Monday Question – Is Your Perfume Hobby A Secret?

Are you out in the open about your perfume hobby in real life?

Do you know real life perfumistas?

Is your scented life strictly lived online?

Have you ever met other Perfumistas in person?

Is Perfumeland your secret hideaway or do you waft and talk offline as well?


My Answer:

Before I started blogging I never talked about perfume with anyone. Somehow I kept it a secret without even realizing. Maybe I thought it was a bit too indulgent, luxurious, vain? (Which it is absolutely not, we are talking personal neuroses here, not facts.)
As a blogger though I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people in real life. They have all made my life so much richer and I have found true, real-life friends through this shared passion. I’ve grown more outspoken about my perfume hobby too, although I still don’t advertise it. But if asked… try to shut me up again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, what about you?

Is your perfumed passion a secret?


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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90 Responses to Monday Question – Is Your Perfume Hobby A Secret?

  1. judith dm says:

    Nooooooo, no secret, well only what is costs me!

  2. My perfumes passion was a thing I didn’t talk about but no one ever asked either, it was just something I was mildly embarrassed about, filled with binge and purge mentality, until I found the scentbloggosphere, starting with YOU Birgit! Now I have met a few, even my inspiration, in real life and have made a large number of online buddies too. How lucky we are to live in a world made so close by communication devices.
    Portia xx

  3. Jordan River says:

    Yes an absolute secret. This site is not publically accessible is it?
    Although last Friday, I a dinner party did have and after dessert… out came the collection for a pass and spritz around the table until the guests ran out of skin real estate. Accompanied by a speech highlighting attributes, fragrance families and perfumers. Waft and Waffle!

  4. RuthF says:

    It is a bit of a secret for me, my husband has no idea how many little sample vials I have hidden away! Although he does appreciate perfume and wears quite a few in my collection. I have started to talk about my dream of opening a beautiful niche perfume store in Sydney, if I won the lottery that is!

  5. Sandra says:

    No secrets here. But as Portia said, most don’t ask. I used to be embarrassed about my passion, but now that I have met you and others I feel free to talk about it more openly. Thank you for setting me free! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Olfactoria says:

      You are welcome! ๐Ÿ™‚ Letting on aout my passion on this site has brought me many new friends, locally and far away. Thanks for being my “wing-man” in Vienna’s perfume stores. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Ines says:

    It’s no longer a secret (even if I tried to keep it, my boyfriend would let anyone know about all the space my collection takes up).
    Although I’m with Judith, I keep the prices a secret. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have several perfumista friends in Zagreb and I feel lucky I managed to meet some of the virtual ones as well (the latest being you and Sandra). I keep telling everyone how I met 2 wonderful perfumistas in Vienna this weekend (making them a bit jealous). ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Nana says:

      It’s still a bit of a secret but I would love to come out the closet though. I guess I fear that friend and family will buy me main stream stuff thinking that I would be happy! Price tag for the stuff I like is way too big for the and I would hate to receive at all my birthdays and at Christmas crap perfume. For now, I will stick to virtual friends and keep a low profile (Shhhhhhh).

    • Olfactoria says:

      It’s great you have local perfume friends as well, Ines! The tale of our meeting will be up tomorrow, photos included! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Sandra says:

      Ines, it was truly lovely meeting you this past weekend!

  7. Alice says:

    Oh shhhhhh….! A secret! (except for a very few, incl my wonderful boyfriend, and even then its only a glimpse). Many of my favourite perfumes tell me stories about times and places (going through a l’artisan phase last few weeks) … and with all this in my head, I mention to somebody I am interested in perfume, and they say ‘oh yes I like fresh smells Calvin Klein Escape is my favourite’… so why even try?
    It’s odd that there is so little real interest generally. And odd that it’s fine to say eg I’m really interested in wine, but perfume is somehow still considered a bit trivial? I’d be interested to hear other’s views.
    Great question!

  8. poodle says:

    Not a secret really. I don’t talk about it with people who don’t already know but if it comes up in conversation I don’t deny my hobby either. I do find most people do not understand it at all. They also do not understand that I will actually pay money for sample vials of perfumes or that I mail samples to people and they do the same for me. They don’t know what I spend or how much perfume I have either. My collection is not large but to the average person it would be considered odd I think.

  9. brie says:

    My obsession with perfume has been known for a long time to family and close friends but I don’t necessarily broadcast it at work. and, yes, I would love to meet many a perfumista and perfume blogger (you included ๐Ÿ˜€ !!). Unfortunately, you are all literally all over the world!
    However, the girls and I do have plans to meet up with a bacon loving perfumista in the summer in NYC!!

  10. Vanessa says:

    Oh no, it has never been a secret for me…. I have been proselytising the joys of fragrance with missionary zeal right from the start, with some significant successes. I guess I have done ‘perfume consultations’ – most recently for my cousin the other night – for about 20 people, whereby they have discovered signature scents or just a bunch of new things to love. I wouldn’t foist my hobby on anyone, mind you, and can quickly gauge if they are a lost cause in the manner Alice evokes above. ; – )

    Regarding meeting fellow perfumistas – as you know I am trying to ‘clock up’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ as many as my travels permit(!), and the other weekend shows that the nearest fellow fumehead (in the shape of Freddie) may be just down the road!

  11. andreawilko says:

    My perfume collection is known only to a few close friends and family although I could happily talk the back legs of a donkey off to anyone who will listen. For most part peoples eyes glaze over though.
    My friend wants me to do a perfume party at her house which will hopefully happen soon, it still amazes me how many people have no idea about the good perfumes out there, most don’t even know about the Chanel and Dior private collections so I can’t wait to enlighten them.
    I also laugh when people say how knowledgeable I am on the subject when in reality I am still a complete novice and still bow down to the fantastic bloggers like yourself.
    The only secret part is the price, my mum would kill me (despite me being a grown woman with children) ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. At work, I don’t discuss my obsession or my blogging at all. Friends know, but I don’t believe that they truly understand. Although, they always seem to come to me for advice when they want to buy perfume for friends and loved ones! Great question!

  13. haefennasiel says:

    I’m very, very new at this and still have so much to learn, so this is something I don’t openly talk about to anyone. Unfortunately, my corner of the world doesn’t offer much for an aspiring perfumista (women here are more interested in makeup, and there are no giveaway samples, just annoying SAs who all but shove scent strips up your nostrils), and is in the grip of a Bath-and-Bodyworks fruity-floral invasion. Plus, it’s a luxury item here and I have to watch how much I spend. I’m also rather plagued by doubts if I’m doing things “the right way”, so I would be glad of any advice / instruction your blog (and others I gladly encountered online,) you can send my way.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m sure you are doing it right as long as you have fun, since that is what it is all about! You are the expert of your own perfume journey!

      • haefennasiel says:

        Thanks for the encouraging answer! =)

        Oddly enough, while I was typing my comment, Queen’s “I Want to Break Free” was playing in my headset. I suppose Freddie Mercury could relate to my situation! =3

  14. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Only the costs of my hobby are secret…
    In the meantime even my young male colleagues noticed that there is every day a different (and mostly pleasant) scent in my office (well, they don’t like the florals…). And my friends knew it anyway – and enjoy a decant here & there. .
    What I definitely should do more often : meet fellow parfumistas in real life

  15. Farouche says:

    Unfortunately I don’t have any real life perfumista friends, but thanks to this blog and others, lots of friends online! My friends think that this strange hobby is OK for ME, but THEY would never be interested (never say never!). My family is bemused, but tolerant, and as long as they keep buying me holiday gifts from my Luckyscent wish list, I’m happy.

  16. Civava says:

    It’s not a secret, not anymore. But I try not to bore people with that if they are not interested in the topic. It’s better for them not to ask me anything about perfume, because I can’t stop then ;-).

  17. Annina says:

    Great question, Birgit! Everyone who knows me knows of my obsession (forgive the pun)!

    I talk about perfume, dispense perfume advice when asked, and I am often gifted perfume. Though the gifting isn’t as great, because most of my loved ones -with such good intent- just don’t come close. My friends are somewhat intrigued, some more than others. I have turned a few on to perfumes. I have 1 or 2 friends as obsessed as I.

    My DH is supportive, and enjoys sniffing on a much smaller scale. He will talk about perfume with me, ask what I’m sampling, let me prattle on. He is aware, for the most part, what I spend. He has my wishlist, and when we travel, we talk about what I will buy.

  18. Miss Woolf says:

    My husband knows (but has no idea about the money involved, but hey I never go shopping for clothes) and is increasingly interested. For me scent is very much about emotional connections and reactions, about memories; visiting old ones and creating new ones. My scents in turn protect me, make me feel sexy, let me cry, help me smile (etc etc). And my husband is starting to get that. And his daughter (who is 23 and in the past used to ask for Marc Jacobs Lola and the like) is slowly becoming curious asking questions. But I’m not willing to share with many others. Not yet. I feel both slightly embarrassed and a little protective. It’s quite thrilling to have this secret world that no one really knows about.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is a good point, Asa! The thrill of the secret world is so lovely.
      But on the other hand, I think it is wonderful your family is interested and understands you so well.

      • Alice says:

        I agree ASA. We need to be so accountable in other areas, it’s fun to have something which is a bit secret. I wouldn’t want others to know everything I do or am thinking in relation to perfume!

  19. Tora says:

    As with many other fellow Perfumistas, I keep the money spent a big secret. Although my UPS man and my Husband probably have an inkling. Since Perfume is my only costly luxury, I don’t feel to horribly bad. My friends and family all know about my love of fragrance. I have been making aromatherapy blends for my clients for years, and that slowly morphed into a 24/7 obsession with Perfumes. I credit Luca Turin’s book with really tipping me over the edge and down the rabbit hole. I ordered samples of his favorites from Luckyscent or begged them off the salesgirls at Sak’s and Nieman’s. I would sit at the kitchen counter with sample in hand, reading what he and Tania wrote and sniffing and learning. It has been only within the last year that I discovered the world of fumeheads on the internet. I have not yet met any real Perfumistas live in the flesh. That would be a wonderful treat for me. I am so grateful to have found this online community!! I treasure these blogs, and consider fellow fragrance lovers, family.

  20. FeralJasmine says:

    It’s no secret in my household. My husband is an interested bystander, and although his comments are limited to “nice,” “really nice,” and “not so nice,” they’re very useful. I have learned not to leave the house in a “not so nice” scent because I will come to regret it, especially on warm days. I’m very careful what I wear to work, but coworkers have noticed and I often give them samples or dabs; 7 Billion Hearts is a surprise favorite in our clinic. I’m always on the hunt for interesting samples to share with coworkers. In some way that’s hard to describe, fragrance seems to reinforce the female bonding in my mostly-female workplace. We all work together very harmoniously, and that seems even more true on a 7BH day.

    • Olfactoria says:

      How lovely to hear that!

      And your husband seems to be a very positive guy, all I ever heard in the beginning was on the scale between “not totally bad” to “godawful”. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • FeralJasmine says:

        I am really lucky that he expresses himself in positive terms, but I think that if I hadn’t learned to pay attention to “not so nice,” I would have heard a “godawful” here and there! The only one that I still disagree with him about is SL Rose de Nuit. I find it fascinating, while he thinks it carries a faint but fatal suggestion of urine. But then, I find that some others in my circle agree with him, so best not to evoke that thought, ever.

  21. lucasai says:

    My university friends know about my love for fragrance. Few of them even asked me to go to the store with them and help to find them a new perfume (for them or as a gift to someone)
    My Mum also knows about my passion, she’s now a little bit of a budding perfumista herself.
    My Dad? Hmm… He knows I’m good at finding perfume etc but I think he has no idea that the green box on my bookshelf contains over 10 flacons of perfume

  22. AnneD says:

    Well, I have to admit my interest is still on the down low to everyone but my husband and daughters. Without writing a long story, I grew up feeling somewhat embarrassed about lusting after fragrances. I squirreled away my lunch money and hid my purchases from my mother. After I married and earned my own money, I literally had a little shrine in my closet where I would visit my “friends”. This seemed to really help during times of stress and there were many of those times in that marriage. Now I have a husband who has his own collection (Hot Wheels) and we laugh about ourselves.”Don’t you judge me!” he says when a box arrives. Reading blogs such as yours and knowing there is a whole community out there has done wonders to seeing this as an interest and a hobby I can truly enjoy and feel okay about my obsession.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I know all about those feelings of doubt and shame even, vanity was a big no, no when I grew up. Well, it seems to have been a very deeply ingrained need in me, because I’ve pursued it anyway, with a vengeance! ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. My grandmother, mother and aunt were all lovers of fragrance, and enjoyed sharing their passion with me. Their choices were limited because so few things were available in the rural South before the modern era. There are few people in my “academic” world who discuss fragrance. Most of them are much more frugal and serious than I am. So I deeply enjoy your blog and the fact that such lovely things are available to order on-line. Recently I learned about Labo’s Vanilla 44, and can’t keep quiet about it even with academic friends.

    • Olfactoria says:

      That’s great, Anita! I love it when something grabs us so much, we just cannot shut up. ๐Ÿ™‚ Vanilla 44 is a beauty.

      • FeralJasmine says:

        I share your passion for Vanille 44, but almost never wear it because of the prohibitive cost. I do keep a sample vial around, and will use a drop when I need calming down. I think that a decant is in my future, but not a full bottle. To afford that, I’d have to knock several other things off my 2013 shopping list, and I don’t want to do that.

  24. My coworkers are aware of my habit because I have stuff shipped to the office so someone can sign for it. They are into fragrance too but very mainstream stuff, so they are very curious about my orders. I hope to win a few converts eventually. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  25. Dubaiscents says:

    Great question! One of the good things about living in the land of excess and with a long history of fragrance is that people don’t find it too unusual that you would have lots of perfume although, I try not tell complete strangers the extent of my collection in case they think I am a little crazy. As many others have mentioned, I find any excuse to convert people to the world of non-mainstream scents and am always giving decants as gifts to people in hopes of bringing them to the dark side. As for meeting people in real life, I have met a couple of people here in Dubai who are fellow perfumistas but, I wish I could meet even more since I feel like so many of you are “family”. And I am really lucky to have my mom as a fellow enabler, I mean perfumer lover so we can discuss amongst ourselves all our new samples and purchases without boring others. Oh, and I probably have one of the few three year olds who asks if she can wear her “Amouage ‘fume” every morning (she always gets samples at the store which are HERS) and gets compliments from her teachers on her Gourmand Coquin – no doubt she is already in deep ๐Ÿ™‚
    If you are going to be in NY I bet my mom would love to meet you there (if she isn’t here visiting me). I wish I could as well but no trip home until August.

    • Olfactoria says:

      The land of excess – yes, I’m sure your perfum cllection is not the biggest in a place like Dubai.
      I love how your daughter has taken up the family tradition. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Ana says:

    It’s still a bit of a secret. Of course my partner knows.We live in a studio flat, I can’t hide anything!But he likes perfume too and he appreciates it and has a great nose and loads of good taste and style.My mother knows a bit about it too!but other than that, not really.I might mention that I like fragrances and that I more full bottles than it’s considered normal,but I don’t go into a full conversation about it. I agree with Asa, I like it this way.Not ready to share this with the outer world.

  27. Undina says:

    My love to perfumes has never been a secret even before I went down to the rabbit hole of niche perfumery – I would talk about perfumes with anybody willing to discuss the subject – and it became even less so once I started blogging about perfumes.

    I do not parade my collection but do not avoid answering any questions (price including, if asked).

    So far I’ve met only one real perfumista (and several perfumers ๐Ÿ™‚ ) but I hope to improve that soon ๐Ÿ˜‰

  28. Cacomixtle says:

    Like Tora above (hi again, Tora!), I came to niche perfumes mostly through aromatherapy and botanical/natural perfumes, which I have dabbled in natural (and beyond, at this point) perfume making myself. I became quite obsessed with ambers and orientals, which led me to want to try all the great ambers and orientals in the world… and well, I got rather entrenched in the culture and history and art and science of it all. But mostly, I just got sucked into the pure sensory pleasure of perfume ๐Ÿ˜€

    I live in a tiny village in the wilderness of southern New Mexico, so there’s not much in the way of fellow perfumistas here, and while I’m usually walking around in my small cloud of scent, there’s little interest in such thing here. So hm, no, I don’t think I’ve ever met any fellow perfumistas in person (yet)…. I wouldn’t say it’s a secret, but outside of online friends there’s not really anyone to talk to about it with.

    Also, I grew up in a very impoverished and conservative family in the deep South, and both vanity and frivolousness were very frowned upon. I’m still getting over not feeling guilty about spending money on something that is purely pleasure, but, um, looking at my perfume collection, I must be recovering rather well ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Olfactoria says:

      Wow, the place you live sounds wonderfully romantic, Cacomixtle (sorry, that is my interpretation, since I love New Mexico very much. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) Maybe you’d like to share some photos for the Hidden Beauty series one day?

      • Cacomixtle says:

        Oh, it is, and I adore it! I live in a river canyon in the midst of a forest, and I’d be happy to share some photos ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Olfactoria says:

          Excellent! Please send them to olfactoria at gmail dot com and I’ll feature them in an upcoming Hidden Beauty post. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Tora says:

          I Love New Mexico, but I am only familiar with Taos. My friend lets me use her house there in Valle Escondito. New Mexico’s landscapes just take my breath away. I would love to see your photos!!

        • FeralJasmine says:

          Are you down near the Organ Mountains?

          • Cacomixtle says:

            I’m in the Saliz and Mogollon mountains of the Gila Wilderness in southwest New Mexico, right near the border with Arizona, and about four hours from Las Cruces and the Organ Mountains ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Cacomixtle says:

    And about seven hours southwest of Taos I should mention, truly out in the sticks ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thankfully, my sticks involve lots of hot springs, incredible wildlife diversity, and volcanically formed mountains.

  30. I kept my passion so hush hush for years that not even my significant others knew. At all. Well, one once looked inside my suitcase and asked me what were all those bubble-wrapped parcels. Needless to say I went out with some pretty unobservant people? Who doesn’t notice what their girlfriend smells like?!

    But it’s a little like my bad, bad, bad luxury skin care habit. Americans in particular love knowing how much things cost (drives me nuts! so invasive!), and there is the judgement that comes with knowing that you dropped more than a Benjamin on a silly bottle.

  31. Dionne says:

    Late to the party as usual, but it was such an intriguing question. Plus, my answer is a bit different. As far as friends go, EVERYONE knows. Show even the faintest hint of interest, and I will talk and talk and talk…. heck, you don’t need to show any interest at all, and I can get going. I’m like Vanessa, I’ve done perfume afternoons with friends when they come over and smell, and I delight in helping people find a fragrance they love.

    On the other hand, although my husband and children know and are totally fine with it, my parents, siblings and extended family have no idea at all. None whatsoever. I guess my fear is that they just won’t understand and then they’ll make fun of it, and I’d just prefer not to go there.

    It’s a dream to someday meet another perfumista in real-life, as it seems there are none here in the Calgary area; I’ve actually scouted out the cost of tickets to New York and LA and somebody hope to get to a meet-up.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I hope you get to go to LA or NY eventually, it is so lovely to meet like-minded people.
      I understand about not letting your parents and siblings know, mine don’t know either, not even about the blog. They just wouldn’t get it.
      I’m glad your husband and kids are so supportive, Dionne.

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