Winners and Beginners

But First! (Yes, it is almost Big Brother season and the ubiquitous Julie Chen “But First!” I fly my Freak Flag proudly on what a big fan I am of this show.  About one more week before it starts, yeah!!! )  The winner from the last drawing I had, which was a sample set of CB Greenbriar 1968, I am a Dandelion, Eternal Return; Memoire Liquide Fleur de Tabac, Vetiver, Liaison Secrete; Micallef Black Sea; Opium parfum, and I’ll probably throw in a sample of CB’s Wild Hunt and Arbor absolute. That post had the highest number of comments ever…. 190!!! Yoiks!  In celebration, let’s do two sample sets. See, it pays to comment, better chances.  Winners are… Chelsey and Gina!  Hit that contact Us button over there and shoot me your address. I’m still waiting on more Black Sea to show up this week.

So, those of you that are old hands, do you miss the days when you were a beginning perfumista?  Everything you smelled was new and fresh, especially as you ventured into the whole niche arena. It’s like discovering Joni Mitchell’s “Blue” or Leonard Cohen for the first time. Your nose, while young and inexperienced, is smelling something not like anything else.  Well, I do.   It’s not that there aren’t a lot of great old and new scents out there still to be discovered, but I sometimes think I rushed through smelling so many things so fast, I should have paused and taken longer to run through them, enjoyed them a little more, savored them.

For those that have gone through a lot of perfume sniffing, what would be your Five Year Plan for Perfumistas just starting out or just one suggestion for that plan?  I hope to collect these and hopefully make them into another post. What would you do differently if you were to start your perfume journey all over again?

How, I don’t do poetry or Haiku or other verse of any sort, so this is my summary of the rest of the Bruno Acamporas in short, nonsensical, random nonverse — pretty much how I write all the time, but abbreviated:

Sballo — Hay, you sage-covered bale, come sit next to me and waft…. :::sniiiiifff::::

Seplasia — Salty flowers, fresh and green; see my wallet scream? 

Jasmin — Indolic and plastic with rubber feet standing in Blvgari Black and SMN Nostalgia, but without their grace. Age makes her beautiful, but not unique

Blu — Blue tuberose, say it ain’t so!  Not smell so good.  (Bertha warming up on stage)… “meh, meh, meh, meh meeehhhhhh”

Prima T — Wow, pretty! And Deep! Probably not pretty enough to get that deep into my wallet

Iranzol — Twisted Barbie porn filmed in a field of Jasmine.  I think I kinda like it, but shhhhh, don’t tell anyone.

Maybe it’s me, but so many oils smell like plastic. Is that true for anyone else?  Perhaps you shouldn’t take my word for all of these.  Sballo and Seplasia, maybe Prima T might be worth having.  Don’t forget my question up above!


  • Mimmimmim says:

    I miss the joy of the new. When I first started looking at perfumes there were so many must-tries. I’ve still got a long list of oldies to try, but most new perfumes don’t appeal at all. (The one that does is Molinard’s Chypre d’Orient, which contains bergamot and oakmoss, not patchouli. Oddly, it seems to be largely ignored.) I thought Midnight Poison might be worth a go, but Eva Green’s comments about old lady perfumes and MP being fresh and light put me off. I’m recapturing the joy of the new by sharing my scents with other people and seeing how much they enjoy them.

    What would I do differently? No unsniffed full bottles, EVER. I’ve learned to love Jolie Madame, but Madame Rochas is probably going to be cluttering up my dressing table for 50 years. I’d buy a crateload of Mitsouko before the reformulation. Unloved full bottles aside, there’s nothing to regret in fragrance. Maybe it’s the British climate, but my bottles seem to last for years (I’ve a bottle of Obsession that I’ve had for nearly 20) so I don’t worry about them going off.

  • Kyra says:

    I really ought to hush here, but emboldened by my 6 month speed-sniffing course I’ll add a few things. Slow down the full bottle buys at the beginning.Your taste will evolve faster than you think.It’s not that you will often hate what you bought, but that you will find yourself with full bottles when a lot less would do.But here is the best thing to do to do with some of those full bottles; spend some time on the forums and when you read about someone dying to try or almost out of whatever you have a lot of,offer to share.At the very least you gain good karma points (they add up for valuable prizes!), very likely you will make friends and often enough you will be offered interesting new things in exchange.

  • Patty says:

    Sorry, guys, long day in training today, so I am very far behind! This whole week is pretty trashed. Thanks for your responses, they are incredibly helpful, as I knew they would be!

  • katia says:


    I’m new but I already know something – try only one or two fragrances per day, not more.
    And thank you all for the tips.

  • tmp00 says:

    The only thing I can add for newbies is this- never go by first sniff.:d

  • violetnoir says:

    No, I don’t think I particularly miss it. I have never really thought about it that way, because I have been steadily wearing fragrance since I was 12 or 13. It just got to the point that instead of concentrating deeply on one fragrance and its pieces for months at a time, I am wearing all different types of fragrances, a different one each day or so. Does that make sense?

    And, yes, oils do smell plastic-like, one-dimensional. But I have to say that Sballo is simply gorgeous, the best oil that I have ever worn. 🙂

    Hugs and love!

  • Lee says:

    Learn as your daily mantra: “I will never need more than a decant of this.”

    Addiction is tough.

  • CH says:

    My five year plan would emphasize the need to sample before buying. Decants are a great way to start for hard to find perfumes. Start slow, but purchase a bottle or two of some fine quality scent and trade small decants with others.

    As stated by others, read the blogs. Plus, don’t buy the hype associated with some perfumes. Sample them and make an individual decision.

    Repeat as often as budget will allow! \:d/

  • sarah says:

    Good advice from all… can’t seem to heed any of it. Samples get briefly organized then jumbled again. Other things I’ve learned but not always heeded: when visiting March don’t spray things all over myself only to forget what they are, don’t be so greedy to try new samples that you spray on an unknown just before you go to bed, clean out purse, travel bag, make up kit periodically to find new samples you forgot you ordered, try something that you didn’t like before one more time — (change of weather can be amazing.)

  • pitbull friend says:

    Patty, I can’t smell anything! There are legs sticking out of my nose! What? Oh, never mind. So much good advice here!

    Over time, I’ve learned to let my mind compare scents to many things, not just flowers. I recently enjoyed a scent (Nez a Nez Rosier Ardent) because it reminded me of my grandparents’ bedspread, for instance. Reading the interesting comparisons others make is mind-expanding!

    Y’all have also taught me to be open-minded about the origin of a perfume (couture designer vs. drugstore vs. niche) or even a particular house. For instance, Comme des Garcons Sherbet series Cinnamon is one of my least favorite scents but their Rhubarb (also Bertrand Duchaufour, 2003) is an all-time favorite!

    And y’all have taught me that NO ONE is “wrong” — thanks to our different skins, noses, and memories. In a world where so many spend so much time trying to prove their superiority, that’s simply lovely.

    Five year plan? Interesting question. I may have to spend the next three years savoring what I bought the last two… 🙂 –Ellen

    • CH says:

      Oh yes, the Rhubarb is quite nice. It was green and refreshing and very different from many of the other CDG scents.

      Another surprise for me was the ambrette seed in Miller Harris’ Fleurs de Sel. Turns out it was used in just the perfect quantity to keep the scent from being too heavy.

  • Robin says:

    Jasmin has really surprised me — I like it much more than I thought I would. No plastic here 🙂

  • amy says:

    “Seplasia” sounds like something you have minor surgery to correct, as in, “I’m going to take off next week from work to recover from my seplasia procedure.”

  • Dusan says:

    I wish I had discovered the joys of decanting earlier and also how very easy it actually was (is) for a creditcardless person to sample a fragrance without having to splurge on a full bottle (I’m looking at you, Nonverse Decanting Angel 😉 ). I am forever thankful for the day I chanced upon these scented pages of blogosphere because meeting all of you wonderful people has been a blessing, more so than perfume itself 🙂

  • Judith says:

    OK, I am too tired–and too broke–to give effective advice. I can only say HAVE FUN!!! And I need to try some of those Brunos. . .

  • delizt says:

    as a fairly new “perfumista” I was quickly becoming overwhelmed with all my samples, so many fantastic things to try (and me wanting to try them all!!!) So I decided to organized and store them neatly by house, nose or note, or theme…that way I have been able to slow down a bit and investigate things in a way that makes sense and builds some knowledge….educational AND fun:-)

  • Marina says:

    I like Blu very much, clearly I need to try Jazmin whose feet stand in the pool of good stuff 🙂

  • Louise says:

    Like Maria said-lord, lady, you write so thoroughly and well!

    I’ve loved perfume deeply since college, especially during a year spent in France. It was trying SLs that truly opened my mind to non-department store goodies.

    Only other sagacities-meet March at the mall sooner, and get pulled further down this evil blog path… discover samples way sooner and save bucks on full bottle disasters… just enjoy watching your nose develop (no, I am not refering to the aging process)-a year ago something called Vert, Vert, Vert would have held no interest for me…now I seek green everywhere I shop.

    Thanks especially to Patty and crew and the wonderful commenters. When’s our party????

  • Elle says:

    My one and only piece of advice:
    Marry well – as in extraordinarily financially well. Or make sure you have an oligarch in the background to have an affair with and who will delight in showering you w/ scented gifts.
    Tragically, I married for love. *Foolishness*.

  • Maria says:

    I haven’t been a perfumista for more than, oh, nine months though I’ve loved fragrance since I was little. I do have some tidbits of advice, though they don’t amount to a five-year plan:

    1. Sample the classics. Some perfumes that are still being manufactured are enduring works of art. Let your nose experience the work of Ernest Daltroff, Aime and Jacques Guerlain, Germaine Cellier, Edmond Roudnitska. Perhaps some of the fragrances will turn out not to be ones you’ll wear, but your nose will have experienced the possibilities of smell.

    2. Don’t go half-cocked and try every niche perfume house at once. L’Artisan Parfumeur has been a gateway drug family for many of us because the scents tend to be accessible. I tend to test more than one fragrance from a particular house, but I know others don’t do that.

    3. Search out information. There is a lot of it on the blogs, not just in the daily postings but in their resource sections and in the archives. Some blogs have special introductory sections, such as Perfume 101. There are some good books out there, but they can be expensive.

    4. If you’re interested in particular notes (e.g., rose, leather), you can find good suggestions under Perfume 101 in Perfume Posse or in Helg’s Perfume Shrine (see link in the left margin). Helg recently did a series on jasmine. Bois de Jasmin some time ago did a series of in-depth looks at particular notes such as cedar or hedione and included a list of fragrances that contained them.

    5. Keep it fun. It’s not a job. If having too many samples to go through is keeping you from wearing the perfumes you love, give the samples a rest. (But make sure you still sniff the classics.) 🙂

    I haven’t become jaded yet. Oh, and, Patty, I know just what you mean about Joni’s “Blue” album. I can still sing every song on it. “Oh, I could drink a case of you, darling, and I’d still be on my feet…”

    • Maria says:

      Two other great resources I have to mention: Now Smell This has lists of noses with their creations. I use it a lot. Marina on Perfume Smellin’ Things has compiled a list of all leather fragrances.

  • Amarie says:

    Hi Patty,
    I’ve only been perfume consumed for just over a year, so I am still learning.
    I think I’ve worked out a few golden rules:
    1. Don’t assume because you don’t like one particular perfume, coz of a note like say LOTV, that you wont like others
    2. Try perfumes in different seasons
    3. Read, read, read
    4. Decide on a couple of notes you think appeal and sample, sample, sample. Perhaps a series of sample sets based around notes? I started with a leather set ( thank-you Bois Bois:))and it was a great beginning.

    • Amarie says:

      Since writing my first comment and realising it doesn’t answer your question, you have really made me think.
      I remember in the past Lee writing a comment before about feeling ennui about all the new perfumes out there and it has slowed me down enough to realise that there must come a point when you feel like you have “been there, smelt that”.
      Having been reading about so many interesting perfumes in a whole new niche world I tried collecting a lot of samples. Perhaps now is the time for me to go back over what I have and compare, re-avaluate, and take more time out to enjoy them.
      There is so much interesting information, about notes, companies, and especially the perfumers, that gets lost in the rush to try the next latest thing.
      I know I will still need to aquire new samples;)) and indeed welcome all >:d< to my inquiring nose, so I can =(( and =p~ @-) but I thank-you for this timely reminder to slow down and ...smell the roses!!!