Building on the rock

A perfumista dilemma that I often ponder is how much of my perfume budget to devote to consolidating what I already have, and how much I can spend on trying new things.

You know what I mean – your sample of Traversee du Bosphore is almost gone, and you love it. It justifies the purchase of a large decant, maybe even (gulp) a full bottle. But wait! What of those lovely new Diors or Cartiers you have heard about? They are lighting up all the buttons on your dashboard. It is so tempting, isn’t it, too add a clutch of those to your cart, and put off the Traversee until next time. But you know that ‘next time’ your nose will be distracted yet again by something else.

I do impulse buy new stuff (don’t we all!), but I’m pretty good at building on what I have. I don’t have a large collection so I don’t catalogue my perfumes on a spreadsheet (but please leave a comment if you do). But I do ‘curate’ my collection in the sense of shaping it around the things I know I want, and not letting it get filled up with exhausted samples, and things I don’t want. Or, to use another metaphor, I try and build my collection on rock rather than sand, the sand being a bunch o’ empty samples I wished I’d replaced.

So I recently replaced samples of Dior’s Granville and Olympic Orchid’s A Midsummer Day’s Dream with an 8 ml decant and a 15 ml bottle. And this week, when a small financial windfall came my way, and I resisted – yes! resisted! – impulse splurging it all on a FB of Philosykos. Instead I put in an order to The Perfumed Court, and spent only half of what I had allocated for this spend.

I ordered 8 mls of Philosykos to replace the dying sample, and an 8 ml top-up of L’Heure Bleue EDP. Then at last I felt at liberty to venture into new territory. I added a three-sample set of L’Artisans (Dzongkha, Dzing! and Tea for Two: did I do good?). I finished off with a sample of and Brosseau’s Ombre Rose, which may seem a bit corny, but I was greatly attracted by this review on Yesterday’s Perfume.

So: is this a situation you face? How do you go about balancing old and new in your collection?

10 thoughts on “Building on the rock

  1. Oh, yes, I know that dilemma.
    There are many things I would love to have a full bottle of, because I know them well, I love them and know how they make me feel.
    But on the other hand I know that there are many things out there I know nothing about yet, but sure am curious about. And will want to try, for me as well as the blog, where I want to cover new and interesting releases as well as old favorites.

    Your recent handling of the balance is admirable.
    You know my approach, is more all or nothing and now I am in the nothing phase (but with a truckload of old samples at my disposal).

    1. Yes, running a blog, you of course want to cover a lot of territory. I should be careful not to sound too smug. I could ruin all my good work with one impulse purchase, immediately regretted!

  2. Deciding how to spend my limited budget places me squarely within this conundrum a few times a month!

    I’ve been wanting a bottle of Bois des Iles practically forever now. I drained my first large sample, just as an unexpected 4mL bottle arrived… so I put off that bottle for other things. I still haven’t drained the new little bottle, and it seems silly to buy 75mL, when I haven’t worked my way through the latest 4…

    Do I love it? Yes. Do I want to always have it on hand? Yes. Do I need a bottle? Maybe not. I think, like you, I should probably just go for the 5 or 8mL from The Perfumed Court, and spend the rest of those dollars on 5mL of Vanilla Insensee and Jeux de Peau.

    Because my cabinet isn’t getting any larger!

    1. Ah, that Bois des Iles. Ah, that 31 Rue Cambon. I have just about decided not to go for the 31RC FB because my decant is not disappearing fast enough.

      On the one hand, I think of 31RC as a beautiful vintage car, one you keep under wraps and only drive when the time is right, but absolutely worth having because it is wonderful to own beautiful things. On the other hand, perfume is NOT like a vintage car or a Chanel dress. You can own part of a perfume in a plain bottle, and still enjoy it, and many others as well for the same money. So why not?

      That said, you do hear stories of women grouping together and buying a great dress and sharing it. Or a diamond necklace – I saw a book the other day about 13 women who bought a diamond necklace together and passed it around …

      1. AM, you are right—a perfume is not like a vintage car or dress! My conundrum lately—which was put into words quite well over at NST yesterday, is: “Swoon-worthy” vs. wearability.

        There are quite a few that make me swoon, and then there are the ones that spend a lot of time on my skin. The balancing act is to find perfumes that fall into both categories—surely with all the choices out there, this can be done?

        I love BdI, but at this moment, I’m just not wearing it enough. I want to be the woman who smells like Bois des Iles, but I’m just not her (yet)!


  3. Well, I have that Try Before You Buy No Matter WHAT ethos, and I have that If It Ain’t Me, Fuggeddaboutit mindset. And for the times I’m on the fence…Beg, Buy or Borrow Decants. Some day, it is to be hoped, the penny will drop and I can decide if I really, truly, madly can’t live without it. It happens less than I’d like, but on the other hand…a) means I only own what I absolutely adore, b) wear everything I own, not to mention c) with all the money I’ve saved, I can try all the stuff everyone else is talking about, hope it isn’t Xerjoff or Amouage and that I CAN…live without it…;)

    Really, it works. In an ideal world, I’d have about 300 bottles. As of this minute, I have about fifty samples, ten bottles, and all of three decants. Let’s just say it saves on confusion in the morning when trying to decide what to wear! And when I run out of an indispensable, I buy another one, but it has to be…indispensable. Not too many of those!

    Give it time, give it time…LOL

    1. Yes indeed. Something has to be begging to be bought, before I will replace that sample. I too wear everything I own except for a few absolute scrubbers. And this means that I regularly try things I had disliked at first, which brings its own rewards. I love your ‘If It Ain’t Me, Fuggeddaboutit’ approach!

  4. Swap packages for me have become a saving grace in every regard: they help me maintain by budget and save me from being too predictable in my fragrance choices. The samples that people send me usually include a nice mix of things people know I will love and things that I probably wouldn’t have ordered on my own.

    I find that five years into this hobby, I don’t hunger after full bottle purchases as I once did. When it comes down to it, there are only ten to twenty fragrances that I wear enough to merit the full bottle. This year, I find myself definitely favoring decants over full bottles.

    By the way, you did good with your samples choices: I love Dzing and Tea for Two!

    1. Five years! You are a veteran.

      That’s great to know that you can get to the stage of not wanting FBs. I’m getting there ; decants are doing well for me too. There certainly are stages to perfumista-hood, aren’t there?

      Thanks for the mention of the L’Artisans. Excited!


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