Great post stuffman.
For me it was a school trip from the UK to France, when I was aged 16. My friends and I decided we would each make a duty free purchase on the ferry over. Some went for Paco Rabanne, Aramis and Lacoste. I opted for Kouros!
Thread: How Did it All Start?
Mainly, I'm curious as to how everyone developed their obsession with fragrances. A few years ago, I practically shunned anyone who would spend $50 or more on what is essentially alcohol with some oils in it to make themselves smell good. Today, I can't imagine living without my rapidly-growing collection of fragrances- I'm obsessed to the point where I even turned around to return home before work one day to put some cologne on because I had forgotten, and my "emergency backup" vial in the center console of my car was "borrowed" by a friend the night before. Needless to say, I was a few minutes late to work that day, but I escaped without repremand... and I did end up getting a few complements that day. Anyhoo, here's my basic story:
My first memories of the wolrd of fragrances came early in life. I'm a pretty young guy, only 23 years old, so "early in life" means the powerhouse-frag explosion of the mid 80s. My parents divorced when I was young, so my mom re-entered the dating scene (a side note, she dated Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails before he was famous, as he was from around my hometown... if you don't believe me, just ask and I'll show you the proof). Her "signature" scent was Obsession, and I can still perfectly recall all it's nuances. I never slept better than the night's she'd go out and kiss me after tucking me in; the sillage of the Obsession being the last I remembered before being tucked in. My grandma (whom I also lived with) would wear Shalimar on special occasions, so that's another scent permanently ingrained in my head. I can remember quite a few times when I would try to spray some of my mom's Obsession on myself, in hopes she wouldn't notice, but it would usually end with me getting told not touch the perfume. My dad wore Stetson like it was going out of style (and if it ever was in style why?!), and would dab it on me in I ever went somewhere fancy or business-oriented with him. My sense of smell has always fascinated me, but I never really understood the whole fragrance thing.
As I got older, I still just couldn't grasp the concept of paying so much for such a little bottle of alcohol- soap and deodorant did a pretty good job of keeping me smelling good, right? By my senior year of highschool, I discovered the lovely "Axe Effect" (as much sarcasm placed on "lovely" as possible...). At the time, I just loved the smell of Kilo and Voodoo and though it was just fantastic, and this went on for quite a few years. It would, of all things, take my love of Italian automobiles to get me to break into the world of "real" fragrances and drop the Axe crap for good.
In the summer of 2003, I went to Le Belle Macchine d'Italia, an Italian cars concourse in northeastern Pennsylvania, where there was a booth selling all sorts of Ferrari merchandise, including their range of colognes. Originally, I laughed at it, because I was still in my Axe phase. Even my crazed Ferrari obsession wouldn't get me to drop the $60 they wanted on the cologne... plus, I had no idea how it smelled because it was all sealed up. Well, a few months later they ran a feature in Car and Driver, "reviewing" various automobile-themed colognes. The Ferrari #1 rated the highest (note, Car and Driver should stick to cars and not colognes), and after some Google searches, I found it for a fairly resonable price. It was just after my birthday, so I had some money to spare and I decided to make the leap and spring for a bottle. Even if I didn't like it, it could be just another piece of Ferrari memorabilia.
Well, I got it, and I actually quite liked it. I was impressed with how dynamic it was compared to the linear smell of the Axe fragrances. I was also impressed with how long it lasted- both the bottle as a whole and each time I applied the fragrance, and it was in fact cheaper in the long run than buying a new can of Axe every couple weeks. Still, it was the only scent I owned for nearly a year. Soon, I found myself going to department stores and stocking up on samples and wearing them when I wanted something different. My roommate also had a pretty decent collection of frags, but they were mostly the common designer fodder of most popular college boys... Acqua di Gio (hated it at first smell, and still hate it to this day), Polo, Tommy, CK One, etc. which he was generous enough to let me borrow on occasion, though I didn't really like any of them. I liked the fact the the Ferrari cologne I owned was unique, and the ladies I know always asked me what I had on. With the other fragrances, they would always know what it was because they are nigh-omnipresent on a college campus. I was ready to try something completely different and unique, and I turned to Basenotes for help finding it.
I read about a lot of great scents, but was curiously intrigued by Creed's Acier Aluminum. The description just sounded fantastic, and I knew *nobody* around me would have it. I purchased a decant on eBay, and when I got it, I was just absolutely blown away. It was so rich, complex, and damned sexy. It lasted forever, and wore well in almost all weather. I just couldn't believe how fantastic this scent was. It made my Ferrari #1 almost laughable in comparison, and now I couldn't smell Axe without gagging at its cheap synthetic nature and lack of complexity. Over the next few months I picked up a few more fragrances (and bought a full bottle of Acier Aluminum), and the fragrance-collecting bug hit me. I developed a newly found appreciation for my sense of smell, and looked forward to waking up in the morning and having to decide which fragrance to apply. From there, I've been buying fragrances at an ever-increasing rate, and there's no end in sight. In the short, short year since I got that first decant of Creed, I've picked up nearly 30 fragrances, countless samples, and my sense of smell has improved dramatically. I enjoy it more and more each day, and look forward to smelling a new fragrance at any opportunity. I'm now to the point where I'd like to persue a career in the fragrance industry, possibly designing fragrances. We'll see what the future brings.
So how about you guys? Any good stories?
Great post stuffman.
For me it was a school trip from the UK to France, when I was aged 16. My friends and I decided we would each make a duty free purchase on the ferry over. Some went for Paco Rabanne, Aramis and Lacoste. I opted for Kouros!
I started reading posts all night for months on perfumeemporium.com and was instantly addicted. I was so curious how that Havana, that Cristobal pour Homme, Eau Sauvage Extreme, Tabarome and SMW actually smells. Next up was searching on eBay. Found miniatures, Tester bottles and original retail bottles for almost unbelievable prices. Bought a lot blind and sold again what I didn't like. Half a year later I signed in at basenotes .... ;D
Excellent story, stuffman.
About five or six years ago I was killing time between planes. In a duty free, I sprayed on some Body Kouros, liked it, bought it. Wore it often and got several good comments about it. Two years later I was out of it so I went in another duty free and asked for a bottle of Kouros--didn't even bother to sniff it. When I arrived at my job in the Mideast, I tested it and just about had a hemorrhage. There was no way on earth I was going to wear that stuff. One night I got on the internet to see investigate how that terrible thing happened, I found a bunch of information and I found basenotes and it has been costing me a lot of money ever since.
I'm not quite sure how I got into it. In two months time I've gone from 0 bottles of cologne to somewhere around 30. Not including all the ones sold recently. I guess I'm just a little O.C. . That would explain my crates of candles, and out of hand movie collection anyways.
It was all a dream
I used to read Word Up Magazine
I started a similar thread a couple of months ago, so you should check that one out for more stories. Keep this one up also though, because we're hearing some good ones from people who didn't post last time. Great read Stuffy!
i basically had two starts. I started to get interested in frags when i was about 13 and kept sniffing my mother's arsenal. Consequently i got a few for b-days and all (XS, le mâle,...) but lost interest a few years later.
My girlfriend got me into it again as she's herself quite a big fan: spending time in perfume stores and choosing a cologne for me sparked my interest again, and now we have a common hobby, which is really cool.
Top 5: Obsession | Eau sauvage | Antaeus | Bel Ami | Platinum Égoïste
my story is pretty plain... got tired of Drakkar all the time, and started hearing (Somewhere) that it was cliche and played out... stumbled onto one of the discount perfumers and bought a bunch of minis (oh if I'd only known about decants at the time : ) figuring I'd get a full bottle of whatever my girlfriend liked best... turns out her hungry nose liked almost all of them!... I kicked it into gear from there...
But really I responded to your very excellent post because of this little tidbit:
a. your mom is one badass chickOriginally Posted by Stuffman
b. I do believe you, but what kind of proof do you have? Please post any photos of your mom w/ mr. reznor or any boxers he may have left at the house etc.
[blue]A really wonderful post Stuffman. I enjoyed reading it immensely.
My obssession began with the scent of orange blossoms.
When I was about five, I developed the habit of getting up just before sunrise and going out into my parents' garden full of various fruit trees. I would walk in and around and through the trees, and I would sit under various fruit trees and take in their scent. I remember specifically one morning the orange tree in my parents' garden had bloomed and it was heavy with morning dew as the sun came up; the sun's heat must have gently warmed the orange blossoms flowers and it created a soft, redolent aura around the tree. Sitting underneath it, steeped in a neroli haze, I was transported away in what really was an intense out-of-body, experience. All of a sudden, the world seemed a much larger place of opportunities and of possibilities for intensities like the one I was feeling at that very moment in a neroli-induced reverie. And at that very moment, I realized that smell was going to be an important dimension in my knowing of the world. The rest, as they say, is history.
Great story Stuffman. I was waiting for you to write what Trent Reznor used to wear as his signature :
My story is pretty plain as well. I need a cologne, originally a 'signature.' So I started googling and I found basenotes. I started reading every review in the Basenotes directory for probably about 2 years. After I got enough fragrances for a decent wardrobe and since it was my bday, I thought, it's time to join the Bnotes community!
Well for me, I remember back to when dad would always wear that thing in the black bottle...Drakkar....so I wanted to be like him so I found some Brut and wore that for a long long time. Not to mention all the kiddie fake shaving kits I played with for years growing up. Until my Aunt brought back from Germany in 1994 some Nicole Miller for Men for me and my bro...well, the bro hated it....so I wore that for a very long time. The girls loved it...so I kept wearing it. It set me apart from all the meatheads and their Cool Water and such (which at that time was the scent for the deliquents that used to smoke in the bathrooms at school, cigarettes and the left handed cigarettes) They used to slather that stuff on. I got hooked from that one...I got all the Tommy products, Boss uggh!! It wasn't until I found this place that I heard of Guerlain, Creed and all that...Now, hell, my dad (who loved Drakkar, and since graduated to Armani and AdG) Got his first taste....ummm, sniff of Creed's GIT....at 54 he's still into the fragrances, although a little moreso now....we maybe getting another new member to the club. I think I may get him some Himalaya for his birthday since he's a 54 going on 24.
I would say my love affair with fragrance happened when I was 4 or 5 and my father received a cologne that smelled like limes (it was a black bottle with a picture limes on it). I was fascinated with the concept and I wondered why anyone would go without. I quickly understood why when I asked for a cologne for my birthday and I started to receive Avon colognes. I did enjoy the bottles, my favorites were the stick shift and bowling pin.
Fast forward to me at the age of 12 smelling an older woman wearing Obsession and it made me horny as a...well, me since I WAS a school boy. When I learned there was Obsession for Men I bought it right away at the ripe old age of 13. This was my staple fragrance until I started smelling it all the time and the knock offs started coming out. I wore several others but if you shop in the standard malls you will keep smelling the same stuff on everybody. Then in about '97 when I wanted something new and exciting and went to Nordstroms i believe and discovered Angel for men. Wow! Bought it immediately after the first sniff! Compliments poured in and nobody heard of it. I wore this quite a bit until about 2000 when a friend of mine asked what I was wearing. He started wearing it all the time YEAR ROUND and quite liberally at that. (When I wore it around our friends they would say I smell like him). That did it, I started searching for great fragrances that weren't so common and keeping the names to myself amongst my close friends if I really like it.
A bottle of JOVAN MUSK FOR MEN on my 15 birthday followed by a bottle of PACO RABANNE PH on my 16th.
The rest is history.
"Ca sent les pieds!"
It started in 2001 when I was in high school.
I saw this teacher, and I absolutely loved his scent. I asked, and it was "Acqua di Gio, by Armani". So, before spring break, I went out to the mall and bought myself some AdG. *But, later in the year, I had a new assistant in high school. She wore Jovan White Musk... I hated that stuff. So, she forced me to a "compromise"... either I wore AdG and she wore her beloved Jovan White Musk, or we both wore nothing at all. I chose the latter.
Three years later, I graduated from high school. Freed from the assistant's chains, I decided to wear smellies again. By then, Acqua di Gio was (and still is) ultra-common, so I had to search for a new starter scent. Then, I discovered Basenotes. Thanks to the advice of many here, I spent my birthday money on Mugler Cologne, which is still a staple in my collection today.
And that's when my addiction started, which, like the Energizer bunny, "keeps going, and going, and going..." *;D
"It always seems impossible until it's done." -Nelson Mandela
My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."
Thanks for the story and the interesting thread topic. I have actually given this question some thought lately. I can tell you easily how and why I started coming to Basenotes (lost frags in a move, was looking for something different, googled, and here I am...). But to tell you how I started to love fragrance would be a different issue, and much more difficult. I'm actually not sure why I love fragrance, or when it started. It's always been a part of my life, at least since I've been old enough to make my own decisions about whether or not to wear one. As I ponder this question, there are two images that keep popping into my head. One is of my paternal grandmother, and the other of a wooded area I stumbled upon when I was a child.
First, my grandmother. She's always worn fragrance - not good ones, mind you - regardless, I associate wearing fragrances with her. I also associate the fragrant smell of blossoming fruit trees with her, as she had an orchard behind her house, always had a garden, and even had some lilac planted near her home. As a child I used to run around those trees and can remember vividly the smell of the blossoms, as well as the smell of that lilac. She also loved to cook, which is of course associated with many of the smells used in perfumery. All these seem to have melded together to form my interest, and so it is her image I see when I wonder why I love fragrances.
The other image is a little more vague and almost spiritual. My family house was situated in a densely wooded area. As a child I used to go on walks with my dog through the woods. I have this very vivid memory of coming into a clearing once - trees and plants circling a clearing of grass. It seemed almost magical to be walking through the woods one moment and then stumble into an open area the next. One of the strongest memories of this moment was the rich smell of woodland plants and damp earth. Very natural, cooling, soothing, and yet warm, earthy and rich at the same time. This experience too, I am sure influenced my later coming to love fragrance.
I was thirteen, and my Mum bought me a bottle of Mitsouko, telling me Diaghilev had worn it and that I shouldn't ever consider that perfumes had genders.
I was completely hooked. A lot of it comes from a love of cooking (I'm a food writer), which means that I've worked hard to learn how to deconstruct recipes. Deconstructing perfumes is harder for me but *so* interesting, and *so* rewarding. I love the slightly louche, sybaritic history of some of the older houses, I am in awe at the sheer ability of some noses (Giacobetti stands out for me at the moment), and it's a very personal and pleasantly lonesome hobby. I don't wear perfume for my husband or anyone else; I wear it because it smells the way I want to feel that day. Some days I want to smell like Dzing!, some days I want to smell like Messe de Minuit; I'm inordinately thankful I'm able to.
Smell has always been the most emotionally/mnemonically powerfully sense for me.
I would buy a bottle here or there if the opportunity presented itself. I never really went to the store just to buy some cologne (and I would never go to a fragrance counter). It was embarassing in the same way that shopping with mom for underwear was embarassing to a young man. I can't explain it.
Then I found basenotes one evening. I realized that there were people who liked perfume and made a hobby out of it, and that it was OK. With newfound courage, I attacked every perfume store I could find. It's safe to say that I feel more comfortable in my own skin these days because of that discovery (I live in a very fragrance-conservative region, btw).
ps- Oh and squeezeweasel, I'm totally with you on the comparison to recipe deconstruction. It makes perfect sense.
Wow, that just reminded me of a here-to-now forgotten (repressed?) part of my love of fragrances. When I was about 7, I got this Avon "shaving kit" that had this little bottle of "aftershave" in it. It was some cowboy-themed thing, but I don't remember what it was called. I remember that little bottle lasted me probably a week, I'd put it on all the time, much to the chagrin of my mom and grandma (I probably stunk so badly, but I loved it!).Originally Posted by PRBRT33
As for the proof of my mom dating Trent Reznor, here goes:
That's a picture of a Christmas card he gave my mother, and a napkin piece with his new address in Cleveland when he moved. Alas, I don't know his signature scent as I was only about 3 or 4 when they were seeing eachother, in fact, the only memory I have of him was that he played our piano one time when he was over (and was really damned good, as he should be because he was classically trained). My mom said he was one of the most quiet and polite guys she's ever met. I guess one time he was coming back from Cleveland to meet my mom at a nightclub, but he was running late. My mom saw a friend from highschool and was talking to him in the meantime, and when Trent finally got there he saw the two together and misconstrued the whole thing... I guess they never talked after that. Other tidbits of knowledge: his real name is Michael (Trent is his middle name, but he always went by it), and he owned a white Pontiac Fiero, the first one in our county. Any other questions, I'll be glad to answer!
Sometimes things are best left a mystery......somehow I didn't picture Trent Reznor driving a white fiero.
I started with a second bottle of Cool Water and then I recieved Boss Bottled for some gift giving occasion. Later I found out that my best friend was into this stuff too and he stumbled accross Basenotes. He introduced me and over a year later here I am.
He is CreamZ... He's a good man.
EnvYuS My Wardrobe
Last edited by Derawk; 26th November 2009 at 07:16 PM.
I was preparing for Nona’s funeral July 3, 1992 (i was...8) when Mother struck like stigmata with the splash aperture of what turned out to be a bottle of Safari for Men by Ralph Lauren
"He was some kind of a man... What does it matter what you say about people?"
Well, *I was in art class in High School and we were painting with oils.
There was this very lovely girl sitting across from me.
So I associated *the smell of the stuff we used to 'erase' *or thin the oil from the canvas
You know, I do believe that perhaps it did smell like orange blossoms!
Scentmental? *Anybody? * What is that 'stuff' called?
(No it ain't turpentine! )
Er . . .Is there an artist in the house?
My mom LOVED Avon products, and for Christmas in 7th grade she got me a bottle of Sweet Honesty perfume. I fell in love w/ it & went through 2 or 3 bottles by the time I hit high school. Around my freshman year was when Bath & Body Works came to the local mall. I was HOOKED on all that stuff! I also started looking at more fragrances, but since I was a kid on a limited budget I picked up all the Coty frags like Vanilla Musk, Ghost Myst, Charlie Red, ICI, Lady Stetson, Aspen for Women, etc etc etc. I thought all these frags were great, and I still have a place in my heart for Vanilla Musk, lol. In my later high school years I discovered CKone and CKbe and wore these almost exclusively.
Fast forward to college, I stepped up a notch and wore Lucky You, Adidas Moves, Banana Republic W, GAP Heaven, Eddie Bauer Balance, EB Pure, and my holy grail back then was Lancome Miracle.
Then, about 3 years ago, I was roaming around Dillards w/ my friend Seth, and he was checking out colognes. Once I smelled Clinique Happy for Men, I realized that this was something I as a women could get away w/ wearing! I picked up a bottle of Happy that day. I started experimenting w/ other mens' frags...mainly stuff I knew other women friends wore, like Lucky You, Hugo, & Curve. Then...I discovered basenotes about a year ago, and my tastes have improved dramatically
"Wait...is David Bowie really God?" - Penelope Garcia
It could be one of these newer naturally-produced citrus solvents. The same stuff that goes into citrus bathroom cleaner can be used to remove paint. It's d-limonene. The stuff you were using was probably a mizture of d-limonene and propylene carbonate. Was it kind of oily-feeling, clear, and slow-drying? if that's the case, then we've found your solvent.Originally Posted by Mario Justiniani
I've always hated cologne and fragrences. I used to get migranes. but after some medication came out that I could take, I started to like them.
My bother used axe to cover up the smell his ehm, herbal adventures. So I got to liking it, and would use it as air freshener.
One day he was out of axe, so we went to Ross, and he bought some curve, and I got burberry, which I remembered getting sprayed with in the mall back in '01. I couldn't believe how many memories the burberry brought back.
I wanted to find another frag I rememberd smelling at a rave in '03 and went online to see if I could find out what was popular in '03 in california. Sadly, I couldn't find it. 30+ frags later, I'm still looking.
24, San Francisco, California USA
My story is probably the most shallow and idiotic compared to the rest of yours.
I was one of the fellows that was looking for a cologne that would make "the ladies go wild." I had subscriptions to GQ, FMA, and similar trashy magazines so I was brainwashed with all those stupid ideas. One of the notions that I got from reading that junk was that a fragrance can enhance your attractiveness tenfold. I read dozens of articles on bestselling colognes and smelled numerous magazine sample strips. It was no surprise that Acqua Di Gio caught my attention. It really is a good scent, but my intentions weren't so pure. I bought a bottle hoping it would instantly transform me into a super pimp. I received a lot of compliments from my female friends, which simply perpetuated my false beliefs. I thought ADG was "the bomb" due to the attention it got me. However, I found that it was rather fleeting on me and needed constant reapplication. I began to wonder if there were any other longer-lasting scents out there that would drive the women nuts.
I browsed the web and eventually stumbled across Basenotes. I was about to post a new thread asking "What scents do the chicks dig?" but changed my mind after seeing another newbie get flamed for posting a similar topic. I spent countless hours reading reviews in the Directory and found myself hooked. It wasn't long before I became a fragrance junkie and began buying scents blind. It was definitely a true learning experience as I had to learn the hard way (lesson: don't buy blind).
Fast forward to today...I no longer wear scents for others anymore (my gf is living proof as she HATES most of the frags in my wardrobe). I wear perfume for my own enjoyment and also use it as aromatherapy. Surprisingly, there are many times when I will only spray my wrists so I could take occassional whiffs throughout the day. As much as I'd hate to admit it, I believe my interest now in fragrance has evolved to something more than just perfumery; collecting. I find myself tracking down rare and exclusive bottles just so I can say that I own a piece of something rare and valuable. It's no surprise though as I've always been fond of collecting many different things: baseball cards, comic books, stamps, vintage musical instruments, etc.
So here I am now. While my knowledge of fragrance has certainly expanded, I'm still learning something new everyday from this board and believe that perfumery is a never ending learning experience. Despite what I've learned, I'm still buying blind on occassion. Muahahaha.