Under the Influence

This weekend I received the highest compliment a perfume blogger could ever ask for: a reader told me that she bought a perfume specifically because I had recommended it. (It was Jo Malone Black Vetyver Cafe! Shoutout to Debra, who now smells amazing!) I was so thrilled and honored that someone had found my Star Trek-studded ramblings convincing enough to spend non-Monopoly money on one of my recommendations.

That encounter got me thinking about all of the perfumes I’ve been persuaded to buy based solely on another person’s intriguing review. I don’t even want to think about how many perfumes I’ve bought and shamefacedly returned the next day because of Now Smell This reviews. I sought out Etat Libre d’Orange Fils de Dieu because Bois de Jasmin called it “a modern twist on Guerlain Shalimar”; I’ve had an eBay alert on Lanvin My Sin ever since reading Laren Stover lament its discontinuation in The Bombshell Manual of Style; I got a cat because all the other perfume bloggers had one. (That part’s not true. I got a cat so I could dress her in booties.)

Are you ever influenced by perfume reviews? Are you usually happy with the perfumes you bought “under the influence”? Are there any perfume bloggers who consistently keep you reaching for the credit card?

31 thoughts on “Under the Influence

  1. I bought Silences unsniffed because of reviews at Bois de Jasmin, Perfume Shrine, and The Alembicated Genie (back when it used to be called something else). I bought Cuir de Lancome because of Angela’s review at NST. Other things I have bought samples of, based on reviews. I think Victoria at BdJ might be most to blame for those purchases…

    1. And I bought Cuir de Lancome because of your review!! The ciiiiiircle of liiiiife… (I love it, by the way! Who was the genius who decided to bottle the smell of a leather purse?)

      1. I bought CdL unsniffed based on the strength of the review in PTG, plus the Non-Blonde mentioning that you could get it for about $30 at (I think) Parfum1. One of the best blind buys ever! In general I’m not as susceptible to reviews as I used to be. The Guide is surely the cause of most of my blind buys. Brian and Abigail and ISTIA have influence too.

    2. I blind bought Silences because of Mals86 – I love green and powdery too! This actually arrived today and, unfortunately, smells a bit like bug spray (albeit nice bug spray) on me. Makes me wonder if I got a bad bottle. Thankfully it was inexpensive.

      I also purchased Cuir de Lancôme because of Angela’s review and Mals commentary. I love love love it!

  2. I bought Femme Jolie from Sonoma Scent Studio after reading about it on Now Smell This, and Mariella Burani following reviews on I Smell Therefore I Am and The Muse in Wooden Shoes. Femme Jolie is very nice, but now I find there is a note in the drydown (not sure what it is) that gets really annoying, and I can’t wait to wash it off at the end of the day. So it’s for eventual swap – someone will be happy, because it’s discontinued.

    On the other hand, I love Mariella Burani, a complex fragrance that develops in the finest tradition of “classic” perfumery. Doesn’t hurt that it has a sexy, animalic drydown. Unfortunately, this one is discontinued as well; lucky I have a generous-sized bottle.

    1. The discontinued factor can make a great review even more potent, because if you’ve never tried the perfume yourself, you have no choice but to trust what others have to say about it! I’m glad that you ended up happy with the Mariella Burani!

  3. I am definitely influenced by perfume reviews, especially by those with whom I share similar tastes. I have done a pretty good job at not getting influenced to blind buy full bottles based on someone else’s recommendation, but I definitely seek out samples based on reviews.

    I also find that reviews sometimes deepen my understanding of a perfume that maybe I didn’t like or understand on the first try. I’m not very good at picking out notes it seems and other peoples’ reviews sometimes help things “click” for me.

    1. Your last point is actually a problem for me- I’ll try to force myself into liking a recommended perfume long after I would have ordinarily given up because clearly I must be missing something! Sooo much time wasted on Serge Lutens Arabie…

  4. Also, I’ve been fantasizing about trying My Sin!

    Also, I am wearing the first natural perfume I’ve ever tried today, based on a review by Victoria at EauMG. So there you have it!

    Also, I am a chatty Cathy today!

    1. Case in point! Is that the Orange Cream one? How do you like it? And it’s always such a pleasure to chat with you! 😀

  5. What a perfect post to tell you I finally ordered a bottle of Bijou Romantique a few days ago! I mean, I realllly like my sample, but your enthusiasm sure has a part in it as well! 🙂

  6. I bought Nuit de Tubereuse and Bas de Soie unsniffed based on NST reviews back when I was a freshly-minted perfumista. I think one is much more susceptible to those purchases in the beginning stages (or atleast, it hasn’t happened for me for awhile!). BdS turned out to be a winner but I never “got” NdT and swapped it. Blind buys are such a mixed bag-NdT was a write off but I am not sure I would have fallen for BdS like I did if I only had a sample–it was a love long in the making which only happened because I tested it so persistently. I think if I had a sample I would have sniffed it once and thought “weird” and never tried it again.

    1. I like hearing about the good side of blind buys! We usually only hear about the horror stories, I think. I know I’ve smelled Bas de Soie at least once, but I unfortunately can’t remember it.

  7. I’ve been known to carry around Turin and Sanchez’s Little Book of perfumes and methodically going through perfume counters, sniffing while reading. They have never led me astray!

    1. I love that, because they’re always leading me astray! 😀 But I still keep a (heavily dog-eared) copy- Tania Sanchez is such a great humor writer.

  8. I bought samples and then full bottles of Silences and Le Temps d’Une Fete based on reviews from The Muse in Wooden Shoes. It helped that they were compared to my beloved No. 19, which Mals also loves. I have to admit that there are some well loved perfumes that I just don’t get, even after using up an entire sample.

    1. Seems like Mals is rather influential on most of our buying habits! Perfume comparisons are one of the most helpful ways to review a perfume, I think.

  9. Let’s see… I bought both Lolita Lempicka and L de Lolita Lempicka because of your blog, both of which I love dearly. I justified buying Hilary Duff’s With Love because of the review on beauty on the outside, and a bottle of Lalique’s Flora Bella, which I bought because of Parfumieren, will be here Friday!
    Cuir de Lancome is on my To Buy When the Weather Cools Down list (one that grows longer and longer. It looks like as soon as September hits, I will be spending all my money on perfume) because of Olfactoria’s Travels, which I discovered through your blog. So yes, I am extremely impressionable when it comes to perfume blogs, mainly because none of my family and friends
    “get it” when it comes to perfume, so I have no second opinions on different scents. It’s also a life saver when it comes to shopping for perfume because the closest place that sells perfume is a walmart about 20 minutes away, and I’ve never seen a Neiman Marcus in my life. 95% of my perfume I buy online, and often unsniffed, so I judge what I’d like and not like by reading a bunch of reviews on different perfume blogs.

  10. Ari, yes! Your powerful review of Black Vetyver Cafe did compel me to seek out (at several Nordstrom’s – they don’t all carry Jo Malone!) and buy a bottle. But you deserve even more kudos (and my thanks) because the scent is exactly as you so clearly described! I wear it to the office where I need to feel like a powerful and strong female. It does the job, exactly as you promised it would!!!

    Hear me, Jo Malone! Want to boost your sales? Hire Ari to write your ads! 🙂

  11. Are you kidding?? I buy all the time because of reviews I read! The Non-Blonde has cost me a fortune in vintage perfumes alone. The Muse in Wooden Shoes causes me to buy from time to time because I know I like what she likes – I can blame a bottle of Mary Greenwell Plum on her just for starters. I forget what I’ve bought specifically because of you but I’m sure I noted it somewhere! 🙂

    BOOTIES! Boy would that last for a nanosecond on Harley. She’s a lump, but she’s a lump who does not like her appendages messed with.

    1. They lasted for a nanosecond on Zelda, too. I’m so thankful that we were able to get this priceless picture before she shucked them off. That was back in the day when I still thought that something as paltry as booties could protect me from the kitteh’s claws.

      How do you like that Plum? I’ve been very curious about it, but I’ve read lots of people saying it doesn’t actually smell like plum! What’s with that??

  12. Mostly the blogs inspire me to by samples, but I bought Bottega Veneta and Cuir de Lancome and most recently Lys Soleia unsniffed because of the reviews I read (and didn’t regret it).
    You inspired me to order a sample of Bijou Romantique, it’s so lovely, it’s my next FB for sure!

  13. Up until a little while ago, I NEVER bought unsniffed, although I’ve been heavily influenced by bloggers to search out samples (although sometime it can get a bit ridiculous – spent $6 for a sample of DK Gold, when bottles are going for $10. However, Gold was an absolute bust – very disappointing – so it’s just as well). I did recently buy two inexpensive bottles and a decant unsniffed, mainly because samples weren’t available and I’m on a major fig spree, but both one of the bottles and the decant DID NOT WORK.

    So I’m going back to my previous policy of no unsniffed buys, courtesy of wonky skin chemistry. And if anyone would like to swap for TokyoMilk’s discontinued Ex Libris, give me a shout.

    1. Robin at Now Smell This and I seem to be scent twins. When she fell hard for Azemour les Oranges I knew I’d like it and I did. Still, being thrifty by nature, I only got a decant to start.

      Buying sample vials of perfumes can seem like a waste of money sometimes, but if it saves you from spending $100 on something you don’t like, it’s worth the investment.

  14. I won’t blind buy a FB without trying first. However, every single one of of my sample and decant purchases have been based off of blogger reviews. No perfume stores anywhere near where I live! At this point I’ve pretty much decided to forgo buying samples in favor of 5 ml decants from splits, with choices based on blogger reviews. So, a huge *thank you* to you and all the other bloggers I follow!

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