Saturday Question: What Did You Not Know In Your Pre-perfumista Days?

I loved, owned and wore perfumes for most of my life. Recently, talking to a “civilian” friend, I realized that many things that seemed trivial and clear to me weren’t that for my friend. So, I thought it would be interesting to “compare notes” (some pun intended).

Saturday Question on Undina's Looking Glass

Saturday Question #149:

What Did You Not Know In Your Pre-perfumista Days?

When I say “pre-perfumista,” I mean when you were not reading perfume blogs or participating in FB perfume groups. It doesn’t have to be significant, just anything you can think of.

 

My Answer

I didn’t know that:

Companies can reformulate perfumes while keeping the same name and packaging. I used to think I had just changed my mind about the perfume I used to love.

Notes listed for perfume might have nothing to do with ingredients that actually went into its making. I believed that “rose,” “jasmine,” or “lily of the valley” (yeah, this is my favorite) essential oil was used.

Flankers of most perfumes were temporary/limited editions that would disappear in 6 to 12 months and never return. I kept looking for some of them on discounters’ sites. Oh, and I didn’t know the word “flanker.”

Now it’s your turn.

 

What Did You Not Know In Your Pre-perfumista Days?

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33 thoughts on “Saturday Question: What Did You Not Know In Your Pre-perfumista Days?

  1. I didn’t really even consider things like flankers or reformulation before I went down the rabbit hole. My pre-perfumista days consisted of receiving a couple of bottles as gifts, and buying a couple of bottles at the department store when I felt flush. I really didn’t think much nor wear much perfume. I worked in non profit for years, though, so I rarely bought anything. Before I “discovered” perfume I owned:
    High school/college: Anais Anais and Exclamation, plus a bottle of Chanel No 5 edc gifted by a French boy I met on my summer abroad (sadly lost during a move)
    Young adult: O de Lancome and Kenzo flower gifted by my French host family, J’Adore, Lancome Attraction. I still have the Kenzo, J’Adore and a small bottle of exclamation. It’s hard to believe I only had those few when I open my closet these days.

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  2. When I became obsessed with perfume the internet didn’t exist so my definition of pre- perfumista is different from yours. And because I started a collection around the age of six I guess I have always considered myself a perfumista. What I didn’t know back then was that I wasn’t alone in my obsession, which many of my friends didn’t understand. I also didn’t know the individual notes of my beloved scents because decades ago that information wasn’t readily available. Also didn’t know classifications… chypre, oriental, etc. When all this information became available via the World Wide Web I read and researched as much as I could

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      • According to the definition as per NST “someone who cares seriously about perfume”…so , yes, I was definitely a perfumista. I think folks tend to forget that there were those of us who were perfume obsessed and fell down the rabbit hole decades before the internet existed. Unless , of course, you feel I need to revoke my perfumista card :)

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          • I think the question was explained very well. Yet some of us were perfume obsessives well before the internet was part of the media scenery. Much of the terminology & jargon now used in fragcom didn’t exist in the 20th century. I guess I didn’t know that internet specific language.
            I did know terms for fragrance families & having done some aromatherapy study I had learnt that essential oils are very different to what goes into a bottle of fragrance.
            What I really didn’t know was how the internet would send otherwise rational people into what I thought was my personal underworld of scents & the writing about it would become seen as a perfectly acceptable pastime.
            Your SQs are always thoughtful. Sometimes it’s us lot that can’t answer 😁

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  3. I didn’t know that people collect perfumes and have many different fragrances. My mother usually had more than one, but I don’t recall any more than 3-4 at a time, at most. I followed the same pattern myself for a long time, occasionally adding one. Then I read Chandler Burr’s book The Perfect Scent, and then Perfumes: The A-Z Guide, and down the rabbit-hole I went.

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  4. Hmm… I thought I did well in keeping track of what I learned along the way, but I forget just as quickly! I didn’t know about reformulations and discontinuations either. Nor that top notes evaporate faster, such that first impressions can be deceptive. I don’t recall ever thinking about what went into a perfume, so maybe I thought it was all synthetic if anything. Had no idea that perfumes can be affected by skin chemistry or weather. Lots I didn’t know!

    I still don’t know whether rubbing the wrists together right after spraying is bad or not!

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    • While I didn’t know anything about perfume notes pyramids, I learned (the hard way) that what you smell and like on paper or in the first 5 minutes after the application might have nothing to do with how perfumes live on my skin. So, my perfume purchasing had always involved wearing it 2-3 times from a tester in a B&M store.

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  5. I pretty much knew nothing, except that I knew what I liked. I started collecting perfumes in grammar school and I always had between 6 and 10 perfumes for years and years. I discovered a mail order service that sent perfumes direct from Paris so I was able to get some older scents like Je Reviens, Quelque Fleurs, etc. and the Jacomo fragrances in the 1980’s. But even then I didn’t know much except the descriptions of the notes.

    I learned about discontinuations in the 90’s when my then favorite fragrance, Bvlgari Femme was no longer sold at my local Dillard’s. I was upset! They found a Bvlgari Jasmine for me that I wish I still had.

    I didn’t really understand anything about how perfumes are made until I read some of Chandler Burr’s NYT columns, then his book, and a novel that featured a character who followed perfume boards and went to a meetup at Bergdorf’s. That’s when I discovered Fragrantica, Basenotes, blogs and the perfume community.

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    • I’ve never heard about a mail service for perfumes before. When I was growing up, in my country there was no any type of a remote shipping (unless you count asking a relative who lived in another city to buy and send you something that wasn’t available where you lived :) ). But ordering perfumes from another country sounds like something unimaginable for that time.

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  6. I agree with your and everybody else’s comments. I knew nothing! And yet I was obsessed as a 9 year-old and carried my little shoe box of bottles around with me. It wasn’t even that long ago that I realised how polarised people’s tastes can be and how what I adore is another person’s poison; after all, if I think a perfume smells like heaven surely that is what is smells like to everyone?! Reformulation was the biggest discovery for me, especially after years of sales assistants telling me nothing had been changed and it was my nose at fault!

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    • I stopped talking to most SAs long time ago. But I still remember many lies they told me – on more than on one occasion completely unsolicited and “unprovoked”!

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  7. I did not know there were other fragrances than the ones available in my local drugstore. When I discovered there were more options which suited me better, down the rabbit hole I went.

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  8. Hey Undina and crew,
    So many of the aforementioned but the one thing that was the biggest surprise of all was that the SAs are not given very much information, some of it downright lies. Having been one way back when I thought wet had ALL the knowledge and inside goss.
    That was the biggest surprise.
    Also, how amazingly wonderful most perfume peeps are. That was a very happy surprise.
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I may have been perfume-obsessed as a young ‘un in fits and starts. The rebel me wanted to like anything my mom detested, but of course I don’t consider myself contrarian.

    In addition to those described above, my biggest aha moment were the existence of sites that sold decants! When I did the math though, I saw the mark up and was quite turned off. I know that the decanters had to turn some type of profit but my concept of a fair cost was probably clouded by discounts the sites used to offer. I haven’t used a decant site in quite a few years and would rather purchase a big sample (sometimes to split) rather than pay good money to these sites.

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    • I think that the only decant I’ve ever bought from those sites was the very first perfume that sent me down the rabbit hole – OJ Ta’if. And back then it was much more affordable than flying to the UK – the only place where it could be bought ;). Since then, I used those sites only to buy samples. Friendly splits make a lot more sense.

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  10. I’m in the Brigitte camp as I was fragrance obsessed as a child. I still remember my LotV Kiddle Kologne doll from the 1960’s. One sniff of her & I was hooked. Mum used to wear scent back then & I used to have little dabs. Apple blossom (gross), Je Reviens (complex), Quelques Fleurs (damn that was gorgeous), Femme (plummy loveliness) & 1000 (loved). All were filed in my young brain for future reference.
    Teenage years brought Fidji, Courreges, Blaze & Chantilly into my life. My first full salary at 17 bought Jicky!
    Niche entered my life in the 90’s. Though back then it wasn’t called niche. I stayed at a Parisian hotel for a conference & the toiletries were all Eau d’Hadrien. I even asked my colleague for his. Then Harvey Nics opened in Leeds. The joy!
    The term “perfumista” was coined on the internet but there were always lovers of perfume, who owned more than one or two bottles.

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    • Your path is so similar to mine, down to discovering Annick Goutal in a Parisian hotel in the early 90s!! I forced my travel mate to go to the Giutal boutique thinking I would walk out with a bottle of HAdrein but instead chose Eau de Ciel.. But I think my first niche bottle was in the early 80s. Antonia’s Flowers.

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    • It’s an interesting story. But I didn’t get: are you saying that there was nothing new for you since the Internet, blogs and perfume sites became a part of your hobby?

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      • Now I see that you replied in the comment above :)

        Loving perfume from when I was 5 did nothing to my understanding of so many aspects of that industry until I discovered perfume blogs and other parts of this hobby. That’s why I was curious what others discovered in their perfume journeys.

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  11. I knew nothing other than that I just loved perfume, and had done from a very young age. My mum bought me my first bottle, Avon Charisma, and I had her and my sisters’ bottles to sneak sprays or dabs from. I can honestly say I have never, ever, been without at least a couple of bottles of perfume. The internet introduced a lot of information plus online shopping. It was all deeper down the rabbit hole after that.

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  12. Ooh, I agree with your points and with much besides of what other commenters have said. I didn’t know about having a “fragrance wardrobe”, or about needing to wait a while to experience the drydown of a perfume – my few purchases will all have been done on the basis of that initial spray in store – nor did I know how little the actual perfume ingredients cost out of the total price.

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