One step into Sephora's fragrance aisle, and it's easy to get overwhelmed. One by one, you pick the most attractive-looking bottles, spritz them on blotters and end up covered in a strange mixture of clashing scents. Overwhelmed, you make your final choice, leaving the store $60 poorer.
This familiar experience could be likened to speed dating, if you ask Fabrice Penot, co-founder of the French perfumery Le Labo. Since most brands only have a few seconds to please consumers, Penot says that the resulting fragrances are created to seduce olfactory senses with exploding top notes, the part of the perfume you smell for the first 15 minutes after spraying.
"It's like you meet a guy and for the first 15 minutes the guy is amazing and he's perfect," Penot says. "But after a week, the guy has no substance; there is nothing." Like this hypothetical man, Penot says, many brand-name fragrances fail to deliver a long-lasting, quality experience.