It has recently come to my attention that perfume criticism is evolving beyond a merely written medium! Perfume lovers are now posting video reviews on YouTube, which I had previously pretty much only visited to watch clips of kittens playing with Roombas, llamas, and/or dolphins. Are video reviews as effective as written reviews when talking about perfume, or are they a gimmick best left to makeup bloggers? In the name of research, I watched perhaps 50 YouTube perfume reviews, including at least three 24-minute soliloquies by grown-ass women with usernames like *~*sexiibarbiidoll82*~* or teamjacob4lyyfee. I did it for you, y’all. I did it for you. Here are my findings.
- Video perfume reviews are not overtaking written reviews any time soon. The number of people who exclusively review perfume in their reviews (i.e., not people who usually review makeup and are doing a one-time post on their perfume collection) is really very small. I would estimate it to be around 25 people. Video perfume reviews are also not as highly viewed as one might believe. Katie Puckrik is the most well-known video perfume reviewer. Her videos tend to receive between 15,000-20,000 views total. In contrast, well-established perfume blogs get hundreds of thousands of views each month. Video perfume reviews may be a growing field, but its proponents are relatively few at the moment.
- Most video perfume reviews are too long. Way too long. I have severe ADHD, but I suspect that even the most patient perfume lovers may not be interested in watching a 12-minute perfume review. Perfume reviewers are not actors, and no one expects them to be. But it is just plain painful to watch someone who is not necessarily a compelling speaker ramble on about a perfume for such a significant span of time. Frankly, I am not interested in watching anything much over two minutes. Katie Puckrik does a very good job of keeping most of her videos around the two-minute-mark, but I can’t say that many others did. In many cases, the length of these videos was the result of frequent non-perfume asides, such as details on how the reviewer’s week is going or complaints about the room’s lighting or temperature. Video editing is a thing, y’all. These do not contribute to your video, and they make me more likely to switch you off and go back to watching kittens.
- It is really cool to be able to put a face on perfumistas. Far more interesting than perfume itself are the people who are deeply involved in such an odd topic. While written perfume blogs are overwhelmingly run by women (and thank Moses for that), YouTube perfume reviews reveal a surprisingly different picture of the perfumistas behind the computer screen. Most YouTube perfume reviewers are male, and they are a shockingly diverse lot in terms of ethnicity and nationality.
- Most video perfume reviews are pretty funny, whether intentionally or unintentionally. On the intentional side we have Ms. Katie Puckrik, who calls herself “the Octomom” of perfume collections and indulges in hilariously unappealing perfume descriptions such as “sexy floor wax” or “a recently used bathroom”. My personal choice for unintentional humor is YouTube reviewer hiroyoruzuka. This guy is so bro, y’all. He wears a polo and cocked baseball cap in every video, and starts his New Haarlem review by “giving a shout-out to his boys”. He could not be any more of a bro if he was literally playing lacrosse during his videos. He is Brobi Wan Kenobi. Brodo Baggins. Broseiden, lord of the brocean. And yet, here he is, analyzing the vetiver content of a perfume! I find it delightfully absurd.
- In general, video perfume reviews are less descriptive than their written counterparts. While many YouTube perfume reviewers provide a great deal of information about a perfume’s packaging and pricing in their reviews, I did not find their descriptions of the scent itself to be as effective as those found in written perfume blogs. I observed that YouTube perfume reviewers frequently fell back on more general descriptions, such as “fresh”, “clean”, or “mature”. They were also less likely to go into detail about what the perfume actually smelled like to them. I hate to say it, but many of the video perfume reviews I watched did not sound all that different from ad copy. It seems far more difficult to evocatively describe a perfume in a video than in writing.
And now, the question you’ve all been waiting for: will Scents of Self be joining the ranks of video perfume reviewers? The answer is no, for two reasons. First, I have an odd, flat voice that is frankly unpleasant to listen to. My voice could not be less suited to video. Second, I am a very literary person. I love to read and write. I love perfume, but I really love reading. My favorite part about being involved in the world of perfume blogging is that it provides me with so much wonderful reading material. I don’t want to make videos; I want to write! However, in the spirit of understanding, I present my one and only attempt at a video perfume review. As it turns out, it is a good thing that I am not particularly interested in making video reviews, because I am not very good at them.