We’re talking paying for perfume today.
I love perfume. I know we all do. We wouldn’t be faffing around here if we didn’t.
But, in maybe the last year I’ve become a lot more aware of how some things that I used to think were perfectly accessible no longer are.
I continue to add to a want list, but that’s becoming less of ‘I know I will buy that’ and more of ‘I loved that on testing but I’ll have to still love it that much when I reach a point when I’m seriously thinking about forking about for a bottle of fragrance’. And threshold for ‘still love it’ is getting higher.
Yes, a number of houses now offer smaller sizes which tip the cost/benefit analysis (there you go, Tom) towards the benefit side. And yes there are houses where pricing still seems sane. But, to a large extent they are the exception, not the rule, at this point.
So, a bit of a rumination about ‘affordability’ within that cost/benefit analysis. Oh, and nota bene: I continue to buy samples, as I long have. But, now, I take my samples more seriously: ie, if something is love that sample is going to be used to the last drop and I might buy another before I even begin to contemplate a bottle (depending on price – a lot of the time now if it’s love but not that ‘oh my god, I’ve got to got to have that’ love, it’s going to be a decant).
Tom recently wrote about some Neil Morris fragrances that were under $100. If you’re in the US (maybe Canada too?) NM sounds like a serious playground.
The Teo Cabanel 30ml are under 100 euros. The Le Labo 15ml size is around £70. Frederic Malle’s 10ml size is around £60. I love Café Cabanel – when the time comes though, I’ll get the 30ml. I have two small LL and two Malles. I can easily see my way to these sorts of things.
About a week ago the news here held the surprise story that inflation has fallen significantly. We’re not feeling that drop yet. Who knows when we will. Things like milk, olive oil, etc, are all close to double what they were a couple of years ago. Clearly, I’m still buying milk and olive oil.
But inflation clearly affects perfume as well.
An example here for me is Serge Lutens Rose de Nuit. I bought a belle jar around 15 years ago which cost £110 and while I thought that was a lot of dosh I also thought the cost/benefit analysis definitely came down on the side of benefit. RdN is now £250 and when my bottle is empty I won’t be replacing it. Much as I love RdN that’s just feels like too much for that particular perfume. I’ve got a decant of one Lutens. I’ll probably do a decant of RnN – but I’ll keep that empty belle jar because it’s so freakin’ lovely.
Sometimes, though, something that seems like silly money also feels like it’s worth silly money. Not very often, mind, but it does happen.
At my last significant birthday (yes, I know all birthdays are significant), I bought 30ml of Guerlain Shalimar perfume. I dropped over £200 (you don’t even want to know) on that and reading that now makes me feel a bit stupid but I can’t help but feel it was worth it. This smells like nothing else – and it is so damn beautiful. Nothing else I own can touch it. Plus, a little goes a long long way. It is perfection in a bottle. And once I’ve reached the last drops I imagine I’ll buy it again without thinking too much (who knows how much it will cost by then).
This bottle equals three return train journeys from here to London; it equals getting my car checked for tax purposes when it needs a couple of small fixes; it’s three big grocery shops – you get the gist. I still feel it was a good purchase. And as noted above while I feel stupid about it I have absolutely no regrets.
On the other hand, I have a thing for Kilian Dark Lord. A bottle of this is £220 and however much I love it I would not lay down dosh for that 50ml of EdP. Instead, I got an 8ml decant and if I’m recalling correctly that cost £50 or slightly above (it was in dollars – so who knows with the exchange rate). When I’m done with it will I buy another? Don’t know yet but it’s within the realm of possibility.
Sitting top of my want list currently is Perfumer H Smoke. That company only offers 50 and 100ml sizes and the 50 for this is £170. I really enjoy this – particularly love the drydown. But, I don’t know… In truth, I don’t think so. I am hoping that one of the decant places here will have this fairly soon.
I clearly haven’t answered the title question in this post – not in a consistent and concrete way where I can say, right, I can’t see myself ever not buying X because it costs Y. As noted above, I am very likely to replace the Shalimar perfume whenever that is finished at whatever stupid price point it has landed at by that point.
I’ve noticed that when looking at something I like but don’t love if it’s above £110 I lose interest. I guess I start to get really twitchy looking at 50ml EdP bottles at above £150. I guess. I mean £170 isn’t that far from £150 but it’s sort of a psychological line in the sand?
Where do you fall in this? I know many commenters have posted about the cost of perfume vs the cost of house or car fix needs resulting in periods of no buys. But maybe I’m wondering more about that psychological line in the sand. Do you have one? What is it? Are there exceptions? Is this all irrelevant and if it’s love the card comes out?