My Perfume Wardrobe by Basenotes Member fragranceman88

12th May, 2012

Fragranceman88 is based in Scotland. He may be relatively new to the game - he's only become seriously interested in perfume in the last couple of years - but in that short time he's already built up a well thought-out and enviable collection.

Without giving away too much of your identity, can you tell us a bit about yourself, what sort of life do you lead?

I lead a very busy life through my work and don’t get a lot of time off. I am a chef by trade and as such don’t have much of a social life, so that is why the friendships I have formed here on Basenotes are so important to me. When I do get time off, I love listening to and playing music and also playing golf. And, of course, fragrances!

What inspires me? Most things do actually. I hear certain music, I read a certain book or article, I see the sheer beauty in the human spirit. I like to think that I am a person that tries to see the world as a wonderfully beautiful place.

As a chef, how do you feel about gourmand fragrances? Good idea or do they mess with your head? Do you have to be careful what you wear when you are cook?

There aren’t really many fragrances that blur that line of being a chef and a perfumista - the only one I can think of is Hermèssence Ambre Narguilé. That first day I wore that to work - for about an hour , I was roaming the kitchen looking for someone cooking apple pies. It wasn’t until someone complimented me on my scent that I realised the apples I was smelling were coming off my skin. I found it hilarious!

When did you first become seriously interested in perfume?

The first time I seriously got into perfume was two Christmases ago - my auntie was flying home from Las Vegas and bought me a gift from the duty free. I smelled the scent - and instantly found that colognes didn’t have to be boring aquatics or old men smells - my first bottle of proper perfume was a Chanel - a very clean, lemony scent. It was Allure Homme Sport. From that moment on I’ve been going deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole - and I don’t want to come out.

There appears to be a distinct lack of marine/ ozonic notes in your collection. Do you tend to avoid the 'fresh' quality found in many men's fragrances?

Perhaps it’s because I live in Scotland (cold, wet weather) that I find ‘Aquatic’ or ‘Fresh’ scents are not great with the climate - that’s why you’ll see more autumn/wintery scents in my collection. I would say what I collect is more on the "dirtier" side of fragrances. I don’t actively set out to find perfumes like that, it’s just when I do the research and sample ‘fresh’ scents - they VERY RARELY meet my expectations. I would love to add some fresh/aquatics to my collection – I just haven’t found the right ones for me.

You are a professed Chanel No. 5 lover and belong to the Basenotes No. 5 Devotee Group - when is the best occasion for a guy to wear this?

Chanel No 5 - what can I say about this that hasn’t been said before? Chanel No 5 is the best scent ever produced in my view. It is unashamedly beautiful although some people call it a "granny scent" but that is exactly what I love about it. Back then everything was so much grander and more opulent than today (speaking in fragrance terms) - everything was richer. If you wore a scent back then it wasn’t just for doing the laundry - it was for an occasion and you had to have an incredibly momentous occasion to wear Chanel No 5. I just think of all the 1st dates, weddings, lustful nights people had wearing this scent.

No perfume can come close to the appeal of No. 5. Chanel No.5 is deadly in the wrong hands, you need to know where and how to wear No.5 otherwise it will end up wearing you. Speaking about males - unless you are a fanatical fan of No.5 then the EDT should only be worn – restrict yourself to 2/3 sprays.

I notice that you also belong to the Poison group on BN. Fragrance Expert Michael Edwards joked that in the 1980s you would see signs on restaurants that said 'No Dogs, No Poison!' But you've kept the faith - why?

Poison, Poison, Poison - If Chanel No 5 is my wife then Poison is my mistress. It is sexy, dark, voluptuous, heady, intoxicating. I have never come across anything like this scent. It is truly unique and I love her. She gets brought out when I want to release the demon inside me.

You invested in a bottle of Mona di Orio’s Le Nombres D'Or Oud and you have the Montale Black Aoud - they're both quite expensive, did you have to think about it a lot or are you good at budgeting for perfume?

When it comes to perfume’s price - price doesn’t factor into it for me. I am very fortunate in my life to have the money to allow extravagant purchases. At the end of the day you get what you pay for – I am by no means a fragrance snob - there are some truly fantastic scents out there at the lower end of the market, but for true olfactory experiences, you need to spend the money. I have never regretted ANY of my purchases on the basis of price. There have been one or two that I feel weren’t worth their price - but I still didn’t regret them. At the end of the day - we are all still learning. It’s just another lesson learned.

What do you think about the current craze for Oud? Good thing, or just an excuse to charge a hundred pounds more....?

Oud is a difficult subject - while I love oud, I think there aren’t many scents out there that are worth the oud name or price. Some perfume houses have just been jumping on the latest bandwagon to make money - some get it right, but most get it wrong. Too many companies are so uninventive with oud - they just pair it with rose and build on that. Oud and rose are good together - but almost everyone has done it. There are only three Ouds that I have come across that are worthy in my opinion: Montale Black Aoud, Mona Di Oro’s Oud and Bond No. 9 Harrods Swarovski Crystal Oud Edition.

You have a bottle of Voleur de Roses by L'Artisan Parfumeur - you’re not afraid of men wearning rose then?

Voleur de Roses – is just beautiful. It’s perfect - roses at their best. I think that males shouldn’t be afraid of feminine notes - roses being the biggest of these notes. There are scents that go too far for me, like Serge Lutens Sa Majesté la Rose, but Voleur de Roses it a great starting point if you want to sample a rose scent as a man.

Have you found that you have a favourite ingredient that you know you will always like in perfume?

My favourite ingredient - that is an incredibly difficult question for me to answer. If you look at my collection it goes very heavy on vanilla, violet, rose, oud, sandalwood. If you were to twist my arm for an answer - I would say patchouli. I find it ...mesmerising.

Talking of ingredients - Chanel No. 19 seems to be as 'green' as you get - is this something you would like to elaborate on?

Chanel No. 19 is one of my favourite perfumes ever - it is incredibly beautiful. The very first time I smelled this scent, I was transported to a damp woodland forest, with all the trees, the vegetation the flowers, and right at the forefront of the scent I got a HUGE hit of moss. Now, people who live in cities might not appreciate this aspect of the scent, but speaking as a boy who grew up around trees and farms, in the middle of nowhere, that scent is incredibly special to me because it reminds me of my childhood, which is fantastic.

You also have soft spot for that golden oldie, Aramis. Do you have to be in a certain mood to wear it?

Aramis is a great scent, a true classic - it doesn’t get the attention from me that it deserves, I’m afraid, but it is a very manly, professional scent – which is why I bought it. It is incredibly masculine and refined.

What gets you the most compliments out of all your perfumes?

Compliments - from males and females – I hate to be a cliché, but it’s got to be Creed's Aventus - a CLEAR winner. BY FAR - my most complimented scent.

We are going to send you to a Desert Island, if that's OK with you. You can choose which one and also take three fragrances with you. Which ones would they be and why?

On a desert island - most people might have to think about this one.... but I know instantly! My wife (Chanel No 5 parfum) because I need good memories. My Mistress (Vintage Poison) because I need to let the wild side out at times and the lady catcher Aventus (Just in case of a rescue ;-)).

Our thanks again to fragranceman88 for taking part. If you would like your perfume wardrobe featured, please message Lila Das Gupta.

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About the author: Lila Das Gupta

Lila Das Gupta is a London based journalist with an interest in all things olfactory. Lila also organises the Perfume Lover's London meet-up group.


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    • furrypine | 12th May 2012 19:53

      Great interview!

      Since you are a chef I have to ask if you have tried Lemon Cloud, developed by chef Roca of Cellar de Can Roca restaurant? It was an interesting concept, trying to capture a dessert in fragrance form.

    • fragranceman88 | 12th May 2012 20:31

      Never even hard of it, I must source it - thanks for the tip

    • knit at nite | 12th May 2012 22:59

      A wonderful read! Nice to get to know you better as well, fragranceman88

    • Indie_Guy | 13th May 2012 00:34

      Awesome interview! Nice job Fragranceman88. This was a great read. I especially liked your interesting thoughts on Chanel No. 5.

    • Veroniché | 17th May 2012 21:20

      Lovely and interesting interview. I especially liked the Poison part, as I do wear it at the same moments and for the same reason!

      Thank you for putting it into the words :smiley:

    • Kingpharroh | 17th May 2012 22:08

      This was a fantastic read. It's always interesting to get other perspectives on classic and new fragrances.

    • surge | 18th May 2012 14:48

      Great read, thank you :)