately misled you into investigating Macy's instead, one of his sophmoric "debate prep" tricks. The old bait and switch. But in truth, you got the bottom of it far better than he did. Ambroxan is rarely considered "marine" - and today I read a comment on basenotes by a second-tier perfumer who claims it was used in Cool Water, which sounds wrong to me, but whatevs.

      Horizon is worth a sniff. It is nothing like Aspen or Old Spice. It bears some very sketchy similarities to Drakkar Noir, which is unsurprising as they're from the same house.


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    5. Mr Ross,
      Not to belabor the point but Ambroxan is listed in all of Sauvage's descriptions.
      What I have a problem with is this part of the ad-
      "Fresh top notes of Calabria bergamot encounter ambroxan, obtained from precious ambergris, and its woody trail."

      Ambroxan doesn’t occur in natural ambergris. Ambroxan was first obtained via a synthesis pathway in 1950. Ambroxan is a patented trade name by Henkel. It’s structure is identical with ambrox derived from ambrein. Ambrein can be separated from ambergris by heating it with alcohol and then allowing the solution to cool down. Ambrox can then be separated from ambrein by an oxidative process. Since Dior is using the trade name Ambroxan they are using Henkel's synthetic product- nothing derived from natural ambergris.

      Perfumes containing Ambroxan:

      Juliette Has a Gun: Oil Fiction, Anyway, Not a Perfume*

      Escentric Molecules: Escentric 02, Molecule 02*

      Le Labo: Baie Rose 26, Another 13

      Frederic Malle: French Lover, Geranium pour Monsieur

      D&G: Light Blue

      Ambroxan is added to some marine accords to add 'ambery, woody elegance' as in this Givaudan manufactured accord-

      Hedione - (very light all-around enhancer) - 58
      Galaxolide 50% (musk) 28
      Iso e super (smooth woody amber - velvety) 8
      Habanolide (sweet musk) - 6
      Ambroxan (amber, woody) 2
      Ethyl linalool (lighly floral) 6
      Helional (ozone) 4
      Calone (marine) 2

      Anywho, Mr Bigsly made me laugh when he said that it makes sense that Sauvage would have a marine note since Johnny Depp played a pirate. If that is the sort of reasoning he indulges in he doesn't suffer from "intellectual tenacity" but magical thinking.

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    6. Hi,

      Ambrox is indeed present in Cool Water. If you or someone you know has institutional access to academic journals, you can confirm it with reference to, e.g. B. Schäfer, "Ambrox" Chimie in unserer Zeit (2011) 45, pp. 374-388.
      Or, get a sample of Ambrox and check check for yourself, which is much more fun.

      The whole discussion of Ambrox(an) in relation to Sauvage is a bit silly though. Of course it is used there, as it is in a bazillion other perfumes. People are only thinking to mention it because it is listed in the official notes. Had Iso E Super also been listed, they would instead be fixating on that.


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    7. Bibi first:

      Like I said, I completely agree with you. Ambroxan is in no way something that should be mistaken for Ambergris or "marine" notes. In any fragrance that I've smelled it in (in larger quantities), no convincing connection to ideas of "marine" or "aquatic" are made. Take for example Green Irish Tweed, which is a very staid "greenish" - note the "ish" - composition. Ambroxan is featured in generous quantities right in the heart of that fragrance. Although it does get compared to Cool Water every second of every day, I have never once gotten even the slightest "marine" impression from that perfume. If anyone were to tell me that GIT is an aquatic, I'd laugh in their face. But indeed, it is the intellectual feebleness we've encountered in these mistaken assessments of Sauvage that leads to incredibly dumb conclusions being drawn about the fragrance's identity. If Johnny Depp is being used in the ad, surely Sauvage is a "marine" scent! I've been following Bigsly on basenotes for years now, and lately he is quarreling with members there on whether or not perfumes can intensify and grow stronger with time and age. He claims to know a chemist, who he says he'll interview on his blog to prove everyone wrong. This is another obsession of his - proving to the world that perfumes do not and can not become even just a little stronger with the introduction of air in their bottles and the passage of time. He's intent on proving this because when he went to grad school, he was told by a professor that he had an incredibly tenacious appetite for the truth, for facts, for solving "riddles," and therefore the gods of make-believe grad schools have bestowed upon him the eternal gift of bullshitting the public in the face of any and all facts, so that we can all rest assured that there is a guardian of sacred knowledge for all things perfume.

      L - point taken. I stand corrected.

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  3. Hey Bryan, thanks for pointing me in Jeremy's direction.
    Can't believe I never encountered this guy on the interwebs before.
    I like his laid back review style.
    Watching him makes it clear to me why women find confidence/swagger attractive. Perhaps my stock will rise if I cultivate a pseudo euro accent!

    On a related note: when does YOUR youtube channel launch?
    ;)


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    1. Hopefully never, Nolan, hopefully never. But thank you for the vote of confidence.

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  4. I've seen a couple of Jeremy's vids. Not a fan, since he goes too much into things which don't interest me, but I don't get the hate either. He seems like he's nice enough, he's entertaining, he isn't clueless about fragrances, and he caters to people who want to smell good for women. His vids aren't these long winded and pretentious niche wankoffs like some other popular vlogs (how long are Robes' videos now?), so he's a lot easier to watch.
    For the most part, the only vlog I really follow is Redolessence now. He's quick, concise, organized, gives good breakdowns of the fragrances, and doesn't spend 5 minutes talking about how wonderful Fragcom is. The whole Youtube scene is too much of a massive circle jerk.

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    1. The problem with YouTube reviewers is most of these guys aren't cut out to be on TV. They don't have even the most rudimentary training for how to speak and correctly convey their message, and most of them also lack basic videography skills, making even the halfway decent reviewers difficult to watch. Guess it's the downside of making "channels" a possibility for everyone.

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  5. It's also that the video reviews are often not really informative. The note breakdowns are often subpar, a lot of time gets wasted with sniffing the fragrance on their wrists, those insufferable shoutouts etc. I wouldn't mind someone with no charisma who could just show me what the packaging looks like, describe the smell of the fragrance, its performance, and that's it. Maybe some interesting little tidbits here and there too, like what Lanier Smith does.

    I could picture MyMickers on TV. Though only casted as the annoying neighbor on a sitcom. Maybe a neighbor of Geoffrey Beene.

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    1. God, you made me laugh out loud with that. I used to watch MyMickers a few years ago, but rapidly grew weary of him. I don't wish any ill upon him; Dan is the living embodiment of enthusiasm and friendliness, but what always puzzled me about him is that he abhors Grey Flannel but worships Green Irish Tweed. He isn't the only person to display this blatant cognitive dissonance, as I've also seen it here and there on basenotes. But I react to that the same way as I react to learning that someone hates the TV show "Seinfeld" - abject dissapointment, bordering on anger. It simply never made any sense to me. If GIT had, in some fantasy universe, been formulated for Cary Grant in the 1950s, it would have smelled like Grey Flannel. Obviously those are pre dihydromyrcenol days, and to my knowledge there is little to no dihydromyrcenol in Grey Flannel. Yet GF and GIT are cut from the same cloth, if you'll pardon the pun. Both are green, woody, very conservative and suave compositions, meant to evoke images of suited gentlemen on golf courses. If Mickers were able to ponder these sorts of points in an entertaining and informative way on YouTube, I might be more inclined to watch him. But he and people like Mark Robes and Jeremy Fragrance - and even the Fragrance Bros - all tend to grow dull after repeated watching. Wish I knew exactly why, but I suspect it's because of all the points you and I have discussed here. Your points on the lack of information in these videos is spot on. And surprisingly on channel about fragrance there is very little time spent describing the fragrances.

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