4/2/17

What's With All The Aventus Clones?



When Pineapple Vintage was released last year, I quite literally threw up my hands and said to myself, "What the fuck?" It was as if the last truly popular idea in perfumery had been appropriated, rather like a "found object" in postmodern conceptual art (or if you prefer, Rauschenberg's existential "combine paintings"), and carelessly pasted to any upstart niche brief. This has been accelerating in the last four of Aventus' seven year lifespan, yet none of the clones have supplanted their template as the ideal "pineapple scent" of the decade. Club de Nuit Intense by Armaf seems to get the most votes on Fragrantica, but recent talk of Pineapple Vintage pushed it over the edge for me. Enough already.

Creed has always been a trendsetter, so in this respect Aventus is nothing new. But prior Creeds impacted the designer market, spawning one or two commensurately successful fragrances that either mainstreamed or floundered. Original Santal birthed the equally popular Mont Blanc Individuel (well, brought it to everyone's attention). Millesime Imperial became Acqua di Gio. Green Irish Tweed is Cool Water's blueprint, and sadly Cool Water is now all but dead. See the pattern? The obscure became the ubiquitous. But so far Aventus hasn't been "found" among designers, and I find this rather strange. Where is the Chanel, the Dior, the YSL frag that attempts to replicate the supposed beauty of Creed's smoky-woody pineapple structure? Why is the commercial exploitation constrained by the niche market?

My theory is that this fragrance isn't really as groundbreaking as its "fans" seem to think. Aventus is one of those "you had to be there" fragrances. You had to be there when it was released to remember exactly what happened. Its initial reception was not dissimilar to Bleu de Chanel's and Dior Sauvage's. At first guys were critical. They called Aventus "Creed's designer scent." The number one complaint was that it "Smells like a designer frag." This went on for months. My impression of this publicity was that Creed had finally tired of fidgeting around with the pretense of being a niche brand, and had openly accepted their quasi-designer status with a representative product, signaling a company transition to top-tier mainstream.

But then something interesting happened: Aventus became the "Holy Grail" scent. Bros everywhere were snapping their jock straps to get a whiff of this stuff. And within a year, Aventus was Creed's biggest hit, even bigger than GIT. How do you go from being a derided "designer" scent, to being the best thing since sliced bread? Easy. Just let the natural course of price point dictating value perception happen under its own steam. Had Aventus been released by Armaf first, nobody would have known it existed, and those who did would just think it was a nice inexpensive niche scent. But slap a $300 price tag on it, and suddenly the banal becomes fascinating. The lowly pineapple note, once used to excess in frags like Lapidus Pour Homme and Boss Number One, was suddenly metrosexual and "new."

What gets tiring is the persistence of the leech brands in cloning this thing. Yes, a dry pineapple note mixed with a bitter smoky accord and a hint of VC&A-like rose is quite pleasant, but enough to eschew original ideas for it? I personally don't think Aventus is that good. I like it, and can appreciate the balmy fruits against the November backdrop, but in the end it just smells like a well-made "crowd pleaser," in the same vein as Bleu de Chanel.

Cynical attempts to cash in on Aventus' popularity are clear examples of just how similar the niche world is to the designer. When something sells, everyone else wants a slice of the pineapple pie. Just be prepared to pay a little more for it.


33 comments:

  1. What must the CEO of Dole, or Del Monte, be thinking?

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    1. He's thinking he liked Lapidus PH better

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  2. For me personally, it's the birch-tar that I find the most interesting.

    I haven't bought or smelled Aventus but I'm guilty of owning at least two clones, both by Arabian brands.
    Not at all because I wanted to jump on the band wagon
    but I bought the first clone because it was cheap and I was just curious to smell what the hype was about.

    There's no trace of pineapple in any of the clones I have but that smokiness really is something. Since I'm not too knowledgeable yet, I still have to figure out what exactly creates that aura of smoke, but I take it's the birch-tar.
    So in order to know for sure, I ordered a vial of birch tar essential oil - which should arrive soon(a practice I do regularly, in order to familiar myself with notes).

    In my quest to learn more about birch tar, I learned that it was used frequently by Jacques Guerlain. Nowadays however birch tar is perceived as a gloomy vintage note seldom featured in modern mainstream perfumery.

    Again, if you would check Al rehabs Avenue - perhaps your insights could learn us about others more dignified scents carrying that same amount of smokey gold.

    After all, who cares about bloody (forgive my french) pineapples?

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    1. I doubt it's really birch tar (a restricted ingredient by IFRA standards) that you're enjoying, but likely something similar, perhaps a smidge of birch tar and a wallop of a bitter moss, maybe even a more complex reconstruction.

      I just ordered Avenue. Got it for free due to a gift card I forgot I had for Amazon. Should be arriving in a few days, and I will review it directly here. Thanks for the reminder.

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    2. I really look forward to your review! Some things to keep into consideration based on my personal experience:

      1) It's better to leave the oil rest for a few days before using it - You can try it on arrival but it will have a crude synthetic undertone, somehow transportation does that. After a few days the undertone will be gone, and the scent will be much more enjoyable.

      2) Sniffing the cap does not equal with how it smells while worn.

      3) Weather conditions and temperature affect the performance, Avenue is one of the strongest performing fumes in my collection, however on cold and rainy days it hardly performs at all and there's no dry-down.

      4) Application is done by rubbing some oil in the palm of yours hands, rub your hands together for a few seconds then rub it on your clothes (chest, arms and shoulders). Then wash your hands. That's how the Arabs do it, I sometimes rub it on pulse points and forearms too but depending on the composition this can give a rash and itchy feeling so that really depends on one's own tolerance (and not recommended for people with sensitive skin).

      5) Last but not least, use sparingly at first! Oils like Avenue are very strong and I DO mean nuclear sillage AND fallout included - I kid you not! It takes a bit of trial and error at first.


      Like I said, I lack the required knowledge, nose and experience to distinguish notes properly and accurately. I remember it took me a while to discover what musk actually smelled like ( I know how crazy it sounds but there was a time I had no idea what it was), in order to do so I bought several of the Jovan Musks, Kielhs Musk, Ck Be and others. Until I finally got that "a ha!" moment.

      I've read others reviewers speaking about that predominant "birch note" and since it has that campfire smoke kind of smell I deducted it wasn't the sweet birch but rather birch tar. Again, I'm only guessing so I hope my birch tar oil from India will clear things up once it arrives. Although like you said, it could be a combination or reconstruction so the definitive answer is still pending.

      The ingredient list is surprisingly small: Citral, Citronellelol, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, linalool.
      Could it be the linalool since it can be found in birch trees?

      To make matters worse, I read rumors that Al-Rehab has oud in the base carrier oil they use in all of their perfumes.

      As to your comment about Ifra regulations, all I can say is that I have another oil called Half Moon and it contains Coumarin and Evernia Prunastri - correct me if I'm wrong but aren't those banned as well? If so, it would seem Al-Rehab doesn't take those regulations to seriously (and perhaps stay under the Ifra's radar because they are that cheap brand sold in those shady Arabian stores).


      I remember you wondering why brands like Al Rehab would sometimes make dupes of mondaine fragrances like Tommy Girl or Ck eternity. To answer that I think one need to look at the "raison d'être" of a brand like Al Rehab. For example, you won't find any Al Rehab at stores in a place like Dubai (unlike Chanel, Dior...), however you will find them in small neighboring village markets where there's hardly any tourists. Also they're dirt cheap. Why is that?

      The answer IMO is that a Brand like Al Rehab is catering a service towards their population or more precisely their religion. After all, it's imperative for a Muslim to keep a strict hygiene and clean appearance and to use perfume if one can afford it.
      Thus it make sense that some Arabian companies would take it upon themselves to provide into that very need, so that even people who are not wealthy enough can get access to something that was more often than not only accessible to the elite.







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    3. Thanks for the tips, although I would caution against rubbing the oil onto anything. Rubbing perfume carriers isn't the best practice because you literally "break down" the pyramid before it has a chance to evaporate off skin. It's unlikely you'll get the full experience of top-mid-base this way. Skin oils and friction void drydown precision. I would just take the applicator and give it a gentle glide over exposed skin, then let the fabric of my clothing carefully cover it and move on.

      Coumarin and oakmoss are restricted, but not banned. IFRA regs in Europe mandate that these materials be used in very limited amounts. However, they are allowed for inclusion in formulas. Most regs are merely restrictions. With the exceptions of nitro musks, a few natural woods (like Indian sandalwood) and a handful of other old-school things, perfumers have the full breadth of 20th century materials available to them. The limitations can be extraordinary though. These are why so many current formulas are neutered compared to their classical counterparts.

      Al-Rehab is one of those brands that wants to appeal to every single human cheapskate on the planet. People like me. So they aim low AND high, and hope that every once in a while something hits the target. With something like Avenue, they're really aiming for a niche: folks who love Aventus. There are plenty of people in the fragrance community who know what Aventus is, but it's still a relatively small number, and of those an even smaller number actually love it enough to want clones.

      It's all about money. I doubt they're interested in appeasing any religious or cultural traditions. But then again I could be wrong there. I just don't know for certain.

      The brand does put an oud-like musk in their oils (virtually all of them) but this just equates to a weird, ever-so-slightly animalic white musk. There's certainly nothing natural in there, other than carbon alcohols. They succeed in their clones by making relatively linear compositions with very few notes, often just two or three noticeable notes. Silver is really just a nondescript lemon citrus with a tart metallic berry on that funky white musk I mentioned.

      If I had to guess, I'd say Avenue will probably be a somewhat deeper citrus note, followed by an earthy lavender and an extra hefty dose of musk, the last two an analog of smoky woods, ala Aventus. But I look forward to trying it. Thanks again

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    4. Surprisingly, some of these oils from Nabeel and Al Rehab actually use natural oakmoss (or list evernia prunastri as an ingredient anyway). I think they use some other naturals as well, though I can't recall which ones off hand.
      Even in ones which don't list any natural ingredients sometimes does an amazing job at smelling natural (Roses smells exactly like some rose waters I've tried, Superman smells like the branches/leaves from plants which release myrrh resins, Mukhalat Dubai smells like cedarwood oil, and the oud in Mukhalat Al Rehab, while synthetic, smells more authentic than anything from Tom Ford, Montale, Dior, or Armani).
      I also think Crown Perfumes tries to cater to everyone. They do the sprays, the more expensive ornate bottles, and some of the cheap 3-6ml roll ons. The latter brings a more composition based alternative to the cheap attar market, which is veeeery common in Muslim areas (whether in Muslim majority countries, or in predominantly Muslim neighborhoods elsewhere). They usually smell cheaper, simpler, and clearly intending to "smell good," but not like a proper perfume with a any real discernible notes.

      How is Half Moon, by the way?

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    5. Citral, Citronellelol, Limonene, Geraniol, Hydroxyisohexyl3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, linalool.
      Nothing smoky in that list of ingredients, just citrus & light florals. Keep in mind that the labelling requirements in Saudi Arabia (where Al Rehab is made) probably aren't as strict as western countries.
      How to apply attars & oils - apply a SMALL AMOUNT to the inside of each wrist and dab a little behind each earlobe with the inside of your wrists before it disappears on your skin. You may rub your wrists behind your knees too. Attars & oils take a few minutes to 'expand' so don't apply more until you wait at least an hour to allow for this expansion.

      The prophet Mohammed (PBUH) wore scents & so it it advised that his adherents do too. Traditionally, just about everythng is scented in Arab culture- not just bodies but clothes & even water! The one thing you don't want to be in Arab culture is poor, what better way to show off your wealth & fabulouosly good taste that with $$$ perfume? (or a replica thereof)

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    6. Thank you Bryan, some great information here! I knew about the not rubbing rule for spray perfumes but had no idea it applied to the oils and attars as well.

      I'm glad to hear it's not an actual ban, even though regulations can be severely neutering to classic formulas.

      On Basenotes people seem to speak about dry-patchouli also, so in the end it's really confusing for a newbie like myself and therefore your review will be more than welcome into finally shedding some light about it's composition and perceived notes.

      On a side note (no pun intended) Avenue is the only fragrance that literally make heads turn while I go shopping.



      @The Levantine Maghrebi: Half Moon strikes me as a sweeter version of CK One somehow (which I have but seldom wear as I keep it for reference's sake). It's pleasant enough to be a people pleaser but not what I personally look for in a fragrance.
      In fact I have a whole box shuck full of Al Rehabs but there's only 2 I really like, they are: Avenue and Inspiration Pour Homme (said to be a dupe of Versace Pour Homme but I haven't smelled VPH yet).

      Honourable mentions for Superman and Dakkar (vintage Drakkar Noir-ish and actually better performing than the actual version of DN).

      Ultimately, I can't help but feel that there's always something “off” about Al Rehab fragrances, Something that makes me think about crude industrial chemicals. Take Aseel for example; yes it smells of roses, but it's not the garden Rose variety, instead it's the lavatory variety I encountered while visiting the rest and powder rooms of fancy restaurants. That's not exactly the type of memory I want to conjure every time I would smell it on myself.

      That being said, it's exactly that “off-ness” that on very rare occasions does deliver something which in my mind smells modern and avant garde. Like an abstract painting or brutalist architecture.



      @Bibi Maizoon: Indeed nothing on the list that explains its smokiness, but I can assure you it's there; one time I was wearing it in the car and I thought something was burning, but it wasn't the car then I remembered: Ah yes, I'm wearing Avenue.
      Thank you Bibi, for your insights on Arab culture and how to apply attars and oils, highly appreciated.

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    7. Patchouli might explain the smokiness. There seems to be some mention of patchouli on Fragrantica regarding this one. If true, that would be why, especially if they went easy on the dosage. I agree that Al Rehabs seem to possess a particularly distinct synthetic vibe, in the sense that they smell "industrial" (not entirely, but at least partially) but careful reading on Fragrantica helps guide to the better oils. The plain "Rose" oil from this brand appears to be the winner for true "rosiness" so to speak!

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    8. Traditional Arab perfumery concentrates on quality ingredients rather than the elaborate compositions preferred in western cultures. Therefore you're going to smell a lot of quality ingredients (or synthetic compositions mimicking them) in traditional Arab perfumery like silver frankincense from Oman, Indian oudh, Mysore sandalwood, Kashmiri saffron, and Tonkin musk. The 'lavatory' rose of which Natan speaks is the traditional Taif rose from the high altitude Taif valley in Saudi Arabia. Taif or Damascus rose smells harsh & soapy to most western noses. (Interestingly, those rather harsh Taif rose attars can turn very musky & sweet on some people. Bibi is one of those magickal persons upon which Taif rose blooms into a musk bomb. My mom possessed the same attribute. Probably why we both wear florals so well.)
      Arabs have increasingly developed a taste for western style perfumes. So you'll see a lot of copies of them in cheaper Arab perfume houses. Often they'll put a little Arab spin on these dupes by adding a traditional Arab perfume note like a bit of smoky myrrh or a smidge of Taif rose.

      I don't doubt that there is a smoky note in Avenue, I think that the amount of the synthetic responsible for the smokiness is probably so miniscule that it isn't listed in the ingredients.

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    9. Edit: I meant Fragrantica not Basenotes.

      Since I love patchouli heavy fragrances (Zino and Giorgio Beverly Hills Pour Homme among others), that could indeed explain why I like Avenue so much too. Of-course, this also clearly underline just how bad I am at discerning individual notes.

      I was perhaps a bit harsh concerning my personal view towards Al Rehab, we must admit that for the price you get a lot of bang for one's buck. Especially considering they offer cheaper alternatives to brands that costs many times the price.

      An interesting thing is that they sell many proper room sprays of their scents too So, if something may not be enough for personal wear they may still be useful at home.

      I'll be taking a break from buying Al Rehab but once I'll feel the need for a proper Rose scent I'll definitely will give it another shot.

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    10. Taif rose, as Bibi points out, does seem to be a tricky one for western noses. Any time I see it mentioned by a westerner it's with a mixture of befuddlement and piety.

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    11. Oh, I had no idea it was Taif rose and I'm grateful for the new insights. Now I wish I could smell a real Taif rose.

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    12. A friend of mine from Taif gave me a small vial of a taif rose attar as a gift. I think it was natural (I didn't ask, for obvious reasons) judging by all the fragrances he has. The rose in Aseel actually does smell very close to it. There is a slightly synthetic vibe when compared to an authentic taif rose, but it's not overly apparent unless you sniff really closely.

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    13. Natan I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but my vial of Avenue might have gotten lost in the mail. I checked the tracking this evening (thinking it was still a ways out) and to my surprise saw that it said it had been "delivered" - except I haven't received it. If I don't get it tomorrow I'll head over to the post office and find out what's going on.

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    14. @TLVM: Fascinating to know that the Taif Rose smells so strong. At the same time it explains why many westerners like myself are misinterpreting the smell as harsh and loud and confusing it with an overdone or amped-up garden rose.

      @Bryan: I sincerely hope you can still recover the vial somehow, or perhaps contact the seller explaining the situation - I know from experience that more often than not they'll send you another.
      If everything fails, I'll be willing to send you one myself pro bono.

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    15. Natan, I didn't receive my vial of Avenue today, so I went to the post office and inquired. Bottom line: they say they delivered it, and I never got it. So I reordered it and had it expedited. I should receive it Thursday. If not I will either murder someone at the post office or fly to Qatar and get a big bottle of Avenue EDP just to review this thing. (kidding) - really though it ought to be here before the end of the week. I'll have a review up by Saturday.

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    16. Bryan, I applaud your perseverance! Shame on the post office for just pretending they delivered it! What's this world coming to?
      I'm looking forward with anticipation to your Saturday review!

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  3. There's always going to be that customer that wants a fragrance that gets a lot of compliments and garners the most positive attention. That customer that wants 'the best' without doing any research and hasn't really developed any real tastes of his own. The piquant pineapple of Aventus is already synonymous in my mind with the attention seeking, desperate for approval, and overly ambitious young male. Whether he's on the pull at a club or attending that all-important job interview a half hour early he'll be doused in that sure-fire scent of success and probably wearing the trendiest of clothing brands also. It's a fine line between fashion victim and flaming asshole, but I suppose we've all been there at some point in our lives. Some of us even go on to become perfumistas/os!

    Birch tar was used by Native Americans as a mosquito repellent. I foresee a vast market for birch tar scents in areas plagued with flying vermin.

    At first I balked at Vintage Pineapple's price, $85 for a dupe?!? But hey, some of these dupes are better than the original IMHO! I just bought a fragrance oil dupe for Michael Kors' original signature fragrance for women and it is fabulous! More gardenia, an almost nag champa like take on the incense note, and a more intense vetiver dry down. It smells like the MK fragrance when it first came out in the early 90's instead of all the crappy recent reformulations.

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    1. What's strange about Aventus (and even stranger about its many clones) is its inability to penetrate the mainstream. I live in a fairly metropolitan part of the country, and have access to places where I should be encountering all sorts of Aventus sillage. Instead I smell the occasional Hugo Boss or Chanel scent, and little else. Thus far, after seven years of existence, I have only smelled Aventus on one person: me.

      This, coupled with an apparent lack of interest on the parts of designer brands has me wondering. Why is Aventus strictly a "Creed" phenomenon? Why are all the clones obscure no-namers like Al-Rehab, Armaf, Reyane? When you say Aventus to the average person off the street, will they know what you're talking about? No. That's perfectly understandable. The average person off the street anywhere wouldn't know what Aventus is. But if you were to sit at a table of designer execs working on the latest A*Men flanker or Chanel "Exclusif," I kind of doubt they would immediately recall Aventus. (One guy at the table might, but he would then have to half-whisperingly explain himself to those sitting next to him.)

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    2. Places I have smelled Aventus-
      Miami's South Beach
      Dallas
      Los Angeles (my tax lawyer's junior partner bathes in the stuff)
      Tokyo
      Dubai/Qatar/Abu Dhabi
      Chicago
      Your neck of the woods is probably a bit more conservative in tastes than where I've smelled Aventus?

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    3. With all the clones out there (some of which are actually quite well made), are you sure it's always truly Aventus?

      CT is a wasteland. Fragrance isn't celebrated, isn't encouraged, and literally 98% of the women I meet wear either nothing at all or one of those cheap "body mist" abominations. My supervisor wears one called "Fresh Water" that is the color of mouthwash and smells pretty close.

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    4. Ive also smelled it often in Chicago (though not sure if it was Aventus or a clone). I'll almost always smell it on at least 1 or 2 people at a bar I frequent. On one particular evening though, without exaggerating, I smelled it on at least 10 different people there.
      Not that I can say anything negative about it, though. I finished up my decant, and often wear my clone, when I go there too lol

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  4. I have to say I love my Aventus.. but when I want a good smoky birch tar hit I will reach for Gillette Cool Wave. That stuff is a birch tar bomb and also layers great with stuff like Antaeus, Azzaro, Drakkar etc.

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    1. Gillette Cool Wave is indeed a terrific fragrance. I sincerely think of it as the best "mainstream" aftershave scent I've encountered, outside of designer flanker products. I like it better than Aventus, although in fairness I do like Aventus. I just don't love it. Having ordered Al-Rehab's Avenue, I wonder if I will feel a new appreciation for this type of perfume.

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  5. AMEN!
    I'll admit I happen to really enjoyed Aventus. I think it is a well balanced fragrance, very pleasant, and smells wonderful. I think of it like Bleu, Sauvage, or Invictus, in that it smells generic, but at the same time, I can't really think of another fragrance that it smells like (which didn't copy it), and it does a fantastic job at what it tries to do.
    I also don't mind that there are a bazillion and one clones of this, because that's what I'm using now (Al Rehab's Avenue). While slightly inferior, it performs better, and Aventus isn't proportionately better considering its price (and most of its inferiority is that its top has lemon instead of pineapple, so it's slightly less unique, which is no big deal).
    But people collecting the clones is getting beyond ridiculous. Youtube reviewers have like half a dozen Aventus clone and keep posting "Aventus killer" vids. Others keep talking about how to layer them to replicate the real thing. Even this Pineapple Vintage nonsense has two, TWO, separate fragrances. What. The. Hell.

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    1. Youtubers have really glommed onto the Aventus hype train. While enjoying the original Aventus is perfectly understandable, I see no reason to elevate the fragrance above anything else. I also understand the love of Aventus clones, at least in the sense that people can enjoy a clone without associating it to its template alone, but I DON'T understand why guys get into clones just to smell like Aventus. If you like Aventus, and you really, really want to wear it, the solution is simple: get Aventus.

      If you like the idea of Aventus but don't really care for that exact fragrance design, and want to explore other variations of the theme, then getting into clones makes perfect sense. Oddly most Youtube reviewers that discuss the clones stop at comparing them to Aventus, without really treating them as their own fragrances that sink or swim on their own merits.

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  6. So my birch tar arrived today!

    But first let me give you a small anecdote; I actually ordered both betula alba (birch tar) and betula lenta (sweet birch) essential oils a few months ago.

    Now here's the thing, when they arrived I had the notion that I had been scammed and sold dupes, here's why: the birch tar did indeed smell smoky but not at all in a pleasant way!
    The only thing I can compare the smell with is something not dissimilar to the smell of... smoked salmon!

    Did they just pour some smoked fish oil into a vial and sold it as birch tar? To make matters worse I smelled the sweet birch vial and sure enough my suspicion only got a whole lot closer to confirmation; this smelled of nothing more than plain old... mouthwash!

    Well, I was wrong after all because this birch tar essential oil bought from another seller in a different part of the world, just smells like the first one I got.

    Conclusion, no birch tar in Avenue, no sweet birch either - in fact I can't detect anything to do with birch. Which brings me to the question, do people misinterpret (dry) patchouli with birch tar? Or am I missing something here?

    When I read reviews about scents like Le labo Patchouli 24, they speak of "loaded with birch tar" - surely they don't mean the "smoked salmon note" I'm getting right???

    This fragrance hobby really is a Rabbit hole, the deeper you dig...

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    1. Can't speak to the salmon note you're getting, but I can tell you that for the rest of your life you will likely never encounter real birch tar in anything under $100 an oz. It's one of those tightly restricted ingredients that was never necessary in the first place with modern molecular bio science. It is supposed to be very dry, bitter, earthy, and yes, smoky, with perhaps a hint of phenol and terpenes but that may vary. It used to be in "grand classics" of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60, and 70s. In the 80s it became more scarce, used mainly in obscure niche frags like Creed's Vintage Tabarome, which I understand has a generous dollop of it. From the early 90s onward to today the stuff has become extinct, more or less. That's why I doubted they used it in something as cheap and readily available as Avenue (or even the much pricier Aventus). Smelling it in concentrated isolation will yield strange results, so I wouldn't write off what you received as "fake" or anything like that. But it isn't how it would have smelled in a full composition by a talented perfumer.

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    2. This whole thing started because I kept reading about "that birch note" while not having the slightest idea what people meant.
      Evidently I didn't keep into consideration that it doesn't always mean that the note itself is in the actual composition. Like you pointed out a clever blend can yield a olfactory "mirage", one can smell the smoke but nothing is actually burning.



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  7. I'd also add that essential oils do smell kind of different when they're diluted or mixed with other scents. I noticed that when I played around with some cedarwood and vetiver oils. By itself, cedarwood oil is really earthy, dry, spicy, and dirty. Mixed with Pi in an atomizer (and didn't fully dissolve), it added a sort of dirtiness, making the whole scent smell like candied peanuts, which was really different than the pure oil. It was close enough to make a connection, but not enough to immediately say "oh, that's cedarwood oil."
    I love vetiver (though I have no idea if frags like Guerlain Vetiver, Encre Noir, Sycomore, and the like use real vetiver), but the oil? I ordered a tiny vial, took a whiff when it arrived, and said nope, there is no way I'd wear it. When I mixed it with some vegetable oil,I thought it smelled a lot less off-putting, though largely similar.

    I'm also not sure if absolutes or the isolated aroma molecules smell the same as essential oils, since they're much more concentrated.

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  8. Absolute oils are said (there's a wiki about it) to be more concentrated and also preserve more of the fragrant compound because the method of extraction is different than with essential oils. Instead of steam distillation (most common but not exclusive method), they use "enfleurage" or solvent extraction.

    However, as with most things; it's never that simpel. Some essential oils use solvent or other methods of extraction too, depending on the type of plant and or floral.

    Also the region of the plant's origin is important, one lavender oil for example can smell totally different than another.

    On a side note, I recently discovered that I love vetiver too - turns out it's the vetiver in Bijan for men that I really like (and which is more prominent in the shower gel than the actual perfume - hence why I prefer the shower gel).

    Encre Noir and Guerlain vetiver are on my "to buy" list too.

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