Have you ever thought about what it is that draws you to fragrance?
Why do you find yourself trawling perfume blogs and sniffing to your heart’s content again and again?
What makes perfume attractive to you?
Why is scent your passion?
It seems like an obvious kind of question, but it is actually a hard one to answer. That we are all more or less in the throes of perfume passion goes without saying, or we wouldn’t be here.
But why is perfume so alluring to us? What makes us seek it out and obsess about it, what makes us collect samples, hunt down bottles, keep spread sheets and wishlists, read blogs and websites, know all about online shopping and makes ebay our untrustworthy friend?
Why perfume? Why do we love it so much?
I seem to answer this particular question with yet more questions so far. So why am I dodging an answer? (See what I’m doing here? And that is yet another question!!!) I’m avoiding it maybe, because the answer is an intimate one. What we love and why is deeply personal… but so is perfume itself.
I love perfume because it makes me feel. It is a means to connect me with myself, to bring or keep me in touch with my emotions, a means to influence these emotions to a degree and experience them on my terms.
I love perfume because it is available to me whenever, no matter what. I don’t need to be pretty to wear it, I don’t need to be thin, I don’t need to be 18, I don’t need to be popular or rich. Perfume is invisible, but powerful. It can be only for me or it can advertise my presence to the world. I can be stressed, relaxed, on the run or on the couch, perfume can be with me. When I can’t do anything else and don’t know which way my head is screwed on, I can still huff my wrist.
Perfume is an adventure, a journey. It is never dull and it is always fun.
You could call the above my perfume manifesto.
What is yours?
Well, dear B, you summed it up so perfectly and eloquently that I cannot add anything else. So true on every point.
Glad we agree (but we knew that! 😉 )!
I agree! Very well-put.
Hallo dear Birgit!
Like taste, touch, hearing, and vision, smell is a very important sense that needs to be satisfied. The difference with smell is that it is abstract as you put it and not tangible, therefore, people tend to ignore it. Those of us who are born with an acute sense of smell have learnt to get to know the world also through this. Thus, my answer to your question why I love perfumes is because I was born like this!
Great answer, Alexandra, thank you! For some it is less a choice than a necessity. 🙂
I agree with Alexandra. I was born that way too. The first time I remember enjoying a scent was in the bath when I was a very young child. The fragrance of that soap haunts me. Intense sensual pleasure is the motivation, but loving good scents is also a way to combat all the bad ones that can’t always be avoided.
How lovely! It must be nice to have scent memories so far back.
I like the way perfume opens so many windows, paths and doorways to other interesting and educative places. It takes me to other languages, to art and science, to poetry and literature, and especially to other like-minded beings. I love this journey. Vaya con Perfume.
Very true, Jordan. I love starting with perfume and ending up somewhere else, like a poem or music…
Well said, I haven’t consciously considered that before. But yes, I have certainly been given a history lesson or music lesson via perfume!
Indeed, not much to add, except, perfume makes me complete. And no matter, what else is going on within and around yourself, it’s always this little (or big) sensual gift, easy to obtain.
Beautifully said, Safran.
Agree with Alexandra.. sometimes I find it hard to understand why others are not interested, it seems so fundamental. Plus…its my ‘vice’… the place I escape to; others may hit the clubs, the bars (I am tea total), the casinos (never been), the jewelery stores (don’t possess any), the race track….I’m allowed one tiny little vice, aren’t I?
You sure are, Alice! And it has no detrimental effects on your health (the IFRA might object though 😉 ).
Hmm, a good question, one I have no idea how to answer. 🙂
I think because it opens up new vistas and makes me smile.
That’s a great reason, Ines!
I don’t think I can add much to your thoughts Birgit, they pretty much sum up everything I feel about perfume! I love that you can walk into a perfume store and nobody is going to think you are not the right type of person to be shopping there – everyone can love perfume! Living in such a city of excess, perfume seems like a very sane and small indulgence. I can’t think of a better “hobby” (or vice…)!
I talked to some people at a party yesterday who looked me as if I were an alien creature because of the “exoticism” of my hobby, it is so nice to be “home” again among all of you who think it is the most normal thing ever. Thank you, Rachel! 🙂
I’m sure many of those same people make an inordinate fuss about what food they eat and wine they drink (taste), clothes they wear, their hair (vision), music they listen to (hearing)…. so what’s so odd about a little scent fetish?
That is what I tried to explain to them, that is was something like being a wine connaisseur or loving visual art. They were nice about it, just totally unfamiliar with the “phenomenon”. 😉
What you said …..
I am not a neat person but I have an organized brain. A psychiatrist will have a field day with the J in my Myers-Briggs Type Indicator results. Perfumes can be grouped according to characteristics, brands, notes, perfumer. There are multiple, even infinite possibilities now and in the future. And best of all, you can pretty much bring your passion (maybe obsession) anywhere both physically and intellectually.
Thank you for mentionin the intellectual part of the hobby, Hajussuuri! Perfume lends itself so well to organizing.
I’m sure Undina would agree! 😉
I like what Alice just said…”a little scent fetish”
sums it up!
It does! 🙂
Isn’t it funny how hard we find it to answer this question?!
I think it’s because perfume connects to us on a deep level. A lot of people like perfume but not many love it the way we do and it’s difficult to say what it is that pulls us down the rabbit-hole. For me, I know it provides escapism, a mood modifier and precious moments of joy throughout my day, but probably most of all I love that I can express myself through it.
The connections I’ve made through it are the best bonus ever!
So well said, Tara. It is such an emotional helper for those who discover it, and as you say, there is a special bind between “initiates” that I wouldn’t ever want to miss!
Self expression is a perfect reason to love perfume!
What a great question, and such thoughtful answers. I love perfume because it connects me to my past and grounds me in the present. It is a way both to take care of yourself while at the same time sharing with others. I also enjoy the “life-long learning” aspect of perfume. One will never know everything about perfume, and there is always a new fragrance around the corner. Like Hajusaari, it also appeals to the organizational side of my brain. I like to sort, organize, compare and contrast. And best of all, through this blog and others, I’ve found others just like me.
The life-long learning aspect is also something I enjoy.
And I agree with you, perfume people are very thoughtful, I so enjoy all the answers today!
Our sense of smell is so directly linked to our emotions and the older, more primal part of our brains. I’ve loved perfume, and have been sensitive to smells for as long as I can remember. I notice the smell of something – a place, an object, a person – before anything else. I can find a place to be uncomfortable, simply because of the smell.
I’m obsessed with perfume for the same reason, Birgit. It makes me feel. It soothes my soul, colors my imagination; it’s an escape. Perfume is a fantasy – from its “story” to its bottle, the perfumer is communicating through his/her art. And like other art forms, it’s fascinating to know how others perceive the scents I love – or don’t care for. Indeed, I can just be me: it doesn’t matter what I wear or if I’m wearing makeup. Perfume can enhance or change my mood. I can’t go without it – even when camping I wear essential oils.
So well said, Annina.
I can’t be without it either, nor do I want to. 🙂
When I first read this question, I thought; “that is impossible to answer!” But you all have put to words thoughts that were swirling around, untethered. I have little to add, but here goes….I think I love perfume for it’s innate beauty and accessibility. Anytime I want to enter a new state of mind as you pointed out, Birgit, it is just a dab away. It is like my dream self, perpetually young, beautiful, strong, brave, and wise. Perfume can turn me into the very best I am, if only in my imagination. It is the ultimate ‘cloaking device’. I do not rightly understand why I keep searching though. I have quite a few perfumes that I truly adore. Why isn’t that enough? Perhaps it is a simple as my need to keep reading new books. As soon as I put one down, I have to start another. My morning ritual of placing a dab of a new sample on my wrist while drinking my coffee and reading my mail, is the most precious time of day. It is all mine, and It makes me so very happy.
Oh, you have a lot of beautiful thoughts to add, Tora.
As for the eternal search, I wonder too sometimes, but I like your idea of it being like wanting to read another book (no shame in that – on the contrary) instead of thinking of it as greediness. I think I’ll keep your explanation. 😉
I totally agree with your book analogy. I am constantly searching for a new addition to my “library” of perfumes. A good perfume can read just like a novel with the rising action/climax being the top notes and the falling action/Dénouement being the middle and base notes. Perfumes have mystery, romance, scandal,history…..
I also enjoy the morning ritual of dabbing on a sample while I have breakfast and work out.
Thirding the book analogy. When I am satisfied that the word has shown me all of the beauty and creativity I could ever want and be totally satiated (forever!), then I will lose my curiosity. Until then, life may preocuppy my attention now and then, to the point where a new perfumes charm’s may be lost on me. That is more of a case of pearls to swine, however. When I have returned to a more balanced and human point of being, the fact that I have smelled so many others just gives me a point of reference to enjoy a new scent.:)
Oops, not word, world! Doh!
A very good way of thinking, Kimberly!
I feel like you in several ways. I do not have to be pretty, thin, rich (it would help though) or young. I am also very lazy about make-up etc… Perfume can be accomplished in 5 seconds. Then at least I believe am more put together, sometimes more noticeable depending on my choice. It is a quick pay back. And so many beautiful ones.
Perfume as a quick and surefire way to make us feel more beautiful – I love that!
I don’t have much more to add, because so many good reasons have been stated. I love perfumes, and I equally love essential oils. I use both daily, and really appreciate what each note has to offer.
I love the creative potential that scent evokes, as well as the inner power and joy that the scents I choose give to me.
I don’t understand how anyone can have aversion to enhancing their aura with scent. There is something for everyone.
IFRA is ridiculous!!!!! Yes I know I don’t have to tell you, but really!!!!!!!
Inner power – so true, Arline, perfume is like an invisible shield making us stronger.
As others have said, I think you answered this question so well that there is not much more one needs to say. Beautifully stated, Birgit. For me, perfume is like a canvas – a living canvas that I step into and inhabit, admiring the beauty of the composition and the olfactory brush strokes that were laid by the person who created it, and then adding to that canvas my own perceptions or memories that are triggered by it. Not a good explanation, but hopefully you know what I mean. And I love that perfume is something that I can have anywhere, at anytime … it’s more portable than music, it goes wherever I go … if I want to keep it a secret, I just apply it sparingly; if I want to share it with others, I apply it more strongly. It’s such a versatile and accessible form of art, adornment or whatever one wishes to call it.
I think that is a very good explanation, Suzanne! I love the notion of a living canvas.
This is such a lovely post Birgit, thank you. Between yours and everyone else’s comments my reasons have been given; I’ll add that I’ve always considered myself more of a sensualist than a perfumeista, enjoying fulfillment of all five senses. Tania Sanchez wrote that perfume was like a soundtrack to life and I agree with that view. It is something just for me, like a piece of chocolate or the feel of a silk scarf around my neck. An appreciation of the gentle powers of beauty of all types is vital to enjoyment of life, in my opinion; it softens the harsh realities around us.
I agree, Anita. Perfume – and all other sensual delights really – are a much needed and appreciated antidote to the hardships life brings every day, it doesn’t help to focus on those (I wish I took my own advice more often though!) 🙂
Pleasure. Sensual. Memories. Safety.
All the things others say. But for most of us,
(me!) , there is an addiction, which
when fed, releases endorphines, which makes
us feel good. We are definitely more crazy
than your average “two squirts, I’m done.”
sort of folk!! Thought provoking question.
Although I don’t relish the thought of being addicted, it is probably true, dear Val.
But as far as addictions go, most others are worse and as long as there is no harm (financially), I guess I can live with it. 😉
Well, try living with no fragrances at all
for a month, and get back to me! And you are right, it is definitely one of the healthy ones. xxx
A whole MONTH???? *shudders*
I rest my case. EPIC smile.
LYRIC sigh. 😉
Everyone has already stated exactly why I love perfume but much more poetic and eloquent than I could have done. 🙂 I love how multifaceted perfume is. It can be as entertaining as reading a novel or as awe inspiring as visiting a museum while at the same time making you feel pretty, beautiful or self confident. It’s capable of altering your mood and sense of well being without popping a pill. It can also be an aromatic history lesson. I am intrigued by perfumes marriage of science and art/beauty. It makes me wish I had paid more attention in chemistry class! Perfume keeps me entertained and broadens my horizons in so many areas and aspects. Perfume is not exclusive. It’s for the artist, the writer, the scientist, the historian, the fashionista, the tomboy, the tree hugger, the business man….I also love this community of fellow ‘fumees. Nobody in my real life gets my obsession. 🙂
You make a great point, Lila. Although we Perfumistas also share many traits, we come from all walks of life and are a pretty diverse bunch.
Thanks for ading your thoughts!
Wonderful question Birgit…but how does one explain the unexplained. I think that many if not of us who are drawn to perfume have not made a conscious decision to do so. I don’t know if it’s something in our brain that is triggered that makes it a force, but for my own self I can tell you that i clearly remember at a young age being drawn to my mother’s fragrances, even though they really didn’t hold much value to her. To me it’s an innate quality that I possess and I’m glad that it’s a part of me. Why joy perfume brings to me…I love that I love perfume!
That is wonderful, Steve! I’m glad you enjoy this part of you so much and let us in on your fragrant adventures on your lovely blog.
Late to the party and I can only second the many eloquent answers that have gone before. I think perfume has the capacity to enable me to toggle between selves – the facets of the person I already am and the ones I would like to be. Or it can be a humorous counterpoint to one’s character – or even an outfit. It is the ‘ultimate cloaking device’ as another commenter put it, and in so many surprising ways. Yet sometimes it is as simple as a nice bracing smell of orange blossom to kick start your day…
Toggling selves – I adore that phrase. I’m toggling between my innocent maiden and grim reaper selves today, it’s fun, I can tell you! 😉
Toggle away – would love to see that particular metamorphosis in action! 😉
As many others before I felt tempted to sign my name under many other comments. But probably the most exact fit is Alexandra’s answer: ” because I was born like this.” I liked perfumes as long as I can remember myself, from early-early childhood. I don’t remember the time when I didn’t love perfumes.
Speaking of early childhood memories: I’m so glad you got to smell linden trees recently, I always think of your childhood as steeped in the scent of linden trees and condensed milk (it was not that idyllic, I know, but it is nice to think about you like this in olfactory terms.)
Love reading everybody’s thoughts and yours on this subject!Through perfume,I dive into the labyrinth of memories and emotions and I love how it expresses a longing I feel.I am also still amazed at how a scent can transport us back to the past in a flash-I occasionally sniff at a tiny bottle of my first perfume(Jean Louis Scherrer) and I am back being a twenty year old student!Thank you for this!
The transportive power of perfume is amazing indeed! I’m glad you still have some of your first fragrance to time-travel at will. 🙂