(re-post from Winter 2009)
As a budding perfumista, I spend a lot of (probably too much) money on perfume. I read Turin & Sanchez’s book (“Perfumes The A–Z Guide”), obsessively read perfume blogs, MUA reviews, and troll around the local (and not so local) vintage/thrift shops looking for miraculous finds. And it’s never enough!
I’ve always had an obsessive relationship with smell, but not perfume. Smelling anything—good smells, bad smells, interesting smells (the category a vast abundance of smells fall into), is a staple of my daily life. My husband thinks it’s amusing (“I can’t believe you just smelled that…”); for me it provides a kind of high.
Now to perfume.
I’ve worn perfume since my first bottle of Love’s Baby Soft… I was maybe seven? There’s always been a bottle of something on my dresser, but I don’t know that I ever actually liked any perfume. I guess I thought that there weren’t any perfumes that could rival the scent experiences “in real life”.
Then, there was the rose.
We moved to the Columbia River Gorge after I finishing my BS and got married; I took a job running a college bookstore. We rented a house with mature flower beds, and some exquisite roses. This particular rose was life changing; it was the end of the season, and there was one rose left on the bush, which I cut and bought in the house. It’s perfection was and is indescribable. It did, however, lead to a search on perfume making, perfume, and rose fragrances in particular.
I came across the blog that would become my daily bread (here), and a passion was born. I began by ordering samples (yes, actually paid for perfume samples) of the rose fragrances with great reviews, or reviews that spoke to me in one way or another. I found some great rose perfumes. Once the rose was (mostly) satisfied, I began branching out… at first, I was picking up what I could find at discounters or on ebay—you know, I remember a day when spending over a $100 on a bottle of perfume seemed really absurd; now, I’ll look at a $300 bottle of perfume and justify to myself, “a 100ml bottle of perfume will last years…” Cost per wear, right?
My husband has gone along willingly, and even has a bottle of Bulgari Black all to himself–we share quite a few others. At first, he was concerned about the “investment” involved in this new hobby, but I only had to remind him of his (massive and exceptional) record collection one time : )
Today, we’re at 29 full bottles, and growing. I’ve got my greedy eye on four new fragrances, which I’m going to make an effort to spread out over the next two months. The the top spot is currently held by L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Al Oudh.
“A women who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” –Coco Chanel