Tag Archives: perfume bloggers

Keyboard Karma


- Or…the problem with perfume bloggers…

The day, the day, the wonderful day arrived when The Perfume Magazine hit the pixels and went live last Saturday, and legions of perfumoholics – and perfumoholic bloggers – dropped all weekend plans to read it.

Well, I did. In so doing, I came across an op-ed by Raymond Matts entitled ‘Perfume Bloggers – You Have To Love Them!’

If you haven’t read it already, please do.

Now, op-eds are supposed to be provocative. But this one was a bit more than that…this one pushed several buttons (to state it politely), and I stewed for a few days wondering whether I should look the writer up and respond. On the one hand, it was rather nice to be noticed as a group. But on another level, something rubbed this cat’s fur in all the wrong directions.

I’d be damned if I were intimidated! So I wrote him back as follows:

Raymond, congratulations on becoming a commenter/contributor for The Perfume Magazine (something many of us are thoroughly stoked about), and thank you for your commentary about perfume bloggers! It’s always nice to know that someone besides perfumers and other perfume bloggers acknowledges our existence.
However, as a perfume blogger myself, I feel compelled to comment back to you. There are, I agree, far too many bloggers too entrenched in the pyramid mindset, determined to fit their descriptions of perfumes into them if it kills them – or their writing skills! I also wholeheartedly agree with your statement that there’s far too many perfumes and not nearly enough imagination – mostly!
Where I do take umbrage with your commentary is where you mention that you want to read what we smell – in other words, you want the perfume blogger to communicate that sense of transport only a perfume can give you. With all due respect, there are those among us who try very hard to do just that – and as I’m sure you know, this is a writing challenge of no small order! When I became a perfume blogger, I realized that I could never do what so many of the most distinguished among them do so well – take a perfume apart by the seams, so to say.
Instead, I attempt within that constricting corset of verbiage to convey a sense of the genie in the bottle – in other words, the story the perfumer is seeking to tell – to the best of my abilities to communicate what is essentially a non-verbal art form.
Isn’t that what you say is lacking in the perfume blogosphere?
Sincerely,
Tarleisio of Scent Less Sensibilities

Lo and behold, a few hours later, this ticked into my inbox:

Thank you for your email. Please don’t take umbrage with the commentary. It really was meant to get blogger’s thinking about what they write. Writing about liquid emotion, something that is not tangible is extremely difficult. It is one of the hardest aspects of what I do. There is a lot to our industry behind the scenes that many do not know about and we get upset at times reading the nasty remarks from those trying to feel self-important.

A good blogger will not be offended and instead will agree with me that there are many who bring down the image of bloggers and the good they can do. I’m equally as harsh with magazines and their rote way of writing.
I’ve struggled in this industry to bring newness and have lost much because I’m one of the few holding on to bringing signature. I’m labeled too creative and this is a bad thing. If we are to become better at what we do.. then criticism of all kinds is and should be welcomed. Only, and I stress “only” when there is substance and knowledge from the source. There is way too much second and third hand information being regurgitated. This I don’t appreciate!
Sadly, I can tell you that many perfumers today do not have a story with their creations. Many fragrances even in the niche market are not really creative in structure and character. The “newness” is more in the story than the actual creation of what we smell. Many fragrances don’t have a story, and if they do they are contrived.
None of this is directed towards you, I merely am sharing some of my thoughts. For the record, as I was labeled a “Pompous Ass” by one blogger for the commentary… I can only say, I’m not a writer nor do I pretend to be. My piece was to get those who critique to not always chastise our creations. In many instances the fragrance we do are not what we want to either. It is the reason I will launch my own line. Trust me, many people will not like as it will rid a structure of heaviness and notes overused in our industry.
I can be honest in saying I don’t like many of the fragrances on the market. I find them old and antiquated and lacking in signature and substance. I find them offensive and invading my personal space to enjoy. However, I can appreciate at times the artistic talent and that someone out there loves the style. For this reason I do not write or critique fragrances, yet I’ve every right to as I understand formulas, balance, strength and character.
My real point was to have knowledge before one critiques… and make one dream.

See, if he had only said so much in the op-ed….and said it quite so well! Since we had now established a dialogue, and since I’m that kind of blithering idiot Joan of Arc, back I waded into the fray, and in half an hour, no kidding, I knocked out…

I’m very pleased to meet you and even happier you took the time and the trouble to write me back so quickly – so thank you for that, too! Dialogue is a wonderful thing – for one, it gets people talking, exchanging opinions and information – and if it’s done with mutual respect and consideration, how can that possibly be bad?
I’ve worked in the media industry myself (although from a different perspective as an art director), so I know all about the uninspired and regurgitated PR that gets hurled around and passed off for original copy. Too often it’s heavily prompted by the big advertisers, and simply becomes covert ad copy that most readers will never even realize, alas.
With bloggers, however, the scenario is rather different. As bloggers, we are always, before anything else, opinionators in the sense that we’re shilling our opinions, exhibiting our writing skills or lack thereof and our ability to critique an art form that might just be the hardest of all to critique – nothing is more subjective than our sense of smell, simply for bypassing our abilities to articulate and head straight for the jugular of our emotions and memories in our amygdalas.
I agree with you completely that there is an appalling lack of vision in perfume today – which is to say, most mainstream perfumes and even a few hotly touted niche lines. Reformulations and target demographics have all but killed ‘perfume’…to an extent where I can hardly take any new mainstream releases seriously any more – no genies lurk in those bottles, waiting to come out and share their stories, and very, very few perfumers are willing to even dare tell them – although there are definite exceptions to that rule. You wonder what would have happened to the Ernest Daltroffs, the Jacques Guerlains, the Edmund Roudnitskas, the Jean Carles and Guy Roberts of the world if there were around today – creating to marketing briefs aimed only at the 15-25 age demographic…It makes me sad, but on the other hand, we still have those exceptions – people who believe in what they do, who believe in their customers, who have that vision, that fire and that inspiration where the exceptional can happen. That could be you and your creative vision, too!
Since becoming a perfume blogger myself, I’ve stuck my nose in an awful lot of…awful! Uninspired, poorly constructed, contrived messes without one remarkable idea or inspiration. But I’ve also had my nose blown to smithereens by the kind of originality, creativity and vision that does give me a little hope for the future – a future I look forward to following and exploring further. I can only hope I’m able to find the words to do them justice – and even if I don’t always feel I succeed, it’s not for lack of care or application. I wish this applied to the perfume blogging community as a whole, but you and I know too well – that’s not the case!
Anyone can write anything – right or wrong, with knowledge and insight or without – on a blog and pass it off as something other than it is – opinion. Once, I tried to pass off my opinions as nothing more or less – only to discover that there were stories that wanted to be told, genies that waited in those bottles and vials, dreams that wanted to manifest. As time went on, my tastes evolved and my horizons expanded, the storyteller I’ve always been overran the opinionator, which is the only way I’m able to enjoy the process of what I do – to find those bottled dreams and breathe them alive – first for myself and by extension for my readers.

OK. Here’s the postulate he claimed: That most perfume bloggers have an appalling lack of imagination – no surprise, given that so many releases are so uninspiring – and try to impale their prose down upon that often obsolete architectural perfume construct called …a scent pyramid. They also more or less sit at their keyboards armed with their rapier words ready to tear apart anything that isn’t up to some impossible standards of perfection – or torn to shreds on that infamous scent pyramid.

Gosh. I’ve so been reading all the wrong blogs – because I don’t read any blogs that do! Or if I do, it’s never for long…snark for its own sake is so off-putting. Once upon a time, I was so down on my luck that reading perfume blogs was the only perfume I could afford apart from Dove Body Cream. (No joke!) When I think back on that incredible mass of talent that taught me so much – Helg of PerfumeShrine, Carmencanada of Grain de Musc, the gorgeous gals of the Perfume Posse, to name but three Major Inspirations – all I could do was to sit back, enjoy that fragrant prose and dream impossible dreams of the day I got to smell all those wonders. If that’s not a manifestation of imagination, I don’t know what is.

Here’s what I believe, heart, nose, head and soul: Anyone can learn to write about anything at all in a coherent, readable manner – even those who choose that notoriously tough subject of perfume. Some of those who do will be more…entertaining, evocative, provocative or readable than others, but that applies to anything on the NY Times bestseller list – or the blogosphere. Have soapbox. Will foam at keyboard.

Talent is talent – some writers cultivate what they have – this applies to all the blogs I personally read, listed on the right – and some choose the easy road of snark and snide superiority to make up for their own lack thereof. Their choice. Some of us perfume bloggers are factual, and some of us are not. Some of us write about other things than perfume – some of us don’t.

But we are all of us…communicators, trying to communicate our passion for our subject matter as well as our talent, skills and our vocabularies will allow, bearing in mind that we are essentially trying to describe the indescribable…that rollercoaster ride in a bottle called…perfume, and make it possible for our readers – if we have them – to gain a sense of that perfume, of that story the perfumer was trying to tell.

In other words, precisely what the esteemed Raymond Matts is searching for in the blogosphere. He’s just been looking in all the wrong places!

What do YOU think? Do you think he has a point – or is he seriously misguided? Did that op-ed piece upset you, make you think, want to tear that guy a new one?

Or was it just a case of keyboard karma coming back to bite the bloggers? Let me know!

Butterflies On Blooms



- on the complex relationship between brands, bloggers and bother



If any one phenomenon has utterly changed my life around for better and for worse in the past five years or so, it would be that phenomenon known as social media networking. On Facebook I’ve made some amazing connections with people I might otherwise never have known, through my three blogs I have had the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with my readers on whatever subjects piqued me enough to write about, and on Twitter I could toot my horn loudly and slather the word around like so much virtual virgin olive oil:

There’s a new blogger out there, people. Watch out, world!

But social media these days are a lot more complex than simple shameless self-promotion platforms – for one thing, they are quite possibly the most exciting thing to happen in marketing since the invention of TV commercials. Brands everywhere have sat up and taken notice…this thing called social media marketing. They’ve joined Twitter, created Facebook pages, held promotional events and competitions for new product launches etc, building a brand identity and online presence through the one thing that distinguishes social media marketing from the old school of advertising:

Engaging in a dialogue with their customers.



Nowhere is that more apparent than in the noisy blogosphere, for no other reason than here is where a brand can be made, made over or pilloried by the new media superstars:

Bloggers.

Ordinary – or not – people like you and I, people with and without backgrounds in professional writing, people who are armed and dangerous with the courage of their convictions and more to the point – are not afraid to put those convictions out there in the virtual world for all to read and interact with. In some areas, those bloggers have become entities in their own right – for better or worse, as in the fashion industry.

If a blog is to succeed, said one of my ‘How to promote your blog’ newsletters, it needs to have a defined focus – one topic or passion that will appeal to others who share that passion. Once upon a time, I thought that was the worst sort of bs. This was until I started writing about perfume and gained far more followers and feedback than any of my other blogs ever had. If you write about a product – as we perfume bloggers do – then you need product to write about.

You need the brand that makes it happen – in this instance, perfume houses who make the juice you get to sample and then to write about. Don’t believe for a moment that those perfume houses could care less about your opinions, because trust me – they do!

So we have that delicate symbiosis between brands and bloggers, like flowers and butterflies, each benefitting from the presence of the other. Bloggers are the best ever free PR any brand could ask for – and in return, a blogger can get noticed/promoted/read or even get to the point of actually becoming a brand in his or her own right.

On the other hand, we all know it – there’s no such thing as a free lunch. And in the world I live and write in, there is also such a thing as personal integrity.

Say…an independent perfume house would like to read what stories their perfumes could evoke in my dubious prose. My email is right on my profile page. I receive an email – would I like to review X, Y or Z?

I am several hundred miles away from anything remotely resembling a brick-and-mortar department store/niche perfume boutique. I’m also relentlessly curious, as well as too poor for a credit card. In due time, I receive samples of X, Y or Z – sometimes entire alphabets – and in turn, I have my own part of the bargain to fulfill: to write what I think, publish the results and sit back to watch the fireworks. Since I’m also on Facebook as well as Twitter, I also share the link, tweet my newest blog entry, and in some cases, email/PM/DM the perfume house to let them know it’s there. They get the PR – and I get the benefit of building my own reputation/brand as a blogger who may or may not have something unique to contribute to the ever-expanding world of perfumed prose.

Actually, I have another nefarious agenda here: I want to write for a living, and I have the hubris to believe I can. If I can write about the ephemeral art of perfumes – a very difficult subject matter, since our sense of smell is so subjective – then it serves two purposes at once: I become a better writer, and also gain a reputation as one.

So what would the brand of Tarleisio be? What can I do to be unique in the perfumosphere? I realized a long time ago that I had to be true to my own voice above all else. In other words, if you want a ‘professional’ review, this is not where you’ll find it. So many other bloggers are much better at proper ‘reviewing’ than I will ever be. You’ll find most of my personal favorites listed on the right of this blog.

My angle is different – I choose to go with the genies in the bottles and follow them where they lead. If that means that I can evoke a sense of what a perfume smells like or what the perfumer/perfume house was trying to say, if you as a reader become curious through my words and my idiosyncratic perspective and passion, then it’s all good. If not, well…there are much better perfume bloggers on my bloglist!

Back to that personal integrity. I have on more than one occasion received a few things that left me cold/unimpressed/disgusted. Since I consider perfume a high art form on a par with any form of creativity, I know from personal experience how much destructive criticism can hurt. Therefore, I try to be fair in how I react. Just because I can’t wear something doesn’t mean someone else might not love it.

So I will praise what I can appreciate – dedication, concept, care of execution – and note what did or didn’t work…for me. If I rave, I rave because I think it’s exceptional enough to rave about. If I rant, it’s because it was a bad idea badly executed.

I have never received any kind of payola for my reviews and never will. I also reserve the right to decide what I review and when I do, which is a lot less often than I’d like. Hence, my whopping backlog of guilt over all the marvels I want to review and all the time I don’t have.

Do I have favorites? Yes. I tend to rave about the perfumers/houses who continually push the limits of what a perfume can achieve, who keep trying and keep challenging not just themselves but their customers. In other words, those who evolve in terms of artistry, just as I try to do the same in my writing.

There is an awful lot of awful out there. What is also out there: an awful lot of incredible discoveries to share. Without perfume blogs, I would never have known about niche perfumes or independent perfume houses, and my life would have been infinitely less rich for it on all levels of my existence. I truly was at the point where I thought perfumery as an art form was dying, since so much of the mainstream left me unimpressed or disillusioned.

I’m not immune to the lure of loot, luster or lucre. I’d be thrilled if I had 2000 followers and an online presence to match. But I blog con amore – for love. For the love of perfume, my passion for sharing that love, and a personal dedication and perspective to writing about it that I try to keep my own.

Just as flowers need butterflies and bees to keep blooming through time, we perfume bloggers need perfumes to write about. Just as no flower is identical to any other, neither is a perfume or a blogger. Which is not at all the same as saying every nectared flower is equally sweet – but then, all butterflies are different, too.

Even this one.

A big thank you to Nathan Branch for bringing this horror story to my attention.

Image: Dottie Dee, fineartamerica.com

An Open Letter to the Editor of Women’s Health

An open letter to the editor of Women’s Health magazine

An article in the Beauty section of the April edition of Women’s Health, entitled ‘Your Perfect Scent’ was brought to my attention by a friend and fellow blogger, and several statements in the article as well as the overall tone compelled me to write you.

The article attempts to categorize women in a range of ages – from their teens until ‘40+’ according to perfume category, arguing that throughout their lives, women prioritize their fragrance choices differently and gravitate towards the perfumes that reflect those priorities. It then proceeds to cite various perfumes currently available that might appeal, and this is where I feel compelled to protest – both at the underlying assumptions that teenagers want to impersonate walking cupcakes, that women in their thirties wear perfume to feel ‘sexy and secure’ and finally the statement that women in their forties wear perfume to feel ‘elegant’.

Women at any age read magazines such as yours for information and inspiration in their lifestyle choices, and few of them are entirely aware that for print media in a competitive digital age, advertising revenue takes pride of place over relevant content. As a consequence of perfume being formulated to target certain demographics and as a result of what you choose to advocate in your editorial pages, the perfumes sold in department stores and mall chain stores are all indistinguishable from one another. One sweet, fruity floral scent segues seamlessly into the next sweet, fruity floral, and only the name of the designer on the label is interchangeable. So women are shortchanged from both sides of that equation – by the major designer houses that are often the only luxury these women can afford, and by the very magazines they read for inspiration promoting only the brands they already advertise on their pages.

The problem is that neither your readers in general nor women in particular are thrilled about being defined in demographic terms, any more than teenaged girls can be lumped into cupcake fragrance categories, women in their thirties need to feel ‘sexy or ‘secure’ or ‘forty+’ women – a term I personally find more than slightly condescending – want to be considered ‘elegant’ above all other reasons for wearing perfume.

What surprises me more than any other aspect of a very important issue in general, namely the stereotyping of women in the media, is that we live in an individualistic age. As women and as individuals, the opportunity to make individual choices that reflect our unique selves has never been greater, and this includes the very subject matter of your article – perfume. What is more, as social media change how we are informed and entertained and inspired to make those choices, creating and maintaining a dialogue with your readers is a valuable tool to retain the very readership that underlies your role in that media landscape, whether on a newsstand or on the Web.

There is a rich and invaluable resource available to any journalist interested in her subject matter – perfume blogs. We would quite happily have participated and in the process been thrilled to share what we know – that you are not doomed to ‘elegance’ simply for a diminished sense of smell – a claim I find quite unsubstantiated by scientific evidence in the article or in my personal experience, nor are you compelled to waft cupcake as a teenager, simply because there’s nothing else to choose from. There’s not too much else to choose from in the mainstream market because a tiny number of companies determine what scents land on department store shelves, and if one sweet, fruity floral scent becomes a success, it must therefore follow – so dictate the laws of the marketing briefs of these companies promoting this or that ‘exclusive designer’ – that only sweet, fruity, floral perfumes will do.

Women’s Health is a magazine that has a broad scope – to promote a healthy, happy and fulfilled lifestyle for its readership that goes beyond the usual stereotypical ‘women’s magazines’. Even so, when you attempted to inform your readers about a very personal choice, you fell victim to that precise stereotyping, and ignored a perfect opportunity to elevate your editorial content a bit above the stereotypical content of any other women’s magazine currently available.

Which is why we read you, after all.

Yours sincerely,
Tarleisio, perfume blogger at Scent Less Sensibilities

This letter has also been published on the following participating blogs:

Bloody Frida
Olfactoria’s Travels
All I am – a redhead
Eyeliner on a Cat
Beauty on the Outside
Redolent of Spices

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly – of 2010


Time for the nostalgia fit that is…the end is nigh! The end of 2010, the end of another year, yet another drip down the hourglass of the days of our lives. You will see it on virtually every other blog, the best, the worst, the fantabulous and the craptacular lists of things we loved, things we hated and things we hated to love and loved to hate.

Since this is me and I am nothing if not different, I decided to veer off in a different direction. Below, you’ll find my own list of things I loved and loathed in 2010, why I loved – or loathed – them, and what I’ll be looking forward to in 2011. Tomorrow is another day, as Scarlett O’Hara used to say, Saturday is another year, and when all is said and done, hope springs eternal and what lies ahead can only be an improvement on all I left behind.

The Best Reason To Be A Perfumoholic For Life:
The joy of new discoveries. Good, bad, terrible or indifferent, there’s always something New! Improved! Spectacular! Or…spectacularly over-hyped to be discovered, another blog that makes me think, laugh and try to track something down from my remote corner of BFE Planet Earth, another scent, another perfume, another way to slay the unsuspecting! How can that be bad?

The Worst Reason It Sucks To Be A Perfumoholic:
So many bottles, so little cash. So many difficult choices. The entire Amouage line, which I’m dying to try and haven’t…yet. On the upside, maybe that’s a good thing? Would there be anything worse than to fall in love – requited, if I’m lucky – and then not be able to afford it?

Best New Launch of 2010:
It was love at first sniff. The kind that made me slightly uneasy, the kind I’m not sure I should do, the kind of woman I’m not sure I am, but I don’t care, I don’t care, I want to throw all caution to the winds of fortune and fling myself right in the hurricane center path that is…Boxeuses, by Serge Lutens. The Serge Lutens line is no stranger to the Sex in a Bottle concept (which is another blog right there!), but Boxeuses is so totally, utterly not me. Yet it is. Totally. Utterly. Me. In leather and lace, being ever so nicely naughty…Some day, these plummy, smoky, leathery lady combatants will be mine. I shall henceforth leave a wake of devastating femme fatalities in my wake. Gentlemen, take note. Or take cover, your choice! I pack a punch, it will be fatal and resistance WILL be…futile!

Most Over-Hyped Launch of 2010:
Here’s something I don’t understand. You are a designer with a certain reputation for…iconoclasm, let’s say. In the clothes you once designed, in the perfumes that you launched, including the one that spawned a million imitators and created whole new trends in perfume. They love ‘em or they loathe ‘em, but they are not…indifferent. Or if they are, they certainly don’t blog about them! So then…time for the next surprise to spring upon an unsuspecting world – time to define…woman, bottled. Good luck with that one. They’re still digging for the last guy who tried. You then settle down with your perfumer (Fabrice Pellegrin) and you come up with…“Womanity”. The name is great, the bottle amazing in its sheer H.R. Giger-esque weirdness, but a name like that delivers certain expectations, expectations the juice alas did not deliver. What surprised me most is that it was so unisex. I could well imagine this on a whole slew of exes – the clean-cut, not-too outré gentlemen I used to go for. Sweet, citrusy fig. Salt/Caviar. It coulda been a contender, yet I am not…contented. For shame, Monsieur Mugler. Back to the drawing board for you. Now. Woman is spelled f-e-m-a-l-e. Write it down one hundred times on the blackboard. And start over. You gave us Angel. And Alien. You can do better. Prove it!

Most Unintentionally Hilarious Perfume Ad:
Marc Jacobs ‘Bang’.
Dude, I get it. You’re hot. Tattoos and all, and I like tats. You are not, however, channeling the immortal Yves Saint Laurent in that ad. He did it first – and also, I have to say, best, by applying a certain modicum of restraint and his own slightly geeky allure. On the other hand, who says it never pays to advertise? And with a name like ‘Bang’…I’d wipe the smirk off my face, but it refuses to budge…

Worst Flanker In Existence, As Well As A Terrible Idea, Terribly Executed:
YSL Parisienne. If the world had never known the violet-rose splendor that was ‘Paris’, this would not have been quite so painful. Alas, we did. Alas, it was. The murder/reformulation of the original ‘Paris’ was quite bad enough, but ‘Parisienne’ added insult to injury and rubbed salt in it, too.

Best Perfume Note I (Re)Discovered:
Incense. Oh, how I love thee. ‘Magie Noire’ was my gateway drug into all things smoky and fiery, but thankfully, it didn’t stop there. Andy Tauer’s ‘Incense Extreme’, Via del Profumo’s ‘Mecca Balsam’, CDG ‘Zagorsk’ and ‘Avignon’, Lutens’ ‘Encens et Lavande’ or just a few smoldering nuggets of real Omani divinity, spreading peace and contemplation and goodwill towards humanity – there’s no such thing as too much incense. It didn’t help I wrote a Faustian tale and gave the Devil an incense-heavy, heady scent which totally ruined my protagonist – for life. And that scent has yet to be created. So, darling Andy, I have this idea…

Most Overdone Perfume Notes:
Anything berry-fruity aligned with anything patchouli. I. Am. Not. A. Twenty/Teenie Demographic. I. Am. A. Woman. Damn. It. Read. This. Roar. Why do perfumers – most of them at any rate – appreciate us so little, when we have loved you so long? And….Ambroxan. Skin. Amber. Floral. All in one handy combo that’s added to everything and clean musk, and makes me want to hurl bricks at glass facades, starting with Juliette Has A Gun. JHAG gave me the dearly beloved dark red-velvet Goth rose that is ‘Lady Vengeance’, so ‘Not A Perfume’ happened because…why? It’s ‘Not A Perfume’ I’d ever buy.

Best Idea In The Perfume World, Ever:
Outlaw perfumes! All-natural, all artisanal perfumes created with the kind of dedication, love and care that perfumers used to have, but in this day and age of marketing brief, sadly no longer do. (For one, it doesn’t pay.) An extended middle finger (bear with me and my shady past as a punk, please) to IFRA regulations and restrictions. Sock it to me with oakmoss, people! I promise to claim full responsibility for any adverse effects, but I suspect only my credit card will break out in hives – or my bank manager.

Best Reason To Become A Perfume Blogger:
I have opinions and I’m not afraid to write about them. I have a lot to learn and I’m not afraid to learn. I love new discoveries, new words, new worlds, new connections and new friends with a common passion. How can that be bad? It gets even better. Dimitri of ‘Sorcery of Scent’ was courteous enough to tell me where to go for niche in my perfume desert. Bless you, Dimitri – and bless you, my fellow perfumistas, bloggers and readers! – for proving the thrills, the spills and the perils of living dangerously – through our noses!

Here’s to the many discoveries we have yet to try, to ponder, to discuss and to argue about – in 2011!