Monday Question: What Was Your Introduction To Perfumeland?

This Monday Question is inspired by this post by Krista, who told us about her first niche fragarance, which happened to be Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan. I commented that encountering this one first would probably have had me running a mile. I don´t think I would have been prepared for this fragrance, I couldn´t have appreciated it.

That gave me pause – would my decent into Perfumeland never have happened if my first encounter with niche perfumes were any different? Would I still be untouched by this all-consuming mania, that has influenced my life in so many ways?

I will never know. I am happy that En Passant by my lovely Olivia Giacobetti took me under its gossamer wings, not that Uncle Serge hit me over the head with a moroccan fist. (I think differently about Lutens work now, as you all know, but I still remember that it can be a bit difficult to get into, when unprepared. It is like the difference of being used to hear a single flute playing a lullaby and hearing a symphony orchestra in full romantic cast performing Beethoven. Fortissimo.)

So, what was your first niche perfume?

What drew you in?

How did you proceed?

Do you still like that first one?

My Answers:

The first one was En Passant, as I said above. Its clarity of presentation of an image, a place, a mood, a feeling was fascinating. It is soft, clean, uplifting, inspiring, interesting and simply beautiful. I still love to wear it. My tastes have vastly branched out from there, but I come back to En Passant time and again and feel myself transported back to that sense of wonder and discovery I felt when I first smelled it.

I went on to explore many of Malle´s other perfumes, and as I wrote only recently, I have yet to be disappointed in the line. It is easily my favorite, because with no other brand I have such a track record of successes.

I went further from there, my blog is testament for that, and I am glad I did. Perfumeland welcomed me with open arms and gives me so much joy every day, through experiencing the perfumes, getting to know similarly afflicted people, getting the opportunity to write. It is all good, I wouldn´t want to go back, my life would be much the poorer. Like my pocket book is 😉

Now it is time for that Lutens…

About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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19 Responses to Monday Question: What Was Your Introduction To Perfumeland?

  1. James says:

    My first niche perfume was also from Malle’s line- Vetiver Extraordinaire. I had written to Malle requesting some free samples using their questionnaire and received VE and one other. I had been into fragrances for years, but had not ventured into niche territory since my student budget just couldn’t take it. But Malle’s vetiver helped me discover that grassy scents are among my favorites.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello James, welcome 🙂
      Malle has such wonderful perfumes in his portfolio! VE is great, I can see how it inspired the lust for more in you!
      Thanks for reading!

  2. linda says:

    Hi there,
    You’ll never believe it, but En Passant was one of my first as well! I’ll never forget the first time smelling it. I completely fell in love. It was like stepping outside, just after a sweet rain into a grove of lilac trees…pure heaven.
    I bought the large bottle almost immediately!
    I wear it often…it always lifts my spirits.
    My very first scent was Cristalle EDT…and I still love it dearly. Two favorites.
    Thanks so much. 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I also went out and bought the big bottle of En Passant, I didn’t yet realize I wouldn’t ever have the chance to use it up, because so many other great ones followed. 🙂 Thank you for your answer, Linda!

  3. deeHowe says:

    The fragrance that awakened my senses was Stella; that was the one that made me realize that there was more to perfume than a “perfume as finishing touch” badge to proved that I cared… However, my first niche purchase, which followed swiftly on the heels of Stella, was Sa Majeste la Rose—which in no way prepared me for the rest of the Lutens line!

    I still hold SMlR as the gold-standard rose soliflore by which all others are measured, and it brings me great joy to wear it. Although I don’t wear it nearly often enough, that precious golden elixer, and it languishes in the back of my perfume cabinet! Spring will smell me wearing it more 🙂

    … And, Stella still holds a place in my heart!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Lol, I know what you mean by LMlR leaving you unprepared for the Lutens line, my first – Clair de Musc – isn´t representative either 😉
      So it was the roses that captured you, what a beautiful start of a long obsession, sorry I mean friendship 🙂

  4. Tara says:

    Like D, my entrance into Perfumeland came through a mainstream scent – Shalimar. I can still remember the first time I sprayed it in slow motion! Citrus, vanilla and WOW what is that wonderful smoke? I’m still really a mainstream girl in terms of full bottles, owning mostly Chanels and Guerlains and many bottles of Diorella. I love Serge’s Sarrasins which I bought before Christmas and think this year will be “the year of niche” for me.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Not a bad introduction, Tara! 😉 I also love Guerlain and Chanel very much, they are the classic foundation upon which most newer perfumes are created. What is your favorite Chanel?
      Sarrasins is definitely a fulminant start into your year of niche!

      • Tara says:

        You know I never thought Chanel fumes were for me until I met the Exclusifs. I now own massive 200ml bottles of Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie and 31 Rue Cambon. Like you I wish I’d bought the small pure parfum bottles as I have a LOT of mls now and still want them in parfum strength. How can you make me choose between them! OK if I HAD to, it would be Bois des Iles because it is the most “me” of the three.

  5. kjanicki says:

    Hi, thanks for the mention. I love En Passant too. In fact, you just reminded me how much I love it, you’re right, it does portray a mood and a place so well, and it’s the best lilac I’ve tried. I must buy a bottle sometime before spring.

  6. After taking more than a decade off from fragrances (I burned my nose out on bad cologne as a teenager — Drakkar, Polo, etc.), I started slowly with the occasional Old Spice about six years ago. After that I discovered a cheap old American scent called Hoyt’s Cologne, which still smells great to me. It has the distinction of being used in the American South as a good luck cologne for gamblers and a common prop in voodoo and Santeria rituals.

    My first niche fragrance was Penhaligon’s Blenheim Bouquet. I had been a fan of Penhaligon’s shaving creams for a while (they seemed like an upscale and English counterpart to Crabtree & Evelyn), and when I wanted to investigate their fragrances, I started with bath soap. I bought the soap version of Racquets, thinking it was an affordable experiment that could tell me if I liked the scent enough to get the cologne. But when I used the soap, it smelled nothing like the cologne, so I bought Penhaligon’s men’s sample set.

    Blenheim Bouquet really blew me away. It was so different from the department store fragrances I hated so much (too many jerks bathe in Cool Water, Acqua di Gio, etc.). It smelled very masculine to me and the pine notes took me back to my Midwestern roots. From there, my next purchase was Guerlain’s Habit Rouge. The rest is history. By the way, I’m a huge fan of Frederic Malle too! Love Musc Ravageur and Dans Tes Bras.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi, welcome! Thank you for your story!
      Penhaligon’s has some very nice fragrances indeed, I am trying to convince my husband to try Blenheim Bouquet for a while, maybe your comment will help, he has to hear it from a man 😉

  7. Tarleisio says:

    I’m not sure where to start…Was it choosing Jicky (of all things!) at the Guerlain store for my very first ‘grown-up’ perfume at 14? (Followed by Miss Dior, so I was perhaps less innocent than I thought!) Was it all those man-eating Godzillas I wore in the Eighties – Paloma Picasso, YSL Paris, Lauren, Amazone, Narcisse Noir, Rive Gauche, Magie Noire, Cabochard? Was it daring to graduate into wearing masculines in the 90’s – Guerlain’s Vetiver, Eau Sauvage?

    Or was it when I finally summoned up my courage to begin hunting whatever Lutens I could find, once I had a Petit Livre des parfums, and my head/nose/spinal protruberance exploded with the wonders that were…Ambre Sultan, Bois de Violette, Iris Silver Mist and Chêne?

    Whenever it was, I was a doomed woman from then on. People always say to count your blessings. They give me strange looks when I tell them my blessings (also) come in bottles! 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Someone who chooses Jicky as her first perfume is destined to go down the rabbit hole without hope of ever returning. Thank Goodness it smells so good down here 😉

  8. lady jane grey says:

    Hm, my first niche parfume was, I think, Dzonghka (L’Artisan). Not an easy one, and it wasn’t a love for first sight either. But we’ve been inseparable since then…

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