I first discovered Scents of Self last August, when the hubby and I were at the Oregon coast on our one-year anniversary vacation. I can’t remember how I found it, but when I did, I sat down and read every single post, to the very first. Sassy photo captions, and concise “tell it how it is, mo-fo” reviews reliably leave me in stitches.
Ari, the perfumista/blogger behind SoS, sat down in my virtual living room (aka, hotmail inbox) to answer a few questions… enjoy!
You’re young, yet you write about perfume with authority and maturity. Will you tell us about falling in love with fragrance, and how that lead to the blog?
The origins of my perfume blog may be somewhat surprising: Scents of Self is one of the more useful products of my obsessive-compulsive disorder. You know how the people on Hoarders will often claim that they’re totally going to find a use for the 12 outrageously decayed chicken carcasses in their fridge? That is how my mind responds to information. I cling to minutiae about several subjects, including perfume, out of a deeply irrational and misguided belief that someday, someone will ask me what level Charmeleon evolves into Charizard. (Level 36, by the way.) I can’t speak to your very sweet maturity comment (although I fully intend to flaunt it to my parents, because of how mature I am), but I am able to speak with authority about perfume because I essentially have a perfume encyclopedia in my head. Blogging about perfume makes me feel better because I am less afraid of forgetting all of my vastly important perfume knowledge if I’ve written it down. Unfortunately, this means that my brain rarely has room for more important matters, such as organic chemistry. (You want me to remember resonance structures? Why would I need to know that??)
How has blogging about perfume changed the way you experience perfume, if at all?
I think (hope?) that perfume blogging has made me less susceptible to marketing. I was a very impressionable kid who dutifully bought whatever hot new perfume Seventeen or CosmoGirl was pimping that month, which is how I ended up with long-neglected bottles of Calvin Klein CKIn2U and Hollister August. I think that’s how most people go about choosing a perfume, unfortunately. Reviewing a perfume requires me to spend a great deal of time with a perfume, long enough to see whether it actually lives up to the often hyperbolic hype. The best marketing team in the world cannot hide a poorly-constructed perfume. Gorgeous ads promising that a perfume will turn you into Miley Cyrus multiplied by Justin Bieber divided by Selena Gomez can’t prevent a low-budget fragrance from fizzling out after the topnotes. That being said, I will be the first in line for Snooki’s perfume and I WILL NOT BE ASHAMED. Guidettes 4 Lyfe.
I love the pop-culture (and nerd-culture) references throughout your posts; these things lead me to believe you’re less of a cave-dweller than myself (lol). What do your friends and family think about Scents of Self, and perfumista culture in general?
The Perfume Muggles generally react very positively to Scents of Self. My parents have been very encouraging of my efforts to become a perfumer. I’m in my third year of studying biology at Johns Hopkins, and hope to study perfumery at one of the fragrance firms after I graduate. My friends are initially very excited about my perfume habit, but their enthusiasm usually dims when I try to make them return things to Sephora for me. I’ve been a lot less welcome there since the Sephora ladies caught on. I also have an incredibly supportive boyfriend who is also an excellent nose (he is the first and only male I have ever known to enjoy Guerlain L’Heure Bleue). We just got back from an amazing trip to Grasse, where he graciously allowed himself to be dragged around to Fragonard, Molinard, and the International Museum of Perfumery. The only real opposition comes from my cat, Zelda Fitzgerald, who expresses her disapproval by knocking over my perfume bottles. She lives up to her namesake.
Scents of Self recently got a face-lift: check it out!