Perfumed Obsesssion : How Others Treat Your Interest in Fragrance

How do your friends and family relate to your love of fragrance? Are they indulgent, understanding, puzzled, etc.?

Mention fragrance, and the responses range from “what is your favorite” to “I am allergic to all perfumes.” I have noticed how willing people are to talk about scents, especially when the concept of fragrance extends beyond a bottle of perfume. Therefore, I love discussing scents with others: what they wear, what they like, what they remember from their childhood, etc. My family went from being puzzled to being understanding and proud of my work. They are my main supporters. I was touched recently when I found out that my dad used to follow my blog and share links with his friends (he never told me!) The only thing my husband objects to is the presence of perfume samples on the floor, because he always trips over them.



  • Alnysie: I’ve only started being really into perfumes a few months ago, and my friends have been both amused by my newfound obsession and really interested in the “knowledge” I developed. Many of them asked me if I could make them smell all my samples, and just yesterday a friend smelled them all and decided she wanted to buy Dzing! *Of course*, I’ll make the huge sacrifice of accompanying her to the store… 🙂 September 4, 2011 at 12:26pm Reply

  • facinated September 4, 2011 at 1:28pm Reply

  • Emma: I don’t discuss perfumes with people but I ask my boyfriend when I’m wearing something new like recently since I’m getting into – and in the process of permanently switching to – 100% organic scents like Honore des Pres fragrance line, which annoys him because I tend to ask him at the wrong time like when he just got home after a long day at work, haha! September 4, 2011 at 3:21pm Reply

  • Debbie: My boyfriend has gone from being mildly inquisitive to very interested. Too interested as now it is him who is making all the major purchases! What I find frustrating is he treats Perfumes The Guide as a bible rather than trusting his own nose but I forget he is on a learning curve and maybe not so confident – I should really be more supportive.

    Strangely, my girlfriends are ambivalent about the structure,complexity, background, emotion, etc attached to scent, although they all wear some. Only one male friend has a similar passion for it. September 4, 2011 at 3:59pm Reply

  • Ines: My boyfriend is extremely supportive but not always happy with what I choose to wear. 🙂 His preferences are still very safe, although he tends to surprise me sometimes.
    Most of my family and friends know I’m a freak for perfumes but pretty much ignore the fact, no one is interested enough to ask questions or read my blog. But they seem to equite it with me and consider it normal for me (not themselves though). 🙂 September 4, 2011 at 12:09pm Reply

  • skilletlicker: Most of my family members regard my interest in fragrance is a charming eccentricity. But I’ve managed to turn two of my sisters onto scents they would never have known about had I not introduced them. People are generally surprised to learn that the world of fragrance is much larger than the “counter culture” of the department store. September 4, 2011 at 7:38pm Reply

  • Stephanie: I love the my friends are so supportive of my passion. They indulge my new discoveries all the time and even get excited about scent strips I bring home from the perfume counter! They are always keen to offer honest comments about the new perfumes I try out – the other day a friend asked what I was wearing because it smelled like “diaper”! – but I value their feedback and see it as constructive – what I love in the bottle definitely does not always smell great on me! September 4, 2011 at 6:45pm Reply

  • Cadence Ryanne: It’s sort of a wall of silence on the part of my family and friends. But my hubby is extremely supportive even though he has mild asthma. I’m careful about what I wear and he says that none of my fragrances have triggered an problems. He didn’t know about my obsession when we married (lol) but he’s put up nicely. I recently found a fantastic storage for my samples which has made him happier since it reduces clutter on our dressers! Check out my blog post about it at! September 4, 2011 at 11:01pm Reply

  • Isabeau: I get a lot of support of my husband. This summer he drove 1 hour extra so I could visit AusLiebeZumduft in Germany and he is already used to the fact that there are samples everywhere in the house and that in every city we go to I have to do some perfume sniffing 😉

    My colleagues are supportive too and they do bring back perfume when they go abroad.

    Friends is a different story, they do like my hobby but they think that I spend too much money on perfume. (I know what you mean memoryofscent) But that is why I love your blog, to see that there are more perfumista friends!! September 5, 2011 at 5:48am Reply

  • kuri: My parents treat it as yet another frivolity on my side, but they tolerate it. My friends range from uninterested to semi-interested. My boyfriend is bemused by it but he’s quite supportive. I love testing scents on him. It’s a good thing that he’s supportive, as I plan to get more samples once I move and am more organized! September 5, 2011 at 3:48am Reply

  • Sure friends and family like advice on perfumes but that’s it! They usually say: “I ran out of cologne. Which one should I buy next?” and it is really hard to explain to them that it is better if they talked a little about what they like in perfumes and when you do convince them to talk most of the times they don’t have the words so there is a lot of guessing involved in my suggestions.

    When the conversation shifts to how many bottles I have, that’s a different story. Anything from awe το mockery. The inevitable question: “Do you wear all these?” (a favourite analogue to “have you read all these books?”)and the even more annoying “How much have you paid for all these?” (… as much as I want to, you poor bastard! Have I ever asked you how much you paid for all that booze you drunk last time I saw you?).

    Support I get from my SO and fellow fumehaed friends. From all the rest all I am asking for is not to poke me with a stick like I am a weird animal in the zoo. September 5, 2011 at 3:58am Reply

  • Suzanna: No one in my circle of relations has any interest in it. My boyfriend only brings up fragrance if what I’m wearing bothers his nose (Montaigne was a big offender). My perfume “discussions” take place via e-mail, with like-minded friends. I have a “Chanel” friend in particular whom I have recently converted to a fig friend by way of L’Artisan and Diptyque. This conversion resulted in many enjoyable exchanges. September 5, 2011 at 9:09am Reply

  • tania: My family have no interest at all – and I think (hell, I know) they would be shocked at how much perfume I own. My mother would certainly take me to task about the ‘waste’ of money.

    Most of my friends have no idea about my obsession. Two friends do know about it: a female friend who also enjoys perfume, trusts my knowledge (which is little enough god knows, but I guess, more than the average shopper), and has often benefited from my clearouts. 🙂

    And a male friend who was staying with me & discovered how much perfume & makeup I own. He spent more than an hour lecturing me about wasting money which I could be spending on property. I wanted to tell him that ‘flipping’ houses may be his obsession, but perfume is mine, and I know which one is cheaper and less risky and stressful! September 5, 2011 at 10:45am Reply

  • Nikki: Hmm, yes that about sums it up for me, too. there are very few people with whom one can discuss fragrance in a way one would discuss history or politics, with facts and opinions…my family isn’t too interested, they think i spent way too much money on perfume and wonder why there are shelves full of perfumes in the fridge and how many perfumes does one need? September 5, 2011 at 10:49am Reply

  • Ari: My boyfriend went with me to Grasse for an entire day of visiting the perfume factories. Enough said! He also has an excellent nose, he’s a big fan of L’Heure Bleue. I lucked out 🙂 September 5, 2011 at 7:44am Reply

  • Ari: That’s a great point! When cornered by rude questions about perfume spending habits, the “you spend inordinate amounts on alcohol/food, which can only be consumed once, while I can enjoy a perfume again and again” defense seems to work quite well. September 5, 2011 at 7:45am Reply

  • Felicia H.: For me, I do not know any father member and that includes my husband that has the obsession more than me. I am in this all alone so to speak. I rant about fragrances but my family could careless about it. So, I ride the journey alone and that is fine with me. September 5, 2011 at 8:26am Reply

  • maggiecat: My friends and family are amused, and a little puzzled, over my obsession. My husband remains puzzled, but has become accepting, if not enthusiastic (he plays golf, so we’ve figured we’re more or less even in terms of hobbies the other doesn’t understand…). I’m often asked for perfume advice though, and I enjoy helping people find scents for themselves or others. I wish I had more fumehead friends locally though – I’d love to go out and browse scents with someone who’d enjoy it, as opposed to putting up with it! September 5, 2011 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Warum: I am very lucky. My husband, my mothers, and the majority of my friends are interested in my perfume hobby even though they are not as interested as I am. But one of my friend always asks me about it and lets me talk, another always compliments me on the perfumes i am wearing. My mother was very impressed with my knowledge and she and I enjoyed finding a scent for her. My husband is the best of them all, as he started wearing fragrance, always says something about what I wear, and became pretty good at picking notes. September 5, 2011 at 4:06pm Reply

  • Yelena: I had a feeling that your father followed your blog and was very proud of your work. My father always makes jokes about my hobby, although he actually is responsible for getting me started. When we lived in the Soviet Union, he used to spray a handkerchief with cologne and give it to me to sniff when the odors would be offensive in the metro or on a bus. Even now, he has saved every bottle of cologne that I have ever given to him as a gift and will reminisce about his favorites and how surprised he was to get them. Fragrance really has the power to infiltrate relationships beyond that of the superficial. That’s why we love scent, after all, isn’t it? September 5, 2011 at 4:37pm Reply

  • donix: oh, it’s always so good to know there are many more people like me. Even though I don’t have many botles (only 19) I’m more and more proud of my collection as it reflects my tru and polished taste. I’, almost 30 so I learned a bit how to recognize good stuff and not to get ripped off by con artsits hiding under famous labels. My boyfriend is understnding but he doesn’t really know how many fragrances I own, it’s just each time I have my Bday or it’s Christmas I make a choice and it’s almost always perfume. I’ve introduced him to some masterpieces and I do the same with my parents, I’m glad to see they really have great taste even though they don’t know many fragrances. My friends know I’m passionate about it but they don’t know too much and I’m gonna keep it for myself as it’s quite difficult for most of them to embrace the fact that perfume is an art. September 7, 2011 at 4:41pm Reply

  • Lynn Morgan: My BFF Tom is just as obsessed and far more scholarly on the subject than I am, so you can imagine that our lunches are often devoted to perfume discussions, gossip, and sometimes, sniffing each other in public in rather embarassing ways! I am enthralled by the subculture of perfume, embodied by Bois de Jasmin and all of Victoria’s loyal, opinionated and engaging readers and responders! I have loved perfumes since college (and maybe even before when I used to try and sneak drops of Mummy’s “Opium”- it seemd so expensive and forbidden!)and now I love talking and chatting about the social, historic, anthropological, even political aspects of scents with like-minded maniacs. There is nothing frivolous about perfume (or fashion): it is a profound document and commentary on our culture and the state of the world. Smell is the most primal of all our senses, the first to develop, the last to fade as we age and the most closely aligned with memory. Proust was really responding to the flowery citrus scent of the lime blossom tea and the rich vanilla, butter and cream of the petite madeleine; he just didn’t realize it! September 7, 2011 at 7:10pm Reply

  • Nikki: what a lovely image you conjure with the handkerchief in the subway, Yelena! September 8, 2011 at 3:03pm Reply

  • brigitte: No one has ever completely understood my perfume obsession. I have been wearing fragrance religiously since the age of 12 and have gone through over 300+ different fragrances over the past 30 years. My husband has severe seasonal allergies so he has zero appreciation for fine perfume. My friends have always thought me a bit eccentric but my mother always enabled my perfume “addiction” by purchasing whatever my heart desired for birthdays,Christmas,Easter,etc. when I was a teenager. It was only a year ago that I discovered that there is a world of “perfumaniacs” out there on the internet! Now I read whenever I get the chance: I love the blogs and comments! And I get great ideas of what I want to try next! I have discovered some great niche companies: Ineke, Sonoma Scent Studio, 1000 Flowers, etc. from my internet wanderings! September 9, 2011 at 12:00pm Reply

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