Fourplay — minus one and a PSA

First, we interrupt our fourplay post to bring you this PSA:  Bloggers!  Payola!  Ohmy!!!  

So all I want to know… if big, fat payoffs are getting coughed up for perfume reviews, where the hell are mine?!?!?  What am I, chopped liver?!?!?  I can be bought! Those of you tuning into Aromascope this week and the fragrance board at MUA might have seen that there is an allegation perfume companies have been offering or paying cash to bloggers to write positive reviews. 

Let me quote March on this, more or less…. “Hampton Court probably didn’t give me a free sample of this so I could piss all over it, but…” and then she proceeded to piss all over it…. a sample, not a full bottle, and definitely not thick envelopes that bled green.  If I/we ever got offered cash or more than a sample (which sometimes they offer a sample and send you a bottle of something you really don’t want in the least, which I promptly give away — why can nobody ever offer freebies of stuff I really, really want?  I selfishly digress), you guys will hear it first because we’ll come write about it because it’s a blog post that writes itself and would be monumentally entertaining.

But the bottom line on this — this is a private blog, written by private individuals who have very different ideas about what perfumes they like and don’t like. We don’t always agree, and we often question each other’s taste (not just on this blog, but looking over at our neighbor’s blog while they’re huffing that nasty Bleu Cheese perfume), but nobody I know is getting any payola or even the offer.  I mean, if that were the case, there would be about 7,000 perfume blogs up right now. Think about it.   What interests me more right now is who started this and why?  To tar perfume bloggers’ opinions?  Odd. Anyway, we may sometimes have crap opinions, but they are our honest, unpaid for crap opinions.

And I’ve got another bone to pick, Bond seems to send samples to most of the other bloggers, and we never get any samples from Bond or Creed or L’Artisan or any of those guys.  Do they hate us? Well, screeeeew you, we don’t need your stinkin’ samples!  🙂 I have a plane to catch.  *flounces off in a snit*

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Fourplay post 

This week March is gone…..  (tears and jealousy all mixed up into one psychotic bundle)…. but we shall endeavor to review our two scents. This week we have Guerlain Metalys, formerly known as Metallica until the band got its knickers in a twist and made them change their name.  We also have Annick Goutal Sables.


Where we answer the question: would Metallica wear Metalys?

Notes of carnation, ylang-ylang, orange blossom, rose, iris, tonka bean, vanilla, amber

March: *crickets*

Patty:  This is probably one of my favorite Guerlains. Soft, but hot, a gorgeous blend with the ultra-beautiful ylang-ylang, spiced up with carnation.  As much as I pay attention to Guerlains, there are very few that I actually wear, but mostly admire. This one I can wear any time, anywhere, it’s just a stunner.

Lee: Come ‘ere, you sparkling floral fizzer with the sexy oriental drydown, and stop backcombing your hair. You know you’re more soul than metal. Get your groove on, baby, cuz we’ve got some sweet sweet love to make.

Sables, or can you really wear syrup as a perfume?

Notes of immortelle flowers, cinnamon, sandalwood, vanilla, pepper

Lee: Immortelle, I love the smell, but in a scent, it’s more death knell. You see, like a day in fast forward – eating maple syrup pancakes with your breakfast meeting handshakes, wolfing dopiaza curry in a ‘reflux-later’ hurry, burning unnecessary tyre rubber whilst you unendingly blubber over some obscure sad song that goes on perhaps too long, ending with disappointing hubba hubba like a Speedy Gonzalez bedroom lover – it’s too much, too quick. Call me idiosyncratic, but I’d rather give my mwah! to dear Dior’s Eau Noire. Sables may be formidable, but the Noire’s incomparable. Even though I just did compare it. Oh well, I needed to end this nonsense somewhere…

March: (Insert more crickets and a weird Haiku that mentions pancakes and armpits.)

Patty:  Syrup and tar, sprinkled with lots and lots of black pepper.  A total freak of a scent that somehow remains lovable.  How?  I don’t know, the tarry pepper keeps it from being too sweet until the sweet just leaves more cinnamon than syrup, and then it just makes my toes curl in revulsion and love. Cuddly, like a big old stinky dragon that lets you scritch it on the nose.  The next day it smells like maple donuts…. hmmmm….. doooooonuts.  I haven’t had a donut in like two years?  So odd, one day the boys just outgrew them (the donuts, not the Sables), quit asking for them, and I haven’t bought one since. Well, no need to now, I’ve got it on my hand — apparently permanently.

Macro bako May 11, 2007

hello hi honey

Marie-Helene May 10, 2007

Patty, I'm sorry, but really, when you start lecturing me about that perfume community and friendship topic, I just had to remember the insightful remark you had made on a separate occasion. And I didn't post the message, I just gave the gist of it. If you feel insulted, maybe I should start feeling insulted too. You have the choice of arms. Pistolet or sword? LOL!!! I think a little spritz of Annick Goutal's Duel would be appropriate at this point.

Marie-Helene May 10, 2007

Patty, I don't think that the issue is what you describe it to be. You yourself acknowledged in an email to me that there were many insiders' friendships on MUA and that you tried to stay out of it, except when you needed to track down a perfume bottle. I personally cannot base my idea of friendship primarily on exchanges of perfume samples and bottles. The one time I refused to exchange a perfume with the group I was deemed to be not a "real perfume friend" and shunned, LOL! Wow! What a change of discourse! My blog is - still currently, but less so than in the past because I've been wondering if it's such a good idea to get pumped without being acknowledged - very generous and sharing of ideas and information, if not of private details. I am clarifying certain misleading statements rather than complaining that I should get the same treatment you so rightly deserve.

winterwheat May 10, 2007

I must say I agree totally with violetnoir. The original MUA post asked about money, but conflicts of interest usually arise from much more subtle influences. The desire to keep intact a valued professional relationship or to maximize status in a community (virtual or non-) is much more likely to be the culprit behind biased reviews than outright payola. This is why physicians are constantly being wined and dined by pharmaceutical companies. Handing them money would be vulgar, and of course they'd resist. Charming the hell out of them and lavishing them with gifts -- in the form of resources, time, praise -- is something else again. Also, blogs aren't really private. They may be run by private individuals, but the very idea of a blog is that it's publicly accessible (otherwise it'd be a diary). So the blogger needs to be aware of his/her public image. If the blog is devoted to reviewing consumer goods, the blogger needs to demonstrate independence if s/he is truly independent and wishes to be regarded as such. There are tons of businesses and "bought" individuals out there posing as independent entities (YouTube provides a great example of how companies pose as amateurs to get a pro-company message across to young people who would otherwise shun the messages of those they know to be advertisers), so why are bloggers so up-in-arms about this? The better your blog and the more readers you have, the more likely you are to be interrogated about conflicts of interest. Really, it's a compliment. :-) Immortelle -- god, how I love it. I should have tried Metallica (or whatever it's called now) years ago, but I have no memory of it. Must try it again. I'm one of those weirdos who puts maple extract in everything. (But EVERYBODY thinks my oatmeal-raisin cookies are the best, so phooo on you maple haters.) ;-) xoxo kris

Abigail May 10, 2007

Well, in some ways this might be an example of how assumptions come into play. Some people might assume that bloggers are reviewing and selling decants of a scent because it's new, and some people will assume that bloggers are reviewing a scent to make money. And the tricky thing is there's no way you can possibly eliminate ALL possible assumptions. Could you imagine? First, you'd have to say where you got the scent from, and if it's from a person you would have to explain your relationship, then explain why you are reviewing it, then put in a non-profit clause, and then... In my case, I just assumed that most bloggers either traded for a lot of scents or did get some samples for free. It just makes sense - otherwise it would be so EXPENSIVE. I'm sure you don't review everything you sniff, and I've read a LOT of reviews the past few weeks. I don't even write reviews, and I end up not writing about a lot of the fragrances I wear because it just isn't...evocative. I imagine that for writing reviews a higher percentage of fragrances wouldn't make the cut. I shudder to think how much money that costs, and knowing that it IS expensive, I really to hope that there is sharing going on. Anyway, it's not a bad topic to discuss, and it's good to say what your price is (in jest), since accidentally having Tom Ford show up wouldn't be that bad. And, I also want to say that a reader needs to be a critical thinker. If a reader thinks about what they read, and they come to some bad conclusions then...they can close the browser window and stop reading that blog. If there was an immoral blogger, and they lost all their readers, then they'd lose their pay-offs and what is probably one of their favorite hobbies. So no need to raise a stink and point fingers, just don't go places that don't appeal.

minette May 9, 2007

as i told columbina, it's clear that you guys write from your heart - your reviews wouldn't be half as entertaining and pithy (yes, pithy) if you weren't. the dirt throwers will only wind up burying themselves in their own muck. ne worry pas about them. keep up the fun!

minette May 9, 2007

as i told columbina, it's clear that you guys write from your heart - your reviews wouldn't be half as entertaining and pithy (yes, pithy) if you weren't. the dirt throwers will only wind up burying themselves in their own muck. ne worry pas about them. keep up the fun! you guys (and those on columbina's site) often make my day! xxx, minette

Laura May 9, 2007

It should be argued that the internet has replaced the physical american community almost completely; when these issues come up. Now, we have to decide whether or not corporations have a right to censor independent commentary. This deeper discussion is very important to preserving free speech, an' I'm not talkin' about perfume, y'all. That said, I think that *this* particular controversy must beea simple case of catty, personal jealousy. Peace.

carmencanada May 9, 2007

I feel I've written all the steam out of myself on the "perfume payola" subject on Aromascope and Perfume Smellin-Things, but: As I've already said there, beauty editors get tons of products every day, which most of them give away to colleagues and friends. Some of them are sold off on eBay. So what? They're not being bought off, they're being informed. They get a salary for writing. Bloggers don't. Perfume bloggers do it for love. It takes time. It takes dedication. It takes focus. It takes talent. All that for free... Hats off to them, to you, Patty, March, Robin, Helg, Marie-Hélène, Ina, Marina, Victoria, Lee, Tom, Bryan... I value the time and pleasure I derive from reading you, exchanging with you and with this small, vivacious, funny community you've created. The issue of ethics seems to me to be a big overblown: no one's selling me stocks here, or pushing a miracle cure for cancer. Oh, and I too am a huge fan of Metalys: not very aptly named, I agree - no metal, no lily. But definitely on my full bottle list. Guerlain can bribe me anytime.$-)

rosarita May 9, 2007

Ok, (taking deep breath). I feel compelled to post my first comment on ANY blog, so y'all bear with me. I found the Posse along with NST, Aromascope, Bois, PST etc. late last fall in the midst of the most stressful year I've ever experienced (health stuff w/spouse, leading to unemployment, bills, all that ickyprickly real life unpleasantness; better now). At first, I was just wanting to get some information about something new to smell, as I've long felt that satisfying all five of the senses is a great step toward managing stress *music, art, chocolate, silk...perfume*. I have learned SO MUCH from ALL of you and I'm so grateful - every little sample or discount scent I've managed to obtain is another little bubble of joy in my day. Reading the blogs - and sniffing my wrist - have become a deep source of pleasure that's mine alone, ya know? Honestly, I don't care where you all get your samples - here in the rural midwest, I'm sure as heck not finding anything but mainstream muck. I'm just glad someone can tell me what they think a perfume smells like. I'll make up my own mind whether or not I want to seek it out myself.

helg May 9, 2007

Oh and the smilies got to the completely wrong spot, sorry about that (inept me!).

helg May 9, 2007

First of all, respect to you Patty for saying upfront what your ethics are and for admitting what you do and clarifying what you don't. This MUA thread had been brought to my attention by a worried reader of mine and I went to take a look. And then I saw people ruffled over this and wondered why the defensiveness of some. I do think it is a valid question as it has crossed the minds of what seem many and some form of clarification had to be made at some point. The point that Marie Helene brought up however about people saying postive things about certain scents and then selling the bottles is very intriguing. So it has been done??? And I don't mean selling as a business, upfront and clearly stated as you do Patty here (and we all thank you for that!) , but from what I infer from the above comment it was not mentioned being done at all. That way the reader cannot make an informed decision and judge for themselves, I guess, which is my main point of dissent. Because indeed many readers do base their decision on purchases on opinions they read on the Internet and many of them I even personally know go ahead and buy unsniffed only to be later on disappointed ~ and what's more accusing themselves and not to judgement of the blogger whom they have come to revere as having a superior sense of smell and taste, I might add. You see, there is a moral obligation to the whole thing, which has been addressed by some posters here and I agree with that. Now, on to something else: on that particular MUA thread there is one poster who referred to very specific blogs of being above board, naming obviously their favourites ~which is fine on the one hand, as we all enjoy certain things; but on the other hand leaves the rest of us bloggers in the shadow of doubt, for what seems like a ridiculous proposition. Surely, leaving the leeway for someone to even tentatively assume that someone such as me who doesn't even have any Ad banners on their blog (the info site is hosted for free and despite the content being mine it's the host who gets all the money from the ads; it's clearly mentioned)and is not within the reach of perfume companies for obvious reasons, is both a little maligned and diverting the question. So this vehement denial on the part of that poster who denied all implication on perfume business yet insisted that they know all the bloggers personally hence they state their opinion like that(and I wouldn't know about that fact) adding only certain bloggers by name as above suspicion is tainting us smaller bloggers with a broad brush that is unfair and prejudiced. I guess I needed to address that: it seemed one-sided. Thanks for hosting my long (sorry!) comment and a pleasure to read you always. :o:-\

Teri May 9, 2007

I'm a blogmistress, too (Is it just me, or does that sound vaguely immoral? lol), of a blog that covers what I'll call here an entertainment topic. Over the five years of our existence, we've occasionally been accused of being 'enticed' to take a particular position by a commercial entity. Usually this accusation arises when our opinions disagree with those of the accuser, so we take them with the proverbial grain of salt. On rare occasions (I can think of only three), we've been gifted with an advance MP3 to encourage us to review it. Twice we did indeed review the music, being careful to state that we had received an advance copy for free. In the third instance we declined to review the piece. In none of these cases did the music come from anyone well-known. These were all individual efforts and were sent to us by the artist. Payola as we know it doesn't really seem to be a factor in blogging from what I can tell. For one thing, although we adore our blogs, few have the gravitas of the New York Times, Variety, or WWD, for example. Most readers know they are getting the personal opinions of non-professional writers and afficionados. And I have to believe that most marketing departments realize that as well. However - lol - like the rest of you, if someone out there choose to ply me with goodies, I'll be happy to review them! Always mentioning, of course, the source of the gifts.

violetnoir May 9, 2007

I posted my opinions on Ina's blog yesterday, Patty. To briefly re-cap, I have to say that conflicts of interest have crossed my mind, and I do think the MUA poster from Monday posed a legitimate question. Of course none of this will keep me from testing a fragrance myself to make my own independent decision. And, I am not going to stop reading my favorite blogs, like yours, and thoroughly enjoying myself. However, I think we may be skirting a deeper issue which is: As more and more people look to blogs for information and insights, should there be a code of ethics or a standard of conduct, if you will, that should be observed? Doctors, lawyers, journalists and other professions have them. Should bloggers? I'm not sure what these standards would consist of and bloggers aren't "professionals" in the traditional sense of the word, but it's certainly something to think and talk about. Now to the fun! Metallica smells divine and is a favorite of some of my perfume friends. It does not, however, smell that great on me, but I need to re-test it. And, I love that bottle! As for Sables, let me say just one thing here, and I will shut up: I hate maple syrup!! :( Hugs!

Marie-Helene May 9, 2007

One thing I don't understand is why people keep saying that because a perfume has been dissed or trashed makes it a more objective review? What is the connection??? I personally think it's best and more difficult to have nuanced opinions with elements others than just one's likes and dislikes otherwise it becomes too subjective. When you get a press release, you don't necessarily get samples. There are press releases that I won't publish. You can announce a new perfume by referring to a press release or go to another site or print magazine for references. It's just one of the sources you can use.

tmp00 May 9, 2007

Well, I've never been offered a dime. I either pay for decants, are given decants by other bloggers, pick them up in stores or sign up for the freebie giveaways on Basenotes. I'm sure that Andy Tauer was happy that his free sample resulted in a positive review: it did not however result in a free bottle under the table (damn it all!!!). Now if you'll excuse me, Tom ford is at the door in leather pants with a satchel fullof fifties and a gleam in his eye...

donanicola May 9, 2007

Goodness it had never occured to me that any of the reviews I have read and enjoyed here (and on PST, Aromascope, and NST) could be anything other than well expressed personal opinion. If a reader is suspicious they should ask outright. Anyway, I'm very happy Patty sells decants - one I purchased recently was Sables. It is a weird one. I go between "oooh lovely" and "uuuh WTF?" in a matter of seconds. I like the pine cabin aspect - and actually it smelt great on my cousin's DH. Well she and I thought it did - he sat there a little unsure but happy at being the centre of attention for a bit. (human scent strip, Ellen!)I am putting the Guerlain down on my list for the next FF shopping trip - sounds right up my alley.

pitbull friend May 9, 2007

Patty, we can tell you're not paid off because you regularly diss things that you sell in your store! If that's not a great display of fairness & ethics, what is? :d I was just reading a restaurant review this morning, which I hardly ever do any more. There are only two local ones who I think write well and they seem to love EVERYTHING. The one who has gotten all sorts of local & national awards either has no tastebuds or is quite conscious of who signs her paycheck -- she has subjected me to too many lousy meals. I think the problem is worse here in MN, where "never is heard a discouraging word" -- people seem to prefer sickly fake agreement rather than a respectful & honest disagreement -- but I think that, anywhere, people have problems separating "disagree" from "disrespect." You & the other perfume bloggers do a beautiful job of disagreeing respectfully. I'd like to give you a big smooch & a bunch of Carons. ^:)^ --Ellen

Amy May 9, 2007

I adore Metalys. I loathe the name. I've tried parsing it by dividing it into syllables: "lys" is lily in French, and meta as in uber, but that doesn't make sense, either, b/c it's not really a lily scent. So, whatever. I just say it with a French accent and focus on the pretty noises and the pretty smell. It's one of the few Guerlains I can get away with -- the Guerlinade is a fickle bee-yotch, and most of the time she likes me not. I also adore Sables, which has none of that tar thing people keep mentioning on me, although the maple-y quality is definitely there. I might add that I know a 60-ish Argentinian man who wears it extremely well and while it doesn't make me want to snuggle up to HIM, per se, it sure does make me want to put it on someone I DO want to snuggle up to. Meow. Payola? I wish! Especially since I'm blogging a lot about $600 shoes lately -- General Public Notice: I'm a size 9, 9.5 if the shoes run small. (Can you hear me, Manolo Blahnik???) I will say that there are a couple of blogs that do seem to get an awful lot of their material from corporate press releases, but they're less about reviews and more about announcements and release dates & whatnot, so I don't mind that. Since you guys seem to have put the "vent" in "irreverent," it's never even crossed my mind. (OK, that's weak, but you see where I'm going.)

carlene May 9, 2007

"Cuddly, like a big old stinky dragon that lets you scritch it on the nose." This may be my favorite fragrance review ever.

Marina May 9, 2007

"Looking over at our neighbor’s blog while they’re huffing that nasty Bleu Cheese perfume" Oy! I saw that! :d I talked seriously about this issue on Ina's blog yesterday, I don't have any more fight left it me. The comment (on aromascope) about how the bloggers who write about "not noteworthy" (in the commenter's opinion) scents are obviously bought left very deep impression. Apart from the understandable concern about "payola", it seems some people feel they should more or less control what is written on blogs and how it is written and about what. Funnily enough those people are not perfume companies. Not a single one has ever approached me to ask to write or not to write a review in a certain way. My - polite- answer to those people would be: sorry, not going to happen. My less polite answer I will leave unwritten. Like you, Patty, I want to stress again that blogs are PRIVATE AFFAIRS. Our opinions are ours and are and will be expressed freely. We don't ask people to pay to read the posts, we don't, as Elle noted, hold guns to their heads to buy the scents we praised. Those who don't like how we write and about what, should start their own blogs. Some already have. Have a great trip Patty!

Marie-Helene May 9, 2007

I think that to raise the question of payola is legitimate. I don't think there should be censorship on this question. In principle, if someone gets paid to write a post they are obligated to say so in the post. In case some people are fantasizing that The Scented Salamander is getting a mountain of swag, let me inform you that I recently bought for nearly a $100 of samples. I always try to characterize scents, put them in context, and understand them, rather than just trash or praise them, which I think is a poor dichotomy, and even more so since body chemistry is a factor. To be honest, the only time I was a little taken aback was when I discovered that a perfume blogger who was praising a couple of scents was selling them. But, although the relationship can be felt as ambiguous, I am glad on the whole that samples are made more easily available. I think also that perfume reviews can sometimes be based on moods, humor, and strong opinions (including reversals of opinions) and that readers should not expect perfume reviewers to be perfect people, but honest and giving a shot at objectivity, yes.

Judith May 9, 2007

Glad to see some others don't like Sables here--I always thought it was a major failing of mine. DH calls is "Eau de Log Cabin," and, well, I just don't like it (too heavy-sweet). But, to tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of immortelle in general; even Eau Noire, which everyone loves, is not great on me. I do really like Metallica (the perfume), but have never tried the Metalys (I don't think it's supposed to be very different). For a moment, I read your headline for this section as a quesion about one perfume wearing another (MORE COFFEE! 8-| I just recommented on Aromascope about the payola hoo-hah, so I will spare you!

Louise May 9, 2007

Oops-impulsive threading-the above is for Maria-or other displaced Marylanders.

Louise May 9, 2007

Speaking of donuts-and sweet syrup-did you ever try a "Fractured Prune" one when you lived here? Heaven, and I don't even like them.

Silvia / Funkly May 9, 2007

I can only think envy is behind those absurd corruption claims. And envy, as my granny said, has to be deserved. So well done perfume bloggers ^:)^ Everyone I have come into contact within the perfume community has been absolutely fantastic. However, as I learned from a couple of Basenotes moderators, there are some real spiteful weirdos out there. I would have never thought that abuse and even threat could feature when discussing fragrance preferences, but it happens b-( Providing quality daily posts is a great committment and if you get a little fame from it (surely not money), it is only deserved.

Elle May 9, 2007

Adore Metalys. *Want* to adore Sables, but can't as of yet. However, I keep trying, since I do love immortelle and one of these days I'm sure my nose will graduate to Sables. Bryan, like Maria, I just assumed you were making a profound Zen like statement w/ your silence. Or were, perhaps, protesting since Guerlain and AG had not sent you cold hard cash for positive reviews or Metalys and Sables. Just kidding!!!! And, just one last thing about the payola issue - it's a matter of trust. I have *absolute* trust in you guys and the other blogs I read. I think if you read a blog regularly, it's patently easy to tell if they're legit or not. I simply don't go to blogs I don't like or consider suspect. But, even if I did, *nobody* is holding a gun to my head and forcing me to buy anything. And, as I said on MUA and on Ina's blog, perfume is *fun*. Yes, it's good to know that I can trust the blogs I love and maybe this needed to be addressed, but we're still just talking about perfume - not dangerous new, potentially deadly (except to my budget) drugs that you're trying to convince the FDA to let pass. This all seems to have blown into a major tempest in a teapot (perfume bottle?).

Gina May 9, 2007

Hey, all the hours you guys put in, you SHOULD be paid for your opinions, because lord knows I've bought enough perfume on your solid recommendations! But, I never thought you were gettin' paid, that's for sure. All the references to buttcrack, cheese, and armpits probably weren't what the perfume companies were hoping for, ha ha. No, really...I think it's total bs that there would even be the question. If you were getting paid, hell...we'd all want to be in on it. Not that I would put my meager perfume experience in the realm of you wonders, not even close. I'm so glad you guys exist. On that, not sure if I even want to try Metalys or Sables. I ate pancakes the other day and they didn't make me feel great. A serious note, Griffith Park, near my house in LA, is burning, and it makes me so sad. I run there every day, it's my solace, and so far 500 acres have burned. All the little animals running for their lives, what a shame. Rumour is arson. Idiots. Thanks for letting me share.

Maria B. May 9, 2007

Bryan, don't worry. Silence is very Zen. In fact, I thought yours was part of March's haiku. I'm grateful for the review because I am averse to cold, metallic scents, yet it seems that Metalys is hot and I should try it. I never would have guessed it from the name. Sables is another fragrance that I haven't tried. As I'm on a diet, I think maybe I could substitute it for donuts, though maple flavor is not my favorite. As to payola, I just want perfume companies to know I can be bought. Aquolina would have to pay me cash, but Caron or Guerlain could have my praises in exchange for juice. Call me. :@)

Bryan May 9, 2007

I apologize to all. I had a major hospital emergency and I could not get to a computer to copy/paste my thoughts. Please do not let this reflect upon Patty nor Lee nor March. I am truly sorry and humiliated. :((

Christen May 9, 2007

Speak of the devil, Patty, I was just leaving a post on Aromascope about this very topic x( To me, the frag blogs are simply a cool community of fellow fragrance junkies. I don't remotely feel like I'm the victim of a stealth marketing attack - puhlease! How many of us have friends and family who think we're speaking Swahili when we wax poetic about our love of perfume?! It's just fabulous to read a blog and have discussions with others who share the love. Yep, that includes the negative reviews, too. One man's *ack!* is another man's HG, you know. Patty, you go catch that plane to Tom Ford's ranch in New Mexico now - I'm sure he has a fat check waiting for you;) Oh, and when the lovely folks from Caron gift you a huge pile of Euro's, would you ask them to make the original Violet Precieuse again? I'd be ever so grateful...