Wow. need to think about this for awhile! Be back...
I always love perfumista origin stories! I was reading a perfume blogger recently who told the barebones story of how she went from being idly curious about perfume to full-blown perfumista-hood and when I came to the bottom of her entry, I thought "No wait! There's got to be more!"
I want to hear STORIES! How did you become the basenotes trolling, perfume obsessed person you are? What were your first perfumes? What perfume was the first to blow your mind? Which ones did you hate and then grow to like with perfumista maturity? What were your first blog experiences? What were your first buys? How did the people in your life react to your burgeoning perfume collection?
I want to hear it all!
Wow. need to think about this for awhile! Be back...
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
I've always been perfume-enamored. Starting with admiring my great-grandmother's dressing table bottles (don't remember what they were, only that they were OLD and very dark) and sniffing my mom's Jungle Gardenia. Wore mostly a Rose Oil and Avon (Sweet Honesty, Candid, Timeless are ones I remember most). My first "Designer" fragrance was Eternity. I thought it smelled classy! Around a decade or so ago, bought my first Chanel (No5). Learned what "classy" really was. Started collecting, at first making mis-steps by buying what was popular. Recently gave away 4 of those mistakes! Educated myself (still in the process) and my obsession bloomed over the years, esp the last few, when I've had more $$$ to devote to it.
My first "Blew-me-away" experience was probably Mitsouko. My first hate-at-first, then grew to adore was Angel. Big lesson: your nose "learns" and takes time to adapt, assimilate new notes. Keep trying every so often!
I now have around 375 FB and large decants. My husband is exceedingly tolerant and tries his best to participate by choosing a perfume after his shower nightly. I amuse him greatly at times, I know.
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.
Oh, the makings of a dandy...
I was under the age of three...a toddler. I got into some of my mother's perfume one day. Perfume fascinated me. I would look at my mother's bottles and also the tiny little sample vials she had in her purse. I loved the satin lining of her purses and the beautiful scents, and loved to play with her rouge and lipstick.
Both parents were users of scent and my mother always had Chanel No. 5 from my father as gifts, and I think Soir de Paris. My dad was always using a badger-hair brush and soap with a double-edged razor to shave and made scent a part of his grooming; he even let me load the blades into his swivel DE razor. (I can still see those fantastic crossed sabres of the Wilkinson Sword blades...) I think he used Morny French Fern aftershave and eau de cologne. My mother gave me some sample vials of perfume and my father gave me his small glass bottles of men's cologne and sftershave--the kind they had in the restrooms of airplanes way-back-when. Maybe that is why I am so at home with "men's" scents or with unisex scents.
Anyhow, I dumped the bottle of perfume on myself as a toddler and wound up in an emergency room with a case of hives. Needless to say, I lived to tell this tale but that did not cure me of my perfume obsession. LOL!
Then I wore teen scents: Avon Sweet Honesty, and Avon Honeysuckle, Candid, and Roses Roses. (No smirking, okay?!) Then I wore Variations and Ma Griffe by Carven. I also stole some of my older sister's Youth Dew, Blue Grass and Dior.. the name of which escapes me. I think she wore something by Fragonard, too. Oh, and I adored Coty's Muguet de Bois cologne! Then (blush) I wore Love's Musky Jasmine. My favourite bottle of perfume was a white glass and plastic Avon poodle scent decanter. I cherished it so...
In the 1980s, it was Shiseido Murasaki (and my mother's old Zen in the black Asian bottle) and also Dior Poison. I fell in love with YSL Paris at this time, too.
My family knows me to be the perfume nut that I am--it's one of my quirks. Some people collect spoons or ceramic frogs, I collect perfume. They expect me to go to the scent section of a store to see what is new and sniff, and wait patiently rolling their eyes while I browse. I tend to wear a different scent everyday, and they expect this, too. LOL! For me, no perfume too masculine or feminine!
Last edited by Primrose; 11th February 2010 at 11:21 PM.
"There is no accessory greater, nor more intimate, than scent." --Tim Gunn
"Wovon man nicht lesen kann, darüber muss man schreiben."
Same as Primrose, my love started quite young. My mom had a bottle of Arpege on her dresser I fell in love with since I was tall enough to see it sitting on the vanity. I'd sneak sniffs whenever possible. By the time I was 2, one of my grandma's had bought me an avon solid perfume in a bunny pin for easter, so I had my own to sniff. I still have that pin, but the cotton tail has long since fallen off. Somehow I managed to get some little bottle of avon every once in a while. My dad was always a cologne wearer and I loved looking at his bottles in the bathroom or seeing perfume bottles on my grandparents dressers and sniffing them. Smashing flowers on my skin as a kid was normal too.
I started wearing fragrance regularly in middle school, whatever I got as a gift from one person or another. Some of the things I wore: Charlie, Tabu, Cachet, Enjoli Midnight. Fragrance was always something I loved buying for my mom and dad as well. As kids, my brother and I would scrape together our money from our birthdays to buy Christmas gifts - my dad usually got British Sterling and my mom Gloria Vanderbilt or Le Jardin. I still buy my parents and brother fragrances and give fragrance when ever I know someone loves fragrance as much as I do. I think it's true when they say we give the gifts we like to get.
In high school I bought my first fragrance - Arpege, which I will always love. In college I visited The Body Shop (now Body time) in Haight -Ashbury during break and got China Rain and another oil called Obsession, I think, later started with Pheromone, Ungaro and Moschino minis before saving up $85 for the huge bottle of Pheromone - lots of money in the early 90s and I can't usually bring myself to spend that much on a single bottle now and now have the money to spend. Once I graduated college and started working, had a regular paycheck, it wasn't long before I started buying more scents. One at a time as I found something I loved. I started on fragrance boards around 1999 or 2000 and my purchases grew a lot for a while, especially once I discovered online shopping. So in the past 20 years I must have purchased over 100 bottles just for me. lol The three constant loves in my life have been music, cooking and perfume.
I had the white bunny pin, too!! Avon released these conpact solids scents for different holidays, and I recall the bunny was for Easter...and I also had the black skunk (ironically holding a flower), and the gingerbread man fpr Christmas...
What a long (very long) trip down memory lane!
Now the only solid perfume jewellery I own is the Michael Kors Very Hollywood ring, a huge glass pink gem with a little perfume in it, and the Avon Rock and Rose solid perfume ring by Mark. LOL!
Last edited by Primrose; 12th February 2010 at 05:35 PM.
"There is no accessory greater, nor more intimate, than scent." --Tim Gunn
I've always had an abnormal interest in scent, but it's only in the last few years it's become more of an obsession. My Mum has always worn perfume, so has her mum. I remember bottles of Youth Dew in my Nan's bathroom cabinet, and my Mum wore No 5 when I was very young.
My very first perfume was an old cast off from my Mum, Anais Anais. I couldn't wear it 'cause it smelled of her, I needed my own. So I bought a bottle of Samsara at the age of 16. I wore it all the time.
What I never understood was that people around me only had the one bottle of perfume at once on their shelves. Perhaps it's the greedy devil on my shoulder who wants more, but I was never content with just the one, even way back when.
I think what really set me off was a visit to the Molinard perfumerie in Grasse when I was 17. I ended up with a bottle of Molinard de Molinard and never looked back. For many years, as a student, I didn't have the funds to maintain a good wardrobe, and had to make do with very few different scents at the time. The collection I have today started with a bottle of My Queen which I got a few years ago now, and from that moment I started reading perfume blogs and a little later I found Basenotes. My Queen set off a new kind of caving for perfume, instead of the mere interest I had earlier.
I still consider myself somewhat of a novice, and I know there's so much more to learn and discover. I think my next step on this journey is some in depth sampling. It's hard to come by good perfume where I live, so the Internet is a lifesaver!
Sounds like we all started young, a bunch of tiny perfumistas! I love the image. Btw, the No. 22 I spoke of at the end of it is my #1, now, it has not been dethroned since I first sniffed it.
The idea of perfumes was visual for me at first. When I was a little girl I noticed a beautiful bottle of perfume on my grandmother's dresser, it was L'Air du Temps with the doves. My aunt had a table with all her perfumes displayed. I just remember a couple of them were Diors.
Soon I started to get curious about smells and paying attention to what the adults wore. I remember my oldest cousin wearing Aramis. My dad had several fragrances, but the one I remember is Yardley Black Label, and my mom's signature was Femme. My other grandmother wore a rose perfume. In her honor I started buying Avon Rose perfume products from my next door neighbor with my allowance. Another one of my aunts had Shalimar and received from her fiance a bottle of Cristalle in 1973. That made a big impression on me, and even though I was still a child, she would let me use her Cristalle when she took me to the movies.
When I was 13 I received a small bottle of Le Galion Snob as a present. Dear 3xasif sent me a sample recently and I love it as much as I did then.
When I was sixteen my parents took me to a department store to pick my first perfume. I chose Eau de Patou. At the department store I smelled Chanel #22 and #19 and did not like them (what was I thinking?????), but my Eau de Patou has lived happily ever after with me since. Soon I was gifted by other family members with other perfumes like Chanel No. 5, Y, and Diorissimo. A perfumista was born. My first boyfriend gave me a bottle of Estee and my second boyfriend a bottle of Chloe. My next big score was buying a bottle of Joy for a small amount from a friend, who had a new bottle but did not like it.
During the 80s, as a young adult, I spent some money in perfume and had a collection of 53 bottles, for which I felt a little embarrassed. I continued acquiring fragrances during the 90s and early 00s. Around 2003 I found a website that had a nice directory with reviews, Basenotes. It took me a while to realize that there was a forum...and the rest is history.
Like some of you I started out playing with the bottles on my mum's dressing table. My mum isn't unusually interested in perfume like we are, but she did have a decent selection of Guerlains. I was a clumsy kid and knocked quite a few of her perfumes over (thankfully I didn't break anything), so she didn't like me going near her stash and gave me a bottle of Champs Elysees EDP to play with.
I wore it in my early teens and around that time, people also started giving me perfumes as gifts (Tommy Girl, DKNY Women, a set of Escada miniatures, sprays from The Body Shop, Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works). Most of them were pleasant enough, but I was besotted with the older Guerlains. However, I mostly enjoyed the Guerlains at home because I got sick of getting told that I "smell old" (of course, now I see it as a lovely compliment).
My interest in fragrance was stirred again when I stumbled upon Luca Turin's book, The Emperor of Scent. I was pleased that my favourites were in there, and tried tracking down others. As a teenager with limited funds and living in a place that didn't have the best selection, I didn't get very far. I did spend hours trawling MakeUpAlley for reviews though, and made notes of what I want to try when I have the chance.
A few years later I moved to London, discovered Les Senteurs, fell in love with Serge Lutens and wanted more. I was obsessed about his export line and started searching for reviews. I found Basenotes and I have since gone through a couple of phases here (Lutens, vintage, masculines, lighter perfumes, soft florals). I am still relatively new, clueless and hoping to branch out even more. Alas, I can't buy everything I crave or even sample most of it so reading about them here is the next best thing!
"Sudden onset perfume mania" struck me on 29th Jan, 2008, whilst idly googling the perfumes a friend wore to see what it was about them all that I didn't like. I found a number of identical sweet floral notes, so, having satisfied my curiosity on this point, I went on to google any perfumes I had ever (very casually) worn to look for patterns there - oriental florals was a bit of a theme there. Next I discovered Osmoz and NSTperfume, and after two weeks of reading I started buying samples on Ebay and The Perfumed Court, and within a short space of time, full blown mania had taken hold!
"So many scents, so little skin"...
I love hearing these stories too!
My love of perfume comes equally from my mum and dad. When I was very little my mum would let me play with her empty perfume bottles (I most distinctly remember an empty bottle of Anais Anais) I would mimic the way she applied her perfume pretending I was a glamorous 'lady'. She had many of the pretty bottles out on display and I would often sit on her bed while she did her makeup in the ensuit and wish that I would be grown up enough to have my own perfume.
My dad bought the majority of perfumes for her, on birthdays, their anniversary and often when he had been away on business trips he would come home with special chocolate frogs from the airport for my sister and I, as well as a bottle of perfume for my mum. (My boyfriend is yet to understand this type of romantacism and has yet to buy me a scented product...7 years and I'm still waiting haha)
Dad himself always smelt great, he worn Dior Farenheit and Polo Green religiously. Every night when he came home from work my sister and I would be waiting at the door, ready to dish out hugs and sucking up that great 'dad' scent. Even now he often asks if I like his cologne and whenever I smell farenheit I think of him.
My perfume blog: Girl With the Curious Nose
Don't spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door -Coco Chanel
Currently lusting after:
- Chanel No.5 Eau Premiere
- Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose
- Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille
For me it was my Idol..."Michael Jackson" I got caught up *As Some of Us Do* looking up trivial nicks and knacks about his personal life and eventually found out that he had a huge enthusiasm for the perfume called "Bal A Versailles" It got me incredibly desperate to find some reviews on it's whereabouts..So nabbing away I found My newest holy-grail "www.basenotes.com" It had all I need...and More!! It gave me a door without even coercing me to Insist on entering.
I thank Basenotes and Michael for it Everyday. *Ha, No seriously haven't you seen how often I'm on Basenotes :P that almost proves itself* With this in spare, I instantly Began sampling,sampling and sampling...never giving up...even now! My first scent-gasm was from "Obsession For Woman" It's civet was lingering within my naval deposits for days to come..I kept my blotter on my office desk as an aid..a spiritual one to be precise! Though..funnily enough I never actually knew what that perfume was to which I had on my office desk..it took months..I mean months to find!! Moving on, I kept it stored in my cerebral afflatus knowing that it'll protrude out like a flower in sping! My passion flourished and with it, it enslaved such names as "Azzaro - PH", "Bandit", "Dzing!", "Obsession", "Rive Gauche PH" ++ MORE!. Now to conclude. I'll never stop inhaling life at it's most fervent Epoch!
Bless the verdant Futures to come!
- I Want To Appreciate You With My Eyes Closed-
Chanel Antaeus Equipped With A Double Whipping Of A Black Leather Jacket
My story isn't too different from most...started during childhood when I'd loosen the caps of perfume bottles sitting on my mother's vanity tray in her bedroom. My grandmother gifted me with Apple Blossom when I was probably six. I've pared down my wanderlust considerably, but prior to writing my first novel which I've blogged briefly about because it is driven by fragrance--I was a fragrance floozie, out of control buying on mere whim unsniffed...some keepers, some unsuitable to me. In fact, at the time, a Time reporter got "wind" of my novel driven by fragrance, sought me out, and interviewed me for her article "Scents and Sensitivity." I believe I was looking for Mr.Goodbar through my flings with fragrance. I have cut back completely, though will always revere the "juice" and never a day will go by where I do not enjoy fragrance.
I come from a family where nobody ever wore perfume. However I always loved it. I was well into adulthood when one day about ten years ago I just became obsessed. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on fragrances, most of which I adored for a day or two. I convinced myself every time that I had found my signature scent. That lasted about two years, and I don't remember how it stopped. I suppose some other interest took over, but funnily enough I never even noticed that I wasn't wearing fragrances anymore.
Then about two years ago I suddenly got into fragrances again. I heard that Mitsouko was to be reformulated, so I decided to hunt some down. One thing led to another, and I ended up on another wonderful binge.
Then I developed a problem with my nose. Wearing most of my favourite fragrances became a painful experience, so I reluctantly gave it up. Recently however I discovered that I can bear perfumes in tiny amounts. While that might seem like a curse to a perfume lover, it has been wonderful for me. As I no longer need to think of perfumes in terms of what is wearable, I have found myself exploring avenues that I never would have even thought of before.
I can wear a little fragrance provided I let my nose recover in between wearings, so I save it for special occasions. Now wearing perfumes is a wonderful treat. Other than that I put it on a blotter and take a couple of sniffs throughout the day. I think I actually enjoy perfume more now than I ever did before.
I must have told this story on millions of other threads and on various other occasions so far, but I am always delighted to repeat it all over again:
I come from a family background were fragrances were by far not the passion, the hobby, the addiction at the extents which exist here on Basenotes, yet everyone seemed to own and use something which- and some of my earliest childhood memories are connected to that- "smelled good". Then, at the age of 13-14, I developed an even more keen interest in scents and started to test frags at perfume stores, even buy, read and/or borrow from libraries all sorts of fragrance-related non-fictional, encyclopedic technical literature.
Then, at the age of 14, precisely on the occasion of my 14th anniversary, came the turning point. A an elderly friend of my parents, who was also a guest at my birthday party, an expat who lived for a long time in Paris and was some kind of a dandy (complete with failed marriages, gambling debts, gray hair, elegant suits, an exquisite taste in everything- from cuisine and wine, to social interaction and gentlemanly leisure) gave me my first bottle of "real" designer frag as a gift- Salvador Dali PH (1987). I was so proud of owning this frag, that I wore it on almost any occasion and flaunted the satisfaction of being the owner of such scents, even if it was way too dark, conservative, edgy, heavy and dandified for an age, where I should have worn some generic aquatic to "get the girls", like most boys of the same age did. And while the Dali creation did not improve my "dating persona", it did provide me with a blessing probably even more pleasant and more precious to me: even during my early and late teens, as I also do now, I only liked conservative, old-school, quite formal frags, literally screaming elegance openly and intensely. In parallel to that, I started to spend almost all of my spare cash, whenever the occasion came up, on an initially small, but steadily growing fragrance collection.
Also, I was blessed that even before the "fateful 14" I had the luck to test vintage Eau Sauvage, vintage Antaeus, vintage Vetiver and Heritage by Guerlain and a few other pre-reformulation male fragrance legends and was instantly smitten, up to the point that, though I could not afford them back then, I resolved "this is what I will own one day".
Then, in my early twenties, already having amassed a circa 10+ fragrance wardrobe, I was curious how the frags I already owned or considered buying were reviewed, publicly perceived, compared, in terms of price, quality, longevity, projection, health concerns, value for money, manufacturing techniques, in relation to more similar or more different other frags.
So, naturally, as I typed the search term "fragrance review" on Google, Basenotes among the fist hits and it was almost an instant "love at fist sight", mainly because I was impressed about how complete, how organized and how easily accessible its fragrance database was- I never thought I could ever find info on all fags which might interest me. One thing led to another and, after reading some reviews, I said to myself: "Hey, I can do that too", so I started by reviewing, at fist, only the fragrances I loved and then, gradually, just about every frag I eve came in contact with.
Much later, the same happened with the Basenotes message boards, at first, I was very aloof and reserved and just read them, without posting anything, but then, I was convinced that the more I tend to post and to interact, the more fragrance knowledge I am likely to exchange and to experience, also contributing, as much as I can, to the fragrance knowledge and fragrance information of Basenotes in general.
This is, in a nutshell, "my story" and most or all its focal points.
Last edited by Ken_Russell; 22nd April 2010 at 08:27 PM.
Wow, compared to everyone else I came really late to this. Neither of my parents were much interested in scent -- my mom would sometimes wear Toujours Moi, that was about it. As a teenager I amassed some gift perfumes, like Chantilly and Jovan Island Gardenia, and I'd wear them if I was going out but mostly I noticed the alcohol scent from the initial spray more than I did the frags themselves. Someone, I think my dad, gave me a bottle of Chanel No. 5, but I never wore it -- I thought it was too "perfumey." I could kick myself now!
In my 20s and 30s I would sometimes wear perfume oils, mostly "Spring Rain" and "Sweet Water" type things. I was convinced that "perfume" smelled too heavy and chemically. But about a year ago I got interested in presenting a more polished, sophisticated look and feel, and thought that perfume might be part of that. I did some reading online, got a few samples, did a lot MORE reading online, bought some more samples and minis ... and found that I had strong opinions about scent and really, really enjoyed trying different things and experiencing everything they had to offer. I had a set of Estee Lauder minis someone had given me as a gift tucked away in a back drawer and rediscovered it, untouched -- what a treasure that has been! Private Collection, Spellbound, Knowing, oooh I love them. It's old enough that it's not all Pleasures and Beyond Paradise flankers, like the Lauder sets now.
I don't know why it hit me so late -- I'm a pretty sensual person in general, love food and wine and music and beautiful images and fresh flowers in the house. I think part of it is that I've always had pretty severe nasal allergies, so until the new generation of allergy medications came along about 10 years ago, I simply couldn't smell very much! I never noticed when other people were wearing perfume or cologne, unless it truly reeked. Interestingly, I think that I'm much more aware of smells in general since I started sniffing ... it's almost like focusing on it so much has given me another sense to enjoy the world with.
Sadly, my husband is almost my opposite -- he has a super-bionic nose, he's like a pregnant woman! So, frankly, I think he'd rather I stuck to cheap mildly fresh perfume oils with no sillage to speak of, or maybe something vanilla-ish. The poor man almost has to leave the room if I wear Coco Mademoiselle, I feel kind of guilty ...
Last edited by Thalia; 22nd April 2010 at 06:05 PM.
Fragrances have always been interesting to me: scents in nature, food, etc. My mom wore one specific perfume (Revlon's Jontue) and when I smell it I am always taken back to getting ready for church on Sunday mornings, which was the only time she wore it. As a teenager I met my now best friend who was one of the first guys I knew who were interested in fragrances to the extent I was. Talking fragrances with him was the impetus in increasing my fragrance interest. I wore drugstore aftershaves as a teenager and when I started working after college I was able to begin building my wardrobe.
My first significant perfume-related memory is making the rounds of the department stores with my mother - I was about ten, and she'd decided she wanted to have a signature scent. This was back when the stores handed out those little sample vials freely, and I thought those were VERY neat. But once she narrowed her choices down to two, i became fiercely partisan for the one she ended up not choosing. For a ten year-old, that was probably a bit weird. As for the one she bought, neither of us can even remember what it was called.
Anyway, fast forward to a few years ago. I wandered into the perfume shop at a local mall for no particular reason, saw the runner-up I'd loved so much for sale, and told my husband the whole story . . . at which point he laughed at me and pointed out that I was CERTAINLY old enough to have some for myself, if I wanted it. I have no idea why I hadn't cometo that conclusion on my own. Anyhow, I bought it, and that's how things began . . .