Pretty soon, it will be “OlfactaRama’s” fourth birthday.
When I started, I didn’t think anybody would ever read it. I was a newbie and wrote as one, and made mistakes, and learned some things, and became part of a great community. Nobody can be a newbie for four years, though. So for the last couple, I’ve just been an enthusiast.
When I started the blog, I was obsessed. It seemed as though I just couldn’t learn enough about the subject. I devoted a significant part of each day to reading all the other perfume blogs I could find, and the fora, and the books. My perfume collection grew and grew, as I learned how to buy fragrance the smart way, how to identify a bargain, win an auction, how to do splits and swaps and decants. Ultimately I had to get a new cabinet as the collection outgrew a smaller one, then dresser-top space, then all of the above plus shoe boxes and drawers. That cabinet is full now.
All obsessions end.
“OlfactaRama” is what I guess I’d call a personal experience blog. That’s why I’ve always written it first-person. It’s not informational — God knows there are several perfume blogs who do that better than I ever could — although there is information in it. It’s not a perfume review site, although I’ve done them. It’s not p.r. or stealth marketing. I’ve never made a cent from it, although I have received a few books and a few handfuls of samples and some truly mind-blowing gifts from readers. It’s not about trends —I could hardly care less. I guess it’s been a way of communicating with the like-minded, and exploring something I love. I’ve made some great pals, too, and plan to keep them.
But I look back at my roughly 275 posts, and even I can see that the level of enthusiasm in them has waned. It’s not because perfumes are less interesting than they used to be (although many are). There are enough niche perfumers and artisans and vintage finds and the occasional interesting mainstream release to keep a perfume reviewer going indefinitely. It’s not because there are more perfume bloggers than ever before (although there are). It’s that I’ve said what I want to say, and I feel like keeping on just for the sake of keeping on would be, well, jumping the shark.
I’m not going to disappear from the perfume blogosphere, though. I’ll be around, commenting and contributing to fora and so on.
So, to all of you who have read me and commented and entered my drawings and sent me samples and decants and even bottles — thank you so much! I’ll always be astounded by the generosity of the perfume community.
For four years now, I’ve made and kept a weekly deadline. I think not having the pressure of that deadline will free me to keep playing around with my oils and absolutes, trying perfumes that interest me, and especially to keep delving into the general olfactory and sensory world. I’m keeping the domain name, for that reason. The “Rama” part of “OlfactaRama” is a take on “Cinerama” — the early wide-view movie projection system.
I see from my stats that many readers are subscribers now, so don’t take me off your feeds — I’ll use the name to write about a more general aesthetic: smell, taste, books, art, life.
Photo by Pat Hall Borow.
The photo is of my empty Un Jardin Sur Le Nil (Hermes; perfumer: Jean-Claude Ellena) bottle. It was the first full bottle I bought online after becoming a fragrance blogger. I finished it a couple of months ago.