Continuing our discussion on how to create a fragrance:
After 32 years retailing fragrance in my shop, I've concluded that there are three reasons most people wear fragrance:
1. To be accepted and win approval of others.
2. To attract the interest of the opposite sex.
3. To be identified as "one of the group."
Consider reason #1. There was a time when a strong, noxious odor was desirable, but you'd have to go way back to primitive man. If you were in danger of being eaten by another animal, it would be important to smell bad, therefore inedible.
Today smelling good is desirable. For instance, many of my customers wanted something to wear while doing business, what I called "Boardroom Fragrances." For men, I would suggest Caswell-Massey's Jockey Club--fresh, clean, not floral. Never anything sweet. Something with juniper, or sandalwood. Avoid Ralph Lauren's Polo--it has been taken over by college kids and you don't want to smell like a college dorm.
For women, I told my clients that they didn't want to smell like somebody's wife. Boardrooms are, after all, very sexist. Sandalwood with a snitch of orange is good. Never wear a heavy floral. Stick to citrus. Good old Jean Nate`. My favorite for any business, including female candidates running for office, is Estee` Lauder's White Linen. It is clean, light, and finished with a touch of tangerine. It is good for close contact, like nursing. Sick people are very sensitive to odors.
There are times when you simply want to wear what you like . . . be yourself. This is when you can wear Patchouli, among friends, but never in a crowd. It might smell yummy to you, but to a lot of people it smells like old varnish. To me it smells like the underside of moss, and I like it, but my favorite smell is an aroma chemical named hydratropic aldehyde dimethl acetal. It has a fungal odor, like mushrooms growing. Clearly I can't go around smelling like a raw mushroom, so I made a room spray of it for my bedroom.
Reason #2. To attract the opposite sex. Haarmann and Reimer, a huge international fragrance house, did a study once to determine what personality types were attracted to what fragrances. They were thinking of selling, but the interesting part was what attracted men to women. Macho, athletic types liked musk, sandalwood, patchouli. Women were definitely attracted to musk, spice, and Bay Rum. Most men liked fruity odors on women, like apple and strawberry, commonly shampoo scents, or very light, fresh scents. For late evening activity, there is an Australian oil called "Meditation," which has incense notes and frankincense. Very sexy.
Most often mentioned by men in my store as disliked were Jungle Gardenia, or anything with orchid, rose or jasmine. Women liked their men to smell outdoorsy or woody, but surprisingly, Bay Rum was the most popular scent, especially if it was spicy. It can't be found anywhere, hardly.
Reason # 3. The most primitive reason of them all. I had a client, a man, who was a union organizer. When he went into a factory, or any blue collar environment, he always wore Old Spice. The next choice was Aqua Velva. He wanted to smell "familiar." Believe it or not, those were the two best selling men's fragrances in 1995 and probably still are. Patchouli is a social statement going back to 1960, but women should not forget the single note fragrances, like Freesia or Hyacinth. You can always buy the oil to wear.