3/10/17

The Danger Of Misusing The Term "Niche"


A Niche Scent.

On a recent basenotes thread, the following exchange occurred:

Dougczar writes:
"Of course niche houses use synthetics, but designers seem to [generally] use a much higher concentration of the worst offender aromachemicals. The sharp screetchy notes and ISO-E that I smell in a LOT of designers, I don't usually detect in niche - and if I do, it's much more subtle."

Bigsly writes:
"Well, what I've found is that the 'super cheapos' I buy tend to be more natural-smelling than quite a few niche scents I've tried lately."

To which L'Homme Blanc Individuel says:
"I assumed you're so anti-niche because it's expensive. As you said, you're not willing to pay more than $20... but now I'm wondering if it's also that you're picking the wrong niche scents to try."

Bigsly responds:
"With niche samples, it's whatever comes my way. I don't go out of my way to acquire them. Stash is certainly an attempt at niche. You can call it niche pastiche, niche light, or something along those lines (as others have, though most seem to think it should be considered niche, in terms of smell, how it's constructed, etc.) but it's the kind of scent I'm referencing."

L'Homme Blanc Individuel retorts with:
"If you're getting niche bottles for under $20, your understanding of what niche is will be wildly skewed. It's a lot like trying to judge steak when your examples are $10 steaks you'd get at a pub."

And Bigsly parries with:
"I've found that some CK scents of recent years seem to be really loaded with some nasty aroma chemicals . . . If my choice was between this type of scent and niche of recent years, I'd say, sure, niche is a lot better (generally-speaking, obviously), but then there are the 'super cheapos' I've purchased that don't have any kind of 'synthetic' or 'chemical' element (or it's very minor). Just some I can remember offhand: Unbreakable, Cuba Prestige, Magnet for Men, Legend by Michael Jordan, and the aforementioned. For more money, but lower than designer, are Ferrari's Oud and Leather Essence scents, which are among my favorites of the last few years among any scent categories."

L'Homme Blanc Individuel dispatches this nonsense with:
"You complain about how expensive niche is, but look at how much money you've wasted on scents you're trying to get rid of. My entire wardrobe costs less than that."

Spoiler: Although the list is nine years old, it was updated as recently as February of this year, and most of the frags mentioned cost around $10 an ounce, or less.

When you use the term "niche," you're using a word for a sector of an existing commercial market. Most markets can be divided into two sectors: "mainstream" and "niche." A mainstream car is a Chevy. A niche car is a Tesla. A much larger swath of buyers are interested in the cheaper, easier to maintain Chevys than the smaller subset of buyers who prefer the esoteric battery-powered world of Tesla.

In this case, the initial purchase of a Tesla is far more expensive, and the cars are trickier to maintain (hello hi-end extension cords) than the lowly Chevy, but in terms of savings on gasoline and saving the environment, one can see why a sizable fraction of the population buys them. These long-term cost-savvy folks are the ones this particular niche is targeted at.

But guess what? Another niche (call it "new niche") is a car that cost less than $6K back when it was new: the Plymouth Horizon. Yeah, remember those? Little tinny hatchbacks with Volkswagen Rabbit engines and surprisingly fun rack-and-pinion steering. There's a small community of car guys who are devoted to them. They're a far cry from any Tesla, and yet they're a type of niche vehicle, particularly because they're no longer made and a tiny group would donate their left testicles to own one in pristine condition.

Fragrances inhabit the same cost spectrum as cars, and in many cases the spectrum is more elastic, since you can vary the amount of the same given fragrance you want to purchase (but you could never buy half a Tesla). If you want Green Irish Tweed, and can't afford a full bottle, you can purchase a sample of just a few milliliters. But my point here is to make the distinction between calling fragrances "niche" because you're addressing that they sell to a small share of the overall market, and calling them "niche" because you think this is automatically what any elusive or expensive fragrance is.

When Bigsly or anyone else says something like, "Stash is certainly an attempt at niche. You can call it niche pastiche, niche light, or something along those lines," they're misusing the term. What is "niche pastiche?" What is "niche light?" What are these invented names meant to describe? They suggest that niche fragrances all share a common olfactory quality, and that some are a mishmash of this and other qualities, presumably drawn from other kinds of fragrances that are not necessarily "niche." And "niche light" suggests that predetermined qualities are being scaled back, or "lightened" in a given scent.

Clearly this makes no sense. Scent-wise, niche fragrances are not products that you can pigeonhole as being any one specific thing. Xerjoff Dhofar and Harley Davidson Legendary are both niche scents, simply because they are both targeted at vanishingly small sectors of the buying public: those who enjoy expensive Italian perfumes, and those who love all things Harley Davidson. Would anyone say that these two fragrances share anything else in common, other than their both having tiny audiences?

If you doubt their audience size, ask yourself how many people you know who wear either of these brands. Then consider yourself in the equation. For example, I've never driven anything but GM cars my entire life. I've never owned or ridden a motorcycle, and have only known one person who had a Harley (and he didn't even like it). If I wasn't predisposed to trying as many different fragrances as I can get my nose on, why would I want to buy a bottle of Legendary? If I'm not interested in Harley Davidson, what would make me buy their scent?

When the term "niche" is misused, it leads to the assumption that niche fragrances are a type of fragrance, instead of a variety of fragrances that are sold in the niche sector of the fragrance market. It ascribes technical meaning to something that should only be considered in economic terms. Some of the "myths of niche" that I frequently see:
- Niche fragrances are "simpler" than mainstream fragrances
- Niche fragrances are more natural
- Niche fragrances are universally rare
- Niche fragrances are expensive
- Niche fragrances are hard to find
- Niche fragrances should be characterized simply as "niche"
- Niche fragrances are more desirable than mainstream scents
- Niche fragrances are more exotic than mainstream scents
- Niche usually focuses on specific aroma chemicals

Let me briefly rebuff each of these points:

- Almost all of the niche scents I've encountered had the same complexity as the average designer or mainstream scent.
- Niche fragrances use similar amounts of naturals and synthetics compared to their mainstream counterparts, and in many cases niche fragrances rely on synthetics exclusively.
- If you want a rare niche fragrance in the age of the internet, surprise! You can find it on the internet! Even if you can't buy it directly online, there's always contact information to discuss a purchase.
- Some niche fragrances are very, very expensive, equal to the cost of a new car. Some are dirt cheap: if you're a wetshaver, you probably own and use daily one of at least ten niche fragrances that cost $5 an ounce (or less).
- If a fragrance, any fragrance, is hard to find, you need to join the 21st century and get broadband.
- Just calling a niche fragrance "niche" doesn't describe the fragrance. It describes the sector of the market it is sold in.
- Niche fragrances are equivalent in variety and range of quality to their mainstream counterparts. Therefore they are interchangeable with mainstream scents, and should only be judged on individual merits.
- All niche fragrances are at least somewhat "exotic" in the sense that they are made for a smaller group of potential buyers than mainstream fare is. If you call niche fragrances "exotic niche" you're being redundant. You're also describing the exoticism of their fanbase, not the scents themselves.
- Some niche fragrances focus on specific chemicals; some don't. Ditto for mainstream.

With niche, the question to ask is always, "Which niche?" The word describes a very broad spectrum of subsets. Are we talking about designer niche? Wetshaver niche? Brand-name niche? Natural perfumery? Soliflores? Orientals? Chypres? Fougeres? More information is needed to understand what is being discussed. Just saying "niche" is like saying "perfume." The possibilities are endless.




14 comments:

  1. My sense is that the "what is niche" question was introduced to try to take the thread off topic (by the person who calls me a "niche hater" on BN; he also brought up how many bottles I have, which again was off topic). I do not think it is especially useful to argue with people about the concept of niche, as it is undeniably going to vary from one person to another, at least for some time into the future. My concern is that we will begin to see a lot of scents being marketed by just about everyone (as SJP did with Stash), as well as by companies that pride themselves on being "niche" (at least in terms of marketing) that use large amounts of iso e super, cashmeran, "white" musks, etc. Since I haven't done much sampling of niche in recent years, I am wondering if there is indeed a kind of niche Guerlinade at this point. Since you have likely sampled more of these scents than I have, perhaps you could address that in a subsequent post. "Biglsy."

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    1. I don't recall anyone calling you a "niche hater."

      And if the OP engages commenters on whatever tangent they introduce to the thread, the thread is very much on topic. One can only assume that comments veering starkly off topic would not garner any substantial response from the OP, and you clearly engaged other members in their comments. As an outsider looking in, I felt that your thread followed a logical course of conversation. You just didn't like the direction it was headed in. Why you didn't like it is a question only you can answer.

      As for questions, I didn't see a "what is niche" question arise in your thread, either. Nobody asked that in plain terms. And nobody implied that there was any question as to what niche is. I think you missed the points that L'Homme Blanc (and a couple others) were making, and you also missed the point of my blog post.

      The point being made there was that you're on the record over the last five years as someone who consistently denigrates the value of niche above a certain predetermined (by you) price point, which apparently hovers around the $5 per ounce mark. That's not to say that you overwhelmingly hate niche. I've read your Fragrantica reviews. Your opinions of expensive niche vary as much as those of designer and mainstream scents, ranging from good impressions to bad ones.

      However, despite your chronic sampling of pretty much every niche and designers (and off-brand) scent you encounter, you still put forward the somewhat counterintuitive narrative of disliking anything expensive. You're constantly praising cheap fragrances that many people feel are cheap for a reason. Your love of Playboy fragrances is unparalleled in the community. Your appreciation for frags that cost anywhere from $5 to $10 an ounce is unmatched. That's all fine. But whenever you start discussing how you prefer the "naturalism" you find in cheaper scents over the overbearing "synthetics" of niche frags, that taints the discussion. Now other people can't view you as an objective observer. Now people feel like they have to address this underlying issue of cost to value, as well as your misguided need to equate "natural" with "better."

      The point of my blog post was to sidestep all of these issues and simply focus on the one thing you constantly do that does nobody (especially newbies) any good: misuse the term "niche." You use "niche" as an adjective to describe the nature of fragrances, rather than a description of the commercial sector of the market it is sold in. By doing this you conflate the term with style; you ought to conflate it with economics.

      And once you realize the error you're making, you'll see that you absolutely have reviewed a metric f*ckton of niche in the last few years, far more than I have. You are a chronic sampler, churning out Fragrantica reviews (even of scents you haven't smelled on yourself, like Sauvage) year after year. I on the other hand take a more measured approach. "Bryan"

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  2. The more I read different Basenotes or Fragrantica threads, or watch vlogs, the more I roll my eyes at the fragrance community. I don't mind people being pretentious about their hobbies, especially when it's one which costs a lot of money to maintain. But this anal obsession with "niche" fragrances as the golden grail is wearing thin.
    A lot of designer frags these days are indeed really boring. These ambroxan heavy, or sickeningly sweet, themes are dime a dozen. So I get why people gravitate towards fragrances which are more classic, avant-garde, or do things differently. But even within the niche world, they're oversaturated with rose-oud-incense scents. They smell great, but they overlap in the same way Bleu de Chanel, Sauvage, Invictus, and Mr Burberry, or 1 Million, Eros, and La Nuit do; none smell exactly the same, they're not redundant, but they all have their similarities. Yet I don't see so many complaints about that.
    On that same token, look at a Bogart fragrance like One Man Show Gold. It is really well composed, unique, daring, tasteful, balanced, performs amazingly, and the notes resemble their natural counterparts (like the apple, cinnamon, or cloves). It gets lots of love, but there are some "nicheheads" who call it a chemical spill. Sure, it has its rough edges, but it doesn't smell more synthetic than something from Creed, Tom Ford, or Bond no 9.

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    1. Ironically enough, I'd consider the house of Bogart a niche brand. At this point if you mention Bogart to people on the street, they think you're talking about the actor. The quality of classic Bogart fragrances can rival most other fragrances of any category.

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    2. I think of them as niche too; along with those cheap Arabian oils and perfumes. I don't see it as a price thing, but as a distribution, availability, or whether the house is involved in non-fragrance related ventures. Yet so many people will look at, say, Armani Prive or Tom Ford's various private lines as niche, even though they're pretty well known designers. In the latter's case, there's even a hip hop or pop song about him. Most people will likely never smell Myrrhe Imperiale, Rose d'Arabie, Oud Wood, Cafe Rose etc, but the names Armani and Tom Ford will be familiar to people who have picked up Vogue, GQ, or whatever magazine

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    3. I'll be as liberal as possible about it and call Armani Prive and Tom Ford "designer niche," which I consider any secondary (more exclusively manufactured) line of fragrances put out by an otherwise common place retail designer brand. I can find Acqua di Gio everywhere, but an Armani Prive is significantly more difficult to come across in person.

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  3. I'm not sure why this is so difficult to figure out for some people.There are 'niche' fragrance firms that cater to those who prefer 'natural' scents (ie Anya's Garden, Providence Perfume Co, Mandy Aftel) and those who veer to synthetic (ie Juliette Has A Gun, Escentric Molecules, Comme des Garcons). If you prefer 'natural' fragrances then choose a niche fragrance company that specializes in 'natural' fragrances (DUH).
    That is the beauty of niche, there's a little something for everybody!

    I agree with the above commenter in that there are wayyyy too many niche houses doing the same thing though. I'm a big fan of florals which seem to be rather out of fashion now. (I am tired of these candied fruity florals & fruitichoulis that have been around since the 90's.) I've noticed on forums people seem to equate floral with 'old lady' scents. I find this odd because I wear florals daily and get compliments all the time on my perfume. The most common compliment I get is you smell so "soft." Anywho, I'm hoping some more floral niche houses develop.

    We don't get the Playboy perfumes here in Nepal & India but we do get the body sprays. Other than a dash of linalool or eugenol I don't smell much of anything natural going on in the Playboy body sprays. They all seem to share a similar synthetic musk base that's a bit sour but inoffensive too. For most of the year my shopping is limited to what we see at our tiny local dept. store. (We live beyond the arse end of nowhere.) We usually go to Dubai, Singapore, or somewhere a bit more upscale twice a year to shop & that's when I buy most of my fragrances. So anyway, out of boredom I'e recently tried sampling some of the cheapie stuff on offer at our tiny dept store. Playboy, Jeanne Arthes, Shirley Mae, Jovan, Axe, Yardley, & Gatsby are a few brands that are regularly on offer here. Shirley Mae & Gatsby are consistently gawdawful with musks that smell like wet dog and hair spray. Jeanne Arthes & Playboy smell like 'impressions' dupes of popular mainstream fragrances that get a few of the top notes spot on & then develop into little else. Yardley & Jovan are more original compositions but both use the same synthetic bases for all their scents. Overall I tend to agree with L'Homme Blanc Individuel, you waste a lot of $ trying all these cheapie fragrances to find a few fleeting gems. Out of the 25 bottles of cheapies I've bought over the last year only 2 are actually wearable in my opinion. If Mr Bigsly wants to devote his time & $ to sorting out which of these cheapies are of wearable quality, more power to him! That being said I do have some legendary cheapies (Tea Rose, Sand & Sable, Muguet des Bois) in my collection that are legends with good reason

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    1. Individual tastes are all that matter in these considerations. If I'm someone who primarily enjoys and prefers "cheap" fragrances, and I wear and use what I buy, then who is the wiser? If I like variety and enjoy fragrances from a broader commercial spectrum than is inhabited by the likes of Playboy and Yardley and Jovan, that's probably even better. I personally could care less if anyone prefers one type of fragrance over another, because honestly I think any genuine enthusiasm for any perfume is a good thing.

      Where I get annoyed is when people present bullshit questions and offer bullshit answers. In the case of our friend at Wordpress, he represents a community of people who habitually ask "what is niche?" and then say things like, "things that have a 'Niche Guerlinade' are niche." Utter nonsense. Newbies everywhere read things like that and they don't know any better, and are soon parroting the horseshit on forums, attacking experienced writers like you and me on these things without even scratching the surface of the truth of this issue.

      There has never been any question about what is and is not niche. Everyone knows what niche is. Niche is a commercial bracket in which certain frags are sold. They are by definition NOT intended for mass purchase. They are sold in smaller volume to a much smaller public. They are quite directly an alternative to the "mainstream." And mainstream fragrances are very well established as fragrances produced and sold for mass market consumption. Hello Chanel, Hello Dior.

      What Bigsly (and his ilk, if there are any) enjoy doing is drawing false conclusions to their own straw man questions, as evidenced by his very latest blog post about Stash. That nobody bothers to comment under his articles is hopefully indicative of a general distrust of his positions, but then again I'm probably asking for too much.

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    2. Mr Ross,
      The reason Bigsly has few comments on his blog is that he doesn't publish any that disagree with him or aren't ridiculously sycophantic. He hasn't published any more of my comments.
      It says a lot that Bigsly hasn't noticed the Coty-ade that plagues so many of those Playboy things he so highly touts. Not to mention that most of them are ethyl maltol or toscanol bombs sitting atop that signature blend.
      I gave up reading Bigly's fragrance reviews when I read his review for that Hummer frag. How many times can you describe something as 'musky' without telling us what sort of musk you are talking about? Is it a powdery white laundry musk rife with cashmeran & galoxolide? A golden musk as in baby shampoo? A nude musk laced with sandalwood & citrus? An animalic musk reeking of leathery castoreum, sweat, and swagger? This is the kind of info & descriptions that intrigue readers & make a writer at least sound like he/she knows what they're talking about!

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    3. My reasons for picking on Bigsly are purely sporting ones. At this stage I know that he isn't a serious blogger, or reviewer, and that any dissection of his stated positions and forum posts are redundant, unnecessary, and self-serving. So in my opinion the fact that his blog is relatively comment-free doesn't really functionally serve my argument one way or the other - it's just an observation with a little sticky note of implicit hope tacked to it.

      But in the interest of addressing your points, I will say this: Bigsly, like most semi-serious reviewers, doesn't even rise to the 60th percentile in accuracy or quality. It takes a few years of study to warrant this claim, but trust me, I've put in the hours. I can trace his failures all the way back to 2010, which is when I first started reading his then-new blog.

      Among these shortcomings are some curios factoids: he avoids top notes, which means he avoids a key part of every scent's DNA, a part he actively dismisses. He then creates a fictional population of people who he ascribes value to: "Top Notes People." This is a great way to excuse his avoidance of the notes. If TNP are the ones who "focus" on top notes, then obviously they don't understand perfumery, because everyone knows top notes are a mere five minutes (max) of a frag's drydown structure. Since he isn't a TNP, he must be someone who inputs more value into the structure, which logically would translate into a better understanding of all perfumes.

      Sounds good, right? Except there's one problem with this: many scents are linear. Take Azzaro PH, for instance. This is a fragrance with very little in the way of top notes (if any). Within forty-five seconds of applying any version of APH, you have pretty much the next ten hours of the scent at your disposal for interpretation. And incredibly, two-thirds of the structure is - wait for it . . . Wait for it . . . LAVENDER!

      And guess which note Bigsly can't identity in any fragrance, ever? Lavender. And guess which note is routinely a top note in the majority of 20th century masculines from the 1930s thru to the early 1990s? Lavender. And guess who things the lavender in Caron PuH smells like "plastick" and "burnt" and "synthetic" and whatever other negative you can think of? Bigsly. Even though the masses across the world find it to be a very good, fairly natural, and even quite rich source of lavender, Bigsly is quoted as finding the latest formula to be a lavender bust. And he is the only one.

      His inability to detect lavender spans other fragrances. He doesn't smell it in Rochas Moustache. He can't find the rich fougere accord in Joint for Men. He finds little reason to call Cool Water - one of the most lavendery & coumarinic compositions in history - a fougere. And he DOES detect lavender in Jil Sander Man Pure, saying it has a clear fougere accord, even though JSMP has no lavender (and a careful sniff of the scent over the course of a few days makes this undisputed).

      No wonder the man doesn't like top notes, or the people who pay attention to them. As you point, understanding top notes and having the skill to identify them (and how they develop) is the kind of info that intrigues readers and makes a writer sound like he or she knows what they're talking about. Without this ability, the next and only step is to demonize those who discuss and value top notes (and the entire drydown arch of any scent, from top to base) and act like it's silly, the pursuit of a fictional kind of person that you had the good graces to invent.

      It's brilliant, really, when you consider it!

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  4. Great post.

    Here in Spain, we have a problem. Most perfume lovers only love niche scents, only talk about niche all the time, despising designer & drugstore frags, equating price with quality, and I think that's not the point.

    If you are open minded and want to know about other kind of fragrances, you better go to south-american forums (full of unprejudiced connoisseurs) or blogs like this or shamu's Pour Monsieur.

    I agree with your "niche" concept. On the other hand, I like to consider niche frags as those frags that propose different, daring ways, in another place far from contemporary, conventional & mainstream scent world. For example, Byredo's M/Mink is one of my favorites. I think it's a matter of concept and composition more than quality or nature of the materials.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. Let me make this observation. If Byredo's M/Mink were suddenly (as in later today) taken to all distribution channels across the Western world, and M/Mink volume were multiplied by 10,000 units a month, and suddenly every major department store across America sold M/Mink, and Amazon retailers by the handful were offering bottles at a discount, would this particular Byredo still be considered a niche perfume?

      The answer is easy: No.

      The only thing that makes a fragrance niche is its sphere of commercial availability. Bibi above mentioned Tea Rose. Many like to use this fragrance as an "A-ha! Gotcha!" example of why I'm wrong, because you can find Tea Rose at many discount retailers across America (yet I call it a niche scent).

      Problem is, the distribution for Tea Rose is mostly just discount retailers. You will only find this fragrance on Amazon for $5 an ounce, and at stores like Ross and Marshalls and TJ Maxx for the same. If you do encounter this at a brick and mortar fragrance shop - i.e., NOT a discounter, just a regular merchant - you will pay three or four times as much for it. So even in this regard, the availability is limited if you want an affordable bottle of Tea Rose. This model is simply an inversion of Creed's for example - they offer their fragrances at a premium price in most outlets, but on one type - the online merchant - you can usually get bottles for less.

      Thus Tea Rose does not stray from the basic niche hemisphere of commercial circulation, and is quite obviously a niche scent.

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  5. I enjoyed this post (and these comments), admittedly in part for the backlash against some attitudes that seem to be associated with the spread of the myth of niche in review forums. Good writing on fragrance can be hard to find, and it frustrates me to read bloggers who are clearly in a position to review a wide range of things with an informed perspective limit themselves to higher end, fragrance only outfits like Byredo, Amouage, Kilian, Ormonde Jayne, Tauer, et al. It was heartening, for instance, to see Liam Sardea at Olfactics review Kouros a second time, effectively writing about its use of civet once as a social phenomenon and the second time more in terms of its functionality (& aesthetics), revising his rating favourably the second time around. His writing style and perspective are very different than yours, so having two experienced amateurs writing from varying perspectives give deep attention to treating a past classic like the moving target it is is educational and exciting; it helps to account for inconsistencies in formulation and individual bottles, but more importantly the changing character of taste (this, btw, is also how I learned to understand Matisse, with the added benefit of decades of reviewers to peruse -- sensibility as four dimensional echo-location.)

    And of course a new composition changes the way we think about a historic one (Fou d'Absinthe made me take another look at Polo Green, for example), so an appreciation of fragrance history (fleshed out in experience and anecdote) is critical. I often try to get to know a writer I've never read before by starting with their reviews of older mainstream fragrances, which I always hope will be neither dismissively null nor pettishly reverential.

    Anyway, all this (a minor rant, and a bit off topic) to take aim at reviewers like the one I read in a UK men's magazine that flatly informed its imagined blunt & bourgeois reader that he should expect pay north of $20 an ounce for anything worthwhile, then featured a roster of the latest releases from higher end houses (yes to oud!), with either Adventus or GIT thrown in to underscore a lack of imagination. I had to wonder if they'd even smelled them.

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    1. Irony runs deep in the fragrance world. Many magazine-level professional writers are keen to use Creed, usually GIT, as an example of what the successful male should drop money on. If you look at the fragrance from their perspective, it makes it seem like a petty high-end version of Cool Water. If you look at it from mine (the amateur enthusiast you so dearly read, and I thank you), you get the contrasting perspective that you wrote of, and hopefully come to appreciate it as the logical endpoint for Grey Flannel and Drakkar Noir.

      Those who review only niche, or mostly niche, are entitled to do so of course, but they run the risk of falling into many of the same traps as those who avoid niche and strictly write about mainstream fare: there is too much repetition. These are not worlds that are sharply divided in terms of approach. Mainstream fragrance houses like to "play it safe" and stick to the same few basic notes and accords for 90% of whatever they put out, be it citrus, white musk, lavender, "fresh" aquatic, whatever. Niche does the same, but on the other end of it: funky musks, oud, weird evergreen and balsamic oriental ambers, strident soliflores, etc. They take the inverse of whatever the other commercial hemisphere depends upon and make it their bread and butter.

      What I find most amusing is the person who reviews something (or writes something a review section) without having actually smelled the fragrance he's reviewing. This eventually has the effect of revealing that the writer's main goal isn't to inform me, but to show me that he can swap, buy, or otherwise acquire "hauls" of samples and partially used bottles on the cheap, and then review, review, review after spending only a few minutes on each one. This type of writer obviously wants to impress people with the quantity of fragrances reviewed, rather than the quality of thoughtful, carefully written reviews.

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