Monday Question – Are Your Family And Friends Supportive Of Your Perfume Hobby?

Do your nearest and dearest understand and support your hobby/addiction/interest?

Do you feel comfortable sharing your interest with them?

Do you keep your perfume collection a secret or do you readily display and share it?

Is this a hobby you tell acquaintances about or is it just a topic for people close to you?

Do you feel understood by those who matter?


My Answer:


On the whole I must say I keep my perfume hobby rather quiet (I know I have a blog, but I usually don’t talk about it much, if at all, in real life). Of course my friends know about it, but aside from those who are into perfume themselves, I most often get shaking heads and slightly disquieted looks.

My family, i.e. my parents and parents in law, don’t know at all. I feel I would be judged by them and not in a good way…

My husband bears the brunt of my perfumed life of course and he does so with more or less grace. I get everything from “Please stop wearing this unbearable abomination this instant!” (in reaction to S.S. Farmacia Annunziata Fiore di Riso of all things!!! I ask you!) to “Please wear this more often!” (this in reaction to most Hermès perfumes, so that contributes to my obsession of course).

In general I feel people are more tolerating and indulging me rather than being supportive, but then again that is why I have you guys! 🙂

How is it in your family or circle of friends?


About Olfactoria

I'm on a journey through the world of fragrance - come with me!
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82 Responses to Monday Question – Are Your Family And Friends Supportive Of Your Perfume Hobby?

  1. I don’t talk about my hobby a lot with my family, except sometimes my aunt (with whom I share the house right now) sometimes notices that “oh! you’re wearing perfume”. That’s generally how I know I’m wearing something with good sillage and projection (it’s a big house). I don’t have many people around me with whom to talk about it because even the ones who occasionally wear fragrance (body sprays, the seasonal Escada scent) claim they can’t stand perfume… Le sigh. I’m just trying not to peddle my sample collection to my friends too much. IMHO in many cases they just haven’t tried any good perfumes but who am I to evangelize 😀

    Anyway. For me, forums and blogs are the primary outlet and arena of communication on the subject, living in one of the least perfumed corners in one of the least perfumed countries in Europe.

  2. I love this question, and your answers. The ‘disquieted’ look – such a good way of putting it.
    I agree that being a part of these scented blogosphere is quite wonderful – I would say it has even changed my life, made it so much fuller and I feel a lot more grounded and in touch with myself and others as a result. In the ‘real world’ it is true that the whole topic is really quite alien for a large number of people, but I am lucky in that my family, though not perfume maniacs, all wear and like it (and my mother in law REALLY likes it- she has quite a stunning perfume drawer next to her bed, and when she opens it there is something ancient Egyptian about it; her attitude towards her precious, boxed elixirs imbues them with an extra, gilded, importance somehow).

    Duncan is brilliantly supportive of it all as well: he once went around Paris with me for five days and we literally JUST went to perfumeries. I was really grateful for his patience, although it is not just a case of ‘putting up with’ it any more. He has become more genuinely interested himself as the years have gone by.

    As for your in-laws, there is something quite shocking and astonishing (strangely wonderful, somehow) about the fact that they know nothing of the fact that you are one of the best known perfume writers in the world. How utterly bizarre. How on earth can they not know?!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is wonderful that you converted Duncan (though you are quite persuasive I believe! 🙂 ) and you both share the hobby now. He cannot escape perfume people it seems, first his mother, now you…

      It is not only my in-laws but also my own parents who don’t know. It is just not their world…
      Thanks for your very kind words though, they made my day! xx

      • Well it is also the language thing. I am not trying to flatter you, because I am not the obsequious type by nature, but you have unbelievably good English, better than most Brits by far I would say. I don’t know the English level of your parents and in-laws, but I imagine that it wouldn’t be the same as yours. It is almost as if you have some kind of secret portal to another universe that you can enter at will. I find it fascinating.

  3. Jordan River says:

    “On the whole I must say I keep my perfume hobby rather quiet (I know I have a blog…”

    But I know exactly what you mean. Perfume appreciation, the wonder and the minutiae are best shared with Perfumistas only rather than friends, family etc who tend to think our delights are odd or obsessive, or much ado about nothing.

    Although after a dinner party I will bring out some greatest hits for a spritz around the table with some accompanying tales. In that context people see it as entertainment albeit scented entertainment. Whenever I bring out M they always laugh which I find puerile.

  4. Azar says:

    B-Azar has always been intrigued with perfumes and heartedly supports my interest in fragrance. My daughter, daughter-in-law and one of my sons have also succumbed to the perfume habit. We exchange fragrances and when we can be together we do blind testings for fun!

  5. Undina says:

    Nah, there’s nothing quiet about my hobby: I’m telling about it anybody who wants to listen (and sometimes to those who doesn’t 😉 ). I never insist and I get a good feeling when people are interested and when they don’t really care – so I would drop the topic with those. But I try to involve more and more people into using what I consider to be good perfumes. I have converted some!

    My vSO supports this hobby and doesn’t mind providing some skin RE for more masculine perfumes’ testing. As to the rest of the world outside – I dare anybody to express any judgement: I couldn’t care less.

  6. cookie queen says:

    I tell those willing to listen. Often met with blank stares and ” but they all smell the same anyway”, but a couple are half way down the hole now!! Husband’s bike-tech addiction equals my perfume addiction so we are even. He just spent several hours chatting bikes and perfume in Zürich …….. 🙂
    Daughter is nearly as hooked as me. My mother would have shared my interest, but have not mentioned it to in-laws. Axe = Guerlain for Oma.
    Hugs. xxx

  7. Dubaiscents says:

    As I have mentioned on here before, I am so lucky to have my mother as a fellow perfume lover (or maybe the correct term is “enabler”) to be able to share this with. That means I am not forced to bore everyone else I know with my obsession. I am not shy about it with other people though, in this part of the world it is not uncommon to find people who love fragrance (although maybe not as much as we all do!) and most people I tell are just impressed that this is something that I can enjoy together with my mom. And I will gladly pass along (force) samples or even FB to friends and family to help them learn more about the world outside of commercial celebuscents!

  8. Laurels says:

    My mother is prone to serial enthusiasms, and my family as a whole isn’t fragrance-phobic, so it isn’t considered too odd within the family. (Or not any odder than they thought me already!) It isn’t something I’ve discussed with anyone I don’t know well in real life, but I’m fairly new to perfume enthusiasm. My nephew was over a lot last summer, and I would let him smell my SOTD. He ventured two firm opinions: that they “mostly smelled the same,” and that Gucci by Gucci was a hilarious name.

  9. Sabine says:

    I also feel that blogging helps, and becoming a part of the online community is a great experience, but it was at the London perfume lovers meeting that it hit me how solitary a hobby perfume loving usually is. It was so liberating to meet and talk to all this perfume bonkers people in real life.
    My husband is super supportive and genuinely interested. I also think he has the better nose…
    Basil the cat shows strong opinions about perfumes and has become used to me smelling of something different all the time, He is also a great listener.
    As for family, my mum likes her perfume a lot, but she can’t quite understand why I cannot just settle with one I like. Unfortunately she can’t read my blog, because she doesn’t speak English.

  10. haefennasiel says:

    My siblings (we all live in the same house) don’t really mind my little perfume hobby, although the youngest occasionally remarks I smell like “an old lady”. My mother likes perfumes as well (I often messed around with her dressing table contents when I was a child), so she’s fine with it. Unfortunately, she uses my scents more than me! *pouts*

    On the bright side though, I’m getting some very good friends interested in perfume appreciation.

  11. Lynley says:

    My perfume thing is known to some of my family, notably my mum and my sister and her boyfriend, but they haven’t seen my collection- and I’m hoping to keep it that way. I’m sure there would be much disapproval over how much money has been spent to create it :-/
    My interest in perfume is from my mum, who had quite a nice collection of orientals in the 80’s. She still wears perfume except she has anosmia from a sinus infection so hasn’t smelled anything for several years now.. My sister has lots of allergies so prefers the whole hippy natural thing 😉 but she does seem to be getting better. Her b/f is far more interested in fragrance than her and almost always comments on what I’m wearing (he loves Chergui and Roma Imperiale, and gave me the rest of his M7! I didn’t even know he had it!!)
    My boyfriend is recently my ex, and he knew about my obsession but still not the entirety, and though he seemed quite supportive, (but bored), I felt I had to tone it down. So it’s just me and Fergus, my cat. He doesn’t care as long as he can lick it off.
    I’ve tried ‘educating’ the girls at work, but today I found 2 new perfumes in our work bathroom ‘for everyone to use’, and they are JLO Love at First Glow, and Glow after Dark. Hmmm…

    So it’s just me, and you all, and because I know that you are all like me, and my hobby isn’t weird (because it’s just not, right?) 😉 then that’s all I need. I feel like you’re all my friends and I enjoy the time I spend reading and commenting and sharing. It would be nice to meet like minded folks in person, but I’m good with this 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      How terrible that your Mom cannot smell anymore. I hope the anosmia passes eventually (often that happens after years).

      And you are right, our hobby is not weird at all!!! 😉

  12. poodle says:

    Hubby is very supportive because he’s got quite a few bottles of his own. Plus, I don’t complain about his watch collection. My family doesn’t get it at all and I don’t think people I work with understand either. They only recently found out when I was going to NY and had to tell them what I was going for. When they heard I’d be sniffing perfume all day they really didn’t understand. Thank heaven for the fume friends I’ve met on the blogs. They understand.

  13. isabeau1977 says:

    Husband is really supportive..travels a lot for his work and brings back all treasures for me. My stepdaughters also love my addiction and are always willing whenever they go shopping to buy some pefume for me. Their friends think it is really cool 🙂 that we have a perfume room..they love hanging round there.
    When I went to the Piitimagine last year I told friends and family about my hobby and most of them responded really enthusiastic.
    But for me it works best to talk with other perfume lovers, share the passion on blogs and meet with other perfumistas.

  14. Jackie b says:

    It’s great to have blogs and fellow perfumistas to talk to! My husband is SO tolerant and is now experimenting with fragrance every day…Yay!
    Sister becoming more addicted to sampling and we can now share splits, so all going well there (evil snigger)
    But I hide most of my collection of bottles, I am reluctant to share so much with visitors, don’t know why really.

  15. one2cent says:

    Pretty much no interest, sad to say.

  16. Farouche says:

    I have become more open about my perfume obsession in the last year, and reactions have been everything from the blank stare to genuine interest (often from the least-expected people). One funny response was, “Oh, do you mean aromatherapy?” by a person trying to make this interest comprehensible. When I responded “No, Perfume!” I got a look of total disbelief.

  17. Figuier says:

    Good question – yes, ‘disquieted looks’ does sum it up. My close family all know about my hobby, although my parents have no idea (thankfully) about the cost of it all. Like you, I wouldn’t say they’re supportive, rather tolerant – long discussions of notes, recent releases etc are certainly not welcomed, although to be fair DH is an incredibly patient listener 😉 My sisters, especially, have been happy to draw on my knowledge to find their own perfumes, and all but one now own a bottle they really like (and the sole dissenter recently expressed pleasure at Onda, so I reckon I’ll win her over yet). I’ve mentioned my perfume interest to various friends in passing, but wouldn’t want to bore them with my mania … so thank goodness for blogs like yours! You really do provide a public service 🙂

  18. Three women in my family were the ones who introduced me to the world of fragrance, so at one time there was interest and support. Now, not so much since the three of them have passed away. My husband appreciates it when I buy fragrances for him, but he rarely comments on what I wear. He does seem to like Cuir de Lancome. We are in a philosophy class, and several members tell me that they enjoy it when I wear “L” by Lolita Lempicka. It seems that the rest of the collection is just “close to the skin”, so the pleasure if just private.

    • Olfactoria says:

      If he likes Cuir de Lancome, he is a good man! 😉
      It is very interesting that the gourmands, in this case your Lolita Lempicka, get the most compliments, at least it is what I hear most often…

  19. Alexandra says:

    I have been very lucky that I am able to share my perfume passion with my Mum. She isn’t a fully paid up enthusiast (yet…) but she loves to sample things with me and is building up a very nice small collection of her own – she (correctly) blames me for this, pointing out that once you start sniffing some of the wonderful perfumes available, it is almost impossible to go happily back to your standard one bottle view of the world.

  20. Lady Jane Grey says:

    Well, my husband is 100% supportive – just as I am for his hobby, without sharing the passion for it (Champagne…). Only very few of my friends can understand my obsession with scents The rest is convinced that I’m a nerd and what’s even worse : they’re convinced that my treasures smell plain awful… I stopped trying to persuade them otherwise, it’s fine as it is.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I guess it is not too hard on you being supportive about the champagne (I know it wouldn’t be on me! )
      I’m sorry about your friend’s disdain, just meet with me more often, I’m appreciating your perfumes! 🙂

  21. AnneD says:

    I learned to keep quiet about my interests when I visited my sister in law and spoke passionately about how perfume was made so meticulously in France. Her husband at the time, who was a patent lawyer for a chemical company burst my bubble when he declared that “they are all just made in a chemical lab because he has seen this in person.” I was devastated as he took all the magic out of it for me. I also realized he felt that perfumes were all the same and I just did not feel the need or the challenge to educate him. It depressed me so I have just kept quiet unless someone else brings it up, then I offer a quiet opinion.

    As for my darling husband, he supports me totally as he has his collections of Hot Wheels! I will never forget the day I found perfume blogs on the internet and breathed a sigh of relief! Thanks to all of you wonderful writers out there and the commenters as well….we are all together in this.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m sorry this happened to you. We don’t want to hear the bad side (and particularly if the offered opinion is not entirely correct!).
      As you say: we are in this together, AnneD!

  22. Missionista says:

    My friends know about it to a certain extent, as do my family. My significant others know much more about it, as they are called upon to do sniff tests all the time. I get shrugs and bemused looks, and occasionally some well-intentioned teasing, but overall they are pretty supportive.

  23. Annina says:

    My family knows I love perfume, though they’d be a bit shocked if they actually saw the collection – which is a modest 42 (or so) bottles… My sweet husband is supportive, and is becoming very interested himself in perfume. He has about 8 now. He travels very little for work, but when he does he always asks me for a wishlist. He will actually do some research on stores in the area he’s traveling to, in order to bring home a treasure or two! My closest friends know about my perfume habit, and only one is just as obsessed. Most of my friends will just pick up whatever the latest thing is at Macy’s. I have pulled a few near the edge of the rabbit hole, and one or two have peeked inside.

  24. Fragrance rocks! says:

    If you feel that you can’t speak openly about anything that you love, that gives you pleasure and adds to personal creativity, what does this say? If my love of perfume has to be kept quiet of secret, than I don’t feel that is very healthy. Surrounding oneself with people who support, love and accept all of you, is crucial to feeling happy.

  25. quarteringsea says:

    Everyone in my life is an enabler, really, but mostly my dad. He just talked me and my mother (she has never worn perfume) into buying three bottles between us last week, and his business partner into buying two bottles, so. He claims to not be interested, but he is more than happy to sniff and pass judgment!

  26. birgit, loved your in the closet…out of the closet read. i love reading your blogs and i can relate as most of the peeps i know would not get it. many thanks for being who you are…oh btw i love undina’s attitude!

  27. SallyM says:

    Like many of my fellow-ette perfumistas, I am lucky to have a very supportive and uderstanding hubby who willingly sniffs every strip, wrist, dauber thrust under his nose. He has built me a perfume cupboard with slide out shelves and is working on a design for a way to store samples. My closest friends show interest but I’m sure think I’m quite mad when I get up each weekend at 4.30 to go to estate sales in search of The Precious. (It *does* seem a bit nutty now I’ve written it down). My grand daughter thinks I’m very cool (!) and loves to experiment with my collection – she has just started her own, although being 13, she has very different tastes. She would be happy with Lynley’s JLo work offerings 😉 My 96 year old mum – who still wears Evening in Paris and Youth Dew – is bemused at the size of my collection and often remarks “but you can only wear one at a time” …

    • Olfactoria says:

      Oh your husband sounds amazing! A custom made perfume cupboard and sample holder – that man is good!!!
      I hope you find your Precious, you definitely deserve it for getting up so early every weekend!

  28. Ines says:

    I mostly get support (and requests for some sharing). My boyfriend is quietly supportive most of the time, he can see the collection and hasn’t so far said anything bad about it, my father always asks when he sees packages arriving if there is something in there for him and is very willing to try samples I offer, and my mother is doesn’t disapprove (which is a lot coming from her). 🙂
    That said, most of my friends know about it and my blog but have no particular interest – and I keep quiet about the number of bottles and decants I have… 😉

  29. Vanessa says:

    I think that is such a shame about your parents and parents-in-law – are you absolutely certain they would disapprove? But why? 😉 And your blog is such an achievement they should be so proud of…

    I have no immediate family – parents, SO, children – to worry about, but my friends are very supportive, and many of them are converts. In fact I was actively thinking of doing a ‘perfume protege’ post some time, and interviewing them about how their view on perfume has changed since being introduced to a few more things through my irrepressible proselytising!

  30. Anne says:

    Supportive? Well, not really. At least they let me buy the fragrances I want (even if they don’t like them). Occasionally, I get some snarky comments but that’s something I can live with. Though they have been very straightforward with my newest addiction (“You smell like Yankee Candle”, “Did you bathe in cinnamon?” etc): PG’s Un Crime Exotique.
    Speaking of UCE- will there be a review? (I’d love to read a review of it. I enjoy PG’s fragrances as much as you do.) Even if it isn’t available anymore, now is the perfect time for wearing it. 🙂

  31. I love and collect fragrances (Feel welcome to check out my blog every friday to find out what is all in my collection). Even though I am proud of my collection, and until recently have kept them on a visible place, I decided to hide them. Just because people who came to visit were so mean and commented behind my back. It seemed that i am extremly rich and blah blah blah… That hurt my feelings becuse it came from people who really have more money than me, but spend it on unnecessary stuff like cigaretes, alcohol etc. I in contrary give up those things an rather buy fragrances. So, to stop the rumors I put them in a cabinet with my clothes, away from mean views. Another plus that they are now in dark place and far further from heating device. The person I share my life with has a lot of understanding for my passion.

  32. drillpiken says:

    Well…I guess most of my closest family know. And they don’t judge me ( or maybe they do, but that’s behind bedroom doors,I think. Most of them think my hobby is weird,but nice.But I don’t think they know how much time or money I spend…that’s why it’s wonderful with this little community of fumeheads, it makes me feel normal…

  33. Dionne says:

    For a long time my answer would have been a)ALL my friends know, although many are somewhat bemused by my enthusiasm – I’m a “bad influence” as several now have small collections after initially asking for my help in finding a signature frag 😉 b)The Engineer is extremely supportive of this hobby, he sees what it has done for me and heartily approves and c) as for siblings and parents….. a little while ago I would’ve said they didn’t have a clue.

    Except recently my sister was killing some time and saw some blog links on my Facebook page and ended up reading everything I’ve ever written for APJ and though it was really cool. She told me later that she quipped to her husband, “Dionne has this whole secret life we know nothing about!” It’s nice she’s excited for me, and because of it now my mother knows I’m “into perfume” and asked if I could help her find a gardenia perfume. So I’m sending her 22 samples for Christmas with some info about what she’s smelling and a book to write her impressions in, with the understanding she gets a full bottle for her birthday. I’m actually really excited to be doing this for my mom, and we’ll see what my father has to say about it.

  34. I keep pretty quiet about it. I’m so incredibly grateful for the perfume community as it gives my passion an outlet. My mother shares my perfume-mania, but her tastes are so strong (white florals, white florals, white florals) that she can be very dismissive of anything else (like everything that Iike).

    I think that I don’t really want to be judged. I have shared some with friends, only to have them look at me like I’m bonkers for spending what I do on one bottle. These are actually the same friends who easily drop $85 on J’adore when there is probably only 3 cents worth of actual perfume in that bottle. Oh the hypocrisy!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Very understandable, Daisy. People often judge so easily, and a passion like ours isn’t one everybody “gets” right away.
      Glad your mum is in on the fun though! 🙂

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