Monday Question – How Adventurous Are You In Your Perfume Exploration?

By Tara

Do you like to try a wide range of different perfumes?

Are you drawn to the highly original and unusual in fragrance?

Or are you more conservative in your tastes and tend to stick to trying perfumes you’re pretty sure you’ll like?

Would you like to widen your perfume comfort zone?


My Answer:

In the early days I was up for trying most everything. I would get samples of perfumes from mainstream houses to very obscure ones I haven’t tried since. It didn’t matter what genre it was either (largely because I didn’t know my preferences yet). Even discovering I didn’t like something was a thrill because it added to my knowledge.

These days I’m much narrower in my exploration of the world of fragrance. I know what I like and tend to only try perfumes that I think will appeal to me. I will always try a new release from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs or Dior’s La Collection, but I’m unlikely to seek out the latest perfume by a new niche brand. When it comes to fragrance type, if it’s a chypre I’ll give it a go, but if it’s a skank-fest, forget it. In one way this is a shame because I feel my taste in perfume is pretty safe and not in the least cool or edgy, however that’s me!

How daring is your taste in perfume?


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48 Responses to Monday Question – How Adventurous Are You In Your Perfume Exploration?

  1. Jordan River says:

    To be really daring, I would like to try fishing for perfume. Apparently there is a lake near Austria? There lots of interesting scents that I enjoy exploring but that I would not wear. The luxe-skank Afgano Black would be my freak-em fragrance. I love it.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Jordan

      Yes, you make a good distinction between perfumes you’d be happy to explore and those you’d be happy to wear.

      I tried Black Afgano a while ago. Although I wouldn’t wear it, it wasn’t that off-putting at all.

  2. Sandra says:

    I love to smell most things that I can get my hands on. It does not mean that I will wear it though. I have my comfort zone and if I had not been open to smelling things I would not have discovered Bandit.

    • Tara says:

      Sandra, that’s one of the best reasons to push yourself out of your comfort zone sometimes – you might find something to love that you wouldn’t have otherwise.

  3. I was daring. That is how I started out, always seeking out the fragrances that would get high scores on the weirdness scale. Comme des Garçons is still a house that I keep close to my hard, thanks to matching interesting concepts with (often, not always) good execution, but other than that I’ve definitely become more conservative with time.

    On the other hand, I do wear a whole lof of fragrances today, that I would not have felt comfortable to wear in my early fragrance days. Maybe that fragrance newbie would look upon the me of today and think I’m still daring…

    • Tara says:

      It is interesting how things change over time. I think it’s no bad thing to know what you like and refine your tastes over the years, while still retaining an open mind.

      Comme des Garçons are right up there on the weirdness scale! Wonderwood is very wearable though and I’m intrigued about the tar heavy new fragrance, Black.

  4. Vanessa says:

    I’m with you, Tara! There are enough perfumes I think I might like that turn out to disappoint, without loading the dice further by trying seriously avant-garde stuff! 😉

    • Tara says:

      I thought we’d be as one on this question, V! I’m glad that those seriously avante garde fragrances are out there though.

  5. Ines says:

    I’d say I’m an explorer. Because I learned in the last few years there are many wonderful perfumes out there in genres I thought I didn’t like but due to smelling some of those perfumes, I now enjoy a wider range of fragrances.
    Still no aquatics though. 😉 I don’t think they will be able to create an aquatic I might find wearable.

    • Tara says:

      I definitely see you as an explorer, Ines. I think that’s great. It’s always good to keep trying different perfumes in a genre that you don’t get on with, because chances are you will eventually come across one that works for you.

      I’m no help to you on the aquatics front though!

    • Alice says:

      Neroli 36? One of the few aquatics I really like!

  6. poodle says:

    I love trying new perfumes and I’m trying to break my habit of blind buying things if the price is right. I love having a lot of scents to chose from but I tend to have my favorites and I find that as time goes by I’m becoming more selective in what I wear. I’ve also figured out which bloggers have similar tastes to mine. If they hate something chances are I will too. I have no desire to smell like urine or a dirty diaper. That’s where I draw the line on skank.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Poodle

      I think becoming more selective over time is pretty common. The amount of blind buying usually goes down too, though few of us are completely immune at the right price.

      I agree that it’s really helpful to narrow down which perfumes to explore when you have a blogger with similar taste to yourself.

      I think you’re drawing the line on skank at just the right point 🙂

  7. Alice says:

    Definitely an explorer! I prefer modern perfumes to vintage (or retro) and hardly ever wear anything pre1990 (chanel 19 being an exception). I keep a clutch of standby modern classics which I reach for when in a hurry, as I know they work for me, but other than that love to try the weird and wonderful, and would consider buying them if I like them enough. Having said that, in some areas I am definitely not adventurous: I always avoid very feminine (girly or diva) or very masculine perfumes, so I definitely have boundaries!

    • Tara says:

      That’s interesting, Alice. You like to explore but have your preferences with modern perfumes and nothing on the extremes of the masculine-feminine spectrum. I guess I’m with you on the latter. I don’t tend to be attracted to very typically masculine fragrances or stereotypically girlie perfumes. Extremes of any type tend to be less wearable.

  8. I think my perfume exploration experiences are very close to yours, Tara. Early on I tried lots of things since I was new and learning what I liked. My desire to seek out new fragrance experiences has waned as time goes by. One area of perfumes I still have more to try is the feminine category. There are a number of classic feminines, for instance, that I have yet to smell.

    • Tara says:

      Hi James

      Yes, we seem to have travelled a similar path.

      Even if you don’t find a classic feminine to love I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of exploring them. It widens your knowledge and understanding, if nothing else.

  9. Suzanne says:

    I like to take a walk on the wild side, and it usually works out for me, because my skin tames most of the perfumes that other people think of as beastly.

    But that said, the fragrances I wear the most when I’m not sampling are highly floral numbers (Amouage Opus I, Chanel No. 22, Hermes 24 Faubourg, Parfums delRae Amoureuse, to name a few). So, I’m really not sure how to answer your question, Tara. My tastes seem to be all over the map – or is it that I tend to gravitate towards extremes? (Extremely feminine or extremely masculine scents.) 😀

    • Tara says:

      Suzanne, I love that you are just as happy in MKK as No.22. I’m sure B would be able to confirm that this shows you are a very well-rounded as well as adventurous individual 🙂

      It’s so interesting that you have perfume-taming skin.

    • Alice says:

      Suzanne, just read your excellent review of gucci edp – gosh that brought back memories. I wore it a lot when it first came out, such a shame t was discontinued. It was streets ahead of anything they have produced since!

      • Suzanne says:

        Alice, thank you! Yes, it’s such a sophisticated fragrance – as you say, it’s a shame it was discontinued. I don’t know the line all that well, but there were two other discontinued Guccis that were also fabulous: the original Gucci Pour Homme, and L’Arte di Gucci.

  10. susan says:

    I think daring is pretty relative. In perfumista-land, the thing that seems a surest bet to be popular is an oriental, I think. My taste is much more towards heady, over-the-top white florals or fruity florals. I don’t mind animalic notes whatsoever – in fact, things that others describe as “skank fests” or super-animalic often don’t seem that intense to me. So, I think it varies a lot.

    I will try almost anything, even still. Mainstream, niche, whatever. Because I often do like things outside my safety zones.

    • Tara says:

      susan, it sounds as if , like Suzanne, you have skin that tames those more heady or animalic perfumes. You may be scent twins so might like to check out her blog – Suzanne’s Perfume Journal.

  11. Hi Tara,
    While I like to enjoy new fragrances for the sake of research and blogging, for personal wear I am more and more conservative, going to the fragrance families and notes I know work best for me.


    • Tara says:

      Hi Caro

      I absolutely know where you’re coming from. I think on a daily basis it makes sense to go for those tried and tested perfumes. I’m more likely to try something different on a Friday when I’m more relaxed. There’s nothing worse than a challenging perfume on a challenging day!

      Though at perfume events in particular, it’s really fun to try something completely different.

  12. Eva S says:

    I enjoy trying a lot of new perfumes, but usually I don’t go for the very avant-garde stuff. Really weird is not my cup of tea! Although I have a much broader taste these days than when I started- I would never have worn Big White Florals or heavy Orientals back then.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Eva

      Yes, I know what you mean. It may sound like a contradiction, but being more selective doesn’t necessarily mean your tastes aren’t broader generally. You just pick more carefully from that wider palette.

  13. elf says:

    I am beyond adventurous…there is very little that I would not try :D!!!

  14. Miss Woolf says:

    This is all still pretty new to me (I’m almost a year into my obsession with niche fragrances), but already I can sense a shift, a closing of ranks, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. At the beginning I wanted to sample everything (although it appeared I was a born snob and turned my nose at anything that I didn’t deem “niche” enough). I still love Chanel exclusifs, I still want to love (and often do) Guerlain, but mainly I find myself drawn to the smaller perfume houses, and especially the ones run by fascinating women: Vero Kern (the formidable high priestess, to whom I will always bow down in awe), Neela Vermeire (she always touches my core, my soul) Tanja Bochnig (lovely, delicate, pretty), Mandy Aftelier (she just leaves me speechless), Laurie Erickson (simply gorgeous). With these incredible women and their creations on the scene, I wonder why would I ever need to look elsewhere..?

    • Tara says:

      It’s true, there are so many inspiring women now with interesting, high quality, independent perfume houses. When you compare their original and soulful creations with what’s available in the average mainstream perfume store, there is a world of difference.

      I don’t think your shift is a bad thing at all.

  15. I’ve become more and more open to trying things outside my comfort zone as time goes by. After conquering animalics last year there isn’t much room for personal growth in the shocking and strange category. I love all of that stuff. Now I’m trying to develop an appreciation for florals and more classically feminine style fragrances.

    • Tara says:

      I think sometimes once you’ve found what you like and created a perfume collection based on that, it can be natural to then look outside your comfort zone, as you have. I admire you for conquering animalics. Hopefully you will enjoy exploring more classic and feminine fragrances and find something that speaks to you.

  16. Farouche says:

    I really enjoy trying different genres of perfumes and only draw the line at something that smells overtly chemical. That said, my favorites tend to be middle of the road, neither flower-power clear-the-room scents, nor blasts of Vetiver, Oud, Patchouli, and musk all rolled into one.

    • Tara says:

      Farouche, a lot of the cheaper (and some not so cheap) perfumes to be found in high street perfumes shops tend to have that really off-putting chemical smell. I hate that too.

      I’m not a fan of clear-the -room scents either!

  17. So I have a little guilty shopping confession to make. I’m actually one of those weird girls who doesn’t like going clothes shopping with other people. Why? Because I know what I like and what will will work with me, but I always make myself try on a bunch of stuff that is really out of my comfort zone like lime green high-waisted jeans, or turtle-neck cropped tops made of neoprene. Why? Because sometimes is works, and when it works, it really works and those oddball pieces become some of my favorite things to wear.

    I kind of feel the same way about fragrance. I almost never say no to anything because you never know 🙂

    • Tara says:

      I love your confession!

      I should definitely take a leaf out of your book. I can imagine how something quirky can turn out to be a favourite precisely because it’s that bit different. I’m going to remember your story next time I go shopping for clothes or perfume!

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