We all have been there before. You find a fragrance you love just to discover all your friends hate it. You might rationalize saying people have different tastes. That's true but it's probably not the only reason why people turn their noses up.
Here are three reasons you'd never guess why people may hate your perfume.
1. They May Not Like The Main Accord
Most modern fragrances are usually built around one or two central accords. Tuscan Leather, for example is based on the leather + raspberry accord. Chanel de Bleu is built around the soapy citrus accord.
If someone doesn't like the main accord of your fragrance, they would dislike the fragrance itself. The most common reason why people dislikes a certain accord is because of the feelings and emotions it evokes in them. I don't like fragrances that feature powdery iris as their main accord. The note makes me sad and melancholic.
Others associate the smell of patchouli with dirt and filth. Any perfume that has a strong patchouli note would turn them off. It might be the greatest fragrance ever made but it would still be a no-go for them.
2. They May Not Like It On You
We associate scents with certain images. If the perfume you wear doesn't match the image your friends have of you, they may say you stink.
In this case, it's not that they don't like the perfume. They don't like it on you.
This incongruence may occur on three levels:
1. Mismatch between Fragrance and Age
This is probably the most common mismatch. It usually happens when a young guy wears and an old man's cologne. Think of a 17-year-old wearing Equipage by Hermes. There is a strong incongruence between the youthful image of a teenager and the smell of a 75-year-old Hugh Hefner who has over-tanned in St. Tropez.
The direction of this mismatch usually goes in one direction - young age matched with a mature fragrance.
While a fragrance can be too mature of a person, the opposite is rarely true. This is because most youthful fragrances are usually built around citrus or light florals. These two accords also happen to work equally well on people of all ages. Sure, an old lady would portray a more distinguished image if she smelled of Chanel No 5. No one, however, would hold it against her if she wore a Miley Cyrus fragrance.
When a fragrance is too strong people can't appreciate it fully. It truly is like stuffing your mouth with your favorite desert. #fragrance
2. Mismatch between Fragrance and Style
Most modern fragrances fit a wide range of styles.
(I use the term style here to address a certain way of dressing, which may or may not be associated with a sub-culture. The way an urban teenager dresses would be one style and the way a rocker dresses would be another style.)
Tuscan Leather, for example, can be worn equally well by a an investment banker in a $10,000 suit and a Hell's Angels member in his leathers. If you take Tuscan Leather, however, and you spray it on a beach bum, things won't work as well. The cool laid-back vibe of the beach bum won't match with the harsh and ballsy feel of the perfume.
The idea of mismatching fragrance and style can be extended to a mismatch between fragrance and image. After all, our style is an extension of our image and who we are.
If I am the artistic type who spends his time reading Walden and gazing at the abyss of an empty coffee mug, a contemplative fragrance would suit my image better. If the image I am projecting is my true self, then I would naturally lean towards a perfume with similar qualities.
If that same artistic type swaps his Kyoto (Comme des Garcons) for One Million (Paco Rabanne), the brazen loudness of the latter would clash with his pensive image. When people detect such a mismatch, they may find it odd and say they dislike the perfume.
3. Mismatch between Fragrance and Occasion
I bet you know this one very well. You go to play beach volleyball and one of the muscle men (obviously on roids) has confused the beach with a club. He reeks of Versace Eros from ten miles and he's proud of it.
Most people's reaction would be wtf. Those of them who have some sense of self-preservation would say it in their heads but the result is all the same. That dude has mismatched his perfume for the occasion.
A similar thing happened to me at a baptism several years ago. One of the guests had decided to act as an air-freshener for the whole church and had put copious amounts of something that smelled like peaches and cream. To be honest, the perfume smelled quite nice. Its nature and volume, though, were grossly misjudged for the occasion.
When it comes to occasions, perfume is just like clothes. We have to dress for the occasion and we also have to smell for it.
3. You Put Too Much On
Over-spraying is a sin we all have committed. You love those fresh top notes and getting a couple of extra sprays can't hurt, so why not.
Some perfumes are like heavy metal. They are a wild harmony of notes but you need to take them in small doses. Blast too much of Tobacco Vanille and you are bound to gag people up. It's a beautiful scent but too much of it is like stuffing your mouth with ice cream.
When a fragrance is too strong people can't appreciate it fully. It truly is like stuffing your mouth with your favourite desert. You get the sense of something delicious but you can't fully appreciate it, let alone enjoy it.
As you see, the reason why your friends hate your perfume may have nothing to do with the perfume itself. In fact, it rarely does. It is hard to find a modern perfume that is appalling. The worst ones are usually bland.
Whether your friends like your fragrance or not is not something you shouldn't obsess over. Remember, you wear perfume for yourself. If a scent makes you happy and it feels like a natural extension of you, then wear it. Chances are that if this is the case, your friends will like it too.