Do you pay attention to reviews? why?

Discussion in 'Fragrance' started by maxman, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. maxman

    maxman Moderator Emeritus

    I like reviews of things.
    If I'm going to buy a new BBQ, I'll read a bunch of reviews and see what people are saying.
    Maybe there is something I didn't consider.
    Perhaps there is an issue with quality that I would want to know about.

    However, when it comes to fragrances, I find 99% of the reviews on any site to be worthless.
    All I want to know is what you smell when you wear the fragrance.

    I don't want to know why you don't like the perfume house and their politics or why you won't pay the money for it or any other of your personal problems or general insanity.

    So why do I keep reading them?
    I guess I just cling on to this little hope that there is a nugget of gold in all that sewage.

    Having said all that, the best advice and reviews (of sorts) that I've received have been from B&B (of course).

    Do you guys find reviews helpful?
  2. Yes, absolutely, I read all kinds of reviews, but I take them all with a grain of salt. I particularly like the ones that delve into the history of a fragrance, or in some cases, that notice a "reference" to another fragrance. I enjoy them because like you said I might have missed something, or because I've noticed something but cannot quite put my finger on it. I don't care whether anyone likes it, I want to talk about it for the sake of talking about it, for the artistic merit. I don't need a review to buy Idole EdP, or Eau Sauvage EdP, because I already love the original so much, and I'm going to buy them anyway, blind; but I like them for news that these concentrations are available. I like them for informing me of a new product I've never heard of take them all with a grain of salt, of course, and always read the comments that follow from other readers, because sometimes reviews are bunch of baloney, but I find them useful, helpful, insightful, sometimes inspiring. My favorite one that I am particularly fond of is the Perfume Shrine.
  3. I think they can be useful on such things as longevity. If a scent is consistently described as have poor sillage and longevity, that matters as it is probably going to e the same if I wear it.
  4. maxman

    maxman Moderator Emeritus

    What about the difference in people's taste?
    Body chemistry?
  5. I don't read any reviews. Your mileage WILL vary with fragrances. They smell radically different on different people. What I do is load up the four key spots with four different colognes and wear them for the day. The ones that pass the girlfriend test after a few hours get purchased.
  6. Niles

    Niles Moderator Emeritus Contributor

    When I was a more frequent poster on basenotes, I found a few people whose tastes lined up pretty well with mine. I paid attention to their reviews, but not many others.
  7. Austin

    Austin Moderator Emeritus

    I find reviews on other sites superfluous. I also take them with a grain of salt. You have to remember that some of these reviews are written by post adolescents that don't have a clue.
  8. I too read the reviews on frags for the composition of a particular scent. As we all know many of these are not cheap so I want to have an idea of what it's made up of to see if that lines up with what I'm looking for. I always appreciate the objective review of what the basenote, middle notes and top notes are comprised of. Like someone is just giving a cookie recipe. Here's what's in it, bake some up, see if you like it kind of thing.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  9. I usually go into it looking for common perceptions. For example, if five reviewers note that a certain frag smells like baby powder, then I'm not going to bother pursuing that frag. Those ridiculously poetic reviews are no help at all. Here's an example I came across just this morning on "Redefine Indian Summer; the Sun ricochets off the waning moon, illuminating ever corner of a frost filled forest. The intoxicating aroma of fallen leaves & frozen flora permeates your senses but refuses to overwhelm you. The sunrise is waiting to make her grand entrance but for now, she doesn't disturb the privacy of this moment. When she enters, her warmth envelops everything; the day's abbreviate but luxuriate with specifics & subtleties that remind you to appreciate the constancy of magic found in another ordinary, extraordinary day ... that's what Amouage Silver offers." What the hell?
  10. Like Dennard, there are a few people on basenotes who share similar tastes so I will pay attention to their reviews. Otherwise, I look for trends or reoccurring themes in the reviews and take an individual reviews with a grain of salt.
  11. I agree on both accounts. I also find the negative reviews to be most truthful and helpful, neutral reviews are second best and most positive reviews I find to be the least helpful and mostly bs.
  12. Yes and no. However I give a stronger weighting to the reviews of people with whom I share similar taste. If someone likes many of the same scents I do, or by the same token dislikes some of the ones I dislike, then their opinion to try or stay away from a scent would be given more merit than someone whose tastes completely differ from mine.

    I do try and free my mind of all memory of reviews upon actually trying a scent. Many people find themselves subconsciously skewed by someone else's negative (or positive) reaction to a scent. No greater example exists, perhaps, than the very early hyperbolic reviews about Muscs Koublaï Khän as its distribution was limited to the Paris store. Once it was exported and found its way into every Barneys the reviews moderated noticably, however it's clear that many people are still biased from such early, ludicrous, reviews which shaped a vision in their mind of the months and years. Of course this is not to say that people cannot legitimately dislike the scent, however some of the negative reviews do not appear to be grounded in reality; such a phenomenon also exists for Sécrétions Magnifiques. Again, perhaps there is a preponderance of people trying these scents whose body chemistry is simply not conducive to wearing animalic scents, but the probabilities of that would appear to be rather slim.

    In the end, I find it more effective to use reviews and, now that my nose is fairly "tuned," the scent pyramids to filter the scents that I wish to try. Reviews can be useful and I do give them a large weighting in the filtering process. But when it comes time to test, the best approach is one of a free and open mind; allow the scent to shape the ideas in your mind instead of the other way around.
  13. maxman

    maxman Moderator Emeritus

    All good points.
  14. Yes, I check sites for comments on fragrances that I am considering. What I am looking for is information on notes and longevity, as well as general comments. While I take them only as that particular reviewers impression, it gives me an idea of whether I may wish to pursue a sample. Wouldn't use reviews to make a blind buy. Much the same as I check reviews on soaps.
  15. DMT


    No they're too subjective what one person likes another might hate. The only thing I read reviews for is to see what scents are in it e.g. citrus, spices, etc I have a good idea of what I like and dislike so I go by that
  16. As long as you can sort out the collective wisdom from the hive mind, the reviews can be an invaluable tool when making new acquisitions.
  17. The Knize

    The Knize Moderator Emeritus

    Yes, absolutely! I agree wholeheartedly with virtually everything said immediately above.

    For that matter, I would not know what to write in posts on this board usually without some reference to "reviews." <g>

    While my nose my be "okay," I find that the collective thoughts on a scent, particularly as to what its notes/accords are, and what other scents it may be like, when synthesized and filtered through some knowledge and experience wit the particular reviewer very much "reveal" a scent more than my impressions alone would.

    And I personally enjoy the subjective, impressionist references to all sorts of scenes and things, and for that matter the photos, that describe/show various folks' ideas re a scent. To me scents not only hit the lower, primal brain stem, they immediately call up memories and visions from the particular persons experience and/or what they have read or seen in books, movies, etc. It helps me to and I very much enjoy hearing/reading/seeing impressionistic stuff like that. It helps me understand the subject scent.

    I know some "reviewers' " noses and writing style--especially folks on this board--well enough, that if they like something, I am almost certain I will like it. For others, I will not necessarily like it, but I will have a very good impression of what a scent is like, and its "artistic merit," which is a great phrase applied to an evaluation of scents. I may not have developed a memory for which reviewers I agree who write on other than B&B, but I find many of those reviews pretty unreliable. It is interesting to me to look over, say, favorable reviews and notice just how differently a particular scent is described! I do think the comments on this site are as good as any on the web.

    As others have said, I think I am more interested in what is said about what a scent is like, that whether the particular reviewer "likes" it or not. Why would I really care whether someone else likes a scent or not? I do feel well-equiped, unbiased so to speak, and quite expert in figuring out whether I like a scent! Reviews of some of the greatest scents in existence to my nose, are mixed. Most scent reviews are mixed, methinks.

    I frankly do not know how influenced I am from reviews as to whether I actually like a scent or not. In case you have not noticed, except for most gourmands, I at least like most scents that have some support as being really good scents, so I may not be a good test.

    I read a lot of Luca Turin when I was really getting into scents. I do not at all necessarily like what he likes or dislike what he does not like. But I somehow feel very influenced by him in thinking about scents. Something like I feel about Roger Ebert as to movies and Robert Parker as to wines. I disagree with the latter two frequently enough, but I usually get whatever it is they are talking about.

    For what it is worth, I really, really like Muscs Koublaï Khän. For some reason, I had not impression or really knowledge of it before I tried it. Or maybe I had forgotten. Anyway, I tried it very cold, except for the impressions of the guy who kindly supplied me with a small decant of it.

    So, again, the answer is I pay a lot of attention to reviews. But some I do take with "Lott's wife."
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2012
  18. jakespoppy

    jakespoppy Moderator Emeritus

    I read a lot of reviews, often just for the entertainment of reading what others have to say about a topic that is so interesting to me, even though I find most of them not particularly helpful in determining what I might think of a scent. It's especially amusing when several reviewers describe scents in totally conflicting terms. But there are a few reviewers who I've learned to interpret and understand what they are describing in a way that is helpful to me. Not that I always agree with them, particularly in what we like and dislike, but I can at least have a basic understanding of what to expect the first time I try something after reading their reviews.

    It seems like reading a lot of reviews for a scent is more helpful than reading only one or two. The collective impression of many will likely be more helpful than only one or two, who could be way off. If I read 20 or 30 reviews of a scent, I probably disregard the one or two that vary radically from the consensus.

    I also find the list of notes in a scent as not always especially helpful in knowing whether or not I will like a scent. Sometimes it's not even easy to know what the scent will smell like. Too often, some of the notes are so faint that I don't even notice them.

    I've read and searched through Luca Turin's Guide many times, and find it fascinating, but very not particularly helpful as it either doesn't describe what a scent smell like, or I just find I disagree with much of what he likes and dislikes.
  19. I somewhat pay attention to the reviews, but, and this is a big but, I also pay attention to just WHO is doing the reviewing. For instance, over on Basenotes there are a few reviewers that have a rather large number of reviews under their belt. Furthermore, it pays to read their particular reviews of those fragrances that you are already familiar with. Both likes and dislikes as well. This way you gain some insight to their individual tastes and sensitivities. You don't have to agree with them, you simply have to understand where they are coming from, and then you will be able to make sense of their review. The better reviews state just what they like about a fragrance and what they don't, as well as the WHY. I have found some that have good noses, and poor skin, so their reviews are just about spot on as far as what it smells like, but often their experienced longevity differs from mine.

    As far as the reviews on this forum go, they are pretty much more in line as far as the specific genre that most here enjoy. As over there, some explain the scents better than others, but you quickly discover just what their particular angle is, and learn to place more weight on some of them than others. Particularly with regards to likes and dislikes, some really like gourmands while others gravitate towards florals, some like the more barbershop type frags, while even a hint of powder turns some off. Over here (B&B) if there is a comparison to something else, it's a lot more likely that we will have some knowledge of the scent than over on Basenotes, and this is to the advantage of the average person over here.

    Overall, it's still up to the individual to decide if they like or dislike a particular fragrance for themselves, but if they can state clearly what they think about a fragrance, then it benefits all those around them. Face it, if someone else states that they like a particular fragrance, then all you can think is "well, good for you" But if that same person can state that it (or perhaps more correctly, this aspect of it) smells like this, or that, or kinda like this, but with these differences, then not only can you think "good for you" but you can add in a "thank you for your insight and time."

    Of course, YMMV.
  20. kbe


    Reviews of fragrances are almost always totally subjective and therefore require the reader to try the fragrance him/herself to find out if it is something that appeals.

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