OK, this is what I want you to do. You must do this. Memorise what I am about to tell you, eat the.....No, not that.
Having committed to memory then go to Boots or wherever stocks Hypnotic Poison and follow the procedure as stated below.
You pay good money for perfume? You want it to impress/make a statement/insinuate itself into the senses of your beloved? That's sillage. From the French - the wake that a boat leaves behind. Sillage. Now, HP has pretty good sillage unless your chemistry is a bit weird! In other words, strong and odoriferous.
Next - the pyramid. Tell me I don't have to give you a picture of a pyramid! No, of course not.
So. You are in Boots. Spray on the perfume. Sniff. What are you getting?
For HP the apex of the pyramid has bitter almond (think maybe Bakewell tart?). Marzipan? So that's the top. Top-notes. Immediate ZING! The first impression. That's what hits you first. Now go for a wander round and wait for the other notes to develop.
Bitter almond tree blossom with optional parakeet
As the pyramid widens we get jasmine. As time goes on you may detect jasmine. Gives heart to the perfume. I'm not good at detecting middle notes even after all these years. I don't have the greatest nose. In fact your sense of smell does decline with age so Lena will definitely be more sensitive than I. But never mind the mid notes at this stage.
At the base (BASE notes) vanilla and musk. These are pervasive and last longest. So that's what you end up with. That's what lasts longest. And a good perfume should last/have good longevity. If you spray it on YOU rather than on a paper strip then sniff again after a couple of hours. Heck, use a paper strip if you want.By the time you get home the top notes have dwindled or disappeared. Depends how sensitive you are. Me - not so much.
Doesn't matter if you hate HP - these are still the constituents. So that's what you are smelling. If you hate it you may want to avoid any other perfume with bitter almond on top (there aren't many widely available). But when you know what you dislike or like on first sniff then you can work out what else to try. Use 'basenotes' as a resource or just google. Unusual top notes make for distinctive perfumes. And HP doesn't have many clones/dupes/twins.
If you hate vanilla then don't get HP even if the top notes appeal because you'll be left with vanilla after the bitter almond dies down. Perfumes tend to come in families. Floral. Oriental (spice). Woody. Green. Gourmand. I could go on....and on...
If this makes no sense I am going to do another post on perfumes with /red/ in their name. That may be more enlightening.