More Weird Ways to Choose Perfume

A favorite book of mine, Perfumery: The Psychology and Biology of Fragrance, edited by Steve Van Toller and George H. Dodd, is a rather technical tome that dwells heavily on the relationship between perfume and personality.

In one chapter, by Mensing and Beck, the authors ran experiments with groups of women, and analyzed which fragrances they liked most. Not only did the research establish that personality had a profound effect on fragrance choice, it correlated personality and color preference. This led to the Mensing color-wheel, which predicts, with 80 percent accuracy, a subject’s favorite fragrance family.

This saves a lot of time sniffing around to the point of olfactory overload. After consulting the chart, the salesperson can bring out two or three fragrances, instead of having to go through a dozen or more.

At 1:30, more outgoing, “emotionally stable,” people, while drawn to chypre notes, deep and mossy and grave, like their fragrance a touch floral and even a trace fruity.  A customer, on the more introverted side, might like her perfume a little aldehydic. She wants her fragrance to be a touch floral, but discrete, with subtle floral tones running through the base. Those who are attracted to the 3 o’clock position, which corresponds to fresh and green scents, are extroverted and like being with people. At 4:30, those who are “emotionally ambivalent,” but lean to being extroverts, are most likely to choose florals with fruity aspects.

At 6 o’clock, we find the capricious, who, while, often changing their fragrance, tend to be drawn to not-too-sweet florals. At 7:30, a group, again described as emotionally ambivalent, but this time more introverted, is, again, drawn to florals, but this time, with “oriental” qualities. In the 9 o’clock position, are the oriental scents; rich, complex, with plenty of funk and used by introverts who enjoy their own company.

As I said, these experiments were done with women. I have never read whether men fit into this paradigm, or into any paradigm at all, but it might be worth the research.

After all, I want to play, too.

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