Denyse from Grain de Musc had an interesting article today on the general malaise in the perfume industry, with complaints from people in and around the industry about too much product, uninspired launches, no originality and so forth. Her article can be found here. She ended the article by posing the following questions:
When was the last time you were enchanted by a perfume, and which one(s)?
Are you starting to suffer from launch fatigue?
And are you restricting the number of houses/perfumers you follow as a result?
Do you feel moved to seek out new voices online, or is it all just too much to keep up with?
These are interesting questions, and ones I have thought about before, although not necessarily consciously in each case. I am a relative newcomer to perfume, having only really started wearing and thinking about it since 2007, although I did wear perfume prior to that. I signed up to my perfume addiction with very few preconceived ideas, and with very little experience! Perhaps it is this lack of history that has led me to answer thus:
I am not often smitten or enchanted by a perfume, particularly when I have read too much about it prior to sampling. Perhaps it is the weight of expectation that very often leaves me asking the question: "so what is all the fuss about?". This is particularly true of newer launches; I find that stumbling across a little-talked about gem can be far more satisfying. If I had to name a perfume that charmed me, it would be Ambre Sultan by Serge Lutens, and that wasn't even recently. Another that springs to mind is Amouage Lyric Woman.
It may seem strange, but I am not suffering from launch fatigue. If anything, I get excited by many launches, and wait eagerly to read reviews of the latest stuff and even more so to sample it. Having said that, I feel far less excited about most mainstream launches, particularly for men. Most times it is another yawn-inducing sports/citrus cologne. Mainstream-wise, recentish releases that inspire me include Dior Homme and Guerlain L'instant for men. Ok, so these were released almost five years ago...
I definitely don't restrict the number of houses or perfumers I follow. I am always willing to try anything by anyone; otherwise how do you know what you're missing? Also, I think only sampling or buying from one line or perfumer is restrictive and I am still at that stage where I am expanding my perfume knowledge and reference points and the only way to do that is by trying a lot of different perfumes, in my opinion.
Finally, onto blogs and other online voices. I must admit that almost all my knowledge of and desire to try perfume stem from having read numerous blogs. If it weren't for the blogs I frequent, both well known and otherwise, I would never have been inspired to start my own, and I thank each and every one of them for doing what they do. Of course there is an argument against blogs, but in my opinion the building of the online perfume world is a revelation and is good for the industry. Clearly very few (if any) of us are true perfumers or have any relevant experience, but I think constructive criticism and voicing of opinions, provided it is done so in the right spirit, can only be a good thing.
And finally (yes, finally) a big thank you to those of you who have taken the time so far to read and follow my little blog, still in its infancy, and post comments. I do appreciate it and in part it inspires me to keep on going.
Image credit: http://travelindsey.files.wordpress.com