What makes one a perfume lover? Having a collection that puts the Saks Fifth Avenue fragrance counter to shame? Knowing the minute details of Serge Lutens’s biography? Speaking of fragrance ingredients with an obsession rivaling that of a Michelin starred chef? Wearing nothing but the most exclusive and expensive brands? No, no, and no. A perfume lover, or a perfumista, is someone who loves scents. Period.
Like all hobbies, fragrance can be treated in as esoteric and passionate a manner as you wish, but what I have always found special about this pursuit is its endless variety. Our olfactory palettes are shaped by numerous factors, including early childhood memories, idiosyncratic preferences and particularities of our noses. It’s a fact that we all experience scents slightly differently, based on a combination of individual sensitivities and anosmias. Even perfume industry professionals, whose noses are well-honed to distinguish different ingredients, can’t avoid olfactory quirks, whether it means not being able to smell some types of musk or woody ambers. The wealth of individual interpretations of common smells is what gives perfumery its richness and beauty.