For The Very First Time – Perfumista Rites of Passage

By Tara

At the beginning of our journey through Perfumeland most of us will encounter a number of small milestones which make us feel more and more like a member of this secret scented society. Here are some of mine which I equate to my “Perfumista rites of passage”. You may relate…


My First Perfume Blog

I was searching online for carnation perfumes when I landed on my very first perfume blog: Now Smell This. I was pretty much hooked from that moment on, but it took a couple of years of lurking before I felt confident enough to comment. This turned out to be a life-changing moment because I went on to comment on other blogs and connect with lots of lovely perfume people.

My First Sample Purchase

I vividly remember the overwhelming excitement I felt on receiving my first sample purchase through the post. I pounced on that Les Senteurs package like a cat on a mouse.

Out of interest, I looked up my first couple of orders from The Perfumed Court. These included lots of Guerlains (Habit Rouge, Jicky, Apres L’Ondee, Shalimar, Mitsouko and L’Heure Bleue) and several “masterpieces” according to Perfumes: The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez (Badgley Mischka, Diorella, Cuir de Russie, Missoni and Dzing!).

My First Scrubber

My first scrubber was Garofano by Lorenzo Villoresi which, on me, reeked of musty carnations that had been left to decay in stagnant water for several weeks. As I took to the sink to erase all traces with soap and water, there was at least the satisfaction that I now knew exactly what it was like to encounter a scrubber.

My First Swap

The cost of purchasing samples soon built up, so it made sense to swap away my unwanted vials. I did this through Make-up Alley where I “met” the lovely Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume for the first time and – more informally – by appealing for swappers in the UK on a blog, to great success. I found Frederice Malle’s Une Rose, Hermessence Osmanthe Yunnan and Ormonde Jayne’s Champaca like this but it was also a helpful way to eliminate perfumes I didn’t like without expense.

My First Unsniffed Purchase

Unsniffed purchases are particularly tempting in the early days and luckily mine worked out quite well. The first was Ca Sent Beau by Kenzo, followed by Caron’s Bellodgia and Lancôme’s Cuir. The last one turned out to be an all-time favourite. I think it’s no bad thing if several years down the road, we can still get so excited about something we have never tried that we are prepared to take the gamble. (I currently have my eye on the Dita Von Teese 20ml EDP).

Moving Past “The Guide”

“Perfumes: The A-Z Guide” by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez is a wonderful read and a useful resource, but I did tend to rely too much on it in the beginning. There came a point however, when I realized that my taste and opinions didn’t always concur with theirs and this was not necessarily a bad thing. I was no longer put off trying something, just because they criticized it, or wonder why I didn’t like something they thought was wonderful. I prefer Equistrius by Parfums d’Empire to Chanel’s No.18 and that’s just fine.

Are there any 5 star perfumes from “The Guide” that you can’t stand, or poorly rated ones that you think are great?

Please share your own rites of passage and add any I have missed.

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78 Responses to For The Very First Time – Perfumista Rites of Passage

  1. Jenson says:

    Not too sure if it was 5 or 4 star rated but I blind purchased Beyond Paradise Men largely based on the review. That really brought it together for me that scent is so personal that it really translates into different things for different people. No more blind purchases for me! Fingers crossed.

    Such a great read. It’s always comforting to know that “perfumistas” are not alone in our strange behaviours! Another rite might be trying to keep up and sniff the latest releases of our favourite Noses or Perfume Houses, an obsessive, tiresome but rewarding never-ending journey.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Jenson, and thanks!

      I agree that blind buying based on The Guide is a risky business. I think quite a few people have come up short that way. At least you will have saved yourself some cash by avoiding unsniffed purchases since then.

      It is comforting to know that there are other ‘fume fans out there doing the same as us. Especially as most of know won’t anyone like us in “real life”.

      You are absolutely right about trying to keep up with new releases. It can be stressful because it is near impossible to sniff everything you want to but it’s kind of nice that it’s a never-ending journey. I don’t want it to end!

    • Beyond Paradise was the first one I thought of! I don’t think I’ve ever met a perfumista who knows what Luca Turin is talking about. I don’t think it’s bad, I just don’t think it’s very good either.

      • Tara says:

        Elisa, you are so right. I think a lot people have come unstuck when blind buying Beyond Paradise based on the review. Particularly as it is inexpensive and accessible. I don’t know anyone who thinks it’s a masterpiece either.

  2. Hey Birgit,
    I think I’ve told you before that one of my all time fave frags is Trouble by Boucheron. Soundly panned in the A-Z but it is so damn wonderful and just the thought of wearing it can make me smile. I have stored gallons of it in EdP and Parfum.
    Portia xx

  3. Dubaiscents says:

    I think all of the Mona Di Orio original signature scents get the worst rep in the Guide for no good reason, especially Oiro. It seems that Luca Turin has it out for Mona. Also I really like Mahora by Guerlain which he calls the worst Geurlain in history several times in the book. Oh, and SL Miel de Bois is another one I love and the book hates. Like you, I relied on the book a lot at first but these discoveries made me realize we all can’t have the same tastes and I should try to be more open minded when trying new things. I felt like I passed a milestone recently by buying my first splits from FFF. I love how similar our perfume journeys have been, great post Tara!

    • Tara says:

      Ah yes the first split! Thanks Dubaiscents. I have to say I haven’t taken part in one yet. I never seem to spot the ones I’d like to be part of it. I need to pay more attention to Facebook Fragrance Friends.

      I don’t think you were closed minded by relying on The Guide. There’s so much out there when you first get into perfume that it feels like a useful way of whittling down the field. I’m glad you’ve moved on too though and found some loves you might have missed otherwise.

      I love how we’re sharing this wonderful perfume journey too!

      • Sally- Anne says: it odd that I fell into the perfume rabbit hole…all alone’? I’ve never ever SEEN a copy of The Guide, and now I’m wondering if I need to remedy this?

        • Tara says:

          I guess it might be quite unusual around here but a lot of us are commenting and writing on blogs because that’s how we got into it. Presumably there are lots more people out there who like you, discovered this passion on their own.

          I don’t know think it’s a problem you haven’t read “The Guide” at all. You could always check out “The Little Book of Perfumes” which just has the top 100 from The Guide in it and therefore is a lot more positive!

        • odonata9 says:

          Don’t worry – I haven’t read it either! As everyone mentions, perfume is so personal and just because they say it is a masterpiece, doesn’t mean you’ll love it!

  4. Undina says:

    Tara, I covered most of those “firsts” in my blog, I think you read those posts so I won’t repeat. As to the Guide… I bought it. I read the introduction. I started reading about perfumes from the first letter (number?) but then got bored, jumped to read about several of my favorites, figured out that we didn’t agree at least on some and stopped reading altogether. Since then I read about some perfumes after I test them and form an opinion. But, in general, I do not really care what everybody else (who I do not know, I mean) thinks about perfumes I love or hate. I might keep trying some of those that you or Birgit (or some other favorite “authors”) love – but this is the extend of my caring for opinion of others.

    • Tara says:

      I love that you attempted to read The Guide from the beginning, Undina. That’s so not me! Even more than that though, I love that you soon set it aside. It shows that you have confidence in your own opinions. Something that took me quite some time. I agree that it can be a good idea to read the review after you’ve made up your own mind.

      I too rely on the opinions of the bloggers I trust and connect with so much more.

  5. Olfactoria says:

    I love this post, Tara! It is so nice to see how many Perfumistas go down the same road.
    My first blog was the Non-Blonde, NST followed and down the rabbithole I went.
    I think I am just as much addicted to writing about perfume as I am to wearing it. 😉

    As for the guide, I agree with dubaiscents, the treatment of Mona di Orio was despicable. You just don’t do that to a person, no matter what you think about the fragrances. That was personal and absolutely uncalled for, simply bad manners. I believe we have the Guide to “thank” for the demise of Mona’s signature collection. (To be re-released in 2014 from what I have heard.) I’m extremely happy that Maison Mona di Orio prevailed.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks, B! And for the great pics too.

      Sharing our experiences is one of the best things about our perfume passion I think. The Non-Blonde is fabulous.

      The reviews relating to Mona did stand out as being particularly harsh in a very personal way. Thank goodness she carried on and released Les Nombres d’Or or we’d all be the worse off.

      • Sally- Anne says:

        And having not read The Guide,I’m not aware of what was written re Mona. Sadly,she is no longer here to defend herself,and if this is still contained in new copies others may think ill of her ,too. Glad she did perservere,whilst alive to continue her passion and follow her dreams.

        • Tara says:

          I think what was upsetting was the fact that the comments seemed personally barbed rather than just being about the perfumes themselves. I’m also so pleased she came through it before her tragic passing. I hope to own a bottle of her wonderful Musc one day.

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Hm, I simply cannot remember my milestones anymore… I have no idea how and why I found Perfume Smellin’ Things, Marina’s blog, back in 2007 – which remains the mother of all Perfume Blogs for me. I learned a lot from her, and am thankful to her for some of my all time favorites – like Caron’s Farnesiana, which was also my first niche sample, ordered from Theperfumedcourt.
    I have Turin’s book on my kindle – if it would be really important and representative for me, I would habe bought it in hardcover, that says it all. IMO parfume is far too emotional to be put in excel charts…

    • Tara says:

      Lady Jane Grey, I have a soft spot for PST too because for a long time Marina was the closest I had to a scent twin. It’s thanks to her that I found my favourite Chanels; Bois des Iles, Cuir de Russie and 31RC.

      I totally agree about being unable to account for our emotional reaction to a perfume. That’s something we can only discover for ourselves.

  7. Alexandra says:

    A fabulous list, thank you Tara, I have just nodded and smiled my way through my coffee break! The only one I would also add is the first time you tell someone about your new found perfume habit and they look at you as though you have gone slightly mad.

    The Guide was my real introduction into perfumery and I love that you have included moving past it – the point at which you accept that it’s ok not to agree (and it’s ok not to like Mitsouko). Having said that I still enjoy reading it and now when I disagree it shows my independent spirit and when I agree it just confirms how right I am!

    • Tara says:

      Ha! Love your last line Alex.

      I’m glad my list resonated with you and made you smile. You’re right about the first time we disclose our “habit” to someone. They’re polite but often you can see they’re thinking it’s a bit odd to say the least! Thank goodness we have each other 🙂

    • Sally- Anne says:

      ohhhhh you darling girl…Alexandra…How can you not simply ADORE Mitsouko? It is ok though…..You will have s’thing in your collection that I find vile

      • Tara says:

        Most people seem to love or hate Mitsouko. I have a soft spot for it because when I tried it for the first time, very early on, it was really unlike anything I had ever experienced before and opened me up to what perfume could be. I can understand it suffers from “old lady syndrome” though. I hope to try the vintage one day.

  8. Ines says:

    Oh well, here I go again (my previous comment got deleted by IE).

    I don’t remember anything from my starting days but that Now Smell This was the first site I discovered and where and when I met my first scrubber, sth by Creed. 🙂

    I do know that Tania and Luca did a thorough job of dismissing Mona di Orio perfumes which I find extraordinary. I’d like to own each and every bottle from that line (both the previous ones and the new ones).

    • Tara says:

      It’s so frustrating when you comments gets deleted. Thanks for persevereing Ines!

      Now Smell This is such a great first blog for the newbie because it has a great resource of posts aimed at beginners, from decanting to jargon. I’m particularly fond of the article about the difference between people who like perfume and people who love perfume. So very true.

      At least Mona’s signature line will be coming back and she got so much love from our community on the release of Les Nombres d’Or. I hope that helped. Fingers crossed you get to own each and every bottle of hers eventually!

  9. ringthing says:

    What a fun post, and all the comments are great, too. NST was my first blog, too; I found it through an article in Allure magazine about ways of finding more unusual scents. That was something I had wanted for a long time but had no idea how to go about it. At first I spent so much time on the internet researching different scents, smelling favorites and figuring out what notes worked and what didn’t, scribbling furiously in a notepad that I still refer to occasionally. I had worn Dune for years and liked the salty, creamy rose with the herbal edge. Then when I bought The Guide, LT had a long description of Dune as the most austere, bleak perfume he’d ever smelled. I was completely bewildered and came to realize that the most important part of my perfume life was what I liked on my own skin. It’s a wonderful passion, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Tara says:

      It is a wonderful passion! It’s a whole world you don’t really know about until you find your way to one of the blogs, as you did through Allure. I wish perfume blogs got more coverage in magazines.

      I can definitely imagine how bewildering it must have been not to recognise your much loved Dune when you read the review in The Guide. You are absolutely right thatit is how the perfume works on your own skin that counts.

  10. Suzanne says:

    What a great post, Tara! I can nod my head along with everything except Perfumes: The Guide. By the time that book came along, I had been reading the perfume blogs for about three years and had started my own, and after hearing about how snarky the book was, I decided I didn’t need it. Marina’s fabulous writing at PST was what I considered my guide for many years – I had other favorites too, but I just loved her writing. So I’m probably one of the few perfumistas never to have owned or read The Guide (I did enjoy Luca Turin’s original blog, though … Duftnote, I think it was called). Otherwise, I can identify with all of your rites of passage … and do fondly recall the exciting buzz I felt when I stumbled onto the perfume blogosphere through a search for Guerlain Jicky.

    • Tara says:

      Ah, so we have Jicky to thank for you being here Suzanne!

      So pleased you enjoyed the post. It is fun to reminisce about the early days from time to time. I think it’s no bad thing you bypassed The Guide. It can be fun and informative to read but it’s also easy to doubt your own taste if it differs wildly. Luckily there are now so many great perfume blogs out there that can give you access to a wide range of opinions.

      Marina’s wonderful writing on PST is hard to beat.

  11. Dionne says:

    Being that I’ve “rappelled” my way down the rabbit hole and done a lot of this in slow motion, some of my firsts are still pretty recent.
    First blog: looking back now I can’t remember which site I stumbled upon first, but 3 years ago the Posse was the first I looked at on a regular basis; I think I’ve got Perfume 101 memorized by now. Started occasionally commenting about 2 years ago on the blogs, but didn’t really de-lurk until January of this year.
    First sample order: Andy Tauer’s very last box of samples before he introduced those cute little sprayers in the tin. I still remember my excitement at getting mail from Switzerland.
    First scrubber: his Reverie au Jardin. I started my tempestuous relationship with the florals pretty early.
    Moving past the Guide: Chaos (4 stars) smells horrible on me, and Black Cashmere (3 stars) is the sexiest thing I own.
    First swap: a few months ago with Carol over at Bloody Frida. Getting my US “scent mule” opened up a lot of possibilities for me, including buying atomizers without paying an arm and a leg for shipping.
    First unsniffed purchase: Took the leap and ordered a decant of Tea for Two in April. It went well, but the second decant of Copper Skies reminded me why it’s just too risky for me.
    Moving into the Official “Wow, That’s a Lot of Bottles” Category: My recent birthday took me over the 25 FB mark.
    And my own addition to the list – First Person to Ask me to Help them Find a Fragrance: My friend and Evil Skin Chemistry Twin Tam approached me almost 2 years ago to help her find a new signature fragrance. I’m proud to say that she now owns a small, well-curated collection. 😉

    • Tara says:

      Dionne, I so enjoyed reading about all your “firsts”. Thanks for taking the time to recount them.

      I bet your slow perfume technique means that every one of those 25+ bottles is much loved and used. I love your “First Person to Ask me to Help them Find a Fragrance” category. It sounds like your advice was so good your friend didn’t stop at one. I wish people would ask me! Matching people to perfume is one of my most favourite things. Actually my first ever comment was probably on NST’s The Monday Mail now I come to think of it.

      • Sally- Anne says:

        Tara..I have a project for you……I would like a beachy down to earth scent that kicks a**** and has a bit of skankiness sex appeal…Could you manage that plz?

        • Tara says:

          Sally-Anne, thanks for the commission! Hmm, I know some beachy perfumes and skanky perfumes but not any beachy skanky perfumes. The nearest I can get is perfumes that have a salty, musky quality to them which hopefully also kick a** 🙂

          Here they are:

          Dans Tes Bras by Frederic Malle
          Abolue Pour le Soir by Maison Francis Kurkdjian
          Tango by Aftelier Perfumes
          Womanity and Cologne by Thierry Mugler

          Hope that is of some help!

  12. Civava says:

    Love this post. My first blog was Now Smell This and I found the list of 100 perfumes every parfumista should try and ordered them at Poosh peasant. I couldn’t await the package and there were really a lot of samples that they made me busy for quite some time. And I learned I shouldn’t take the taste of other people for mine. My first blind buy was Bill Blass Nude. I read somewhere that it is like Safari by Ralph Lauren. So very far from that. Well it has some vintage vibe. But when I sprayed if for the first time it was horrible, now I even perfume myself from time to time. The first perfume I scrubbed off was Kenzo Jungle Elephant. This is certainly an elephant of perfumes. Powerfull just as one. Now I find it perfect for me and it is a gem to keep and adore. Especially these days when we have so many, so not interesting launches of pefumes.

    • Tara says:

      Glad you liked the post Civava.

      Wow, so you ordered all 100 perfumes listed by NST? I bet it did keep you busy! I think those perfumes were recommended testing for a lot of different reasons, rather than beeing a Top 100 say, so I can imagine there were a fair few that weren’t to your taste. The excitement when waiting for, and receiving, that package must have been great though!

      So interesting that a scrubber later became so loved by you. I’m sure that doesn’t happen very often in such an extreme way. I know a lot of people really rate Jungle L’Elephant and it’s true that mainstream brands rarely take risks with their new releases these days, which is a pity.

      • Sally- Anne says:

        Tara…..I adore Jungle L’elephant..have 2 back up bottles for when….. anyway,I’m pleased that Civava was able to eventually ‘get it’ and keep it in her collection

        • Tara says:

          Sally-Anne, I’m glad you’ve got a back-up bottle of Jungle L’Elephant. I can’t tolerate licorice but it sounds highly original and that can only be a good thing.

      • Civava says:

        No, no I didn’t order 100 perfumes listed there but it was orientation for the beginning. I ordered quite some 😉 but these were recomended by NST readers when I wrote down my preferences. Now as I learend somethnig about perfume and my taste has developed (hopefully ;-)) the list would be different and I guess a lot longer.

        • Tara says:

          Thanks Civava, that makes sense. I don’t think you can go far wrong by seeking recommendations from NST readers. I’m sure your tastes have developed, it’s amazing to what degree that happens.

  13. Perfumes they pan that I love: Spiriteuese Double Vanille, L de Lolita Lempicka. (OK, L gets 3 stars, but Tania calls it “heavy” and “indigestible.”

    Perfumes they love that I hate or just don’t understand: Tocade, Beyond Paradise, Missoni, Cool Water, TDC Osmanthus (and many other JCE creations).

    But there’s lots we agree on, too! Some of my all-time faves were blind buys based on The Guide (DK Gold and Cuir de Lancome).

    • Tara says:

      Oh yes, so many people love SDV and LT really panned it. I have been wavering over an unsniffed purchase of L de Lempicka since forever and I think that mixed review is part of the reason I’ve been holding back. I can’t do overly sweet perfumes at all.

      I daresay a lot of people have been thrown by Tocade. I remember it had a harsh sort of gasoline-like top note when I tried it years ago. It’s not the easily likeable perfume you might imagine from the review. I had forgotten that bought Missoni based on The Guide. Luckily I didn’t find it the hot mess that most people do but I wouldn’t recommend to people either.

      Cuir de Lancome and DK Gold are great. Of course, it’s certainly not the case that all their reviews are off the mark. Far from it. I agree with so many Chanel and Guerlain ones, but The Guide shouldn’t be a substitute for your own nose and tastes.

  14. Nancysg says:

    I have to mention that the very first blog I read was based on a web search and Olfactoria’s Travels came up as a result. I clicked, read and fell in love with the blog and the world of perfume beyond mass market department store fragrances. Thanks for the start of the journey.

  15. JenB says:

    I just found your website while searching for a review of Caron’s Nuit de Noel, which I just purchased blind – but I love it! BTW…your review of Nuit de Noel is spot on. I’m fairly new to the perfume blogs, and The Non-Blonde was probably my first. Chanel No 5, which seems universally loved – I just don’t get. Or it’s my nose 🙂 My first scrubber was Illamasqua’s Freak. It smelled great on paper, but awful on me. Very odd!

    • Tara says:

      Birgit will be so pleased to hear that you that love Nuit de Noel. Especially as you blind bought it on the basis of her review!

      I’m yet to get No.5 myself but I haven’t spent any length of time with parfum which seems to make all the difference. I think Bois des Iles will always be my favourite Chanel though.

      You know, I’m not that surprised by your experience with Freak. A lot of perfumes these days are designed to smell on good on paper because that’s how the majority of people test them and make their purchase decision based on that alone. A reason to always test on skin before buying!

  16. Tara, my guide into the world of scent was my Grandmother. She had a huge array on her dresser and she let me try them all. The first bottle of my own was Shalimar – the glass bottle with the glass stopper. My aunt who traveled the world brought it to me. I almost fainted from the pure joy. In Key West during the 25 years I lived there, there was a good perfume shop and the lady owner introduced me to many good things, including Jicky, 24 Foubourg, 1000, and many more. I started reading Base Notes, then NST, then, finally this best blog of all where I feel so at home and comfortable. As far as The book is concerned, I bought “Dzing” and can’t stand it. I’m looking for a friend to give it to. (-: I bought the Mono deOrio set and love it.

    • Tara says:

      Anita, I just loved reading about your journey into perfume, thank you. How lovely to have your passion for fragrance was ignited by your grandmother. Your first bottle of Shalimar must have meant so much more because your aunt brought it back from abroad for you. Not many of us have a story as wonderful as that I’m sure. And what a grown up first perfume too!

      How lucky to have such a great perfume shop in Key West with an owner that took a personal interest. As for Dzing!, I can relate. I know it’s a great and original perfume but that bit of skank is still too much for me. It’s tolerance for notes such as this that makes our taste in perfume so personal.

      I am so pleased you feel at home here on OT! Birgit will be thrilled to read that.

    • Sassa says:

      Anita, can I be your friend? I’m looking for a bottle of Dzing!

  17. Nina Z says:

    Maybe this isn’t one of your milestones, but one of mine certainly was buying my first discontinued and/or vintage fragrance from ebay. Right now I can’t remember which was first, but I had some really good beginner’s luck finding vintage Gres Cabochard extrait, Fendi Theorema, and Carven Ma Griffe extrait at super good prices. Also started looking for vintage fragrances in thrift stores and estate sales, where I’ve never found anything at all but I continue to live in hope. Another milestone was a blind date with a fellow perfumista for in-person swapping and sniffing.

    • Tara says:

      Nina, you’re absolutely right. Buying a vintage or discontinued fragrance from ebay is a perfume milestone. How wonderful that you got so many great bargains in those early days. Having a blind date with another perfumista is good one too. It’s great when those online relationships cross over into real life.

      I hope you make a brilliant vintage find at a thrift store or estate sale one of these days. I’m sure you will but anyway, it must be fun looking!

  18. hajusuuri says:

    Like some of the commenters mentioned, NST was my first perfume blog too and I waited a while before commenting. It was also the only perfume blog on my bookmarks toolbar. Fast-forward 2 years from that first discovery and I now have a Perfume Blog Bookmark FOLDER with 50+ blogs. I wish I had time to read them all but I don’t, so I contend with perusing a few here and there whenever I am online. i was tempted to make a Perfume Shopping Bookmark folder but decided to resist because that would not be good for my wallet. It should be slightly challenging to go to any shopping site!

    I used to be anti-sample and decant buying but I had seen the error of my ways and now do not hesitate to do so when I read about something interesting. I don’t have time to go search for them in brick and mortar stores (in NYC) and get the samples “free” as it takes a lot more effort to GO to the stores than it is to press a few keys 🙂

    • Tara says:

      I know what you mean about keeping up with blog reading. Another milestone could be the point you are following over 10 perfume blogs! They keep things new and exciting and enable you to stay connected, but I wish I could comment on as many as I’d like to. NST has to be the mother of them all.

      I think it is definitely good to get samples and decants before buying full bottles. If it wasn’t for my wonderful fragrance friends I wouldn’t have access to so samples anymore since the Scent Splits wiki page sadly disappeared. Luckily Les Senteurs in London give you a few free samples if you go in person. I miss having the decant option though.

      A Perfume Shopping Bookmark folder sounds dangerous! It would be far too tempting to go browsing and impulse buy.

  19. Sally- Anne says:

    Hello I’m not really certain which blogger I followed/read first,however it was either B’s or the Candyperfumeboy,both of whom I came across via Twitter,after joining FFF. I’ve never seen The Guide and am on the fence re a purchase of same due in part to comments i’ve read on posts like this one. I have no one within coooeee of me who shares my passion,so am thrilled to know there are others in the world with the same ‘affliction’ Lol. Tara,I have somehow missed the boat re NST,so will spend a couple hours tomorrow perving on her blog. Oh and ,of course,no one can read Portia’s reviews without barrels of laughter. Ihave approx. 50 bottles and only this year began seeking out/buying decants/samples..I found 3 loves this way…..Carnal Flower, Le chasse aux Papillons and Chanels 31 Rue Cambon. please continue blogging…..i ‘m learning so much

    • Tara says:

      Sally-Anne that’s so interesting that you found the blogs via social networking. I guess that will become more and more the norm. It is so good to find others similarly “afflicted”! I love our community to bits. The CPB is so entertaining and Portia is a riot.

      I’m so excited for you to be able to discover NST for the first time! If you go to the bottom of the home page and click on “General Perfume Articles” there’s a list of really great past posts to choose from. Have fun!

  20. jamesdennard says:

    My first perfume blog: I found basenotes around 2003 and found a bunch of blogs that way. Smellyblog by Ayala Sender and Monsieur Guerlain are two early examples that basenotes led me to.

    My first sample: now this is starting to jog my memory. I’d like to think it was Vetiver Extraordinaire by Frederic Malle. But it was probably something else I don’t remember right now.

    My first scrubber: It took a while for this to happen. But I think my first scrubber was Muscs Koublai Khan. I love musk, whether it’s a clean or dirty interpretation. But this one was just too far out there.

    My first unsniffed purchase- I’m pretty sure this was Bvlgari Black. I have always been pretty careful about my purchases. I try to at least have sampled a fragrance before buying it. But this one seemed so good I went ahead and bought it. I’ve always loved it.

    I wish I had my copy of “The Guide” in front of me to answer this last question. But if I recall correctly, RL Safari for men was one that received a bad review. And I love it. I’m sure there are other reviews I didn’t agree with, but I can’t think of them right now.

    • Tara says:

      James, you really must have been in at the start of the burgeoning perfume blog scene. Exciting times! I don’t blame you for not being able to remember your first sample as it’s nearly 10 years ago now. Let’s call it Vetiver Extraordinaire 🙂 I’m sure MKK has been a scrubber for many.

      Basenotes is such an excellent resource especially in the early days of perfumania. I think I was on there practically every day the first year or two.

      • jamesdennard says:

        I had been into fragrances for years before finding basenotes and lots of the blogs that are well known now. And basenotes introduced me to so many people I count as friends. It’s definitely fun to think about. I don’t visit as often now, but basenotes is still a tremendous resource.

        • Tara says:

          I completely agree. It’s so wonderful when we can make friends with people who have a shared interest. There’s something very special about that. It sort of speeds up the bonding process I think.

  21. odonata9 says:

    Like many, my first bog was NST. I was looking for a perfume I had seen in a magazine – can’t recall what and off I went. It did take awhile before I started commenting and branching out to other blogs, but I am oh so glad I did! My first commenting on NST led to learning about MUA – I asked about where to find a sample of something and of course, a kind perfumista offered to send me some. I couldn’t believe someone would just send me free perfume to spread the love, so I’ve tried to do the same!
    First sample purchase was Annick Goutal Chevrefreuille, based on an NST review, of course. I was so shocked that you could actually order just samples online. I love Chevrefreille, though have been getting by on decants for now.
    Can’t recall my first scrubber and don’t have a copy of the Guide. I am a fan of SDV, though and know it didn’t fare too well.
    I’ve made lots of blind buys, but they were all relatively cheap, from discounters or ebay. People raved about Mauboissin on the blogs, so I got a mini off ebay and hated it! So I swapped it away.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The sharing part is what is most fascinating and wonderful about Perfumeland. I’ve never met such generous and lovely people…

    • Tara says:

      I agree! I don’t know if others are as generous with their passion as perfume people. Your early MUA experience is a pretty typical example.

      I didn’t know about samples either before reading about it on NST. I was thinking “how on earth have these people tried so many perfumes?”!

      I also only make cheap blind buys, mainly from ebay. I think that’s the safest way. I’m really getting to know SDV at the moment and can’t get over LT’s review. Not my experience at all!

  22. My journey into perfumeland online came when I Googled Nahema in 2008. it was my mother’s favourite and I wanted to find out if it was still in production. Up came Now Smell This, who led me to Bois de Jasmin and Grain de Musc. My interest in perfume is owed to my mother who was a keen gardener who loved fragrant plants and flowers (stock, may, old fashioned rose, southernwood, briar rose, freesia, grass, hay Chanel No 5 and Nahema, and who was forever seeking her perfect freesia fragrance (not found!).

    • Tara says:

      Thanks so much for sharing the story of your mother’s love of all things fragrant and how it led you into Perfumeland. There’s something very soothing about reciting the names of plants and flowers. Such a shame your mother never found her perfect freasia perfume but I think it’s one of those flowers that doesn’t give up its fragrance.

      Nice to know you are carrying on in her footsteps.

  23. fleurdelys says:

    My first blog was also Now Smell This, and my first unsniffed buy was also Bellodgia. By reading “The Guide” and then going out and sniffing on my own, I very quickly caught on that the Turin/Sanchez reviews are largely opinion (and it seems, in some cases, very biased opinion). I don’t get their five-star review for Lauder’s Beyond Paradise. It’s pretty, but really not the magical potion that Turin goes on about for pages. And I know how much they hate Richard Fraysse’s reformulations of classic Carons. I’ve never smelled the originals, but nonetheless I like the current versions. In my opinion, they beat out most of the modern releases.

    • Tara says:

      It seems we started off on a similar track fleurdelys.

      I’ve never tried the pre-formulation Carons either but I think you make a fair point about comparing their modern versions to new releases.

      It seems LT is way in the minority when it comes to Beyond Paradise. It strikes me as such a chilly, soulless perfume.

  24. Annina says:

    I have been a “perfumista” for as long as I can remember. My aunts gave me used perfume bottles refilled with water, so I could still smell them. My mom let me decorate myself with vanilla extract as a child, and occasionally let me wear her Heaven Scent when I got a little older. My aunt wore Coty’s Wild Musk, and let me dab it from time to time. In junior high, I wore several of the usual drugstore loves – Bonne Bell’s Skin Musk, Aviance Night Musk, Coty’s Aspen, and Coty’s L’Effleur. I then graduated to the Body Shop’s oils – White Musk and Vanilla; and also loved Tea Rose, which earned me the nickname in 10th grade “Eau de Rose.” I even had a few cast-off minis of Lauder’s Knowing, Paloma Picasso, and Clinique’s Aromatics Elixir.

    Then in my junior year, I discovered Chanel No.19. My world changed forever. THIS was the real deal. This is what a lady smelled like, and it went well with my style – vintage dresses, scarlet lips, and Doc Marten boots. By this time, I was obsessed with perfume and went begging to all of the fragrance counters for samples.

    That’s how I met Coco Chanel. Well, you know…not the woman herself! I discovered Coco the summer before I went to college in 1992. I was so obsessed with it, that I carefully extracted Vanessa Paradis’ face from the Coco ad and added a picture of my own. I framed it. I am actually admitting this in public!

    I have always dabbed, sprayed, and sniffed. I have always had at least 5-10 bottles. But it was The Guide that really tipped me over the edge into amassing an obscene (by my standards) amount of samples, decants, and full bottles. Mr. Turin and Ms. Sanchez sent me on a wild goose chase! I happen to disagree with plenty of their reviews, but I do not consider them “experts.” It’s all opinion, and mine is certainly more important to me! Nonetheless, and entertaining read!

    I then discovered the blogs, which sent me further down the proverbial rabbit hole. First was The Non Blonde, then Now Smell This, Birgit’s lovely Olfactoria’s Travels, and Candy Perfume Boy. I also like the Fragrantica site. I have learned to broaden my tastes, re-test some that I was unsure of, learned to respect the scents I can’t wear but are classics (hi, Mitsouko), and have fallen in love with some perfumes that I thought would never work on me. I have swapped samples and decants with some of the loveliest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I’d like to think that my tastes have “matured,” but I suppose that’s immeasurable.

    Sorry this is so long….

    • Tara says:

      Don’t apologise for the long comment, I loved reading it! Thanks so much for sharing your perfume story with us. So sweet that your nickname in 10th grade was Eau de Rose. Especially loved the bit about the Chanel ad! Who wouldn’t want to do that? It was a great ad!

      No.19 has such a distinct personality, I can totally see how it would turn your world around. I’m sure your tastes have changed and matured. That’s one of the nice things about our passion – it’s ever-changing.

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