What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (2023)

Like your clothes, your favourite tipple or your most played on Spotify, your choice of fragrance says a lot about the type of man you are. “Because the sense of smell leads us straight to that part of the brain that deals with our emotions, completely bypassing rationale, you might say our choice of fragrance leaves us stripped emotionally naked,” says James Craven, Fragrance Archivist at Les Senteurs, London’s oldest independent perfumery.

It’s because of this link that it’s almost impossible to pick a fragrance without bringing a lifetime of baggage to the table. “A man will wear a fragrance that’s comfortable for him and that choice is often a reflection of his experience as well as his personality,” says Sarah McCartney, perfumer and founder of 4160 Tuesdays – a brand whose evocative and quirky fragrances are all about tapping into memories. “It’s rare that a guy chooses a marine scent if he doesn’t enjoy swimming in the sea, for example, because we’re drawn to scents that we recognise and to things that feel familiar.”

This is why perfumers often keep in mind a profile of the type of man they’re mixing for and why Dior chose Johnny Depp as the face of its Sauvage campaign: the mission is to match the fragrance notes to the man, so as to perfectly reflect his personality and spirit.

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But as well as reflecting personality, Craven reckons a lot of men use fragrance to project a personality they may not actually have. “I suspect that men often choose a scent to compensate for some perceived deficiency in their character: like picking a brutishly virile scent if they doubt their masculinity,” he says. “Others are shy of revealing their real selves by choosing something outré and so hide behind an ‘approved’, mainstream fragrance which doesn’t reveal too many secrets.”

But, even by doing this you’re still revealing something about your character, because when it comes to fragrance, you really are what you wear. “In a nutshell, just like a handshake, or a signature, scent is an extension of a man’s ‘soul’,” says acclaimed British perfumer Roja Dove.

Not only does what you wear speak volumes about who you are, but according to McCartney how much you wear says a lot too. “Overconfident men will wear a bucket load of fragrance, whereas the quietly confident ones opt for just enough so that you need to get close to appreciate it – a good move in my book,” she says. As always, less is more.

She also believes in being true to yourself when picking a fragrance. “Quentin Crisp used to say ‘One should never wear a hat with more personality than oneself’ and I think the same applies to fragrance,” she says. “Your personality should never lag behind your perfume.”

(Video) What's Your Fragrance Personality? Favourite Perfume Notes + What They Say About You! Perfumes

So could the fact that you prefer Dior’s Eau Sauvage to Tom Ford’s Oud Wood or a cheaper fragrance really be more revealing about your personality than a Rorschach Test? Here are our notes on notes.

Citrus

Citrus-based fragrances like Clinique Happy For Men, Tom Ford’s Neroli Portofino, Atelier Cologne’s Bergamote Soleil and Dior’s iconic Eau Sauvage are mainstays of many men’s fragrance rotations, in part because they evoke clean, sharp, energetic freshness. “In my experience it’s the sporty ones who pick citrus fragrances,” says McCartney. “They’re the competitors – runners, squash players, cyclists, men who aren’t afraid of fluorescent trainers and a bit of body-sculpting Lycra!” (The latter for sporting pursuits only, of course.)

You may also be subconsciously drawn to them for their therapeutic benefits. “Citrus notes really do wake you up, but they also give a good balance between refreshment and calm,” she says – an observation backed up by a study by Northumbria University, which found that the smell of lemon balm can improve both mood and cognitive performance.

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (8)

Tom Ford Neroli Portofino - click to buy Clinique Happy For Men - click to buy Dior Eau Sauvage - click to buy Versace Man Eau Fraiche - click to buy

Gourmand

Fragrances that take their cue from food and feature notes like chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon and coffee have become increasingly popular in recent years. And if you like the ‘edible’ quality of scents like Thierry Mugler’s heady A*Men, Gaultier’s Le Male, Tom Ford For Men Extreme or Parfumerie Generale’s caramel- and hazelnut-laced Aomassai, chances are you’re an unashamed sensualist. “Men who go for gourmand fragrances tend to be sensual, hedonistic, sexually adventurous types with enquiring minds,” says Craven.

Particularly popular are fragrances featuring vanilla. “Andy Tauer’s new Vanilla Flash by Tauerville is going down a storm with blokes right now,” he says. Vanilla, of course, has long been thought of as a psychogenic aphrodisiac so if you’re a fan, chances are, you spray to play, you dirty devil you.

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (9)

Thierry Mugler A*Men - click to buy Jean Paul Gaultier Le Male - click to buy Lacoste Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Noir - click to buy Valentino Uomo Valentino For Men - click to buy

Wood

There’s a reason woody fragrances like Gucci Pour Homme, Terre d’Hermès and Davidoff Horizon are so popular with men: they’re seen as representing a solid, reliable and easy-going kind of masculinity. “Woody scents are often asked for by married men accompanied by their wives,” says Craven. They’re also favored by ‘men’s men’ partly because they’re so popular with other men, re-enforcing their general acceptability.

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But when you choose a woody fragrance over all others, there could be something else – something a little more ancient – at work too: “Woody scents like Lorenzo Villoresi’s dense, opulent Sandalo take us right back to the way our forefathers perfumed themselves at the altars of the old gods,” says Craven. “There’s something of the Green Man and The Sacred Grove about them.”

(Video) What Your Fragrance Says About You! | MAX FORTI

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (16)

Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme - click to buy Terre d`Hermès - click to buy Davidoff Horizon - click to buy Dunhill Icon - click to buy

Marine

Like clean, fresh aquatic or ‘marine’ fragrances that have a faint whiff of the ocean and salt spray about them? Then you might be a minimalist at heart, someone who appreciates simplicity and design that’s both elegant and uncomplicated.

“Modern-day aquatic fragrances were born out of the likes of L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme, Kenzo Pour Homme and CK One,” says Moore. “These were the minimal, bracing and fresh fragrances of the 1990s. They’re still as popular as ever today and suggest a minimalist attitude and an aspiration of purity.”

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (17)

Issey Miyake L'Eau d'Issey - click to buy Creed Virgin Island Water - click to buy CK One - click to buy Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gio - click to buy

Oriental

What message do ‘oriental’ fragrances like Opium Pour Homme, Gucci Envy For Men, YSL’s M7 and Dolce & Gabbana’s The One Gentleman – which are full of exotic spices, resins and sweet vanilla – put across? In a word: hedonist.

“The man who wears this kind of fragrance stays right until the end of the party, and never leaves the table without eating dessert,” says McCartney.

“Orientals seem to attract ‘Yeah, bring it on!’ types.” This may be partly because so many of them feature sensual vanilla notes, exotic, daring spicy ones, smoky ones and boozy ones, too. “We’re basically talking lickable, smokeable, drinkable,” she says.

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (18)

Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb Extreme - click to buy Dolce & Gabbana The One - click to buy Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir - click to buy Yves Saint Laurent Opium Pour Homme - click to buy

Floral

It takes a certain type of man to carry off floral fragrances like Byredo’s Rose of No Man’s Land, Dior Homme and Papillon’s Tobacco Rose: one who’s bold, self-confident and at home in his own skin and with his sexuality.

“Men who love florals are – like gourmand-lovers – adventurous and uninhibited, aesthetes and sophisticates, eager lovers of unusual sensations,” says Craven.

Of all the floral notes, rose is the one men go for most. “The scent was always popular with men in ancient civilizations and with modern Arab cultures and is becoming increasingly popular with Western males especially when blended with leather, woody or tobacco notes,” he says. “Men are still not keen on powdery, petally or jammy rose on the whole – they prefer the dark, woody, earthy roses: and those notes reflect drama and strength.”

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (19)

Byredo No Man's Land - click to buy Prada L'Homme - click to buy Boss Bottle Unlimited - click to buy Gentleman Givenchy - click to buy

Oud

A mainstay of Middle Eastern perfumery, rich, warm and smoky oud (or agarwood as it’s also known), is at the core of fragrances like Tom Ford’s Oud Wood, Boss Bottled Oud and Roja Parfum’s particularly extravagant Musk Aoud.

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“Real oud is one of perfumery’s most expensive ingredients, so the kind of man who wears it is very self-assured,” says Dove. “They don’t need to shout and they have nothing to prove. Oud delivers a promise of success and inner strength.”

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (27)

Acqua Di Parma Colonia Oud - click to buy Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Collection Indonesian Oud - click to buy Comme des Garçons Wonderoud - click to buy Polo Ralph Lauren Supreme Oud - click to buy

Sport Scents

Specially created ‘sport’ fragrances like Paul Smith’s Extreme Sport are a fixture of the men’s fragrance market now while others, like Paco Rabanne’s Invictus, are sport fragrances in all but name. Spicy and uplifting, they’re designed to be an adrenaline rush, bottled.

“By opting for a sport fragrance, a man might be saying he embodies the associated lifestyle: active, aspiring and hard-working,” says Liam Moore, founder of fragrance magazine ODOU. “Though not a hard and fast rule, these qualities are at least suggested in the notes of a sports fragrance, which tend to stick to a rough formula of citrus/gingery notes at the top, something woody or herbal in the middle and a musk or amber base.”

According to Moore, both Dior Homme Sport and L’Eau d’Issey Pour Homme Sport are all-time classic fragrances – proving that sport fragrances can be sophisticated and considered – but you’re probably going to need to look like an athlete rather than just smell the part if you want to impress. “Don’t be fooled by the marketing,” says Moore. “Women won’t fall at your feet like they do with Nick Youngquest in the Invictus advert.”

What Your Choice Of Fragrance Says About You | FashionBeans (28)

Issey Miyake Sport Homme - click to buy Paco Rabanne Invictus - click to buy Burberry Sport For Men - click to buy Chanel Allure Homme Sport - click to buy

Boutique

The kind of guy who likes to wear a luxury boutique fragrance like Shay & Blue’s Blood Oranges, 4160 Tuesdays’ Invisible Ben or Roja Parfums’ Enigma Pour Homme is no different from the one who gets a kick out of drinking boutique ales: he appreciates originality, quirkiness and a high level of craftsmanship.

“Many perfumes smell the same and lack authenticity or integrity because they’re anonymous products churned out in factories in their millions,” says Dominic De Vetta, founder of London-based fragrance house Shay & Blue.

“A boutique point of view means personal passion. It means a concern for detail and craftsmanship and the man who buys one knows what makes it good and wears it with the same kind of pride with which he wears a bespoke Savile Row suit.” In a nutshell, wear one and you let others know you’re more connoisseur than mainstream consumer.

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Frederic Malle Monsieur - click to buy Roja Dove Vetiver - click to buy Le Labo Patchouli 24 - click to buy Czech & Speake No. 88 Cologne Spray - click to buy
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(Video) WARM, SEXY AMBER FRAGRANCES + EBK PARIS GIVEAWAY WINNERS!

FAQs

How do you know what fragrance is right for you? ›

A Guide to Finding Your Signature Scent
  1. Try out only three scents a time. ...
  2. Start with lighter scents first. ...
  3. It's good to rebound with a fragrance. ...
  4. Try to understand what you are smelling. ...
  5. Skip the coffee beans. ...
  6. See how a scent evolves after four hours. ...
  7. Understand why some fragrances cost $30 and some cost $300.
6 Jan 2015

What are the 3 main notes of every fragrance? ›

These scents are split into three distinct elements: top notes, heart notes and base notes. Together, the top, heart and base notes work together to create a beautiful fragrance. Without the combination of all three, a fragrance just wouldn't be appealing.

How do you know if a fragrance smells good on you? ›

You should know within a few minutes after putting it on your pulse points whether you like it, or it it is just falling off your skin." Further, Knotek suggested that it is important to try something you're not sure you will like, and to that end, always try it on your skin, as what's in the bottle might not smell the ...

What is the most important note in a fragrance? ›

Heart notes

These are usually floral, full-bodied notes and are the most dominant of the fragrance; more long-lasting than the top notes but less so than the base notes. These notes form the core of the fragrance (or your catchy chorus that you can't get out of your head!).

What is your signature scent? ›

A signature scent is a fragrance that truly defines you – it says exactly what you want it to say about you.

What are the main fragrance families? ›

There are four scent families: woody, floral, amber, and fresh. These families each take a respective space on the Fragrance Wheel, a circular diagram which illustrates the four scent families in relation to each of their corresponding subfamilies.

What type of fragrance lasts the longest? ›

Parfums contain the largest volume of essential oils, which means they take the longest to evaporate. Eau de parfums (EDPs) are next in line for lingering time, followed by eau de toilette (EDT). Eau de cologne contains the least amount of long-lasting essential oils and will therefore not last as long on the skin.

How many fragrances do you need? ›

In general, you need to own at least two perfumes. With two perfumes, you can have cold and warm weather perfumes to ensure a matching scent all year round. More perfumes are recommended, especially if you want to be able to change things. The answer to the question of how many scents you need depends on who you ask.

Which perfume scent lasts the longest? ›

Oakmoss and Vetiver are one of the most long-lasting base notes. These fragrances slowly evaporate in comparison to others. So you will smell them even many hours after the fading of heart and top notes.

How fragrances affect your mood? ›

Many fragrances possess strong associative properties, and work easily to alter the mood, promoting increased alertness and positivity, or creating feelings of calm, tranquillity and relaxation. They can be helpful in alleviating stress, easing insomnia, providing clarity and focus.

Do people smell my perfume? ›

It is impossible to tell for sure whether your perfume is noticeable to someone unless they tell you so. However, if you can smell it, they can probably smell it, and perfume leaves traces everywhere you go: in the elevator, in the stairwell, in your hair.

Does perfume smell different on everyone? ›

It's simply down to our individual skin and bodies that fragrances smell differently from person to person. It's probably the reason certain people go for sweet florals while others stick to woodier scents, because scents live differently on each of us depending on other factors.

What fragrance type is most popular? ›

Eau de Parfum

Eau de Parufm (EDP) is one of the most common types of perfume and fragrance categories and usually has a perfume concentration of around 15% and a longevity of about six hours.

How do I learn fragrance notes? ›

How Do You Identify Perfume Notes? You can identify perfume notes based on the time passed after the application of the perfume. Top notes are those you smell immediately after the perfume first touches your skin. Once this initial burst fades, the heart notes kick in to form the essence of the perfume.

What is fragrance Heart note? ›

Heart notes appear as the top notes start to fade and remain evident for the full life of the fragrance. Heart notes include full-bodied, aromatic floral oils like jasmine, geranium, neroli and ylang-ylang, as well as cinnamon, pepper, pine, lemongrass, black pepper and cardamom.

How do you choose a women's fragrance? ›

How to pick a perfume for HER | Fragrances for Women - YouTube

What is a scent profile? ›

A scent profile is a way to categorise a fragrance into a group and discover combinations that you might not naturally put together.

What do different fragrances mean? ›

These different fragrance types denote the strength, and how long they are likely to last once you've sprayed them. Fragrances are created by mixing perfume oil with alcohol; the more perfume oil, the stronger the fragrance and the longer it will last. Eau de Parfum (EDP) is the strongest type of perfume we sell.

What are the 3 types of perfumes? ›

The Different Perfume Categories

Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, and the less well known Eau Fraiche.

How many types of fragrances are there? ›

Typically, there are 5 common types of perfumes. These include parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau de fraiche. The main difference between these five perfume types is their fragrance oil concentration.

What is the strongest fragrance? ›

“Parfum”, “Parfum Extrait”, “Extrait de Parfum”, “Perfume Extract”, “ pure perfume” or “Elixir” is the strongest concentration of fragrance and can have between 15% and 40% of aromatic compounds.

What is real perfume called? ›

Pure Perfume, Parfum or Extrait De Parfum

Still, pure perfume is the highest concentration of fragrance available — usually between 15 and 30 percent perfume oil — and is enough to make the scent potent, noticeable and last all day.

Does perfume expire if unopened? ›

How Long Do Unopened Perfumes Last? Unopened bottles stored in a cool, dark dry place can last for years (anything from a couple of years to a couple of decades), depending on the perfume and storage conditions. "Beware the 'vintage' find as the top notes are usually off by the time you get it," says Long.

Should you have a signature perfume? ›

"A signature scent is an extremely effective way for all humans to identify ourselves within the world around us." You know the moment, that moment when someone walks past you and you take a few deep breaths after they pass because a delightful fragrance lingers in their wake.

How many perfume is too many? ›

But too much fragrance is not only a turnoff for people you interact with, it can give them migraines or allergic reactions. A rule of thumb for eau de toilette is two squirts from a distance of at least six inches so that the fragrance doesn't form a concentrated "puddle" in one area on your skin.

How can I smell like perfume all day? ›

To help you use all of these key factors and more, here are 21 healthy tips to keep your body smelling nice all day long.
  1. Drink Enough Water. ...
  2. Change Your Diet. ...
  3. Choose the Right Perfume Type. ...
  4. Fragrance Application. ...
  5. Use Roll-On Perfume or Cologne. ...
  6. Spray Your Hairbrush. ...
  7. Pay Attention to Your Clothes. ...
  8. Use Lotions and Oils Too.

Are fake perfumes good? ›

The Bottom Line

Fakes are never, ever a good idea. They never smell as good as the original, don't last long on the skin, and can contain harmful substances that cause a nasty rash. Considering all these risks, counterfeit perfumes are just not worth it at the end of the day.

Where should you spray your perfume? ›

Spray it onto your pulse points.

It's places like the inside of your wrists, inner elbows, below your belly button, behind your ear lobes, and the back of your knees. These warm spots on your body emit extra body heat, which helps to naturally diffuse a scent.

What smell makes people happy? ›

Orange, grapefruit, and lemon are all energizing and uplifting scents," says Cynthia LaBonte, aromatherapist and herbalist at Newport Aromatherapy. "We associate citrus with cleanliness. Their top notes go straight up the sinuses to the head and make us feel better, fitter, and even more confident and in control."

Why is fragrance so important? ›

Your perfume makes you attractive. The sense of smell is one of the most important of the five senses. Your fragrance will be the first impression of you as you enter a place, and the lasting impression when you leave.

What scents are happy? ›

Scents to make you happy
  • Lavender. The aromatherapy world's queen jewel! ...
  • Jasmine. Those tiny white jasmine flowers have been making humans happy for millennia! ...
  • Neroli. Neroli is like a breath of sweet citrus air! ...
  • Rose. ...
  • Yuzu.

Can I smell my own scent? ›

Everyone has their own scent—just think of how differently your grandma and your boyfriend smell when you lean in for a hug. But can we smell ourselves? For the first time, scientists show that yes, we can, ScienceNOW reports. Our basis of self-smell originates in molecules similar to those animals use to chose mates.

How do you get people to notice your perfume? ›

HOW TO GET COMPLIMENTS With Your Fragrance - YouTube

Can other people smell perfume on me? ›

Whether or not other people can smell it depends on how close they are to me and how sensitive their sense of smell is. Yes.

How do you smell seductive? ›

Vanilla and amber scents, spicy shades or balsamic notes are all ingredients that invite seduction. Chypre perfumes intrigue as much as they fascinate with their almost erotic freshness. Bewitching white flowers such as tuberose or ylang-ylang embody the femme fatale, while gourmand notes make you salivate.

Why does perfume not smell good on me? ›

The pH balance of your skin, how dry or oily your skin is, your hormone levels, and even your diet are all believed to affect how your body reacts when perfume is applied. Therefore, a perfume may smell fantastic on your friend but smell wrong when the same amount of the exact same perfume is applied to your own skin.

Why do perfumes not last on me? ›

Why doesn't fragrance last on me? Unfortunately for some people, your body chemistry causes perfumes to evaporate more quickly from your skin. Perfumers would say that your skin throws off fragrance. Instead of lasting for some 3 to 4 hours, it disappears within an hour, sometimes shorter.

What are the 3 types of perfumes? ›

The Different Perfume Categories

Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, and the less well known Eau Fraiche.

What are the four types of scent? ›

The four main types are warm, woody, oriental and fresh, with each effect brought out by different combinations of fragrances.

Does perfume smell different on everyone? ›

It's simply down to our individual skin and bodies that fragrances smell differently from person to person. It's probably the reason certain people go for sweet florals while others stick to woodier scents, because scents live differently on each of us depending on other factors.

Which perfume scent lasts the longest? ›

Oakmoss and Vetiver are one of the most long-lasting base notes. These fragrances slowly evaporate in comparison to others. So you will smell them even many hours after the fading of heart and top notes.

What is the strongest fragrance? ›

“Parfum”, “Parfum Extrait”, “Extrait de Parfum”, “Perfume Extract”, “ pure perfume” or “Elixir” is the strongest concentration of fragrance and can have between 15% and 40% of aromatic compounds.

What are the 5 stages of fragrance? ›

FRAGRANCE STRENGHTS EXPLAINED
  • Parfum – Concentration of perfume oils – 20-40%
  • Eau de Parfum – Concentration of perfume oils – 15-20%
  • Eau de Toilette – Concentration of perfume oils – 5-15%
  • Eau de Cologne – Concentration of perfume oils – 2-5%
  • Eau Fraîche – Concentration of perfume oils – 1-3%

What is real perfume called? ›

Pure Perfume, Parfum or Extrait De Parfum

Still, pure perfume is the highest concentration of fragrance available — usually between 15 and 30 percent perfume oil — and is enough to make the scent potent, noticeable and last all day.

How do you describe a scent? ›

Use adjectives.

Adjectives can describe the general, overall quality of the smell. Wispy, rancid, airy, musty, stale, fresh, putrid, faint, light, floral, and acrid are all adjectives that could pertain to smell. Smell origins may take the form of a noun (the smell of leather) or an adjective (a leathery smell).

What are the main scent profiles? ›

Scent families are broken up into four main categories: Floral, Oriental, Woody, and Fresh, each with their own subfamilies. A scent family has distinctive characteristics and often individuals will gravitate towards one scent family over another when choosing personal fragrances.

What is the difference between scent and fragrance? ›

The words fragrance and scent are usually used synonymously, the difference is fine: while fragrance denotes a pleasant fragrance, scent is used for an unmistakable fragrance. Both refer to pleasant smells: while aroma refers more to plants, spices and food, fragrance is more associated with perfume and flowers.

How do you smell seductive? ›

Vanilla and amber scents, spicy shades or balsamic notes are all ingredients that invite seduction. Chypre perfumes intrigue as much as they fascinate with their almost erotic freshness. Bewitching white flowers such as tuberose or ylang-ylang embody the femme fatale, while gourmand notes make you salivate.

Do people smell my perfume? ›

It is impossible to tell for sure whether your perfume is noticeable to someone unless they tell you so. However, if you can smell it, they can probably smell it, and perfume leaves traces everywhere you go: in the elevator, in the stairwell, in your hair.

How do I know which perfume suits my skin? ›

First and foremost the most important thing that affects how a perfume smells on you is your skin type. And, “there's a simple rule of thumb to follow: is your skin dry, or oily? The oilier your skin is, the less perfume you need for the scent to be impactful, and the longer the scent will last.”

How can I smell like perfume all day? ›

To help you use all of these key factors and more, here are 21 healthy tips to keep your body smelling nice all day long.
  1. Drink Enough Water. ...
  2. Change Your Diet. ...
  3. Choose the Right Perfume Type. ...
  4. Fragrance Application. ...
  5. Use Roll-On Perfume or Cologne. ...
  6. Spray Your Hairbrush. ...
  7. Pay Attention to Your Clothes. ...
  8. Use Lotions and Oils Too.

Are fake perfumes good? ›

The Bottom Line

Fakes are never, ever a good idea. They never smell as good as the original, don't last long on the skin, and can contain harmful substances that cause a nasty rash. Considering all these risks, counterfeit perfumes are just not worth it at the end of the day.

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