Hi Don, welcome!
Thread: Lurking and Learning
I've been lurking around here for the last three months since I discovered this site shortly after getting into fragrances. These are some of the things I have learned on my own and from Basenotes:
1. To your own nose be true. Disregard what you have read and what the sales associate says and make up your own mind. Guidance is good, but YOU have to decide.
2. Get a sample and wear the fragrance for a few days or a week to find out whether or not you really like it. Top notes sell fragrances but alas they are only fleeting. And while you're trying it out go ahead and read all you can about it.
3. Buy the small size. Unless you want to be embalmed in the fragrance when you die because you love it so much or like to trade, buy the small bottle or a sampler. This will allow you to have more fragrances because IMO fragrances have varying but limited 5 to 8 year shelf lives.
4. Store your fragrances in a cool dark place. Don't let the sun or excessive heat +84 degrees farenheit or +29 degrees celcius shorten the potency of your fragrances. If you cherish your collection, get a wine cooler if you don't have AC. I believe the refrigerator is too cold for fragrances but better than excessive heat.
5. Keep your box because you might want to sell or trade your fragrance. Also the box will help protect the bottle from breaking or getting exposed to sunlight.
6. You can use the memo pad on your cell phone to list the notes in your fragrances in case anybody asks. It helps me when I shop because the sales associate doesn't always know. I also keep an inventory of how much I have remaining in a bottle in case I want to sell something. Also, I have a price list of how much per milliliter I would sell something for.
7. You can get little bottles with sprayers and a funnel to decant your fragrances to reapply them during the day. Carrying around the big bottle is kind of hard. This helps with longevity issues. Plus with small decants you can share with people. I've given people a teaspoon of this or that. It also makes inventory easy.
I could go on but I will spare you. Anyway I am newly registered and glad to become an official member after lurking around for so long. Basenotes has been an outstanding resource of information for me. I have been impressed by the civility of the members here even though they do not agree on some things. Some of the members here have vivid personalities and I sometimes think or even laugh at some of the things they have posted when I'm at work. Comparing my tastes in fragrances with theirs has helped me to discover things about myself. And now I'm off again to seek the Holy Grail!
Last edited by DonOlfacto; 1st April 2010 at 03:18 AM.
Welcome to Basenotes, DonOlfacto, and congrats on a good first post! Hope to see many more from you in the years to come. As a long time fragrance aficionado I particularly want to emphasize your first two points, especially for those new to fragrances.
By all means make your own decisions! Yes, there are many exceptional contributors to Basenotes, people with vast experience and wonderful noses. I am constantly amazed by how knowledgeable, intelligent, passionate, selfless, and just plain fun so many of our fellow members are. But please don't follow any advice or reviews blindly. Nothing can take the place of trying a fragrance for yourself. As you say, use the accumulated storehouse of knowledge on Basenotes as a guide, not as gospel truth.
There have many times when I have been surprised by trying a fragrance for myself after forming an opinion in advance based on reviews in the Basenotes directory or in the various forums. This is especially true for controversial fragrances or those with a lot of character. No matter how much you read, nothing comes close to experiencing the fragrance for yourself. It is like reading about food without tasting it or reading about music without listening to it. Let your nose be guided by others, but above all trust your own judgment!
Although I advocate Basenotes as the best overall and most useful perfume website, check out other sites as well. Each website has its own group of regular, strong contributors who help shape the general tenor of the site. Each site also has its own library of received knowledge about fragrances, which differs from site to site. Basenotes isn't the only site out there, and while it may be your first and best place to turn to for fragrance info, it has no monopoly over knowledge or useful opinions.
Spraying on a cardboard strip or even on your arm or hand does not replace actually wearing a fragrance. In my opinion, to fully assess a fragrance it must be applied and worn under normal circumstances, whether to work or to school or to a picnic or a dinner or to a show or a club. Yes, you can analyze and pick apart a fragrance by spraying it on your arm and sniffing it for hours, but you cannot get the overall effect, the total experience of the fragrance unless you use it as it was intended. I often get a different opinion of the character of a fragrance when I wear it, usually applied to my chest, than when I test it on my arm. Sometimes it is more enjoyable to see the forest rather than to examine leaves under a microscope!
Wearing is the best way to judge a fragrance, and wearing several times is better than once when trying to assess a fragrance. Sometimes it takes wearing a fragrance several times to get used to it, to figure it out. Your attitude may be different, the weather may be different, your response to the fragrance may be different. I would recommend giving any fragrance more than one chance. It isn't all that unusual to find that people sometimes grow to love a fragrance they initially disliked! So be patient and don't immediately write off fragrances because of reviews or because of one unsatisfactory wearing.
And a fragrance that you test and love, and therefore buy, in winter may smell very different in summer's heat!
Welcome, Don. I hope we aren't that scary. You certainly are organized. I don't keep a list of notes in my cell phone! I keep it mostly in my head, I guess. I just know if it has mimosa in it, it's a deal breaker. But you are well on the way to an enjoyable hobby, I can tell. It's nice to have a serious member like you.
Last edited by kumquat; 1st April 2010 at 01:25 AM.
See my blog; http://www.basenotes.net/blogs/2645-kumquat
Excellent first post, DonOlfacto. You've taken the time to research and have built yourself a great foundation of knowledge. Try not to let your newbie status as a perfume aficionado inhibit posting more frequently. Lurking will only take you so far and i'd love to hear more from someone as detailed as you.
Kudos to you and welcome to Basenotes!
Awesome first post. I will say with regards to decanting, I've never had great luck with funnels as they'll invariably have traces of the last fragrance on them. I just decant directly into small (5ml) atomizers.
Superior first post. Good work! Only comment from me: you're far too rational to fall in with this motley bunch. You'll notice that sensible, rational behavior goes out the window pretty quickly in the presence of "Oh my God, you won't believe the great deal I got on a 250 ml of 'Vintage Withdrawn And Now It's Worth A Fortune, and It's All Mine.'" Enjoy the calm before the craziness strikes. Welcome aboard!
Last edited by mrcologneguy; 3rd April 2010 at 01:36 PM.
Welcome! You've accumulated a lot of wisdom and knowledge while lurking. I couldn't agree more with your first three points. From there on, I feel like I'm reading those instruction sheets that tell us to change filters, clean parts, discard after expiration date, water plant twice weekly and fertilize once a week, keep your box, back up your files every day, and all those other admonitions that would take up all of our time and resources if we actually did them as instructed. Have fun!
Hi and welcome. Sounds like you have learned an awful lot here. It will be good to keep all this mind. Thank you for sharing.
Comparing my tastes in fragrances with theirs has helped me to discover things about myself.
I really relate to that part of your excellent post...welcome to Basenotes.... glad you stopped lurking!
Perhaps I am obsessive about the storage temperatures and scientific control measures and whatnot. Sorry, it's my nature to obsess on things. I wish I didn't throw away three of my boxes. It is pretty cool having the notes listed on the cell phone. I like to look at the notes when I'm out to see if I can detect any of them. And the little bottles are great because it has enabled me to share this hobby with friends.
I have an idea to take some little sample vials, sampler atomizers and some little amber bottles to the day room at work to collect donations for charity in exchange for fragrances. It will allow me to get rid of about six years worth of excess fragrance, introduce the people at work to some excellent frags at an accessable price and to raise some money for charities. It's a win, win, win for everybody. There will be no test strips or spraying. Just free sample vials that you can sniff or dab.
Last edited by DonOlfacto; 4th April 2010 at 05:04 AM.
Great idea and excellent first post! We need more lurkers like you to become active participants in the community.
That is a great first post! Welcome, I can tell you are off to a great start.
"The force that through the green fuse drives the flower // drives my green age..." Dylan Thomas
Welcome and what a great first- second post ! I enjoyed reading it !
Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 20th April 2010 at 11:31 PM.
Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
I wish I was better at retaining information. Half of the stuff I read I forget the following day :P
Hi Don,i' m new too in Basenotes and actually a kindergarden student in fragrance.I enjoyed reading your organising job about your beloved fragrances. I have some other funny habit : I dont sell parfume but always layer, very few times i were only one perfume( ok, some times disaster...) But this is why I need to know the notes to combin succesfully or many times i like to combin the bodylotion of the day( a cheaper one-the matching products of thw scent are usually very expensive).So when i buy the perfume i always stick a small tab on with the ingredients, usually on the bottom of the box.I amnot that experienced to recognise or remember all the notes-except sandalwood which I hate- but not even the SAs know them-mostly they know very few things about perfume at least here in Greece.I had another idea of keeping one small notebook in my purse and wright down the notes of the perfumes planning or dreaming to try, but your idea about the sell phone is much better.Thank you.