Thursday, May 19, 2011

Which Type of Perfume Collector Are You?

Among the perfume aficionados set you will find several types: The "I follow only fragrances costing upper of 300$ a pop or hard-to-get niches launched only in Rovianemi"; the "I worship at the shrine of Trish-au-four and everything else is just dog crap stuck on his sole"; the "Give me a good thick unwearable woody emblazoned with oud on the label and I'm set"; the "I chuckle through my fine mustaches as I drive thousands of people to sample expensive things which I semi-loathe, but they're the newest thing and I have to try it out first, don't I".

There are other less aggressive or opinionated ~take your pick~ types as well; from the well meaning housewife who is now living vicariously through her perfume cabinet (brandishing Bandit here and unleashing Fracas there), hidden underneath the mementos of her children who flew the nest for worthwhile pursues of their own (who knows, they might in turn hide a perfume cabinet underneath their university dorm sink!) or the businessman who is hearing tirades on software all day long and relaxes at home with a good old glass of whiskey and a dab of vintage Vetiver on his dressing gown. There is the fashionista type who collects all the latest designer fragrances building a collection, which hard-edge members of specialized fora might sneer at, but who knows her Dolce The One from her Chanel Coco Mademoiselle down pat and can give you a mean advice or two on how to pick stuff for gifts. A subset of that one displays her wares proudly on her dresser, to the amazement of all her friends who ask "do you use all that stuff?" like a clueless person would ask a wine collector whether they drink all that stuff.

There is also the seasoned kind of perfume collector who has become a bit bored with one's self over the years, constantly weeding stuff from the fragrance wardrobe, but at the same time continuously lured in by novelties that promise to be the revolution of the industry in a bottle or by unmissable bargains on an old standby which -guess what- won't be available that much longer.

There is the eager novice who desires to partake of the holy sacraments with an urgency approaching that of hysteria, yet feels unworthy deep down, trying to manipulate himself into liking a revered fragrant beast like Mitsouko instead of vice versa.
There is even the mock perfumista who posts on discussion boards about acquisitions but in reality hasn't even opened one bottle of perfume, setting them on the side for profitable meta-selling when the drive for the elusive has reached improportionate heights. And surely, there are uncharted waters which I might have missed.

Which is YOUR type?

mini perfumes tray collection via 1950s Atomic Ranch House and of bottles collection via Through my Eyes Beauty


  1. annemariec11:57

    Well, I'm not sure I am any of those types. I fluctuate wildly between cheap and mainstream, and moderately expensive niche and indie stuff (I cannot afford the really high end). In both my working and domestic lives I have to be well-organised, rational, careful, orderly etc. So my perfume life is where I get to play. I don't have a regime of following a particular note, or house, or perfumer. Or not for very long anyway.

    I do have to be careful with money, and that discipline is good. I mean, where is the fun, ultimately, in being able to buy whatever you like when you like?

  2. You missed the unashamable CPA (Celebrity Perfume Addict). That's me:)

  3. Hmmm, a subtype of the seasoned perfumista. A collector who wears everything in her collection (not a bottle hoarder) but has a few backup bottles of some rare vintage goodies. Who saves up to buy a few full bottles of carefully selected vintage, classic or niche fragrances each year to add to the collection, but buys and splits plenty of new releases as well. The latter allows me the pleasure of wearing many different fragrances without spending a fortune on full bottles.

  4. Mimi G16:32

    I think I've become a wild card perfume harlot really. I weed things out I fall out of love with and then inevitably fall back in love with again. Anything 'perfume' in a bottle makes me first.

  5. dleep16:37

    My perfume collection comes from the drug store, high end department stores, indie perfume sites. I'm all over the place. If I like the smell, I buy it. It doesn't matter where it comes from.

  6. Me? I just love perfume, that's all. Niche, mainstream, celebrity, there's great stuff in all categories. And my collection reflects that.

  7. You failed to list two categories: the ooh, shiny person who goes for whatever appeals to their whim, and the bargainista. I'm a combination of both, being totally happy when I snatch a bottle of somehting obscure for five euros, and then I just absolutely had to have something for 400 euros.
    I don't have a system. I grab things I like and I use them up depending on my moods. And yeah, damn, sometimes I do wear Chanel 46 or Guerlain's Fleur de Feu - because I can.

  8. Rappleyea16:57

    I've worn and loved good perfume since a very early age, and I now enjoy my small collection of vintage beauties. I have bought a few more recent niche and indie scents, and thanks to generous perfume buddies, I manage to eventually smell most of the new releases. But I wore Je Reviens extrait when it contained actual real wild narcissus, so you know where this is going... I just can't appreciate the aroma chemicals over the real thing so purchases of new scents are few and far between, Diaghilev being the most recent to tempt me.

    Also, collections of anything make me break out in hives - I'm more of a clean out and get rid of it type of person. Too many bottles and I find I'm not enjoying my perfumes as much.

    BTW, great reviews down below!

  9. Anonymous17:43

    Disteza here, and I'll go for the shameless aesthete type of perfumista. If it's beautiful to me, I'll collect it; price points be d@mned! I do an awful lot of sampling to find the really beautiful ones though--there's a heck of a lot of weeding out you have to do to get to the really fabulous stuff.

  10. Anonymous17:53

    I'm trying for the past two years to minimize my perfume wardrobe. Without any succes I must add. Last month I took a sentimental journey which gave me Grey Flannel, Zino, Aramis Devin and Joop! Homme, a few old-time favorites. On the other hand I discovered Atelier Colonge and couldn't resist to buy Grand Neroli and Trefle Pur. I'm always on the look-out for new releases but I really want to settle down and have a signature scent, maybe something from By Killian or Tauer?

  11. I really have no distinct style. In the past, I've been more of an impulse type. I've noticed that I tend to avoid celebrity scents and what is popular at this very time. I've gotten more frugal and a little more selective. Now it seems like I don't want full bottles so much but decants (less guilt)

  12. I am the Hungry Perfume Writer. I can justify purchases (samples OR bottles) as somewhat of a "business" expense, because I want to experience it and write about it (the justification IS sort of lame). I don't go for reviewing the latest thing all the time, I just don't have the desire to keep up with every new release. But when I find a perfume, perfumer or house that I really love, I have been known to go ape and try to acquire as much as possible from them (at least to sample). I am driven by passion and enthusiasm, and while I'm not as experienced or knowledgeable as some (read: you), I'm getting there. My brain (and senses) are a sponge, and expanding quickly.

  13. Fiordiligi20:13

    Vintage for me, as you know! I do love my beautiful bottles, too.

    Occasionally I will find a new, modern masterpiece but really, it will only be for me if it has that vintage feel.

  14. ElizabethC20:15

    I am a mix of the "I just really love the way it smells" and the "perfume librarian" collector. I love it if there is some sort of historical or creative story behind the scent. While my main concern is that the scent makes me happy, I will every now and then (if the price is right) get a scent simply for its uniqueness, oddness or history. Thus my recent purchase of Bandit.

  15. Anonymous20:39

    I buy anything I like except for uber expensive. Some I buy decants or partial bottles.

    But honestly, nothing tempts me right now. I have enough to choose from, like a fragrance library, and I will never use up what I have.

    OTOH, there might be something I can't live without, and that will be good too.

  16. Anonymous22:14

    I'm a perfume-Ho! :)

  17. Anonymous23:41

    Hey dee I'm with you! Srysly though,I have become a *certified* collector, thrilled with seeking out everything and worried about missing something lovely. I have to wear it all, and despite telling myself regularly that I 'must' sell off the 'mehs', I have yet to take steps!

  18. yvreee23:43

    I am a newbie trying to maintain "control"..yeah its a funny thing...but I find it so interesting to see so many different types of perfumnistas/collectors and have realized that it is good to know what gives you the most enjoyment. I think I like to keep my collection "active"..minus samples which are for reference. But "my obsessive way" is taken to organizing and keeping samples what I long for are full bottles of what I love, regardless! Designer, vintage or niches and have accepted that a decant will only be a temporary fix..I am trying to not hold onto decants for too long..either I try to use it or take a sample then pass it along. For me the decants can get more out of control than bottles..and "bog down" my pleasure..but are necessary before FB committment sometimes...I get overwhelmed with the choices (how horrible:) I do admit to hoarding a couple scents I used to wear "back when", most now dc'd is totally an emotional attachment to old friends.

  19. Anonymous00:21

    Hi E,

    I love fragrances so much. I am a niche scent lover. I would say my collection is probably 90% niche. Some are expensive, some are cheap and some are in between.

    The other 10% falls into a variety of dept. store fragrances, a couple of vintage and one or two drugstore scents.

    I do purge the collection at times to make some room and some money to be able to buy some new ones.

    No decants or samples. I usually pass them on when I receive them.

    I've been enjoying reading about other's collections.


  20. Ceci01:56

    I am a closeted perfumista.. I keep my perfume collection small and discreetly boxed away in small decants and samples, because I know my friends would think I am very odd if they found out...

  21. Oh whatever grabs my fancy and whatever I can afford! If I find something on sale at Mashall's then I don't think about it and I'm happy to indulge in the "surprise" in the box. A great find was "Cabaret" by Gres. Less successful was "Cucumber" by Marc Jacobs. And then I buy samples of jus that I could never afford, this allows me to imagine buying a full bottle!

  22. I think I'd be an enthusiastic Newbie who wants to try everything. I'm limiting myself to samples, then decants before investing in the FB. There's just toooo many great scents out there to buy up anything that strikes your fancy.

  23. Eva S19:51

    O dear!Even though I'm a youngish lady (and a physician) I'll have to say Buisinessman (relaxing in the evening,dressing gown,whisky, Guerlain Vetivier-all check! Add classical music in background)
    I notice my perfume collection tends towards the conservative, mostly Hermès and Guerlain, not a easygoing, happy, sligtly trashy or celeb scent in sight...
    Perhaps I should work on this?!
    Thanks for an amusing post!
    Eva S Sweden

  24. Hi E! Late to this party (computer in shop) but I'm like a pinball -- bounding wildly between (Maax) bargains, vintage, niche and swaps. Lately it's been DIY. And only a few civilian friends know the size of my collection -- they'd think I was crazily profligate, or maybe just crazy?

  25. What a diverse group we have here! I will return with more questions/comments shortly to this, as it's so interesting.
    Thanks for the fascinating insights!

  26. Anonymous05:38

    Seriously, this `collecting ` is like a drug to find the next high from an unexperienced scent, ugh frustrating because I want them all haha!! I enjoy collecting what fancies my pallet, and I really try to wear everything I own, from the cheapies to the expensive ( over $300). It really is an enjoyable hobby of mine, but I don't collect just to gain mass amounts of flacons, but I do it to learn the composition, nose, designer, the nose behind, the notes, and especially how the perfume performs during it's life span. The idea is absolutely mind boggling that there are thousands upon thousands of perfume houses in the world, let alone tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of flacons to be had, and the saddest to part to me atleast, is that I WANT to experience all of these to find my fragrance, the one I find the most beautiful to me, but then again if that ever did happen, I think the experience would be meeting your doppelgagnger... Your head would explode!!!

  27. Anon,

    there you have the lure of capitalism I suppose! All these things to try out. Confusing. And possibly mind-numbing too. But it's all part and parcel of wanting to find "the one" which is what we have been taught to do from an early age (and not just in perfume).
    Personally I think what you say about experiencing is more like it. Like a magpie, picking up what strikes your fancy. It's an enjoyable hobby, you put it perfectly!

  28. Anonymous13:14

    Well, I guess I'm the fashionista type. I own about 35 designer perfumes. No niche or vintage, please, they both bore me to death. No celebs either- they scream cheap. So, I buy what I currently wear, which is Dior, BVLGARI,D&G, a few Kenzos and, of course, Guerlain. I genuinly love each of my perfumes and I don'really feel the need to keep exploring anymore, now that I know exactly what I like. Roses, vanilla, jasmine, some patchouli. I guess I have reachee that zen point where I no longer feel the urge to find something new or exiciting and I just enjoy what I love and have bought so far. Jesus, the last 4 years have been tough for me, perfumewise. What I've been through it's something I never want to experience again. I am now extremely happy with my Insolence edt, Hypnotic Poison, Pure Poison, Chloe (new one), L de Lempicka, d&g pour femme (2012), Very Irresistible a.s.o. If only I had been wiser and didn't spend so much time and money looking for options and knowledge just to discover, like in Coehlo's Alquimist, that the treasure was lying under my bed. :)))

  29. Anon,

    there is wisdom in knowing thyself! So enjoy your fumes, most of them are really modern masterpieces anyway. ;-)

    Thanks for commenting and for reading!


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