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  1. #1
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    Default Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    It's about 15 months since I started collecting fragrances. I started in August of last year with Cool Water (a fragrance I had a very small bottle of years ago. It was the only fragrance I knew, aside from my dad's Polo Blue, which I liked as well. I started collecting cheapies such as Nautica Blue, BOD Man's, Adidas colognes, Tag and Axe sprays, putting an emphasis on quantity rather than quality.

    One day I decided, I was going to discard (what I could not sell on ebay) all of those cheap bottles which I was growing tired of and get myself a "real cologne". I went to Lord and Taylor, at a table of literally 50 colognes, and I stood there and tried them all.

    First mistake, I wasn't aware of the fact that fragrances can be completely different from top notes to basenotes, so I shallowly judged them. My top two favorites of all of them were Drakkar Noir and Fahrenheit. I decided on Drakkar Noir since it was cheaper and paid $65 retail for it. Back then, I wasn't aware that I could probably have gotten a legitmate Drakkar for $40 online, and I should have just spent $20 more on the Fahrenheit

    I used to think Drakkar Noir was the king of all colognes until I examined many fragrances further and saw that Drakkar (to me) was decent, but nothing special. Around that time I joined basenotes and saw I how much I really had to learn. Then in December came Eternity and Fahrenheit, the latter I only recently found out to be a fake from ebay. Early 2012, I started buying best sellers like Acqua Di Gio and Le Male, simply because I heard they were compliment getters and best sellers.

    I still have those colognes and I still like them a lot, though I've expanded my tastes. For a while after that I started falling into basenote hype and buying fragrances simply because of the positive reviews on the forums. And I would justify even fragrances that I wasn't crazy about, for the fact that I paid for it and the more prominent members of the community liked it.

    Then I decided to be more careful with what I buy. I would only buy what I truly liked. I would order dozens of samples online (since I could try them at my own convenience rather than going to the mall daily). When I am out, I would sample fragrances on my skin rather than just on the card.

    But I should get to the point.

    It's been under a year and I already learned more about fragrances than many people in the hobby learn in 2 or 3. But is that an accomplishment? Not really. That sense of wonder and discovery I had when I first went to that department store and tried those colognes had been long gone. I can't say right now that I feel hollow and empty. I'm actually very optimistic. I'm happy that I can enjoy this hobby with more clarity for the rest of my life.

    In pursuit of this hobby, I sacrificed a lot of hobbies that I used to enjoy to focus it all on this one.

    I basically planned to learn everything I could about fragrances in one-years time. That's the obsessive impatient side of me I guess, and I'm sure there are others in this community who are or were in a rush to get out of that state of being a newcomer who knew nothing of fragrances. But that is not the most efficient way to do it!

    My advice for many of you basenoters: Take things slowly!

    To me, I had weeks where fragrances were the only thing I cared about, and it was the only thing that was going well in my life. So I put all my eggs in that basket and ignored the others. Recently, in this fall season, i have made my fragrance hobby as something I enjoy doing on the side rather than a daily hobby that takes up most of my free time. Never let your hobby be a priority over your family and friends. I haven't had any time to visit my younger sisters and some of my friends, yet I had all the time in the world to read up on the next big fragrance release. I do wish I had spread all of this out in a few years. I wouldn't say I'm completely burnt out, but a little jaded. And it seems like the right time to put fragrance collecting on the backburner. But I'll still always keep it as a hobby. Just not intensive - but rather laid back.

    I'll be on this Earth for plenty of years. I'll have all the time I need for this hobby, over time. Never set a due date on something that doesn't have to be finished soon.

    I'm as pumped up as ever to try new fragrances and build up my collection. I'm equally as enthusiastic. Just more prudent about it. And in better perspective of where it stands, in my life as a whole.

    It's really hard to develop a meaningful opinion on a fragrance (or anything in a short unit of time). I used to think that if I can examine a fragrance for hours on one day, that I could have that permanent judgment my whole life. Even if you tested a fragrance 15 times in one week, you still can't be sure about what you'll think of it in a year from now. You will save a lot of money by not making frivolous purchases of fragrances you haven't given enough time to judge. You will have more to look forward to.

    And this applies to niche. I see niche as an entirely new journey. Just a macrocosm of what the designer journey was. I tried a lot of Bond, a few Creeds, but that's really it. In October, I planned a giant niche tour where I would be in NYC sampling niche weekly with many different people. But now I see niche as an entirely new clean start. One that I can explore without making any of the blemishes and mistakes I did in my designer journey. With niche being less available to test and four times as expensive, mistakes are costly. So what I probably will do is stick to designers.

    Better to savor through it, than race through it.

    I will let time stabilize and solidify my judgments and opinions.

    Just a word to the wise.

    Thanks,

    Noir Drakkar

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    An interesting account, Noir Drakkar. Certainly nothing wrong with slowing things down and being able to savor the journey... I encourage you (and others) to explore the vintage designer stuff over time. There are still many hidden gems I am sure you have not found as yet that still sell at relatively low prices (many less than the current designer releases). Even in the niche world there are some houses like Parfums de Nicolai and Slumberhouse that offer relatively good bang for the buck (without sacrificing quality)... In any case, enjoy your continuing gradual fragrance journey while you save time to enjoy other things along the way.
    Current Top Favorites:
    1) Portrait of a Lady original formula (EdP Frédéric Malle)
    2) Giorgio for Men vintage/V.I.P. for Men (Giorgio Beverly Hills)
    3) Dia Man vintage edt (Amouage)
    4) Les Nombres d'Or Vetyver (Mona di Orio) - tie
    4) Lalfeorosa (O'driù) - tie

    6) Anat Fritz Original Formula and Classical (Anat Fritz)
    7) Captain vintage (Molyneux)
    8) Tzora (Anat Fritz)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    I understand where your coming from ND and good for you. Thanks for sharing with us.
    I'm not OLD...I'm VINTAGE!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Good advice, ND. You say many wise things there. Hopefully new perfumista/os can learn from your experience.

    Hey- is there a thread dedicated to "the most important thing I can say to a new fragrance lover"? I guess most people would just say sample, sample, sample, but who knows?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Sounds like you are my fragrance brother. Goodness. I guess many of us here at BN have walked the same path. I completely agree with you, take it slowly. Thanks for the solid advice.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    I have always felt that everyone must proceed at one's own pace.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    First, thank you for your thoughts. Very well-written and heartfelt. I can identify with some of the points you noted. Well done.
    Re: Avatar-So are they whats known as subwoofers?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    It's a journey. Not a race. Too much knowledge may also interfere with your enjoyment of a fragrance, turning one into a grouchy critic instead of a perfume lover.

    Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Very nice read. I'm glad that you are spending more time with friends and family rather than letting obsession with a hobby take over. Sometimes we have to realize that these are just fragrances, nothing more =P.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your realization of taking it slow as well. I've gone through too many impulse buys because I enjoyed a sample or a tester at a department store.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    i recently started getting into fragrances and sampling them is fun and addicting!

  11. #11
    Basenotes Member jernie19's Avatar
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Nice share. I can somewhat relate to your story. I'm still very new to the world of fragrances, and just started collecting recently. But since I'm only 23, I know I have all the time I need to learn the ropes. It's important to realize that it is just a hobby, an interest, and it should never replace the more important stuff like family and career. There's also no need to build a huge collection in a short period of time (as we are tempted to do).

    You're right, we really should take it slowly and just relish on the journey in the world of perfumes.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Thanks for posting. In fact, I guess that fragrances (bought, tested, experienced etc. at any pace), at lest in some cases, "only get better with time". Not talking about expiry dates here, though even these are quite misrepresented, no, I mean something entirely different here. As one becomes more accustomed to a specific fragrance, the sensation of scented joy and fulfillment only heightens, often quite the opposite of the compulsive, "serial buyer", who is never satisfied and needs to be constantly overspending. No, in fact a fragrance starts, as time passes by, to better interact with skin chemistry, to be easier to be matched with outfits, to be appreciated far more on its own and far less because of the hype, plus the possible pleasant memories originating from it etc.

    Thus, I guess one needs to simple "give time" to the fragrances owned/liked/tested and allow oneself to settle, to be rediscovered on separate occasions, to develop a more personal opinion about it and more.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Temperance. I like it. Being absolutely brand new to fragrances I thank you for your sound advice. Now if all those online boutiques would quit sending me those 15% off entire purchase coupons and free shipping with orders over $75 then perhaps I could exercise some. LOL.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Very interesting thoughts and sound advice. Thank you for sharing

  15. #15

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Thank you for taking the time to summarize your experience in such a thoughtful way!

    I have found out that I cannot form an opinion (at least not a reliable one) about a fragrance by testing it only at a store. I prefer to get samples or even even a small decant and actually wear it for a while. More often than not, I realize that a sample is all I need of a particular fragrance. I still buy the occasional bottle that I end up not really using, but this strategy helps minimize impulsive purchases. The downside is that samples can become expensive, too.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Last edited by Buysblind; 19th December 2012 at 08:03 PM.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    My first cologne was Drakkar Noir, I found it on my sisters dresser. When I tried it on I was blown away. It my be considered cheap but I like it and would recommend it to anyone just starting out and who is strapped for cash.

    I now find my self craving higher end, more exotic colognes; not for the status symbol of buying high dollar fragrances but simply because I don't want to smell like you or him...

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_Russell View Post
    Thanks for posting. In fact, I guess that fragrances (bought, tested, experienced etc. at any pace), at lest in some cases, "only get better with time". Not talking about expiry dates here, though even these are quite misrepresented, no, I mean something entirely different here. As one becomes more accustomed to a specific fragrance, the sensation of scented joy and fulfillment only heightens, often quite the opposite of the compulsive, "serial buyer", who is never satisfied and needs to be constantly overspending. No, in fact a fragrance starts, as time passes by, to better interact with skin chemistry, to be easier to be matched with outfits, to be appreciated far more on its own and far less because of the hype, plus the possible pleasant memories originating from it etc.

    Thus, I guess one needs to simple "give time" to the fragrances owned/liked/tested and allow oneself to settle, to be rediscovered on separate occasions, to develop a more personal opinion about it and more.
    Agreed. There are fragrances I bought that I didn't like at first, but then grew on me. Then again, if I look at the hundreds of fragrances in the store that I rejected, maybe some of those could have ended up to be my all-time favorites too. But I guess it's optimality that matters more than perfection.

    I'm eventually going to go niche. But I want to finish my designer collection first.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Thanks for the great advice

  20. #20

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    I have always felt that everyone must proceed at one's own pace.
    + 1. I don't mind racing through them all that much, to be honest lol.

  21. #21
    Basenotes Junkie SirNosebleed's Avatar
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    I think the key is to resist buying full bottles....sample first then buy large decants if you really like something.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Very interesting read. Valuable lessons learned as I am somewhat at the beggining of my journey w/ fragrances. Thank you for sharing.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Great thread. And this is good advice. I thought there was no way to really "try" a perfume without a free sample from a shop or by buying the whole bottle (some of these are crazy-pricey!).

    But, I just learned about "decants" and being able to find small amounts to buy for much less.

    One question, though - I know of Perfumed Court. Is there another site like it where you can buy decants? How else would you go about getting them? Do fragrance houses have them?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    To answer your question, there are facebook groups where people sell decants.

    If you buy 4 or 5 samples, then it's economical.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Word To The Wise (my advice to newer fragrance collectors)

    Yes, I agree, take your time. Otherwise you will burn out quickly. I plan to take it slow this year and revisit some of the more ignored samples and decants of my collection.

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