Perhaps the most interesting consequence of working in this industry since your teens is an in-depth knowledge and awareness of the fragrances that you enjoy. While my friends began their perfume education with gifts (or, more often than not, by ‘borrowing’ bottles they found in my bathroom), I was fortunate enough to be in contact with an array of fragrances on an almost daily basis. This, as you can probably imagine, made me something of a scent related authority amongst my peers.
In those early days, the one thing my friends and I all agreed on though was, that when it came to brands, bigger was unquestionably better. We saw Versace posters everywhere, so aspired to wear Blue Jeans. D&G Masculine was in the NME, so became as essential an accessory as torn jeans and a pair of Converse (when attending a gig by the latest obscure indie band to promote a hit – number 42 -) single!).
As time went on, however, I felt well versed enough to try something a little different. And, like an eighteen year old faced with a wine menu for perhaps the third or fourth time, I was fearless. Don’t worry, chaps, I’ve got this! Out went the big brands, disregarded in the manner usually reserved for the type of commercial sell-outs who had the temerity to write a number one hit. I was suddenly enthralled by the charm of niche, artisan fragrances which none of my friends had heard of. And therein lay the problem. These brands were extraordinary, but I wanted them to remain my secret. I didn’t want them to sell out, and have a number one single. These were scents for me and me alone…
Of course the truth, as I now realise, is that the brand matters little. There are global scents that I adore, and niche fragrances that I struggle with and vice versa. What really matters when finding ‘your’ fragrance is to discover something that makes you feel sharp and confident whenever and wherever you wear it. And if it happens to have been crafted by a little known artisan perfumery…do make sure to let your friends know about it!