Brand Loyalty

When asked: “What does winter mean to you?” (for example, recently on Puredistance’s FB page in the post for their Winter Photography Contest), people publish picturesque photos and mention travels, holidays and winter perfumes. I also published a scenic picture but my answer was: Winter is a beauty I prefer to experience for a couple of days per year on short trips from the warm (and hopefully rainy) Northern California.

Winter in Tahoo

The last two winters that I spent in my native country were awful. The combination of the bad weather and an energy crisis made living extremely hard. Central heating system managed to maintain radiators warm enough not to freeze and burst – but not much beyond that. It was constantly cold. Everywhere.

We would wake up in the cold apartment in the morning, dress up in the kitchen with a couple of gas stove burners on. 15-minutes’ walk in cold and wind to the bus stop, 15 minutes in a freezing bus, 30 minutes in a slightly warmer subway, then another 10-minutes’ walk to the office. We would sit each next to an oil heater, but the heat from all the computers, radiators and our bodies wasn’t a match to the concrete office building with large one pane windows. In the evening another hour something back. Those last 15 minutes against the wind were especially torturous: you could complain, swear or cry but you had to walk, there was nothing you could have done on that last stretch. And all that was to get to the cold apartment (lucky if it wasn’t our turn for the rotating power outage). The only place I felt warm was under the blankets.

By the second winter we bought an expensive but very useful space heater. It had two-in-one combination – a smaller fan heater and a bigger and more powerful oil radiator. That winter I’d got a nasty bronchitis and, I know it sounds melodramatic, but I felt that this heater saved me: I would close the door and heat the room in which I stayed in bed – and I’d got better. And then it was Spring and by Fall we moved to California, where I never have to experience that cold again. But I brought here with me my gratitude to DeLonghi – the company that made the heater.

For the last many years in winter I heat my bedroom with an oil radiator heater and a smaller space heater makes my morning showers more comfortable. The coffee grinder I bought more than ten years ago still is a part of my weekend Turkish coffee ritual. All these appliances are made by DeLonghi. And every time we’re looking for something for our house, we always check if our favorite brand makes that. Like the coffee maker we bought earlier this year.

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While there is no perfume brand that I could claim saved my life, there is a brand to which I feel a strange loyalty. Amouage. As I’ve mentioned before in the post “My” brand and “not my” brand, seven of Amouage perfumes were in my very first order of samples and five of those became my favorites. Currently Amouage is the only brand, for testing perfumes from which I still pay.

My Perfume Portrait lists 10 Amouage perfumes. Only Jo Malone beats that number (but it was my entry niche brand and it’s much more accessible and affordable); all other big brands – Chanel, Dior, Guerlain and Serge Lutens – have a smaller presence in there.

Ubar is one of my all-time favorites. It’s a perfume I’d put in any of my Top N lists and take to a desert island. Memoir is the second Amouage bottle in my collection. The other eight are samples and decants but I see at least a couple of bottles in my future: Lyric, Gold and Dia are very close contenders for the next full bottle spot and it will be decided based on a coin toss which decant I use up first.

Amouage Memoir

Whenever I read about new Amouage release, horde of invisible lemmings immediately haul my wallet to me. There were some recent releases that didn’t work for me (most of the Library Collection, Honour, Interlude and Journey just weren’t my perfumes). But every time I hope the new one will be even more amazing than everything else I’ve previously tried. Because Amouage is “my” brand and I feel loyal towards it (and it’s not that easy to resist when those lemmings start clanging tiny tin cups against the bars).

Garfield 11-28-1997

What brands do you feel loyal to – perfume makers or any other?

 

Images: all but the last one my own

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46 thoughts on “Brand Loyalty

  1. I loved your DeLonghi tale! I have a little one too concerning a DeLonghi oil filled radiator, namely that ex-Mr Bonkers and I bought one for the cats’ ‘office’ (a draughty room off the garage), to keep them warm while we turned the rest of the heating off, say if we went away. When Miro – the first cat we lost – became terminally ill, we kept the radiator on as a localised top up of heat in addition to the main system.

    When I came to this house, Miro was long gone, but the radiator came too, and I still use it – eg when visitors come – to add heat in chilly spots of the house. I sense it will do me DeLonghi service!

    To answer your question, I did feel very loyal to Ormonde Jayne, whose original collection could have worked on its own as a capsule wardrobe for me, had anyone been cruel enough to take away all my other bottles! It has, however, since gone rather upmarket and middle eastern in its focus, and I don’t quite feel the same affinity.

    I also feel quite loyal to a few independent perfumers whose work is by no means altogether my thing, but I am drawn to the persona of their brands, as it were.

    • “DeLonghi service”!!! :)
      While I really like OJ’s perfumes, I grew a strong dislike towards the brand itself because of how they treat their customers. The only reason why I’m not writing a post about it is because I love several of their perfumes and think that the Perfumeland is better with them (so I don’t want to do any negative publicity). Funny that I thought along the same lines “had anyone been cruel enough to take away all my other bottles” but about Amouage (and provided I could keep 2 other bottles – Climat and Ta’if).
      I feel loyal towards a couple of independent brands – even though their perfumes do not work for me.

  2. I completely understand your view of cold winters. And what a great story about the heater.
    My brand loyalty is to armani jeans, which have an amazing fit, and suit me to an extend I can order online without problems. Since I have a couple of the armani Privé’s and love their makeup, You could almost call it armani loyalty, but I don’t care to call it that, since I feel strongly that it’s these three areas and nothing else.
    As for perfume it’s Guerlain, and of course there are many others I follow, but it’s guerlain-loyalty :-)

      • Yes, the winter picture is mine as well. It was one of those short trips “to the snow” several years ago. I’ll probably go again next year (once every 4 years is just about the right amount of cold).

    • Now I’m extremely curious about Armani jeans :) I think I would have had more Armani Prive perfumes in my collection if it hadn’t been for their almost complete absence from the U.S. market for the last several years. They brought perfumes back just recently but there’s only one store in our area that carries the line and I don’t like their SAs. As to Guerlain, for somebody who didn’t own a single perfume from the line several years ago I made an amazing progress :)

      • I’m surprised that Armani Privés are as good as absent in the US, I didn’t know. I do love their oriental series, really gorgeous fragrances, but not cheap… And I’m equally surprised at the bad SAs, the ones here are incredibly nice knowledgeable about their make-up if not the perfumes, and the ones I met in Germany were great too.
        With the Armani Jeans, I suppose it depends on shape, but anyone with a wait will love them ;-)

  3. I love the clanging tiny tin cups too!

    Stories from your life in your native country always fascinate and I felt chilled just reading this one. Apart from the physical affects, I think feeling constantly cold can make you feel truly miserable. No wonder a couple of days of winter weather are enough for you now.

    I can’t say I feel brand loyalty as such but like V, I do feel predisposed towards releases from the indie perfumers I’ve met and like.

    I see the Perfume Posse have a review of Amouage’s Sunshine today. Have you got a sample on the way?

    • I haven’t bought Sunshine yet but plan to after holidays.

      My American co-workers make fun of me for avoiding cold having come from the place where the weather is much colder than here. If it weren’t for those two bad winters I would have probably felt different about cold: through my childhood and teenage years I don’t remember winter to be such a problem. But after that endless coldness (it does make you feel miserable!) I hope I’ll never have to experience anything like that again.

      • I don’t think they realise just how debilitating it can be day after day, never being properly warm. Perhaps they should read this post.

        I fotgot to say I tried Ubar with V at Les Senterus. I was happy to find out what Dressy Undina smells like. Classy!

  4. If you were to look in my perfume cabinet you would think “my” brand was Lutens. When I first delved into niche brands, Lutens just blew me away and I made a few impulse purchases. I finally figured out that I can appreciate and admire a frag without having to buy a fb! Amouage is at the top of my list but if I had to choose “my” brand it would be Xerjoff. I don’t even own a fb but Dhajala and Bouquet Ideale will be mine. Soon.

    • Xerjoff is one of the brands that I’m almost not familiar with. I plan to test it more eventually but since no stores carry this line in my area any testing means either swapping or buying – and it just happens that almost nobody I know owns FBs of this brand to do swapping. Which leaves buying samples – and I almost never do it any longer.

  5. I’m probably a bit fickle re brands! But recently I bought a set of samples from Maison Francis Kurkdjian in which they added two more samples, and a little perfumed box thing – I love the care for their customers and attention to detail. I also love Lumiere Noire Pour Femme! So this makes me feel I’d trust their company and while I can’t swear lifelong loyalty I will always look out for their new perfumes and take an interest

    • I know brands that are very stingy with samples – even with big orders. And though I feel fine paying $$$ for their perfumes, I feel kind of cheated when they save a couple of dollars (if that!) on not giving me any samples. In the end, I think, they punish themselves: I might never try their other perfumes and won’t buy them. So I completely understand good feelings towards the brand that makes a nice gesture and includes samples or some other freebies with a purchase.

  6. I now own a good size decant of Bulghari Black after your recommendation on the amber post, and am growing into liking it!
    As far as brand loyalty is concerned, it was for some time Hermes, because JCE made me fall down the rabbit hole, and I still like the house, but I am also very fond of Ormonde Jayne. Now in February I will visit Oman with my husband, for a holiday, and if possible I will visit the Amouage factory, smell my first Amouages (haven’t any yet due to financial restrictions but they are getting better!) and possibly develop a new brand loyalty. Warm wishes and cuddles to that lovely ginger 4 legged.

    • I’m glad Black works for you. It’s one of those gems people postpone buying because it seems very accessible.

      You should definitely plan the visit to Amouage! It’s a rare occasion and I think you should take that chance – and then come back and tell us about it.
      I like Ormonde Jayne’s perfumes but don’t like the company – which is a pity.

      Rusty is purring on my lap as I replying to the comments. I wonder if he feels all the positive emotions people send his way?

      • I never visited an OJ shop, I suppose the company there isn’t treating (some of) the customers well? I had some email contact with them and then they were ever so polite, but I suppose that is easy by mail. Sorry to hear it because a perfume house initiated and kept running by a woman spoke to me, a little like Neela Vermeire.
        I will take your email suggestion on board and try to smell some Amouage before we go. I love some aspects of the Middle East, and having fallen down the rabbit hole, or should I say, having given up being a civilian ;-)…, I am curious to see how I respond to the Middle Eastern scents. I definitely will look for some of the real frankincense you can apparently buy quite cheaply in Oman, and if I visit Amouage I will tell all about it!
        I am sure Rusty feels something, even if they are feelings (feromones?) relayed through you. So more extra cuddles for him and warm wishes for you.

        • I guess, when they do answer e-mails they manage to be polite ;-) Anyway, I still like their perfumes (but I won’t invite them to my Thanksgiving or Christmas party! :) )

  7. Echoing exactly what Tara said, your stories about your life in your native country are fascinating — and this is one of my favorite posts I’ve read from you. Within it are all of the reasons I hold you in such high esteem, namely your attitude and intelligence, your humor and candor, and your soft and subtle way of making these things evident when you tell your stories. I hope you will not get offended and understand what I mean when I say that, I just read a comment you left at Birgit’s blog and was in awe of your straight-forward, non-politically correct advice … and then there is this very nuanced side of you, as a writer, that always intrigues me.

    (Or maybe I just love you for the Rusty photos and the fact that your brand loyalty is to Amouage, as mine is too! ) :-D

    • Suzanne, you’re very kind with your praises – as always, and I’m grateful to have such wonderful friends and …cat lovers ;) I shall post even more pictures of Rusty (and I will soon since his birthday is coming).

      As to B.’s blog, I just felt that your, Vanessa’s and several other reasonable people’s comments were in minority and wanted to “defend” a friend from advices, following which in vulnerable state she might regret later. I appreciate you support :)

  8. Hi Undina. I loved your story. While I was reading about your life in the cold, I was remembering the time when I had to dig my car out of snow every morning before I headed out for work. It was cold and miserable but at the same time everywhere looked so beautiful. I especially loved looking at the frozen waterfalls and snowy mountains. Now I live in much warmer climate so I don’t usually have a chance to see those white winterscapes… I sometimes miss that.

    I don’t have any brand loyalty per se. I suppose I’m still in the process of finding “the one”.

    By the way, Rusty is as handsome as ever. Does he drink coffee? My cat used to enjoy licking sweet tea with milk.

    • I also knew a cat who liked coffee. Rusty isn’t interested in that drink but he’ll sell everything for milk or cheese.

      As I commented above, before that dreadful time winter wasn’t my enemy. When you get cold outside but then come to the warm house (or classroom, or office), it’s fine and, especially with fresh snow, beautiful. But when for several months straight you constantly feel cold no beauty can balance that. Nowadays though I fully enjoy 2-3 days around New Year in a snow-covered house in mountains.

  9. Your description of cold in your homeland made my feet turn icy and reminded me of when I lived in Vermont. Beautiful but COLD. Love the Rusty pics, he is much more sensible than Charcoal who does drink coffee and tea. Surprisingly she prefers her coffee black.

    On brands oh well, yeah I wear Guerlains, Carons and de Nicolais, but do think Amouage is one of the great makers of modern classics.

    • Many people like Guerlain, but I see much less Caron fans (and even less JAR fans… but I digress), so whenever I hear Caron I think of you :).
      Interesting… The cat named Charcoal likes her coffee black. Rusty loves many orange things – oranges, apricots, mangoes… Fur Color Diet.

  10. This was so sad to read – I can think of few things more harrowing than cold such as the cold you describe. I’m so glad that you’re not facing such cold these days. I am still pretty new to perfume – but diptyque was my entryway, and i do have an affinity for their scents.

    • Diptyque is a nice brand! I have several very strong favorites from this brand but also I recently had a pleasant experience with one of their stores: one of my perfumista friends and I spent several hours sniffing perfumes in a couple of big stores in San Francisco and Diptyque was our last planned stop. As we approached the boutique they were just closing it. Probably we looked so genuinely upset that an SA gave each of us a sample of Essences Insensees. It was a very nice gesture and I appreciated it.

  11. Hi Undina! Hope you’re doing well.

    That winter scenery picture you made is so beautiful. It feels cold and rather not inviting, but very beautiful!

    Wow, that is a really freezing story about your winters when you still lived in Europe. We sometimes get those severe frosts in Poland as well but this year so far nothing shows we’ll get winter at all. Today it’s +10*C, it’s crazy. We haven’t had such high temepratures in Deceber for years, maybe even for decades.

    So DeLonghi heater saved you and now you like to buy their equipment. That is really nice, real loyalty towards the company.

    Hmm, what can I say. There is no any specific brand that I’m loyal too but whenever I’m buying presents for someone and I want to include sweets, I always reach for chocolates or pralines from E. Wedel or Goplana. These are Polish brand and it feels good to support the local producer.

      • Yes, I always think of Prada as of your brand. As you know, I like at least a couple of their perfumes but in general I’m ambivalent towards this brand.

        +10C is really warm for that time of the year for where you live, I agree. From my childhood I remember being disappointed if there was no snow for the New Year celebration: it felt a little less festive. But I hope it won’t spoil your enjoyment of Christmas this year.

  12. That’s right, Undina cold it is always in moderation;-) In Brussels, no big cold, but very wet and gray. grr … grr … Long live the beautiful days dry cold and sunny blue sky that invites us to walk while munching on roasted chestnuts. Yum yum.

    Talk about fidelity to a brand, Huh .. not really. Although “lime water” L’Occitane pleased me enormously lot lot lot.
    After unscented periods, tests and headaches, I have not lost hope of finding a new love fragrance. And now I find myself loving a beautiful woody aromatic fragrance for men “leases Water” of the same brand! Hip, caught in loyalty offense;-) I also like powdery fragrances even though I do not really carries the “Nocturnes de Caron”. There are many flavors that I find well built but I never wear it on my skin. And interior perfumes not mentioned as such with whom I scented. Ouups. I do not give perpetual graduate to a brand, just need the fragrance pleases me at one point.

    give a small piece of cheese to Rusty.

    To all who are celebrating, I send them my best wishes and my best thoughts to others.

    Anna

    • After three dry years I find myself pleased when I wake up to a gray, overcast morning.

      I hope you’ll find the right perfume (or several ;) ) that pleases all your senses.

      Rusty did get traditional weekend cheese treat. Actually, he enjoyed two different types – a piece of hard cheese and a smidgen of brie.

  13. Hi Undina,
    I am going to be a predictable perfumista here and say that Guerlain is my brand. Snore…
    I find it odd though when I ‘want to like’ something because of the brand and feel a disappointment when I actually dislike it. For instance, I’ve come across several of the Andy Tauer scents and (apart from the gorgeously sparkly Noontide Petals) I just can’t love them. I must have a problem with the base common to the scents. Andy comes across as such a thoroughly lovely man that I want his brand to resonate with me. Have you ever found that, a desire to like something because you want to support the perfumer?

    • I was just thinking about it today!!! I know personally and like several perfumers whose perfumes do not work for me as well as I’d like. I keep desperately trying next and next perfume – and just cannot. Luckily, in each of those brands I found at least one (sometimes even more) perfumes to like but in general I wish they worked better for me – for that same reason: I want to support the brand/perfumer.

      There are 2 Andy’s perfumes that I like a lot – L’Air du desert marocain and Une Rose Vermeille. I like and wear a couple more – Zeta, Phi and Lonestar Memories – but that’s it. Everything else just doesn’t work for me at all – no matter how much I’d love them to.

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