interesting post by Dee Howe on how she learned to love Cuir de Russie, which she had previously hated, simply by reading lots of positive reviews. One commenter labeled the post “fascinating and disturbing”. I would wholeheartedly agree with that evaluation. As a perfumer, I’d go a step further and label it “frightening” because the implication is that the first reviews of any newly-released perfume could make or break it. Everyone who reads the reviews would be drawn toward the positive or negative opinion of the reviewer(s).
I know that my olfactory perception has changed as I’ve worked with perfumes and raw materials. When I first started, I couldn’t stand the smell of “teak” (a synthetic woody note), but after experiencing it multiple times alone and in finished compositions, I’ve come to appreciate its role in perfumery. Maybe my receptors for it have been down-regulated, to use the scientific jargon for elimination of some of them. Maybe familiarity makes the heart grow fonder. I don’t know.
The other thing that I’ve experienced is that I’ve become much more sensitive to all types of musks, and I think this has to do with cognitive organization rather than receptors. Instead of musks being an incomprehensible pattern, I’ve learned to recognize a pattern that’s common to all of them, as well as the features that differentiate between the different ones.
[Graphics adapted from Wikimedia]