I was in the shower this morning, thinking about perfume for a change, when a thought crossed my mind. I've been reading a lot of books recently, ranging from Lee Child to Philip Roth. Then I thought about this range and wondered if our experience with any art form is similar. For example, if I had never heard of Philip Roth, or he hadn't been recommended to me, would I have read him, and if I had, would I have appreciated his work as much if I hadn't known that he was a Pulitzer Prize winner for example? In a similar vein, would I care about say the Mona Lisa, if I didn't know it was world famous? I mean, if I happened to wander into the Louvre and just see a tiny picture hanging in the corner of a room, depicting a rather serene woman, without the hordes of tourists, would I have said "wow!!"? Taking that analogy to perfume, if I smelled anything by say Serge Lutens, Frederic Malle, Caron or Guerlain, without having had any prior knowledge of them, would I have been wowed by them to the extent I have?
My question is really this - to what extent are we influenced by reputation and review in any art? If I had never heard of Serge Lutens, and every review I read said that those perfumes were shit, would I have even tried them? Or looking at it another way, if a bog-standard mainstream fragrance received glowing reviews from all the perfumerati and bloggers out there, I wonder to what extent I would be duped into believing it was so good?
I suppose another question could be: to what extent do we really form our own unique opinion on any art form, including perfume?