How often do you think “This perfume is amazingly good” without thinking “I’m going to buy it”?
For me, this happens all the time. My interest in perfume has always been fueled by wanting to analyze and understand how perfumes work, not just technically as smells, but as cultural products. Of course I’m enthusiastic about perfume, and I form personal associations with scents, but I can’t really call myself an appreciator of perfume in the same way that many bloggers are. Even when I’m really inspired by a fragrance, the most interesting part to me is always trying to figure out how the perfume inspired such a reaction. I don’t just relax and take in the effect of the perfume. Enjoy the moment? That’s crazy talk!
Because of this mindset, I’ve always struggled with making how well I like a perfume the primary point of what I’m writing about it. Knowing that the bottom line for a lot of readers is “would you buy it?” I have often tried to address that question, and it has always been awkward. For a while I had a sort of summary on each post. Then I had a rating system. Both of these felt like they negated everything else I had to say about a perfume. Whether I would buy a perfume feels like the least relevant thing to say.
And so I’ve decided not to worry about that anymore. But I think it’s only fair to state honestly that I’m really not interested in buying, or even wearing (as in, wearing for fun, after I’ve decided what I think about them), a lot of the perfumes I write about on my blog. Even the ones I write up with glowing reviews. That doesn’t mean those reviews aren’t honest. It just reflects that I have a pretty small collection of perfumes I wear often, and a slightly wider selection of perfumes I own because I like to smell them and wear them sometimes. I don’t wear perfume every day. I don’t want to own a ton of bottles of perfume. The fact that I wouldn’t necessarily wear something doesn’t mean I am not being 100% honest if I say that I think it is really good or even amazing.
While I’m on the topic of disclaimers, so to speak, I guess I’ll mention a few other things.
There has been some talk by some perfume bloggers about how bloggers in general or they in particular have had an impact on the niche fragrance industry or the industry at large. I don’t have an opinion about those statements*, but I feel the need to say that I emphatically don’t claim that about my blog. (Obviously, right? I would be deluded to think that.) No one in the industry reads my blog. They might check in to get my contact details to send me a sample, or read something I have written about one of their perfumes, but they aren’t reading my blog. And I don’t write for the industry or to try to attract the industry. In fact, the idea that anyone in the industry might read APB terrifies me.
The topic of bloggers “shilling” for brands continues to come up from time to time. My opinion is that brands give stuff away to get publicity. If I like what they give me, I don’t begrudge them their PR moment. They have a job to do. If they are trying to generate hype for a new launch, and I like what they are launching, I will try to do them the favor of saying that I like it and publishing my thoughts around the time of their launch. To me, this isn’t shilling, it’s polite. It’s no different than a book critic or a music critic getting a review copy. The integrity lies with the person doing the reviewing. Either my readers trust me, or they don’t, and they go elsewhere.
Okay, I think that is enough setting the record straight for now. Please share your thoughts on any of the above, and check back Monday for reviews of the two new magnolia perfumes by Grandiflora. That will be a much more exciting post!
*This is actually a blatant lie. I totally have an opinion, but I am keeping it to myself.