Candy Perfume Boy’s Fragrance A-Z – F is for Five Golden Rules

“Thomas AKA The Candy Perfume Boy takes you on a journey around the fragrance world with ‘The Escentual A-Z of Fragrance’ a fun and fragrant ride that gives you all you need to know – the notes, the brands and the perfumers – to become a true fragrance addict/nerd”

You might not think it with the arctic weather conditions but today marks the first day of April. A day that is normally used for mischievous hijinks and trickery – I am of course referring to April Fools Day. I thought long and hard about potential tomfoolery for today’s post, however I have opted to instead be nice and continue my A-Z of Fragrance with Five Golden Rules that any newbie perfume nerd would simply be a fool to ignore…


1. Try as Much as You Can

The best way that any budding perfume nerd can ascertain what they do, and more importantly – what they don’t like is by trying as many perfumes as they can. After all, exploration is key to defining taste and fine tuning one’s nose to better understand and interpret smells.

When sampling always make sure to try perfume on skin and over time. It’s an urban myth that perfume smells different on each person (the variations are minimal – the difference tends to be in our perceptions of a scent) but it is true that a perfume will smell significantly different on your skin than it does on a paper tester strip.

Dab or spray something on your skin and keep sniffing it throughout the day, you may love the top notes but as the scent develops it will change, therefore it’s important to live with it from start to finish to see if you love every aspect of it.

Escentual offers some great ‘Try Before You Buy’ sample sets where you can try a whole perfume line and receive a voucher towards the purchase of a full bottle. I would personally recommend that anyone who wants to be serious perfume nerd treats themselves to a whole world of weird by checking out the Etat Libre d’Orange Discovery Set as a starting point.


2. Wear What YOU Like

It seems clichéd to say that perfume is very personal but it’s true – the perfume(s) a person wears are a reflection of their personality. Through a perfume one can communicate whether they are feeling fierce (in both attitude and fashion), vulnerable, sexy, trashy or beautiful.

Your perfume acts as fragments of your soul flung into the air and shared by those around you so it stands to reason that you should always wear what you like and what makes you feel comfortable.

Ignore labels such as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’, a perfume does not have genitalia (trust me I’ve checked) therefore gender classifications are there to be broken – be as butch and feminine as you like and dare to be different. There is no right or wrong when it comes to perfume, just differences of opinion.


3. Create a Wardrobe

Perfume and fashion often go hand-in-hand with many fashion labels having their own successful perfume lines that compliment their clothing. Like fashion, perfume is versatile and with the wealth of scent out there it is safe to say that there is something for every occasion and mood.

That said, you don’t need 400 perfumes in your collection, one to suit every day or mood but it’s always good to have a number of ‘key pieces’ that are versatile enough to meet your needs. I’d recommend having something dressy for formal occasions, something fun and over-the-top for nights out, something introverted for those introspective days and a fail -safe option that can be dragged out to fill the spaces inbetween.

What each of those perfumes may be is entirely up to you!


4. Sniff the Classics

With a whopping 1,200+ launches per year it’s very easy to get bogged down in all that is new. As a perfume blogger this is the cardinal sin that I find myself often committing – chasing after each new launch, trying all that is new and often forgetting about the good and the great of the past.

If you are a serious perfume nerd or a perfume nerd in the making you owe it to yourself to sniff the classics. Educate yourself with perfumes such as Guerlain’s Jicky, Shalimar and Mitsouko as well as Chanel 5 and more modern classics such as YSL’s Opium and Paris and Dior’s Poison.

By looking at the past one can see the path to the future and when viewing the classics one will realise that the outlook is definitely positive.


5. Talk About It

If there is one thing I have learned on my perfume journey it is that 90% of the fun comes from talking with like-minded enthusiasts about the subject. Good discourse is a great way to form opinions and learn about all aspects of perfumery.

There are a million and one perfume blogs and forums out there, each with their own individual view points on the subject of perfume. Join them, read them, discuss, argue and heap praise on to the perfumes you love and trash those that you don’t.

Only by talking about perfume will we convince the rest of the world of the importance of our most vital and underrated sense – smell.


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  • The Perfumed Dandy

    Dear Candy
    Excellent advice regarding the classics.
    On my own adventures I have discovered that many of the more established fragrances have stayed around for good reason… they are excellent!
    A perhaps more controversial (though less so these days one feels) tip would be: “Do not be constrained by your gender.”.
    I find all the time that many fragrances marketed at females works as well if not better on men… also people with preconceived ideas of what ‘women’s scent’ actually smells like should try a few like Estee Lauder’s Azuree, Chanel’s No 19 or as you wisely point out Guerlain’s Mitsouko (Charlie Chaplin’s favlourite no less).
    Yours ever
    The Perfumed Dandy