Before discovering the forums at basenotes, I was a 1-bottle 3-spray guy (4 max). I wore Curve, and though most here would never believe this, I got a ridiculous amount of compliments from it. It's funny, really. I now own bottles from Andy Tauer, Creed, Tom Ford, etc, plus tons of samples from Amouage, Yosh, Bond, etc, but I still wear Curve from time to time and I still get compliments when I do.
Basenotes helped me to realize the difference between scents to wear for me, scents to wear for someone else, and scents to wear for different occasions. I never thought about that sort of thing before discovering basenotes. Now, those thoughts play a huge role in what I wear and even what I buy. I'm going to the theater tonight with a group of friends, one of whom will be my blind date (which could go well or could be a disaster!). I'm going to play it charmingly safe with Gucci Pour Homme II.
Another interesting thing I've learned since joining the forum is the difference between looking good online and smelling good offline. Online, people are more into niche and (especially on youtube) hype. Offline, it seems that most men don't wear scents at all, and when they do, they pick aquatics or sport scents, or very trendy stuff if women will be around. It amazes me how important is it to some people to follow the herd online. I'm not that guy. And it amazes me how some people wear scent with the subtlety of an air-raid siren. I'm not that guy either.
If I had the money, I could easily be all about niche. There are so many amazing perfumers whose work I'd love to own so much of... but my budget is limited, and that brings up another thing I love about basenotes.
Yeah, it's easy to go broke thanks to basenotes, but it's also easy to find amazing bargains here, and I love that. After a while, I started noticing people who have very expensive taste recommending things like Bergamotto Marino, which can be had for around $30, or Caron le3, which can be had for even less. Sure, there's a lot of cheap perfume trash, but there are some amazing bargains as well and basenotes seems like the best way to find them. This is where I found what has become my favorite masculine rose: Ungaro III. And it's a bargain. Yes, I've splurged on some expensive bottles, but I also wear things like Bvlgari Black, Lucky Number 6 and Hanae Mori HM, none of which I paid more than $30 for. Zirh Corduroy cost me $10 and it's been a compliment magnet for me. Ugly bottle. Great scent.
I don't tend to talk about perfume with my friends since they're not into it, but my female friends almost always notice how I smell, and they often comment the same way they'd comment on each others shoes ("Ooh, very nice" but not followed by a conversation about it)... and my male friends always notice that the women notice. I get a kick out of that. Dudes don't comment on how other dudes smell I guess, but every now and then one of them will ask for a recommendation - always before a date, usually by text or email.
Last, but maybe best of all, basenotes is how I discovered the world of samples. It's helpful to try before you buy, but I have another reason why I love samples: dating! If you'd told me a year ago that I'd occasionally bring dates back to my place to smell perfume, I'd have thought you were nuts. But it's happened a few times recently and it's been so much fun. I'll open a bottle of wine and bring out the sample vials... and I never
ever comment on one until I've let my date sniff and give her opinion. SO! MUCH! FUN! And since they're samples, not bottles, there's no chance for presentation to cloud someone's opinion. For example, I've learned that if I hand a woman my bottle of Aventus, she'll usually really like the scent. But if she smells it without seeing the bottle, the opinions are rarely as high. Zirh Corduroy: if someone sees the bottle, they usually think it smells ok ("nice"). But if they smell my sample, they rave about it without even realizing it's the same stuff. Bottles really play a larger role in people's first impressions than most realize.
I'm in a rush, so hopefully I didn't ramble too much.... tl;dr: Basenotes, for me, has been a marvelous learning experience