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what makes a fragrance smell "cheap" or cloying?

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Why do some drugstores perfumes often smell too sweet, or give a headache because they are just too artificial smelling? Is it the base materials, the fragrance material quality, or just the choice of scents? If high-end perfumes are using synthetic ingredients, just like lower-end brands, how do they make them smell better? Are they mixing in a lot of natural ingredients or are they using higher quality synthetics?

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Not all companies use the same ingredients and its especially true for dupes or big name knockoffs. So some just use cheaper ingredients to save money. Hopefully a chemist or perfumist on this board can chime in on this.


I have a really hard time with spray colognes and perfumes due to the ingredients used to make them sprayable. Not sure I am saying that right but all I know is my nose can tell there is a different chemical combo used for sprays. They just flat out give me a headache. If I walk through a department store past the spray perfume/cologne counter I get instant headache. Not a small one either, a migraine, and those suckers hurt like no other headache.

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Expensive perfumes use more expensive aroma molecules, and also exclusive molecules. Some aroma molecules are held only with certain companies like Chanel. When you create a fragrance you have choice of ingredients like any thing else. You want a product to be 14.00 like the drugstore you have to use ingredients that will allow you to have that price point. Expensive fragrances use expensive ingredients, and also unusual ones.

Too Sweet is the preferred most often in mainstream. You see this in fragrance oil companies selling bakery scents etc.

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