How Much Fragrance Is Enough?

Hi there Perfume Posse. Have you ever asked yourself How Much Fragrance Is Enough? It’s been rattling around my head lately.

How Much Fragrance Is Enough?

Do you ever look around at your collection of scent and wonder when will you have enough? Is your doorbell chiming regularly with postmen bringing you more fragrance, more bottles, a set of splits, some samples and decants? Do you look at your drawer, shelf, cupboard or room and wonder where you will fit the new arrivals? What do you do when it all gets a little overwhelming?

There’s so much perfume in this house and I am neglecting some of my favourites, quite a lot really, because there is always new stuff to try and new loves. I also like to regularly buy full bottles of fragrance because if we don’t then the shops that supply us won’t be there anymore. Sure, I’m not on a one man mission to save the fragrance industry but I do like to buy the good stuff from independent perfumers and houses, who doesn’t?

Portia Fragrance Collection West Pymble Dec 2013 Much FragranceMy Collection Dec 2013

Above you can see the madness that was my collection in 2013, there has definitely been some increase since.

Then let’s not get started on my binge vintage buying. You seriously have no idea. We know it’s trouble when I’m thanking goodness a few of them end up being fakes. I know. It’s an illness.

Scott and I have a theory that what I really love is the chase, the hunting it down and the getting of it. The having and holding of it. Honestly I think I could live happily with ten fragrances and give all the rest away BUT when I try to do that I get about 30 bottles, sell some, charity others and go right on back to buying.

Recently we checked all my vintage CHANELs and about 15 of them were fakes, some really good fakes, except for the juice which when put next to the real deal smells like shit. So we wrote FAKES all over the glass and scratched it into their lids & plastic bodies and gave them to a girlfriend to sell for $2 each at a market stall. She said they were gone in minutes and she told every shopper that they were fakes, nobody cared. Isn’t life funny.

Haven’t got enough perfume yet? My advice is to sample everything. Blind buys end up being a burden and only one in 5 ends up being a like, let alone love. Sampling at Surrender To Chance is where I do mine.

I don’t have an answer but I’d love to read yours.
How Much Fragrance Is Enough?
Portia xxx

Much Fragrance


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  • Ann says:

    Howdy, Portia! I’m VERY late to the party (sorry!), but was awash this last week in our wedding anniversary doings. Your table looks very much like my dining room table, except mine is not quite as crowded, although I have stuff atop the sideboard, another side table, in the fridge crisper drawers and in a small dorm fridge. DH is making (very) loud noises about reclaiming the formal dining room soon and I’m panicking (and trying to distract him any way I can). I can sell some and I’d love to give a bunch away to Posse perfume pals, except the postage costs would break the bank, ha! I need to narrow it down to my 20 favorite scents and just let the others go. Easier said than done, right?

  • Musette says:

    You know I am the Ultimate No5 Ho o’ the Universe – and even I, UN5Ho’tU, prolly has enough No5 to last me until they carry me out of here, feet first. I don’t buy a lot of perfume anymore but I tend to lose mah MIND over body & bath. I dab a little No5 body oil on The Girl’s ear jointure, since I spend so much time smooching that sweet spot. So I guess she is the UN5Ho’tU in Waiting! xoxoxoA

  • Amateur Dilettante says:

    Portia, of course you may use my rules in a post!
    Also, think of all the stories everyone has – I made one $100 mistake and went running for the hills, to live off samples and decants. I might be smart but I KNOW I’m timid. I havent even tried to sell the damn bottle yet. Swapping and splitting maybe isn’t the greatest way to keep to a budget but it’s a great way to make friends. The best part about perfume isn’t necessarily MOAR Perfume, it’s the relationships – your scent twin you can tell about new things you like that they might like, your scent evil twin you can trade with, friends who actually like taking a trip just to smell perfume, and see how many scents you all can try on at once, and make fun of the bad ones, or buy something great that you would normally put back down.
    I’m not sure I can keep my rules if I become braver and take some chances. I’m also not sure I should. One probably needs iron-clad discipline or or a good dose of fear to abide by them. I only possess one of those, (hint, not discipline) and it’s no fun. And if I lose that, I may well end up with a room full of perfume, but I bet I would meet some great people too.

    Sorry – I cannot figure out how to reply to a comment on my phone – hence my post way down here. I may have just written an entire blog post . I didnt realize I had that much to say.

    • spring_pansy says:

      This is a lovely way to look at it and thanks for the reminder of the fun we’ve had and the people we’ve met!

  • spring_pansy says:

    Very interesting reading, Portia. I think many of us prefer not to confront the truth about our collection (collection or hoarding or overspending?). I have no problem with others choosing to spend their time or money this way, it’s me I am concerned about because I really do want a very edited collection of special things and because I feel out of control when I have too much stuff and because I want to put our money toward other things that are important to me. It’s a sobering thought to me that i have much more than I can wear in this lifetime.

    • spring_pansy says:

      Here’s the rest of my comment (I couldn’t post the full thing and still reach the Post Comment button!)
      All of that is just to say that I don’t have any great answers, but I certainly think about my perfume habit: what it means and how I want my collection to look. I have decided that generally I don’t care for decants (they have sometimes evaporated, they’re much less pleasure to hold and look at, they become cluttered and tip over, and they feel like they are not enough of a commitment, somehow.) However, I do enjoy my library of samples greatly and refer to it often.

      I haven’t counted my bottles lately, but I’d like to have about 25 – an arbitrary number to be sure, but seems like a manageable collection from which to choose while still providing variety and even possibly the ability to be ‘known’ by certain scents which I think is a lovely part of having a signature scent.

    • Ann says:

      Amen, dear! It IS an extremely sobering thought and has inspired some guilt for me. Sometimes you just don’t want to face the extent of your addiction, like me!

  • Christine says:

    Is there a Perfume Posse list somewhere of where all the commenters are posting their sales (eBay or etsy stores)? I’d rather support a fellow posse member and am more likely to trust the goods.

    • rickyrebarco says:

      I sell on Ebay under name “rebarco” Thanks!

    • ….and I’ve got a private sale page on FB called “nose for a bargain” perfumes sale. It’s a little thin right now, but just apply to get in and I’ll let you in!

    • Portia says:

      Go join Facebook Fragrance friends or PLP Splits & Sales, also on FB, and you’ll find a world of fabulous fragrance being offloaded, split, samples etc Christine.
      Portia xx

      • rickyrebarco says:

        Oh, girl, please don’t use the ‘h” word! You are not a hoarder unless your house is packed to the gills with crap that is old, dirty, and of no use to anyone. My house is not like that at all and I’m sure yours is not either!

        I am cutting down my collection because I just can’t enjoy it all now. I’m going minimalist in all aspects of my life. Christmas decorations are all going except for the ones my son made in school or the ones from husband’s grandmother. If it doesn’t have special meaning it’s gone! Retiring in 2018 and I want to be free of stuff with my pockets full of ‘$ from selling all that stuff! Re-distributing, that’s my game now…. It’s all good! You can tell I have no daughters and no granddaughters- no one to enjoy the perfumes when I’m gone. I don’t want to leave my hubby or son with a giant mess of stuff when I’m gone.

  • Azar says:

    How many bottles? Did I miss the head count?
    Azar xx

  • rickyrebarco says:

    I have over 100 bottles and every time I cut down and get rid of 20 or so I end up buying new ones. It’s hopeless. I love the bottles and the thrill of opening that cellophane. Love the crackle!! and spraying that first spray of something new and fabulous. I do neglect some good ones this way so I’m in ‘sell, cut down” mode now and I’m wearing my loves much more.

  • Tatiana says:

    I don’t know how much is enough, but I do know once you’re diagnosed with asthma it all becomes too much. I’ve recently developed asthma and it’s killing me to think of all the perfume I have a hard time wearing now. My only consolation is that not all my perfumes send me into coughing fits. Still I need to work on selling off the ones that do. I’ll probably hang onto some of the vintage scents just for sentimental reasons. I don’t have too many of those because after about the second purchase that turned out to be a fake I just stopped looking. I still love shopping for and sniffing scents with my daughter but I always make sure I have an inhaler in my purse.
    Just for the record, the last time I counted I had around 125 full size bottles (not counting the backups of some vintage and discontinued) and more samples, decants and splits than I care to admit to.
    By the way, I have a similar problem with nail polish and makeup, too.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Tatiana,
      Birgit from Olfactoria’s Travels suffered the same crossover into asthma, it was the end off her perfumistahood too.
      If you still have my address please send me the list and I’ll go shopping on it. I have a friend in the USA who you can send it to.
      Portia xx

  • Nelle says:

    Wow your collections is serious! I look at my collection and the ones I have stashed that hve not been opened yet and think no more, but like you said there is always new fragrances being released and sites like fragrancenet that has so many discounts. And do not get me started on the holiday season giftsets, yeah I may have a problem! But its an enjoyable one, collect what you love.

  • Marie says:

    It’s definitely the thrill of the chase! However, I have become less enthusiastic for new releases. While some 6 or 7 years ago it was enough for me to read the review of a new fragrance and go completely nuts over it, now it is veeery rare that a new release catches my attention. Too much, too expensive, too much crap with a fancy name.
    Still, my collection increases as there are many older fumes that I have not smelled yet… and I wonder: will there ever be an end to it?! 🙂

    • Portia says:

      Hi Marie,
      Yes the sheer enormity of the fragrance offerings make it daunting to near impossibility. Sometimes I feel catatonically overwhelmed and can’t even think about fragrance for a day, and want to sit rocking in a chair.
      Too much choice and so much of it derivative, shonky, boring and banal. It really makes me sad. Gone are the days of six months lead up to the newest release and everyone dying to get to the counter to smell it.
      Portia xx

  • Amateur Dilettante says:

    When I was new to perfume, I went sniffing by myself and had too many scents on. I know this because I bought a bottle of something, thinking it was the one thing on my arm that I liked. Sadly it was not. So I had to make Rules. So far I’ve been able to adhere to them.
    1) no blind bottle buys, no matter how good the notes sound
    2) If you haven’t used a 5 ml decant, you don’t need a full bottle of it
    3) no buying random stuff thinking you can split it all off if you dont like it, no matter how good a deal it is
    Admittedly, It doesnt leave a whole lot of room for adventure.

  • maggiecat says:

    Trying to comprehend the words “enough” and “perfume” occurring in the same sentence…really trying…trying hard….nope, can’t do it!

  • Oh Portia! Thank you for writing about this, it has been on my mind lately quite bigly (I guess if Trump can say, then I can too!) when my FB’s reached about 150 I decided that enough was (almost) enough. I’m not wearing my true loves that much anymore in pursuit of “the new”. Being a perfumista goes hand in hand with ADHD, and that fits me to a tee. When I retired last year and my income dropped to 1/5th of what it was I made the conscious decision that I had, by necessity to change my ways. So I set myself a limit which is 1 or 2 bottles a month and sometimes not even that if a bottle I want is too expensive and I need to save for it.

    I have turned almost exclusively to decants and samples, and if I find something that I truly love after a weeks wearing of it, the FB goes on my “to buy” list for future purchase. (That list is now 2 pages long, dear god!) If terrific bargains pop up then I’m essentially screwed, and I ask Spouse to throw some money in my PP account.

    This month I found THREE, count ’em, THREE unicorns that I’ve been searching for for the past two years. So of course I HAD to have them, and have no regret about having blown by budget all to hell and back.
    Quite honestly it gets overwhelming when one realizes that the box of samples have been moved into an old suitcase, and that there are samples waiting to be tried from TWO YEARS AGO!

    Well. Gotta’ dash and go pack for my Fragrance meet-up and shopping extravaganza this weekend in Portland, OR.? Ugh. The struggle is real. Xoxo Robert H.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Robert,
      The struggle is not only real but SO MUCH FUN!

      It looks like you have an inkling of the handle you need to put on the craving to keep it in check, that’s better than me.
      Portia xx

  • Tiffanie says:

    I have a large glass tray on my dressing table that creates a limit for me. If the tray is full, then no more perfume bottles come in the house until I use something up or give something away. I’ve made some good matches between friends and my unused fragrances in the past few years. I feel like no bottle of perfume deserves to sit unloved. Every scent has a destiny and is meant to be out in the world creating happiness.

    That being said, I am greedy and a hoarder and there are some scents that are “my precious,” I will never give them up, will never be able to use up all I have acquired, and I would have a hard time refusing more bottles of those scents if I were to go looking to buy them again. It’s a blessed sickness is what it is. And I love it.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Tiffanie,
      Yes, limits m,make everything better and more fulfilling for me too. Soon I may have to start imposing some. M A Y B E.
      Portia xx

  • Christine says:

    I tend to go in fits and spurts with how active I am in perfume collecting. The last time I got into perfume and was active here was about 8 years ago (maybe it’s partially spurred by election anxiety?). But I was much poorer then. Now I’ve got a surrendertochance cart full of samples, a luckyscent cart with much of the same, and I may or may not have bought a couple of unsniffed bottles because at $30 bucks they were such a steal! It’s still cheaper than my husband’s collection of nice watches. (For now). Oh plus some bottles that I had wanted years ago and kept putting off because lack of funds and looking for a bargain.

    I guess we’ll see after the election if I can go back to regularly using a few of my bottles and calling it a day.

    You know, and if anyone wants to sell off something, let me know. (Or you know, if someone wants to go in on splits because Yeouch! this really does quite add up)

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I have the problem of buying tons of vintage perfume and then hoarding it. I have put myself on a no full bottle of anything period list. At over 60 bottles, I either need to use a few bottles or start selling what I don’t actually wear. My biggest weakness with vintage perfume in Bal a Versailles. I keep looking for another vintage bottle of L’Heure Bleue that isn’t going to be the price of a car payment. We shall see how far I get with the no buy.

    • Queen Cupcake says:

      Vintage Bal a Versailles! I adore it. Unfortunately, a now ex-friend used to wear it a lot, so I can’t smell it without feeling sad. Good luck finding the l’Heure Bleu at an affordable price! 🙂

    • Portia says:

      Hi there Eldarwen22 ,
      ME TOO! I have two whole drawers dedicated to my vintage Guerlain and one each to CHANEL & DIOR. BaV is another that I collected quite a bit of even before it was Dcd last year, since then I have grabbed a couple more.
      Interestingly I rarely see vintage L’Heure Bleu
      Portia xx

  • Neva says:

    Oh the problems of perfumistas…:-D I know, I know, I’m very much the same. Always torn between the “last” vintage bottle of my favourite perfume that appeared on Ebay and the indispensable new release that smells fabulous. With my ca. 40 perfume bottles I’m a beginner compared to most of you (samples not included, of course) and I try not to widen my collection. First I must use up an old perfume, then a new one comes into the collection. That’s the deal…except with vintage perfume. As long as I stay away from Ebay, all is fine.
    Portia, your collection looks reaaaaaally impresssive!

    • Portia says:

      Hey Neva,
      My shoe wardrobe works like that. 10 pairs MAX. One set in, one set out and yes it includes flip flops. Currently I have 9 pairs.
      Portia xx

  • Queen Cupcake says:

    Lately, I have been thinking of selling off some of my collection. It is getting out of hand at approximately 200 bottles, 150 minis, and countless cigar boxes full of decants and samples, about 70% of which are vintage and/or rare. It is all too much for me to manage, and yet…I love hunting for more–it never gets old! Unfortunately, I cannot wear much of it because my husband isn’t keen on most of it (darn!) and neither is my workplace.

    I also tend to collect vintage costume jewelry, scarves, handkerchiefs, vanity items and interesting glass. If I had the space, I would be collecting china, stemware and vintage bar ware but let’s not go there.

    I love my ‘fumes but have almost completely stopped acquiring more because 1.) the good vintage stuff has gotten very expensive and 2.) the new stuff just doesn’t appeal to me, for the most part.

    I loved what Koyel said, above, about the chase.

    What to do…what to do…

    • Portia says:

      Hey Queen Cupcake,
      I totally get it. Fine line between collector & hoarder.
      I think I’m definitely falling on the frag hoarder side.
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    It is definitely about the thrill of the chase and having something new and shiny coming through the door. At over 700 bottles I have enough for several lifetimes, but it is so much fun reading about and discovering new things. I rationalize it by telling myself I don’t smoke or drink and have little interest in fine food or travel, so this is basically my only vice, and a harmless one at that. I do regularly get rid of scents I’ll never wear again, so I don’t see the collection getting much bigger than it currently is. That said, I no longer blind buy and try to keep the number of purchases per month down to 2 bottles, after sampling several times to be sure I love it.

    • Portia says:

      Hey TaraC,
      Great to see you.
      Lucky you to have one hobby to play with. Where do you keep your 700 bottles? Is there a system?
      Portia xx

    • Neva says:

      700 bottles??? Tara, you’re my hero! I wish I could spend a day sniffing your collection…it seems like the ultimate dream to me 🙂

  • Koyel says:

    I ABSOLUTELY agree that the chase is the best part. I also agree that it’s an illness. As a student, my collection is mostly samples and decants, but even the money for that adds up quickly. The thing is, I’m so much more excited about reading about, purchasing, and receiving scents than I am about using them after the first couple tries, because by then there’s something newer and shinier to try out.

    • Portia says:

      Oh Koyel, You’ve basically explained my problem. Lately I’ve been making special weeks on an Aussie Facebook frag page. That way I make sure that a few of my neglected loves get worn each week. This week is Designer Fragrance Week so wearing the de la Renta, JPG, CHANEL, DIOR, Herrera, CK, and Hermès: among others.
      Portia x

  • Shiva-woman says:

    I agonize about this. Thank goodness for STC and Push Peasant and a few others. I spent fortunes blind buying bottles, got smarter, started selling a few back, now use decants and samples. But I have hundreds, of everything, everywhere, even the fridge. And I know it’s a sick form of hoarding, and I have a good 20 perfumes I could be blissfully happy with for the rest of my 9 lives. Then one of you does a review, or the Non-Blonde, or Kafakesque, and I’m off and running to smell “that scent.” I love it when I’m startled, or something really new comes along. And I go through weird phases. Last month I needed mint, so sampling mint I went. That was followed by four Herba Frescas…. Now I’m swimming in incense and fall heavies. I have a huge drawer dedicated to perfume. Oh, the madness….

  • Carla S Roberts says:

    Having bought backups of several, my collection is over 50 bottles. I can’t even use all the ones I love as it is, so I’m “on a break”. We’ll see how long that lasts….?

    • Portia says:

      Hi Carla S Roberts ,
      By On A Break do you mean wearing no scent or not buying it?
      Portia xx

      • carla s. roberts says:

        oh, sorry! No – definitely still wearing it everyday!! sometimes two scents in a day!

        • Portia says:

          So I try to wear a wake up scent that takes me through to my bathing time when I start getting ready for work, then I’ll wear a work scent, then just before bed I’ll spritz something on my hand backs for sweet smelling dreams.
          It feels like I’m using as much as I can.
          Portia xx