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10 THINGS PEOPLE SAY AND DO AT THE PERFUME COUNTER

Fragrance is a funny thing, innit? I mean, just think back to your perfume past. Depending on your DOB of course, you’ll be able to cite a (long) list of scents that can instantly transport you back to a time, to a place, to a moment.

From early childhood (Mum wearing Christian Dior Poison) to secondary school (The Body Shop’s White Musk). From the best friend’s fav’ (The Body Shop’s Dewberry, Cacharel Eden) to the scent that reminds you of previous relationships (Jean Paul Gaultier Classique and Calvin Klein Obsession). Then, there’s perhaps your first job (Gucci Rush, Dolce & Gabbana) to finally making grounds on your career (Chanel No5, 19 and Coco) to the big day itself (Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia).

Our sense of smell is so intrinsically linked to our memories, it’s no surprise that just one whiff and WHAM! you are back in the moment.

Perfumery is powerful stuff, people – no wonder the global fragrance market is worth an estimated £52 billion!

I find it fascinating and if you’re particularly obsessed with fragrance then this book, Perfumes The A-Z Guide by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez is everything you need to know with a huge dose of wit and cheek.

Which leads me nicely onto the reason as to why I’m writing today’s blog post…

Not only is it National Fragrance Week (in it’s third year) but it’s also the run up to Mother’s Day (you have your six day warning!) so if you’re on the scent trail for yourself or your Mum, then you might want to read this first.

Plus, there’s a bottle of the newly launched Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Nectar EDP worth £82 exclusive to Debenhams, up for grabs.

*WIN! Comment below to be automatically entered into the draw. Good luck.

10 THINGS PEOPLE SAY AND DO AT THE PERFUME COUNTER…

1 YOU WILL BE STRUCK BY PURE IRRATIONAL FEAR

I don’t know what it is about the perfume counter, but the moment you start using the testers, you feel like THE WHOLE PLACE is watching you! What’s that all about?

Immediately, you feel like everyone thinks you’re about to pilfer a perfume!

It doesn’t help that the cabinets are all either locked or on a chain! The very moment a scent particle sails into the store, you’re head on with an overly-happy-yet-hard-selling fragrance consultant. Stop the nonsense from the off set. Be clear that you’re browsing and are on a scent hunt and a good consultant will advise you properly. And you can finally stop sweating!

2 YOU’LL BE BAFFLED AS TO WHERE TO APPLY IT

OK. So here’s how to crack this once and for all. Use the paper strips initially if you’re trying out a fragrance for the first time. Then once you think you’re ready to semi-commit, apply to the wrist to see how the scent warms up. Don’t rub, there’s no need. And unless you’re a really cocky teenager, avoid a full body dousing session at all costs, followed by a “Hmm…I’ll think about it, thanks!”

3 THEY’LL BE AN ACCIDENT OF SOME SORT

Some bottles are just impossible to work out and if you’re still struggling to shake off 1: Irrational Fear then you’ll be even more susceptible to an accident. Here’s a tip, allow the consultant to open any slightly confusing bottle tops, latches, twist tops etc or risk spraying yourself or them in the eye. Might be a true story…

4 YOUR VOCABULARY WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCED

There’s something about the perfume counter that does something to my vocabulary. By this, I mean it limits it to basic and rubbish nothing words like “that’s nice” and “that’s lovely” or “I like that.” Gah! And as if that’s not bad enough, the second phase is just noises likened to watching a fireworks display. In the event of observing this behaviour, you’ve probably reached peak-perfume testing. It’s time to leave.

5 YOU’LL HAVE A HEADACHE

Another sign of peak-perfume testing is a headache. Usually, five to seven scents is more than enough before you may start to lose impact and get confused. If you can, try and request a preferred fragrance group to test out, rather than an all over mixture of florals, classics, and fruity. I’m having a bit of a retro moment, hence the YSL fragrance wardrobe, so I requested to test out 70s scents and all time retro classics to narrow down the search and avoid the migraine meltdown.

6 YOU’LL QUESTION THE PRICE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN EDT AND EDP

In effect, the higher the concentration the more expensive. In order of  highest to lowest a perfume is the strongest blend, so will have the more hefty price tag. Next, is EDP (eau de parfum) followed by EDT (eau de toilette) and then the lightest and more subtle scent carrier is an EDC (eau de cologne). It’s worth remembering also that you’ll use less of a perfume and may go through a cologne much quicker, so work out how strong you prefer your perfume rather than purchase purely on price alone.

7 YOU’LL BE OBSESSED WITH THE BOTTLE AND PACKAGING

I know many people who collect their empties and I don’t blame them, some bottles are like pieces of art! I can be found chucking my finished fragrances into knicker and sock drawers until they finally lose their scent and hit the recycling bin. Saying that, a bit like book cover judging, just because the packaging is lush and it has a pom-pom dangling off the nozzle or a cluster of cute charms doesn’t mean the scent will suit. Always follow your nose.

8 YOU’LL FEEL PRESSURE TO BUY

Don’t. Perfumes are pricey, so don’t commit until you are sure.If you’re trying out something for the first time, you may want to see how long it lasts which means walking away, cracking on with your day and purchasing later. This is totally fine. You are not dodgy. You may want to get another opinion. Fine too. Don’t fall back to 1: Irrational Fear.

9 YOU’LL BUMP INTO SOMEONE YOU KNOW STRAIGHT AFTERWARDS

Guaranteed, you WILL bump into someone you know who will then proceed to compliment you on how lovely you smell and you will then have to re-enact the entire sales pitch with every scent you have tried and for at least five minutes an exchange of wrist-smelling will ensue. But NO ONE will ever randomly present you with a bunch of fresh flowers. Those Impulse dreams were shattered a long time ago, innit!

10 YOU’LL BE AMAZED AT HOW DIFFERENT PERFUMES SMELL ON OTHERS

Your signature scent may smell very different on someone else, which is why it’s always good to test on your actual body before you buy. It may also last longer or smell stronger. Tips like using other products in the range like the body lotion, soap or shower gel can all help to make the fragrance more intense as you layer up the scent. Plus spritz into your hair aswell as the prime perfume hot spots –  decolletage, neck, wrists, inside elbows and behind the kness.

And now, let us spray…

Fresh scents
Floral fragrances
Pretty packaging
The Classics

For more Mother’s Day gifting ideas head to Debenhams and to enter the giveaway to *win the Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Nectar EDP 50ml worth £82, just pop a comment below.

Thanks for reading

F.T.
*Please read the The FT Times’ competition terms and conditions…

*Entry to this competition is free and is open to UK residents and The FT Times subscribers only aged 18 and over and excludes those professionally associated with The FT Times or the Promoter

*The competition starts at 12:01 am on 05/03/18 and closes at midday on 08/03/18

*The Promoter’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants

*The winner will be picked at random and notified by 11pm on 08/03/18

*The prize is one Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Nectar EDP worth £82

*The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative

*The Promoter is Debenhams, Regents Place, London, NW1 3FG.

19 Comments

  • You missed out the one where you actually have to ask for a test of fragrance because they have it behind the counter! – I think that was happening with an Estee Lauder fragrance a couple of years back ( well it happened to me). Why do we never have free samples – it seems quite standard in Europe.
    Never buy a fragrance that a friend has before trying it on yourself – YSL Rive Gauche smells like fly spray on me…. Mind she was happy with the gift!

    • OMG did they hide them??? How is that going to sell a fragrance???
      I know that Rive Gauche is Marmite – I know people that really hate it and others (like moi!) that adore it.

      FT xoxo

  • I would love to hear of some of the perfume houses offering some after work sessions to learn a bit more about their products and to test in better surroundings than standing up with a bag, a coat, other shopping and with other customers wafting by. I love my perfumes and smile when I read about Obsession above. I’ve just sprayed that on me this morning. I adore Hermes Absolu and of course Chanel no 5. My teenage daughter is now similarly persuaded and I find we are getting through a lot more perfume than when it was only me!

    • That’s a great idea, more of a fragrance workshop event to be held in shopping centre department stores. You should suggest that.
      Haha! I’ve got that to come with my daughter. I always remember ‘borrowing’ my Mum’s fragrances 😉

      FT xoxo

  • I still can’t help but spray them all over me! I also try and do it sneakily. I need to grow up!

    The Miu Miu one is lovely. I rather like the new Jimmy Choo one too xx

  • Scents that have defined me over the years:
    Samsara (Such a strong scent, but I lived in this during my late teens and early 20’s)
    DKNY Women
    Pleasures by Estee Lauder
    Kenzo Flower
    The scents that I wear now are Gucci Bamboo and L’Occitaine Verbena.
    I wear perfume everyday and feel naked without it.

    • Some lovely fragrances there, Vanessa. I’m the same with wearing perfume daily. Always need a spritz of something smelly 😉

      FT xoxo

  • Lmao I used to work in dickens and Jones perfumery and empathise with many of these points and guiltily took advantage of some. Even managed to spray a poor kid in the eye with good old Aramis once and had to talk my way out of that one. On the other side of the counter now I’m struck with fear and find myself hiding in the shadows of a department store only to jump out to rest and run. Great blog FT

    • Aaah! So you’ve seen it from both sides, Emma. Bet you smelt FABULOUS!
      Thanks for the lovely feedback. Really appreciate it 🙂

      FT xoxo

  • I love fragrance so much and everything you say is so true and the memories oh the memories. Giorgio Beverly Hills, Cacherel Anais Anais, YSL Paris all hold memories from times past whereas today I love Versace Crystal Noir, Carrolina Herrara 212 VIP : very alike but slightly different so I ended up with both and Lancome La Belle Est Vie.

  • I think you know you are very much a single, independent success story when you buy your own perfume! I’m using CoCo Mademoiselle at the moment but I mix it up; a strong perfume required when working with smelly teenagers! Daisy Twinkle does the job for me but I remember my mums Poison scent distinctively … and she was a teacher!

  • Yes please! I would love to win this perfume as I have never tried or owned before!
    Great article! I remember exclamation as a teenager and then I moved onto cheap n chic, which I purchased again recently at the airport as it bought back many memories of wearing this. I always ask for Jean Paul Gaultier classique perfume at Christmas, so I think it is time for a change!

  • Yes please! I would love to win this perfume as I have never tried or owned before!
    Great article! I remember exclamation as a teenager and then I moved onto cheap n chic, which I purchased again recently at the airport as it bought back many memories of wearing this. I always ask for Jean Paul Gaultier classique perfume at Christmas, so I think it is time for a change!

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