Entertaining Statistics: 2014 Year Round-up

Year 2014 wasn’t the best year in my life, most of all because some of the negative events can’t be considered even educational. But still it wasn’t all bad and I’m grateful for the good things and look forward to more of those this year.

We’ve got some rain in the last two months of 2014. That hasn’t solved our drought problem but made it a bit less severe and gave us hope.

We got a chance to spend time with one of the friends from our youth whom we haven’t seen for many years. He hasn’t changed much and we already plan our future visits.

I had a relatively close encounter with charming Hugh Laurie.

I enjoyed many mini-trips to the surrounding wine regions; one of them with thoughtful and endlessly generous with her support Suzanne (Eiderdown Press) and her husband.

I received an extremely touching gift from Daisy (coolcookstyle) and hajusuuri (a spontaneous perfume lover who became a contributor on my blog).

I took an obscene number of perfumes to the Hawaii vacation (I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did).

I had good time perfume shopping with Natalie (Another Perfume Blog).

And, finally, despite all the work-related stress and busy schedule I had a wonderful holiday season, which culminated in the one of the most delightful New Year celebrations at our friends’ house in Austin.

NY 2014 Purrmaid

Now let’s see how my 2014 looks in perfume terms (numbers in parentheses are from 2013, for comparison where applicable).

Perfume Testing

In 2014 I tested1 even less perfumes than in years before. It isn’t a complaint, I think I’m testing enough: I pay attention not just to new releases or even perfumes new to me but also I’m revisiting some of the previously tested perfumes. I tested 299 (321) perfumes from 108 (107) brands on 391 (461) occasions. This year there were also fewer perfumes that I’ve tried for the first time – 147 (185) and only 55 (fifty-five!) of them were created in 2014. It’s less than, according to Parfumo, has been released by now from the beginning of this year. Probably I could add 15-20 mainstream perfumes that I smelled at a store on a paper strip and never went for a sample or skin test. But still it’ll barely scratch the surface of the last year’s new releases. 2,646! Can you believe it?! It’s a huge number of new releases and I tested 2% of them. Out of those 55, I liked – more or less – just 11 (20% of tested) but I would consider wearing only 6 (~10%) of them and, most likely, not from a full bottle purchase.

I have a feeling I’ll test even less in 2015: with endless new releases who can follow them?

Perfume Samples

Perfume Wearing

Since I usually end up not liking most of the perfumes I test and, at the same time, the number of perfumes I like and own is enough to wear a new one every day for several months, same as the year before, I mostly wore2 perfumes from my collection (bottles and decants) while using samples just for testing or the final decision stage before [not] buying the perfume I thought I liked. In 2014 I had a better rotation of perfumes than the year before – I wore 156 (142) perfumes from 61 (54) brands – but I used perfumes less often – just on 341 (355) occasions.

Stats 2014: Most Worn Brands

Eight out of twelve brands I wore the most this year are the same as for two previous years, which isn’t a big surprise: those are my favorite brands and I have those perfumes in my collection. More interesting are those brands that moved up. Two out of four got that high with a single perfume from each of the brands: Rajasthan by Etro (I told its story in the How many perfumistas does it take to … post) and Chic Shaik No 30 by Shaik (its story is still waiting to be written). The third brand, Lancome, made it also mostly thanks to one perfume – my first and everlasting perfume love Climat (I bought a back-up bottle and started wearing it more often) but there was one more perfume – Mille et Une Roses – that contributed to the statistics. The last new player on my yearly Wheel of Fortune chart is By Kilian. I finally found several perfumes in this line that I like to wear: Amber Oud, Prelude to Love and Love & Tears (and there are several more promising candidates).

Perfume Statistics

It’s getting harder to come up with new silly aspects of our hobby to present in numerical form for this monthly series. I realize that many of my current readers haven’t read all the previous posts and those who have, most likely, won’t remember each of them, but I still couldn’t bring myself to repeat exactly the same topic. Because of that there were fewer posts based just on my personal perfume-related habits (Perfumes Tested in 2014 by Year Released, How many perfumistas I met in RL, TwitterCounter’s Predictions vs. Reality) and more of those, input for which I asked from you (Ten Niche Brands You Need To Know, What is the main reason for your spontaneous perfume purchase?, 10 Most Popular Brands (based on Olfactoria’s Travels Monday Question), To Wear or Not to Wear a perfume you used to love but don’t any longer if there is no other choice?, Perfume Shopping Mecca, Favorite Amber Perfumes).

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Come back in a month to see if I could think of anything new to count. Hopefully, not sheep.


Images: my own


1 For the testing I apply a perfume to one area on my arms easily available for the repetitive sniffing. But, most likely, I’m the only one who can smell it. I can test two, sometimes even more perfumes at the same time.

2 When I wear a perfume I apply it to at least three-four points and usually I plan to spend at least 4-8 hours with the same scent so I’m prepared to re-apply if the original application wears off.

How many perfumistas does it take to …

… persuade me to go for a perfume? At least four.

I remember reading somewhere the announcement of the upcoming release of Rajasthan by Etro and either the author or somebody in comments was extremely excited about the bottle and was almost prepared to go for a blind buy. I shrugged: not only I didn’t know the brand (I’m not into fashion much) but I couldn’t see the bottle attraction either. One.

Then I read a rather negative review from Kevin (Now Smell This) and promptly forgot about Rajasthan: since I didn’t expect anything from it in the first place I wasn’t even disappointed. Two.

Last year Natalie (Another Perfume Blog) and I went to Barneys where I saw Rajasthan bottle for the first time. Something in the bottle spoke to me, I thought it was beautiful. I tried the perfume on skin and liked it. Natalie politely agreed that it was nice. I asked for a sample and got about a ml – everything that was left in the tester. I even tried to get them to sell me an empty bottle. I knew it wouldn’t happen: from what I’d heard, all perfume departments have strict policies about empty bottles. But it was a fun conversation with an offer to meet with the SA at dumpsters after hours. Three.

The sample lasted me for a couple of tests that confirmed that I liked Rujasthan. But it wasn’t enough to make a decision – so I waited.

Several months ago during Suzanne’s (Eiderdown Press) visit I tried Rujasthan at Barneys again. I still liked it. Suzanne politely agreed that it was nice. By that time I already loved the bottle but not enough to pay full price for the perfume. Four.

Three weeks later a perfect test bottle of Rajasthan was mine for half the price (eBay is very useful sometimes). Usually I do not buy testers: if I get a bottle, I want it to come with a box to store it in. But in this case it didn’t matter since the bottle isn’t transparent.

Etro Rajasthan

Etro has created a very pleasant day-wear perfume that represents neither scents of India nor even westerners’ stereotypes for them. Notes (via Fragrantica) include: lemon, pink pepper, portulaca, mimosa, rose, black currant leaves, black locust, amber, labdanum and white musk.

I’m not too good with dissecting perfumes so there are many notes, not detecting which wouldn’t surprise me much. But lemon is such a ubiquitous scent – how can it be that I don’t recognize it when I smell this perfume? Etro’s site in a poetic description of Rajasthan qualifies this note further – “winter lemon.” As I tried to find any explanation of what was that mysterious variety of lemon and how it was different from a regular lemon (I failed), I came across earlier announcements of the upcoming Rajasthan release and they all, as well as some reviews from that time, mentioned “winter lemon flower” note. I assume it was either a part of the official press release or something found in translation. It would explain the absence of the recognizable citrus smell – but then why did Etro remove it? And if lemon is not there, how could others detect it in the composition? My nose must be off.

What I can smell is a sweet (but not too much – for my nose) and powdery light amber scent with enough spices to keep it from being perfectly polite. I cannot smell rose – or any other flower – though I can imagine that the sweetness I smell is coming from mimosa (or its rendition). Rajasthan loses projection within three hours mark but stays as a skin scent for over 10 hours (white musk, I assume). I do not love it but I enjoy wearing it from time to time. And did I mention how much I like the bottle? But only after it joined my collection I realized that I’ve liked that color scheme long before I saw Rajasthan bottle: look at the picture of one of my favorite necklaces I wore for the last five years.

Chico Necklace

Image: my own.