What Is A Perfumista?

Thinking back to a shopping trip, as I passed the perfume counter there was a woman who asked if she could try a particular brand of perfume. After putting a small spritz on the woman’s wrist the sales associate asked if she would like to try a fragrance that was similar to what she had just applied. The woman responded yes and then proceeded to stand there sniffing each wrist. I thought to myself that was the birth of a future perfumista.

Everyone’s level of their involvement with perfume is different. I like to think of this as the evolution of a perfumista based on phases that they go through. So far as I know there is no defined set of guidelines to be a perfumista, these are basically my own observations.

Phase 1 – Interest: In this phase the interest can be from just starting out, to moderate, to a strong interest in perfume. You own a few bottle of perfume yourself and you may on occasion follow any new releases. When in department stores you may test out a fragrance that the sales associate is promoting. You compliment your co-workers on the perfume that they are wearing and inquire on the name. Your goal is to one day have your own signature scent.

Phase 2 – Perfume Frenzy Onset: During this phase your quest to know more about perfume intensifies. Your sense of smell becomes more acute to perfume scents and you find yourself re-evaluating the way you describe perfume. You expand and start experimenting with different fragrances that in the past you stayed clear of. Defining yourself with a scent can be an intellectual exercise as you discover the aspirational aspect of how a perfume really smells on you. I think of this as, if a woman wants to be sophisticated and earthly then she will look for a perfume with those characteristics and say that she loves it. Your goal in this phase is to find a signature scent.

Phase 3 – Out-of-Control Perfume Frenzy: In this phase you find that you can name the top, heart and base notes of many perfumes. At this point, you have given up on finding our signature scent. In extreme cases, some women have ordered bottles of perfume that they have never smelled. This can be very dangerous to your financial situation.

Phase 4 – Expert: At this phase you start to decrease your perfume collection to those that really speak to you. You know that admiring a particular scent and living with it are two different things. You enjoy smelling new perfumes but don’t necessarily rush out to buy them. You begin to trust your own judgment and just because you don’t have a signature scent you have an array of scents that speak to who you are and make you feel good wearing them.

Ultimately, perfume has become a deep source of pleasure for you, the same feeling you get from a glass of wine, fresh cut grass, or even the smell of the wind.

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