Firstly, in case anyone is wondering, I am blogging on perfume purely out of interest and love. It is self-gratification, and like a lot of bloggers, I can claim no genuine background in perfume - I certainly have no qualifications to write at all, let alone about fragrance. I have no literary background, no history of being published and do not claim to be good at writing at all!
Secondly, my opinions about fragrance are exactly that. I am biased, probably like many others, and also influenced by how I feel on a given day. I find that my mood can alter my fragrance perception and appreciation quite considerably. I do try to wear a perfume or perfume sample a number of times to give it a fair chance, but even so, if I don't like something, I will say so.
How did I "get into" fragrance? Well, to be honest, up until 2007 I wore fragrance usually because it had been given to me as a present, or probably because I had read about it. My very early exposure to scent was through my dad; I have vivid memories to this day of the smell of Old Spice, which was always in his medicine cabinet. In my teenage years I wore stuff like Brut and Tabac, graduating to Hugo Boss in my early twenties. My dad worked for a while for a pharmacy and he got given quite a few testers and other perfumes through promotions and I was passed quite a few perfumes, which at the time I wore only because they were there. Ones that spring to mind are Tsar by Van Cleef & Arpels and Farenheit by Christian Dior.
Anyway, for the next ten years I "dabbled" a bit with fragrance. I tried Paul Smith London, which I liked a lot, then bought Helmut Lang for Men, which I read was Robbie Williams' favourite. But in all honesty, I never thought about fragrance much, and at the time if you had to mention a perfume structure to me, or talk about top, heart and base notes, I would have stared at you blankly.
Then for my birthday in 2007, my wife gave me a bottle of Calvin Klein's Euphoria for Men and that is when my perfume journey started. Now I can hear you say: "Calvin Klein, hmm, not exactly Eureka! is it?" Well, first, I am not a perfume snob, and second, for some reason I looked up Euphoria on the internet, as I had never heard of it. I clicked on the first link I saw and was directed to some weird site called Basenotes, and lo and behold, to my surprise there was a whole load of reviews on this perfume. Reading a bit further, I found out that all Calvin Klein's perfumes were listed with reviews and indeed, so were other perfume houses, most I'd never heard of. Two hours later I'd learned that there are hundreds of perfume houses, and that people seemed to be obsessed with perfume. I even discovered that perfumes have a progression, from top notes to heart notes to basenotes.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, I started to read Basenotes regularly, then started visiting some blogs, such as Now Smell This and Perfume Smellin Things and the bug started to bite. At the time I lived in London and would spend almost every lunch visiting department stores like Debenhams and House of Fraser, spritzing on perfumes I had read about. Within six months I had started to become interested in trying more niche perfumes, so went to Liberty, Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, discovering houses like L'artisan, Serge Lutens and Maitre Perfumeur et Gantier, to name but a few. I then read about a place called Les Senteurs, which specialised in hard to find niche fragrances. I popped in one day and a charming bloke guided me through some of their stock, giving me samples of the mens' Carons, Knize 10 and Uomo by Lorenzo Villoresi. I was hooked - big time. What started as a quick dabble into finding out what people thought Euphoria smelled like had ended up within a year as what quite frankly, was fast amounting to an obsession!
This post is really drifting on now, so apologies. Three years on, I am a full-on perfume addict. I read many blogs daily, I visit department stores, both locally and in London, whenever I can. I usually order samples monthly from sites like First in Fragrance, Les Senteurs and Luckyscent. I cadge and beg what I can for free. I order directly from houses. You name it, I do it. And you know what? I love it and make no apology for my obsession. It gives me daily joy and satisfaction and I can't ask for more than that.
Over the next few weeks and months I will aim to delve a little deeper into my obsession. I don't know exactly what I will write about. Some days it may be perfume reviews, other days it may be about what I find interesting or irritating about the fragrance industry. Who knows. I am no perfume expert and I know there are many people who are able to write about perfume and review perfume far more intelligently and eloquently than I probably will. However, this is perfume in my world, the way I see and interpret it and I hope if you reading this, that you will join me on a journey of discovery from time to time.