Saturday, 8 March 2014

'Full juice count': sorting the lemmings from the lemons in my bottle collection

The loved-up lemming list
Over the six years that I have been bonkers about perfume, I have mostly managed to dodge those frequently asked questions along the lines of: 'What are your top twenty perfumes?' - or your top ten or top five or top three.  I always cite the sadly discontinued Guerlain Plus Que Jamais as my HG / 'top one' scent. It is a bit of a glib answer though, for there are a bunch of other perfumes all hustling around the podium for that coveted No 1 spot, and if I were to let them fight it out amongst themselves, I would not be overly bothered which one won.

Then, following a recent massive reorganisation of my perfume collection - the tedious and largely illogical principles of which I will spare you - I kept coming back to the idea that I would really love to own far fewer full bottles - maybe around 30, say, instead of well over twice that number.  I couldn't quite face sitting down with a blank piece of paper and compiling a list of which scents should be in the 30, so I decided to approach the question from another, more intellectually - and emotionally - forgiving angle.

I took a long hard look at my current collection of full bottles and asked myself which ones I would buy again if I had my time over.  But I still had to bear in mind the overall constraining factor of an upper limit of 30.  Otherwise, there was a real risk that I might keep a bunch of bottles that I like well enough, not least because they only cost me £10 on eBay or whatever.  I decided to strip price out of the equation and focus purely on which perfumes I would wish to hold on to for themselves, and not because - when considered in the round - they represented 'good value for money'.  And their 'selves' could include the appeal of the bottle, but for me that is generally a lesser factor.

My kneejerk HGS ~ Source: fragrantica

So that little whittling exercise stripped out a goodly number.  I managed to get the list down from 70(!) to 19.  Here they are in no particular order - not even alphabetical, and not all with a full complement of accents - how sloppy am I? ;)

Roja Dove Scandal
Bvlgari Black
Tom Ford Black Orchid Voile de Fleur
PG Brulure de Rose
Lancome Cuir de Lancome
Serge Lutens Un Lys
Kenzo Flower by Kenzo Oriental
The Different Company Bergamote
Le Labo Labdanum 18
En Voyage Perfumes Zelda
Diptyque Eau Duelle
Diptyque Volutes edt
Jo Malone Dark Amber & Ginger Lily
L’Artisan Parfumeur Séville à l'aube
Opium Fleur de Shanghai
Agent Provocateur L’Agent
Bal à Versailles edc
Sonia Rykiel Woman Not for Men!

Some of the 50-odd bottles that didn't make the cut may be featuring soon in this year's Bonkers Yard Sale, should anyone be interested in my cast offs...

Relative lemons languishing in the hall cupboard

So the next rather tricky job was to edit the list even further, so that I could add to it the next category of 'perfumes I wish I had bought instead'; again, money was no object.  You see where this is all going, don't you?  I shall arrive presently at my 30 favourite perfumes in the whole world (allegedly) in a few slightly deceiving stages, the way my mother used to encourage my brother and me when we were kids to complete a long walk: 'Just as far as that tree up ahead.'  And when we would reach said landmark, it was of course a false summit - or its level ground equivalent - because Mother would immediately announce brightly that we now only needed to walk as far as 'that lamppost a little bit further on'...

Long story short, the five perfumes listed in italics above didn't make the next round, to help make way for the following 16 additions:

Dawn Spencer Hurwitz Cimabue
Guerlain Plus Que Jamais (if it could be found!)
Ormonde Jayne Ta’if
Ormonde Jayne Tolu
Tom Ford Shanghai Lily
Chanel Bois des Iles
Ramon Monegal Ambra di Luna (another potentially reckless spontaneous purchase!)
Tauer Perfumes PHI
FM Carnal Flower
Annick Goutal Musc Nomade
Puredistance BLACK
Damien Bash Lucifer #3 
Robert Piguet Calypso
April Aromatics Unter den Linden
Neela Vermeire Creations Ashoka
Maison Kurkdjian APOM pour Femme

We want limes, not lemons! ~ Source:

I have to tell you that the very act of committing - even theoretically - to a collection of just 30 perfumes is pretty scary.  I note that my choices do tend to lean towards fuzzy, comforting orientals (woody, with vanilla or a kick of spice). This is notwithstanding the meteorological arrival of spring, though there are a smattering of blowsy feminine florals in there.  And you might well observe that as with clothes, so with perfumes, I am most definitely guilty of that classic 'buy the same top in every colourway' syndrome, or something perilously close to it in scent terms.  There is also a glaring omission of a bracing lemony cologne, but I couldn't make my mind up, so went for two orange ones instead.  And I have almost certainly put the odd perfume on there that I don't quite love enough, and forgotten several that I do.  Feel free to draw my attention to any such obvious anomalies.

Hmm, it is quite shocking to think that even if I didn't supplement the hard core of perfumes I am hanging on to with these imaginary acquisitions, there were in fact only another 5 or so on top of the 14 that I was really attached to - out of a starting point of 70.  Which begs the question of how I managed to clock up so many lemons. Or to mix metaphors somewhat, my stash turns out to be a veritable albatross sanctuary. Well, that is perhaps too strong a term for it - a sanctuary for 'moderately liked ex-lemmings' is the size of it. I could definitely undertake that analysis another time, but for now I am still reeling at the stark split between the keepers and the rest.  Many of the other bottles in my collection are nice enough as I say, and I might reach for them occasionally, but if I am going to settle on 30, they have to evoke a fiercer, more visceral kind of emotional connection, which I think is true of this combined list.  Or it is at the moment!  Being an incorrigible Flittersniffer, it goes without saying that I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.


And even though 30 is actually a pretty luxurious number - in the eyes of any normal person, surely! - there was still a fair amount of podium hustling by the also-rans, including Van Cleef & Arpels Gardénia Pétale, Prada Candy and L'Eau Ambrée, Amouage Honour Woman and Chanel No 5 Eau Première, to name but a few.  Then PG Aomassai and Jardins de Kerylos, Balenciaga Cristobal and Jasper Conran Woman, to name but a few more.

So if you have ever carried out a similar 'full juice count' - which I suppose one could equally well term a 'full dud count' -  what proportion of your current collection are you totally happy with?  I don't suppose anyone else has a ratio as low as 30%, to which my 19/70 equates?

This has been quite a sobering exercise, it must be said...I should perhaps rename my blog 'Clueless about Perfume'... ;)


  1. Dear Vanessa, wow so daring of you, both to make the list, to share with us your number of Albatrosses, and to downsize so radically. I have a real problem with making those lists myself, though I did take a quick look, and thankfully my ratio would be nothing like yours. Also, I feel that even if I might think right now that one specific perfume doesn't have to be in my collection, it might also be a seasonal thing, in as much as that it is actually difficult in the middle of winter to think that I'll ever wear a certain summer/ spring/ autumn frag. However, I am actually quite happy with my perfumes, and I don't feel the need to downsize. I also find that my wishlist isn't that big, and it takes a lot to add to it.
    And on a last note, how happy I am to see Unter den Linden on your list :-)

    1. Hi Asali,

      Lovely to hear from you, and thanks for commending my bravery. I should stress that as of this moment it is all fairly theoretical, as I have yet to take steps to weed my collection, and have no plans to buy any of the 16 putative additions. I realised as I was doing this reorganisation that I wanted to have my favourite full bottles within easy reach, ditto my favourite decants and samples. So all but two of the 16 additions I do actually have a small amount of. I guess the 50 or so I like moderately would have been better off as decants or even samples - that is the big lesson I have learnt.

      I am very pleased to learn that your ratio is more healthy - wouldn't be hard for it to be! ;) And I am well aware of seasonal bias, and am tempted to try the exercise again in the summer if we have a heatwave. That could be illuminating!

      Re Unter den Linden, I am going to Berlin soon - twice in the same week, no less - so will be holding my wallet close to my chest. Or that is the plan.

  2. I've thought of doing this but it's sort of like coming face to face with the ghosts of my past so I usually opt to just leave things on the shelf and not dwell on how many bottles are there. I will admit that there are a few that are headed for the swap heap. Like almost anything else I find that when I get rid of something there will be a time in the not too distant future that I will need or want it again. I'm trying to narrow it down to just the loves but it's a slow process for me.

    1. Hi Poodle,

      I was most interested to learn of your MO / game plan on these matters. Like you, I am very wary of letting something go completely because I do have this annoying habit of coming round to perfumes much much later. Am in a Carnal Flower phase for example - that's a surprise. And I never used to like Tolu and put it in the 'overly herbal amber Ambre Sultan' bag. Wrongly, as I now believe. So whether the wellbeing that will come from the purging will be offset by a few additional mistakes as albatrosses are set free remains to be seen...

  3. As I many times feel like the house is imploding on me with various knick knacks, kitchen items, etc. that seem to seep from every closet and room, the only additions that I bring in to the house are perfumes. To ensure that those don't get out of hand, I got a tray in my closet that when it gets filled, that's enough buying. I have learned that selling on eBay is relatively easy too :)

    1. Hi Steve,

      I like your trick of confining the perfumes to a particular area - in the sense of restricting the physical space they can occupy. That's a neat idea. And maybe I should investigate eBay - I haven't sold anything on there before.

  4. Enjoyed your post, Vanessa - especially as I am keen on knowing what core group of perfumes make up a person's "top ten (twenty or thirty)" list, because that really gives me a good sense of a person's tastes. I would never have taken you for a "spice girl" (no pun or reference to the UK girl band intended), but there is actually a fair number of spicy scents in your list.

    I have a collection just over 60, if I don't count the bottles purchased for my husband. Of this number, I could probably get rid of 20 and not miss them in a big way. I think I could cull a further 10 more after that, and though I'd miss them at certain times of the year (I'd miss Un Lys in spring, and Bigarade Concentree around the Christmas holidays, when orange notes appeal to me), I could certainly let them go and just enjoy a core group of 30 perfumes. Don't think I'd like to go below that number, though. :-)

    1. Hi Suzanne,

      It was an enlightening exercise to me too to find out whether what I felt were my fragrance family leanings would be borne out by my ruthless culling - and it pretty much was the case. The increasingly spicy twist also surprises me! I think my skin is changing and perfumes that once read as 'strong/heady', or 'very sweet' or 'very spicy' by and large come across as more muted nowadays. Hence the inclusion of Carnal Flower, which seemed to vanish altogether after a couple of hours. Other low level spicy contenders that were also 'bubbling under' the top 30 were Safran Troublant and Dior Ambre Nuit, plus Carner Barcelona Rima XI.

      Was interested to hear what quantity of your own collection you could purge without too much of a backward glance. I agree that below 30 feels a bit harsh - well, 25 is my absolute rock bottom number, not that I need to make myself drop further! That is the beauty of theoretical exercises. ;)

  5. I think you should be proud of the 30% success rate. I've been exploring perfumes for over 20 years, and quite some time back wrote a list of all the perfumes I remembered ever buying, which I then kept updating. it's now over 100. Many were used up or given away, and last year a head count came to 50. It still seemed to be too many, and I hatched a plan to reduce to around 24-36 (number vaguely related to seasons for no real reason, but interesting how your 30 is bang in the middle). The first cull was very easy, I found 10 to part with, no bother, and have not missed them. Losing 10 more would be more difficult, but not impossible. Quite honestly, I think only around 24 are absolute must-haves.
    It's an alarming static! Due in part to my real preferences being different to those I would like to think I have (I will keep buying 'intellectual' and much praised chypres, which I hugely admire but don't really wear). However I comfort myself by remembering all the enormous fun I had buying and wearing for a time those that ultimately were albatrosses. Maybe, in the end, it's the journey rather than the number of 'wins' that counts.
    Love the blog

    1. Hi Alice,

      Thanks so much for dropping by. I do worry that Bonkers is a bit self-indulgent as blogs go, and this post particularly so, so I am happy that it has struck a chord with readers - I am very much enjoying hearing people's take on optimum collection size and how painful the whittling process would be / has been for them. ;) This figure of 30 seems to be a magic number many of us pick as an ideal goal, albeit for various reasons. Good luck with your own downward progress towards the 24 or 30 or whatever it ends up being!

      I think I had the opposite problem to you, namely that historically I didn't buy *enough* niche. I did at least steer well clear of 'intellectual' perfumes and chypres, which like you are not really my bag.

      And you make a very significant point at the end of your comment about it being more about the journey than the number of 'wins'. For it is true that I loved what I loved for a while, even if I moved on / had a complete volte-face etc later. DKNY Cashmere Mist I am looking at you. ;) I do try to apply that logic in fact to many of my decisions in life, from the men I have dated to the clothes I have worn, and the houses I have lived in - so it is salutary to think of perfume purchases in similar terms.

  6. Hi Vanessa, How peculiar that your comfortable figure was thirty, mine was too when I did my cull a few months ago. For me 30 represents 3 Fragrantica shelves so a drop off the edge requires a new virtual shelf, which feels wrong! That said, some of my 'thirty' are miniatures so it's even more frugal.
    Sadly one of my very favourites, Dior - Escale Aux Marquises, ended up culling itself having acquired an unpleasant suicidal varnish top note despite nestling in a cool cupboard for the last two years. I was sad.

    It seems that we are fairly sensible in our amounts as I've seen the most gargantuan collections after my blog piece about numbers. The financial rewards of my cull led to the purchase of Jour D' Hermes and a rare tester bottle of Chanel No. 5 Elixir Sensuel. Despite the fact that I write a lot about niche, I seem to be turning to the high street more frequently for my own fumes.. However, if you end up having an Ormonde Jayne spendathon at some point do tell me, maybe we could do sharesies on the purse sprays sets, I'd love Tolu, Orris Noir or Ta'if..

    1. Hi Sarah,

      It's the magic 30 again, how funny? ;) The concept of Fragrantica shelves adds a new twist but I see how that would work. If you also have a few miniatures in there your collection really does sound well edited / modest. It is upsetting when a beloved fragrance goes off. That happened with me with Givenchy Le De, and latterly also with Ines de La Fressange, albeit that was one of the albatrosses. I didn't list it or the Le De, though I still have the bottles, as they were eliminated on QA grounds. ;)

      I am glad that you have been able to expand your collection again but in a more focused and controlled manner. I agree that the high street does have some gems. I might be up for an OJ split one day, and am also plotting a Tauer one with a friend in Germany. But not till PHI comes back in stock...

  7. Vanessa, I agree that this was brave. Much easier to focus on the perfumes you wouldn't miss rather than aiming to compile your top 30. Really enjoyed reading about your choices.

    I honestly think you've done OK at 70 considering a lot of them were £10 purchases on ebay - they barely count!

    I have about 25 perfumes I'm happy with and about 3 I could do without. One is a Mitsouko parfum tester which I can't sell on ebay. BTW do you like PG Gardenia Grand Soir because I won a bottle. I realise this is rather sabotaging your efforts here ;)

    1. Hi Tara,

      Thanks for saying my bargain buys don't count, hehe. There were a fair few of those, it must be said. The second stage of the exercise - the topping up of the whittled down list - was particularly challenging, because of course of the dizzying amount of choice involved. A Mitsouko parfum tester? That is what that Viennese shop in Stafford was selling. My solicitor bought it in the end. I don't know if she is looking for a back up bottle, but Mitsouko is her signature scent so I can always ask for you. You must let me know what sort of figure you are after.

      Re Gardenia Grand Soir I think I tried it and wasn't massively moved by it, but I can't rightly recall. I had issues with Chanel Gardenia and Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, so maybe it was another one of those. Would be curious to try it again though, if you had a sample from your bottle for me to try?

  8. Not sure what my number is, but I do have a space limit: two mirrored trays/the top of my bureau. Just about at the one in/one out point, if I can in fact do that with perfume the way I have been doing with clothes...AnnieA

    1. Hi AnnieA,

      Aha - another person with physical space constraints - it really is an idiotproof solution. I have a little cloth box that might also serve the purpose and which holds just about 30 bottles. Good for you for adopting the 'one in, one out' principle with clothes! Very commendable.

  9. Great post! I read it last night, went to bed and spent probably an hour going in my head through the list of perfumes I would want in my collection (regardless of whether I currently have them as a full bottle or not). It wasn't hard since just two days agoI updated my Perfume Portrait on the blog - so I remembered most of the perfumes.

    I came up with 40 perfumes that would cover my current perfume interests and of which I would want to have more than a decant if I were to rebuild the collection not taking money aspect into the account (though, for most of them I would be more than happy with 20-30 ml bottles).

    Today I went through the actual list and I can tell that while my ideal set of perfumes for use was very close to what I have, my collection is much wider but I do not want to do anything about it.

    I have a set of bottles that I got from somebody as a gift or as a waste basket replacement ("I don't need this one and you collect perfumes"). I do not plan on using them but it feels wrong to do anything about them.

    I have bottles (15 ml) that came as a part of the set with the one that I wanted to get and didn't cost me anything (it was cheaper to buy as a set than to go just for the perfume I wanted) - I do not know what to do with those.

    I have bottles that I bought for the bottles themselves, not planning to use perfumes (Feerie, Floral Curiosities books) - so they are a part of my collection but not for wearing.

    And I have a big number of perfumes from my pre-parfumista days. Most of those bottles are 3/4 empty - and I would have finished them if it wasn't for the onset of my new perfume life with a lot of testing and finding much better perfumes. But now those bottles are just apart of my past: I don'tplan to wear them but - even if I could find another home for them (in whichI'mnot sure) - I feel strangely attached to them and would rather let them "die at home".

    My goal for the collection is to buy for wearing only those perfumes that I like a lot (in the smallest brand's bottle available) and to find the best possible deals for those that I want in my collection for any other reason.

    1. Hi Undina,

      Oh, how funny that my post prompted you to review your own - to my mind - perfectly curated collection, though as you say, it sounds as though you were more or less there with your revamped Perfume Portrait - I must take a look at that. I didn't say so overtly, but I agree with you that I would be happy with 20-30ml of most of my hypothetical collection, though of course it simply isn't possible most of the time to acquire perfumes in such a sensible size.

      I was not surprised to learn that your ideal list approximates much more closely than mine does to what you own, even if you have more perfume bottles overall than that. You do seem to take your time over purchases, draining samples and decants first, and planning the next acquisition quite methodically, with only occasional spontaneous lapses!

      I enjoyed hearing how different perfumes came to be in your collection - I can relate to the gift route, but not the others. Instead of 'pre-perfumista' days, I could cite 'early perfumista' days when I had only discovered mainstream scents and was buying stuff left and right without much thought to it! But like you, there is something sentimental about those old purchases - even Cashmere Mist reminds me vividly of the very first weeks of awe and wonder as I cruised eBay and read Osmoz and Basenotes till I was cross-eyed. Maybe I will let some of those bottles 'die at home' - your expression cracked me up! ;)

  10. Vanessa, I've been thinking lately about culling my collection of bottles (I don't think decants will ever get that consideration) and each time I go about thinking I should get rid of some bottles, I have to battle my own sentimental connection to them.
    Or they are no longer available so I should hold on to them.
    Or they are a collector's dream (different versions of Shalimar) so they add to the collection. :-)

    But when I really think about the perfumes I wear most often, a trend emerges that I really only use around 30% of the bottles I own, the rest get very little rotation (the same goes for decants as I don't want to use them up before I got a review out of them). :-)
    But I think I'm finally getting to the place where I can feel perfectly fine with a smaller collection of bottles - and when I say smaller, I'm thinking about Suzanne's collection size. :-)

    1. Hi Ines,

      Loved hearing your thoughts on your own collection. For starters, I agree that decants do not count. ;) I suffer from 'collector's dream' syndrome and general sentimental attachment, for sure.

      And how interesting that you only use about 30% of the bottles you own - that is uncannily similar to my whittling exercise. I take it that when you mentioned the size of Suzanne's collection, you meant about 60 rather than the smaller size she said she could live with...? ;)

    2. I definitely meant 60. :D I can't even think about going under that.
      60 is already quite a removal by itself...

    3. Haha, I thought you did, but thanks for the clarification! ;)

  11. Oh Vanessa, you're a brave, brave woman for undertaking such a task of epic, immeasurable proportions. I'm not sure I could ever whittle down my collection in the way that you have; I'm attached to the bottles I seldom wear as it is!

    1. Hi Joshua,

      Thanks for saying I am brave and that the task was epic! It did seem to be triggered by wanting to have better access to my favourite bottles and decants, and sort of spiralled out of control from there. I am quite glad though, as it was fun finding out that woody / gourmand orientals and sultry feminine florals really are my favourite categories at the moment. If you don't feel the urge to cull your collection I don't see anything wrong with that. It comes down to whether one feels more 'attached' or more 'oppressed' by what one owns, and I was leaning towards the latter.

  12. I do NOT EVEN WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS. Though I really should. I have far too many mini bottles and far too many bottles that I pass over in favor of something else I love more... Just. I don't want. to. do it.

    I really should not even buy decants.

    1. Hi mals86,

      It's painful all right, even on a purely theoretical basis, but on balance more salutary and edifying than not....;) I have a hundred decants, so I really shouldn't buy those either, but I do!

  13. I like the way you approached this, but even more than your method, what stood out was how un-tame a lot of those scents were. Are you a bombshell-scent-lover in disguise?

    1. Hi Natalie,

      That's a very good observation about my growing appetite for stronger scents - it has just kind of snuck up on me but the evidence is clearly there in my selection of 30 perfumes. I think it is a mid-life crisis of some kind - you know, falling oestrogen, bump up the sillage - or something compensatory along those lines... ;)

  14. Oh Vanessa, I did cackle at this since I have been agonizing over the very same process and suspect darkly that a house move is in the works this year. Don't have sixty or even thirty but DO have TOO many.

    Accordingly you should PM me, as I think there are some overlaps between your acquisition list and my de-listing list.

    1. Hi Blacknall,

      You think 30 too many, hehe? I am not sure I should even be encouraging you to de-list further but of course I am very intrigued. Will be in touch...;)

  15. This has been on my mind a bit lately, as the universe is conspiring to have me not wear perfume at all! My husband gets migraines and often scent is a trigger. It has gotten worse since we met, so I've mostly just worn perfume at work. Then 7 months ago, I had twin girls and one of them has eczema. While they often grow out of it, we are advised not to use any kind of scent or scented products on ourselves or her, due to her sensitive skin! So I really don't have much use for all my perfume these days. I ended up bringing about 10 scents to work so I can put them on at work, and not infect our house with fragrance by spritzing there!

    But I'm not too worried about getting rid of stuff. My collection of full bottles are mostly from ebay or discounters, so nothing that could be easily sold or even given away. The rest are a mix of niche/high end decants, which not easily sold either. So I'm just keeping everything for now. And they aren't taking up too much space. If we had to move or something, then I would certainly end up getting rid of things. I may start putting things up for free that I know I won't be using (heavier scents) in the Perfume Posse fairy grandmother posts.

    1. Hi odonata9,

      Nice to hear from you again! So sorry to learn of your husband's migraines and your daughter's eczema, and how this has relegated your perfume use to the workplace. Let's hope your employer doesn't go and create a fragrance-free zone there!

      I know what you mean about the mainstream stuff being hard to shift - that has been my own experience. I would have assumed a market for the high end decants though. I like the sound of the Perfume Posse 'fairy grandmother' posts, which I should only really check out in the capacity of donor, not recipient!

  16. Wow, what a collection! I don't have even a quarter of what you own, but I can certainly understand the obsession behind it (as well as debating whether to keep something for the bottle or if you really like it). I would probably have the same amount or close to it if I had the means. :) I'd love to take some off your hands...I am but a beginner in this delicious world of perfume, and I love reading your posts keep them coming!

    1. Hi Lian,

      I am glad you are enjoying Bonkers! On the subject of collection size, 'stay relatively small' would be my advice to you, even if you suddenly became flush with cash. Or plan your purchases more thoroughly than I did, and after gaining more of a handle on what you do and don't like. My taste has gone through so many twists and turns, a lot of it quite early on. It's a bit like marrying your high school sweetheart - you may get lucky first time round, but as a general rule it is probably a good idea to date a few more people (ie samples and decants!) first before settling down...;)

      Oh, and I am thinking of having a bottle sale soon, so keep an eye out for that in case I am putting up anything that might catch your fancy.

    2. I've been thinking about collection reduction just this week. My collection is about eighty bottles--not counting samples but counting manufacturer's minis like the Hermes discovery set. It fits in three breadboxes and three modest-sized (a bit smaller than a shoebox) cardboard boxes, plus tiny drawers that add up to roughly another of those boxes. (That volume does include the samples.) I find that lately I don't look at it and say, "Pretty!" but instead, "I could really use that shelf space." And more than once lately I've wondered, "Do I already own that?" It's time to take action. :)

      My reduction is about space, rather than count--at least for now. I intend to keep cutting until I've eliminated one breadbox and one cardboard box, and then re-evaluate the next cutting goal. I've already identified a couple of dozen bottles to get rid of, though they were mostly easy kills--the remains of the long-ago Drugstore Experiment, and various impulse minis. Only four or five were real "wow, that was a waste of money" purchases. I'm just going to give them all away--Postal Regulation Phobia still reigns.

      Oh, and I already got rid of all the boxes.

      If I figured out what I would re-buy if, say, the whole collection were stolen and I could use the insurance money to replace bottles or pocket the cash....I suspect that my dud rate would be as bad as yours, possibly worse. I would hurry to buy No. 19, Shiseido White Rose, Cepes & Tuberose, L'Eau Rare Matale, Sushi Imperiale...

      And, y'know, I have to stop and think after that. Yeah, I want UnLysTeaForTWoCristalleCuirDeRussieTubereuseCoutureWildRosesGuilt and many, many more, but...I really can imagine living with just those five.


      I think that the main conclusion from this is that I ought to buy another bottle of Cepes & Tuberose. I don't believe in backup bottles, but my present bottle is Really Very Small.

      As a side note, I may have mentioned my past "Playmobil habit"--I used to buy a modest-sized Playmobil toy and take great pleasure in unpacking it and snapping the pieces together and posing the figures, and then never play with it again. I finally realized that for me, a Playmobil toy is a pleasurable consumable, rather like a cocktail--and often cheaper. As long as I gave it away to some parent with a child, I decided not to feel guilty. I think that it wouldn't always be bad for a bottle of perfume to also be a pleasurable consumable, enjoyed for a few weeks and passed on to someone else.

    3. Hi Martha,

      I really enjoyed hearing your thoughts on your current stash and plans to downsize - and perhaps also theoretically rebuild your collection along somewhat different lines. I was also impressed that you could live with just five scents! Speaking of which, I have a small decant of L'Eau Rare Matale (about 3ml at a guess) to which I am not particularly attached. PM me if you would like to give it a home - as you know, I cock a snook at postal regulations, even though they have become more draconian of late, at least as regards sending stuff to the USA.

      I also love your analogy with the Playmobil toy - maybe perfume should be seen partly as a 'pleasurable consumable' - I can certainly think of a number of bottles that would fit into that category. Too many, indeed!

  17. Girl, You are solid stainless steel. Even thinking about it gives me the collywobbles.
    Good for you.
    Can't wait for the garage sale.
    Portia xxx

    1. Hi Portia,

      Oh you are funny. ;) I did have the garage sale, but I think another one is on the cards for sure! xx

  18. You are brave.
    I am happy to see that Zelda is a keeper for you.

    1. Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for stopping by and I'd say most definitely re Zelda. I have since also discovered Captured in Amber and Fiore di Bellagio, both lovely in very different ways.