I Have a Confession Involving Perfume, Coffee, and Brahmans

Brahman Bull with Brahman Cow

April 16, 2024

The Stench of Seduction

So, I’ve got this embarrassing but important confession to make. It wasn’t exactly one of my finest moments. After all, I work in marketing,  yet I fell hook, line, and sinker for one of the world’s oldest marketing tricks. Trust me, the irony is as thick as the hindquarters on +Mr. V8 146/8 “Sloan”. But hold on – I’m getting ahead of myself.

It all started innocently enough. Despite (or because of!) the fact I spend my days working on a ranch, I like to smell good. Really good. And after wearing the same signature scent for nearly a decade, I decided it might be time to try something new.  You know how you express a desire for something out loud these days, and your phone magically starts showing you ads for that item? Well, once I became determined to find a new fragrance, videos from a self-proclaimed perfume expert started appearing more regularly in my TikTok and Instagram feeds.

I don’t know who crowned him the authority on all things scent-related – your guess is as good as mine – but I started following this person who positioned himself as a perfume prodigy. I certainly wasn’t questioning his credentials when I came across one of his videos touting the world’s finest luxury perfume: Grand Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. The name alone had me intrigued. And this self-proclaimed expert’s review insisted that Grand Soir was a fragrance fit for royalty. 

Naturally, I did what any fragrance-obsessed fashionista would do—I googled it. And let me tell you, the price tag was enough to make my wallet shiver. $465 for a full-size bottle? That’s steep! But hey, if it’s the world’s best perfume, it must be worth it, right? While poking around the website, I found a set of three samples for a cool $150, which seemed like a bargain-basement price compared to the full bottle. So in a moment of sheer impulsivity, I added it to the online shopping cart and clicked “Buy.” Such is the power of persuasion.

Outscented and Outsmarted

Fast forward a few days, and I’m eagerly tearing into a package like a kid on Christmas morning. Inside? My three tiny vials of the liquid promised to be “the world’s best perfume.”

But as the first spritz touched my skin, a wave of disillusionment washed over me. “Don’t panic,” I told myself. “Sometimes it takes a minute for a fragrance to mix with one’s body chemistry and unfold on the skin.” My friend, this was not the case. As the minutes went by, disillusionment turned to disappointment and then disgust. The world’s best? I call bull (and believe me, I know a lot about bull).

The reality is perfume—much like fashion and food preferences—is subjective. Who knew? Okay. I did. We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder (and great-smelling perfume, in the nose of the sniffer – haha). Yet it’s human nature to seek guidance from others (and believe them!), when we want to get it right. And this trust is especially important when we’re investing in the very best. 

But here’s the (wrist) rub. Rather than trust my own judgment by selecting a new fragrance the way I always have – going to a brick-and-mortar store (I miss you, Houston Galleria!), testing fragrances myself, and making my own determinations – I let an influencer hijack my decision-making process, and ultimately, my decision.

The World’s Best Cup of Coffee and The Greatest Brahman

After scrubbing the perfume off my wrists, I sat there pondering my poor life choices. And it hit me—the lesson here extends far beyond the realm of fragrance. Remember that scene in the holiday movie ‘Elf’? 

World's Best Coffee Buddy the Elf

When Buddy the Elf arrives in New York City, he notices a sign hanging outside a run-down diner near the Lincoln Tunnel. It reads “WORLD’S BEST CUP OF COFFEE.” Buddy rushes into the coffee shop and joyously proclaims, “You did it! Congratulations! World’s best cup of coffee. Great job, everybody!” to the indifferent workers and diners who know that the coffee is actually sub-par.

The point is, “the best” don’t go around trumpeting that they’re the best. They don’t have to. Even in the cattle industry, there are self-appointed influencers making marketing claims like that midtown Manhattan diner. But boldly asserting that a specific type or brand of cattle is “the world’s best” lacks credibility because it doesn’t account for individual tastes. Additionally, it is intended to mislead those new to the industry looking for an opinion they can trust from a reputable guide. If I examine my own decision-making process with that ill-fated perfume purchase, I realize now this is exactly how I was led astray. Knowing marketing as I do, I recognize now that chances are that the influencer had a financial incentive for pushing that scent, not for being honest with his thoughts on it.

At V8 Ranch, we pride ourselves on truth and transparency rather than using sweeping superlatives. We intentionally market our animals using only verifiable data and achievements. I’ll be the first to tell you that +Mr. V8 380/6, “The Machine”, is the #1 Lifetime Sire in the ABBA Register of Renown; that he was a four-time International Champion Get of Sire and a three-time National Champion Get of Sire; or that he sired a dozen international and national champions.

But I’d never claim he is the “Best Brahman Bull in the World” because what does that even mean? Most famous? Most historically important? Most decorated? Most prolific? Or quite simply, my personal preference? (Just for the record, if someone put a gun to my head and forced me to name the “best” Brahman of all time, I’d tell them it was J.D. Hudgins’ Manso.)

The Sweet Aroma of Authenticity

Great products speak for themselves – they don’t need overinflated marketing hype to attract attention. Luxury car brands like Lamborghini and Rolls Royce don’t advertise; instead, they invest in product and customer experience improvement. Even brands like Trader Joe’s, Tupperware, and Krispy Kreme rely solely on product reputation and word of mouth.

Do I regret spending $150 on three little vials of liquid that made my stomach turn? Not at all. It helped me relearn this lesson: Whether it’s perfume or cattle, ultimately, the “best” is a matter of opinion. What works for my skin – or my herd – may or may not work for yours.  

Turns out, my signature scent is the perfect perfume—at least for me. I already know what I like, and I’ll continue seeking out quality fragrances that fit my personal scent profile. And by the way, if anyone is interested in taking the “world’s best perfume” off my hands, I’ll gladly pass it right along to you!

Written by Catherine Williams Neumayr

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