The Sniff Box – Perfume In Plain English

The missing ingredient

I’ve been meaning to write a post for some time about an ingredient I thought I’d discovered in the majority of the men’s perfumes that have been launched in the last five years or so, which gives them all an intensely acrid, peppery, chemical smell, like a fire in an electricity substation.

For lack of any better information from the perfume companies themselves I was going to call it ‘cheapone’, since it makes anything it’s in smell so cheap and nasty, but now the estimable Lee Kynaston, men’s grooming guru and blogger extraordinaire, has identified it in a feature he recently wrote for the Telegraph.

Dihydromyrcenol is apparently the culprit, and I’m delighted to discover that Lee hates it as much as I do. The reason for its ubiquity, he explains, ‘is that creative briefs for men’s fragrances often require that they “last all day” because men, unlike women, tend to apply once and don’t bother to top up later in the day. The easiest way to deliver that longevity is to throw some dihydromyrcenol into the mix.’

In a way it’s nice to have one’s suspicions backed up at last by scientific evidence, but what would be even nicer would be if our perfume masters stopped using the revolting stuff and found a more attractive ingredient instead. Or even started using their imaginations again, like perfumers did in the days before dihydromyrcenol.

9 Responses to “The missing ingredient” Leave a Comment

  • Carol Stocks on 29 April, 2014 10:11 pm

    Like a fire in an electricity substation? Love it 🙂

  • Christopher Stocks on 29 April, 2014 10:14 pm

    Aww thanks Caro glad you approve! xx Chris

  • The Sniff Box | Hommage à l’homme on 30 April, 2014 7:47 pm

    […] PS: Finally someone has identified it: the much-appreciated Grooming Guru, Lee Kynaston – now we know! […]

  • Tania Jane Rawlinson on 12 May, 2014 3:24 pm

    Tania Jane Rawlinson liked this on Facebook.

  • Carol Stocks on 12 May, 2014 3:24 pm

    Carol Stocks liked this on Facebook.

  • Robin Stocks on 12 May, 2014 3:24 pm

    Robin Stocks liked this on Facebook.

  • The Sniff Box | Dior Homme on 19 May, 2014 12:08 pm

    […] of other men’s fragrances today – a slightly metallic, chemical smell, which might come from dihydromyrcenol or perhaps from ISO E Super, both (ab)used with gay abandon by contemporary […]

  • Eric on 23 May, 2014 5:55 pm

    I know and hate that smell, too! Good to know what it is–if only to avoid it. Better to reapply throughout the day……

  • Mark Harrison on 28 May, 2014 10:40 am

    The same can be said for Karanal now being used in everything, perfumes to fabric softeners, as it lasts and lasts like pure vinegar (ethanoic acid) as Luca said the olfactory equivalent of having your throat cut. Mind you it was skilfully used in Gris Clair (Sheldrake for S.Lutens)

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