10 Things I have Learned on my Journey to Becoming a ‘Perfume Genius’*
‘Learning’ is a phrase that I never seem to be too far away from. I work in Human Resources but I have a lot of input, experience and training in ‘Learning and Development’. As part of my studies I am required to record my development within a ‘Learning Log’ and I do very much believe in the old idiom ‘you learn something new every day. So yes, it seems that I cannot escape the word learning, but I’m not complaining, I love to learn.
Obviously my favourite thing to learn about is perfume. and my scented journey through the world of perfume has so far been an excellent experience. I have learned so much about scent, but still feel that I’ve barely touched the surface, there really is so much to learn after all.
Here’s what I have learned so far…
1. Price Doesn’t Matter
Well, obviously price does matter a bit, I imagine that we all have a ‘price ceiling’ that we vow we would never/could never exceed when it comes to perfume purchasing, but on the whole price doesn’t count.
When I first started getting in to perfume I went through what I like to call my ‘Creed Phase’, which was essentially when I bought a lot of Creed perfumes because they were expensive and that meant they must be good, right? Wrong! Some of my favourite perfumes are as cheap as chips, and whilst I would be quite happy shelling out (once I have saved my pennies) for a £200 bottle of Amouage, I’m also perfectly happy picking up something from Gorilla Perfume for £20.
In essence – cheap doesn’t necessarily mean bad and expensive doesn’t necessarily mean AMAZING.
2. Florals are Awesome
Especially on me. Enough said.
3. Gender Schmender
Fragrance gendering is probably the most annoying thing about the industry (OK, maybe not the most, but it’s one of), I have spoken about it on a number of occasions (see my posts on Gender Bending and Perfumed Pet Hates) but I have learned to get over it.
The idea that a fragrance is either male or female has always been alien to me, a perfume doesn’t have a gender, yes it may have masculine or feminine facets, but it certainly cannot be exclusively male or female.
So rather than going into a rant, I will simply sum up what I have learned; wear what you like.
4. Fumeheads are the Loveliest People
Perfume lovers are the loveliest people on the planet. I have made so many wonderful connections with amazing people in different parts of the world. Fumeheads love to share, whether it’s their passion for perfume, or a particular scent, or even samples, they love to share their thoughts and support each other. Oh and they seem to love cats too!
Every perfume person on Twitter and on the blogs, I salute you!
5. Sample, Sample, Sample!
Sampling is key! Sample as much as you can and ALWAYS sample before you buy.
I have learned this lesson from extensive blind buying when I was a perfume newbie. I never blind buy now, simply because it generally ends in disaster and anyway half of the fun in this hobby comes from sampling anything and everything you can get your hands on.
6. You Can Never Have Too Much (or Can You?)
I go back and forth with this one. I often stand in front of my collection (over 100 bottles – I’m not boasting just being factual) and I will genuinely think I’m not in the mood to wear anything I own. Other times I look at my collection and think that it could do with some serious thinning out.
I see my collection as fluid, some things will disappear, others will be added, and they too may disappear, and there will be a small core of scents that always stand the test of time.
7. Perfume Can Still Surprise You
You can think that you’ve smelled everything and there is nothing new and exciting out there, only to uncork a vial or depress an atomiser and reveal something new, fascinating and beautiful.
8. The Classics are Classic For a Reason
You have to respect the classics, whether you enjoy them or not. Take Shalimar for example, before I became a perfume fanatic I would never have liked it, I would have thought it smelled like paint stripper, but it was one of the first classics I learned to appreciate, and now it’s one of my favourites.
These are perfumes that have been around for half a century, or even over a century, and they have survived this long for a reason – because they’re wonderful.
9. To Appreciate My Sense of Smell
Loving perfume truly has helped me hone my sense of smell and appreciate it. Smell, like the other senses, is something we don’t give much attention to in every day life, we take it for granted. Since I have started learning about perfume and olfaction I have found myself appreciating the smells around me, they add to my experiences of every day life and I’m overjoyed to be able to appreciate the richness they add.
10. I Love Writing
Without perfume I would never have learned of my love for writing and how much joy it brings. For that I am extremely grateful.
Join the Discussion!
What has your scented journey taught you?
Please leave your thoughts in the comments box below!
* I use this term loosely of course
Image 1 alsmusicrant.blogspot.com
Image 2 guerlain.com