Lesson from the bottle


I’m repeating it again and again (hope you don’t find it boring) but I will always keep on highlighting that one of the most interesting part of being a perfumista is making discoveries. Each bottle is not only different by shape but it also keeps different juice which means there’s a lot to explore, evaluate, appreciate or detest. Every time I reach for an unknown perfume flacon or a sample vial my blood-pressure rises and I get excited because even though I check notes lists before I apply – I truly never know what really is hidden inside the glass. I think it’s amazing to learn new things.

Now, many months after I discovered this magnificent world of perfume and few months after I started exploring a niche part of this industry I noticed that every perfume bottle is a valuable lesson. Some lessons keep on repeating, sometimes there’s a new lesson but each and every one is worth remembering. It’s been a while since I wrote an article of general kind so I thought it would be a good idea to share with you what perfume taught me during last few months of my quite intensive sniffing.

Learn about your greatest “enemy.” I think every one of us knows a note or two that doesn’t usually work for them. They try to find one they’ll overally enjoy, sometimes they succeed sometimes they fail, life. In my case I have lots of issues with vetiver. When I first encountered vetiver I didn’t become a fan of it. People say that with vetiver it’s an instant love or instant hate. I’m gearing towards the negative feelings. I tried some other perfume with more prominent vetiver but neither of them was fancied by me. I just seem to be repelled by its smell. But I’m not strikingthrought the note.

We change, our tastes change too! If you asked me at the beginning of this year if I would enjoy perfume with tobacco note in it I would definitely say something like “are you kidding me, I don’t want to smell like an ashtray.” But not so long ago it turned out that I can actually quite enjoy the tobacco vibe, such as the one offered by Parfum d’Empire Eau de Gloire, Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille or Sonoma Scent Studio Tabac Aurea. I believe that as the time flows I will keep on finding out that I might enjoy some different aromas that I don’t like at the moment. Incense in perfume has never been my trump card but I’m making my baby steps with it too. So far I learned to love Comme des Garcons Kyoto.

Expect the unexpected. That’s one of the most important rules in my opinion. You can read as many online perfume reviews as you wish but nothing will replace trying one scent on your own skin. Our noses work different and each of us has unique skin type which turns just one fragrance into as many different fragrances as many there are people in the world. Perfume that sounds great by its description might turn out to be a scrubber and vice versa – something rather not appealing may give us a lot of happiness. It’s the funniest part in perfumistahood as you can never be 100% sure if you’ll like the fragrance.

Have something to rely on! I know that nowadays sticking to one perfume only is impossible and that all of us prefer to have impressive and well built perfume wardrobes. There’s nothing bad about it (unless you’re not spending your every penny on perfume!) but I think that it’s good to wear at least one bottle of perfume that you can rely on. By rely on I mean something that can be worn anytime, anyplace, to every occasion. Something that always should be in our wardrobes. In my case those would be Prada Infusion d’Homme and Prada Amber Pour Homme. I’ve grown up wearing these two perfume and I can’t imagine not having them in future. I will always want to buy a backup bottle.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’m a shy guy but I never had problems with asking for help when I was in need. For the last months I learned that perfumistas are one of the kindest, most helpful group of people one could imagine. They’re always happy to help, lend a hand and they’re so generous they’re even ready to send you a sample of something they have and you have no access to it, no matter how far you are. It’s amazing and unbelievable how supportive they can be.

Finally I noticed that there are few brands that have a special place when it comes to giving perfume lessons. To me those houses offer fragrances that are more educative that wearable. They’re worth exploring and sampling but I wouldn’t particularly wear those scents. Let’s be quitet about brands I have in my mind here. How about you? Is there any valuable lesson perfume taught you? If so, please share it with us!

20 thoughts on “Lesson from the bottle

  1. Amy (PerfumedLady) says:

    Been a perfume lover a looong time and I miss those early days of discovery. My best lesson I can offer is this: always remain a student of this wonderful art. Whether beginner or connoisseur, remain open to learning. This is where the surprises lie that will keep the passion burning. And I agree completely about continuing to try with notes we find difficult. If I can find a tuberose to love, maybe there will be a vetiver for Lucas yet!

    • lucasai says:

      That’s a great lesson – to keep ones head open all the time.

      Did your Tubereuse 01 arrived already. I’m afraid I won’t be able to buy 1725, didn’t find enough people to split the other half of the bottle.

      Who knows, maybe that vetiver is somewhere, or is yet to be created.

  2. Amy (PerfumedLady) says:

    Yes, Capricieuse arrived! But I’m so sorry you couldn’t complete your bottle split. Maybe it just means you’re meant to have a bottle all to yourself down the road. At least HdP does those wonderful sample sets- you could get by with those for a long while. One thing I will say, if you really love 1725, maybe best to wait until you can afford the large size. I’m not crazy about this “cut in half” 2 oz. bottle. They look exactly like a large bottle has been sliced down the middle. This leaves the sprayer in an awkward location, all the way to one side. Rather unwieldy. But the juice inside is so darned brilliant!

    • lucasai says:

      I wanted to split a 120ml bottle, keep 60ml for myself and send the other 60mls to other. Will wait until the end of the week to see if the split is possible or not. If not I’ll give a try to Cuir Ottoman then

  3. Amy (PerfumedLady) says:

    Maybe it will still work out! Will keep my fingers crossed for you! Cuir Ottoman is no shabby consolation prize; either way, you win!

  4. Undina says:

    I don’t have any valuable lessons to share with others but I wanted to mention that those colors in three rightmost bottles on the picture are beautiful and underutilized in perfumery, especially the green one (Ange is blue and Serge Lutens has at least several purple perfumes, but I don’t remember that green color for any perfumes). Once you become a perfumer please do something about it! 😉

    • Sweetgrass says:

      That’s true.. you don’t see that color in perfumes much. Aftelier has a few scents with green juice. I was just looking at her website, and Trevert edp is almost the shade of green as the pic above.

    • lucasai says:

      Glad you liked the picture I’ve chosen. There was another similar one with more saturated colors, but I liked this one better. I really can’t recall any perfume that would be this intensive green as rightmost bottle.
      Will keep it in mind!

  5. hajusuuri says:

    These are good lessons, Lucas! My greatest “enemy” is lily-of-the-valley…but I am not giving up, yet.

    As for other lessons, one is to pay attention to sillage and do not over-apply — you may like/love the scent but others may not.

  6. shellyw says:

    My lesson in perfume buying is the car test. Try a sample and then drive in a warm, enclosed car and see if you still love it, like the sillage, can others sit in the car with you… It has saved me some expensive mistakes. The lady at the small shop I go to has also put samples on me I would never have tried and I have come back the next day because they worked out well in the test.

  7. poodle says:

    I’m not sure what my fragrant enemy is. Sometimes roses and I don’t always play nicely together. They get sour on me. My tastes change, or is it my nose? Whatever it is I find that some things I used to dislike I end up liking and vice versa.

  8. Meg says:

    All very sound pieces of advice. I for one chanted “I hate blackcurrant” for so long that when it finally sneaked up on me that many of the perfumes I abjectly adored WERE blackcurrant-themed, I felt stunned. Love thine enemy, indeed!

  9. laniersmith says:

    Perfume has taught me that our noses speak a universal language.
    Perfume has brought to me some new and wonderful friends
    Perfume has shown me that not all the boys on the block have the balls to wear what they might love because the girls on the block are wearing it.
    Perfume has taught me to be bold and adventuresome.
    Perfume has helped me move forward after great loss.

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