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  1. #1
    Basenotes Junkie slpfrsly's Avatar
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    Default Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    After reading many of the interesting responses in this thread - titled "Does you partner understand your addiction?" - it made me really curious to ask this question, but I didn't know if it was right posting it in that thread.

    I was struck by the range of responses to the idea of being addicted - some positive, some less so; several made with humour, some more written with a sense of shame.

    I definitely think that perfume/fragrance has the potential to be addictive - it encompasses so many facets of addiction, from the sense of anticipation which is key in creating that bond, to the sensory 'itch' that is scratched when trying something new/different. Add in the more social and cultural elements of simply buying what are, essentially, luxury goods, along with the prestige - real or imagined; historic or cynically cultivated - that perfume can denote, and it's easy to see how an addiction can blossom out of some sort of boredom or displacement. I've felt that pull myself at least twice when going through the process of discovering perfume, and it takes a conscious effort to not get sucked in to buying more than I need.

    So my question/topic is twofold really:

    1. Do you recognise that you might genuinely be addicted to one form of fragrance or another - buying, sampling, collecting etc.

    and perhaps the more important, more 'meaty' question...

    2. If you DO collect, I'd like to know a few things?
    - What is it that makes you collect perfumes? Do you know, are you aware of what 'drives' you towards fragrance over any other interest or collection?
    - Why? Why do you collect fragrance - do you just keep the perfume bottled up, rarely worn, on rotation? I think this is what I'm struggling with - the idea of 'having' something but fundamentally not using it for its purpose, which is to 'smell'.
    - What do you collect - what are the paramters; is it everything you 'love'; is there a conscious limit on the number of type of fragrance; is anything and everything you try?
    - How do you collect? The rudimentary part of that is how you go about buying/storing etc., but I think the more important aspect is how do you 'appreciate' them? Once bought and stored, how do you 'enjoy' them - or is it the thrill of the chase as much as anything else? Again, do you wear what you own?

    So, quite a few questions there, but would love to hear from collectors. I'm specifically thinking about anyone who has 10-15 bottles and upwards - where owning more than would be deemed within the excessive range of 'normal' spills over in to something different. Think the range of what drives people is what I'm most interested in - it seems basenotes is a broad church, and it's just interesting, as much as anything else, how different, or similar, the motivations and logic between people are.
    "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously."

  2. #2
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    Do you recognise that you might genuinely be addicted to one form of fragrance or another - buying, sampling, collecting etc.
    I have never considered myself addicted in any way to my fragrance passion. I have been collecting fragrances for over forty five years, not because I feel the need to, but because I want to, because it gives me pleasure and because I have the means to. That said, if I wanted to, I could stop tomorrow without a problem.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
    Mean spirited, nasty, snide, sarcastic, hateful, and rude individuals on Basenotes don't warrant or deserve my or other Basenoters' acknowledgement or respect.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie jkonick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Great thread idea! Interesting questions. I've always enjoyed collecting things - baseball cards when I was really young, then colored vinyl/rare records in high school, then for a while it was Nike SBs (I used to have about 30-40 pairs), then it was Japanese incense, now fragrances. In terms of your first question, I don't think there's any one note or type of fragrance that drives my collecting habits. My various collections are related only by my pleasure in building them. I also like learning languages (I speak, to varying degrees of fluency, English, French, Spanish, Italian, German, Mandarin Chinese and Japanese), and have always enjoyed "collecting" new words, grammatical structures, etc. You should see my stash of Chinese flash cards!

    To answer your second set of questions:

    - What is it that makes you collect perfumes? I think I addressed that above, but generally speaking I just enjoy collecting things, discovering new variations of things, etc. I may or may not follow 4-5 Oreo accounts on Instagram just so I can be sure to be up on the latest limited edition flavor release (peppermint bark just came out today!)

    - Why? Why do you collect fragrance - do you just keep the perfume bottled up, rarely worn, on rotation? I currently have about 45 bottles, and I try to keep them all in fairly even rotation. I usually wear a SOTD and SOTE and I layer a lot, so all my bottles get put to use. About once a week I'll go through and smell all of them individually - just take off the cap and smell the atomizer. It's a fun little ritual I enjoy going through, and it keeps me from forgetting about anything for too long.

    - What do you collect I'm always on the lookout for vetiver and leather scents, which are my two favorites it seems. But I'm also a "collector of opportunity" so to speak, and will buy stuff randomly if I come across a good deal. That's how I ended up with a vintage bottle of Roger et Gallet Oeillet Bleu - not into vintage stuff at all, and it's really not my kind of scent, but I found it at Goodwill for $1.99 so... why not! I'd say if I had to characterize my collection, it's generally focused around cheapies/testers, mostly designer with some niche decants thrown in here and there. I like niche but my budget doesn't allow me to explore those houses as much as, say Lalique - a house from which I own five fragrances.

    - How do you collect? I keep all my fragrances out on a shelf in my room. Although I have a fair number and no plans to slow down my acquisitions (budget allowing), I'm not really interested in keeping them as "pieces." I buy fragrances because I like wearing them. I don't save boxes/packaging at all, mostly because of space considerations, but also just because I like having them easily accessible. I wouldn't collect fragrances if I didn't enjoy wearing them, just as I collected incense, sneakers, records, etc, because they were items I enjoyed using on a daily basis.

    All in all, I don't see my collecting habits as a negative, or an "addiction." It's just an aspect of my personality, and a fun hobby.
    "To 'give style' to one's character-- a great and rare art!" - Nietzsche

    "I got my own style; you put my shoes on, you wouldn't last a mile" - Mac Dre

  4. #4

    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    During my life I've collected many things, from cigar bands, stamps, badges to books, 50's- and 60's design things and art glass...one can call it obsessive or addictive: currently I think it might be a mild form of Asperger disease or some other autism spectrum disorder...?
    Currently wearing: Chergui by Serge Lutens

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Addiction is a rather strong word...

    I started collecting after I read a book and then got interested. I like to smell things and learn.
    I use the perfumes, but with a collection of 200+, each bottle gets used very rarely, if ever.
    I collect stuff that I really like. And a few because they are historical references, even if I'm not a big fan.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Not addicted just enjoy smelling good and standing out, I know for a fact I would not want to stank like people I come across on a daily basis. The fragrances I do enjoy I am regularly backing up not due to addiction just for reassurance that they will be available to me if something should happen to them ever.

    Wife says I have a collector personality ha, I enjoy having unique and rare things I have a cd collection as well of things I can’t stream. Rarity is an attraction to me as is having a piece of art.
    Current Top Favorites

    Azzaro Azzaro Pour Homme
    Guerlain L’Instant De Guerlain Pour Homme EDP
    Chanel Egoiste
    Chanel Allure Homme Edition Blanche EDP
    Guerlain Heritage EDT
    Guerlain Habit Rouge EDT
    Christian Dior Dior Homme EDT
    Ralph Lauren Polo
    Currently wearing: Sauvage by Christian Dior

  7. #7
    Wearing Perfume Right Now
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    What is it that makes you collect perfumes?

    Curiosity, joy, amusement.

    Do you know, are you aware of what 'drives' you towards fragrance over any other interest or collection?

    The value of fragrances - they last for years. And they're like magic potions.

    Why? Why do you collect fragrance - do you just keep the perfume bottled up, rarely worn, on rotation? I think this is what I'm struggling with - the idea of 'having' something but fundamentally not using it for its purpose, which is to 'smell'.

    It's a problem.

    What do you collect - what are the parameters; is it everything you 'love'; is there a conscious limit on the number of type of fragrance; is anything and everything you try?

    I want epic masterpieces. And to wear them with abandon. Burning through them like I only live once. I limit myself by trying to be realistic about whether a fragrance could break into the rotation. Something getting wearings ahead of vintage Chanel Pour Monsiuer would need to be some epic juice.

    How do you collect? The rudimentary part of that is how you go about buying/storing etc., but I think the more important aspect is how do you 'appreciate' them? Once bought and stored, how do you 'enjoy' them - or is it the thrill of the chase as much as anything else? Again, do you wear what you own?

    I buy on eBay. I store fragrances in a jelly cabinet and backups in a box in a closet. Samples are in envelopes by house in shoe boxes in a closet. I enjoy them by wearing them, talking about them frequently, taking pictures of them, decanting samples and sending them to people, putting them on and riding an endorphin rush, lots of conversations about how great the perfumes smell. That sort of thing. I've had perfume parties where people come over and we do a bunch of sampling.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    For me, I realised I was addicted when I would obsess over a fragrance until I bought it. Then, once I had it, I'd immediately forget about it and start obsessing over a different fragrance. Rinse and repeat.

    I'd think nothing of spending sometimes £600 in one month on fragrances. I also wouldn't feel any buyers remorse or guilt in spending such huge amounts on fragrance in such a short time. The next month I might spend another £500.

    This fast accumulation of bottles quickly leads to having a large collection. Though, I don't consider myself a collector. The large collection is simply a by-product of the addiction.

    I don't collect for any house. I wouldn't buy a fragrance I dislike just because it's from a house I'm collecting. I only buy stuff I like.

    Everything is stored in a dark cupboard and I wear something almost every day. I wear whatever I feel like wearing, regardless of season, occasion, time of day, clothes I'm wearing, lunar cycle etc etc.

    Over the last few months, I've really gotten the addiction under control. There's been a few things I've seen for sale that I would've jumped on if this was a year ago. That being said, I do regret not buying one or two of them.

  9. #9
    Basenotes Junkie
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Great OP, very well structured questions. I have an addictive personality , which is why I wrote the post you alluded to. Thanks for asking these questions, I hope it brings some insightful responses. I think most of us are fascinated with what makes collectors of any kind tick and what motivates them etc..
    Currently wearing: Havana by Aramis

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Wonderful OP, and well conceived as Joe Kilroy just pointed out.

    I know I'm an anomally among all BNers. I'm not a collector in any regard. I did without fragrances for 50 years. I do not have a very good nose. I hate to spend money. I don't like clutter or excess. No addiction here.

    I simply found out there's more to the world than sight, sound, taste, and touch -- there are symphonies of scent if one can access them.

    For me, fragrance is like nutrition, exercise, good sleep -- a healthy pursuit that gives me a better attitude. I'm sorry if some here suffer internal struggle with a sense of shopping addiction. I'm sure it can be quite real and painful.
    I don't want to. I don't have to. You can't make me. I'M RETIRED.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    it just makes life a bit more bearable -- knowing that before I set off for work, I will be choosing a fab fragrance to wear for the day

    addiction is difficult to judge -- I don't foam at the mouth if I haven't purchased a new fragrance in a month or a couple of months

    I also buy 'on foot' in the stores, so I like seeing what is out there and indulging in some perfume 'banter' on occasions

  12. #12

    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    I knew I was addicted when I started snorting my colognes instead of spraying. lol

    Seriously though I think for me it's all about the buzz of desiring and then the anticipation of waiting until you have the thrill of spraying your desired scent. Blind buying for example is kind of like the buzz the gambler gets in taking a chance and see if you get the pay off. If I was a scientist I probably be talking about the pleasure centers in the brain awarding you for certain actions as chemicals are released. But I'm not so I won't go there. lol
    "There's No School Like The Old School."

    My Current Favorites

    1. Antiquity By Areej le Dore
    2. Musk Cologne By Bortnikoff
    3. Pegwell Bay By Haeckels
    4. Sahraa Oud By Fragrance Du Bois

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Great topic. I'm sure that there's a lot of addictive behavior involved on any hobby. But let me interest you in the idea that most of us might have a more developed sense of smell than other people. People collect art since stimulate their creative and visual parts of the brain, other people likes music since get a particular part of their brains stimulated. The sense of smell has always been the stepchild of all the senses. I cannot speak for most people on this forum, but for me, smelling a good fragrance, is equal to watching a great piece of art or listening to great music. I derive a lot of pleasure in doing so, trying to discover what ingredients were used, how do they react together, what was going to the perfumers mind when they created it.
    And yes there's the "addictive part", dopamine releasing, of the hunt for the next great fragrance, the wait and so on.
    Currently wearing: Déclaration by Cartier

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    No true addict will ever admit to his addiction.

    I don’t have a fragrance collection, just an oversized wardrobe as one might have with clothes. I find it somewhat analagous to buying clothes, they look great when you tried them at the store but somehow didn’t look so hot a few months later or don’t quite fit certain social occasions. So you go and try out more outfits, buy the ones you fancy, etc. Of course you also keep those with classic or timeless styles: that crisp white shirt, navy suit, polished dark oxfords, etc. A fragrance wardrobe is similarly built but here’s the kicker: you can sample fragrances much more easily than you can with clothes.
    “...too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty.” - Robin Sharma

  15. #15

    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    I may be slightly addicted to shopping, but I'm not a hoarder of purchases. I love giving stuff away. The buzz of acquisition is an issue for me, but so far it hasn't got me in trouble.

    Truthfully, I struggle when I vow to take a month off buying scents, so yeah, there's an addiction there. I do think I have a mental governor that slows my roll when I'm getting out of hand.

    I guess an addiction causes real damage in your life, so I don't really see that. Could more money go toward my 401K? Yep, but 7% goes straight out of my paycheck before I lay a finger on it.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    1. Not recognizing nor ware of anything addictive and/or addictive so far, especially since (perhaps against appearances even) most fragrances used and/or owned did cost and did require much less non-monetary resources, inputs, contributions etc. than expected as well.
    This being said, a few very select fragrances from the current lineup may have or may even further get additional backups and/or vintage (s) at some point, but even here only to a very finite and still quite affordable finite amount of total bottles.

    2. In more or less direct relation to the first question, did never or hardly ever intentionally collect any fragrance per se-unless being so amazed, impressed and smitten by a fragrance, did consider it way to good for not owning and regularly using a (near) lifetime supply of it.
    But even this may not be so much neither a traditional nor a full scale/sized collection per se, as much as the sheer joy and excitement to wear several select few fragrances in large, nearly limitless amounts (even with no over-spraying but with more moderate, reluctant amounts used) as often as possible.
    Currently wearing: Rochas Man by Rochas

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dallas.com View Post
    let me interest you in the idea that most of us might have a more developed sense of smell than other people. People collect art since stimulate their creative and visual parts of the brain, other people likes music since get a particular part of their brains stimulated. The sense of smell has always been the stepchild of all the senses. I cannot speak for most people on this forum, but for me, smelling a good fragrance, is equal to watching a great piece of art or listening to great music. I derive a lot of pleasure in doing so, trying to discover what ingredients were used, how do they react together
    This sounds right. It occupies a part of the brain that is so happy to be engaged - smelling fragrances - trying to put smells into words; essentially experimenting on myself everyday - seeing how I'll react to spraying, or dabbing, these liquids.

  18. #18
    Basenotes Junkie slpfrsly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Quote Originally Posted by hednic View Post
    I have never considered myself addicted in any way to my fragrance passion. I have been collecting fragrances for over forty five years, not because I feel the need to, but because I want to, because it gives me pleasure and because I have the means to. That said, if I wanted to, I could stop tomorrow without a problem.
    Thanks for the reply hednic. I suppose you're quite infamous on this site for having a sizeable collection, so would you be willing to share more about the 'pleasure' side of collecting? What keeps driving you to pursue new purchases, does sampling new releases still bring the same pleasure as it did 20-30 years ago? Or perhaps more?

    Glad to hear you're not addicted as well!
    "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously."

  19. #19
    Basenotes Junkie slpfrsly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Quote Originally Posted by jkonick View Post
    Great thread idea! Interesting questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Kilroy View Post
    Great OP, very well structured questions.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quarry View Post
    Wonderful OP, and well conceived as Joe Kilroy just pointed out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dallas.com View Post
    Great topic.
    Thanks everyone, glad you liked it. Some really great responses so far - a nice mix, as I hoped for!
    "Colourless green ideas sleep furiously."

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Collectors: what, why, & how; and do you ever think you might be 'addicted'?

    Quote Originally Posted by slpfrsly View Post
    1. Do you recognise that you might genuinely be addicted to one form of fragrance or another - buying, sampling, collecting etc.

    and perhaps the more important, more 'meaty' question...

    2. If you DO collect, I'd like to know a few things?
    - What is it that makes you collect perfumes? Do you know, are you aware of what 'drives' you towards fragrance over any other interest or collection?
    - Why? Why do you collect fragrance - do you just keep the perfume bottled up, rarely worn, on rotation? I think this is what I'm struggling with - the idea of 'having' something but fundamentally not using it for its purpose, which is to 'smell'.
    - What do you collect - what are the paramters; is it everything you 'love'; is there a conscious limit on the number of type of fragrance; is anything and everything you try?
    - How do you collect? The rudimentary part of that is how you go about buying/storing etc., but I think the more important aspect is how do you 'appreciate' them? Once bought and stored, how do you 'enjoy' them - or is it the thrill of the chase as much as anything else? Again, do you wear what you own?.
    1. "Addicted" would be the wrong word, I think. I have moderate <cough> obsessive/compulsive tendencies that I express via acquisition/collection. Throughout my life, I've collected various things, including music, clothing/shoes, and now frags.

    2a. All my collecting serves as a distraction from other, less entertaining things on which I might better spend my money and time. Fragrances in particular caught my attention by stimulating a sense I'd largely neglected. That was the visceral side. Then, I started researching the fragrances that intrigued me, which engaged my intellect. Now I'm stuck, dammit.

    2b. I can't very well wear them all at once. Nevertheless, I absolutely intend to wear them, and if I discover I don't enjoy wearing some, then I'll send those back out into the world where someone who would get better use of them can find them. I don't want to just look at the bottles.

    2c. I'm most interested in two "poles": vintage fragrances from a time when perfumers were less restricted in the use of materials I like, as well as in the commercial expectations attached to their art and craft; and current "artisanal" perfumery, which continues those aspects of vintage fragrance that appeal to me, but with a contemporary sensibility. That's not to say I can't enjoy a commercial people-pleaser—I love Terre d'Hermès, for cryin' out loud, and many of today's vintage frags were once mainstream (or trying to be)—but my tastes have always been a tad esoteric.

    2d. Part of it is shopping for sport—a bargain is a "win," with the added bonus of making utterly frivolous expenditures feel practical. I'm still working on the display aspect: I'd rather not hide them in a dark closet, but neither do I care to put them in the living room to strike fear into the hearts of my houseguests. Then there's the process of trying them, which is one of the greater pleasures. I still have too many untested fragrances to be thinking much about rotations, but with any luck, I'll get there. And of course, there's sharing the experience, and sometimes the fragrances, with like-minded folk such as yourselves.




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