The love that dare not speak its name… The Perfumed Dandy’s Fragrant Forum

Friends, Fragrance Fiends, Amatores

With all this babble, mainly I know from yours truly, of roses, romance, St Valentine’s Day and all matters of the heart, it set The Dandy thinking…

Across the various blogs, fora, chat rooms, sites and other seedy joints where ‘scent heads’ hang out, there is much talk of concealment, of keeping our infatuation (as some see it) with fragrance hidden from public view.

It’s almost as though some of us are afraid our amour for all things aromatic might be met with distaste, disapproval, even our disavowal by those around us?

Is it really such a seriously bad thing to love a good scent?

So this week’s question…

doris-day-secret-love-columbia

Is perfume your secret passion?

Or perhaps you will burst my bubble, tell me today we’re all out and proud about the pongy stuff: founder members of Perfume Pride…

Either way, do tell…

Especially if you never have before!

Yours ever

The Perfumed Dandy.

The Perfumed Dandy

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29 Comments

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29 responses to “The love that dare not speak its name… The Perfumed Dandy’s Fragrant Forum

  1. Julie

    …most definitely a secret passion, never including any synthetic – a most ardent love…

    • Dearest Julie
      A secret passion and a very faithful one: strictly devoted to natural perfumes!
      An admirable form of adoration indeed.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Julie

        Dearest Dandy,
        May I also say that it’s not just pure essence in perfume alone which I love? One could also find me in the herb and flower garden, or cutting up parsley stems from the store. It may seem silly to some, but for me, it is a form of Remembrance.

      • Dearest Julie
        Just so. And not just straight forward smells from nature. The scent of the inside of a glasshouse where tomatoes are being cultivated, forest ferns decaying towards the end of their season, roses after a storm.
        Indeed. Rosemary, that;s for remembrance.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • Julie

        Yes, you captured it very well… 🙂

  2. rickyrebarco

    My love for fragrance is “out of the bottle” so to speak. A few people have made snarky comments about how it must be nice to be able to spend so much on perfume, but these folks are not my friends- they constantly make disapproving comments about everyone – envy is an ugly thing. `My husband likes my hobby- who could not like a wife who smells fabulous all the time? My real friends like my hobby because they know I will make decants for them of any of my fragrances they really like. What’s not to love? And I have lots of new perfume loving pals now, too!

    • Dearest Ricky
      That’s the perfect way of putting it… in future I will ask all fellow ‘fumeheads’ if they are ‘out of the bottle’!?!
      Disapproval does seem to be the most common reaction (of the negative responses) doesn’t it? And The Dandy thinks you’re quite right, it most commonly comes from those who seem to be looking to find a fault with everyone they encounter: the same crew who are ‘concerned’ over people’s wait, seem to take pleasure when other’s relationships crumbles or dress sense errs from the conventional.
      I love your emphasis on the fringe benefits for the rest of society of associating with scent-o-philes: a pleasantly perfumed partner and a ready supply of decants and samples for friends
      Finally, friends, yes a mild fetish for fragrance is a great way to meet people virtually or in the flesh with a shared set of interests.
      Rocky, you should become a aromatic ambassador, you makethe case so well!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  3. rosestrang

    I kept quiet about it for years, thinking people would find it frivolous, and even now I feel I have to keep it somewhat separate from my arts blog. But now we have people like Chandler Burr as Curator of Olfaction at the Museum of Art and Design in New York I’m out and proud!
    In fact I’ve organised an arts and perfume exhibition and event for this year’s Edinburgh Festival, with paintings, poetry and music by fellow ‘fumeheads’.

    I must say almost everyone I know has embraced my passion for perfume, there’s nothing I love more than going shopping with a friend to find a perfect perfume. I think everyone can see it’s life enhancing, I know it to be so!

    • Lilybelle

      Rosestrang, how wonderful that you’ve organized a pefume event for perfume lovers at the Edinburgh Festival! The only people other than my online perfume friends to know about my passion are my husband and my mother, and not even they know the full extent. I have been shy about speaking openly for fear of seeming frivolous and dotty…exactly as you say above, but online I’ve met so many wonderful people from all over the world who are just as crazy about perfume as I am. Thank goodness for the internet! I seldom meet people in my everyday life anymore who wear fragrance at all.

      • Dearest Lily
        There’s that word again ‘frivolous’… The Dandy knows exactly what you mean, as though collecting fragrances is somewhat unworthy, trivial, gauche even. Yet people who collect stamps, ornamental porcelain, first edition books, say are considered learned connoisseurs, why so?
        The dotty thing bother one less, perhaps because in Britain we elevate and even venerate the eccentric in a way which is not the case elsewhere, one of the more charming elements of our culture.
        As to the internet, hurrah say I! In these days when all one hears are endless stories about how the web is carrying us all to hell in a handbasket I like remind myself that it is also a wonderful tool for people with constructive, legal, and rather lovely interests be that stamp, ornamental perfumes, first edition books or scents to come together rejoice in their shared passion and share their learning.
        Long may these new communities of shared interest flourish!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

      • rosestrang

        I agree Lilybelle,the internet is a great way to meet like-minded people, it’s lovely to meet you too!

      • Dearest Lily and Rose
        The Dandy wholeheartedly agrees. I do rather like to think of this place as little sort of community.
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

    • Dearest Rose
      That cursed word ‘frivolous’ applied with as much, if not more vehemence to fashion as fragrance (though sometimes behaviour in that branch of the arts does seem to invite it).
      It’s perhaps difficult to understand why such an apparently mild rebuke should seem to sound so harsh, at least to my ears, but you have captured it in the fact you keep your art and perfumed world apart: a fear that a love of fragrance will mean that we are not taken seriously by people who view scent trivially in any walk of life.
      And yet, this is insane when examined rationally: a perfume has as long and complex a gestation as practically any work of art, at least a great or even complex one, so by intellectual measures is no mean endeavour at the other end of the scale fragrance is an industry, its scale truly scary, and so economically this is a form to be reckoned with. Viewed this way ‘frivolous’ seems an obviously absurd charge, and yet it sticks… I wonder why and have suspicions part of which lurk in the depths of gender politics.
      To lighter, more heart-warming stuff. Your event at The Edinburgh Festival sounds inspiring, intriguing and enticing in equal measure. Do you have a date and details yet? If we can assist in spreading the word, we’d love to help in any way we can…
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • rosestrang

        You’re right it’s strange, when perfume is such a complex art, that some people see it as silly, there’s nothing frivolous about understanding complex chemistry!
        The perfume and arts event will be a one-off and the date is still to be confirmed, it will be in July or early August though, but once it is confirmed your kind offer to help spread the word will be a great help, many thanks Sir Dandy.

      • Dearest Rose
        *The Dandy doffs his cap*
        At your service, ma’am!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  4. Nena

    It’s not secret, but I do get people disapproving of it, particularly my parents. I also feel weird when I talk about it to other people.

    • Dearest Nena
      Ah, but life would not be life if one’s parents didn’t disapprove of something we did *The Dandy winks*.
      I bet secretly their rather glad you’re into something that, at heart, is perfectly wholesome!
      Yes, somes it can seem strange to talk about scent to others, I wonder if that is merely because one feels so passionately about it?
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  5. sebastian wybrew

    Not remotely secret! Relentlessly bore everybody because they will one day realise it is better for them to understand appreciate perfumery genius… like medicine or sagely advice (wisdom, not herbal)

    • Dear Mr Wybrew
      Welcome to The Dandy’s!
      So nice of you to join us and so good to see someone whose passion is most definitely ‘out of the bottle’.
      Of course, you’re right, until more of us stand up and are counted as adoring the aromatic the rest of the world will never come round to understanding perfumed perfection!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  6. I dare anybody to disapprove my hobby to my face! 😉

    Not only I’m very open about my love to perfume – and I always was, even in my pre-perfumista times, when I just loved wearing perfumes without knowing anything about them – but I’m actively recruiting! And I have at least a couple of “success stories” where I caused people to either start using perfumes or move onto better ones.

    • Dearest U
      Hurrah. I knew you could be replied upon for a typically robust response, and can I say just how much I’d like to be present when that poor unfortunate crosses your path!
      We need more ‘missionaries’ like you, I do try myself, offering my services as a guide to the olfactory world, and with some success… mostly it has to be said edging those with an existing interest into more complex and fascinating fragrant realms.
      The really tough cookies are the unscented: I fear for their souls.
      *He smiles and raises and eyebrow*.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

  7. Dear Mr Dandy

    I’m out and proud- everybody knows I love perfume and that I blog about it. However I do often find a need to explain that I do things on the meagre side so that people don’t think I am too decadent. I buy and wear cheap scent, I save the big requests for birthdays and Christmas, or I sell existing stuff to get a new bottle. I also borrow samples and often get sent samples for free. In real life I am cagey about how many bottles I own. It’s only double figures (not counting samples), so it would seem modest to a perfumista, but lavish to a “one bottle for special occasions” user.

    Leading from this subjetc, I would LOVE you to do a guilty pleasures forum! We can once more safely spill our souls among friends.

    Your friend
    IScent

    • Dearest Iscent
      In this ‘Age of Austerity’ (a term incidentally I detest, for, historically speaking, it is an insult to our ancestors) it would seem rather gauche to say the least to be seen to be splashing the cash when so many are struggling to bring home more essential consumables than scent.
      However, I often counter such arguments with comparison asking people how much they spend on clothes barely worn, DVDs watched once, books that could easily be borrowed from libraries (before they disappear), that’s before one thinks about those who smoke or drink more than perhaps they ought…
      In this context, scent, especially second-hand (surely vintage is just a bourgeois concept), decanted, remaindered or relatively cheap to start with is a very affordable luxury.
      It is also a work of art… and how many of those can one have around the home for just a few(-ish) pounds.
      And if someone can afford to collect the complete works of Guerlain, good for them. The Dandy has not a bone of envy in his body. After all it would take an awful lot of scent, of any description to buy a Bentley and few people judge those that drive them!
      Thanks for another fabulous forum idea… that could well come our way very, very soon!
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • Dear Mr Dandy

        You make a good point. I flinch at seeing handbags costing hundreds or even thousands of pounds. I don’t run a car and I’m not interested in shoes. I do have two small children whose needs must come first, of course, but I like to think that I am proof that scent can be done on any budget. Perfume needn’t be exclusive or elitist and my blog celebrates many budget friendly beauties alongside the occasional high end niche.

        I believe that perfume appreciation is like wine appreciation, but more inclusive, and nobody baulks at sommeliers!

        Your Friend
        IScent

      • Dearest Iscent
        Precisely!
        Why is having a few (hundred even) scents considered morally dubious when they probably wouldn’t pay for a new hub cap on a weekend sportscar so beloved of certain kinds of men of a certain age.
        Likewise, The Dandy doesn’t drive and loves to walk and cycle, so I convince myself that all that money saved on transportation pays for the heavenly cloud that I waft from place to place on!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

  8. SallyM

    I’m out and comfortably so about my perfume habit – most of my friends have known me for a long time and so are familiar with my long time addiction (collecting for nigh on 40 years). I’m perfectly fine with telling new folks about it – I’ve found that most are really fascinated – or at the least, interested. I don’t care if people think I’m dotty – in fact I welcome it as part of my maturing mystique 😉 …

    • Dearest Sally
      ‘Dotty’ is good, I’m all for being ‘funny peculiar’ as my grandmother used to say.
      And I agree, for all of those that are disapproving or hiss ‘frivolous’ through closed teeth there are an equal number who are truly fascinated. What’s more, in The Dandy’s experience, these individuals tend to be the people with a certain fascination for life in general, a joie de vivre, that makes them in turn all the more fascinating to know.
      Making their acquaintance at the expense of the other sort of folks is therefore a sort of blessing I suppose.
      Now an interesting experiment. Many people complain on perfume forums about ‘sales assistants’, not a term I think we really use in the UK. But how many people engage with those engaged in selling scent. I’ve found that many, though far from expert in the field, are intrigued when they meet someone who evidently knows more about their wares than anyone has ever bother to tell them before and have spent happy times talking about the history of fragrance, the houses, their manufacture and so forth. They have been drawn to this branch of retail because they have the inklings of an interest and yet that curiosity has been allowed to wither on the vine, perhaps we can spread a little of our collective ‘maturing mystique’ (a phrase I will now be forced to borrow incessantly) to nurture future generations of dotty perfume adorers here and elsewhere.
      Yours ever
      The Perfumed Dandy

      • SallyM

        Dear Mr Dandy,
        I have made some (I feel) interesting observations about SAs. I have met several different “types” in various establishments and have found that their enthusiasm and knowledge seems to be directly related to the establishment for whom they work. For instance, the staff at The Perfume House here in Portland are absolutely fantastic. Its a small, intimate boutique and they are passionate about what they do and totally invested in their customers and product – and not just from a sales point of view, they LOVE all things perfume. Then there is Sephora and Maizie, a complete hoot of an SA – early 20s, incredibly knowledgeable and no qualms about listening and swapping information for at least an hour and loading you up with gobs of samples. All of the SAs there are in that age bracket and all seem to be very personable and keen to help and LEARN from their customers as well – at least in this particular location. It would be interesting to go to another one in our area and see if I get the same response. THEN there is Maceys and Nordstrom…. dun dun dun!! Snooty, aloof, nitwits. The last time I was in Maceys, two TWO!!! SAs had never heard of Guerlain (excuse me while I take a sniff of smelling salts at the mere memory), one hadn’t heard of Shalimar when I feebly offered this as a prompt, the other knew Shalimar but actually said and I quote: “Oh no one wears Shalimar anymore”… It was at both establishments that I heard the hilarious admonishment “Don’t rub your wrists together as you’ll crush the perfume molecules” (excuse me while I roll around laughing for a minute). Here they are not interested in listening to what you have to offer and if you have the temerity to suggest something different from what they have been taught, they adopt a down-the-nose-look as if you are the poor country relation. In fact I mentioned the molecule crushing line to Maizie and she said ” Oh yes – we’re taught that here too – its ridiculous. Tell the SA you’ll just change into your Incredible Hulk outfit if they say it again.” (Have I mentioned how much I love Maizie?) …

      • Dearest Sally
        Please may I become an honorary ‘friend of Maizie’, she sounds wonderful! If only all were like her.
        We have too many supreme SAs here for me to mention every one, and interestingly not just at the boutique or very up-market department stores. Some of the most enthusiastic perfume retailers I’ve found are in quieter mainstream locations or even independent pharmacists who just carry scent because they always have done and like to (and consequently quite often have some splendid vintage gems hanging around). I have a particular favourite pair of chemists near the fringe of the city crammed with such bargains.
        But yes, there are those ‘training programme clones’ who feel equipped with the benefit of perhaps three hours training to patronise the world about perfume.
        No one wears Shalimar anymore!?! I have actually been told that it was discontinued!
        Then there was the hilarious moment when I was informed mid the chaotic move from one Miss Dior to the new (imposter) that ‘they haven’t changed the formula at all’. Too funny. Really that is how I handle it these days, I laugh in a gentle unconfrontational way as though I’ve been told a mildly amusing joke… this normally elicits a ‘why are you laughing’ type response and then I rejoin ‘…. but of course you know.’
        Then I have them hooked…
        Still though, I want to meet Maizie!
        Yours ever
        The Perfumed Dandy

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