Falling in Love with Perfume : On How It All Starts….


Falling down the rabbit hole of fragrance is quite easy for some of us. It all starts very innocently: a sample, a spritz of something beautiful on a friend, a vintage bottle found at a garage sale. Suddenly, you find yourself reading everything on the topic, checking Ebay auctions before you have your morning coffee and talking of “sillage, indoles, top notes” and other things that leave others confused (or bemused, depending on how often you unleash your perfume talk on them.) Of course, I am being slightly facetious, but each one of us has a story of how we got interested in fragrance.

I have many childhood scent related memories and I have collected fragrances, essential oils and books on scent for as long as I can remember. But my personal fragrance turning point came thanks to the internet. I discovered a vibrant online community, starting first with MUA and later with other excellent forums like Basenotes and Perfume of Life.  It was the experience of meeting like-minded individuals that made me realize my passion for fragrance. I cannot say that there was one specific fragrance that drew me into this world. Exploring the likes of L’Artisan, Annick Goutal and Serge Lutens was an exhilarating escape. I do, however, remember one of the earliest fragrances that I reviewed: L’Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons was love at first sniff!

So, what is your story, how did you develop your interest in fragrances? Do you remember what fragrance got you hooked?

Photography VeraKl



  • Austenfan: I think I must have always liked perfume. I distinctly remember sniffing my mother’s bottle of Shocking ( I hated that, though for the life of me I cannot remember what it smelled like), and later L’Air du Temps. I think I started wearing perfume for myself around the age of 16 or so. I had a tiny bottle of Anaïs Anaïs. I went through a couple of bottles of scents by Yves Rocher, but I never liked them as much as my Cacharel. After that came Paris, YSL. I still wear that one today, sticking to the older bottles.
    My real addiction began when about 3 years ago I was googling Cristalle, Chanel. I wanted to find a cheap deal and by chance discovered Robin’s NST. Her Cristalle review is very humorous. (Plus I share her preference for Roger Moore as James Bond.) I started reading reviews of other perfumes. Found other blogs, including this one. It has been a real delight as I was getting rather fed up with what department stores generally offered. The irony of it all is, that I have spent a lot of money on fragrance, because I initially wanted to save some pennies.

    Sorry for the long post, but that is my story. ( It feels rather like PA; Perfumes Anonymous. I am told that when you join the AA you have to present yourself and explain what led you to alcoholism. I am not implying that this perfume mania is really like alcohol addiction, by the way) February 12, 2011 at 7:12am Reply

  • Ann C: My mother didn’t wear fragrance often since my father didn’t like it, but I’ve always loved it. As a teenager in the 70’s, I had several bottles: L’Air du Temps, Wind Song, Aliage, Halston, Chloe, Cerissa, various musks–what I wouldn’t give to have some of those bottles now! I went through a long period of wearing little to no perfume, until I bought Turin & Sanchez’s book. Once I discovered MUA and the perfume blogs, it was all over. I bought my last bottle, Love Chloe, as a direct result of this blog. 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 7:37am Reply

  • rosarita: I, too, always loved fragrance and remember buying myself a bottle of Norell at the drugstore when I was about 12. This current love started about 4 yrs ago and was an attempt to deal with a severe episode of depression. I was so disconnected that I decided that I would try to very conciously use all five senses every day and really focus on what was happening at the moment.I had no perfume at that time and in seeking out scents I read an article in Allure magazine abt niche perfumery that mentioned NST. Through Robin’s blog I discovered others, including yours, which I love. That led to my discovery of MUA and the online perfume community, not to mention swapping for perfume, which introduced me to a world of scent I would never have found on my own in the tiny rural town I live in. I’m very grateful for the journey and how life-enhancing the world of fragrance has become to me. February 12, 2011 at 7:43am Reply

  • Pklagrange: Step 1: We stayed at the Alexis in Seattle which has Perfumerie Nasreen in the lobby. Start of perfume love affair. Step 2: DH buys me The Guide. Step 3: start sampling. Step 4: never stop sampling! February 12, 2011 at 8:25am Reply

  • Nancy: I think I saw that map at a Fragonard outpost. Maybe they sell them. February 12, 2011 at 9:48am Reply

  • Nancy: Once upon a time I thought I was the only one of my kind. Others looked at me as if I were crazy if tried to engage them in conversation about perfume. I knew of only a couple of sources for niche perfumes and sampled pretty much every scent they had to offer.

    About six years I was reading a literary blog in which the author linked to a perfume blog. In turn, her links included MUA. I learned not only was not alone in my passion, but that there were extraordinarily generous people out there in perfume world willing to share their expertise and vials of precious juice to help me up the learning curve. I am grateful for the many good friends I’ve made while working my way up that curve. February 12, 2011 at 9:59am Reply

  • Acrossbee: I have always been intrigued by perfumes and by how the sense of smell can take you right back to a moment in time and make you recall a place so vividly. What pulled me down the rabbit hole was Tilleul by D’Orsay. That scent transported me to my youth and affected me to my very core. I found it both comforting and revitalizing, it’s hard to explain. I wore it for two years straight and then it stopped smelling the same! I thought I just wore it too much and put it away for a while. But to this day it’s not the same. I now love to explore new (and old) scents and have come to appreciate a wide range of perfumes. February 12, 2011 at 11:38am Reply

  • Ines: I honestly can’t remember how it happened. It does feel though like one day I fell into the rabbit hole of perfume blogs, niche perfumeries, MUA and soon enough, my blog sprang to life. 🙂
    I’ve been happily exploring the scented world out there since then. By that I don’t mean only perfumes. LIke you mentioned, quite long before they came along, I was interested in essential oils and their use – I just don’t know how I made the leap into perfumes. 🙂 And I don’t really care, I’m happy and content with it. February 12, 2011 at 6:49am Reply

  • Ann C: I agree, Love Chloe is versatile and lovely, which is just what I wanted.

    I haven’t smelled Aliage in years. I’ve heard the reformulation hasn’t been kind to it. I must seek out a sample to smell it again. February 12, 2011 at 12:00pm Reply

  • maggiecat: Aliage’s reformulation has not been kind to it at all: it was one of my first true loves in perfume and I sniffed it a year or so ago and couldn’t stand it! February 12, 2011 at 12:29pm Reply

  • maggiecat: I remember always loving scents and being fascinated with them. And spending too much money on something I loved as well! It wasn’t until I found “the blogs” that i realized there were others like me. It’s comforting to know others share my passion! February 12, 2011 at 12:31pm Reply

  • sharyl: I began wearing Heaven Scent by Helena Rubenstein when I was 16 and I wore it faithfully and lovingly every single day for years until it was discontinued. By that time I was married and a mom and did not take the time to find something else to love. My next fragrance steps came through beautifully essential oil scented beeswax candles, which in turn developed my interest in pure essential oils for therapeutic uses as well as scent enjoyment. Then a few years ago my son and my daughter began working for a French perfume and body care company and I was automatically immersed in a lovely world of scent again. As I began to bcome more aware of the perfume world I heard of Jean Patou’s Joy and wanted to smell it. I made a special trip to Nordstrom’s and spritzed myself with Joy. That whole day and evening I felt enveloped in a cloud of unconditional love that kept bringing tears to my eyes. I went on-line to find out more information about Joy and through google came across PST, NST, Perfume Posse and your lovely blog and that happened in February of last year and I have been on my enchanted perfume journey ever since. Much love and thanks to you Victoria and to all of the other lovely, warm-hearted perfumistas for this amazing community. And Happy Valentines Day to all. February 12, 2011 at 12:31pm Reply

  • Ceil: When I was a little girl, my mother always had lovely fragrances. They didn’t have much…but my father always bought her fragrance several times a year as a gift. She wore Guerlain’s Chant d’aromes, L’Heure bleu, Mitsouko, Shalimar and Dior Dioressence, Houbigant Quelques fleurs. …When she would go out with my dad for dinner or dancing she would always let me choose her fragrance for the evening. It was a fun special moment for us and, of course I would always get to wear some of the fragrance also!

    So fragrance has always seemed to be part of my life in a positive way. February 12, 2011 at 1:42pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Hee, hee! I love your step four PKlagrange!

    I had some early perfume experiences, one of which I just wrote up for Marina, but my rabbit hole was NST. And then you. And then Perfume Smellin’ Things. And then, and then, and then! February 12, 2011 at 9:31am Reply

  • sweetlife: P.S. I WANT that map featured in your photograph! February 12, 2011 at 9:31am Reply

  • Mimi: It’s funny you mentioned Climat as that is a fragrance I discovered recently and love. I have been stocking up bottles from TPC.

    I think my earliest perfume scent memory is a vial of Madame Rochas from the local department store. It was exquisite and smelled nothing like the fragrance today. I have loved fragrances ever since, way beyond my budget these days. Like Ann C., Cerresa was one of my favorites back in the day.

    I discovered the blogs years ago when I was searching for Casaque, one of my all time favorite, long-gone, fragrances. I found a replica at Irma Shorrell, that isn’t bad at all, and their blog, Perfume for Life. One blog lead to another… February 12, 2011 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Olfacta: I grew up in the South, and my middle school was full of girly-girls who wore perfume — way too much usually. Fads would sweep the place. I remember Ambush and especially Jungle Gardenia, which stank up the halls; traces still remain, I’m sure.

    My own first go-to scent was Emeraude Parfume de Toilette, in the crown bottle. Then Intimate, Love’s Fresh Lemon, Chanel No. 5 and, in my mid-20’s I discovered Bal a Versailles perfume at a duty free shop. I wore it for years (and still do, the vintage versions). There have been many since but even in days past, I never could imagine going out without perfume or cologne. Of course now I sleep in it, wear it for myself — I work at home — and have a collection whose size approaches embarrassing.

    I’ve had a difficult week and perfume has helped. It really does. For me, it’s an extraordinarily effective mood-lifter and I can’t imagine life without it. February 12, 2011 at 9:42am Reply

  • sweetlife: Oh thank you, Nancy. Off to look! February 12, 2011 at 10:03am Reply

  • Safran: Hello Victoria,

    as long as I can remember I stuck my nose into everything that smelled, flowers, perfume bottles, pots full of food, herbs, anything. Also, my mother loved and still loves perfumes. When I started to go to the mall on my own, in my teen years, I started testing every new scent, that was on the market, no matter whether is was a male of female scent. Then in the beginning of the 90s I found a perfume store that was specialized in so called niche scents. It took me months, until I had the courage to go in there, because it was so elegant and so sophisticated. There I first smelled scents from Caron, , Crown, Parfums de Nicolai, Parfums de Rosine and totally fell in love with some of them.
    Later we moved to Finland, where ist was impossible to find scents like this (at least back then), so I discovered the online communities, also starting with MUA.
    I read of all your reviews then and still enjoy reading them here, they are always an inspiration and a barometer, from which I most of the times know, whether I will like a scent or not. Thank you!
    Cheers Safran February 12, 2011 at 3:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: Nancy, Alyssa, that's right! Vera took that photo at the Fragonard museum in Grasse. I believe that Fragonard should have them. February 12, 2011 at 10:25am Reply

  • flittersniffer: I had only owned a handful of bottles until three years ago, and was fairly indifferent to most of them, such that they all went off in the end. I first became interested in perfumes very suddenly, whilst googling the notes in several scents a friend wore that I disliked (the perfumes, not the friend!), and was surprised and intrigued by the similarities in their composition. Just one week later, I had filled three Lever Arch files with print outs of pyramids from Osmoz. The initial fascination was largely cerebral – the notion of fragrance families appealed to the market researcher in me.

    My epiphany fragrance in terms of falling in love with the actual *smell* of perfume was Apres L’Ondee, via an evocative review of “silvery scents” in an article in The Times that haunts me still! February 12, 2011 at 10:42am Reply

  • glasspetalsmoke: This is definitely the start for me: http://glasspetalsmoke.blogspot.com/2007/09/sweet-earth-perfume-compacts.html

    I think it’s why I am so drawn to Enfleurage’s flower butters (tuberose, gardenia, etc.). February 12, 2011 at 10:47am Reply

  • Victoria: This makes perfect sense to me too, there are just so many little things that kind of snowball, and suddenly there you are… with a large perfume collection. In my case, also lots of wonderful friendships, which are far more precious than any perfume bottle. February 12, 2011 at 11:38am Reply

  • Victoria: That review of Cristalle is one of my Robin’s favorite reviews! And I agree with her on Roger Moore as James Bond too.
    I might have googled something as well, which is how I happened upon MUA. Who knew that it would be a google search with such profound consequences! 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 11:41am Reply

  • Victoria: I am so glad that you are enjoying Love Chloe, which is such an elegant, versatile fragrance. I got a decant at first, but then I just bought a full bottle also.
    Isn’t Aliage such a beautiful, dramatic fragrance? February 12, 2011 at 11:44am Reply

  • Victoria: You point out so well the same aspect I value in my adventure–the connections we make through scents with others. Internet communication is so common these days, yet I still cannot but find magical the fact sharing a passion is enough to connect us, geographical distance notwithstanding! February 12, 2011 at 11:45am Reply

  • Victoria: The Guide would do that! So many fragrances, such colorful opinions. I find myself wanting to try even the fragrances Luca and Tania hate. February 12, 2011 at 11:55am Reply

  • Victoria: A, I look forward to reading it! Your stories of serendipitous discoveries always resonate with me. February 12, 2011 at 11:57am Reply

  • Victoria: I cannot agree more! For me, fragrance functions in exactly the same manner–it is a great mood-lifter and an immediate reminder of beauty. It is hard to feel too much in the dumps, if one is aware of something beautiful. It really puts things in perspective for me. February 12, 2011 at 11:59am Reply

  • Victoria: Nancy, as a child I could spend hours sniffing flowers in my grandmother’s garden, which was something my mom found very eccentric. Now, of course, she says that she always knew that I was destined for perfumery. 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Victoria: There is something of a heartbreak to smell a fragrance from your past now. At least for me. Often, they have changed, I have changed, and there is no chemistry anymore. Diorissimo is in such a category for me, especially since it has been reformulated beyond recognition. It does smell very good, and I still recommend it as a lovely muguet composition, but it simply does not smell like Diorissimo I knew. February 12, 2011 at 12:04pm Reply

  • Victoria: This is such a fascinating story of discovery! I can definitely relate to that. My parents were chemical engineers, and they have done some work with aldehydes. I have smelled aldehydes long before I smelled any actual perfume with them, but when I finally did (Lancome Climat,) I was fascinated. So in a way, figuring out how come something so awful smelling (in pure strength) can suddenly turn into a beautiful, beguiling experience gave me an early start in my explorations. February 12, 2011 at 12:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: I remember this story, which you told me. I loved it then and I still do.
    Enfleurage’s flower butters are incredible. It is a treat to have this store close by. February 12, 2011 at 12:08pm Reply

  • Victoria: Tilleul by D’Orsay was also one of my early niche discoveries, and I am still fond of it for this same reason. It reminds me of the summer I found it, me sitting in the university library, trying hard to focus on the historical research, but instead my mind is drifting to the linden lanes of some elegant Central European city… February 12, 2011 at 12:11pm Reply

  • Marina: I blame, in chronological order: my mom, MUA, Victoria/Robin 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 1:37pm Reply

  • sweetlife: Mmm. That’s very sweet, but I’m pretty sure this one won’t. It is a glimpse of my uneducated early tastes. Alas. February 12, 2011 at 1:42pm Reply

  • Victoria: Then I am looking even more forward to it, because the early gaffes can be a great learning experience (and they make entertaining stories.) I have plenty of my own, starting at the age of 2 when I tried very hard to sniff some dried white beans. They did not seem to have any scent and I kept bringing them closer and closer to my nose…. It all ended with a rather traumatic trip to the hospital, I will spare you the details. 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 1:45pm Reply

  • Victoria: 🙂 What was the perfume your mom wore when you were little? I am curious, because it seems that somehow different parts of the USSR had somewhat different foreign fragrances available. A friend of my mom’s would buy Madame Rochas from some store in Moscow. I do not remember the scent that well from my childhood, although the bottle looks familiar. February 12, 2011 at 1:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: Definitely, there is a great comfort in that. Having a group of like-minded friends helps tremendously to share, to learn and to make more and more discoveries. I find that it is a never-ending quest. February 12, 2011 at 1:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: Heaven Scent by Helena Rubenstein is such a beautiful perfume, and I can see why you stayed faithful to it for a long time.
    I also find that it is a very warm, very generous community, and I am thankful to be a part of it. February 12, 2011 at 1:52pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: I was interested in perfume for many years, but not in such a bordering-on-obsessive way, like I am now. Like you, I fell down the rabbit hole through the internet. That amazing community and the availability of so many interesting perfumes from all over the world, were what pushed me over the edge into full-fledged perfumista-dom. I I have not looked back since…there is nothing I enjoy more than smelling, talking, writing about perfume and sharing that passion with like-minded people. The many friends I have gained in cyber space are real, not virtual, that makes me really happy. Thank you, V for playing a very big and important part in making me feel so welcome in the perfume community! 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 1:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: Such a beautiful memory, thank you for sharing. Our mothers’ fragrances form such poignant recollections, and I especially love how your mother allowed you to choose her perfume.
    My mom would also dab her signature perfume Diorissimo on me whenever she would be ready to go out. I still remember with pleasure the touch of the cold, glass stopper to my neck. February 12, 2011 at 1:55pm Reply

  • Victoria: Birgit, I am very happy to have played whatever role I could to help you feel this way. Although sometimes people (generally those who do not blog) perceive blogging as a monologue or a form of diary keeping, to me it is all about the interaction and connection with others. That is the best and the most satisfying part of it. February 12, 2011 at 2:11pm Reply

  • Olfactoria: Absolutely! Hugs 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 3:06pm Reply

  • Alice C: My journey into the rabbit hole began only a few months ago. I’ve always worn perfume, but generally it was a one at a time thing–I’d buy a bottle I liked and wear it until it was gone. This lasted until 1989, when my husband (he was my boyfriend then) gave me a bottle of Roma, by Laura Biagiotti. I wore it for over 20 years, never straying from that scent! One day my husband told me he had noticed a perfume a friend of ours was wearing and asked her about it. She told him it was Nuit de Noho from Bond No. 9. Well, I just had to get a sample of it! I found the little samples for sale on Ebay and bought some. Then I had to try more from Bond No. 9; then Creed, then a mixed lot of niche samples….After that I found The Perfumed Court, MUA and many blogs and fragrance magazines all over the net–you all know exactly what I mean! I’m not sure my husband will ever forgive our friend… 😉 February 12, 2011 at 8:16pm Reply

  • Elisa: Like many here, I was always interested in perfume, but didn’t fall down the rabbit hole until reading The Guide. A writer friend of mine knows Tania (she also writes fiction, I believe, and that’s how they met), and he told me he thought I’d like the book. Boy, was he right! I devoured most of it on a long plane ride, and decided any spare money I had for a while was going to go toward perfumes. 🙂 February 12, 2011 at 4:09pm Reply

  • Melissa: New here – time to de-lurk myself. I just recently fell into the rabbit hole, but I’ve been peering over the edge for quite some time – chronically drawn to department store fragrance counters or the perimeters of Sephora, sniffing until my nose became pickled. Scents have always left a big emotional and physical impression on me – I love the jolt of nostalgia I receive from the smell of a childhood haunt, and my mom still teases me about how quickly certain smells (anise, frialators, mothballs) make me gag. Like you and many others here, my interest in perfume grew exponentially after I found the online fragrance world. I look forward to writing about my fragrance journey and reading and learning as much as I can from the wealth of information on your blog and the many others out there – what a wonderful community you all have!

    Also, last night may count as a major fragrance epiphany: I smelled Bois des Iles for the first time and am hopelessly smitten. As Pepe Le Pew would say, “Le sigh.” February 12, 2011 at 4:19pm Reply

  • Marina: Madame Rochas, Climat, Chat Noir, possibly Magie Noir, Lapidus Creation (if that’s the name), Yves Rocher Magnolia, Anais Anais… February 12, 2011 at 5:10pm Reply

  • Victoria: I just realized that I am not familiar with Cerresa, but it seems to come up fairly often, so perhaps I should sample it.

    Internet and blogs are a good way to fall down the rabbit hole, as I can attest by my own experience. Whenever you read the comments by others who are so passionate about something, it is so contagious! February 12, 2011 at 5:30pm Reply

  • Victoria: Safran, I can so related to this (and see my comment to Sweetlife above about somewhat traumatic early years of smelling everything in sight!) 🙂
    I remember you from MUA too and it is a pleasure to see you here too. I am glad that the internet continues to connect us, despite the distances. February 12, 2011 at 5:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: A friend of mine recently fell down the rabbit hole thanks to the Guide and a 6 hour plane delay. She read the Guide cover to cover and landed at home as a different person. 🙂 It is addictive! February 12, 2011 at 5:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: Melissa, thank you for de-lurking and for sharing your story! The internet to me is such a vivid contrast to the mass media with its sparse stories on fragrances. There are, of course, more and more publications devoting columns to fragrance, so it is a welcome trend.
    I can understand why you were hopelessly smitten by Bois des Iles. I still get a shiver running down my spine whenever I wear it. Such a beautiful fragrance! February 12, 2011 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Victoria: Chat Noir! Yes, the Bulgarian perfume! I remember that one too. February 12, 2011 at 5:38pm Reply

  • Mimi: Victoria,

    Well, you aren’t familiar with Cerrisa because of my awful spelling. It is spelled Cerissa, made by the maker of Chiara (sp?)–Revlon, I’m just not sure. My experience of it is from the late 70s. I thought it a very feminine fragrance. I think it is quite long-gone now.

    It is wonderful there is so much information available about fragrances now, I love it all including books and articles. Absolute joy. I love reading other people’s stories about fragrances best, the whats and the whys, etc. February 12, 2011 at 11:51pm Reply

  • Malin: At my mother’s urging, my father brought me a bottle of perfume from Paris on a business trip. Honestly, Nuit de Noel was a bit much for a 15-year old, and I put it away. Many years were spent on Love’s Fresh Lemon, White Linen, L’Eau de Lancome. But I knew something was missing. Many years later, on my first trip to Paris, a wonderful magazine had tiny note of a new perfumer, Serge Lutens. I broke away from my friends to find the Palais Royale and came away with bottles of Rahat Loukoum and Iris Silver Mist. My life has not been the same. And I still have that near-intact bottle of Nuit de Noel. February 13, 2011 at 2:02am Reply

  • Tarleisio: I blame my profligate mother for a lot of things, but in particular for my lifelong obsession with perfume. She wore so many stunners; Shalimar, Mitsouko, Jolie Madame, Fidji, Bal à Versailles, that I just couldn’t wait for the day when I, too, would cross that line into Womanhood with a capital W and graduate into…Perfume!

    As a fourteeenth birthday present, she took me to Paris. We did all the usual touristy things to do in Paris, and then we did something not quite so…usual.

    We stood outside the doors of 68, Champs Èlysées, home to that famous corrupter of females for over a hundred years. “Here’s a lesson in womanhood,” she said. “Never underestimate the importance of a good bra and a good perfume!” Whereupon she sailed through the door. “Sniff whatever you want, but buy something you love.”

    Two hours and one major headspin later, I sailed out the door with…Jicky extrait, of all things. We went to Caron, but I wasn’t ready – or old enough – for Caron just yet. We even went to Dior, and I came out with…Miss Dior. The rest, as they say, is herstory…I’ve been a perfume nutcase ever since. My world was never the same again.

    I began reading perfume blogs in earnest at one point in my life when I was in a financial hard spot. I had – and couldn’t afford – so much as a bottle of drugstore designer ripoff. So I read perfume blogs, perfume by proxy, if you please, and in the process, became educated a great deal above and beyond “it smells good”. I also discovered that my mother had given me a lot of things – including a rather good taste!

    Bois de Jasmin, the fahbulous ladies of the Perfume Posse, and many, many other blogs have since then really rearranged my olfactory furniture. For one thing, I sold a chunk of my soul to Serge Lutens! 😉 I can handle anything at all – just so long as I smell…fantastic! (So I try!)

    The next step in that evolution was deciding to expand some writing muscle by becoming a perfume blogger myself. If I could write about what is, in effect, non-verbal, then I might be some kind of writer, after all! In so doing, I found a community that shared many of my passions, and many of you have also become friends and daily fixes I hope never to live without!

    Just like perfume! 😉 February 13, 2011 at 5:54am Reply

  • Joan: My dad loves perfume. I remember smelling everything I encountered as a kid, from soap to candles to my grandmother’s Elizabeth Arden and freesia products that she kept on her dresser.

    First I got cheaper perfumes as presents, like Pavlova (heady stuff), and the Carla Fracci perfumes (they are terrific). Then I was presented with Lolita Lempicka and Mitsouko on Christmas, and it goes from there…. February 13, 2011 at 6:39am Reply

  • Ines: Very true – the wonderful friendships one develops through perfume are precious indeed. February 13, 2011 at 7:55am Reply

  • Victoria: I love Laura Biagiotti fragrances, Roma, Sotto Voce, Venezia… You reminded me of a trip to Italy I took with my best friend and how I really wanted to buy an Italian perfume to remind me of the time spent. I will always think fondly of Sotto Voce for this reason, such a sweet, carefree memory for me.
    I was smiling as I was reading your story. For me, L’Artisan was exactly the same way, first La Chasse, then I needed to smell everything else. Then MPG (related to L’Artisan,) then, then, then…. you have the present day! 😉 February 13, 2011 at 8:39am Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you so much, do not blame the spelling, but rather it is me, I have not smelled it, but I will try to find a sample. Maybe, Ebay has it. I am now fascinated by it, based on your description and your memories of it. February 13, 2011 at 8:41am Reply

  • Victoria: How great that you still have that bottle of Nuit de Noel. Still, what a sophisticated 15 year old you were and definitely bound to fall down the rabbit hole at one point or another. 🙂
    I was wearing O de Lancome the other day and enjoying it very much. February 13, 2011 at 8:49am Reply

  • Victoria: Above all, welcome to the perfume blogging community! 🙂 Thank you very much for this story, which is wonderful, from start to finish (granted, perfume is an ongoing story for you and all of us, I am sure!) I simply love how your mother took you to Guerlain, Caron and Dior, and so it was inevitable that your fate as a perfumista was sealed there and then.
    Do you still have any of those perfume bottles? February 13, 2011 at 8:58am Reply

  • Victoria: Carla Fracci fragrances are quite good and very little known. I have always loved the idea of fragrances smelling like dance characters, and I now curious to smell her Giselle, which is one of the few I have missed. February 13, 2011 at 9:01am Reply

  • krizani: Rosarita, your comment strikes a chord with me (or is that accord? :>D)

    I have been dealing with a severe case of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (think of MS with daily migraines – it’s turned out to be a neuro-immune disease associated with a new retrovirus) for many years. Some days it’s just hard to be here.

    Enter fragrance. It gives me such pleasure through the whole day. It also, as you commented, reconnects you with physical beingness – so important to the healing that’s necessary within, even if our bodies struggle. After all, we and our bodies are in this together!

    I also got rolling with NST – many, many bottles later and there’s still always something fabulous just around the corner!

    And thank you Victoria, for your beautiful, thoughtful and well-informed posts. I greatly look forward to them and often come back to re-read and learn. February 13, 2011 at 2:09pm Reply

  • Mimi: Just after I posted my last comments, I realized I’d misspelled Chiara also. It’s Ciara, it is by Revlon and it is still around. I’m afraid Cerissa, also by Revlon, is not, but I’ll look too. It was one of those great inexpensive fragrances. February 13, 2011 at 4:01pm Reply

  • Tarleisio: Ah, Victoria, I wish I did. A lot of my belongings have gone missing over the years in moving from one location to the next, from one side of the Atlantic to the next. But I did manage to find a ca. 1985 vintage bottle of Narcisse Noir extrait, and I can’t believe I wore it – or loved it as I did. I’ve had to stash it away somewhere safe. (It should come with a Geiger counter! 😉 February 13, 2011 at 3:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for sharing, and of course, I am happy to do anything I can to help with your perfumed quest. Fragrance truly does give such a profound, rich pleasure and adds a wonderful dimension to our lives. You know, whenever I have colds, they are the worst afflictions, because I cannot smell properly.

    Robin is responsible for many of my own purchases too! She is a great enabler. 🙂 February 13, 2011 at 5:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: What a find! I tried the most recent Narcisse Noir, and while it is ok, it simply does not approach the beauty of what your bottle must contain. I am reluctantly trying to do the side by side comparisons of Carons, just like I did with Guerlain classics recently. Always a disheartening task! February 13, 2011 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Victoria: Revlon Charlie too, such a legend and a fragrance that really changed the patter of fragrance buying (as did Estee Lauder Youth Dew!) February 13, 2011 at 5:10pm Reply

  • Dionne: I’m also going to de-lurk for this post.

    My start down the rabbit hole started a year and a half ago, when I was sitting in the airport in Mexico with my family. My mother, sisters and SILs all strolled over to the perfume duty-free shop and were sniffing and commenting on their favorite fragrances, and I felt that familiar pang of feeling left out. My mother had a small collection of fragrances that she’d wear for special occasions – would she ever smell wonderful – but in my teens and 20’s, it seemed that nothing out there smelled good on me. At the time, it seemed just more proof that my geeky self just wasn’t attractive, or feminine. I gave up trying to find something for myself.

    After Mexico, I felt a renewed determination to find a fragrance for myself, so off I went to the local Shopper’s Drug Mart to try stuff…. and also hit the internet. As others have already stated, you can guess what happened next. 😉 My very first samples to arrive in the mail were the Tauer line (it didn’t take long to move past mainstream stuff).

    Perfume turned out to be a powerful catalyst in my life. It helped heal the remnants of that inner-teenager – it’s a powerful thing to discover that dam*! I can smell beautiful and sexy and downright FANTASTIC. Plus, perfume turned out appeal to my geek-self as well: history, biology, chemistry, gender studies, economics…. this rabbit hole was a lot bigger than I ever thought. Perfume melds the different parts of me: my brain, my senses, my emotions. It triggered my renaissance. February 14, 2011 at 11:48am Reply

  • Victoria: Dionne, thank you very much for de-lurking and for sharing such a beautiful, moving story. You really captured what attracted me so much to perfume: its connection with science, fashion, history, economics, politics, various aspects of social life. It never fails to be fascinating, because it is so all-encompassing. This is sometimes difficult to explain to those who are not as interested in perfume as we are, but I think that once one starts to explore this universe, it becomes very clear. February 14, 2011 at 12:38pm Reply

  • OperaFan: As a small child I’ve always been sensitive to smells and tastes. My mother rarely wore perfume but she had a bottle of Chanel No 5 with the ground glass stopper given to her in the ’60s. It’s now among my treasured possessions, still 1/4 full.
    I’ve always loved sniffing fragrances at the local discount store (plus AVON lady living next door). I loved and owned several prominent ’70s fragrances: Babe, Jontu, Cachet, Sweet Honesty and Mink & Pearls among others. In my teens a carded pure perfume sample of VC&A First (not long after its release) gave me my first lightning bolt moment discovery of what a REAL, grand perfume should smell like.
    Fast forward 15 years and some odds and ends occassional purchases and gifts (including the 1987 Nina, Safari, Joy & Laura Ashley No 1), I discovered in the mid-90’s Annick Goutal and Guerlain (beyond Shalimar and Samsara), and life was never the same after that.
    So I became a perfumista well before I knew about the blogs but NST was MY rabbit hole in terms of the quick e-spiral. I discovered it while searching for discounts on Jicky in the Fall of 2008 and stumbling upon Kevin’s haunting review. After that was March’s Apres l’Ondee writeup on the Posse, which lead me to your blog. So I credit and blame you all for my exponential collection and knowledge growth, but also for this wonderful journey.
    It’s been such fun reading everyone’s stories. Thank you! February 14, 2011 at 11:07pm Reply

  • Victoria: Thank you for your story and for taking me on a journey with you. Such interesting routes we all take to reach this point. I love reading all of these comments too.

    That bottle of No 5 is a treasure for sure! My husband and I are persuading my mother-in-law to look for her own bottle of No 5, which he thinks she still might have. February 15, 2011 at 6:42pm Reply

  • Isabeau: This is a such a nice subject!! I am still really new to this website but I just love all your postings!

    I remember that I always loved to bike with my dad on Sunday mornings and as a young child always sticking up my nose in the air to smell the beautiful flowers everywhere..I still do this whem I am on my bike and it reminds me of those great Sunday mornings.

    But I really fell in love with perfume when I was just 8 or so, my older niece had a box with samples and everytime I was at her place I always wanted to play with that box..at the age of 10 I already had My Melody and next Miss Sporty..

    When I was fifteen my mum got a box with the soap of LouLou..and then it all happened I needed to have that fragrance..when I was eighteen I had already two book shelves with perfume..for four years now I love niche perfumes as well, my first purchase was Dzing and then many followed..now I have a large bookcase filled with perfume! You should see the look on people’s faces entering my “perfume’room 😉

    I just love the fact that fragrances can bring such a memory..my parents both passed away when I was still young and many fragrances remind me of them even more than pictures February 16, 2011 at 10:20am Reply

  • Ann: Reading these stories of first loves is heady stuff! My mother rarely wore scent, but when she did it was Chanel No 5. I started wearing it in college… I remember a male student wrote a short story about the amazing way my perfume smelled. It was a rotten story, but that’s not No 5’s fault! Later I discovered Givenchy’s L’interdit when in the UK looking for more Chanel — this was in 89, before the reformulation. I loved that, but just a little bit less than the Chanel. I started wearing No 19, which feels like an excellent fit still, and only in the last five years started trying out Guerlain, l’Artisan, Frederic Malle. And how much fun it is, especially with this lovely blog and its readers to push me in new directions. February 17, 2011 at 3:35pm Reply

  • Ann: I should add that in the interim between college and my recent foray into the world of perfume houses, I was growing flowers almost exclusively for their scent: scented geraniums, heliotrope, verbena, lilac, jasmine, orange tulips, four-o-clocks, lily-of-the-valley, stocks, gardenia, mock orange, osmanthus, and the incredible David Austin roses. I suppose olfactory-tending individuals find a way to interest their noses however they can! February 17, 2011 at 3:41pm Reply

  • Victoria: Isabeau, welcome and I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts!

    >>You should see the look on people’s faces entering my “perfume’room 😉
    I can completely relate to this, because I am sure, I have observed the same look on the faces of those who saw my perfume collection. It is a mixture of “how interesting” and “she is clearly crazy!” 🙂

    Scents do evoke memories better than anything else, something so poignantly! February 17, 2011 at 5:27pm Reply

  • Victoria: These stories are amazing, I loved reading them too, and I thank you for yours.
    No 19 brings back such wonderful memories for me. Sometimes I find that I cannot even wear it without getting overly emotional. Perfume can be so powerful! February 17, 2011 at 5:29pm Reply

  • Anna Minis: Very interesting, these stories. Like Safran and Operafan, I stuck my nose in everything and I was very sensitive for smells. My first love– I was ± 6– was children’s cologne, 3 little boxes in the form of monkeys. But I stole my mothers L’ Aimant as well. My mother did not really love French perfume, although she bought some. She left the choice to me, as young as I was! I choose Femme for her. I loved it and I still do, in spite of the reformulations. As a teenager, I was wearing Elisabeth Arden Blue Grass and Helena Rubinstein Apple Blossom, but my signature scent was Yardley’s Lavender. Strange enough, I did not like French perfume as a teenager. But I loved the jasmine flowers in Rotterdam (where I grew up); my mother plucked them, l illegaly. It was a jasmin with big flowers. That’s why I love A La Nuit so much: exactly the same smell. My French period began with Vent Vert when I was about 20. And then Je Reviens, and Vol de Nuit….and so on, and so on. My mother was not very interested in perfume. She was addicted to a Spanish Eau de Toilette in a cork bottle named Napoleon, and another from the same firm named Bandolero. Bandolero was ± like Balenciaga’s Quadrille; Napoleon was spicy. We all have our own story, and we all love perfume! June 22, 2012 at 2:55pm Reply

    • julie: Hi Anna,

      It’s really intriguing… reading each persons perspective on fragrance… the memories and the stories!!!

      I couldn’t resist myself but asking why was Yardley’s English lavender your signature scent as a teenager… my knowledge of fragrances is so poor and i cant understand the difference between English lavender and french laveneder, though i feel the french lavender is a little bit too camphoratic in nature. I was wondering if you could shed some light in understanding the differences between Yardley’s English lavender and L’occitane’s Lavender Eau de cologne because i do feel something is amiss and i just cant figure what’s the missing element. February 4, 2013 at 3:53am Reply

  • Dominique: I was touched to read all the stories explaining how everybody started their own relationship with perfume. I have always had a bad relationship with my mother. Since I remember, I felt insecure and yearning for a motherly, supportive, loving figure in my life. I used to feel sick of my mothers skin scent and whenever she was close to me I felt repulsion. As a teenager and young adult, I found perfume intolerable and suffocating. My love of perfume started 3 years when I finally came to terms with my feelings of my mother, created a healthy distance between us and allowed myself to develop a “motherly” figure inside me. Searching for the ideal perfume, one that would express my emotional, sexual and intellectual self was a wonderful journey. So far, Bulgaris Black, L’Agent and Dolce & Cabbana The One are my favourites. January 11, 2014 at 8:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you for sharing your moving story, Dominique. I admire your strength and your wisdom in making amends and channeling the strong emotions into something more positive. Your comment about developing a “motherly” figure inside of yourself was particularly poignant.

      I also wish you a fulfilling, special adventure in perfume and beyond! January 12, 2014 at 5:02am Reply

  • Aria: Since my fall down the rabbit hole was quite recent (literally two weeks ago), I remember it quite well, but I need to rewind about 6 years before to get the story started.

    Freshman year of college a friend’s friend told me about a perfume oil website called Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that had delicious scents. The descriptions were so yummy that I bought a bunch of samples, but discovered to my chagrin that apple scents (something I loved because I remembered this bottle of apple scent from my childhood) turned to soap on me. The horror. A little research (I learned about skin chemistry) and some very fragrant packages later I found that rose scents worked very well on me, so I went with those and lost my fervor for perfume. I stepped back from the edge of the hole, or maybe I had slid down a little bit but decided to climb back out again.

    Recently, I discovered Sephora had little fragrance samplers you could buy and get a bottle of your favorite thrown in, so I thought it’d be a fun bridesmaid gift. I made the fortuitous decision to walk into Sephora to try some out, and walked out instead with Hermes Jardin en Mediterranee on one wrist, Balenciaga Rosabotanica on the other…and discovered that there was something green and fresh and yet creamy there that was making me fall in love. More research (turns out to be fig leaf) and I stumbled upon NST and then Bois de Jasmin. Two days ago I spent an hour in Nordstrom and walked out with samples of Creed, Bond no. 9, and diptyque in my pockets and realized, I’d well and truly gone down it this time. February 2, 2014 at 8:22am Reply

  • Gloria: Highschool, frangrance by Coty called Ambergris. Then came the Lilly of the Valley Muguet DesBois. But when I really fell coincided with my first love who bought for me a gift of the fragrance Casaque. To this day that fragrance is the standard by which every floral fragrance is compared. I have been down every path hoping to find something like it only to find a hundred other little lovlies along the way. I will say though that my favorite discovery years ago (and I keep it in quantity) is the original Jessica McClintock. It’s classically gorgeous. April 2, 2015 at 5:04pm Reply

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