Monday Question – Let’s Talk Numbers: How Many Perfume Bottles Do You Own?

Today we will draw aside the curtains and take a peek behind.

How many bottles of perfume do you currently own?

What is your number?

Is it too little, too many? Are you happy with your collection? What would you like to add, what should go?



My Answer:

At this moment I own 104 bottles of perfume.

I know it is too many. Aside from the fact that non-perfume people think this is nothing short of insanity, I don’t feel good admitting to such a number.
My goal is to reduce to the basics, to the bottles I don’t want to live without.

I am at a point in my perfumed life where I want to stop experimenting and rather wear what I have and re-buy my favorites that get depleted by daily use.

What is my ideal number then? I’m not sure yet, but a bit less than half would suffice. Eventually a core wardrobe of only around ten bottles seems to be my goal.

What about you? What’s your real and what’s your ideal number?


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169 Responses to Monday Question – Let’s Talk Numbers: How Many Perfume Bottles Do You Own?

  1. Sandra says:

    Right – I will be brave enough to fess up! I have 83 bottles. I have slowed down in my purchasing, but I do not plan to stop all together. I have three more purchases for 2013 and will be satisfied with rounding out my collection. Unlike you, I do not foresee myself culling my bottles – certainly not down to half. I give unloved bottles to friends and family. For the moment, I am happy with my collection and would be sad to get rid of anything. Knowing myself, I would mourn the loss of the bottle and repurchase down the road.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for being the first to name numbers. 83 is not bad at all, and you sound content with all you have which is great. I am moe of an impulse buyer, which is why I own bottles that I shouldn’t have… 🙂

  2. julia says:

    I think 104 is within acceptable limits! I know people with thousands of bottles after all. 😉
    Currently I have 8 bottles that are 30ml or more, but I have a billion decants and even more samples. I am still early in my perfume hobby so very open to experimentation..!

  3. Jordan River says:

    What a delving question which I will not answer as I am within cooee of your scented self.

    In theory I think 7 bottles for weekly use is sensible plus special occasion scents (Nuit de Noël, De Profundis, Jubilation XXV and 25 et al), then X 4 if you believe in seasonal scent wardrobes.

    So maybe 35 to 50 is ideal depending on your own sense of special occasions such weddings / funerals etc. But the trouble is that a new launch by an admired house is a special occasion in its own right hence the ‘number of bottles’ dilemma. Call it an Art Collection and all is well.

  4. Oops. I’ve got full bottles in the range of 200 and above… And counting! Unfortunately I don’t see myself downsizing anytime soon, because I wouldn’t have bought them if I hadn’t loved them. Also, I sometimes collect fragrances that I might not love but that I particularly admire for their technical competence, or because they fill a certain role in the wardrobe. I try to limit the impact on my wallet by selling decants from my full bottles – I don’t need 100ml of everything, it’s true, and decants help to offset the costs!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Thank you for your answer, smelly vagabond. I completely understand your take, and I also have perfumes I almost never wear but stil would never want to miss.
      Decants are a good way to finance the whole thing. (Where are you located?)

  5. Lynley says:

    Noooo! Don’t ask! 😉 Ok. It’s probably around 200, with some of these being small bottles in coffrets also.
    I do continue to purchase, and there are a few still on my wish list. The thing is, like you, I want them in their lovely bottles- it’s part of the package and yes, they are an art collection!
    I do have samples and decants, but of those I love, I still want fb’s, and I forget about my decants as they all look the same!

    When I see something I like on special I buy it, even if it isn’t reeeeealy on my ‘to buy’ list, and I admit there are many I don’t wear. Some I have because they’ve been discontinued, or reformulated, or that I used to wear and love at some point and I know that I’ll regret giving them away or selling them, as I have in the past. And yes, I own some just because they are a great example of their type.
    It is a collection I guess, and one that goes beyond simply being functional scent. It costs a lot and people think I’m nuts, but there are many other things I could collect instead that I think would be crazier! 🙂

    • Lynley says:

      10 bottles Birgit? Really? I admire the idea even that you think that is possible! I look at my collection sometimes and play the ‘ok- what 10 would you pick if you could only pick 10’ game- and I just can’t do it!! 😉 summer, winter, daytime, formal night, party night etc…. there’s more than 10 categories for them to fit in!! 🙂 lol

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is very true, as far as collections go, perfume seems to be a very sane one. 😉
      I’d love to take a look at your amazing collection, Lynley.

  6. Ana says:

    I have 19 full bottles in the range of 30, 50, 75 and 100 mls, so at the moment I’m not worried by my collection’size.I think my ideal number would be around 50-60 bottles,but we’ll see , as it might expand well over that.Certainly this year I have discovered that I am much more careful about my perfume spending and it takes me a long time to buy a full bottle.

  7. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I don’t know exactly. I’m afraid of knowing the exact figure… Around 50, probably. I love them all though and yes, I see them as an art collection. At the moment I have 3 more in my short/mid term plan, but my Intention is to slow down and keep my collection clear & manageable.

  8. Undina says:

    I’m not sure how to count… Should I count those almost empty designer perfumes bottles that I have from pre-perfumista times? I do not wear them any longer but I don’t want to let them go since I used to love them (and there’s not that much left in them). Should I include bottles of perfumes that I got as a part of the set that I bought because just one of them? I haven’t even tried the rest yet and I paid for the set less than I would have paid for the one bottle in it that I wanted if bought separately. Should I count my vSO’s bottles? Occasionally I might use some of them and I buy only those that I like but they are mostly his… Do I count mini, travel and other types of smaller bottles?

    Just to define the size of my collection, let’s say that it’s about 80 bottles (after I donot count what I think shouldn’t count).

    Nobody needs that many bottles. But it’s a collection. And I enjoy wearing most of my perfumes. So for now I do not plan to do anything about it. But I think for a long time before buying any more bottles. For now most of my new desires are fulfilled by decants.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I counted them all (but left out those who are truly my husband’s that I never use).
      Glad to hear you are happy with what your have, that is the goal after all.

  9. . .. but surely you are so innately drawn to the beautiful, the luxurious and the just damn gorgeously fragrant, that you know in deinem Herz that it is impossible to only have ten bottles.

    However, I do know the guilt of the wastefulness and the mistaken, perhaps-shouldn’t-have-done-extravagance.

    I am currently on the way to Tokyo, on a train, rocking a ( 28ml! ) vintage CHANEL GARDENIA parfum I bought the other day. I really should not have ( financially ). But it smells so utterly beautiful.

    And yet I know that this particular scent will be one of my ‘occasionals’: a man can’t smell of spicy, luscious gardenias all of the time ( at least I can’t… )

    And therein lies the whole dilemma.

    Must count, now, actually. I don’t think I have as many as you do, but then again I have such poor spatial and numerical awareness…,

    • Olfactoria says:

      Maybe mein trügerisches Herz will win over my rational mind in the end… who knows? 🙂

      I look forward to getting an actual number from you.

      You and your Gardénia must smell wonderful…

  10. megan says:

    Well I don’t see a high number of perfumes as a problem. If you like music you likely have 100’s or 1000’s of albums, cds, mp3’s etc. I have just started my perfume interest and so far have 23 bottles. I admit my partner thinks it is quite an odd interest and I am starting to feel like I should hide some of my purchases, so there is some guilt associated with the outflow of cash to this hobby – especially when we’re on a one year stay in France and I’m not working. Anyway I feel that I may as well take advantage of living in France and the easy access to the perfume world. I set a budget now or else we’ll be bankrupt before too long. Great blog by the way. I have basically been reading yours and a few others to immerse myself in the world of perfume as well as sniffing whenever I can.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hello megan,
      thank you for reading and commenting!
      I agree, a year in France is a unique opportunity and must be well spent. You’ll remember the bottles bought there for the rest of your life and you’ll always have the perfumes to instantly take you back to this time.

      • That’s a great way to approach it – I never thought of it quite like that. But you’re absolutely right, these bottles will be my souvenirs of France. I am definitely on a mission to get to know french perfume – although I have been tempted by Andy Tauer’s scents as well. However when I get back to New Zealand it will be something of a perfume wasteland. Maybe I’ll need to rectify that!

  11. Ooh whoops I posted twice as I didn’t think the first one went through – maybe delete the second one!

  12. Tara says:

    I think 10 bottles is a good goal. You can still have a load of decants, right?

    I have 25 bottles at the moment and surprise, surprise, I’m feeling much like you. I’m selling off a few bottles at a time on ebay or swapping or giving them away to get down to a capsule wardrobe of things I truly love and wear regularly. I can’t seem to do more than 2 or 3 at time because it’s hard!

  13. poodle says:

    Without taking an actual count I’d say I have about 80 full bottles of varying sizes. There are some I’d like to get rid of, mostly things I’ve gotten bored with or those blind buys that didn’t thrill me. I don’t mind having a lot of bottles instead of decants because I tend to overlook decants. Part of me must be a bottle lover. A lot of my collection would qualify as cheap thrills too because I bought them at discount so I don’t feel guilty in that respect. I’m starting to be more selective about my purchases and I really need to love it to buy although if I stumble on something for less than $20 at TJ Maxx I’d probably purchase it unsniffed if it’s something I’ve been curious about. I enjoy having to chose my scent each day. I do use most all of them and go through phases based on the weather and my mood. I also have far more nail polish and lipstick than one woman needs but I’ve gotten a grip on that habit. I’m not restricting my buying until next month perhaps. I’m going to Sniffa at the end of October which means I could be the proud owner of another bottle or two. Or three.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh have fun at Sniffapalooza!

      Decants don’T work for me either, it must be a full bottle or I won’t use it. Around 80 seems to be a popular number among readers today. 🙂

  14. annemariec says:

    I so admire your courage Birgit! I haven’t counted and I don’t plan to but I think I own about 50.

    This is something really I struggle with. I don’t like sending perfume through the mail, so not only am I wary of accepting gifts, I can’t really sell, swap or decant stuff. So my new determination is to just be generous give my unwanted bottles to charity. I’ve set aside six or eight in the giveaway box, a box which sits neglected in my hall cupboard. But then the inevitable happened. Suddenly something reminded me of the giveaway box and I took a peek at it. Hmmm … that bottle of Bvlgari pour Femme (which I bought it from a thrift shop in the first place) … that’s worth another sniff isn’t it? Oh, actually it’s rather nice … what was I thinking? I must just keep it a bit longer … And so on and so on. A few things have been rejuvenated from the giveaway box in this manner, although some other things have been put into it. Why don’t I just give away the damned box?! I don’t know …

    I do try very hard now not to buy full bottles but to stick with decants. Exceptions to the rule are discontinued or reformulated perfumes, so I felt quite fine about picking up a bottle of Cuir de Lancome. It’s my only leather too.

    • Lynley says:

      Oh I did the same thing annemarie! I put some aside to sell on Gumtree (for pick-up) including a refill bottle of Armani Prive Pierre de Lune I got for about $30. I bought it blind as it was so cheap but thought ‘meh’ (and I could maybe get a decent price to assist my ‘hobby’). But then I started really liking iris which I didn’t before (ditto tuberose…) and suddenly it was rather lovely!! (and hence welcomed back into the fold) 🙂

    • annemariec says:

      Oh, and Christmas! I think we all deserve a new bottle then, especially if we have been really, really good. 🙂 My gift to myself will probably be Nicolai’s L’Eau a la Folie. Still testing it though.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I do the same, Annemarie. My “to be donated” box empties and fill again seemingly on its own without ever actually leaving the house. 😉
      Goo dfor you that you got tha Cuir de Lancome, it is so worth having!

  15. greysilver says:

    Thank u for the warning- I am about a year into my perfumista marriage (surely this is a long term committed relationship) and I have 9 full bottles but tons of samples , .5 ml decanted, etc.
    My biggest joy and problem is I read the blog and I “must try that”. I went to Sniffa last spring and surprised myself by only getting I FB – but it was an expensive one!
    I can see the danger, worst of all for me, is getting new scents and then forgetting the old flames!
    Well, thank you for the warning. I will start giving away or selling a few bottles I don’t adore.
    I love the idea that it is an art collection ! But then I have to do a better job of organizing the catalogue !

  16. Ines says:

    Well since you were honest here, I’ll admit to having around 100 bottles as well. 🙂 I’m not sure how many exactly but it’s around that number. Even when I get rid of some, new ones beckon and soon I have new perfume friends to keep me company. 😉

  17. Vanessa says:

    Am parked up in a car park between meetings, so my flying guess re bottle count would be about 60, rising to 70 if you included a number of humungously big decants, several from your good self! I had a yard sale recently and managed to shift about four, but there are many more I no longer consider FBW, which were bought in my early, impulsively acquisitive phase before my taste had formed / bottomed out – though saying that, it is still in flux.

    I think I would be happy – relieved in fact – to have far fewer bottles than I do, especially as I also have easily the same number of decants, which on their own would take me a lifetime to drain. So my collection troubles me more than it pleases me at the moment to be honest, also because it is now out of its fridges and taking its chances under the stairs instead. Yes, 25-30 would be ample….

  18. Hi there Birgit,
    We all know what a glutton I am so I am not going to mention a number but it’s less than 400.
    Please send me your “To Be Retired List” ASAP so I can reach 400 quicker.
    Portia xx

  19. Safran says:

    Hello Birgit,
    I currently own 66 bottles and 45 decants, after I’ve reduced at least the double amount only in the past two years. I always consider being a user, not a collector, to me, perfume is something to wear, not to keep in the closet. It might sound strange, but it feels too alive, to do that. So everytime, I notice, that some scents are not used at all, I start sorting and moving, giving away -until I feel a bit better.
    The ideal amount for me to really use frequently, would be about 30 bottles and 20 decants, I guess. Will ever get there?

  20. Sabine says:

    I feel a bit out of place here, with only 15 FB. I’m working hard on increasing that number, but at the moment I’m too excited about experimenting to commit. Which is obviously a good thing in terms of money spending. My ideal number would probably be around 30. Or 40?

  21. ringthing says:

    My count is 38. Of these, there are several that were gifts or misguided cheap blind buys that could go. I have no guilt because most of my collection is the result of years of determined swapping, and I have a fleet of decants that satisfy the urge for perfumes that are out of my reach. The juice has always been more important to me than the bottle

  22. florence raab says:

    Dear Birgit, I feel exactly the same; after having purchased so many bottles, so hungry to know to smell to own………I’ve amost 100 bottles and big perfumes, but I want to get rid of and reduce the number to my 8 favorite perfumes, those I can’t live without. I’d keep a few ones more I like very much just because they are beautiful or because I like them really but they are not ME.
    maybe, I’m at the end of a quest, but maybe tomorrow I fall for a new fume 😉

  23. lucasai says:

    I have 18 bottles. I didn’t count the pairs of big Atelier Cologne + a petit flacon separately. But if you insist on counting individually, then it would be 20, as I have both big and small bottles for Rose Anonyme and Silver Iris.

  24. Connie says:

    I have 10 bottles- I’m still only maybe a year and a half into my perfume journey, and I just started college. There are definitely a few scents I would want to add, but I prefer decants to full bottles. A few of the perfumes I have were bought before my tastes changed, and I don’t wear them so much and will probably take the step of parting with them at some point in the future- Fracas and Jasmin et Cigarette being the two that come to mind.

    • Olfactoria says:

      A very nice number, I imagine most perfume get a good amount of weartime.

      • Connie says:

        That would be more true if I weren’t always sampling something! But now that I’m in college and have less time to devote to thinking about perfume, my bottles have been getting more well-deserved attention. 🙂

  25. Berna25 says:

    I started this year! And I have 2 1/2 full bottles and my husband has 1 1/2 bottles. We share Andy Tauer’s “L’Air du Désert Marocain” :-). But also many, many samples. This morning arrived another 10 samples…

    And I also read this blog and some others and I also “must try that”. And everything sounds so beautiful. After trying a scent from Odin, I also have to try the others scents from Odin. The same with Heeley and other perfume houses.

    But it is so wonderful to smell all these differents scents and to discover the world of perfumes.

    So, I think the numbers of bottles will increase the next few months…

    By the way, I think it is better to spend the money for perfumes instead of cigarettes 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      That is very true! Perfume is good for you contrary to cigarettes! 😉
      I understand the impulse to try the whole line when you love one very well. And this stage of the journey is so much fun, enjoy!!!

  26. vintagefrenchchic says:

    You are funny! That is a lot. I have exactly 100 less than you. : )

  27. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I adore you two, you are my heroes : I could never part with my lovely bottles… (Well, there were some “one night stands” I got rid off quickly and only the true loves remained. I’m a promiscuous creature, when it’s about parfum…)

  28. Suzanne says:

    I own 71 bottles, although some of them are quite small, like Joy parfum, or a couple Sonoma Scent Studio perfumes that I purchased in the 17-ml bottles. Even so, this number is too high to be ideal to me, and off the top of my head, I ‘d say that my ideal number is somewhere around 40, which gives plenty of variety for steady wear and for occasional perfumes (fragrances like Un Lys, that I only crave in the spring).

    If I was moving or something, I’m pretty sure I could pare my collection down to 20 bottles and be quite satisfied, but to stay satisfied, I know I’d have to stop participating in the perfume blogosphere.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Yes, the constant temptation is not easy to bear. But recently I found I am not as easily goaded into buying a perfume anymore. Maybe I developed a case of blog resistance? 😉

  29. Audrey says:

    I’m guesstimating because my bottles are scattered around and I’ll always miss some. I have around 50 full sized bottles. I’ve whittled that down from about 100. However, I also have about 120 decants and minis ranging from 5 ml to 15ml. I’ll only buy a FB if it’s amazingly heavenly, amazing and limited, or really nice at a great price. I don’t see myself stopping, but I now know what I like consistently and make fewer mis-purchases. Fruity and floral scents are usually decant or mini buys.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Audrey,
      we know what we need better and better over time. The most important thing is being happy with your “number” and it sounds like you are.

      • Lavanya says:

        haha- in the middle of grad school, probably two years into my perfume-mania- I stopped reading the perfume blogs because I didn’t want to feel the need to buy..But then- in that blog-hiatus period I started researching bath and body products and ofcourse bought way to much of that And when I got back to reading I discovered your blog, dear Birgit and that didn’t help did it ..;-)

  30. Hannah says:

    I have around 10 full bottles of perfume. However, if I counted my 5ml or less “full bottles” of perfume oil and solid perfumes, it would be quite a bit more. I have no desire to reach a certain number of bottles, and I definitely should get rid of some that I have because I am not loving them as much as someone else might. I’m just not sure where to send them..

    I’ve made a rule for myself to prevent me from picking up full bottles that I end up not liking. No more blind buys, and I will only buy a full bottle if I have completely finished up the sample. Many times I’ve used a sample twice, decided that I loved it and placed an order. But if I can’t even be consistent enough to finish a 1-2 ml sample, I certainly shouldn’t be buying a full bottle!

  31. Alice says:

    Oh what a question..I’m glad my real identity is concealed! 40-45, I think, plus a couple more at the back of my mind that I would really like to get (but no decants, I’ve never got into that). I don’t feel too guilty about the 40/45, its all the ones I’ve bought and then realised were a mistake that I feel bad about (most, but not all, many years ago)..but I’m not telling how many, that would have to be another Monday…

    I’m realistic, I doubt I’d ever narrow it down to 10, but have often thought that about 24-36 should be enough (roughly 6-8 per season), and once had a serious plan to prune down by a couple of bottles a year…but all that has actually happened is that I bought a few more!

  32. Mare says:

    48 bottles. Of these, one is a mistake. I will put it back in its box and give it to a friend who I think will appreciate it. I usually find a good home for the perfumes I don’t love anymore.

    I have to be realistic with myself that I can’t get rid of any of the remaining 47 bottles. I truly enjoy rotating/wearing them. And, there are 2 more I’d like to purchase in the near future.

  33. Lavanya says:

    I have two conflicting traits in my personality : one that I am a compulsive collector of things and have a very hard time parting with things (mostly for nostalgic and sentimental reasons) and two- I don’t like to have/own too many ‘things’. I sort of panic when I have too many things that I don’t use. Books and cloth bags and scarfs/stoles are cheaper (not hermes of course..;-) but I like to buy from handicraft artisans in India) so they can get somewhat out of hand, more easily for me. So with perfume, which can be an expensive hobby, I really acquired and still acquire, fairly slowly. Now with perfume I have to admit that budgetary constraints play a part (and as I’ve mentioned before, for the first few years of my perfume mania I used to buy a bottle or two a year which is when perfumistas usually go crazy and acquire a, even if budget was not the issue I would like to only buy full bottles of perfumes that I really love or will really wear (which is not always the same thing). Of course when it comes to decants and splits all these rules get thrown out of the window and I’ve bought into several (some expensive) splits unsniffed. But my new rule is to hold off on splits for now (unless it is vintage or hard to find/discontinued) and save up for full bottles of perfume I love.

    I will be back with my bottle total, which is comfortably low right now, though I still would like to pare it down but replace with perfume FBs of the ones I love..I think 15-20 FBs of perfumes I love will make me feel comfortable and happy.

  34. Around 50 (I’ve downsized a lot). From those, 30 are in current rotation. From those 30, 7 or 8 in heavy rotation 🙂


  35. Dubaiscents says:

    I debated posting my number here because it seems so high and indulgent but, at least we have people such as Portia to make us feel a little less crazy about this obsession (I love you Portia!). 🙂
    Sadly, because I am overly organized, I know that I have 203 full bottles although some of those are smaller 15 mL ones from places like Soivohle. I wish I could blame it on the fact that you can’t enter a mall here without finding some truly great lines (hello, Amouage is from this region!). But, truth be told, I buy most of my stuff back in the US (online or during visits). But, it doesn’t help to be surrounded by so much perfume all the time – too much temptation!
    As for reducing the collection – there may be a few I would be willing to part with but, for the most part I love them all. And since I rarely wear the same scent two days in a row, I do feel like I am getting use out of most of them. However, that said, I do know that I should slow down the purchasing especially if I am ever going to save up for some of those really expensive ones on my wish list – Roja Dove Fetish, I am looking at you. I would consider selling decants from my collection though – just need to find the time to do organize that.
    And even though I keep detailed records of how much all of these bottles cost me, I can’t bring myself to run the grand total. So, thanks for just asking for the number of bottles not total cost.
    Oh, and I am with Portia – I want to see your sale list when you decide to reduce your collection!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I couldn’t face total cost either, so no worries, as I have to answer my own questions too, you are safe there.
      Thank you for sharing your number.
      I’ll send you my list after Portia has seen it.

  36. lila says:

    I have a measly 17 bottles but I love them all dearly. I never (o.k. maybe once) impulse buy, so there are no regrets in my collection, but I more than make up for the cost of remorseful impulse purchases with samples purchases!! I have a laundry list of to-buy perfumes. I just bought an antique belgium liquor cabinet to store my perfumes in so I definitely “need” to do some more shopping in order to fill the cabinet up nicely. Although, my husband thinks that buying the cabinet should get me to ease up on my perfume purchasing for a while. LOL!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Your husband clearly doesn’t understand the issue at all! 😉

      Congratulations on your new perfume cabinet, I’m sure it looks fabulous.

      • lila says:

        Not at all! He’s being uncharacteristically illogical.

        We pick the cabinet up tomorrow. The inside is mirrored so that’ll help my collection look infinitely larger. I had to squeal on everyones bottle count hoping he would take pity on me and my 17 bottles. I think it helped, especially since he thought I said I had 70.

  37. Claudia Bloemendal says:

    Oh my, not even my dear husband knows the exact number of bottles I own. But since he is not reading any perfume blogs…….I own around 500 full bottles. I have been collecting perfume for over 20 years now. But still, to non perfumistas this may be total insanity.

  38. Philipp says:

    I own 42 bottles and countless samples and decants. I feel that my collection could benefit from judicious editing, I just need to find the time and the will to do so.

  39. Tatiana says:

    I just did a quick count, but in the time it took me to walk back to the computer I remembered some travel bottles, a set of minis and a few good size decants I left out. So let’s just say roughly 100 bottles. It’s starting to feel like too much. I have around 20 bottles in a shopping bag waiting to be listed for sale. During my count I spied a few older fragrances that I no longer wear. I think now that I have a clearer idea of what I like and respect but don’t necessarily want to wear and what I truly love, it should make it easier to downsize. Well, at least in theory. One thing is clear from my counting, I am definitely a Chanel girl.

  40. hildegunn says:

    I own around 60 bottles and some decants. And far too many testers…a scary amount…In August I went through my collection and sold 8 bottles and gave away two (my mum vas VERY happy to get Penhaligon’s Amaranthine, she’s always loved it). But then I went to London and came home with four new ones. Every 6 months or so, I go through the collection, selling or giving avay ones that haven’t been getting enough TLC. Trying to end up with a collection of only bottles that I really love, and some decants, but I guess it won’t happen this year.Come Christmas I plan to gift myself with a bottle og Amouage Interlude Man. That’s how good I’ve been,

  41. fleurdelys says:

    Oh dear, must I really count? OK, I have 40 bottles size 30ml and up (some of which came to me as partials via swap), plus a couple of backups of favorites. I have 25 bottles of 8ml or less. As I’ve probably mentioned before, I keep the size of the collection fairly steady by limiting it to what fits in my top dresser drawer. I have been honing down the collection by giving away things I don’t enjoy wearing. I’m pretty happy with what I have now, and don’t plan on any purchases till I use up some more (but that can always change!).

  42. Sally M says:

    I have been looking for the tiniest font possible to type in my numbers 🙂 I have 247 bottles which includes minis (I’m trying to convince myself that that makes a difference…). 49 of those are Guerlains, 26 are L’Air du Temps in various concentrations and incarnations. I started collecting LDT when it was the first “grown up” perfume I was allowed to wear at aged 12 and so my other justification is that this is the result of over 4 decades of perfumista-ing. I have reduced my numbers (gasp) by giveaways and sales, but BUT, the empty spaces always look so forlorn and then – well – something else comes along that just fits…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Sally, your collection sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing. You are evidently the go-to person for all things LdT. 🙂

    • annemariec says:

      Sally if you are still reading, can you comment on reformulations of L’Air? I bought a mini about 5-6 years ago, loved it and emptied the teeny bottle very fast. Back at the same shop I found a whopping 100 ml tester of the EDT at a good price but it does not smell the same. It smells like dirt and straw compared to the lovely rich (tho’ dry) floral I remembered from the mini. Hardly any time had passed between the purchases though. Maybe my original mini was EDP? Or an older formulation. Or maybe something has happened in my brain and I just don’t perceive L’Air the way I used to.

      • SallyM says:

        Hi annemarie, I think it is very likely that your mini was EDP – the EDP and parfum is definitely richer and spicier than the EDT which can be very “thin” or acrid, especially more recent versions. I have several friends who have disliked the EDT and wondered why I love LDT so much – then they experienced the vintage parfum and got it 🙂 In older versions, the peachy-carnation notes are very strong but this accord is rather muted in later formulations. Also, the bottle type can be an indication of age – vintage parfum is in the icionic double dove bottle (or single), vintage EDT in the flattish bottle with gold cap or white embossed plastic for spray. I do think you have a point about perceiving it diiferently – I’ve definitely noticed a change in how perfumes present to me as I’ve got older and have often wondered how much physiological changes (hormones etc) play a part…

        • annemariec says:

          Oh many thanks, that’s most helpful. I don’t see much discussion of L’Air du Temps on the blogs. It’s great to talk to an expert! Perfume perceptions do change but sometimes that can be a good thing. A number of times I have found myself loving something that for years I dismissed.

  43. Aisha says:

    I have 11 bottles (30 ml or more), but only 6 are in regular rotation. The rest are fragrances I don’t wear much anymore, but like to revisit once in a while. I also have 100+ samples, deluxe miniatures and decants. There are samples I should just get rid of because the fragrance isn’t my cup of tea; however, I keep them around so I can refer to them when reading about perfumes with similar notes. I’m fairly new to all of this, so the samples are kind of like having my own mini lab. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      Keeping samples for reference is surely a good idea, I often wish I hadn’t given things away, even when I didn’t like them, because there comes a point when you need it for comparison purposes.
      Your number is my ideal! 🙂

      • Aisha says:

        Of the five I hardly wear, two I keep because they’re hard to find now (Safari) or have been reformulated to the point of not smelling at all like the original (Lauren). Both of those were my college favorites, and Safari was a gift from my then-boyfriend (now, husband). I use those scents sparingly now. The other three I keep because, well, why not? ;-).

        It’s funny that you think the number or bottles I have is ideal. My ideal collection would include one bottle from each of the fragrance families. I think that means my collection could be growing in years to come. :-). Like many others, I now start with a sample, then a decant before deciding whether or not to purchase a bottle. I’ve also learned that 30-50 ml bottles are the way to go. I think I used to buy the bigger bottles because I was under the impression I had to have a signature scent. I’ve since learned it’s more fun to pick a scent based on mood, season and events. Although, I always pick YSL Paris for date nights with my husband. I guess I do kind of have a signature scent….

  44. Santa says:

    I have 40 bottles of 30ml and up, another 27 of 15ml or less (though some of these were freebies with other purchases), about 20 decants and countless samples. I am at the point where I do not want to buy any more bottles over 15 ml unless they are vintage and on sale for some ridiculously cheap price. I have my “collection of arty bottles” and don’t need more. From now on my craving for the new will be satisfied by little decants and samples. There are about five full bottles in my collection that I’d consider impulsive mistakes and these will get sent to a new home sooner or later. I’d also love to offer decants of some of my larger bottles (I really don’t need 200ml of anything…) but my location doesn’t make that the easiest proposition, so I’ve yet to do that.

  45. Missionista says:

    I’m still kind of new to this, so I have 7 bottles 30ml or larger. I have 10 minis & decants (5-10ml), and then I have lots of samplers/decants in the 1-3ml range: 67, to be exact. I’ve been trying to keep myself from going crazy with buying full bottles, so much prefer to buy decants/samples at this point. I want to buy full bottles only when I love something. Some useful things I’ve read, here and elsewhere: decants are the way to go so as not to buy a bunch of full bottles early in the perfumista journey which you then regret later. Also, buy a sample first. If you use that up, then buy a decant. If you use THAT up, then buy a full bottle.

    Also, in general, I don’t want to buy 100ml bottles of anything. I love having smaller bottles in the 30-50ml range.

  46. Laurels says:

    I have nine full-sized bottles, two of which are nearly empty, and those two started me on this path to madness about six months ago. Of the seven from this year, two were blind buys, one regrettable, the other not, and one I won in a drawing and am mostly anosmic to. I also have six minis and dozens of samples. My budget has definitely put a halt to buying bottles for now, although none were very expensive and two were downright cheap (hence the blind buys). Someone on another blog mentioned having a rule about not buying any more samples until she’d tried all the samples she already had, and I am going to have to adopt that one. The two bottles that I love the most were bought after I completely used up the samples, and found myself thinking of them even when trying other things. I agree that 25-30 bottles seems like plenty. Maybe I’ll revise that opinion when I get closer to that number.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Now you’ve made me really curious what your first two, now almost empty bottles are!

      • Laurels says:

        The first is Opium, which I wore for twenty years. When it started to get low, I realized that I just didn’t want to buy another bottle. (I thought I’d just gotten tired of it, not realizing there was such a thing as reformulation.)

        The second is Trigére parfum, which was discontinued ages ago and nobody seems to remember.

        I went to Sephora and a local department store to smell some things and asked the salespersons for recommendations. That did not go well. So I started looking online for recommendations, places to get samples (a previous blind buy, an Opium flanker, was not a success), etc., and now here I am, spending inordinate amounts of time reading perfume blogs and spending all my disposable income on perfume. I started out looking for a new signature scent, and now I want to smell everything.

  47. isabeau1977 says:

    Well this question always makes me blush and will make people think I lost my mind…therefore I stopped counting a few years ago..Let’s say a few years back it already had the size of Portia’s perfumes list…and friends and relatives that walk in the perfumeroom (yes special room in our house) always ask if it’s a shop….so yes I am an idiot..but I can not live without my fumes!

  48. Figuier says:

    Hmm, scary question Birgit! There are two numbers really. The number I tell myself I own (11 FBs plus 4 decants) and the number I actually own (more like 18 FBs and 10 decants). The difference between the two consisting of perfumes I plan to ebay/donate…sometimes ‘non-items’ sit in this last category for years at a time!

    I really don’t like owning perfume and not a) being crazy about it and b) wearing it regularly. So what often happens is that I get rid of ‘winter’ perfumes in summer or vice versa (Shalimar Ode I miss you!). Plus I have very few merely ‘pleasant’ every-day scents even though I could really do with some.

    If I didn’t have such an uncontrollable book-buying habit I think I’d be really keen to develop a ‘proper’ perfume collection, but as it is, one collecting mania at a time is probably all I can afford (or have room for in my apartment!)

  49. hajusuuri says:

    It’s interesting to see the divergence of bottle counts and ideal collection size! Including FBs >= 30 mLs and ~ 10 mL sets of the same perfume that I bought for convenience (e.g. OJ Woman and the 3 in a pack Frederic Malles), my total is 175. Of that, about 10% are figurals / special bottle design, 15% are Jo Malones (all but 1 are 30 mLs). My ideal collection size is in the 80 bottle range.

  50. Marie says:

    I believe I am an oddball under parfumistas, now in my fourth year of perfume mania and still not owning more than 4 bottles. True, as a student I have been on a very limited budget, but I think my small collection is rather the result of some sort of perfectionism. It’s the way Figuier has discribed above, buying a bottle in one season, considering it perfect and then selling the juice half a year later because it is not enough for the cold of winter or too much for the heat of summer. The ones that work all year round are often boring. And so on.

    The ideal perfume would make me happy no matter the season, other parfumistas’ review or money but as long as these things do matter, I successfully convince myself that I am not enough in love with a perfume and should not buy a bottle. Total weirdo, I know!

    Thanks for letting us know the size of your collection, it surely holds many a jem! 🙂

  51. Dionne says:

    I’m somewhere in the low 40’s right now, which I feel really good about, but there are a few more full bottles I’m definitely getting once the decants are drained: Bel Respiro (just one more wearing of that one), Bottega Veneta, Philosykos, Vanille Insensée, Equistrius, Lumière Blanche and Champagne de Bois. I’ve found that the mantra “drain a sample, buy a decant, drain a decant, buy a bottle” has worked quite well for me. There are a few of bottles in my collection I won’t feel the need to replace once they’re drained, but they’re a minority.

    I *am* slowing down in my need to try new stuff. In the past I’ve sampled by working through entire lines, but that’s not as interesting anymore. I’ve got a document where I record new lemmings chronologically, and they’re happening a lot less. It’s actually a nice place to be, just enjoying what I have.

  52. I think my number of full bottles is still hovering somewhere in the mid twenties. I have a mix of mass market and drugstore classics that I love. I branch out with samples, but maintain roughly the same number of full bottles.

  53. I’m not at home to count, so I can only make guesses here, but If I count only bottles 30ml and up, I have somewhere in the vicinity of 15, give or take a couple. But then if I count mini and travel size bottles (10-30ml, let’s say) the number more or less doubles. And if I count perfume oils and solids, the number is probably somewhere between 30 and 40. And then I have a lot of small decants and samples, which I swap away fairly regularly and don’t keep count of, and one or two large decants. My funds are pretty limited, so most of the bottles I have are things that I could get for a really good price, like finds at discounters, TJ Maxx, antique shops, or the occasional estate sale, or inexpensive lines like TokyoMilk.

  54. Bee says:

    I was tidying up my bottles recently and realized that I actually only have around 40 (I would have thought more) and that’s O.K., I’m all for the editing mentioned above (I’m still looking out for my perfect iris scent, and a good incense one), but number-wise 30-40 bottles could be ideal – 10 would be too ascetic for me

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  56. i have currently 16 bottles… but over the years i have sampled more than 30 bottles and used up… it’s just lately that i have enjoyed the idea of changing scents depending on your mood

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