This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.
Monday, May 2, 2011
When I post a review on Fragrantica, I generally have a quick look through the posts, and never fail to be amazed by people’s obsessive posting of pictures of the bottle for any perfume that they mention. Sometimes there’s a thread with dozens of posts about the same perfume, each with the same bottle icon, making what could be a short thread very long and tiresome to go through. Even on Basenotes, if you look at threads like “Scent of the Day”, you’ll see that many people who post have inserted a picture of the perfume in question or the ad for it, sometimes as large as a billboard.
Frankly, I don’t get it. To me, perfume is not about appearance, it’s all about how it smells. I do like to have a name by which to identify each perfume that I try, but that’s it. Once I’ve seen a picture of a bottle of Chanel No. 5 or Alien, I know what it looks like. I don’t need to see it again and again. If I really want to know what the container looks like, it’s easy to look it up.
I can’t help but think that some people focus more on a perfume’s bottle and advertising than they do on the fragrance itself. Or maybe because it’s so hard to describe scents verbally, people come to view a perfume in terms of its bottle or advertising image, which eventually becomes sort of a pictograph that serves as a name in their minds. Maybe the reason I find the use of bottle and ad pictographs so superfluous is because, in my mind’s eye, I already have my own abstract visual images of what each perfume is like, formed when I smelled it from a generic sample vial, and these have nothing to do with the bottle or ad.
So my question to you, dear reader, is whether you mentally use perfume bottles or ads as pictographs or symbols to represent the perfume. Is this a good thing? Setting aside issues of quality and aesthetics in packaging or advertising, do you think that a perfume’s value is enhanced by an iconic bottle or ad?
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