Raw Materials D&G Light Blue: Fright & Repulsion In Light Blue

D&G Light Blue: Fright & Repulsion In Light Blue

08/02/16 23:15:08 (28 comments)

by: Matvey Yudov

It is no secret that different people perceive smells differently. Our cultural and family background play a big role in it: some love the smell of licorice and anise (Ouza and Sambuca, yeey!), while others are instantly reminded of a nightmare of fevers and colds in bed in their childhood, and this anis-tasting syrup, brrrr!

Anise

It is hard for anyone to incorporate the smell of mint into perfumery, because mint is about toothpaste, lavender is a moth repellent, citrus for Americans is often a smell of household cleaning detergents, which is the same with pine for Europeans. Smelling it in a perfume, you can't help but feeling a certain "cheap" note, borrowed from some other experience.

Lemon Mint Lavender Pine

Sometimes differences in smell perception have a physiological footing. Men and women perceive some scents differently. For example, the perception threshold for Exaltolide (synthetic musk) in women is much lower than in men.

Exaltolide

I've always loved a good perfume joke, when the whole thing is not about a provoking name or naked bodies on a poster, but it's hidden in the smell itself. I tenderly love Etat Libre d’Orange Secretions Magnifiques, and Blood Concept Red+MA could be my everyday perfume, because to me it smells kind and nostalgic (metal swings from summer camp and milk with biscuits for an afternoon snack...) and peaceful. I really appreciate some weird smells, like BeauFort 1805, J.F.Schwarzlose Zeitgeist, Kinski, Byredo M/MinkNasomatto Duro, Mugler Womanity.

Antoine Lie

But there is one perfume I physiologically detest. It smells so horribly bad to me, that it could spoil my life in a moment: I would not be able to eat, watch a movie or chat with my friends. You might be surprised, but it is D&G Light Blue.

This perfume was made by Olivier Cresp and this year celebrates its 15th anniversary. Recently, on this occasion, one glossy magazine requested my comment about the secret of its popularity. Why it became one of the best selling perfumes ever and why it is so special? Considering my own feelings towards it, this task was rather challenging to me, but just as much appealing.

Olivier Cresp

I have to declare that I do not consider Light Blue a bad perfume just because it is so commercially successful, nor do I think that it is poorly made. On the contrary, it is flawless from a technical point of view. But there is something in it that makes me shiver with repulsion.

Light Blue's phenomenal popularity, which does not go along with my own taste in this particular case, prompted me to dig a little deeper and finally has resulted in this article. But first I will allow myself a little lyrical digression.

Eugenol

It's only one step from love to hatred, as you know. And vice versa. This is also shown when dealing with perfume ingredients or flavors: you might have always hated lamb until you tried a fantastic kebab. In perfumes, some ingredients are really obnoxious in pure form, but when diluted smell heavenly beautiful, which is how you would recognize them.

Most probably you know how nicely animalic materials can transform an entire composition. Civet musk, castoreum, indole, which for obvious reasons smell simply bad, in micro doses miraculously transphorm the perfume into a warmer, deeper and brighter one.

Personally, I do not like Eugenol; in its pure form it causes very upleasant reactions in me, to the point of nausea and headache. But at the same time I passionately love Lubin Idole and Histoires de Parfums 1969 Parfum de Revolte, in which eugenol is the key ingredient.

Maritima

If you had a chance to smell the substance called Maritima, you would agree that it is a very strange smell reminiscent of boxwood heated in the sun mixed with a "wet dog". Smelling it, you would doubt if it could ever be used in perfumery. But without it, cK Be would not have been possible, the perfume I adore since my childhood.

Timberol

But let's go back to the point where I mentioned the difference in scent perception based on gender. There is such a thing as "a steroid smell". Men react on them quite undisturbedly; usually they smell old wood of a moderate strength. For the majority of women however, the smell of steroid is extremely strong and obviously animalic, somewhat like sweat blended with urine.

One of such ambiguous compounds is Timberol (Symrise), or very similar to it Norlimbanol (Firmenich). The smell of these substances feels like an obvious marker of masculinity. Together with Evernyl (the smell of oakmoss), Coumarin and Ambroxan, timberol produces a recognazible "accord of shaving cream" which is so common in grooming products for men. There are so many men's fragrances that women like to "steal" and use on themselves (Lalique Encre Noire, Dior Homme), but I haven't ever heard of a woman using that 'shaving cream' aroma. "I do not want to smell like a man." And I accept that.

Seminalis

The reason for hate or love is easy to trace in perfumes in which the steroid effect is the main one. For example, the perception of Nasomatto Duro or the new Orto Parisi Seminalis from the same Alessandro Gualtieri, is extremely diverse based on gender. Women compare it to a longshoreman after a long day of work, while men are much less emotional and smell in it some wood and cookies. It is Aldron and Ambrocenide that play these tricks with us. They have an evident steroid quality and together enhance this effect even more. There is another interesting property typical for such compounds, which is the so called trigeminal sensation, more tactile than olfactory, like a slightly funny feeling in your nostrils.

Light Blue

Let's take a look at Light Blue's structure and recall its development: it all starts with cheerful citruses and green notes. I would freeze it at this moment, but then the flowers and fruits appear (jasmine, little roses and green apple), very traditional and harmless so far. The main disturbance happens with the evolving of the base notes. Besides the floral detergent of galaxolide, accentuated by delta muscenone, we smell a mighty woody-steroid impression complex of Iso E Super, ambroxan, amberketal, norlimbanol and natural cedar oil! I am sure Gualtieri is biting his elbows because he didn't think of it first.

Such compounds and in such measurements by default generate a brutal macho sensasion! It is really funny how it is hidden under the olfactory lace and rosy quilling of upper layers. And almost every lady who wears it, considers it "one of the most feminine fragrances ever." What a marvelous joke! Or is it only me who smells in it an old building entrance, just washed to wake up all possible olfactory ghosts peeping out from its dirty corners?
 

Mat Yudov

Mat Yudov is a chemist, perfumer, and musician. Mat is a researcher and specialist in the chemistry of aromatic materials. He graduated from Moscow State University "Lomonosov" in 1999. He writes for the popular perfume blog leopoldray.blogspot.com (in Russian).

 

   


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drakecito
drakecito

Fantastic article with a lot of technical brushstrokes. Moreover, it is not easy to criticize something of a brand with many fans and followers, many people are unable to accept that kind of criticism of what they love or are in such high esteem.

And, In my opinion, this type of products and brands are the ones who are getting the opposite, destroy the art of perfumery (yes, I refuse to say "industry"). And seriously, I like this Light Blue.

Aug
12
2016
Biscotti
Biscotti

This is such a great, informative article. I always wondered what everyone else saw in Light Blue when I thought it smelled like a man with bad BO who is trying to cover himself up with Pledge.

Aug
11
2016
globus pallidus
globus pallidus

Outstanding article as always, Mat.
I found my olfactory nemesis in Norlimbanol, after ordering Pell Wall's aromachemicals testing kit. First I thought the culprit for the Zara men's section reek was Iso E Super, only to find out that the latter was the evildoer's shy, friendly cousin. Bizarrely, I hate it so much I just almost like it!
I'm sure there are some perfumes that incorporate Norlimbanol and its gang in a tasteful, balanced and beautiful manner. I actually like dry woods in the quietly elegant Encre Noire and the modern classic Feminite du Bois. But the unholy shaving cream accord ruins things to me, screaming "I'm a manly man, smell my manliness!" And I don't even find this base animalic smelling - just strong, brash, trying too hard to make its point, vaguely functional product-y. And overused, too.

Aug
11
2016
vbjanos
vbjanos

Very informative!
It is good to know what goes into a fragrance but it is sad to see the complexity of natural ingredients more and more replaced by the ambiguity of synthetics.
No wonder new releases hit the discount shelves quicker.

Aug
11
2016
Perseia
Perseia

This article came in the right time for me, just when I was thinking about how I perceive perfumes differently at different times.

It's a great insight into why this happens and why we have different opinions of and especially feelings with same perfumes.

It's also interesting to read about childhood memories and how different countries use different ingredients for different things. Now I see why I don't like certain sort of pine in perfumes;)

Thank you for this informative and very deep article. Keep 'em coming!

Aug
08
2016
peace.love.masha
peace.love.masha

Sorry guys, it's just hard to stay silent when someone is so rude and disrespectful for no reason.
I'm going to stop here :)

Aug
07
2016
SandraV
SandraV

Personally for me I like all of the notes in Light Blue except the cedar. It overpowers everything and makes it unwearable to me.


I agree with the reviewer below: this is a perfume site...it's supposed to be a fun place for perfume lovers to gather in a safe, friendly environment. I'm appalled at the comments on here.

Aug
07
2016
zoka
zoka

@seachase and @peace.love.masha please spare us insults on article comments. We expect all members to show some level of respect toward each other and this definitely not a community norm here.

seachase your first comment starts with series of childish insults in the form of questions and answers that try to trivialize subject at hand and divert attention to frames you project in your question-answer pairs. That technique is more appropriate to FoxNews, CNN or RT but good that it becomes commonly used and soon to become ineffective since we collectively develop immunity.

Now to your comment: "it's truly one of a handful of perfumes that helps keep the perfume industry alive and thriving." From my point of view every monopoly is delaying progress and the most interesting things come from diversity. It would be so sad if Light Blue would be final word of perfumery. Ultimate answer to fragrance needs of millions. Let's all close our shops and go home and subscribe to Light Blue like to baking powder for cakes. Who need better baking powder. Baking powder is baking powder. Who needs other fragrance when we have Light Blue? I understand that media conditioning made you say it. This reminds me on the anecdotical situations from The Big Lebowski. In opening scene G. W. Bush say about Iraq "This aggression will not stand" later in movie the Dude repeats exact phrase "this aggression will not stand". Instead of trying to sound smart by repeating some "big words" that first flash trough your mind, since you already admit that you do not understand the point of this article, maybe you should try to understand it... maybe you should not overreact once somebody appeals on your attention. Maybe this article just scratched your curiosity by not conforming to your worldview. Maybe you should go more often out of your comfort zone in the quest for different?

Spolier alert: This article is published in 'Raw Materials' section intentionally and not in some general columns or reviews. If you like riddles this article is not about Light Blue and author use his personal reaction to this particular fragrance to illustrate phenomena he try to understand. And final riddle have you ever asked yourself why about 50% of people love Angel by Thierry Mugler and the other half of mankind hate it? If your answer is something allow me to quote The Dude again "I can't be worried about that s*it. Life goes on, man" ultimate answer to that question would have to come from somebody like Mat who studied chemistry and phenomenology of scents for many years and has access to inner workings of the formula and his theory would have some weight despite the fact does he love or hate Angel and people would judge his article by the fact does he love or hate Angel personally and what is your opinion about it and throw all theory in the garbage too complicated to understand. So many words just to say you do not like something I love.

@peace.love.masha please don't steer fights.

Aug
07
2016
gypsy parfumista
gypsy parfumista

Fabulous piece! Bravo...

Aug
07
2016
peace.love.masha
peace.love.masha

@seachase

1. You OBVIOUSLY DO need to read things more than once because you not just missed the point of the article, but my comment as well. Looks like I have to really put it very simple for you to understand it:
In what I said in the first sentence (Great article as always Matey!) has nothing to do with my second sentence, which is why it's written in a different paragraph (You are our own Russian chemical genius, which makes me so proud for the Motherland!)

Also just because I refer to Russia as the Motherland doesn't imply that it's MY motherland, and "Our" is referred to Fragrantica community but I understand it is indeed too much for you to understand.

2. Calling someone stupid only shows what kind of person you are, not what kind of the person that you are calling stupid is.

3. So again, just like you recommended in the first place "Show some gratitude and respect", and re read the article and my comment again. I have doubts it would help though.

Aug
07
2016
Hellokt
Hellokt

One of the most useful articles, thank you. Please more from this author, love that he is sharing his scientific knowledge with our community. I have always been bummed that I can't wear D&G Light Blue, because on me all that projects is MUSK, MUSK, MUSK....to the point of smelling like BO. In the bottle it smells great to me, and on some people it smells fresh to me, but on others it smells like BO too. I wonder if it is something about individual body chemistry that makes the musk part go extreme, or if I have more sensitivity than the average female to those steroid smells he is talking about. Does anyone know what part about body chemistry causes these changes? If we all are made up of the same proteins, etc...than why the difference?

Aug
06
2016
FeltFace
FeltFace

I'm sure the author isn't suggesting a rigid choice of fragrance based on gender and marketing. But there are typical traditional associations in scent, even if anyone is free to wear anything.

Since I happily wear honest male fragrances, maybe I set my bar differently and don't perceive Light Blue as masculine. But then I use men's shaving cream for my legs and wish for a body spray with that invigorating scent.
I do enjoy the strong cedar note. If anything I'd like something like it with more focus on real cedar and less mass appeal. Older edition of the fragrance had a much more genuine smelling cedar note than the current one. The quality of the ingredients is probably inferior now.

Aug
06
2016
peace.love.masha
peace.love.masha

Great article as always Matvey!
You are our own Russian chemical genius, which makes me so proud for the Motherland! :)
Keep up the great work!

@seachase if you don't understand the point of the article, maybe read it again?
And "Show some gratitude and respect" - there is plenty of knowledge about perfume chemistry (which a person who is truly interested in perfumery would appreciate) provided here free of charge.

Aug
05
2016
StellaDiverFlynn
StellaDiverFlynn

Thank you for this great article! I was always wondering what exactly is that "shaving cream" smell, now I got my answer. I'm with lilybelle911, I too find Lanvin Eclat d'Arpège similar to Light Blue, and gentler. I'm interested to know if it's because both share a few same notes.

Aug
04
2016
zoka
zoka

Put aside discussion about Light Blue, love it or hate it all is OK, this article is full of golden nuggets that give insight into perfume chemistry and connecting it with mental images easily recognizable for what I like Mat articles in general.

Aug
03
2016
Rare Parfum
Rare Parfum

I have said for years--and to veritable crickets chirping in the background--that, for me, Light Blue is NOT the "crisp & clean" fragrance it is purported to be, but that it is rather more like a suffocating, hot cedar bomb, and that I have more recently come to recognize this aspect of it as being due to the aromachemical Iso E Super (a couple of years ago, after adding lemon essential oil to IES diluted in 192 proof neutral spirits, I was so sickened by the potent aroma of Light Blue arising from the mixture that I frantically poured it down my kitchen drain).

Aug
03
2016
stellalove
stellalove

I also detest it a certain smell for some reason reminds me of the smell of my cat giving birth to kittens as a child. A raw placenta type smell. Nausea inducing. I also get it from Allesandro's Woman in Rose. Its vile to me.

Aug
03
2016
lemonzest
lemonzest

Wow, thought I was the only one who didn't "get" Light Blue. Maybe it's not just the Iso E Super.

Angel, Pi, Light Blue: three worst ever. Just my perspective. I know they are popular, so they must smell great to others. After all, I love Cabochard, Eden, and Beyond Paradise, which many others don't.

It's great to get the science behind the scents.

Aug
03
2016
celticelle
celticelle

It's finally been chemically analyzed for me exactly what aromachemicals are creating my dislike for Light Blue, and all along I was blaming it solely on the Iso E Super, but it appears to be a melange of chemicals. Perhaps I don't hate Iso E Super alone as much as I think, but maybe it's the combination with ambroxan.

So this article was an interesting analysis to me in further identifying notes I don't like. Always as helpful to know as those we do like.

Aug
03
2016
nero77
nero77

I heard it was people in the USA who perceive pine as associated with cleaning agents and Europeans who associate the citrus smells as such. As for Dolce & Gabbana - Light Blue, I knew many women who wore it, and who found it masculine.

Aug
03
2016
lilybelle911
lilybelle911

I rather liked Light Blue's crispness but I never wore it. I didn't mind smelling it on someone nearby. The one I preferred, which was somewhat similar - but gentler in my opinion - was Lanvin Éclat d'Arpège. In the same vein, there was Moschino I Love Love, which was cute. But why DO you think Light Blue was (still is?) So universally loved?

Aug
03
2016
craftyminx
craftyminx

As popular as Light Blue is, I thought I was the only one who despised it! Bond No. 9 The Scent of Peace is in the same family, but I can wear it comfortably, where Light Blue is awful on me.

Aug
03
2016
seachase
seachase

I really don't understand the point of this article.
You either love a scent or you hate a scent ? Really ? How enlightening.
Men and women can perceive scents differently and have different reactions ? Duh, we didn't know that.
So basically, according to this article, any female who enjoys Light Blue doesn't know she's being duped and is really wearing a masculine fragrance ?
Sorry, but this isn't the stone age anymore ... anyone can wear any fragrance they so desire these days.

Ultimately, it appears that this article was just a well presented piece to bash Light Blue.
Well, bash away.
Millions of people love this fragrance, and will continue to do so.
Regardless of all the writer's technical mumbo-jumbo, Light Blue is a very lovely scent that connected with people, and it's truly one of a handful of perfumes that helps keep the perfume industry alive and thriving.
Show some gratitude and respect.

Aug
03
2016
Neckromancer
Neckromancer

I always wrinkled my nose at the smell of Light Blue, and was shocked when I found out it was so popular. I've been trying to figure out for years what my issue with it was. I actually get a similar smell when I spray Versace's Bright Crystal and Eros Pour Femme. Powdery and sharp. Thank you for the article, it stirred up some emotions regarding the beloved organic chemistry courses that were forced upon me in college. Fear and Loathing indeed.

Aug
03
2016
Arlene-Beatrix
Arlene-Beatrix

Light Blue is light and pleasant to my nose. Am I not able to smell some notes? LOL
However, I think that it can be nauseating if over-sprayed. Most people would say that it's for summer, but I think that it can be risky in heat. Cool summer, yes. Heat, no.
That goes for the most of scents, actually. There are not many scents that can be worn in very high temperatures, IMHO. Most of the scents would smell too intense and could cause headache. I use the most delicate, soft stillage, refreshing fragrances for the heat. I can't smell much of them in moderate temperature, but in heat, they bloom.
I use my scents seasonally, because due to this method, I can enjoy them to the fullest!

Aug
03
2016
derkargy
derkargy

Very interesting article about a so overrated fragrance!I bought it when it was first launched,and all I have to say's contained in one word:screechy!On the other hand, Love Love by Moschino is a perfect substitute,because it's sweeter and lighter.

Aug
03
2016
aspirina
aspirina

Amazing article! and so educative! wow. I never understood the love for Light Blue. It always seemed "weird" to my nose, a little bit aggressive. Now I understand better. What I perceive in Light Blue is as attractive as the skin of a rotten lime. I also get this unpleasant effect from Muse(Lancome). Muse smells to me like screeching white flowers and rotten limes!
Thank you very much for this article!

Aug
03
2016

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