A long time ago, in my perfume salad days, I had wanted a perfume collection. And, during that time, I didn’t know exactly how to efficiently grow my collection.
I was a beginner who had researched stuff almost randomly through various online resources. And as such, I’ve spent a lot of money on a lot of mediocre perfumes.
As you can imagine, most of them were either sold or gifted. Now that I’m a little older and wiser, I have learned how to do this kind of thing the right and correct way, and I’m gonna share my perfume experience with you so that you can do it as well.
The perfume hobby is nice and all, but it can get out of control very quickly. According to Psychguides article about Shopping Addiction, this is a real thing, and it is something that should be controlled.
Unfortunately, with all the available information, now more than ever, it is even more visible in the Perfume world, and with the constant chasing of the new “shiny gem“.
So, if you are someone who is starting out or someone who wants to learn more about how to expand its collection, this guide is created for you.
In this article, you will learn about the following topics:
- What is a Perfume Collection
- How to avoid Perfume Addiction
- 10 Golden Rules when buying a Perfume
- How to store Perfumes
- and more…
Each of the explained topics could have been a separate article, but I have decided to offer this at a single place so that you have the most comprehensive article about starting a perfume collection in one place.
The following is based on my perfume journey and my experience with testing over 2.000 perfumes.
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What Is A Perfume Collection
Perfume collection is as its name suggests, a collection of scented items in your personal possession. Along with liquid perfumes, these could also be scented candles, various creams, soaps, and such.
Your current or future collection should depend on two things:
- What kind of collector are you
- What you do for a living
Seemingly unrelated, yet two very important things which will shape the type and number of perfumes you own. Let’s explain these bullet points right now in more detail.
Different types of perfume collectors
Believe it or not, there are different types of perfume collectors such as aficionados who collector only the more expensive niche stuff, and those who want to collect everything from a particular fragrance line.
Some may even collect perfumes from a single brand which they are loyal to. While others collect perfumes based on a single or combination of notes.
Furthermore, some guys or gals even go though the trendy route and collect everything that is new and posh, and there is a more common type of collector which collects based on gathered information and recommendations.
Which type of collector are you?
Your business is other peoples business
What do I mean by stating this? As your journey progresses you’ll notice that more often than not, people can react negatively to what you wear.
Unfortunately, not everyone is a fan of Amouage Interlude or Versace Eros which tend to project much more and can cause some serious headaches to people around you.
That’s why, if you are working in an office environment, there is a good chance that you’ll have to adjust your collection to lighter and ethereal stuff.
An easy rule should be: if working inside, go with light fragrances, otherwise bring out the heavy hitters.
There is also a third solution to this, find a working environment which “tolerates” your perfume choices. But hey, that’s up to you.
How Many Perfumes Do You Really Need?
Being a part of the perfume community for such a long time, I have met different perfume collectors. Such as people who tend to own a few fragrances, and those who own thousands.
So, what is an ideal number? From my experience, to be recognizable by your potential signature scent, you should own only ten fragrances at any given time.
I know, I know. Only ten? Right? How can you be a collector with only ten bottles in the collection? Yes, you can, and here is how.
There is a great concept which I call the 10 perfume bottle mindset. By limiting yourself to a certain amount of bottles at any given time, you actually experience more.
Just think about it, could you experience your fragrances better if you owned let’s say five of them, or by owning 50 or 100? I think the answer is clear here. Less is more in this case.
Few for work, a couple for different seasons, one special, and one for clubbing. Don’t go over 10 until you get more experienced. Fragrances are not worth burning the money.
It’s Not A Job, It’s A Hobby
Like the title says, keep it simple. Take it easy and don’t rush. These two pieces of advice will save you a ton of money, and make your collection much better.
You don’t have to have the new offerings straight away, and you don’t have to be first. Many newcomers take the perfume hobby way too seriously, which they shouldn’t.
It’s not a race, it is a journey. A journey that is influenced by various sources that should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Many of these so-called review experts tend to sell their bottles within the week or so. A common practice for those who receive free bottles or are paid for reviews.
That’s why take this hobby as slowly as possible. In the end, it should be a pleasure and not the other way around.
How To Avoid Fragrance Addiction
As mentioned in the introduction of this article, fragrance buying addiction is a real thing. That’s why I have decided to give you a few crucial pointers on what should you do to avoid this.
And trust me, it’s not fun when you go debt because of this. Some purchases can be a successful blind buy or can lead you to your Holy Grail Scent.
Yet, often these can lead to compulsive buying journey which is not a place you want to end up.
If you often purchase fragrance and at any point feel euphoric or anxious that something might be gone, please think twice before purchasing anything.
The feeling of remorse or even guilt can lead to an enclosed purchasing circle. So, here are guidelines that a fragrance collector can rely on.
Don’t believe the hype
Trust me, I have seen it all. The “hype beasts” that never delivered the promise and the release day reviews.
They all have one thing in common. In 99% of the time, they are either average fragrances or are just good. And you don’t want just good fragrance in your collection, do you?
That’s why always do your research via multiple sources, don’t purchase new releases straight away, and if possible sample the fragrances. Perfume stores often give samples for free.
Trust your nose
Your nose is your best friend. Always test first before any kind of purchase. In my opinion, there is only a small number of perfumes which you should own, and the rest should be samples or small decants.
The more you test, the more you will see this. As with anything, inform yourself, get more knowledgeable, and trust yourself.
Make a list
One of the best ways to avoid fragrance addiction is to keep a list of fragrances that you plan to sample.
In this list, take notes of things such as testing time, scores, notes which you liked or not liked, and such. Packed with this information, you’ll trim the unnecessary, and find the best.
Take at least 5 testing sessions with each perfume before any further decisions. Ideally, do this in different scenarios and weather conditions.
10-day no perfume challenge
The final task you can take in order to avoid fragrance addiction is to test yourself. Whenever you feel that the urge is for buying a new scent, test yourself by not wearing any fragrance for 10 days.
It may sound a little bit extreme, but it’s not. By doing this, you’ll get the following insights:
- Are you addicted to buying fragrances
- Do you really need another fragrance
Either way, this tool is great for self-reflection and a starting place when making a decision.
I have used this challenge/tool many times and later found out that it saved me a ton of money, which otherwise would be spent on stuff that I did not need.
Furthermore, If you feel that the fragrance shopping is getting out of control, extend the challenge to 20 days.
10 Golden Rules Before You Start A Perfume Collection
These are my rules which I follow and have learned to trust during my fragrance journey. Some of them are common knowledge, while others are practical rules which anyone can follow.
Let’s check them out.
1. Avoid blind buying
This is a common trap in which many newcomers and some knowledgeable enthusiasts fall into from time to time. If a fragrance is not regularly available in your perfume store, don’t do it.
In the long run, you’ll be 95% of the time disappointed. If you cannot sample it, then it’s a no-go, no matter how shiny or exclusive does it feel.
Also, one more quick thing about “discontinued gems“. If it’s selling online for more than 25% of its original price, avoid it completely. Find an alternative or skip altogether.
2. Buy the smallest bottles
Perfume collectors already know this. After a certain amount of bottles in your collection, there is a high chance that you’ll never finish a single bottle.
So, keep the number of bottles low, and go for the smallest size. Even if the price is not the best. I only keep my best of the best like Musc Ravageur in a bigger size, and the rest are in smaller sizes or will be decanted.
Most of us have perfume stores near us or have access to discounters that sell perfume samples. So, go test the fragrances on the skin that you think can suit you, and one more thing.
Do not buy the full bottle straight away. This can correlate to blind buying as well.
4. Weather conditions and skin chemistry
Not everyone lives in the country which has all four seasons in their full spectrum.
Some of us live in hot countries and others live in cold countries. That’s why we should wear fragrances which are appropriate for at least summer and winter.
Fresh citruses tend to work better in hot weather, and heavy patchouli and resinous scents do better in winter.
On the other side, skin chemistry can be a blessing or a curse. I know a lot, and I mean a lot of people whose skin eats their fragrances in an hour or two.
This issue is more seen today when the fragrance are more “politically correct” and lighter. One more good reason for you to test, test, and test.
Popular Montblanc Explorer pushes for more than 20 hours on me, while I have heard that some people barely get 6 hours. Skin chemistry can be a marvel.
5. Don’t do it for compliments
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against compliments at all. Quite frankly, I enjoy it when I get positive feedback on a fragrance that I wear.
But, don’t do it for compliments. If that’s the sole reason you are starting a collection, then just purchase these and your fragrance journey is over:
The above-mentioned fragrances are not bad, quite the contrary, they smell fantastic. Designed to attract the opposite sex, they are sure to get you quite a few compliments.
But, if you are here for the art, I would be picky about what kind of collection I want to have. Your choice.
6. Buying only great perfumes
Everything I have talked about up to this point had led to this. You should only own a great 10 of 10 Holy Grail Scents.
Let’s say you have three different fragrances in a similar style. Which one are you going to use more? That is correct. The one which is the best and the rest will keep collecting dust.
I’ll give an example – I would rather use Tom Ford Tuscan Leather 10 out of 10 times, rather than any other leather fragrance. Why? Because I think it is the best leather fragrance of that genre.
7. Three-month rule
The three-month rule is another of my personal tools that I use. This is another great way to test the newest purchase and to enjoy it. It’s a hobby and not a job. Remember?
I limit myself to not buying anything else for at least three months after I have acquired a new bottle. I use this rule along with other ones presented in this article for at least a couple of years now.
Try it out, you wont regret it.
8. Quality over quantity
This rule has its roots traced back to my talk about keeping only 10 perfumes in your collection. I’m a believer that no perfume should be judged by its price, nor do I judge anyone by their financial situation.
Some affordable fragrances like Lalique Encre Noire are on the same par as with 300$ fragrances. But, as my journey goes, further along, I seem to switch more and more to luxury brands and those which are more expensive.
This one is up to you, and we all have to start somewhere. I would recommend starting out with a couple of well-known classics and then stepping up your game.
I can guarantee that you’ll be more proud of your quality stuff, than on the other not-so-great fragrances.
9. Don’t buy retail
Alright, so let’s get this straight. Retail is great if you don’t want to hassle with discounted perfume websites and want to be 100% sure you are getting the real thing.
Heck, there are examples when you can only buy a particular brand from their physical store or official website.
But, for other 99% of the time, take a slim risk of not getting a real thing and go straight for discounted websites.
FragranceX and Notino have a great reputation as being legit fragrance and cosmetics webshops. Go check them out.
10. Use S.P.A. Signature Factor Guide
Last, but not least, use Scent Grail’s official S.P.A. Signature Factor Guide. This guide was created by me and it’s my personal passion project for the fragrance community.
It is the simplest and most relevant fragrance guide on the web. Possibly the only one you’ll ever need.
By just answering to the 10 different questions from 3 categories, you’ll find if a particular fragrance is worth checking.
It can be used for any fragrance, and you can come back to it any time you wish and check if your opinion has changed.
The goal of this project is to guide your fragrance journey forward and help you find your Signature Scent. Because the goal of Scent Grail is all about helping you find your Signature Scent.
In this chapter, we are going to learn how to build a smart collection by doing quality online research. First, let me ask you, do you limit your perfume collection to a certain number at any given time?
Share your perfume collection in 2020 with the Scent Grail Tribe community in the comment section down below.
Every included resource was intended to offer you a different insight into the perfume world. After I have done thorough research, some of the more popular sources didn’t make the final list.
This is because I believe in something that has been mentioned before this chapter. Quality over quantity. So, here is my shoutout to some of the most influential people and sources in the community.
Facebook Pages and Groups
Facebook Fragrance Friends – the most polite perfume community on the Facebook platform with over 13k members. The only Facebook group without an overwhelming amount of Aventus and Aventus clone posts.
Fragcomm Bangladesh – the group managed by Youtuber Joy Amin which currently has around 6K members from all around the world. If you are interested in affordable middle-eastern fragrances, this is the place for you.
Gents Scents Fragrance Family – another group run by Youtuber Ashton with over 47K members. Good for lighthearted and casual research.
Scent Grail – the official Scent Grail page on the Facebook. The main focus is of course Signature Scents.
robes08 – one of the first Youtube Fragrance Reviewers who is still relevant up to this date. He is also one of those rare gems which don’t review fragrances on the first release day. Designers, Indie, and Niche.
U Smells Good – recommended for those who are interested in niche brands. He also does collabs with other Youtube reviewers, interviews, visits local shops, and more. A great resource for Chanel, Guerlain, and Frederic Malle brands.
Scent Land – I was a little divided on this entry. Chris from Scent Land covers many classic and little known perfumes on his channel. I’ll give this one to you since either Chris or Dan from MrSmelly1977 channel could have made this entry.
Jeremy Fragrance – like him or not, Jeremy from the Jeremy Fragrance channel is the most successful Youtube Fragrance personality. The guy who singlehandedly made La nuit de l’homme famous and saved Montblanc Individuel from doom. Anything about new releases and Top list related, he is your guy.
Fragrantica – online encyclopedia of perfumes and community. Best for researching individual perfume notes, and checking occasional interviews with the perfumers.
Basenotes – gown up perfume community for those who wish to engage in more in-depth perfume conversations.
Parfumo – a newcomer to the perfume game. The community is not as big as on Fragrantica and Basenotes, but I find them good for researching unknown perfumes.
Instagram and Pinterest
These two platforms can be a rabbit hole for any perfume enthusiasts because the content found there is oriented toward sales. Not everything, but often more than not. So, tread carefully.
If you are already there, why don’t you check the official Scent Grail Instagram and Pinterest pages. No spam, and no sales. Also, I post on Twitter as well.
How To Organize And Store Perfume Collection
Now that you have learned how to start your collection the right way, the next question is how to store your fragrances.
The are many suggestions on how to do this, but they are only a couple that is proper and will help you make your fragrances last longer.
STORE IN DARK AND DRY PLACES WITH CONSISTENT TEMPERATURE
Your perfumes don’t like temperature fluctuation due to the nature of the composition. Due to their chemical sensitivity, places like bathrooms and damp basements should be avoided.
The general rule of thumb would be to store them somewhere dark and dry, avoid natural or artificial light, and consistent temperature. I would also recommend keeping the box as an extra protection layer.
By doing this, it will make your life easier if move to another place in the future, and it will keep the resell price higher.
Air-tight plastic bags or wooden boxes will also do the job.
LIMIT THE PHYSICAL SPACE FOR PERFUMES
Not only that you’ll have your fragrances well organized this way, but you will also save a ton of money.
By using this technique, you’ll always have your perfumes in one place, well-stored, and know should you buy another fragrance before finishing another one.
Low-level shelf of small shoe cabinet will do.
Much debatable in the fragrance community is the question should you keep perfumes in a wine cooler or fridge.
If kept in consistent low temperature they should be alright and their sensitive chemical balance won’t get spoiled. The problem happens if you keep them like this and all of a sudden, the cooler stops to work which could potentially deteriorate the composition.
This technique should be used only by enthusiast who are willing to take a risk.
DECANT ONLY POOR PERFORMING PERFUMES
Keep your perfume in its original bottle, and only decant poor performers. Do not expose it to the air if you don’t have to.
Decanted perfumes will last less due to air contamination. If something doesn’t last long, take the bottle with you.
If you have noticed that the top notes are starting to “burn off”, consider stopping decanting your perfume.
KEEP THE CAP ON
Keeping the cap on your perfume will ensure that the oxidation is as low as possible. Doing this will ensure that the perfume lasts longer.
Even though I recommend this, I’ve never noticed my tester perfumes without cap got spoiled. So, it’s another great layer of protection, yet you can live without it.
I hope that this massive perfume collection starting guide will provide the newcomers with essential information on how to do this the right way. Hopefully, some of you enthusiasts have learned something new as well.
Either way, I would love to hear your story on how did you start your perfume collection, and how big it is in the comment section down below.
Feel free to check some of my other articles which I have done recently, such as:
- Zaharoff Signature pour homme review
- Guerlain Shalimar review
- Best Perfume Books
- Designer Vs. Niche Fragrances
- Top Fall Perfumes for 2020
Your number one resource for Holy Grail Signature Scents.– Marin Kristic
Love the three month-rule Marin. Great post! Keep it up!