Upmarket/Downmarket Perfume

"What do you smell?" Sherlock and friend from The Telegraph

“What do you smell?”
Sherlock and friend from The Telegraph

This issue used to strike me as very important long ago.Choice of brand was crucial.  Or so I thought at seventeen. Now this matters far less to me.  I smell all sorts of things and know that many releases are merely rehashes of earlier perfumes, and so  wear whatever strikes me as genuinely interesting pretty much wherever it came from.  But I am naive on this point because the truth is that brands and branding matter a lot.  During the Great Depression of the 1930’s the fatal error among perfume companies was to move downmarket.  You might think that this is counter-intuitive, but in fact it was vitally important.  If your image was exclusive you stood a good chance of surviving the economic wreck, if by contrast you decided to sell your scents in cheap retail outlets like discounters or drugstores, your chances of market share loss were pretty good.  It was Saks Fifth Avenue or bust for perfume companies then. Continue reading

Doctor Fell

Dr Fell

Dr Fell

I do not love thee, Doctor Fell
The reason why, I cannot tell,
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not love thee, Doctor Fell.

My father, who was an old school Virginian and fond of a peaceable dinner table, used to stop nascent disagreements by saying, “De gustibus non est disputandem”. There’s no arguing over taste, and once he said that, we had to drop our heated discussion of Disco vs Punk, or whatever other nonsense had popped into our chuckle heads that day.

Sometimes I will come across a perfume that is clearly cleverly composed, stable, and possessed of finesse, or longevity, or whatever it is that lifts one perfume over the enormous crowd of also-rans, and that is becoming very popular, and will just dislike the heck out of it.   Continue reading

Beer on a Champagne Budget

“After you’ve been having steak for a long time, Beans, beans taste fine.                                      
And after you’ve been drinking champagne and brandy,                                                              
You’re gonna settle for wine.”

He said, “the world is funny, and people are strange                                                                  
And man is creature of constant change,              
And after you’ve been having steak for a long time,                                                                      
You know that bean’s taste fine.”

Shel Silverstein

Generally it’s supposed to be the other way around, of course, and I suppose that all of us assume that if we hit the big time, we would not have a fond nostalgia for the lager and weenies of our pasts. Continue reading