Scent Science, Simplified


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can I achieve similar results to what appears on the FPindex?

A: First thing’s first: Buy from an authorized retailer. I simply cannot guarantee the performance of a fragrance obtained through other means.

Second: I recommend spraying on clothing for best results. I can’t guarantee you will get the same type of projection and sillage as what you see on the site, but you will have a better chance at replicating the results than you will by spraying on skin. Longevity is also optimized by spraying on clothing. I should note that spraying on clothing tends to prolong the topnotes of a fragrance, so for personal enjoyment, spraying on skin is still the best way to get the most out of a fragrance (my personal opinion!).

Q: Why don’t you test for longevity?

A: Longevity, more than any other attribute of fragrance potency, is highly dependent on the wearer’s skin. I test on paper—a completely consistent medium. Because fragrances last so long on paper, it would not be feasible for me to test each fragrance for longevity (a single reading could take weeks!). Furthermore, testing for longevity alone is somewhat of an abstract concept. Some people might want to know the longevity of a fragrance’s projection past, say, 5 inches. Some might desire to know how long it takes until the scent dissipates entirely and is no longer detectable.  These are just some of the inherent issues that would present themselves if I were to pursue testing for longevity.

In the end, everyone has their own standard for longevity, so I will leave the testing to you! Please feel free to post in the comments of the particular fragrance test your own experiences with longevity, and information such as your skin type (dry or oily) in order to help others with similar concerns.

Q: Some of your readings seem way off. (insert fragrance) must have more projection than that!

A: I went through a long and thorough trial and error process to develop a method of testing that would simulate real-world results. Unfortunately, a real-world result in completely controlled environments is something of an oxymoron; hence the reason why I have disclaimers all over the site advising that the FPindex be used as a baseline, and that REAL real-world results are going to vary. There’s simply no way around it. With that said, there are two other explanations that I have stumbled upon during my testing:

1. The human nose is funny. We may be more or less sensitive (or even anosmic!) to certain scents, or we may become accustomed to them after exposure for a certain duration of time (commonly referred to as “olfactory fatigue”). The device I use to test fragrance potency does not suffer from these hindrances, and is therefore able to get a completely objective reading. To use a real world example, many people feel that Thierry Mugler’s A*men should have a higher Projection reading, and indeed they may be experiencing better projection in their own experience, but it is also important to consider that there is a “tar” note in A*men that many people are very sensitive to. This sensitivity may be misconstrued to some as being indicative of amplified projection, when that may not actually be the case. Other fragrances may seem very light, but the fact is that they may still have high projection attributes!

2. Certain fragrances may lose their maximum projection at a faster rate than others. I typically do testing within a short period of time after spraying, but certain fragrances are bound to hold their projection better than others.

Q: I want you to test (insert fragrance)! How can I send it to you?

A: Unfortunately I do not take unsolicited donations of fragrances at this time. The fragrance community has been extremely generous in offering their support, but for the purposes of integrity, transparency and accuracy, I have decided only to use fragrances provided to me directly from the manufacturers themselves.

Q: What is the purpose of having a user comment when other sites are already full of great fragrance reviews?

A:  Because this website is dedicated to fragrance potency, I wanted to give visitors a chance to post their own personal experiences with the fragrances I test. Most websites contain member reviews of how a fragrance smells; I encourage reviewers to post their experiences with projection, sillage and longevity, as well as geographical and climatic information related to where they live, on top of their overall impression. Scientific testing of fragrances is my bag. I need you guys to provide real-world data to make FPindex complete!

Q: Why are some of the fragrances marked *Unofficial*

A: Unless I can confirm that the fragrances being tested have come either directly from the manufacturer, or from an authorized retailer, I am not able to guarantee with 100% certainty the quality or authenticity of the fragrance being tested. Those unconfirmed fragrances are designated “Unofficial”. These will be re-tested in the event that I receive authentic bottles from the houses themselves.