My fifteen year old brother Buzz wears Axe. Four layers of Axe, to be precise: body wash, deodorant, body spray, and hair gel. The bottles of respectable colognes that I bought him for his last birthday have languished unused on his dresser for almost a year. He just says, “Everything smells the same to me”. As an aspiring perfumer, this wounds me deeply. His disinterest in fragrance goes against everything I stand for. It’s like Steve Jobs’ sister using a PC, or Paris Hilton’s sister contributing to society.
After at least ten minutes of agonizing, I came to the conclusion that my terribly bright brother simply needed to be exposed to more challenging fragrances. So in the hopes of banishing Axe from my nostrils forever, I had him try ten of my most unusual perfume samples and recorded his responses.
Buzz’s preferences were immediately apparent. He gravitated towards green, herbaceous fragrances, with his favorites being Ormonde Jayne Ormonde Woman and Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay. The funniest part about this test was that Buzz rejected all of the perfumes that were even vaguely close to warm and spicy (in other words, Axe’s genre). He dismissed Hermes Ambre Narguile with, “I don’t really like this one as much. It’s a much stronger smell.” When he got to Anne Pliska, he straight-up said, “It reminds me of Axe,” swiftly followed by “I don’t really like it.”
Despite Buzz’s claims that “everything smells the same”, I was struck by the thoughtfulness of his reactions to some of the scents. Of L’Artisan Dzing!, he said, “It’s sort of like a musky but fresh scent. It’s interesting. I don’t think I would want to personally smell like it, but it smells interesting. Like, if you walked into a room full of it, you’d be like, ‘Mmmm!’”
At the end of the test, I asked Buzz which of the fragrances he would be most likely to wear. He decided on the Jo Malone Blackberry & Bay: “It’s a nice, natural scent.” I’m thoroughly pleased to have found him an Axe replacement, but I’m even happier to have been able to show him that not everything smells the same.