Why You Choose Your Favorite Perfume

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Whether you're a devotee of Chanel No. 5, an intensive collector of BPAL imps, or forever fond of Love's Baby Soft, you probably know what you like when it comes to perfume. Scent has become one of today's biggest underrated senses. We love diffusers and essential oils and jokes about Axe Body Spray. We pay attention when a movie star (or Instagram influencer) released their own line of parfum. In fact, we're so connected to our tastes in scents that we even resist capitalism to pick what we really want.


Physicists (yes, really!) at Imperial College London have just released a massive analysis of perfume components and how users rate them. Reviewing perfumes is already an immensely personal and individualized, thanks to the ways different aromas interact with our body chemistry. Yet while we usually rely on reviews to choose an unknown product, the most popular perfumes tend not to match the best-rated ones.

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In short, while brands, price, and marketing can correlate with sales, we're most satisfied with the perfumes that smell best to and on us. This is notable when you look at larger patterns in consumer preference — for instance, testosterone tends to drive a desire for luxury goods in men, while most of us just choose the most convenient open when faced with choice paralysis.


We make exceptions for scent, though. While the customer is famously always right, in this case, we're eager to follow our own instincts, no matter what the wider world tells us.