I guess I could have also titled this post, “Jack of all trade but master of none.” However, I think there is some “mastery” present. I’m referring to recent releases that seem to be a “bit of this and that.” Some people seem to have a strong negative reaction to these kinds of compositions, which is understandable (at least for a short period of time). An example is Bleu de Chanel EdT, which was criticized on Basenotes.net for being “generic” and/or a collection of bits and pieces of other designer “masculines.” But here’s a key point: if you’ve already got a whole lot of bottles and would like to rid yourself of some, it might be useful to think about which scent may be able to replace three or more others!
For me, this might be the case with Fan di Fendi Uomo. This scent is technically sound (good projection and very good longevity) and is similar to Gucci Pour Homme II and HiM by Hanae Mori, and has a touch of Le Male as well! I’m not a big fan of GPH2 or Le Male, but I do like HiM, which is ambery, unlike FdFU, so I might want to keep that one. There’s a good chance I’ll swap or sell off a few bottles now that I acquired 80+ ml of FdFU at a good price. Or if the prices for FdFU were to rise sharply, I would likely sell it and keep one or two of the others.
I also own Cubano Gold, which is a good Le Male type scent (to me it’s not as “in your face” as Le Male), which cost very little, so there’s no reason to sell it and it’s got very little swap value. A scent like this is good for layering as well as for using on its own, so it’s value is very high relative to what I paid and how it is valued by others. Any scent I own that I think might do well with a touch of Le Male can be layered with it, and sometimes I just get bored with a scent after an hour or so and want to experiment, so it’s good to have these kinds of scents lying around, since a spray or two cost next to nothing (and if the bottle were to break it would hardly bother me at all).
But getting back to “downsizing,” I think an important thing to do is to be able to recognize when you are “done” with a scent. During my first few years of being a fragrance hobbyist, I swapped a few bottles off that I regretted, and then reacquired them, so it’s crucial to make sure you know that have no interest in the scent going forward. For me this is the case with certain kinds of scents, such as ones with a lot of calone, or another aroma chemical that really bothers me. Also, scents that feature strong wood notes and little else are ones I simply dislike intensely (other than sandalwood, which has more of a creamy quality). After several years of trying to enjoy certain scents, I’ve decided that some are never going to be agreeable.
Another type of scent that lends itself to downsizing, for me, is the fougere. As a newbie (who is interested mostly in “masculines”), one might acquire more than a few of these, because they are so common. The fougere accord is such that it usually is very obvious, and once you get to know it, even if you like it, you might not feel the need for more than one or two (perhaps a more herbal one and a more gourmand one). I think I could rid myself of more than a dozen bottles which are of this type and still have too many, for instance. Of course if you read reviews and company descriptions, you might think that perhaps 90% of masculines are fougeres, but I’m referring to a scent with an obvious fougere accord here.
Then there are those who say they will swap/sell off many of their bottles and use up their samples before acquiring more bottles. This certainly seems like a good idea, but for me samples have a bit of a “fool’s gold” quality to them, if I were to buy these at retail prices, at least. The reason is that I usually dislike the sample, and I feel I’ve wasted a day. The sample usually gets thrown in a box and forgotten about, whereas with a bottle I’d try to swap it off. If I really like a sample, which is rare, I wasted money on the sample! I’d rather not assume I’m going to like a scent and just wait for the deals to come to me (a deeply discounted bottle or a swap). Doing this, I recently acquired a bottle of Dolcelisir by L`Erbolario, for example. It has been compared to Ambre Narguile by many, but for me Dolcelisir is one I’d reach for rather than Bogart Pour Homme, Pure Havane, and a bunch of others it doesn’t necessarily get compared to often.
And this may be the best notion of all, which is that if you know that when you wear a scent (let’s say Bogart Pour Homme or Pure Havane for me) you are going to be thinking that you would rather be wearing Dolcelisir, then you can feel confident that swapping off those scents (BPH or PH and others in this case) is worth doing. Here, BPH may not bring back enough to make it worthwhile, so you might want to store it in your basement and wait to see if prices rise for some reason. PH, though, is not cheap and many want a bottle, so that would be the one that might be “disposable,” even if you like it. Another idea is a kind of fragrance bottle stock exchange; I’m surprised nobody has done this. It would be like Ebay except that everything would be “buy it now,” but also there would be “sell it now,” meaning that those who own a bottle might find offers for it (either sales or swaps). Makeupalley.com had something like this, but sales were not permitted and of course it’s a lot more difficult to match up a swap than to simply input a “bid” or “ask.” Why hasn’t anyone done this already?