It isn’t just the likes of Byredo, L’Artisan or Serge Lutens that are experimenting with perfumes packed with dark mystery, even Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent are jumping onto the oud bandwagon with their recent launches. The arguments being offered for this trend are that fragrance has always been divided into two camps: French (floral, girly, sophisticated, subtle) or American (fresh, upfront, clean). But there is a third camp: sexy, dirty, animalistic, darker… And the niche perfume houses have catered to this third camp."
Additionally, "fresh" seems to have gone through an historical trajectory. I was contemplating this while replying to one of my readers regarding the popularity of fruity notes in fragrances the other day, thinking that as consumers we have removed ourselves from the notion of "fresh" of yore. Back then, in the middle section of the 20th century "fresh" meant soapy scents (full of aldehydes, rose-jasmine and musks) or grooming rituals (the shaving foam impression of a good masculine fougere, the face and body powder dry aura of a mossy fragrance or one rich in aldehydes and musks). Nowadays we have been conditioned to believe that fresh is equivalent to the scent of the products we use in our showers; most shampoos have a fruity aroma (usually peach, berry combinations, grapefruit and green apples). So do shower gels, cleansing products and other paraphernalia of cleaning rituals, be it for body or home use. So "fresh" as a concept has significantly shifted.
Still, it's fun to contemplate, do these divides help make a distinction between different sensibilities? Are they regionally/culturally founded? Do you find yourself mostly in one camp as opposed to another and why/why not?